Peter the Piccaninny
He has a name which can't be brought Within the sphere of metre; But, as he's Peter by report, I'll trot him out as Peter.
I call him mine; but don't suppose That I'm his dad, O reader! My wife has got a Norman nose— She reads the tales of Ouida.
I never loved a nigger belle— My tastes are too aesthetic! The perfume from a gin is—well, A rather strong emetic.
But, seeing that my theme is Pete, This verse will be the neater If I keep on the proper beat, And stick throughout to Peter.
We picked him up the Lord knows where! At noon we came across him Asleep beside a hunk of bear— His paunch was bulged with 'possum.
(Last stanza will not bear, I own, A pressure analytic; But bard whose weight is fourteen stone, Is apt to thump the critic.)
We asked the kid to give his name: He didn't seem too willing— The darkey played the darkey's game— We tipped him with a shilling!
We tipped him with a shining bob— No Tommy Dodd, believe us. We didn't "tumble" to his job— Ah, why did Pete deceive us!
I, being, as I've said, a bard, Resolved at once to foster This mite whose length was just a yard— This portable impostor!
"This babe"—I spoke in Wordsworth's tone— (See Wordsworth's "Lucy", neighbour) "I'll make a darling of my own; And he'll repay my labour.
"He'll grow as gentle as a fawn— As quiet as the blossoms That beautify a land of lawn— He'll eat no more opossums.
"The child I to myself will take In a paternal manner; And ah! he will not swallow snake In future, or 'goanna'.
"Will you reside with me, my dear?" I asked in accents mellow— The nigger grinned from ear to ear, And said, "All right, old fellow!"
And so my Pete was taken home— My pretty piccaninny! And, not to speak of soap or comb, His cleansing cost a guinea.
"But hang expenses!" I exclaimed, "I'll give him education: A 'nig' is better when he's tamed, Perhaps, than a Caucasian.
"Ethnologists are in the wrong About our sable brothers; And I intend to stop the song Of Pickering and others."
Alas, I didn't do it though! Old Pickering's conclusions Were to the point, as issues show, And mine were mere delusions.
My inky pet was clothed and fed For months exceeding forty; But to the end, it must be said, His ways were very naughty.
When told about the Land of Morn Above this world of Mammon, He'd shout, with an emphatic scorn, "Ah, gammon, gammon, gammon!"
He never lingered, like the bard, To sniff at rose expanding. "Me like," he said, "em cattle-yard— Fine smell—de smell of branding!"
The soul of man, I tried to show, Went up beyond our vision. "You ebber see dat fellow go?" He asked in sheer derision.
In short, it soon occurred to me This kid of six or seven, Who wouldn't learn his A B C, Was hardly ripe for heaven.
He never lost his appetite— He bigger grew, and bigger; And proved, with every inch of height, A nigger is a nigger.
And, looking from this moment back, I have a strong persuasion That, after all, a finished black Is not the "clean"—Caucasian.
Dear Peter from my threshold went, One morning in the body: He "dropped" me, to oblige a gent— A gent with spear and waddy!
He shelved me for a boomerang— We never had a quarrel; And, if a moral here doth hang, Why let it hang—the moral!
My mournful tale its course has run— My Pete, when last I spied him, Was eating 'possum underdone: He had his gin beside him.
(Written in the shadow of 1872.)
From the rainy hill-heads, where, in starts and in spasms, Leaps wild the white torrent from chasms to chasms— From the home of bold echoes, whose voices of wonder Fly out of blind caverns struck black by high thunder— Through gorges august, in whose nether recesses Is heard the far psalm of unseen wildernesses— Like a dominant spirit, a strong-handed sharer Of spoil with the tempest, comes down the Narrara.
Yea, where the great sword of the hurricane cleaveth The forested fells that the dark never leaveth— By fierce-featured crags, in whose evil abysses The clammy snake coils, and the flat adder hisses— Past lordly rock temples, where Silence is riven By the anthems supreme of the four winds of heaven— It speeds, with the cry of the streams of the fountains It chained to its sides, and dragged down from the mountains!
But when it goes forth from the slopes with a sally— Being strengthened with tribute from many a valley— It broadens and brightens, and thereupon marches Above the stream sapphires and under green arches, With the rhythm of majesty—careless of cumber— Its might in repose and its fierceness in slumber— Till it beams on the plains, where the wind is a bearer Of words from the sea to the stately Narrara!
Narrara! grand son of the haughty hill torrent, Too late in my day have I looked at thy current— Too late in my life to discern and inherit The soul of thy beauty, the joy of thy spirit! With the years of the youth and the hairs of the hoary, I sit like a shadow outside of thy glory; Nor look with the morning-like feelings, O river, That illumined the boy in the days gone for ever!
Ah! sad are the sounds of old ballads which borrow One-half of their grief from the listener's sorrow; And sad are the eyes of the pilgrim who traces The ruins of Time in revisited places; But sadder than all is the sense of his losses That cometh to one when a sudden age crosses And cripples his manhood. So, stricken by fate, I Felt older at thirty than some do at eighty.
Because I believe in the beautiful story, The poem of Greece in the days of her glory— That the high-seated Lord of the woods and the waters Has peopled His world with His deified daughters— That flowerful forests and waterways streaming Are gracious with goddesses glowing and gleaming— I pray that thy singing divinity, fairer Than wonderful women, may listen, Narrara!
O spirit of sea-going currents!—thou, being The child of immortals, all-knowing, all-seeing— Thou hast at thy heart the dark truth that I borrow For the song that I sing thee, no fanciful sorrow; In the sight of thine eyes is the history written Of Love smitten down as the strong leaf is smitten; And before thee there goeth a phantom beseeching For faculties forfeited—hopes beyond reaching.
. . . . .
Thou knowest, O sister of deities blazing With splendour ineffable, beauty amazing, What life the gods gave me—what largess I tasted— The youth thrown away, and the faculties wasted. I might, as thou seest, have stood in high places, Instead of in pits where the brand of disgrace is, A byword for scoffers—a butt and a caution, With the grave of poor Burns and Maginn for my portion.
But the heart of the Father Supreme is offended, And my life in the light of His favour is ended; And, whipped by inflexible devils, I shiver, With a hollow "Too late" in my hearing for ever; But thou—being sinless, exalted, supernal, The daughter of diademed gods, the eternal— Shalt shine in thy waters when time and existence Have dwindled, like stars, in unspeakable distance.
But the face of thy river—the torrented power That smites at the rock while it fosters the flower— Shall gleam in my dreams with the summer-look splendid, And the beauty of woodlands and waterfalls blended; And often I'll think of far-forested noises, And the emphasis deep of grand sea-going voices, And turn to Narrara the eyes of a lover, When the sorrowful days of my singing are over.
In Memory of John Fairfax
Because this man fulfilled his days, Like one who walks with steadfast gaze Averted from forbidden ways With lures of fair, false flowerage deep, Behold the Lord whose throne is dim With fires of flaming seraphim— The Christ that suffered sent for him: "He giveth His beloved sleep."
Think not that souls whose deeds august Put sin to shame and make men just Become at last the helpless dust That wintering winds through waste-lands sweep! The higher life within us cries, Like some fine spirit from the skies, "The Father's blessing on us lies— 'He giveth His beloved sleep.'"
Not human sleep—the fitful rest With evil shapes of dreams distressed,— But perfect quiet, unexpressed By any worldly word we keep. The dim Hereafter framed in creeds May not be this; but He who reads Our lives, sets flowers on wayside weeds— "He giveth His beloved sleep."
Be sure this hero who has passed The human space—the outer vast— Who worked in harness to the last, Doth now a hallowed harvest reap. Love sees his grave, nor turns away— The eyes of faith are like the day, And grief has not a word to say— "He giveth His beloved sleep."
That fair, rare spirit, Honour, throws A light, which puts to shame the rose, Across his grave, because she knows The son whose ashes it doth keep; And, like far music, this is heard— "Behold the man who never stirred, By word of his, an angry word!— 'He giveth His beloved sleep.'"
He earned his place. Within his hands, The power which counsels and commands, And shapes the social life of lands, Became a blessing pure and deep. Through thirty years of turbulence Our thoughts were sweetened with a sense Of his benignant influence— "He giveth His beloved sleep."
No splendid talents, which excite Like music, songs, or floods of light, Were his; but, rather, all those bright, Calm qualities of soul which reap A mute, but certain, fine respect, Not only from a source elect, But from the hearts of every sect— "He giveth His beloved sleep."
He giveth His beloved rest! The faithful soul that onward pressed, Unswerving, from Life's east to west, By paths austere and passes steep, Is past all toil; and, over Death, With reverent hands and prayerful breath, I plant this flower, alive with faith— "He giveth His beloved sleep."
— * Araluen: The poet's daughter, who died in infancy. —
Take this rose, and very gently place it on the tender, deep Mosses where our little darling, Araluen, lies asleep. Put the blossom close to baby—kneel with me, my love, and pray; We must leave the bird we've buried—say good-bye to her to-day. In the shadow of our trouble we must go to other lands, And the flowers we have fostered will be left to other hands: Other eyes will watch them growing—other feet will softly tread Where two hearts are nearly breaking, where so many tears are shed. Bitter is the world we live in: life and love are mixed with pain; We will never see these daisies—never water them again.
Ah! the saddest thought in leaving baby in this bush alone Is that we have not been able on her grave to place a stone: We have been too poor to do it; but, my darling, never mind— God is in the gracious heavens, and His sun and rain are kind: They will dress the spot with beauty, they will make the grasses grow: Many winds will lull our birdie, many songs will come and go. Here the blue-eyed Spring will linger, here the shining month will stay, Like a friend, by Araluen, when we two are far away; But beyond the wild, wide waters, we will tread another shore— We will never watch this blossom, never see it any more.
