The Hottentot

Original Text: 
Thomas Pringle, African Sketches (London: Edward Moxon, 1834): 101. 010097.e.63 British Library
2Tending another's flock upon the fields,
3His father's once, where now the White Man builds
4His home, and issues forth his proud commands.
5His dark eye flashes not; his listless hands
6Lean on the shepherd's staff; no more he wields
7The Libyan bow -- but to th' oppressor yields
8Submissively his freedom and his lands.
9Has he no courage? Once he had -- but, lo!
10Harsh Servitude hath worn him to the bone.
11No enterprise? Alas! the brand, the blow,
12Have humbled him to dust -- even hope is gone!
13"He's a base-hearted hound -- not worth his food" --
14His Master cries -- "he has no gratitude!"


1] Hottentot: "One of the two sub-races of the Khoisanid race (the other being the Sanids or Bushmen), characterized by short stature, yellow-brown skin colour, and tightly curled hair. They are of mixed Bushman-Hamite descent with some Bantu admixture, and are now found principally in South-West Africa" (OED 1a). The Dutch term means "stutterer" and arosebecause of the Hottentot's clucking speech. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
See George Thompson, Travels and Adventures in Southern Africa, ed. Vernon S. Forbes (Cape Town: Van Riebeeck Society, 1967): I, 30. DT 756 .T47 1967. Also London: H. Colburn, 1827. DT 756 .T47 1827A Robarts Library
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.