BRYAN AND PEREENE.
A WEST INDIAN BALLAD;
Founded on a real Fact, that happened a few Years ago in the Island of ST. CHRISTOPHER.
1 THE north-east wind did briskly blow,
2 The ship was safely moor'd,
3 Young Bryan thought the boat's crew slow,
4 And so leapt over-board.
5 Pereene, the pride of Indian dames,
6 His heart long held in thrall,
7 And whoso his impatience blames,
8 I wot, ne'er lov'd at all.
9 A long, long year, one month and day,
10 He dwelt on English land,
11 Nor once in thought would ever stray,
12 Though ladies sought his hand.
13 For Bryan he was tall and strong,
14 Right blythsome roll'd his een,
15 Sweet was his voice whene'er he sung,
16 He scant had twenty seen.
17 But who the countless charms can draw,
18 That grac'd his mistress true;
19 Such charms the old world never saw,
20 Nor oft I ween the new.
21 Her raven hair plays round her neck,
22 Like tendrils of the vine;
23 Her cheeks red dewy rose buds deck,
24 Her eyes like diamonds shine.
25 Soon as his well known ship she spied,
26 She cast her weeds away,
27 And to the palmy shore she hied,
28 All in her best array.
29 In sea-green silk so neatly clad,
30 She there impatient stood;
31 The crew with wonder saw the lad
32 Repel the foaming flood.
33 Her hands a handkerchief display'd,
34 Which he at parting gave;
35 Well pleas'd the token he survey'd,
36 And manlier beat the wave.
37 Her fair companions one and all,
38 Rejoicing crowd the strand;
39 For now her lover swam in call,
40 And almost touch'd the land.
41 Then through the white surf did she haste,
42 To clasp her lovely swain;
43 When, ah! a shark bit through his waist:
44 His heart's blood dy'd the main!
45 He shriek'd! his half sprang from the wave,
46 Streaming with purple gore,
47 And soon it found a living grave,
48 And, ah! was seen no more.
49 Now haste, now haste, ye maids, I pray,
50 Fetch water from the spring:
51 She falls, she falls, she dyes away,
52 And soon her knell they ring.
53 Now each May-morning round her tomb
54 Ye fair, fresh flowrets strew,
55 So may your lovers scape his doom,
56 Her hapless fate scape you.