The Meditation Of A Cockroach

The Meditation Of A Cockroach

I am no less than a cockroach bold,
creeping and crawling from deck to hold,
hunting each cabin and hammock and bed,
under the pillow where rests your head,
under the tablecloth, up the chair,
I run up your sleeves and I crawl through your hair;
neither man or child does the cockroach spare,
but most I visit the ladies fair;
and they all behold me with shudder and scream
and start from my presence as from an ill dream,
so ugly and black I can make myself seem.

written by Thomas Cholmondeley
September 1850 while aboard the Charlotte Jane

This was written for the on board newspaper “Cockroach’ (named in the same humour as the poem above)which was started on the 16th September 1850 by Edward James Fitzgerald to help other settlers and he pass the time.  Anyone could submit something to be published in the next edition.

19 year old Thomas Cholmondely was a young rich gentleman who had been nicknamed ‘the bookworm’ by other passengers and was well liked for his lively and ‘wild’ personality.  Thomas was travelling with his much older cousin Charles but Thomas was not to stay in Port Levy (where they ran a farm together) long as within a few years of writing this poem, he inherited some family land back in England.  Sadly he died of Malaria in 1864 while on his honeymoon.

Charles was later joined by the rest of his family and his brother Hugh went on to found the children’s home known by his surname in Governor’s Bay.

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