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Upon Hearing That It Was Customary In Falmouth, Jamaica, To Sound A Horn On The Arrival Of The Packet Bearing Letters.

There is no heart so senseless or so cold,
That beats not with rapture, as the ear
Dwells on the sound prolong’d which oft has told
A world of hope, and calmed a world of fear, T
he horn! in that one joyful sound will come
A thousand mingled feelings of delight!
Fancy at once recalls each distant home,
The loved, the absent, are before our sight.
Ah! who can describe the ecstacy,
The impetuous rush of thought, which quickly flows
Across the soul? perchance a laugh of glee,
Or tear of joy, are all we may disclose.
Th’ excited moments o’er, every voice
(Hushed in the stillness of expectancy)
Waits but the letters duly ranged for choice
To utter, half suppressed, the words “For me!”
”For me, for me!” from every mouth is heard
In tones of joy, or bursts of pride,
As nature prompts, or hope, too long deferred,
Now sees, at once, its wishes gratified.
For parent, friend, or brother, each have claims
Of tender ties; and all well pleased abide
The rush—the crowd—the glancing over names,
And all that fond impatience cannot hide.
The long-expected treasure now is clasped
With fervour—in the half-extended hand,
No gold so prized—no gem so firmly grasped,
As this mute stranger in a distant land.
And now assembled, watch the anxious eye—
The silent happiness—the joyous air—
The tender smile—the involuntary sigh—
And “blessings on them,” faintly murmur’d there.
One o’er the shoulder of the reader bends,
As if by gazing she could magnify
Each precious word; or catch as it descends
The love-fraught message in its fervency.
What happiness so great, so pure as this,
To scan the writing of the hands we love,
To make their joys our own, to read their bliss,
And mentally to follow where they were!
But who may tell, when calmness reigns once more
The grateful raptures, or the nameless fears?
Oh none! for every heart will pour
To God alone,—oft mingling with its tears
Such adjurations as He sees and hears.

R. E. S.