FROM THE SYDNEY HERALD. 16 MAY 1831
In the Sydney Herald of 1831, a writer signing as M.M. appears with the following poems.
FOR The Sydney Herald.
“Cupid on Bread and Water”
” Day by day he fed on the sighs and tears of Leonora, Sad Cheer ! but the food of the Heart not withstanding. ” ANON.
I tell thee plain, my Stella dear,
That work like this will never do;
I loathe the good English beef and beer,
And fricasee and French ragout,
All cake and custard without you.
My night’s cherout, my noon’s rappee
Engender only spirits blue
Unlike the Spirit dwells in thee.
Thy form divine no more in view
‘Wildered no more by beauty’s eyes
I picture scenes Appeles drew
And quite forget corporeal ties
My craving soul her duty flies;
No Cossacks ranked in fell platoon,
Can force what recreant will denies,
And this I feel at night and noon.
‘Tis said the God that gives relief,
From love is blind,I own it true,
But what is more he must be deaf,
And worse than that is all speechless too,
I’ll vouch the truth, for when he threw,
His mantle o’er my sickening soul,
I deaf and blind and speechless grew,
Nor longed for daily food or bowl.
A single tear from Stella’s eye
Will end the longest love disputes,
A tender glance or heaving sigh,
My heart prefers to richest fruits,
Such pleasing work my fancy suits,
A blameless task! thy lovers cry,
Who own thy gracious smile recruits
The hearts of better men than I.
Though doomed for life to dungeon vile
If Stella’s hand supplied the cheer,
On captives fare, I’d live and smile
At falsest Hope, and foulest Fear:
Let others shake the Head and sneer,
And pout to Hollow Heart or Brain,
I still maintain the sigh and tear
Are food for heart of loving swain.
Barambah, April 1831.
We found the Sydney Herald in our quest for Melinda, while visiting Kati B in Bellingen. In the Cafe Bookshop,on a shelf at the very bottom under a large handwritten tome, we came across the SYDNEY HERALD of 1831. Rather over priced at $80 but we soon located an online bookshop and ordered our own . We know that Melinda was on the 1828 census as still being in the household of the Rev. Richard Hill, presumably as a servant . Some say she was there as a foster child and treated to the elegant upbringing of turning fine seams and writing pleasant verse, probably executing dainty watercolours at the same time – but the census entries specify SERVANT. They also list her as being PROTESTANT (as was the good Reverend. Minister of St James Anglican Church in which he later did a perish from apoplexy). It seems more likely to this writer, that this child of a Roman Catholic Irish Convict was precisely what is states on the census – SERVANT. And fortunate not to have been running from the house with her skirts on fire from her work lighting the stoves and cleaning behind fireplaces. There is more than one account of that in the 1831 SYDNEY HERALD. By 1831, Melinda was 16-17 years old and 4 years from marrying Basil Kendall. What happened in these unseen years ? What was her life on the streets of Sydney ? She was till at least 1828 resident with the Hills in Castlereagh Street and her family, the McNallys were down in Kent Street near the Sussex Street Barkers Mill where Patrick appears to have been a Carter and where at least two of the Kendall lads were working as clerks.
What literary and social contacts did she have ? What did she pass as she walked between her home and the Hills. Her sister Mary was working as Housekeeper to James Martin in Kent Street. The other children remained with their parents and were listed as Roman Catholic. Who was the young woman of the early 1830s ? Was she writing verse even then ? Did she have access to the poets and writers of the time ? In 1831, the Sydney Herald begins publication and accepts ORIGINAL POETRY. Who were these ORIGINAL POETS ?
I searched long and hard for Barambah – locating at first only Barambah, home of organic food and aboriginal community in Queensland and then a town in Sri lanka. Now I have found BARAMBAH STREET ROSEVILLE. The poem could well have been written on the Northern Shores of Sydney in 1831. Who was M.M. in Barambah ? L.
APPELES – GNOSTIC-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apelles_(gnostic)