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The Poems of Henry Kendall
by Henry Kendall
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"Oh, where are my playmates The wind and the flowers— The golden and purple— Of honey-sweet bowers,

"Mine eyes have been blinded Because of the sun; And moaning and moaning I listlessly run.

"These hills are so flinty!— Ah! tell me, dark Earth, What valley leads back to The place of my birth?—

"What valley leads up to The haunts where a child Of the caverns I sported, The free and the wild?

"There lift me,"—it crieth, "I faint from the heat; With a sob for the shadows So cool and so sweet."

Ye rocks, that look over With never a tear, I yearn for one half of The wasted love here!

My sister so wistful, You know I believe, Like a child for the mountains This water doth grieve.

Ah! you with the blue eyes And golden-brown hair, Come closer and closer And truly declare:—

Supposing a darling Once happened to sin, In a passionate space, Would you carry her in—

If your fathers and mothers, The grand and the gray, Had taken the weak one And hurled her away?



The Song of Arda

(From "Annatanam".)



Low as a lute, my love, beneath the call Of storm, I hear a melancholy wind; The memorably mournful wind of yore Which is the very brother of the one That wanders, like a hermit, by the mound Of Death, in lone Annatanam. A song Was shaped for this, what time we heard outside The gentle falling of the faded leaf In quiet noons: a song whose theme doth turn On gaps of Ruin and the gay-green clifts Beneath the summits haunted by the moon. Yea, much it travels to the dens of dole; And in the midst of this strange rhyme, my lords, Our Desolation like a phantom sits With wasted cheeks and eyes that cannot weep And fastened lips crampt up in marvellous pain.

A song in whose voice is the voice of the foam And the rhyme of the wintering wave, And the tongue of the things that eternally roam In forest, in fell or in cave; But mostly 'tis like to the Wind without home In the glen of a desolate grave— Of a deep and desolate grave.

The torrent flies over the thunder-struck clift With many and many a call; The leaves are swept down, and a dolorous drift Is hurried away with the fall. But mostly 'tis like the Wind without home In the glen of a desolate grave— Of a deep and desolate grave.

Whoever goes thither by night or by day Must mutter, O Father, to Thee, For the shadows that startle, the sounds that waylay Are heavy to hear and to see; And a step and a moan and a whisper for aye Have made it a sorrow to be— A sorrow of sorrows to be.

Oh! cover your faces and shudder, and turn And hide in the dark of your hair, Nor look to the Glen in the Mountains, to learn Of the mystery mouldering there; But rather sit low in the ashes and urn Dead hopes in your mighty despair— In the depths of your mighty despair.



The Helmsman



Like one who meets a staggering blow, The stout old ship doth reel, And waters vast go seething past— But will it last, this fearful blast, On straining shroud and groaning mast, O sailor at the wheel?

His face is smitten with the wind, His cheeks are chilled with rain; And you were right, his hair is white, But eyes are calm and heart is light He does not fear the strife to-night, He knows the roaring main.

Ho, Sailor! Will to-morrow bring The hours of pleasant rest? An answer low—"I do not know, The thunders grow and far winds blow, But storms may come and storms may go— Our God, He judgeth best!"

Now you are right, brave mariner, But we are not like you; We, used to shore, our fates deplore, And fear the more when waters roar; So few amongst us look before, Or stop to think that Heaven is o'er— Ah! what you say is true.

And those who go abroad in ships, Who seldom see the land, But sail and stray so far away, Should trust and pray, for are not they, When Darkness blinds them on their way, All guided by God's hand?

But you are wrinkled, grey and worn; 'Tis time you dwelt in peace! Your prime is past; we fail so fast; You may not last through every blast, And, oh, 'tis fearful to be cast Amongst the smothering seas!

Is there no absent face to love That you must live alone? If faith did fade, if friends betrayed, And turned, and staid resolves you'd made, Ah, still 'tis pleasant to be laid Where you at least are known.

The answer slides betwixt our words— "The season shines and glooms On ship and strand, on sea and land, But life must go and Time is spanned, As well you know when out you stand With Death amongst the tombs!

"It matters not to one so old Who mourns when Fate comes round, And one may sleep down in the deep As well as those beneath the heap That fifty stormy years will sweep And trample to the ground."

