Traits and Trials of Early Life/The Sailor

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Now tell me of my brother,
    So far away at sea;
Amid the Indian islands,
    Of which you read to me,

I wish that I were with him,
    Then I should see on high
The tall and stately cocoa,
    That rises mid the sky.

But only round the summit
    The feathery leaves are seen,
Like the plumes of some great warrior,
    It spreads its shining green.

And there the flowers are brighter
    Than any that I know;
And the birds have purple plumage,
    And wings of crimson glow.

There grow cinnamon and spices,
    And, for a mile and more,
The cool sweet gales of evening
    Bring perfume from the shore.

Amid those sunny islands
    His good ship has to roam:
Amid so many wonders
    He must forget his home.

And yet his native valley
    How fair it is to-day!
I hear the brook below us
    Go singing on its way.

Amid its water lilies
    He launched his first small boat—
He taught me how to build them,
    And how to make them float.

And there too are the yew trees
    From whence he cut his bow;
Mournfully are they sweeping
    The long green grass below.

It is the lonely churchyard,
    And many tombs are there;
On one no weeds are growing,
    But many a flower is fair.

Though lovely are the countries
    That lie beyond the wave,
He will not find among them,
    Our mother's early grave.

I fear not for the summer,
    However bright it be:
My heart says that my brother
    Will seek his home and me.