Lament of the emigrant

Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003). 

P4 JONES, Noah R. Cwyn yr ymfudwr, a’i ddau anerchiad. (Lament of the emigrant, and his two greetings.) Merthyr Tydfil: Printed by John Davis, Georgetown, [1849?].

4 p. 18 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 33.

Noah Jones, his wife Esther, and their eleven-year-old daughter Mary were part of the first group of Welsh Mormon emigrants that sailed on the Buena Vista. They left Liverpool 26 February 1849 and arrived at New Orleans fifty days later. The steamboat Constitution transported them up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where they boarded another steamer, the Highland Mary, to travel up the Missouri River to Council Bluffs, Iowa. A large number died from cholera while on the Missouri, including Noah’s wife Esther.

The first of the three poems contained in Lament of the Emigrant (five stanzas of nine lines each) reviews the events that surrounded the death of the author’s wife while on board the Highland Mary.

The second poem (eight stanzas of four lines each) is Jones’s call to his compatriots to repent and join him in going to the country “which was given freely to the Saints, before the foundation of the world.”

In the last poem (ten couplets, each followed by a three-line chorus) Jones anticipates the “lovely day” when he and all Welsh members of the Church would “go free from the captivity of Babylon the Great.”

Jones wrote the second and third poem while he was still in Wales. The first poem he sent back to his family in Wales after he arrived at Council Bluffs. Jones’s father had John Davis publish the poems, together with a seven-line explanation of their origins.

Lament of the Emigrant, and His Two Greetings

The following two poems were composed by NOAH R. JONES, formerly of Dowlais, but now Council Bluffs. The first Poem is a lament of the death of his dear wife on the Missouri River, as they traveled toward the land of promise; and the two last poems are a greeting to his neighbors and friends together with great things of the Gospel, which he com­posed before leaving Wales.

Published, with permission, by WM. ROBERTS, GEORGETOWN, MERTHYR.

My dear friends in the environs of Wales,

Kindly hear my lament in verse;

Lamenting still am I in sorrow

Over the loss of my dear Esther,

Whom I loved as my own soul

While she was mine;

But God called for my maiden;

Only He knows why;

She had to depart, though against my will.

Not one care came to my family

While crossing the sea,

And on the Mississippi we were doing well,

Until we went to the town of St.. Louis;

After we got there the enemy came,

With his spears filled with poison;

He cut the strongest from among us,

And did not ask the permissiion of anyone,

Rather did he cut the finest as if the worst.

Five died by his sword,

No powers were able to withstand him.

They were buried, albeit sadly,

And then we left the town of St. Louis.

The third day of May it was,

When we left the city,

And all were glad to take their leave,

In a steamboat named “Mary.”

To Council Bluffs we wished to pull.

The next day was the fourth,

Two died, and heavy is the news;

And on the fifth seven were buried;

Today some who were seen are seen no longer;

The sixth day came to meet me,

I shall forever remember that day,

For I had to leave my dear bride,

And put myself in great tribulation,

Blinded by the strength of the blow.

I called two elders to come to me;

They came according to my summons;

I was anointed with holy oil,

According to the commandment of the apostle;

And they prayed

To the one who dwells in the heavens,

And He did not delay in hearing them,

I was made whole under their hands;

As long as I live I shall remember my God.

All my neighbors, great and small,

All of you listen to my song;

The Lord God gave a shout,

That is to invite the world.

Repent, and come unto God,

The call is today;

With this you’ll have peace, and part of the feast

An heir of the heavens above.

On a white cloud He’ll be seen

Coming down from heaven,

And there will be a myriad of blessed saints,

Beautiful will be their song now.

How lovely it will be to see Him then,

With his beautiful, white robe;

And in his company the family of man,

As it was created in the garden.

Then all the saints will be seen,

Great their honor and their peace;

Those who lie in the dust,

In peace shall come from their grave.

And join with the heavenly host,

To Jesus they shall give glory,

For having washed them a lovely white,

And remembering them before they existed.

And those of us who are in the flesh,

Although under scorn and pain,

We shall echo the appropriate anthem,

That is Glory to God and to the Lamb,

For saving us from great Babylon,

As we are now together

Within the country that was given freely

To the Saints, before the foundation of the world.

All my neighbors, great and small,

Come nearer, hear my song.


Behold the lovely day coming,

We can go free

From the captivity of great Babylon.

This is a subject for all men,

The entire truth I shall treat.

Servants were sent by our God,

To the task of encouraging mankind.

Saying that God has fulfilled his word,

According to the promise of the Son of Mary.

It gives a pledge to him who comes

Of the inheritance that is near at hand.

We can depart from this island,

And sail across the rough waves.

Oh, would that that lovely day would come, &c.

Despite the tumult, we boast,

Of our God who will save us from the current.

We can go to the country that our Father gave

To us freely, that is, blessed Zion.

We shall have there all delicacies fitting

Without violence or oppression for the rest of our lives.

Justice will fill the country,

Without a worldly enemy to ever betray us.

Oh, would that that lovely day would come,

When we shall go free,

And venture to the lovely country.