Your speech is wise, brave mariner, And we would let you be; You speak with truth, you strive to soothe; But, oh, the wrecks of Love and Truth, What say you to our tears for Youth And Beauty drowned at sea?

"Oh, talk not of the Beauty lost, Since first these decks I trod The hopeless stare on faces fair, The streaming, bare, dishevelled hair, The wild despair, the sinking—where, Oh where, oh where?—My God!"



To Miss Annie Hopkins



Beneath the shelter of the bush, In undisturbed repose— Unruffled by the kiss of breeze— There lurks a smiling rose; Beneath thine outer beauty, gleams, In holy light enshrined, A symbol of the blooming flower, A pure, unspotted mind.

The lovely tint that crowns the hill When westward sinks the sun, The milder dazzle in the stream That evening sits upon, The morning blushes, mantling o'er The face of land and sea, They all recall to mind the charms That are combined in thee!



Foreshadowings



Fifteen miles and then the harbour! Here we cannot choose but stand, Faces thrust towards the day-break, listening for our native land! Close-reefed topsails shuddering over, straining down the groaning mast; For a tempest cleaves the darkness, hissing, howling, shrieking past! Lo! the air is flecked with stormbirds, and their melancholy wail Lends a tone of deeper pathos to the melancholy gale! Whilst away they wheel to leeward, leaving in their rapid flight Wind and water grappling wildly through the watches of the night.

Yesterday we both were happy; but my soul is filled with change, And I'm sad, my gallant comrade, with foreshadowings vague and strange! Dear old place, are we so near you? Like to one that speaks in sleep, I'm talking, thinking wildly o'er this moaning, maddened deep! Much it makes me marvel, brother, that such thoughts should linger nigh Now we know what shore is hidden somewhere in that misty sky! Oh! I even fear to see it; and I've never felt so low Since we turned our faces from it, seven weary years ago.

Have you faith at all in omens? Fits of passion I have known When it seemed in crowded towns as if I walked the Earth alone! And amongst my comrades often, o'er the lucent, laughing sea, I have felt like one that drifteth on a dark and dangerous lee! As a man who, crossing waters underneath a moony night, Knows there will be gloomy weather if a cloudrack bounds the light, So I hold, when Life is splendid, and our hopes are new and warm, We can sometimes, looking forward, see the shade and feel the storm.

When you called me I was dreaming that this thunder raged no more, And we travelled, both together, on a calm, delightful shore; That we went along rejoicing, for I thought I heard you say, "Now we soon shall see them, brother—now our fears have passed away!" Pleasant were those deep green wild-woods; and we hurried, like a breeze, Till I saw a distant opening through the porches of the trees; And our village faintly gleaming past the forest and the stream; But we wandered sadly through it with the Spirit of my Dream.

Why was our delight so fickle? Was it well while there to mourn; When the loved—the loving, crowding, came to welcome our return? In my vision, once so glorious, did we find that aught was changed; Or that ONE whom WE remembered was forgotten or estranged? Through a mist of many voices, listening for sweet accents fled, Heard we hints of lost affection, or of gentle faces dead? No! but on the quiet dreamscape came a darkness like a pall And a ghostly shadow, brother, fell and rested over all.

Talking thus my friend I fronted, and in trustful tones he spake— "I have long been waiting, watching here to see the morning break; Now behold the bright fulfilment! Did my Spirit yearn in vain; And amidst this holy splendour can a moody heart remain? Let them pass, those wayward fancies! Waking thoughts return with sleep; And they mingle strangely sometimes, while we lie in slumber deep; But, believe me, dreams are nothing. If unto His creatures weak God should whisper of the Future, not in riddles will He speak."

Since he answered I have rested, for his brave words fell like balm; And we reached the land in daylight, and the tempest died in calm; Though the sounds of gusty fragments of a faint and broken breeze Still went gliding with the runnels, gurgling down the spangled leas! So we turned and travelled onward, till we rested at a place Where a Vision fell about us, sunned with many a lovely face; Then we heard low silvery voices; and I knelt upon the shore— Knelt and whispered, "God I thank Thee! and will wander never more."



