At this island I remained ten days, when the Chesterfield packet, homeward bound from the Leeward Islands, touching at St. John’s for the Antigua mail, I took my passage in that vessel. We sailed on the 24th of November, and after a short but tempestuous voyage arrived at Falmouth on the 22nd of December, from whence I immediately set out for London; having been absent from England two years and seven months.
The following passage from James Montgomery’s poem, “The West Indies,” published in 1810, was inspired by “Mungo Park’s Travels in the Interior of Africa.” It enshrines in English verse the beautiful incident of the negro woman’s song of “Charity” (on page 190 of the first of these two volumes), and closes with the poet’s blessing upon Mungo Park himself, who had sailed five years before upon the second journey, from which he had not returned, and whose fate did not become known until five years later.
Man, through all ages of revolving time,
Unchanging man, in every varying clime,
Deems his own land of every land the pride,
Beloved by Heaven o’er all the world beside;
His home the spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.
And is the Negro outlawed from his birth?
Is he alone a stranger on the earth?
Is there no shed whose peeping roof appears
So lovely that it fills his eyes with tears?
No land, whose name, in exile heard, will dart
Ice through his veins and lightning through his heart?
Ah! yes; beneath the beams of brighter skies
His home amidst his father’s country lies;
There with the partner of his soul he shares
Love-mingled pleasures, love-divided cares;
There, as with nature’s warmest filial fire,
He soothes his blind and feeds his helpless sire;
His children, sporting round his hut, behold
How they shall cherish him when he is old,
Trained by example from their tenderest youth
To deeds of charity and words of truth.
Is he not blest? Behold, at closing day,
The Negro village swarms abroad to play;
He treads the dance, through all its rapturous rounds,
To the wild music of barbarian sounds;