Treasure Island

Alfred Domett

(20 May 1811 – 2 November 1887 / Camberwell, Surrey)

A Maori Girl's Song


"Alas, and well-a-day! they are talking of me still:
By the tingling of my nostril, I fear they are talking ill;
Poor hapless I -- poor little I -- so many mouths to fill --
   And all for this strange feeling -- O, this sad, sweet pain!

"O! senseless heart -- O simple! to yearn so, and to pine
For one so far above me, confest o'er all to shine,
For one a hundred dote upon, who never can be mine!
   O, 'tis a foolish feeling -- all this fond, sweet pain!

"When I was quite a child -- not so many moons ago --
A happy little maiden -- O, then it was not so;
Like a sunny-dancing wavelet then I sparkled to and fro;
   And I never had this feeling -- O, this sad, sweet pain!

"I think it must be owing to the idle life I lead
In the dreamy house for ever that this new bosom-weed
Has sprouted up and spread its shoots till it troubles me indeed
   With a restless, weary feeling -- such a sad, sweet pain!

"So in this pleasant islet, O, no longer will I stay --
And the shadowy summer dwelling I will leave this very day;
On Arapa I'll launch my skiff, and soon be borne away
   From all that feeds this feeling -- O, this fond, sweet pain!

"I'll go and see dear Rima -- she'll welcome me, I know,
And a flaxen cloak -- her gayest -- o'er my weary shoulders throw,
With purfle red and points so free -- O, quite a lovely show --
   To charm away this feeling -- O, this sad, sweet pain!

"Two feathers I will borrow, and so gracefully I'll wear
Two feathers soft and snowy, for my long, black, lustrous hair.
Of the albatross's down they'll be -- O, how charming they'll look there --
   All to chase away this feeling -- O, this fond, sweet pain!

"Then the lads will flock around me with flattering talk all day --
And, with anxious little pinches, sly hints of love convey;
And I shall blush with happy pride to hear them, I daresay,
   And quite forget this feeling -- O, this sad, sweet pain!"

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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  • Al Pringle (5/12/2007 7:34:00 PM)

    I have a book of New Zealand Verse printed in 1906 which contains this poem by Domett but the title is - ' Miroa's Song '
    The same book contain other poems by Domett and in particular, one titled - ' The Pink and White Terraces ' which I believe, provides the reader with a wonderful discription of the Terraces.

    Al. (Report) Reply

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