Sonnets on the Discovery of Botany Bay by Captain Cook



I

The First Attempt to Reach the Shore

Where is the painter who shall paint for you, My Austral brothers, with a pencil steeped In hues of Truth, the weather-smitten crew Who gazed on unknown shores—a thoughtful few— What time the heart of their great Leader leaped Till he was faint with pain of longing? New And wondrous sights on each and every hand, Like strange supernal visions, grew and grew Until the rocks and trees, and sea and sand, Danced madly in the tear-bewildered view! And from the surf a fierce, fantastic band Of startled wild men to the hills withdrew With yells of fear! Who'll paint thy face, O Cook! Turned seaward, "after many a wistful look!"



II

The Second Attempt, Opposed by Two of the Natives

"There were but two, and we were forty! Yet," The Captain wrote, "that dauntless couple throve, And faced our wildering faces; and I said 'Lie to awhile!' I did not choose to let A strife go on of little worth to us. And so unequal! But the dying tread Of flying kinsmen moved them not: for wet With surf and wild with streaks of white and black The pair remained."—O stout Caractacus! 'Twas thus you stood when Caesar's legions strove To beat their few, fantastic foemen back— Your patriots with their savage stripes of red! To drench the stormy cliff and moaning cove With faithful blood, as pure as any ever shed.



III

The Spot Where Cook Landed

Chaotic crags are huddled east and west— Dark, heavy crags, against a straitened sea That cometh, like a troubled soul in quest Of voiceless rest where never dwelleth rest, With noise "like thunder everlasting." But here, behold a silent space of sand!— Oh, pilgrim, halt!—it even seems to be Asleep in other years. How still! How grand! How awful in its wild solemnity! This is the spot on which the Chief did land, And there, perchance, he stood what time a band Of yelling strangers scoured the savage lea. Dear friend, with thoughtful eyes look slowly round— By all the sacred Past 'tis sacred ground.



IV

Sutherland's Grave

'Tis holy ground! The silent silver lights And darks undreamed of, falling year by year Upon his sleep, in soft Australian nights, Are joys enough for him who lieth here So sanctified with Rest. We need not rear The storied monument o'er such a spot! That soul, the first for whom the Christian tear Was shed on Austral soil, hath heritage Most ample! Let the ages wane with age, The grass which clothes this grave shall wither not. See yonder quiet lily! Have the blights Of many winters left it on a faded tomb?* Oh, peace! Its fellows, glad with green delights, Shall gather round it deep eternal bloom!

* A wild lily grows on the spot supposed to be Sutherland's grave.—H.K.



To Henry Halloran



You know I left my forest home full loth, And those weird ways I knew so well and long, Dishevelled with their sloping sidelong growth Of twisted thorn and kurrajong.

It seems to me, my friend (and this wild thought Of all wild thoughts, doth chiefly make me bleed), That in those hills and valleys wonder-fraught, I loved and lost a noble creed.

A splendid creed! But let me even turn And hide myself from what I've seen, and try To fathom certain truths you know, and learn The Beauty shining in your sky:

Remembering you in ardent autumn nights, And Stenhouse near you, like a fine stray guest Of other days, with all his lore of lights So manifold and manifest!

Then hold me firm. I cannot choose but long For that which lies and burns beyond my reach, Suggested in your steadfast, subtle song And his most marvellous speech!

For now my soul goes drifting back again, Ay, drifting, drifting, like the silent snow While scattered sheddings, in a fall of rain, Revive the dear lost Long Ago!

The time I, loitering by untrodden fens, Intent upon low-hanging lustrous skies, Heard mellowed psalms from sounding southern glens— Euroma, dear to dreaming eyes!

And caught seductive tokens of a voice Half maddened with the dim, delirious themes Of perfect Love, and the immortal choice Of starry faces—Astral dreams!

That last was yours! And if you sometimes find An alien darkness on the front of things, Sing none the less for Life, nor fall behind, Like me, with trailing, tired wings!

Yea, though the heavy Earth wears sackcloth now Because she hath the great prophetic grief Which makes me set my face one way, and bow And falter for a far belief,

Be faithful yet for all, my brave bright peer, In that rare light you hold so true and good; And find me something clearer than the clear White spaces of Infinitude.



Lost in the Flood



When God drave the ruthless waters From our cornfields to the sea, Came she where our wives and daughters Sobbed their thanks on bended knee. Hidden faces! there ye found her Mute as death, and staring wild At the shadow waxing round her Like the presence of her child— Of her drenched and drowning child!