Girl, whose hand at God's high altar in the dear, dead year I pressed, Lean your stricken head upon me—this is still your lover's breast! She who sleeps was first and sweetest—none we have to take her place; Empty is the little cradle—absent is the little face. Other children may be given; but this rose beyond recall, But this garland of your girlhood, will be dearest of them all. None will ever, Araluen, nestle where you used to be, In my heart of hearts, you darling, when the world was new to me; We were young when you were with us, life and love were happy things To your father and your mother ere the angels gave you wings.
You that sit and sob beside me—you, upon whose golden head Many rains of many sorrows have from day to day been shed; Who because your love was noble, faced with me the lot austere Ever pressing with its hardship on the man of letters here— Let me feel that you are near me, lay your hand within mine own; You are all I have to live for, now that we are left alone. Three there were, but one has vanished. Sins of mine have made you weep; But forgive your baby's father now that baby is asleep. Let us go, for night is falling; leave the darling with her flowers; Other hands will come and tend them—other friends in other hours.
The Sydney International Exhibition
(The poem which won the prize offered by the proprietors of the "Sydney Morning Herald".)
Now, while Orion, flaming south, doth set A shining foot on hills of wind and wet— Far haughty hills beyond the fountains cold And dells of glimmering greenness manifold— While August sings the advent of the Spring, And in the calm is heard September's wing, The lordly voice of song I ask of thee, High, deathless radiance—crowned Calliope! What though we never hear the great god's lays Which made all music the Hellenic days— What though the face of thy fair heaven beams Still only on the crystal Grecian streams— What though a sky of new, strange beauty shines Where no white Dryad sings within the pines: Here is a land whose large, imperial grace Must tempt thee, goddess, in thine holy place! Here are the dells of peace and plenilune, The hills of morning and the slopes of noon; Here are the waters dear to days of blue, And dark-green hollows of the noontide dew; Here lies the harp, by fragrant wood-winds fanned, That waits the coming of thy quickening hand! And shall Australia, framed and set in sea, August with glory, wait in vain for thee? Shall more than Tempe's beauty be unsung Because its shine is strange—its colours young? No! by the full, live light which puts to shame The far, fair splendours of Thessalian flame— By yonder forest psalm which sinks and swells Like that of Phocis, grave with oracles— By deep prophetic winds that come and go Where whispering springs of pondering mountains flow— By lute-like leaves and many-languaged caves, Where sounds the strong hosanna of the waves, This great new majesty shall not remain Unhonoured by the high immortal strain! Soon, soon, the music of the southern lyre Shall start and blossom with a speech like fire! Soon, soon, shall flower and flow in flame divine Thy songs, Apollo, and Euterpe, thine! Strong, shining sons of Delphicus shall rise With all their father's glory in their eyes; And then shall beam on yonder slopes and springs The light that swims upon the light of things. And therefore, lingering in a land of lawn, I, standing here, a singer of the dawn, With gaze upturned to where wan summits lie Against the morning flowing up the sky— Whose eyes in dreams of many colours see A glittering vision of the years to be— Do ask of thee, Calliope, one hour Of life pre-eminent with perfect power, That I may leave a song whose lonely rays May shine hereafter from these songless days.
For now there breaks across the faint grey range The rose-red dawning of a radiant change. A soft, sweet voice is in the valleys deep, Where darkness droops and sings itself to sleep. The grave, mute woods, that yet the silence hold Of dim, dead ages, gleam with hints of gold. Yon eastern cape that meets the straitened wave— A twofold tower above the whistling cave— Whose strength in thunder shields the gentle lea, And makes a white wrath of a league of sea, Now wears the face of peace; and in the bay The weak, spent voice of Winter dies away. In every dell there is a whispering wing, On every lawn a glimmer of the Spring; By every hill are growths of tender green— On every slope a fair, new life is seen; And lo! beneath the morning's blossoming fires, The shining city of a hundred spires, In mists of gold, by countless havens furled, And glad with all the flags of all the world!
These are the shores, where, in a dream of fear, Cathay saw darkness dwelling half the year!*1* These are the coasts that old fallacious tales Chained down with ice and ringed with sleepless gales! This is the land that, in the hour of awe, From Indian peaks the rapt Venetian saw!*2* Here is the long grey line of strange sea wall That checked the prow of the audacious Gaul, What time he steered towards the southern snow, From zone to zone, four hundred years ago!*3* By yonder gulf, whose marching waters meet The wine-dark currents from the isles of heat, Strong sons of Europe, in a far dim year, Faced ghastly foes, and felt the alien spear! There, in a later dawn, by shipless waves, The tender grasses found forgotten graves.*4* Far in the west, beyond those hills sublime, Dirk Hartog anchored in the olden time; There, by a wild-faced bay, and in a cleft, His shining name the fair-haired Northman left;*5* And, on those broad imperial waters, far Beneath the lordly occidental star, Sailed Tasman down a great and glowing space Whose softer lights were like his lady's face. In dreams of her he roved from zone to zone, And gave her lovely name to coasts unknown*6* And saw, in streaming sunset everywhere, The curious beauty of her golden hair, By flaming tracts of tropic afternoon, Where in low heavens hangs a fourfold moon. Here, on the tides of a resplendent year, By capes of jasper, came the buccaneer.*7* Then, then, the wild men, flying from the beach, First heard the clear, bold sounds of English speech; And then first fell across a Southern plain The broad, strong shadows of a Saxon train. Near yonder wall of stately cliff, that braves The arrogance of congregated waves, The daring son of grey old Yorkshire stood And dreamed in a majestic solitude, What time a gentle April shed its showers, Aflame with sunset, on the Bay of Flowers.*8* The noble seaman who withheld the hand, And spared the Hector of his native land— The single savage, yelling on the beach The dark, strange curses of barbaric speech. Exalted sailor! whose benignant phrase Shines full of beauty in these latter days; Who met the naked tribes of fiery skies With great, divine compassion in his eyes; Who died, like Him of hoary Nazareth, That death august—the radiant martyr's death; Who in the last hour showed the Christian face Whose crumbling beauty shamed the alien race. In peace he sleeps where deep eternal calms Lie round the land of heavy-fruited palms. Lo! in that dell, behind a singing bar, Where deep, pure pools of glittering waters are, Beyond a mossy, yellow, gleaming glade, The last of Forby Sutherland was laid— The blue-eyed Saxon from the hills of snow Who fell asleep a hundred years ago. In flowerful shades, where gold and green are rife, Still rests the shell of his forgotten life. Far, far away, beneath some northern sky The fathers of his humble household lie; But by his lonely grave are sapphire streams, And gracious woodlands, where the fire-fly gleams; And ever comes across a silver lea The hymn sublime of the eternal sea.
— *1* According to Mr. R. H. Major, and others, the Great Southern Land is referred to in old Chinese records as a polar continent, subject to the long polar nights. *2* Marco Polo mentions a large land called by the Malays Lochac. The northern coast was supposed to be in latitude 10 Degrees S. *3* Mr. R. H. Major discovered a map of Terra Australis dated A.D. 1555 and bearing the name of Le Testu, a French pilot. Le Testu must have visited these coasts some years before the date of the chart. *4* The sailors of the Duyfken, a Dutch vessel which entered the Gulf of Carpentaria in A.D. 1606, were attacked by the natives. In the fray some of the whites were killed. No doubt these unlucky adventurers were the first Europeans buried in Australia. *5* Dirk Hartog left a tin plate, bearing his name, in Shark Bay, Western Australia. *6* The story of Tasman's love for Maria, the daughter of Governor Van Diemen, was generally accepted at the time Kendall wrote; but it has since been disproved. Maria was the wife of Antony Van Diemen, Governor of Batavia, who had no children.—Ed. *7* Dampier. *8* Botany Bay. —
On that bold hill, against a broad blue stream, Stood Arthur Phillip in a day of dream: What time the mists of morning westward rolled, And heaven flowered on a bay of gold! Here, in the hour that shines and sounds afar, Flamed first old England's banner like a star; Here, in a time august with prayer and praise, Was born the nation of these splendid days; And here this land's majestic yesterday Of immemorial silence died away. Where are the woods that, ninety summers back, Stood hoar with ages by the water-track? Where are the valleys of the flashing wing, The dim green margins and the glimmering spring? Where now the warrior of the forest race, His glaring war-paint and his fearless face? The banks of April and the groves of bird, The glades of silence and the pools unstirred, The gleaming savage and the whistling spear, Passed with the passing of a wild old year! A single torrent singing by the wave, A shadowy relic in a mountain cave, A ghost of fire in immemorial hills, The whittled tree by folded wayside rills, The call of bird that hides in hollows far, Where feet of thunder, wings of winter are— Of all that Past, these wrecks of wind and rain, These touching memories—these alone remain!
What sun is this that beams and broadens west? What wonder this, in deathless glory dressed? What strange, sweet harp of highest god took flame And gave this Troy its life, its light, its name? What awful lyre of marvellous power and range Upraised this Ilion—wrought this dazzling change? No shining singer of Hellenic dreams Set yonder splendour by the morning streams! No god who glimmers in a doubtful sphere Shed glory there—created beauty here! This is the city that our fathers framed— These are the crescents by the elders named! The human hands of strong, heroic men Broke down the mountain, filled the gaping glen, Ran streets through swamp, built banks against the foam, And bent the arch and raised the lordly dome! Here are the towers that the founders made! Here are the temples where these Romans prayed! Here stand the courts in which their leaders met! Here are their homes, and here their altars yet! Here sleep the grand old men whose lives sublime Of thought and action shine and sound through time! Who worked in darkness—onward fought their ways To bring about these large majestic days— Who left their sons the hearts and high desires Which built this city of the hundred spires!
