Letter At Corfu (William J Carey)
Scene: Corfu, Greece - Time: October, 1849.
Air: Traditional, popularised by 1772 lyrics
to Mary's Dream by John Lowe [1750-1798].

Address To The Mail Ship As She Hove In Sight:

O mail ship, speed thy faithful keel
that cleaves the ancient Grecian Sea,
And quickly from your log-ship reel
the news from loved ones far away;
Thou bringest news of war or peace -
if thundering guns shall loudly roar,
A sad tear or a mother's kiss
from a Terra Nova's peaceful shore.

Address To The Letter:

Enchanter, with the wand of love,
transport my thoughts to home again,
Where snow-crowned hill and balsam grove,
and wild deer dashing o'er the plain;
Or, thundering echoes on the shore
reflecting terror through the foam,
The cause of many midnight lore
in Terra Nova's island home.


Dear mother's words recall the hours
in childhood sporting by the stream,
Or plucking off the scented flowers,
the source of many a midnight dream;
A kiss from my dear mother's cheek -
a sister's hopes o'er ocean foam -
That like Apollo's arrow seek
the outcast from his Island home.

O mother dear, fret not for me,
gaze not o'er the ocean far,
Here in the ancient Grecian Sea -
contented now - come peace or war;
One fond embrace on wings of light,
or, sunburst's glory it might prove,
Affection's incense in its flight,
shall prove your memory still I love.

O shall I e'er return again -
sweet land of mirth - unto thy sod,
Where generous hearts who ne'er complain,
but hold their simple faith in God;
The olive branch of peace and love -
like rainbow's hues unite you more,
Celestial blessings from God above
crown with joy my native shore.

May all the fruits kind nature yields
spring forth and blossom everywhere,
With scented odors of the fields,
enrich the land I love most dear;
May harmony and love sublime -
either on land and ocean foam -
Of all of every race and clime
who dwell in Terra Nova's home.

####.... William J Carey of St John's, NL, and Tewksbury, MA ....####
Excerpted from the Newfoundland Quarterly, volume 01, number 4, March, 1902, p.20, under the title: "Past Memory; Or, A Spark From The Recollections Of A Wanderer."
The editor and publisher of the Newfoundland Quarterly, John J Evans [1861-1944], received a reply to a letter for a contribution from W J Carey, which included some of the St John's Balladeer's songs which Evans published. As an introduction to this song, Carey wrote: "Duplicate of letter at Corfu, Greece, October 1st, 1849, on getting a letter from his mother, then in St John's, Nfld:
On board HMS Prince Regent, of 95 guns - Waiting advices from England - The fleet under Admiral Parker - The mail ship appeared at 2 pm, October 1st, 1849, with orders to proceed to Constantinople to intercept the threatened Russian fleet. - War, if necessary. Bound to Troy Rhodes to await further developments; where we changed admirals - Sailing up opposite Athens, October 17th, 1849."
As an afterword carey wrote: "To the reader of these - my simple lines - I have sung and played this on a piano years long ago, before my family died. But since, in looking and thinking over them, I feel a sadness through memory." - WJC"


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