1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Ritchie

Jacob Jones, Jun. "Sonnet, to the Memory of Joseph Ritchie, Esq. Conductor of the Expedition sent out by Government to explore the Interior of Africa, and British Consul to Tripoli" Morning Post (24 June 1820).



Young traveller of Afric! on the eve
Of thy far journying, I remember well
How thy Muse turn'd a sadly sweet farewell;
How lothe thou wast old Albion's cliffs to leave.
Yet though I not, when last thou wrung'st my hand,
And the fond friends who, parting, wept the time,
Came speechless, gathering round, a tearful band,
Mothers and maids, old age and school-mate prime;
Then,thought I not, tho' sorrowful the scene,
Thou went'st to battle with the red siroc—
Long, long to strive, yet fall beneath its shock.
Oh! had such thought come harrowing o'er that e'en,
We had not let thee go, and thou had'st stay'd—
I hear thee chiding say, "and Heaven's bliss been delay'd."
JULIUS.

[Note in Jones, Fall of Constantinople (1824) 141-42n.: Ritchie was carried off, at Mourzouk, by the relapse of an ague-fever. Private friendship and family hopes never received a severer blow, than from the untimely fate of this intelligent young traveller. That blow deprived public life of a genius, and a gentleman. I say not so because its victim was my father's friend, and my friend, but because I would, in all truth, do justice to the memory of one who was going on to greatness in this world, when he was summoned to the Eternal beatitude of another.]