LESSON 68 The Orphan Boy's Tale
Stay, lady! Stay, for mercy's sake,
And hear a helpless orphan's tale;
Ah! sure my looks must pity wake
'Tis want that makes my cheek so pale.
Yet I was once a mother's pride,
And my brave father's hope and joy;
But in the Nile's proud fight he died,
And I am now an orphan boy.
Poor foolish child! how pleased was I,
When news of Nelson's victory came,
Along the crowded streets to fly,
And see the lighted windows flame!
To force me home my mother sought
She could not bear to see my joy;
For with my father's life 'twas bought,
And made me a poor orphan boy.
The people's shouts were long and loud
My mother, shuddering, closed her ears;
"Rejoice! rejoice!" still cried the crowd
My mother answered with her tears.
"Oh, why do tears steal down your cheek,"
Cried I, "while others shout for joy?"
She kissed me, and, in accents weak,
She called me her poor orphan boy.
"What is an orphan boy?" I said,
When suddenly she gasped for breath,
And her eyes closed; I shrieked for aid,
But, ah! her eyes were closed in death!
My hardships since I will not tell;
But now, no more a parent's joy,
Ah, lady! I have learned too well
What 'tis to be an orphan boy!
Oh, were I by your bounty fed!
Nay, gentle lady, do not chide;
Trust me, I mean to earn my bread,
The sailor's orphan boy has pride.
Lady, you weep: what is't you say?
You'll give me clothing, food, employ?
Look down, dear parents! look and see
Your happy, happy orphan boy.