19th Century

Afar from Home: A Poem of the Gold Rush | W. D.

This poem was written by a person known only as “W.D.” and published in the London Journal in 1860, which was then edited by Pierce Egan the Younger (1814–80).[1] The poem might refer to the Gold Rushes of the mid-1800s, when explorers seeking to get rich quickly moved to the USA and Canada hoping to strike gold.

Afar from home I feel the hand,

Of strangers on my fevered brow—

Afar in dreams an angel stands,

And beckons to me even now.

Oh! were those visions realised!

That nightly bless my restless sleep—

Those visits of the dearly prized,

Who come and go across the deep.

Across the sea whose bosom bears,

Away from land, the loved and last,

Of many homes, whose hopes and fears,

Arise and fall at every blast,—

Those living waifs of many shores,

Who wander with a wayward will,

Till gathered, where no friend deplores,

In distant lands a grave they fill.

Afar!—Afar! Too late delayed,

The homeward voyage, so long deferred

Too far—too long I’ve idly strayed,

Where tones familiar are unheard.

Adventure led to promised wealth,

And I believed what it foretold;

But fortune, weighed with loss of health,

Will turn to dross the purest gold!

[1] W.D. ‘Afar from Home’, London Journal, 31 March 1860, 200.