A stately Morning rises on the wing, The hills take colour, and the valleys sing. A strong September flames beyond the lea— A silver vision on a silver sea. A new Age, "cast in a diviner mould", Comes crowned with lustre, zoned and shod with gold! What dream is this on lawny spaces set? What miracle of dome and minaret? What great mute majesty is this that takes The first of morning ere the song-bird wakes? Lo, this was built to honour gathering lands By Celtic, Saxon, Australasian hands! These are the halls where all the flags unfurled Break into speech that welcomes all the world. And lo, our friends are here from every zone— From isles we dream of and from tracts unknown! Here are the fathers from the stately space Where Ireland is and England's sacred face! Here are the Norsemen from their strong sea-wall, The grave, grand Teuton and the brilliant Gaul! From green, sweet groves the dark-eyed Lusians sail, And proud Iberia leaves the grape-flushed vale. Here are the lords whose starry banner shines From fierce Magellan to the Arctic pines. Here come the strangers from the gates of day— From hills of sunrise and from white Cathay. The spicy islands send their swarthy sons, The lofty North its mailed and mighty ones. Venetian keels are floating on our sea; Our eyes are glad with radiant Italy! Yea, North and South, and glowing West and East, Are gathering here to grace our splendid feast! The chiefs from peaks august with Asian snow, The elders born where regal roses grow, Come hither, with the flower of that fair land That blooms beyond the fiery tracts of sand Where Syrian suns their angry lustres fling Across blind channels of the bygone spring. And on this great, auspicious day, the flowers Of labour glorify majestic hours.
The singing angel from the starry sphere Of dazzling Science shows his wonders here; And Art, the dream-clad spirit, starts, and brings From Fairyland her strange, sweet, glittering things. Here are the works man did, what time his face Was touched by God in some exalted place; Here glows the splendour—here the marvel wrought When Heaven flashed upon the maker's thought! Yea, here are all the miracles sublime— The lights of Genius and the stars of Time! And, being lifted by this noble noon, Australia broadens like a tropic moon. Her white, pure lustre beams across the zones; The nations greet her from their awful thrones. From hence the morning beauty of her name Will shine afar, like an exceeding flame. Her place will be with mighty lords, whose sway Controls the thunder and the marching day. Her crown will shine beside the crowns of kings Who shape the seasons, rule the course of things, The fame of her across the years to be Will spread like light on a surpassing sea; And graced with glory, girt with power august, Her life will last till all things turn to dust.
To Thee the face of song is lifted now, O Lord! to whom the awful mountains bow; Whose hands, unseen, the tenfold storms control; Whose thunders shake the spheres from pole to pole; Who from Thy highest heaven lookest down, The sea Thy footstool, and the sun Thy crown; Around whose throne the deathless planets sing Hosannas to their high, eternal King. To Thee the soul of prayer this morning turns, With faith that glitters, and with hope that burns! And, in the moments of majestic calm That fill the heart in pauses of the psalm, She asks Thy blessing for this fair young land That flowers within the hollow of Thine hand! She seeks of Thee that boon, that gift sublime, The Christian radiance, for this hope of Time! And Thou wilt listen! and Thy face will bend To smile upon us—Master, Father, Friend! The Christ to whom pure pleading heart hath crept Was human once, and in the darkness wept; The gracious love that helped us long ago Will on us like a summer sunrise flow, And be a light to guide the nation's feet On holy paths—on sacred ways and sweet.
Phantom streams were in the distance—mocking lights of lake and pool— Ghosts of trees of soft green lustre—groves of shadows deep and cool! Yea, some devil ran before them changing skies of brass to blue, Setting bloom where curse is planted, where a grass-blade never grew. Six there were, and high above them glared a wild and wizened sun, Ninety leagues from where the waters of the singing valleys run. There before them, there behind them, was the great, stark, stubborn plain, Where the dry winds hiss for ever, and the blind earth moans for rain! Ringed about by tracks of furnace, ninety leagues from stream and tree, Six there were, with wasted faces, working northwards to the sea!
. . . . .
Ah, the bitter, hopeless desert! Here these broken human wrecks Trod the wilds where sand of fire is with the spiteful spinifex, Toiled through spheres that no bird knows of, where with fiery emphasis Hell hath stamped its awful mint-mark deep on every thing that is! Toiled and thirsted, strove and suffered! This was where December's breath As a wind of smiting flame is on weird, haggard wastes of death! This was where a withered moan is, and the gleam of weak, wan star, And a thunder full of menace sends its mighty voices far! This was where black execrations, from some dark tribunal hurled, Set the brand of curse on all things in the morning of the world!
. . . . .
One man yielded—then another—then a lad of nineteen years Reeled and fell, with English rivers singing softly in his ears, English grasses started round him—then the grace of Sussex lea Came and touched him with the beauty of a green land by the sea! Old-world faces thronged about him—old-world voices spoke to him; But his speech was like a whisper, and his eyes were very dim. In a dream of golden evening, beaming on a quiet strand, Lay the stranger till a bright One came and took him by the hand. England vanished; died the voices; but he heard a holier tone, And an angel that we know not led him to the lands unknown!
. . . . .
Six there were, but three were taken! Three were left to struggle still; But against the red horizon flamed a horn of brindled hill! But beyond the northern skyline, past a wall of steep austere, Lay the land of light and coolness in an April-coloured year! "Courage, brothers!" cried the leader. "On the slope of yonder peak There are tracts of herb and shadow, and the channels of the creek!" So they made one last great effort— haled their beasts through brake and briar, Set their feet on spurs of furnace, grappled spikes and crags of fire, Fought the stubborn mountain forces, smote down naked, natural powers, Till they gazed from thrones of Morning on a sphere of streams and flowers.
Out behind them was the desert, glaring like a sea of brass! Here before them were the valleys, fair with moonlight-coloured grass! At their backs were haggard waste-lands, bickering in a wicked blaze! In their faces beamed the waters, marching down melodious ways! Touching was the cool, soft lustre over laps of lawn and lea; And majestic was the great road Morning made across the sea. On the sacred day of Christmas, after seven months of grief, Rested three of six who started, on a bank of moss and leaf— Rested by a running river, in a hushed, a holy week; And they named the stream that saved them— named it fitly—"Christmas Creek".
— * Orara: A tributary of the river Clarence. —
The strong sob of the chafing stream That seaward fights its way Down crags of glitter, dells of gleam, Is in the hills to-day.
But far and faint, a grey-winged form Hangs where the wild lights wane— The phantom of a bygone storm, A ghost of wind and rain.
The soft white feet of afternoon Are on the shining meads, The breeze is as a pleasant tune Amongst the happy reeds.
The fierce, disastrous, flying fire, That made the great caves ring, And scarred the slope, and broke the spire, Is a forgotten thing.
The air is full of mellow sounds, The wet hill-heads are bright, And down the fall of fragrant grounds, The deep ways flame with light.
A rose-red space of stream I see, Past banks of tender fern; A radiant brook, unknown to me Beyond its upper turn.
The singing, silver life I hear, Whose home is in the green, Far-folded woods of fountains clear, Where I have never been.
Ah, brook above the upper bend, I often long to stand Where you in soft, cool shades descend From the untrodden land!
Ah, folded woods, that hide the grace Of moss and torrents strong, I often wish to know the face Of that which sings your song!
But I may linger, long, and look Till night is over all: My eyes will never see the brook, Or sweet, strange waterfall.
The world is round me with its heat, And toil, and cares that tire; I cannot with my feeble feet Climb after my desire.
But, on the lap of lands unseen, Within a secret zone, There shine diviner gold and green Than man has ever known.
And where the silver waters sing Down hushed and holy dells, The flower of a celestial Spring— A tenfold splendour, dwells.
Yea, in my dream of fall and brook By far sweet forests furled, I see that light for which I look In vain through all the world—
The glory of a larger sky On slopes of hills sublime, That speak with God and morning, high Above the ways of Time!
Ah! haply in this sphere of change Where shadows spoil the beam, It would not do to climb that range And test my radiant Dream.
The slightest glimpse of yonder place, Untrodden and alone, Might wholly kill that nameless grace, The charm of the unknown.
And therefore, though I look and long, Perhaps the lot is bright Which keeps the river of the song A beauty out of sight.
The Curse of Mother Flood
Wizened the wood is, and wan is the way through it; White as a corpse is the face of the fen; Only blue adders abide in and stray through it— Adders and venom and horrors to men. Here is the "ghost of a garden" whose minister Fosters strange blossoms that startle and scare. Red as man's blood is the sun that, with sinister Flame, is a menace of hell in the air. Wrinkled and haggard the hills are—the jags of them Gape like to living and ominous things: Storm and dry thunder cry out in the crags of them— Fire, and the wind with a woe in its wings.
Never a moon without clammy-cold shroud on it Hitherward comes, or a flower-like star! Only the hiss of the tempest is loud on it— Hiss, and the moan of a bitter sea bar. Here on this waste, and to left and to right of it, Never is lisp or the ripple of rain: Fierce is the daytime and wild is the night of it, Flame without limit and frost without wane! Trees half alive, with the sense of a curse on them, Shudder and shrink from the black heavy gale; Ghastly, with boughs like the plumes of a hearse on them: Barren of blossom and blasted with bale.
Under the cliff that stares down to the south of it— Back by the horns of a hazardous hill, Dumb is the gorge with a grave in the mouth of it Still, as a corpse in a coffin is still. Never there hovers a hope of the Spring by it— Never a glimmer of yellow and green: Only the bat with a whisper of wing by it Flits like a life out of flesh and unseen. Here are the growths that are livid and glutinous, Speckled, and bloated with poisonous blood: This is the haunt of the viper-breed mutinous: Cursed with the curse of weird Catherine Flood.
He that hath looked on it—hurried aghast from it, Hair of him frozen with horror straightway, Chased by a sudden strange pestilent blast from it— Where is the speech of him—what can he say? Hath he not seen the fierce ghost of a hag in it? Heard maledictions that startle the stars? Dumb is his mouth as a mouth with a gag in it— Mute is his life as a life within bars. Just the one glimpse of that grey, shrieking woman there Ringed by a circle of furnace and fiend! He that went happy and healthy and human there— Where shall the white leper fly to be cleaned?