Dark thoughts live when tears won't gather; Who can tell us what she felt? It was human, O my Father, If she blamed Thee while she knelt! Ever, as a benediction Fell like balm on all and each, Rose a young face whose affliction Choked and stayed the founts of speech— Stayed and shut the founts of speech!

Often doth she sit and ponder Over gleams of happy hair! How her white hands used to wander, Like a flood of moonlight there! Lord—our Lord! Thou know'st her weakness: Give her faith that she may pray; And the subtle strength of meekness, Lest she falter by the way— Falter, fainting, by the way!

"Darling!" saith she, wildly moaning Where the grass-grown silence lies, "Is there rest from sobs and groaning— Rest with you beyond the skies? Child of mine, so far above me! Late it waxeth—dark and late; Will the love with which I love thee, Lift me where you sit and wait— Darling! where you sit and wait?"



Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Four



I hear no footfall beating through the dark, A lonely gust is loitering at the pane; There is no sound within these forests stark Beyond a splash or two of sullen rain;

But you are with us! and our patient land Is filled with long-expected change at last, Though we have scarce the heart to lift a hand Of welcome, after all the yearning past!

Ah! marvel not; the days and nights were long And cold and dull and dashed with many tears; And lately there hath been a doleful song, Of "Mene, Mene," in our restless ears!

Indeed, we've said, "The royal son of Time, Whose feet will shortly cross our threshold floor, May lead us to those outer heights sublime Our Sires have sold their lives to see before!

We'll follow him! Beyond the waves and wrecks Of years fulfilled, some fine results must lie; We'll pass the last of all wild things that vex The pale, sad face of our Humanity!"

But now our fainting feet are loth to stray From trodden paths; our eyes with pain are blind! We've lost fair treasures by the weary way; We cry, like children, to be left behind.

Our human speech is dim. Yet, latest born Of God's Eternity, there came to me, In saddened streets last week, from lips forlorn A sound more solemn than the sleepless sea!

O, Rachael! Rachael! We have heard the cries In Rama, stranger, o'er our darling dead; And seen our mothers with the heavy eyes, Who would not hearken to be comforted!

Then lead us gently! It must come to pass That some of us shall halt and faint and fall; For we are looking through a darkened glass, And Heaven seems far, and faith grows cold and pale.

I know, for one, I need a subtle strength I have not yet to hold me from a fall; What time I cry to God within the length Of weary hours; my face against the wall!

My mourning brothers! in the long, still nights, When sleep is wilful, and the lone moon shines, Bethink you of the silent, silver lights, And darks with Death amongst the moody pines!

Then, though you cannot shut a stricken face Away from you, this hope will come about That Christ hath sent again throughout the place Some signs of Love to worst and weaken doubt.

So you may find in every afterthought A peace beyond your best expression dear; And haply hearken to the Voice which wrought Such strength in Peter on the seas of fear!



To——



Ah, often do I wait and watch, And look up, straining through the Real With longing eyes, my friend, to catch Faint glimpses of your white Ideal.

I know she loved to rest her feet By slumbrous seas and hidden strand; But mostly hints of her I meet On moony spots of mountain land.

I've never reached her shining place, And only cross at times a gleam; As one might pass a fleeting face Just on the outside of a Dream.

But you may climb, her happy Choice! She knows your step, the maiden true, And ever when she hears your voice, She turns and sits and waits for you.

How sweet to rest on breezy crest With such a Love, what time the Morn Looks from his halls of rosy rest, Across green miles of gleaming corn!

How sweet to find a leafy nook, When bees are out, and Day burns mute, Where you may hear a passion'd brook Play past you, like a mellow flute!

Or, turning from the sunken sun, On fields of dim delight to lie— To close your eyes and muse upon The twilight's strange divinity!

Or through the Night's mysterious noon, While Sound lies hushed among the trees, To sit and watch a mirror'd moon Float over silver-sleeping seas!

Oh, vain regret! why should I stay To think and dream of joys unknown? You walk with her from day to day, I faint afar off—and alone.



At Long Bay



Five years ago! you cannot choose But know the face of change, Though July sleeps and Spring renews The gloss in gorge and range.

Five years ago! I hardly know How they have slipped away, Since here we watched at ebb and flow The waters of the Bay;

And saw, with eyes of little faith, From cumbered summits fade The rainbow and the rainbow wraith, That shadow of a shade.

