Saturday, April 14, 2012

O Susan Then I Thought of Thee

Lately I've been reading the journals of Wilford Woodruff, and on 20 February 1845 he had the opportunity to visit the grave of Elder Lorenzo D. Barnes (1812-1842), who had died on 20 December 1842 of illness while on his mission in England. In the course of relating the experience, Woodruff transcribes a few love poems exchanged between Lorenzo Barnes and a young woman named Susan Conrad. The last of these poems, written to Conrad by Barnes from England sometime in 1842, is especially touching, and as I cannot find a transcription of it elsewhere online, I here offer it:
When I bade my home farewell
On Brittons shore far hence to dwell
When I watched by evening light
My native shores face from my sight
O! Susan then I thought of thee.

When I ploughed the raging sea
Whose Billows rolled Continually
When on high our Ship was bourn
Or fiercely driven by winters storm
When roaring surges dashed oer me
O Susan then I thought of thee.

When I gazed with eager eyes
On Britons Shores before me rise
I viewed her mountains capted with snow
While chilling winds did round me blow
Till late our haven hove in view
O Susan then I thought of you.

When on Europes Shores I stood
And gazed far oer old oceans flood
I thought of all I'd left behind
My Parents dear And friends so kind
I thought of their [-] company
But Susan most I thought of thee.

When I the streets of towns parade
And gaze upon proud Britons maids
With sparkling eyes and silken hair
With rosy checks and bosoms fair
Methinks they have no chairmes for me
For Susan yet I think on thee.

When wafted by the power of steam
Through landscapes fair and meadows green
Through wide spread fields of waving grain
Mid wood land hills or on the plain
Though swift I fly and fair my view
Yet Susan then I think of you.

When amid my foreign friends
A Cheerful hour I try to spend
Whare kindness beams in evry face
And danties rich our feastings grace
Mid all these scenes our hearts are true
That heart which's Susans placed on you.

When before Jehovah's Throne
I bow and all my wants make known
I ask for blessings on my friends
And heavenly grace my stepts to attend
While thus in prayer I bow my knee
O! Susan then I pray for thee.
Source: Scott G. Kenney, Wilford Woodruff's Journals, 1833-1898: Typescript. 9 vols. (Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1983-1985), 2:514-515.

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