Down in Honolulu [poem by E. J. Brady]

[Editor: This poem by E. J. Brady was published in The Ways of Many Waters (1899).]


Down in Honolulu.

’Twas down in Honolulu,
Way off one night afar,
The sea-breeze comin’ cooler
Across the coral bar,
When Lulu’s eyes were brighter
Than any girl’s I knew,
When Lulu’s teeth were whiter
Than any coral, too.
Oh! Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
My warm Pacific pearl!
My lovely, lively Lulu —
My own Kanaka girl!

I kissed her for her mother,
I gev’ her one, two, three;
I squoze her for her brother —
’T was all the same to me.
The moon went settin’, later,
Below the mango trees,
One horn towards the crater,
One pointin’ over seas.
Oh! Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
I taste them kisses still!
That tropic moon’s a-settin’
Beyond the darkened hill!

For, oh! your heart was beatin’!
For, oh! your breath was sweet!
And you was good for eatin’,
If gals was good to eat —
And, oh! your lips were cherry!
And, oh! your teeth was white —
I’ve tried in vain to bury
The memory of that night.
Ah! Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
I’d give my life, I vow,
To live that starlight over —
I know I loved you, now!

We heard the ripples feelin’
The white edge of the sand,
The good, kind music stealin’ —
That Yankee war-ship’s band;
I never hear them playin’
That old star-spangled air
But ’neath the trees I’m layin’,
And you, my girl, are there.
Oh! Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
Wherever you may be,
That old “Star-spangled Banner”
Still brings you back to me!

The sea-breeze, perfume-laden,
It rustled through the palms
That night, that night I laid in
Your warm, soft, twining arms.
You swore to love me ever,
I swore to love you true
Forever an’ forever —
The way we used to do.
Oh! Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
’T was years and years ago;
I don’t forget it, somehow,
Although I ought, I know.

We heard the Chinkies prattle
Way up in China Town,
We heard the hawse-chains rattle
That let the anchor down,
“Eight bells!” I hear them falling —
The Yankee’s bugles blow;
“Eight bells!” the bo’s’n’s calling —
Dear Love, I’ve got to go!
Oh! Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
Don’t cling so awful tight;
The old man’s got his papers,
Good-bye! Ah, no! . . . Good-night!

I feel your arms still clinging —
Oh! what’s the use to cry?
It’s “Homeward Bound” they’re singing —
I’ll come back by-and-by.
Eight bells! It’s done and over;
While ships still sail the sea,
A sailor man’s a rover —
Good-bye, and think of me!
Oh! Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
I broke the sailor’s vow;
I want to live it over,
I know I loved you, now!

’T was down in Honolulu,
Way back in other years,
I left you, lovely Lulu,
The starlight and the tears.
But, oh! your face was fairer
Than any face I’ve met,
And, oh! your charms were rarer
Than any woman’s yet.
And, Lulu, Lulu, Lulu,
Wherever you may be,
My brown Kanaka Lulu —
Do you remember me?

E. J. Brady, The Ways of Many Waters, Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 1909 [first published 1899], pages 24-27

Editor’s notes:
Chinkie = a Chinese person (may also refer to something that is Chinese in origin or style, e.g. a “Chinkie restaurant”)

hawse = the part of the bow of a ship where the hawseholes are located (a hawsehole is hole used for an anchor cable)

squoze = (slang) past tense of squeeze; squeezed

[Editor: Corrected “coole.” to “cooler”.]

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