Welcome to Poetry.com
Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.
And, now, a vacancy occurs,
For very nearly sixteen years,
In which I'd not the least desire,
To strike the harp or tune the lyre.
But having left the good old 'Medway:
I tried on shore to make some headway.
I first a situation got,
And not amiss I found my lot:-
My wages good, my work was various;
My living far above precarious.
I then began to look around,
And thought ere long to settle down:
And then a letter I wrote home,
And ask'd my love if she would come;
Offering at once to pay her passage:-
And in due time received this message:-
'I'll wait till many years are past,
If you'll say you'll come home at last;-
But can't consent to such removal,
Without my fathers full approval:
Which I'm afraid he'll never give;
But come home dear, we'll happy live.'
And, then I thought if home I went,
I could not feel the same content,
As if I'd never come away,
But work'd for half a crown a day:-
While here, I thought I'd every chance
My future prospects to advance.
And after some more serious thought:
Another letter home I wrote;-
Which now I cannot give verbatim,
Though it contain'd my ultimatium.
From her engagement I relieved her,
And I've no doubt it sorely grieved her:-
Then, married in due time I got:-
Though not my first love, still my lot.
We had our sorrows and our joys,
And in due time we had four boys;
But on the day our fifth was born,
My heart was with sad anguish torn:-
A fearful illness seiz'd my wife,
Which nearly drain'd away her life:
It was so sudden and severe;
It fill'd me with a dreadful fear.
We lost the babe; and my poor wife
Show'd very little sign of life,
For thirteen hours; then, I went near her;
And what I could, I did to cheer her:-
And in due time again she rallied:
But oh! she look'd so deathly pallid.
Her illness shook her system so;
I felt my heart o'erwhelm'd with woe.
With tender unremitting care,
Good nourishment and change of air;
Health seem'd regain'd in eleven months:-
She then relaps'd, and sunk at once.
I, and my boys were now alone:-
My wife, their mother dead and gone:-
I felt bereft of my best friend,
And almost wish'd my life would end.
But having made to God my prayer
My all committed to his care;
I begg'd He would my mind direct,
My boys to support and protect.
My God afforded me relief,
And caus'd me to assuage my grief;
And thus he gently clear'd my way;
And gave me strength to suit each day,
but as I'd other ills sustain'd;
I thought if longer I remain'd;
They might increase and break me down,
And all my future prospects drown,
For I'd borne wrongs of every quality,
Many from sanctified rascality.
So I, within a little while,
Resolv'd to quit Tasmania's Isle
And in due time I made a start,
With Drew, 'Old Hoppy' and spring-cart.
Melbourne I reach'd on that day week,
And stroll'd about some work to seek:
Though very much a job I needed;
'Twas full twelve days ere I succeeded.
Work then in Melbourne was precarious;
The jobs I got were short and various:
So when five months had just roll'd over:
Portland I reach'd in the 'Red Rover'
So here I made a five months jump
And from old deck planks made a pump.
Thus near five years of sorrow past;
I and my boys were snug at last:-
I in the shop 'mong wheels and carts;
At school and home they did their parts.
Now all this while by some mischance,
My muse on me ne'er cast a glance:
But in nine months at the election
She took me under her protection.
I really felt like one inspired.
Could spin off verse when I desired;
Which made some cynics on me frown;
And then for fun I wrote them down.
Now I've gone over sixteen years
Through joys and sorrows, smiles and tears
And as I end this tale at last,
You'll guess the future by the past.
Discuss this William Gay poem with the community:
Find a translation for this poem in other languages:
Select another language:
- - Select -
- 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
- 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
- Español (Spanish)
- Esperanto (Esperanto)
- 日本語 (Japanese)
- Português (Portuguese)
- Deutsch (German)
- العربية (Arabic)
- Français (French)
- Русский (Russian)
- ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
- 한국어 (Korean)
- עברית (Hebrew)
- Gaeilge (Irish)
- Українська (Ukrainian)
- اردو (Urdu)
- Magyar (Hungarian)
- मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
- Indonesia (Indonesian)
- Italiano (Italian)
- தமிழ் (Tamil)
- Türkçe (Turkish)
- తెలుగు (Telugu)
- ภาษาไทย (Thai)
- Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
- Čeština (Czech)
- Polski (Polish)
- Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
- Românește (Romanian)
- Nederlands (Dutch)
- Ελληνικά (Greek)
- Latinum (Latin)
- Svenska (Swedish)
- Dansk (Danish)
- Suomi (Finnish)
- فارسی (Persian)
- ייִדיש (Yiddish)
- հայերեն (Armenian)
- Norsk (Norwegian)
- English (English)
Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:
"Life From 1835 to 1851" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 23 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/40603/life-from-1835-to-1851>.