Past twelve o’clock and a stormy night,

Hark ! hark! what a hollow groan,

From the cell of the convict took its flight

Twas surely the deepest that grief could start

Twas surely the burst of a broken heart.

To-morrow he dies, and these are the last,

And the saddest hours he will tell

The summons seems borne upon ev’ry blast

And death one each tone of the bell –

For to-morrow he launches his barque alone

On eternity’s tide to a world unknown.

Poor youth ! I remember when guileless and gay.

Together we traversed the heath,

Or silently sat at the close of the day,

The wild rose bower beneath –

And shudder’d to hear his sire relate

The bandit’s doom and the felon’s fate.

But the red cross banner and rolling drum,

Soon drew him away from the plain,

And the rustice with grief said he ne’er would come,

To his native valley again !

I remember his mother’s deep drawn sigh

And the tear that fell from his father’s eye.

Oh! had he but sunk upon glory’s bed,

And slept in the tomb of the brave,

Twould have spared his father’s hoary head,

From his mother’s deep dug grave !

Twould have sav’d his love’s last frantic clasp,

And his friend the pang of a parting grasp.

But tomorrow he dies ! and his last request,

Comes mournfully sad to me –

A bunch of wild roses to plant on his breast,

Pluc’d fresh from his fav’rite tree !

For they’ll wither like him in their early bloom,

And his cold bosom will be their tomb !




3 thoughts on “POEM: THE CONVICT”

  1. I’m interested in poems written around the convict “experience.” I need to earth my poetry in a factual way when writing on this subject.
    It seems important to do justice to the task. I’m particularly interested in burials at sea especially of a convict child (stillbirth etc;)
    I would like some information as to how this was done. I’d be grateful for any information to enlighten me.

    Jenny Barnard

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