Here, in a pit with indefinite doom on it, Here, in the fumes of a feculent moat, Under an alp with inscrutable gloom on it, Squats the wild witch with a ghoul at her throat! Black execration that cannot be spoken of— Speech of red hell that would suffocate Song, Starts from this terror with never a token of Day and its loveliness all the year long. Sin without name to it—man never heard of it— Crime that would startle a fiend from his lair, Blasted this Glen, and the leaf and the bird of it— Where is there hope for it, Father, O where?
Far in the days of our fathers, the life in it Blossomed and beamed in the sight of the sun: Yellow and green and the purple were rife in it, Singers of morning and waters that run. Storm of the equinox shed no distress on it, Thunder spoke softly, and summer-time left Sunset's forsaken bright beautiful dress on it— Blessing that shone half the night in the cleft. Hymns of the highlands—hosannas from hills by it, Psalms of great forests made holy the spot: Cool were the mosses and clear were the rills by it— Far in the days when the Horror was not.
Twenty miles south is the strong, shining Hawkesbury— Spacious and splendid, and lordly with blooms. There, between mountains magnificent, walks bury Miles of their beauty in green myrtle glooms. There, in the dell, is the fountain with falls by it— Falls, and a torrent of summering stream: There is the cave with the hyaline halls by it— Haunt of the echo and home of the dream. Over the hill, by the marvellous base of it, Wanders the wind with a song in its breath Out to the sea with the gold on the face of it— Twenty miles south of the Valley of Death.
On a Spanish Cathedral
— * Every happy expression in these stanzas may fairly be claimed by the Hon. W. B. Dalley (Author's note). —
Deep under the spires of a hill, by the feet of the thunder-cloud trod, I pause in a luminous, still, magnificent temple of God! At the steps of the altar august—a vision of angels in stone— I kneel, with my head to the dust, on the floors by the seraphim known. No father in Jesus is near, with the high, the compassionate face; But the glory of Godhead is here—its presence transfigures the place! Behold in this beautiful fane, with the lights of blue heaven impearled, I think of the Elders of Spain, in the deserts—the wilds of the world!
I think of the wanderers poor who knelt on the flints and the sands, When the mighty and merciless Moor was lord of the Lady of Lands. Where the African scimitar flamed, with a swift, bitter death in its kiss, The fathers, unknown and unnamed, found God in cathedrals like this! The glow of His Spirit—the beam of His blessing—made lords of the men Whose food was the herb of the stream, whose roof was the dome of the den. And, far in the hills by the sea, these awful hierophants prayed For Rome and its temples to be—in a temple by Deity made.
Who knows of their faith—of its power? Perhaps, with the light in their eyes, They saw, in some wonderful hour, the marvel of centuries rise! Perhaps in some moment supreme, when the mountains were holy and still, They dreamed the magnificent dream that came to the monks of Seville! Surrounded by pillars and spires whose summits shone out in the glare Of the high, the omnipotent fires, who knows what was seen by them there? Be sure, if they saw, in the noon of their faith, some ineffable fane, They looked on the church like a moon dropped down by the Lord into Spain.
And the Elders who shone in the time when Christ over Christendom beamed May have dreamed at their altars sublime the dream that their fathers had dreamed, By the glory of Italy moved—the majesty shining in Rome— They turned to the land that they loved, and prayed for a church in their home; And a soul of unspeakable fire descended on them, and they fought And laboured a life for the spire and tower and dome of their thought! These grew under blessing and praise, as morning in summertime grows— As Troy in the dawn of the days to the music of Delphicus rose.
In a land of bewildering light, where the feet of the season are Spring's, They worked in the day and the night, surrounded by beautiful things. The wonderful blossoms in stone—the flower and leaf of the Moor, On column and cupola shone, and gleamed on the glimmering floor. In a splendour of colour and form, from the marvellous African's hands Yet vivid and shining and warm, they planted the Flower of the Lands. Inspired by the patience supreme of the mute, the magnificent past, They toiled till the dome of their dream in the firmament blossomed at last!
Just think of these men—of their time— of the days of their deed, and the scene! How touching their zeal—how sublime their suppression of self must have been! In a city yet hacked by the sword and scarred by the flame of the Moor, They started the work of their Lord, sad, silent, and solemnly poor. These fathers, how little they thought of themselves, and how much of the days When the children of men would be brought to pray in their temple, and praise! Ah! full of the radiant, still, heroic old life that has flown, The merciful monks of Seville toiled on, and died bare and unknown.
The music, the colour, the gleam of their mighty cathedral will be Hereafter a luminous dream of the heaven I never may see; To a spirit that suffers and seeks for the calm of a competent creed, This temple, whose majesty speaks, becomes a religion indeed; The passionate lights—the intense, the ineffable beauty of sound— Go straight to the heart through the sense, as a song would of seraphim crowned. And lo! by these altars august, the life that is highest we live, And are filled with the infinite trust and the peace that the world cannot give.
They have passed, have the elders of time— they have gone; but the work of their hands, Pre-eminent, peerless, sublime, like a type of eternity stands! They are mute, are the fathers who made this church in the century dim; But the dome with their beauty arrayed remains, a perpetual hymn. Their names are unknown; but so long as the humble in spirit and pure Are worshipped in speech and in song, our love for these monks will endure; And the lesson by sacrifice taught will live in the light of the years With a reverence not to be bought, and a tenderness deeper than tears.
No classic warrior tempts my pen To fill with verse these pages— No lordly-hearted man of men My Muse's thought engages.
Let others choose the mighty dead, And sing their battles over! My champion, too, has fought and bled— My theme is one-eyed Rover.
A grave old dog, with tattered ears Too sore to cock up, reader!— A four-legged hero, full of years, But sturdy as a cedar.
Still, age is age; and if my rhyme Is dashed with words pathetic, Don't wonder, friend; I've seen the time When Rove was more athletic.
He lies coiled up before me now, A comfortable crescent. His night-black nose and grizzled brow Fixed in a fashion pleasant.
But ever and anon he lifts The one good eye I mention, And tries a thousand doggish shifts To rivet my attention.
Just let me name his name, and up You'll see him start and patter Towards me, like a six-months' pup In point of speed, but fatter.
He pokes his head upon my lap, Nor heeds the whip above him; Because he knows, the dear old chap, His human friends all love him.
Our younger dogs cut off from hence At sight of lash uplifted; But Rove, with grand indifference, Remains, and can't be shifted.
And, ah! the set upon his phiz At meals defies expression; For I confess that Rover is A cadger by profession.
The lesser favourites of the place At dinner keep their distance; But by my chair one grizzled face Begs on with brave persistence.
His jaws present a toothless sight, But still my hearty hero Can satisfy an appetite Which brings a bone to zero.
And while Spot barks and pussy mews, To move the cook's compassion, He takes his after-dinner snooze In genuine biped fashion.
In fact, in this, our ancient pet So hits off human nature, That I at times almost forget He's but a dog in feature.
Between his tail and bright old eye The swift communications Outstrip the messages which fly From telegraphic stations.
And, ah! that tail's rich eloquence Conveys too clear a moral, For men who have a grain of sense About its drift to quarrel.
At night, his voice is only heard When it is wanted badly; For Rover is too cute a bird To follow shadows madly.
The pup and Carlo in the dark Will start at crickets chirring; But when we hear the old dog bark We know there's something stirring.
He knows a gun, does Rover here; And if I cock a trigger, He makes himself from tail to ear An admirable figure.
For, once the fowling piece is out, And game is on the tapis, The set upon my hero's snout Would make a cockle happy.
And as for horses, why, betwixt Our chestnut mare and Rover The mutual friendship is as fixed As any love of lover.
And when his master's hand resigns The bridle for the paddle, His dogship on the grass reclines, And stays and minds the saddle.
Of other friends he has no lack; Grey pussy is his crony, And kittens mount upon his back, As youngsters mount a pony.
They talk of man's superior sense, And charge the few with treason Who think a dog's intelligence Is very like our reason.
But though Philosophy has tried A score of definitions, 'Twixt man and dog it can't decide The relative positions.
And I believe upon the whole (Though you my creed deny, sir), That Rove's entitled to a soul As much as you or I, sir!
Indeed, I fail to see the force Of your derisive laughter Because I will not say my horse Has not some horse-hereafter.
A fig for dogmas—let them pass! There's much in life to grieve us; And what most grieves is this, alas! That all our best friends leave us.
And when I sip my nightly grog, And watch old Rover blinking, This royal ruin of a dog Calls forth some serious thinking.
For, though he's lightly touched by Fate, I cannot help remarking The step of age is in his gait, Its hoarseness in his barking.
He still goes on his rounds at night To keep off forest prowlers; But, ah! he has no teeth to bite The cunning-hearted howlers.
Not like the Rover that, erewhile, Gave droves of dingoes battle, And dashed through flood and fierce defile— The friend, but dread, of cattle.
Not like to him that, in past years, Won fight by fight, and scattered Whole tribes of dogs with rags of ears And tail-ends torn and tattered.
But while time tells upon our pet, And makes him greyer daily, He is a noble fellow yet, And wears his old age gaily.
Still, dogs must die; and in the end, When he is past caressing, We'll mourn him like some human friend Whose presence was a blessing.
Till then, be bread and peace his lot— A life of calm and clover! The pup may sleep outside with Spot— We'll keep the nook for Rover.
The Melbourne International Exhibition
[Written for Music.]
Brothers from far-away lands, Sons of the fathers of fame, Here are our hearts and our hands— This is our song of acclaim. Lords from magnificent zones, Shores of superlative sway, Awful with lustre of thrones, This is our greeting to-day. Europe and Asia are here— Shining they enter our ports! She that is half of the sphere Beams like a sun in our courts. Children of elders whose day Shone to the planet's white ends, Meet, in the noble old way, Sons of your forefather's friends.
