Poem by my Great Great Grandfather

A day on board the “Harrison” bound to California

David Rudder
2 min readSep 10, 2020


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

If confusion confounded by double degrees,
Can afford real pleasure, we surely can please.

We have scolding of Mothers, & Squealing of brats,
With the mirth of young men, & laugh of old chaps.

We have the sigh of the wretched, & moan of the sick,
The loud roar of the Ocean, & creak of the ship;
With horses on deck, some kicking, some lunging;
Sore gauled by the Ship’s, both rolling & plunging;
We have a rush at the table, when dinner time comes,
For salt Pork & salt Beef, but, no, never for plumbs.

At breakfast & tea time the scene’s much the same,
Seen catch all you can maps for scrambles the game;
Some are busy on flea catching, or combing out lice,
Some spitting & honking, some cooking, things nice;
While amid this confusion, there’s one dining below,
Loud too clank the pumps, & stormy winds blow;
We have the rush of the sea, as it breaks overhead,
With the barking of dogs, & sailors loud tread,
We have dogs, sheep, pigs, & goats contending together,
All are fouling the deck, in all sorts of weather.

What more, need I add, to give you delights,
That will gladden the ear, or pleasure the sights,
Whatso’ere I’ve omitted, in the “Harrison” dwells,
While the dangers of sea, the catalogue swells.

At Sea November 26th 1849

Enoch William Rudder.

Footnote: I was fortunate to have the many diaries of Enoch passed down to me through generations. I transcribed and have had all the originals published.
Enoch William Rudder my Great Great Grandfather was born in Birmingham England in 1801 and emigrated to Australia in 1834 with his wife Emma and their then 6 young children.
He was a Geologist, Farmer, Educator and inventor. He founded the town of Kempsey in NSW. He travelled to San Francisco in 1849 on an old converted, Barque American Whaler “The Harrison” with 2 of his elder sons for the Gold Rush in California. He walked with them 700 miles behind the Mule trains to the Yuba in search of gold. They were shipwrecked on the way back to Australia in 1851 and survived in a lifeboat. He is also known for discovering gold in Australia. He was a diarist and wrote day to day fascinating accounts of his life and adventures.

David Rudder

Copyright reserved
11th September 2020.

Thanks for reading.



David Rudder

Top writer in Poetry. I am a diarist and write poetry to reflect my thoughts.