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Travels in New Zealand : with a map of the country

[The bell tolls four...]

SceneOn board of the Bengal Merchant, at Ten o’Clock at night, off D’Urville’s Island, Cook’s Straits, New Zealand, on 11 February, 1840.

The bell tolls four, the knell of parting day,
The night watch sings “let lights extinguish’d be;”
Save where the cuddy darts its glimmering ray
The only light that now remains at sea.

No more the fiddlers play their wonted airs,
No more the dancers trip the highland fling;
No more the Doctor* banishes our cares,
With stories told amidst th’ accustom’d ring.

Oh sleep, thou harbinger of peace below,
Thou only refuge from the children’s scream;
Thou only leveller of friend and foe,
And emblem of thyself without a dream.+

The cry of water dealt with wine-like care,
Awakens those still lull’d in “Murphy’s” arms.
And chance of finding breakfast boards laid bare,
Soon rouses those quite dead to other charms.

Once more the hubbub on the deck is heard,
Once more the sextant fills the Captain’s hand;
Once more the gallant Lawyer# mounts his guard,
Prepar’d for fight in yonder savage land.

And now the Butcher takes his wonted stroll,
’Midst pigs and fowls that know full well his tread;
Or stopping, listens to some story droll,
Tho’ not before his num’rous flocks are fed.

And now the Doctor goes his daily round,
And feels the pulses of his children dear;
And tells them that the best relief is found
In soups and salts, and sicklike good old cheer.

At night we offer up our prayers sincere,
To him who doth the might deep command;
That he would bless the friends we’ve left so dear,
And guards us still through our adopted land.

And when the cry of “Land” was heard at last,
How eager all that land were to explore;
Though some shed tears on scenes for ever past,
Far, far away on Caledonia’s shores.

And now that we have plough’d the stormy deep,
And anchor’d safely on a foreign strand,
Let’s sing the praises of the gallant ship,
That’s wafted us unto this smiling land.