Dressed is the beautiful city—the spires of it Burn in the firmament stately and still; Forest has vanished—the wood and the lyres of it, Lutes of the sea-wind and harps of the hill. This is the region, and here is the bay by it, Collins, the deathless, beheld in a dream: Flinders and Fawkner, our forefathers grey, by it Paused in the hush of a season supreme. Here, on the waters of majesty near to us, Lingered the leaders by towers of flame: Elders who turn from the lordly old year to us Crowned with the lights of ineffable fame.
Nine and seventy years ago, Up the blaze of yonder bay, On a great exalted day, Came from seas august with snow— Waters where the whirlwinds blow— First of England's sons who stood By the deep green, bygone wood Where the wild song used to flow Nine and seventy years ago.
Five and forty years ago, On a grand auspicious morn When the South Wind blew his horn, Where the splendid mountains glow— Peaks that God and Sunrise know— Came the fearless, famous band, Founders of our radiant land, From the lawns where roses grow, Five and forty years ago.
By gracious slopes of fair green hills, In shadows cool and deep, Where floats the psalm of many rills, The noble elders sleep. But while their children's children last, While seed from seedling springs, The print and perfume of their past Will be as deathless things.
Their voices are with vanished years, With other days and hours; Their homes are sanctified by tears— They sleep amongst the flowers. They do not walk by street or stream, Or tread by grove or shore, But, in the nation's highest dream, They shine for evermore.
By lawny slope and lucent strand Are singing flags of every land; On streams of splendour—bays impearled— The keels are here of all the world. With lutes of light and cymbals clear We waft goodwill to every sphere. The links of love to-day are thrown From sea to sea—from zone to zone; And, lo! we greet, in glory drest, The lords that come from east and west, And march like noble children forth To meet our fathers from the North!
To Thee be the glory, All-Bountiful Giver! The song that we sing is an anthem to Thee, Whose blessing is shed on Thy people for ever, Whose love is like beautiful light on the sea. Behold, with high sense of Thy mercy unsleeping, We come to Thee, kneel to Thee, praise Thee, and pray, O Lord, in whose hand is the strength that is keeping The storm from the wave and the night from the day!
By the Cliffs of the Sea
(In Memory of Samuel Bennett.)
In a far-away glen of the hills, Where the bird of the night is at rest, Shut in from the thunder that fills The fog-hidden caves of the west— In a sound of the leaf, and the lute Of the wind on the quiet lagoon, I stand, like a worshipper, mute In the flow of a marvellous tune! And the song that is sweet to my sense Is, "Nearer, my God, unto Thee"; But it carries me sorrowing hence, To a grave by the cliffs of the sea.
So many have gone that I loved— So few of the fathers remain, That where in old seasons I moved I could never be happy again. In the breaks of this beautiful psalm, With its deep, its devotional tone, And hints of ineffable calm, I feel like a stranger, alone. No wonder my eyes are so dim— Your trouble is heavy on me, O widow and daughter of him Who sleeps in the grave by the sea!
The years have been hard that have pressed On a head full of premature grey, Since Stenhouse went down to his rest, And Harpur was taken away. In the soft yellow evening-ends, The wind of the water is faint By the home of the last of my friends— The shrine of the father and saint. The tenderness touching—the grace Of Ridley no more is for me; And flowers have hidden the face Of the brother who sleeps by the sea.
The vehement voice of the South Is loud where the journalist lies; But calm hath encompassed his mouth, And sweet is the peace in his eyes. Called hence by the Power who knows When the work of a hero is done, He turned at the message, and rose With the harness of diligence on. In the midst of magnificent toil, He bowed at the holy decree; And green is the grass on the soil Of the grave by the cliffs of the sea.
I knew him, indeed; and I knew, Having suffered so much in his day, What a beautiful nature and true In Bennett was hidden away. In the folds of a shame without end, When the lips of the scorner were curled, I found in this brother a friend— The last that was left in the world. Ah! under the surface austere Compassion was native to thee; I send from my solitude here This rose for the grave by the sea.
To the high, the heroic intent Of a life that was never at rest, He held, with a courage unspent, Through the worst of his days and the best. Far back in the years that are dead He knew of the bitterness cold That saddens with silver the head And makes a man suddenly old. The dignity gracing his grief Was ever a lesson to me; He lies under blossom and leaf In a grave by the cliffs of the sea.
Above him the wandering face Of the moon is a loveliness now, And anthems encompass the place From lutes of the luminous bough. The forelands are fiery with foam Where often and often he roved; He sleeps in the sight of the home That he built by the waters he loved. The wave is his fellow at night, And the sun, shining over the lea, Sheds out an unspeakable light On this grave by the cliffs of the sea.
A silver slope, a fall of firs, a league of gleaming grasses, And fiery cones, and sultry spurs, and swarthy pits and passes!
. . . . .
The long-haired Cyclops bated breath, and bit his lip and hearkened, And dug and dragged the stone of death, by ways that dipped and darkened.
Across a tract of furnaced flints there came a wind of water, From yellow banks with tender hints of Tethys' white-armed daughter.
She sat amongst wild singing weeds, by beds of myrrh and moly; And Acis made a flute of reeds, and drew its accents slowly;
And taught its spirit subtle sounds that leapt beyond suppression, And paused and panted on the bounds of fierce and fitful passion.
Then he who shaped the cunning tune, by keen desire made bolder, Fell fainting, like a fervent noon, upon the sea-nymph's shoulder.
Sicilian suns had laid a dower of light and life about her: Her beauty was a gracious flower—the heart fell dead without her.
"Ah, Galate," said Polypheme, "I would that I could find thee Some finest tone of hill or stream, wherewith to lull and bind thee!
"What lyre is left of marvellous range, whose subtle strings, containing Some note supreme, might catch and change, or set thy passion waning?—
"Thy passion for the fair-haired youth whose fleet, light feet perplex me By ledges rude, on paths uncouth, and broken ways that vex me?
"Ah, turn to me! else violent sleep shall track the cunning lover; And thou wilt wait and thou wilt weep when I his haunts discover."
But golden Galatea laughed, and Thosa's son, like thunder, Broke through a rifty runnel shaft, and dashed its rocks asunder,
And poised the bulk, and hurled the stone, and crushed the hidden Acis, And struck with sorrow drear and lone the sweetest of all faces.
To Zeus, the mighty Father, she, with plaint and prayer, departed: Then from fierce Aetna to the sea a fountained water started—
A lucent stream of lutes and lights—cool haunt of flower and feather, Whose silver days and yellow nights made years of hallowed weather.
Here Galatea used to come, and rest beside the river; Because, in faint, soft, blowing foam, her shepherd lived for ever.
Kate, they say, is seventeen— Do not count her sweet, you know. Arms of her are rather lean— Ditto, calves and feet, you know. Features of Hellenic type Are not patent here, you see. Katie loves a black clay pipe— Doesn't hate her beer, you see.
Spartan Helen used to wear Tresses in a plait, perhaps: Kate has ochre in her hair— Nose is rather flat, perhaps. Rose Lorraine's surpassing dress Glitters at the ball, you see: Daughter of the wilderness Has no dress at all, you see.
Laura's lovers every day In sweet verse embody her: Katie's have a different way, Being frank, they "waddy" her. Amy by her suitor kissed, Every nightfall looks for him: Kitty's sweetheart isn't missed— Kitty "humps" and cooks for him.
Smith, and Brown, and Jenkins, bring Roses to the fair, you know. Darkies at their Katie fling Hunks of native bear, you know. English girls examine well All the food they take, you twig: Kate is hardly keen of smell— Kate will eat a snake, you twig.
Yonder lady's sitting room— Clean and cool and dark it is: Kitty's chamber needs no broom— Just a sheet of bark it is. You may find a pipe or two If you poke and grope about: Not a bit of starch or blue— Not a sign of soap about.
Girl I know reads Lalla Rookh— Poem of the "heady" sort: Kate is better as a cook Of the rough and ready sort. Byron's verse on Waterloo, Makes my darling glad, you see: Kate prefers a kangaroo— Which is very sad, you see.
Other ladies wear a hat Fit to write a sonnet on: Kitty has—the naughty cat— Neither hat nor bonnet on! Fifty silks has Madame Tate— She who loves to spank it on: All her clothes are worn by Kate When she has her blanket on.
Let her rip! the Phrygian boy Bolted with a brighter one; And the girl who ruined Troy Was a rather whiter one. Katie's mouth is hardly Greek— Hardly like a rose it is: Katie's nose is not antique— Not the classic nose it is.
Dryad in the grand old day, Though she walked the woods about, Didn't smoke a penny clay— Didn't "hump" her goods about. Daphne by the fairy lake, Far away from din and all, Never ate a yard of snake, Head and tail and skin and all.
A Hyde Park Larrikin
— * To the servants of God that are to be found in every denomination, these verses, of course, do not apply.—H.K. —
You may have heard of Proclus, sir, If you have been a reader; And you may know a bit of her Who helped the Lycian leader.
I have my doubts—the head you "sport" (Now mark me, don't get crusty) Is hardly of the classic sort— Your lore, I think, is fusty.
Most likely you have stuck to tracts Flushed through with flaming curses— I judge you, neighbour, by your acts— So don't you d——n my verses.
But to my theme. The Asian sage, Whose name above I mention, Lived in the pitchy Pagan age, A life without pretension.
He may have worshipped gods like Zeus, And termed old Dis a master; But then he had a strong excuse— He never heard a pastor.
However, it occurs to me That, had he cut Demeter And followed you, or followed me, He wouldn't have been sweeter.
No doubt with "shepherds" of this time He's not the "clean potato", Because—excuse me for my rhyme— He pinned his faith to Plato.
But these are facts you can't deny, My pastor, smudged and sooty, His mind was like a summer sky— He lived a life of beauty—
To lift his brothers' thoughts above This earth he used to labour: His heart was luminous with love— He didn't wound his neighbour.
To him all men were just the same— He never foamed at altars, Although he lived ere Moody came— Ere Sankey dealt in psalters.
The Lycian sage, my "reverend" sir, Had not your chances ample; But, after all, I must prefer His perfect, pure example.