For Love and Youth were vext with doubt, Like ships on driving seas, And in those days the heart gave out Unthankful similes.

But let it be! I've often said His lot was hardly cast Who never turned a happy head To an unhappy Past—

Who never turned a face of light To cares beyond recall: He only fares in sorer plight Who hath no Past at all!

So take my faith, and let it stand Between us for a sign That five bright years have known the land Since yonder tumbled line

Of seacliff took our troubled talk— The words at random thrown, And Echo lived about this walk Of gap and slimy stone.

Here first we learned the Love which leaves No lack or loss behind, The dark, sweet Love which woos the eves And haunts the morning wind.

And roves with runnels in the dell, And houses by the wave What time the storm hath struck the fell And Terror fills the cave—

A Love, you know, that lives and lies For moments past control, And mellows through the Poet's eyes And sweetens in his soul.

Here first we faced a briny breeze, What time the middle gale Went shrilling over whitened seas With flying towers of sail.

And here we heard the plovers call As shattered pauses came, When Heaven showed a fiery wall With sheets of wasted flame.

Here grebe and gull and heavy glede Passed eastward far away, The while the wind, with slackened speed, Drooped with the dying Day.

And here our friendship, like a tree, Perennial grew and grew, Till you were glad to live for me, And I to live for you.



For Ever



Out of the body for ever, Wearily sobbing, "Oh, whither?" A Soul that hath wasted its chances Floats on the limitless ether.

Lost in dim, horrible blankness; Drifting like wind on a sea, Untraversed and vacant and moaning, Nor shallow nor shore on the lee!

Helpless, unfriended, forsaken; Haunted and tracked by the Past, With fragments of pitiless voices, And desolate faces aghast!

One saith—"It is well that he goeth Naked and fainting with cold, Who worshipped his sweet-smelling garments, Arrayed with the cunning of old!

"Hark! how he crieth, my brothers, With pain for the glittering things He saw on the shoulders of Rulers, And the might in the mouths of the Kings!

"This Soul hath been one of the idlers Who wait with still hands, when they lack For Fortune, like Joseph, to throw them The cup thrust in Benjamin's sack.

"Now, had he been faithful in striving, And warring with Wrong to the sword, He must have passed over these spaces Caught up in the arms of the Lord."

A second: "Lo, Passion was wilful; And, glad with voluptuous sighs, He held it luxurious trouble To ache for luxurious eyes!

"She bound him, the woman resplendent; She withered his strength with her stare; And Faith hath been twisted and strangled With folds of her luminous hair!

"Was it well, O you wandering wailer, Abandoned in terrible space, To halt on the highway to Heaven Because of a glittering face?"

And another: "Behold, he was careful: He faltered to think of his Youth, Dejected and weary and footsore, Alone on the dim road to Truth.

"If the way had been shorter and greener And brighter, he might have been brave; But the goal was too far and he fainted, Like Peter with Christ on the wave!"

Beyond the wild haunts of the mockers— Far in the distance and gray, Floateth that sorrowful spirit Away, and away, and away.

Pale phantoms fly past it, like shadows: Dim eyes that are blinded with tears; Old faces all white with affliction— The ghosts of the wasted dead years!

"Soul that hath ruined us, shiver And moan when you know us," they cry— "Behold, I was part of thy substance!"— "And I"—saith another—"and I!"

Drifting from starless abysses Into the ether sublime, Where is no upward nor downward, Nor region nor record of Time!

Out of the Body for ever No refuge—no succour nor stay— Floated that sorrowful Spirit Away, and away, and away.



Sonnets



To N. D. Stenhouse, Esq.

Dark days have passed, but you who taught me then To look upon the world with trustful eyes, Are not forgotten! Quick to sympathise With noble thoughts, I've dreamt of moments when Your low voice filled with strains of fairer skies! Stray breaths of Grecian song that went and came, Like floating fragrance from some quiet glen In those far hills which shine with classic fame Of passioned nymphs and grand-browed god-like men! I sometimes fear my heart hath lost the same Sweet sense of harmony; but this I know That Beauty waits on you where'er you go, Because she loveth child-like Faith! Her bowers Are rich for it with glad perennial flowers.



Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A lofty Type of all her sex, I ween, My English brothers, though your wayward race Now slight the Soul that never wore a screen, And loved too well to keep her noble place! Ah, bravest Woman that our World hath seen (A light in spaces wild and tempest-tost), In every verse of thine, behold, we trace The full reflection of an earnest face And hear the scrawling of an eager pen! O sisters! knowing what you've loved and lost, I ask where shall we find its like, and when? That dear heart with its passion sorrow-crost, And pathos rippling, like a brook in June Amongst the roses of a windless noon.



Sir Walter Scott

The Bard of ancient lore! Like one forlorn, He turned, enamoured, to the silent Past; And searching down its mazes gray and vast, As you might find the blossom by the thorn, He found fair things in barren places cast And brought them up into the light of morn. Lo! Truth, resplendent, as a tropic dawn, Shines always through his wond'rous pictures! Hence The many quick emotions which are born Of an Imagination so intense! The chargers' hoofs come tearing up the sward— The claymores rattle in the restless sheath; You close his page, and almost look abroad For Highland glens and windy leagues of heath.

Let me here endeavour to draw the fair distinctions between the great writers, or some of the great writers, of Scott's day; borrowing at the same time a later name. I shall start with that strange figure, Percy Bysshe Shelley. He was too subjective to be merely a descriptive poet, too metaphysical to be vague, and too imaginative to be didactic. As Scott was the most dramatic, Wordsworth the most profound, Byron the most passionate, so Shelley was the most spiritual writer of his time. Scott's poetry was the result of vivid emotion, Wordsworth's of quiet observation, Byron's of passion, and Shelley's of passion and reflection. Scott races like a torrent, Byron rolls like a sea, Wordsworth ripples into a lake, Tennyson flows like a river, and Shelley gushes like a fountain. As Tennyson is the most harmonious, so Shelley is the most musical of modern bards. I fear to touch upon that grand old man, Coleridge; he appears to me so utterly apart from his contemporaries. He stands, like Teneriffe, alone. Can I liken him to a magnificent thunder-scorched crag with its summits eternally veiled in vapour?—H.K.



The Bereaved One



She sleeps—and I see through a shadowy haze, Where the hopes of the past and the dreams that I cherished In the sunlight of brighter and happier days, As the mists of the morning, have faded and perished. She sleeps—and will waken to bless me no more; Her life has died out like the gleam on the river, And the bliss that illumined my bosom of yore Has fled from its dwelling for ever and ever.

I had thought in this life not to travel alone, I had hoped for a mate in my joys and my sorrow— But the face of my idol is colder than stone, And my path will be lonely without her to-morrow. I was hoping to bask in the light of her smile When Fortune and Fame with their laurels had crown'd me— But the fire in her eyes has been dying the while, And the thorns of affliction are planted around me.

There are those that may vent all their grief in their tears And weep till the past is away in the distance; But this wreck of the dream of my sunshiny years Will hang like a cloud o'er the rest of existence. In the depth of my soul she shall ever remain; My thoughts, like the angels, shall hover about her; For our hearts have been reft and divided in pain And what is this world to be left in without her?



Dungog



Here, pent about by office walls And barren eyes all day, 'Tis sweet to think of waterfalls Two hundred miles away!

I would not ask you, friends, to brook An old, old truth from me, If I could shut a Poet's book Which haunts me like the Sea!

He saith to me, this Poet saith, So many things of light, That I have found a fourfold faith, And gained a twofold sight.

He telleth me, this Poet tells, How much of God is seen Amongst the deep-mossed English dells, And miles of gleaming green.

From many a black Gethsemane, He leads my bleeding feet To where I hear the Morning Sea Round shining spaces beat!

To where I feel the wind, which brings A sound of running creeks, And blows those dark, unpleasant things, The sorrows, from my cheeks.

I'll shut mine eyes, my Poet choice, And spend the day with thee; I'll dream thou art a fountain voice Which God hath sent to me!

And far beyond these office walls My thoughts shall even stray, And watch the wilful waterfalls, Two hundred miles away.

For, if I know not of thy deeds, And darling Kentish downs, I've seen the deep, wild Dungog fells, And hate the heart of towns!

Then, ho! for beaming bank and brake, Far-folded hills among, Where Williams,* like a silver snake, Draws winding lengths along!

