Poem by Samuel Hewett

Upon the SS Soukar, 8 October 1882 to 13 January 1883

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Fifty emigrants joined the 'SOUKAR' at Tilbury in England bound for Lyttleton, near Christchurch, New Zealand. They included William and Elizabeth Hewett, their son Samuel and nephew Jack, together with their daughter Elizabeth, her husband Robert Gainsford, and their six children Robert (8), Charles (7), Eleanor (Nell) (6), Henry (Harry) (4), Arthur (2) and Walter (7 months).

You should read this together with the log by Jack Hewett.

We sailed from port on the bold Soukar,
Across the wide ocean to islands afar,
Kind friends came in plenty to bid us adieu,
And to wish us God speed to the land of the new.

Our gallant commander Captain Croker by name,
With his officers three and twenty good men,
Sailed down Father Thames on a bright Sunday morn,
To cross the wide ocean and face fierce storm.

We anchored off Deal four days and a night,
For breezes to waft us from fair England's sight,
And lots of sad hearts and tears there were then,
From many who never might see her again.

Right through the rough Biscay where sickness was rife,
The rolling and tossing quite filled us with strife,
The sights and the sounds which then greeted the ear,
Made us wish that the land of New Zealand was near.

The line it was reached in some four weeks or more,
And we felt what a distance we were from the shore,
When old Father Neptune came out of his quarter,
To shave us and duck us all well in salt water.

The lather composed of treacle and flour,
With a long handled broom to give us a scour,
And a sail full of water with his razor and men,
To help him to wash us and make us quite clean.

And now Christmas-time with its fun and its frolic,
And lots of good cheer to make us quite jolly,
Old Dennis the pig had his supper of steel,
Which furnished us all with a plentiful meal.

We had dancing and singing and kiss in the ring,
While all round the Captain did merrily swing,
The Captain he kissed all the girls on the ship,
And with good things the children were smacking the lip.

The New Year has come we are nearing the land,
Where each bids adieu and each shakes the hand,
When we part on the quay in the country New Zealand,
Let us bless the good ship that brought us from England.

God bless our Commander wherever he may be,
For better hearted gentleman sure never crossed the sea,
And when his wanderings over he retires to take his rest,
May plenty be his portion and happiness his guest.

Then goodbye Captain Croker, Mr Ward and Mr May,
God bless and keep you safely for many a long day,
While o'er the wild ocean you merrily do roam,
Just give us a thought in our New Zealand home.

by Samuel Hewett, 28th December 1882.

Updated: 11 November 2006
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