You, having read the Holy Writ— The Book the angels foster— Say have you helped us on a bit, You overfed impostor?
What have you done to edify, You clammy chapel tinker? What act like his of days gone by— The grand old Asian thinker?
Is there no deed of yours at all With beauty shining through it? Ah, no! your heart reveals its gall On every side I view it.
A blatant bigot with a big Fat heavy fetid carcass, You well become your greasy "rig"— You're not a second Arcas.
What sort of "gospel" do you preach? What "Bible" is your Bible? There's worse than wormwood in your speech, You livid, living libel!
How many lives are growing gray Through your depraved behaviour! I tell you plainly—every day You crucify the Saviour!
Some evil spirit curses you— Your actions never vary: You cannot point your finger to One fact to the contrary.
You seem to have a wicked joy In your malicious labour, Endeavouring daily to destroy The neighbour's love for neighbour.
The brutal curses you eject Make strong men dread to hear you. The world outside your petty sect Feels sick when it is near you.
No man who shuns that little hole You call your tabernacle Can have, you shriek, a ransomed soul— He wears the devil's shackle.
And, hence the "Papist" by your clan Is dogged with words inhuman, Because he loves that friend of man The highest type of woman—
Because he has that faith which sees Before the high Creator A Virgin pleading on her knees— A shining Mediator!
God help the souls who grope in night— Who in your ways have trusted! I've said enough! the more I write, The more I feel disgusted.
The warm, soft air is tainted through With your pernicious leaven. I would not live one hour with you In your peculiar heaven!
Now mount your musty pulpit—thump, And muddle flat clodhoppers; And let some long-eared booby "hump" The plate about for coppers.
At priest and parson spit and bark, And shake your "church" with curses, You bitter blackguard of the dark— With this I close my verses.
Names Upon a Stone
(Inscribed to G. L. Fagan, Esq.)
Across bleak widths of broken sea A fierce north-easter breaks, And makes a thunder on the lea— A whiteness of the lakes. Here, while beyond the rainy stream The wild winds sobbing blow, I see the river of my dream Four wasted years ago.
Narrara of the waterfalls, The darling of the hills, Whose home is under mountain walls By many-luted rills! Her bright green nooks and channels cool I never more may see; But, ah! the Past was beautiful— The sights that used to be.
There was a rock-pool in a glen Beyond Narrara's sands; The mountains shut it in from men In flowerful fairy lands; But once we found its dwelling-place— The lovely and the lone— And, in a dream, I stooped to trace Our names upon a stone.
Above us, where the star-like moss Shone on the wet, green wall That spanned the straitened stream across, We saw the waterfall— A silver singer far away, By folded hills and hoar; Its voice is in the woods to-day— A voice I hear no more.
I wonder if the leaves that screen The rock-pool of the past Are yet as soft and cool and green As when we saw them last! I wonder if that tender thing, The moss, has overgrown The letters by the limpid spring— Our names upon the stone!
Across the face of scenes we know There may have come a change— The places seen four years ago Perhaps would now look strange. To you, indeed, they cannot be What haply once they were: A friend beloved by you and me No more will greet us there.
Because I know the filial grief That shrinks beneath the touch— The noble love whose words are brief— I will not say too much; But often when the night-winds strike Across the sighing rills, I think of him whose life was like The rock-pool's in the hills.
A beauty like the light of song Is in my dreams, that show The grand old man who lived so long As spotless as the snow. A fitting garland for the dead I cannot compass yet; But many things he did and said I never will forget.
In dells where once we used to rove The slow, sad water grieves; And ever comes from glimmering grove The liturgy of leaves. But time and toil have marked my face, My heart has older grown Since, in the woods, I stooped to trace Our names upon the stone.
Lordly harp, by lordly master wakened from majestic sleep, Yet shall speak and yet shall sing the words which make the fathers weep! Voice surpassing human voices—high, unearthly harmony— Yet shall tell the tale of hero, in exalted years to be! In the ranges, by the rivers, on the uplands, down the dells, Where the sound of wind and wave is, where the mountain anthem swells, Yet shall float the song of lustre, sweet with tears and fair with flame, Shining with a theme of beauty, holy with our Leichhardt's name! Name of him who faced for science thirsty tracts of bitter glow, Lurid lands that no one knows of—two-and-thirty years ago.
Born by hills of hard grey weather, far beyond the northern seas, German mountains were his sponsors, and his mates were German trees; Grandeur of the old-world forests passed into his radiant soul, With the song of stormy crescents where the mighty waters roll. Thus he came to be a brother of the river and the wood— Thus the leaf, the bird, the blossom, grew a gracious sisterhood; Nature led him to her children, in a space of light divine: Kneeling down, he said—"My mother, let me be as one of thine!" So she took him—thence she loved him—lodged him in her home of dreams, Taught him what the trees were saying, schooled him in the speech of streams.
For her sake he crossed the waters—loving her, he left the place Hallowed by his father's ashes, and his human mother's face— Passed the seas and entered temples domed by skies of deathless beam, Walled about by hills majestic, stately spires and peaks supreme! Here he found a larger beauty—here the lovely lights were new On the slopes of many flowers, down the gold-green dells of dew. In the great august cathedral of his holy lady, he Daily worshipped at her altars, nightly bent the reverent knee— Heard the hymns of night and morning, learned the psalm of solitudes; Knew that God was very near him—felt His presence in the woods!
But the starry angel, Science, from the home of glittering wings, Came one day and talked to Nature by melodious mountain springs: "Let thy son be mine," she pleaded; "lend him for a space," she said, "So that he may earn the laurels I have woven for his head!" And the lady, Nature, listened; and she took her loyal son From the banks of moss and myrtle—led him to the Shining One! Filled his lordly soul with gladness—told him of a spacious zone Eye of man had never looked at, human foot had never known. Then the angel, Science, beckoned, and he knelt and whispered low— "I will follow where you lead me"—two-and-thirty years ago.
On the tracts of thirst and furnace—on the dumb, blind, burning plain, Where the red earth gapes for moisture, and the wan leaves hiss for rain, In a land of dry, fierce thunder, did he ever pause and dream Of the cool green German valley and the singing German stream? When the sun was as a menace, glaring from a sky of brass, Did he ever rest, in visions, on a lap of German grass? Past the waste of thorny terrors, did he reach a sphere of rills, In a region yet untravelled, ringed by fair untrodden hills? Was the spot where last he rested pleasant as an old-world lea? Did the sweet winds come and lull him with the music of the sea?
Let us dream so—let us hope so! Haply in a cool green glade, Far beyond the zone of furnace, Leichhardt's sacred shell was laid! Haply in some leafy valley, underneath blue, gracious skies, In the sound of mountain water, the heroic traveller lies! Down a dell of dewy myrtle, where the light is soft and green, And a month like English April sits, an immemorial queen, Let us think that he is resting—think that by a radiant grave Ever come the songs of forest, and the voices of the wave! Thus we want our sons to find him—find him under floral bowers, Sleeping by the trees he loved so, covered with his darling flowers!
After Many Years
The song that once I dreamed about, The tender, touching thing, As radiant as the rose without— The love of wind and wing— The perfect verses, to the tune Of woodland music set, As beautiful as afternoon, Remain unwritten yet.
It is too late to write them now— The ancient fire is cold; No ardent lights illume the brow, As in the days of old. I cannot dream the dream again; But when the happy birds Are singing in the sunny rain, I think I hear its words.
I think I hear the echo still Of long-forgotten tones, When evening winds are on the hill And sunset fires the cones; But only in the hours supreme, With songs of land and sea, The lyrics of the leaf and stream, This echo comes to me.
No longer doth the earth reveal Her gracious green and gold; I sit where youth was once, and feel That I am growing old. The lustre from the face of things Is wearing all away; Like one who halts with tired wings, I rest and muse to-day.
There is a river in the range I love to think about; Perhaps the searching feet of change Have never found it out. Ah! oftentimes I used to look Upon its banks, and long To steal the beauty of that brook And put it in a song.
I wonder if the slopes of moss, In dreams so dear to me— The falls of flower, and flower-like floss— Are as they used to be! I wonder if the waterfalls, The singers far and fair, That gleamed between the wet, green walls, Are still the marvels there!
Ah! let me hope that in that place The old familiar things To which I turn a wistful face Have never taken wings. Let me retain the fancy still That, past the lordly range, There always shines, in folds of hill, One spot secure from change!
I trust that yet the tender screen That shades a certain nook, Remains, with all its gold and green, The glory of the brook. It hides a secret to the birds And waters only known: The letters of two lovely words— A poem on a stone.
Perhaps the lady of the past Upon these lines may light, The purest verses, and the last That I may ever write. She need not fear a word of blame— Her tale the flowers keep— The wind that heard me breathe her name Has been for years asleep.
But in the night, and when the rain The troubled torrent fills, I often think I see again The river in the hills; And when the day is very near, And birds are on the wing, My spirit fancies it can hear The song I cannot sing.
[End of Songs from the Mountains.]
EARLY POEMS, 1859-70
(With a few exceptions, these are now printed for the first time in book form).
The Merchant Ship
The sun o'er the waters was throwing In the freshness of morning its beams; And the breast of the ocean seemed glowing With glittering silvery streams: A bark in the distance was bounding Away for the land on her lee; And the boatswain's shrill whistle resounding Came over and over the sea. The breezes blew fair and were guiding Her swiftly along on her track, And the billows successively passing, Were lost in the distance aback. The sailors seemed busy preparing For anchor to drop ere the night; The red rusted cables in fathoms Were haul'd from their prisons to light. Each rope and each brace was attended By stout-hearted sons of the main, Whose voices, in unison blended, Sang many a merry-toned strain.
Forgotten their care and their sorrow, If of such they had ever known aught, Each soul was wrapped up in the morrow— The morrow which greeted them not; A sunshiny hope was inspiring And filling their hearts with a glow Like that on the billows around them, Like the silvery ocean below. As they looked on the haven before them, Already high looming and near, What else but a joy could invade them, Or what could they feel but a cheer?