— * A tributary of the river Hunter, after Hunter, on which Dungog stands. —

And ho! for stormy mountain cones, Where headlong Winter leaps, What time the gloomy swamp-oak groans, And weeps and wails and weeps.

There, friends, are spots of sleepy green, Where one may hear afar, O'er fifteen leagues of waste, I ween, A moaning harbour bar!

(The sea that breaks, and beats and shakes The caverns, howling loud, Beyond the midnight Myall Lakes,* And half-awakened Stroud!)**

— * A chain of lakes near Port Stephens, N.S.W. ** A town on the Karuah, which flows into Port Stephens. —

There, through the fretful autumn days, Beneath a cloudy sun, Comes rolling down rain-rutted ways, The wind, Euroclydon!

While rattles over riven rocks The thunder, harsh and dry; And blustering gum and brooding box Are threshing at the sky!

And then the gloom doth vex the sight With crude, unshapely forms Which hold throughout the yelling night A fellowship with storms!

But here are shady tufts and turns, Where sumptuous Summer lies (By reaches brave with flags and ferns) With large, luxuriant eyes.

And here, another getteth ease— Our Spring, so rarely seen, Who shows us in the cedar trees A glimpse of golden green.

What time the flapping bats have trooped Away like ghosts to graves, And darker growths than Night are cooped In silent, hillside caves.

Ah, Dungog, dream of darling days, 'Tis better thou should'st be A far-off thing to love and praise— A boon from Heaven to me!

For, let me say that when I look With wearied eyes on men, I think of one unchanging nook, And find my faith again.



Deniehy's Lament



Spirit of Loveliness! Heart of my heart! Flying so far from me, Heart of my heart! Above the eastern hill, I know the red leaves thrill, But thou art distant still, Heart of my heart!

Sinning, I've searched for thee, Heart of my heart! Sinning, I've dreamed of thee, Heart of my heart! I know no end nor gain; amongst the paths of pain I follow thee in vain, Heart of my heart!

Much have I lost for thee, Heart of my heart! Not counting the cost for thee, Heart of my heart! Through all this year of years thy form as mist appears, So blind am I with tears, Heart of my heart!

Mighty and mournful now, Heart of my heart! Cometh the Shadow-Face, Heart of my heart! The friends I've left for thee, their sad eyes trouble me— I cannot bear to be, Heart of my heart!



Deniehy's Dream



Just when the western light Flickered out dim, Flushing the mountain-side, Summit and rim, A last, low, lingering gleam Fell on a yellow stream, And then there came a dream Shining to him.

Splendours miraculous Mixed with his pain All like a vision of Radiance and rain! He faced the sea, the skies, Old star-like thoughts did rise; But tears were in his eyes, Stifled in vain.

Infinite tokens of Sorrows set free Came in the dreaming wind Far from the sea! Past years about him trooped, Fair phantoms round him stooped, Sweet faces o'er him drooped Sad as could be!

"This is our brother now: Sisters, deplore Man without purpose, like Ship without shore! He tracks false fire," one said, "But weep you—he must tread Whereto he may be led— Lost evermore."

"Look," said another, "Summit and slope Burn, in the mountain-land— Basement and cope! Till daylight, dying dim, Faints on the world's red rim, We'll tint this Dream for him Even—with hope!"



Cui Bono?



A clamour by day and a whisper by night, And the Summer comes—with the shining noons, With the ripple of leaves, and the passionate light Of the falling suns and the rising moons.

And the ripple of leaves and the purple and red Die for the grapes and the gleam of the wheat, And then you may pause with the splendours, or tread On the yellow of Autumn with lingering feet.

You may halt with the face to a flying sea, Or stand like a gloom in the gloom of things, When the moon drops down and the desolate lea Is troubled with thunder and desolate wings.

But alas for the grey of the wintering eves, And the pondering storms and the ruin of rains; And alas for the Spring like a flame in the leaves, And the green of the woods and the gold of the lanes!

For, seeing all pathos is mixed with our past, And knowing all sadness of storm and of surge Is salt with our tears for the faith that was cast Away like a weed o'er a bottomless verge,

I am lost for these tokens, and wearied of ways Wedded with ways that are waning amain, Like those that are filled with the trouble that slays; Having drunk of their life to the lees that are pain.

And yet I would write to you! I who have turned Away with a bitter disguise in the eyes, And bitten the lips that have trembled and burned Alone for you, darling, and breaking with sighs.

