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meditating (but cheerfully) upon the miseries of human nature, I received notice of your arrival in the Barra.
“So you have at last gained that 'lodge' so long pictured in the vista of imagination. You are at last in that Promised Land-a land flowing with caxáca and farinha ; 1 a land where a man may literally, and safely, sleep without breeches-a luxury which must be enjoyed to be appreciated.
"I am now waiting for a passage to Para, from thence to return to England. There is a vessel caulking here I expect will go in two or three weeks. I have a small collection of birds and butterflies, but new species of the latter are very scarce.
“The Christmas festa is now over, and this little village has resumed its wonted tranquillity. I suppose you intend soon to proceed up the Rio Negro; no doubt my brother is now glorying in ornithological rarities, and revelling amid the sweets of lepidopterous loveliness. But enough! A little while and the wintry sea is roaring around my pillow; then shall I envy you in your snug redés far from the restless billow; then, whilst vainly endeavouring to swallow preserved salmon or other ship luxury, I shall long for my Amazonian appetite and roasted pirarucú; then— But I will not anticipate hours which are inevitable. I hope yourself and Mr. King are in good health. In this respect I have no cause to complain. Wishing you both a prosperous and a pleasant time, I must now remain,
It is evident from this letter that the usual dilatoriness and difficulties of Amazonian travel delayed his arrival at Para about four months beyond the time he calculated on. The answer to the enigma in the first letter, which he says he has enclosed, I did not receive ; but I have no doubt it is as follows: "Because it is a corpse (copse) sloping away from
· Native rum and mandioca meal.
the town." “Slope," "sloping,” were at that time slang words for escaping or running away, “understanded by the people," which perhaps they may not be now. I may add here that he did not like the name Herbert (his first name), and so took to his second-Edward.
The friends of temperance often complain of the want of a good song. I think the following, written by my brother about 1848, may perhaps be considered suitable till a better one is written :
When man, begun to know himself,
Shall maddening bowls resign,
'Dash down the Samian wine.'
And still our song shall be,
The social cup of Tea.'”
The next verses, suggested by a well-known old song, show his early love of humanity and aspirations for an improved social state. It was probably written at Neath about 1847 or 1848.
“THE LIGHT OF DAYS TO COME.
“ The light of other days is faded,
But we will not repine,
The dwellers in that time.
O’er what can ne'er return,
In the light we now discern.
“The past brought luxury and pleasure
To few beneath the sun,
Of the light of days to come.
To set the future right,
The iron hand of Might.
“ The fields where warriors have commanded,
And men have fought for fame,
With an inglorious name.
Your work is not yet done,
The Light of days to come.”
I preserve the following fantastic little poem because it so well describes the mode of house-building of the dwellers in
the grand equatorial forests which supply so many of man's wants in a way unknown in the colder climes.
“ THE INDIAN'S HUT.
“ 'Twas on the mighty Amazon,
We floated with the tide,
That rose on either side,
An Indian's cot I spied.
“ Like to the halls of Solomon,
Yon humble dwelling rose,
Or echoing hammers blows ;
Which in the forest grows.
“Those wild fantastic slender cords
Which hang from branches high,
With equal strength supply,
All silently they tie.
“All silently, for stake and pole
Were sharpened where they grew;
Was lifted up to hew,
His wife and children too.
“Oh, for a lodge !'thus Cowper cried ;
And here's a peaceful home,
Where care can seldom come.
My fate it is to roam."
I give the following verses on the Cayman or Alligator of the Amazon because I remember how pleased my brother was with the quotation from Macbeth, which so aptly applies to this dangerous reptile.
“SONG OF THE CAYMAN.
“I bask in the waveless waters
When the sun is shining on high,
With a grim and greedy eye;
Who ventures where I lie.
“ I float on the midnight waters
With my deathly demon head;
Which flattens the hunter's lead;
Glassy as those of the dead.
“ I hear the house-dog prowling,
And without a ripple sink ;
And enters the water to drink,
And seize him on the brink.
“ I dwell not in rushing waters,
But in woodland pool and lake,
Lie sleeping 'neath the brake ;
And a merry meal I make.
“ Midnight deeds have I witness'd,
But never shudder'd to see.
Go ! leave the corpse to me,
I'll leave to speak of thee."
I preserve the next little poem because I feel sure that the first three verses were inspired by the memories of his childhood, while the conclusion indicates those deeper feelings still more dominant in that which follows it.