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Ink wash depicting two sailing ships with handwritten poem beneath

Date: 19th Century
Overall: 167 x 223 mm
Image: 84 x 125 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Ink wash
Object No: 00047879

User Terms

    Published in Moore's Melodies in 1821, As Slow Our Ship was a popular work appealing to the shared experience of many travellers, sailors and emigrants separated from their place of birth.
    SignificanceThomas Moore's melody 'As Slow Our Ship' was popular in the early 19th century and captures what must have been a common experience of many new settlers forced to leave the familiar environment of their native homes in Europe. This small picture and first stanza of the poem may have helped maintain a link 'home' in a new colonial environment.
    HistoryThomas Moore (1779-1852) was an Irish Catholic poet and song writer popular between 1807 and 1834. He was prominent in English literary and social circles and a close friend of Lord Byron. He is best known for his 1817 verse Lalla Rookh. The complete words of As Slow Our Ship follow:

    As Slow Our Ship

    As slow our ship her foamy track
    Against the wind was cleaving,
    Her trembling pennant still look'd back
    To that dear isle 'twas leaving.
    So loath we part from all we love,
    From all the links that bind us;
    So turn our hearts as on we rove,
    To those we've left behind us.

    When, round the bowl, of vanish'd years
    We talk, with joyous seeming, --
    With smiles that might as well be tears,
    So faint, so sad their beaming;
    While memory brings us back again
    Each early tie that twined us,
    Oh, sweet's the cup that circles then
    To those we've left behind us.

    And when, in other climes, we meet
    Some isle, or vale enhanting,
    Where all looks flowery, wild, and sweet,
    And nought but love is wanting;
    We think how great had been our bliss,
    If Heaven had but assign'd us
    To live and die in scenes like this,
    With some we've left behind us!

    As travellers oft look back at eve,
    When eastward darkly going,
    To gaze upon that light they leave
    Still faint behind them glowing --
    So, when the close of pleasure's day
    To gloom hath near consign'd us,
    We turn to catch one fading ray
    Of joy that's left beind us.

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