. . . . .
The eve on the waters was clouded, And gloomy and dark grew the sky; The ocean in blackness was shrouded, And wails of a tempest flew by; The bark o'er the billows high surging 'Mid showers of the foam-crested spray, Now sinking, now slowly emerging, Held onward her dangerous way. The gale in the distance was veering To a point that would drift her on land, And fearfully he that was steering Look'd round on the cliff-girdled strand. He thought of the home now before him And muttered sincerely a prayer That morning might safely restore him To friends and to kind faces there. He knew that if once at the mercy Of the winds and those mountain-like waves The sun would rise over the waters— The day would return on their graves.
. . . . .
Still blacker the heavens were scowling, Still nearer the rock-skirted shore; Yet fiercer the tempest was howling And louder the wild waters roar. The cold rain in torrents came pouring On deck thro' the rigging and shrouds, And the deep, pitchy dark was illumined Each moment with gleams from the clouds Of forky-shap'd lightning as, darting, It made a wide pathway on high, And the sound of the thunder incessant Re-echoed the breadth of the sky. The light-hearted tars of the morning Now gloomily watching the storm Were silent, the glare from the flashes Revealing each weather-beat form, Their airy-built castles all vanished When they heard the wild conflict ahead; Their hopes of the morning were banished, And terror seemed ruling instead. They gazed on the heavens above them And then on the waters beneath, And shrunk as foreboding those billows Might shroud them ere morrow in death.
. . . . .
Hark! A voice o'er the tempest came ringing, A wild cry of bitter despair Re-echoed by all in the vessel, And filling the wind-ridden air. The breakers and rocks were before them Discovered too plain to their eyes, And the heart-bursting shrieks of the hopeless Ascending were lost in the skies. Then a crash, then a moan from the dying Went on, on the wings of the gale, Soon hush'd in the roar of the waters And the tempest's continuing wail. The "Storm Power" loudly was sounding Their funeral dirge as they passed, And the white-crested waters around them Re-echoed the voice of the blast. The surges will show to the morrow A fearful and heartrending sight, And bereaved ones will weep in their sorrow When they think of that terrible night.
. . . . .
The day on the ocean returning Saw still'd to a slumber the deep— Not a zephyr disturbing its bosom, The winds and the breezes asleep. Again the warm sunshine was gleaming Refulgently fringing the sea, Its rays to the horizon beaming And clothing the land on the lee. The billows were silently gliding O'er the graves of the sailors beneath, The waves round the vessel yet pointing The scene of their anguish and death. They seemed to the fancy bewailing The sudden and terrible doom Of those who were yesterday singing And laughing in sight of their tomb.
. . . . .
'Tis thus on the sea of existence— The morning begins without care, Hope cheerfully points to the distance, The Future beams sunny and fair; And we—as the bark o'er the billows, Admiring the beauty of day, With Fortune all smiling around us— Glide onward our silvery way. We know not nor fear for a sorrow Ever crossing our pathway in life; We judge from to-day the to-morrow And dream not of meeting with strife. This world seems to us as an Eden And we wonder when hearing around The cries of stern pain and affliction How such an existence is found. But we find to our cost when misfortune Comes mantling our sun in its night, That the Earth was not made to be Heaven, Not always our life can be bright. In turn we see each of our day-dreams Dissolve into air and decay, And learn that the hopes that are brightest Fade soonest—far soonest away.
These lines were written in 1857, and were suggested by the wreck of the Dunbar, but the writer did not confine himself in particular to a description of that disaster, as may be seen from perusal.—H.K.
Oh, Tell Me, Ye Breezes
Oh, tell me, ye breezes that spring from the west, Oh, tell me, ere passing away, If Leichhardt's bold spirit has fled to its rest? Where moulders the traveller's clay?
Perchance as ye flitted on heedlessly by The long lost was yielding his breath; Perchance ye have borne on your wings the last sigh That 'scap'd from the lone one in death.
Tell me, ye breezes, ye've traversed the wild, And passed o'er the desolate spot, Where reposeth in silence sweet Nature's own child, Where slumbers one nearly forgot?
Ye answer me not but are passing away— Ye breezes that spring from the west, Unhallow'd still moulders the traveller's clay, For unknown is the place of his rest.
The Far Future
Australia, advancing with rapid winged stride, Shall plant among nations her banners in pride, The yoke of dependence aside she will cast, And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past. Her flag on the tempest will wave to proclaim 'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name; The Future shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd, The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.
Australia, advancing like day on the sky, Has glimmer'd thro' darkness, will blazon on high, A Gem in its glitter has yet to be seen, When Progress has placed her where England has been; When bursting those limits above she will soar, Outstretching all rivals who've mounted before, And, resting, will blaze with her glories unfurl'd, The empire of empires and boast of the world.
Australia, advancing with Power, will entwine With Honour and Justice a Mercy divine; No Despot shall trample—no slave shall be bound— Oppression must totter and fall to the ground. The stain of all ages, tyrannical sway, Will pass like a flash or a shadow away, And shrink to nothing 'neath thunderbolts hurl'd From the hand of the terror—the boast of the world.
Australia, advancing with rapid wing'd stride, Shall plant among nations her banners in pride; The yoke of dependence aside she will cast, And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past. Her flag in the tempest will wave to proclaim, 'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name, And Ages shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.
I hope the above will not be considered disloyal. It is but reasonable to imagine that Australia will in the far future become an independent nation—that imagination springing as it does from a native-born Australian brain.—H.K.
What bitter sorrow courses down Yon mourner's faded cheek? Those scalding drops betray a grief Within, too full to speak. Outspoken words cannot express The pangs, the pains of years; They're ne'er so deep or eloquent As are those silent tears.
Here is a wound that in the breast Must canker, hid'n from sight; Though all without seems sunny day, Within 'tis ever night. Yet sometimes from this secret source The gloomy truth appears; The wind's dark dungeon must have vent If but in silent tears.
The world may deem from outward looks That heart is hard and cold; But oh! could they the mantle lift What sorrows would be told! Then, only then, the truth would show Which most the bosom sears: The pain portrayed by burning words Or that by—silent tears.
— * Suggested by one of John Bright's speeches on Electoral Reform. —
A morning crowns the Western hill, A day begins to reign, A sun awakes o'er distant seas— Shall never sleep again. The world is growing old, And men are waxing wise; A mist has cleared—a something falls Like scales from off their eyes.
Too long the "Dark of Ignorance" Has brooded on their way; Too long Oppression 's stood before, Excluding light of day. But now they've found the track And now they've seen the dawn, A "beacon lamp" is pointing on, Where stronger glows the morn.
Since Adam lived, the mighty ones Have ever ruled the weak; Since Noah's flood, the fettered slave Has seldom dared to speak. 'Tis time a voice was heard, 'Tis time a voice was spoken So in the chain of tyranny A link or two be broken.
A tiny rill will swell a stream, A spark will cause a flame, And one man's burning eloquence Has help'd to do the same. And he will persevere, And soon that blaze must spread, Till to the corners of the earth Reflecting beams are shed.
The "few" will try to beat it down, But can they stop the flood— Bind up the pinions of the light, Or check the will of God? And is it not His will That deeply injured Right Should overthrow the iron rule And reign instead of Might?
The Old Year
It passed like the breath of the night-wind away, It fled like a mist at the dawn of the day; It lasted its moment, then backward was hurled, Another increase to the age of the world.
It passed with its shadows, its smiles and its tears, It passed as a stream to the ocean of years; Years that were coming—were here—and are o'er, The ages departed to visit no more.
It passed, but the bark on its billowy track Leaves an impression on waters aback: The glow of the gloaming remains on the sky, Unwilling to leave us—unwilling to die.
It fled; but away and away in its wake There lingers a something that time cannot break. The past and the future are joined by a chain, And memories live that must ever remain.
(The Kanaka's Death-Song over his Chieftain.)
Shades of my father, the hour is approaching. Prepare ye the 'cava' for 'Yona' on high; Make ready the welcome, ye souls of Arrochin. The Death God of Tanna speaks—Yona must die.
No more will he traverse the flame sheeted mountain, To lead forth his brothers to hunting and war; No more will he drink from the time honoured fountain, Nor rise in the councils of Uking-a-shaa.
His voice in the battle, loud thunder resembling, Has died like a zephyr o'errunning the plain; His whoop like the tempest thro' forest trees trembling, Shall never strike foemen with terror again.
The 'muska' hung up on the cocoa is sleeping, And Attanam's spirits have gathered a-nigh To see their destroyer; and, wailing and weeping, Roll past on the night-breathing winds of the sky.
The lines are suspended, the 'muttow' is broken, The canoe's far away from the water-wash'd shore, Mourn, mourn, ye 'whyeenas', the word has been spoken, The chieftain can bring ye the 'weepan' no more.
Ye cloud-seated visions, ye shades of my fathers, Awake from your slumbers, the trumpet blast blow; The moments are flying, the mountain mist gathers, And Yona is leaving his camp fire below.
. . . . .
The struggles are over, the cords are asunder, Ye Phantoms hold forward your heavenly light, Speak on the wings of the sky-shaking thunder, And fill him with joy on the path of his flight.
Come downwards a space thro' the fogs till ye meet him, Throw open the doors of Arrochin awide, And stand on the thresholds, ye Shadows to greet him— The glory of Tanna, the Uking'shaa's pride.
Thanks, spirits departed!—heard I not your voices Faint rolling along on the breath of the gale? Thanks, spirits departed! Le-en-na rejoices: Ye've answered the mourner—ye've silenced the wail.
The midnight is clearing; the Death-song is ended. The Chieftain has gone, but ye've called him away; For he smiled as he listened, obedient ascended, The voice in his ear, and the torch on his way.
