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The Negro Boy

James Henry Leigh Hunt 1784 (Southgate, London) – 1859

Paupertas onus visa est grave.

Cold blows the wind, and while the tear
  Bursts trembling from my swollen eyes,
The rain's big drop, quick meets it there,
  And on my naked bosom flies!
  O pity, all ye sons of Joy,
  The little wand'ring Negro-boy.

These tatter'd clothes, this ice-cold breast
  By Winter harden'd into steel,
These eyes, that know not soothing rest,
  But speak the half of what I feel!
  Long, long, I never new one joy,
  The little wand'ring Negro-boy!

Cannot the sigh of early grief
  Move but one charitable mind?
Cannot one hand afford relief?
  One Christian pity, and be kind?
  Weep, weep, for thine was never joy,
  O little wand'ring Negro-boy!

Is there a good which men call Pleasure?
  O Ozmyn, would that it were thine!
Give me this only precious treasure;
  How it would soften grief like mine!
  Then Ozmyn might be call'd, with joy,
  The little wand'ring Negro-boy!

My limbs these twelve long years have borne
  The rage of ev'ry angry wind:
Yet still does Ozmyn weep and mourn,
  Yet still no ease, no rest can find!
  Then death, alas, must soon destroy
  The little wand'ring Negro-boy!

No sorrow e'er disturbs the rest,
  That dwells within the lonely grave;
Thou best resource, the wo-wrung breast
  E'er ask'd of Heav'n, or Heav'n e'er gave!
  Ah then, farewell, vain world, with joy
  I die the happy Negro-boy!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:14 min read
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James Henry Leigh Hunt

James Henry Leigh Hunt, best known as Leigh Hunt, was an English critic, essayist, poet and writer. more…

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