ONCE I had a little sweetheart
In the land of the Malay,—
Such a little yellow sweetheart!
Warm and peerless as the day
Of her own dear sunny island,
Keimah, in the far, far East,
Where the mango and banana
Made us many a merry feast.
Such a little copper sweetheart
Was my Goln, plump and round,
With her hair all blue-black streaming
O'er her to the very ground.
Soft and clear as dew-dropp clinging
To a grass blade was her eye;
For the heart below was purer
Than the hill-stream whispering by.
Costly robes were not for Golu:
No more raiment did she need
Than the milky budding breadfruit,
Or the lily of the mead;
And she was my little sweetheart
Many a sunny summer day,
When we ate the fragrant guavas,
In the land of the Malay.
Life was laughing then. Ah! Golu,
Do you think of that old time,
And of all the tales I told you
Of my colder Western clime?
Do you think how happy were we
When we sailed to strip the palm,
And we made a lateen arbor
Of the boat-sail in the calm?
They may call you semi-savage,
Golu! I cannot forget
How I poised my little sweetheart
Like a copper statuette.
Now my path lies through the cities;
But they cannot drive away
My sweet dreams of little Golu
And the land of the Malay.