Tanna is one of the largest islands in the group known as the New Hebrides. The natives of it, in common with all their South Sea brethren, are generally titled by the whites "Kanakas". They are of the negro family, resembling in feature, very closely, the Feejee tribes. It is said that they believe in the existence of a Superior Being, whose earthly dwelling they fancy is in the burning volcanoes for which the island is remarkable. They believe in a future happy state, and call their heaven "Arrochin". They are divided into small tribes or clans; the largest of these are the Ukingh-a-shaa and Attanam families. A spirit of rivalry between these two last-mentioned often causes long and bloody wars all over the island.
Tanna, besides the never-sleeping volcano, has its other objects of interest in the many boiling springs that surround the base of the burning mountain. Some of these are held as holy, and none but chiefs are permitted to taste their waters. Such restriction, however, does not extend over all.
When any of their great warriors die, the aborigines believe that the spirits of Arrochin prepare a great feast there for their coming guest, and for fear he should lose himself on the road thither they (the spirits) call to him and blow trumpets, sending some one at the same time with torches to meet him and guide him on his way to those blessed regions.
Explanation of Native Words:
"Arrochin"—Heaven. "Cava"—a drink extracted from a root. (The natives believe it is made and drunk in Arrochin where it grows as in Tanna). "Muska" (corruption of the English term, musket)— of late their chief weapon in war. "Muttow"—a fishing-hook. "Whyeena"—woman (this is not the original native appellation; that I could never ascertain). "Weepan"—Fish (their principal food). "Leenna" and "Yona"—native names.—H.K.
The Earth Laments for Day
There's music wafting on the air, The evening winds are sighing Among the trees—and yonder stream Is mournfully replying, Lamenting loud the sunny light That in the west is dying.
The moon is rising o'er the hill, Her slanting rays are creeping Where Nature lies profoundly still In happy quiet sleeping, And resting on her face, they'll find The earth is wet with weeping.
She mourneth for the lovely day, Now deep in darkness shaded; She sheds the dewy tear because Of morning's mantle faded; She misses from her breast the garb In which the moon array'd it.
The evening queen will strive in vain To break the spell which bound her; A million stars can never throw Departed warmth around her; They all must pass away and leave The earth as they had found her.
But why should gentle Nature weep That night has overtaken The wearied world that needed sleep, Refreshed to re-awaken, So richer light might burst around, The gloomy shadows breaking?
Oh, can she not from yonder sky That gleams above her, borrow A single ray, or find a way To check the tear of sorrow? A beam of hope would last her till The dawning of to-morrow.
The Late W. V. Wild, Esq.
Sad faces came round, and I dreamily said "Though the harp of my country now slumbers, Some hand will pass o'er it, in love for the dead, And attune it to sorrowful numbers!" But the hopes that I clung to are withering things, For the days have gone by with a cloud on their wings, And the touch of a bard is unknown to the strings— Oh, why art thou silent, Australia?
The leaves of the autumn are scattering fast, The willows look barren and lonely; But I dream a sad dream of my friend of the past, And his form I can dwell upon only! In the strength of his youth I can see him go by. There is health on the cheek, and a fire in the eye— Oh, who would have thought that such beauty could die! Ah, mourn for thy noblest, Australia!
A strange shadow broods o'er the desolate earth, And the cypresses tremble and quiver; But my heart waxeth dark with the thoughts of the worth That has left us for ever and ever! A dull cloud creepeth close to the moon, And the winter winds pass with a shuddering croon— Oh, why was he snatched from his brothers so soon? Ah, weep for thy lost one, Australia!
How weary we grow when we turn to reflect Upon what we have seen and believed in; When harping on promises hopelessly wrecked, And the things we have all been deceived in! When a voice that I loved lingers near to me yet! And a kind, handsome face which I'll never forget— Can I wake to the present and stifle regret— Can I smother these feelings, Australia?
It is useless to grieve o'er the light that has fled But the harp of my country still slumbers; And I thought that some bard in his love for the dead, Would have thrilled it to sorrowful numbers! Lo, the hopes that I clung to are withering things For the days have gone by with a cloud on their wings, And my hand is too feeble to strike at the strings— Oh, why art thou silent, Australia?
Across the dripping ridges, O, look, luxurious night! She comes, the bright-haired beauty, My luminous delight! My luminous delight! So hush, ye shores, your roar, That my soul may sleep, forgetting Dead Love's wild Nevermore!
Astarte, Syrian sister, Your face is wet with tears; I think you know the secret One heart hath held for years! One heart hath held for years! But hide your hapless love, And my sweet—my Syrian sister, Dead Love's wild Nevermore!
Ah, Helen Hope in heaven, My queen of long ago, I've swooned with adoration, But could not tell you so, Or dared not tell you so, My radiant queen of yore! And you've passed away and left me Dead Love's wild Nevermore!
Astarte knoweth, darling, Of eyes that once did weep, What time entranced Passion Hath kissed your lips in sleep; Hath kissed your lips in sleep; But now those tears are o'er, Gone, my saint, with many a moan to Dead Love's wild Nevermore!
If I am past all crying, What thoughts are maddening me, Of you, my darling, dying Upon the lone, wide sea, Upon the lone, wide sea, Ah! hush, ye shores, your roar, That my soul may sleep, forgetting Dead Love's wild Nevermore!
Australian War Song
Men have said that ye were sleeping— Hurl, Australians, back the lie; Whet the swords you have in keeping, Forward stand to do or die! Hear ye not, across the ocean, Echoes of the distant fray, Sounds of loud and fierce commotion, Swiftly sweeping on the way? Hearts have woke from sluggish trances, Woke to know their native worth; Freedom with her train advances— Freedom newly sprung to birth. Despots start from thrones affrighted— Tyrants hear the angry tread; Where the slaves, whose prayers were slighted, Marching—draw the sword instead.
If the men of other nations Dash their fetters to the ground; When the foeman seeks your stations, Will you willing slaves be found? You the sons of hero fathers— Sires that bled at Waterloo! No! Your indignation gathers— To your old traditions true; Should the cannon's iron rattle Sound between your harbour doors, You will rise to wage the battle In a just and righteous cause. Patriot fires will scorch Oppression Should it dare to draw too near; And the tide of bold Aggression Must be stayed from coming here.
Look upon familiar places, Mountain, river, hill and glade; Look upon those beauteous faces, Turning up to you for aid. Think ye, in the time of danger, When that threatening moment comes— Will ye let the heartless stranger Drive your kindred from their homes? By the prayers which rise above you, When you face him on the shore, By the forms of those that love you— Greet him with the rifle's roar! While an arm can wield a sabre, While you yet can lift a hand, Strike and teach your hostile neighbour, This is Freedom's chosen land.
The Ivy on the Wall
The verdant ivy clings around Yon moss be-mantled wall, As if it sought to hide the stones, That crumbling soon must fall: That relic of a bygone age Now tottering to decay, Has but one friend—the ivy—left. The rest have passed away.
The fairy flowers that once did bloom And smile beneath its shade; They lingered till the autumn came, And autumn saw them fade: The emerald leaves that blushed between— The winds away have blown; But yet to cheer the mournful scene, The ivy liveth on.
Thus heavenly hope will still survive, When earthly joys have fled; And all the flow'ry dreams of youth Lie withering and dead. When Winter comes—it twines itself Around the human heart; And like the ivy on the wall Will ne'er from thence depart.
The Australian Emigrant
How dazzling the sunbeams awoke on the spray, When Australia first rose in the distance away, As welcome to us on the deck of the bark, As the dove to the vision of those in the ark! What fairylike fancies appear'd to the view As nearer and nearer the haven we drew! What castles were built and rebuilt in the brain, To totter and crumble to nothing again!
We had roam'd o'er the ocean—had travers'd a path, Where the tempest surrounded and shriek'd in its wrath: Alike we had roll'd in the hurricane's breath, And slumber'd on waters as silent as death: We had watch'd the Day breaking each morn on the main, And had seen it sink down in the billows again; For week after week, till dishearten'd we thought An age would elapse ere we enter'd the port.
How often while ploughing the 'watery waste', Our thoughts—from the Future have turn'd to the Past; How often our bosoms have heav'd with regret; For faces and scenes we could never forget: For we'd seen as the shadows o'er-curtain'd our minds The cliffs of old England receding behind; And had turned in our tears from the view of the shore, The land of our childhood, to see it no more.
But when that red morning awoke from its sleep, To show us this land like a cloud on the deep; And when the warm sunbeams imparted their glow, To the heavens above and the ocean below; The hearts had been aching then revell'd with joy, And a pleasure was tasted exempt from alloy; The souls had been heavy grew happy and light And all was forgotten in present delight.
'Tis true—of the hopes that were verdant that day There is more than the half of them withered away: 'Tis true that emotions of temper'd regret, Still live for the country we'll never forget; But yet we are happy, since learning to love The scenes that surround us—the skies are above, We find ourselves bound, as it were by a spell, In the clime we've adopted contented to dwell.
To My Brother, Basil E. Kendall
To-night the sea sends up a gulf-like sound, And ancient rhymes are ringing in my head, The many lilts of song we sang and said, My friend and brother, when we journeyed round Our haunts at Wollongong, that classic ground For me at least, a lingerer deeply read And steeped in beauty. Oft in trance I tread Those shining shores, and hear your talk of Fame With thought-flushed face and heart so well assured (Beholding through the woodland's bright distress The Moon half pillaged of her loveliness) Of this wild dreamer: Had you but endured A dubious dark, you might have won a name With brighter bays than I can ever claim.
The song of the water Doomed ever to roam, A beautiful exile, Afar from its home.
The cliffs on the mountain, The grand and the gray, They took the bright creature And hurled it away!
I heard the wild downfall, And knew it must spill A passionate heart out All over the hill.
Oh! was it a daughter Of sorrow and sin, That they threw it so madly Down into the lynn?
. . .
And listen, my Sister, For this is the song The Waterfall taught me The ridges among:—
"Oh where are the shadows So cool and so sweet And the rocks," saith the water, "With the moss on their feet?