Because I have touched with my fingers a dress That was Beauty's; because that the breath of thy mouth Is sweetness that lingers; because of each tress Showered down on thy shoulders; because of the drouth

That came in thy absence; because of the lights In the Passion that grew to a level with thee— Is it well that our lives have been filled with the nights And the days which have made it a sorrow to be?

Yea, thus having tasted all love with thy lips, And having the warmth of thy hand in mine own, Is it well that we wander, like parallel ships, With the silence between us, aloof and alone?

With my face to the wall shall I sleep and forget The shadow, the sweet sense of slumber denies, If even I marvel at kindness, and fret, And start while the tears are all wet in mine eyes?

Oh, darling of mine, standing here with the Past, Trampled under our feet in the bitterest ways, Is this speech like a ghost that it keeps us aghast On the track of the thorns and in alien days?

When I know of you, love, how you break with our pain, And sob for the sorrow of sorrowful dreams, Like a stranger who stands in the wind and the rain And watches and wails by impassable streams:

Like a stranger who droops on a brink and deplores, With famishing hands and frost in the feet, For the laughter alive on the opposite shores With the fervour of fire and the wind of the wheat.



In Hyde Park

— * [This and the next poem were written for "Prince Alfred's Wreath", published in Sydney in 1868. While in Sydney, the Prince was shot at by a fanatic and slightly injured.] —



They come from the highways of labour, From labour and leisure they come; But not to the sound of the tabor, And not to the beating of drum.

By thousands the people assemble With faces of shadow and flame, And spirits that sicken and tremble Because of their sorrow and shame!

Their voice is the voice of a nation; But lo, it is muffled and mute, For the sword of a strong tribulation Hath stricken their peace to the root.

The beautiful tokens of pity Have utterly fled from their eyes, For the demon who darkened the city Is curst in the breaking of sighs.

Their thoughts are as one; and together They band in their terrible ire, Like legions of wind in fierce weather Whose footsteps are thunder and fire.

But for ever, like springs of sweet water That sings in the grass-hidden leas As soft as the voice of a daughter, There cometh a whisper from these.

There cometh from shame and dejection, From wrath and the blackness thereof, A word at whose heart is affection With a sighing whose meaning is love.

In the land of distress and of danger, With their foreheads in sackcloth and dust, They weep for the wounds of the Stranger And mourn o'er the ashes of trust!

They weep for the Prince, and the Mother Whose years have been smitten of grief— For the son and the lord and the brother, And the widow, the queen and the chief!

But he, having moved like a splendour Amongst them in happier days, With the grace that is manly and tender And the kindness that passes all praise,

Will think, in the sickness and shadow, Of greetings in forest and grove, And welcome in city and meadow, Nor couple this sin with their love.

For the sake of the touching devotion That sobs through the depths of their woe, This son of the kings of the ocean, As he came to them, trusting will go.



Australia Vindex



Who cometh from fields of the south With raiment of weeping and woe, And a cry of the heart in her mouth, And a step that is muffled and slow?

Her paths are the paths of the sun; Her house is a beautiful light; But she boweth her head, and is one With the daughters of dolour and night.

She is fairer than flowers of love; She is fiercer than wind-driven flame; And God from His thunders above Hath smitten the soul of her shame.

She saith to the bloody one curst With the fever of evil, she saith "My sorrow shall strangle thee first With an agony wilder than death!

"My sorrow shall hack at thy life! Thou shalt wrestle with wraiths of thy sin, And sleep on a pillow of strife With demons without and within!"

She whispers, "He came to the land A lord and a lover of me— A son of the waves with a hand As fearless and frank as the sea.

"On the shores of the stranger he stood With the sweetness of youth on his face; Till there started a fiend from the wood, Who stabbed at the peace of the place!

"Because of the dastardly thing Thou hast done in the sight of the day, All horrors that sicken and sting Shall make thee for ever their prey.

"Because of the beautiful trust Destroyed by a devil like thee, Thy bed shall be low in the dust And my heel as a shackle shall be!

"Because" (and she mutters it deep Who curseth the coward in chains) "Thou hast stricken and murdered our sleep, Thy sleep shall be perished with pains;

"Thy sleep shall be broken and sharp And filled with fierce spasms and dreams, And shadow shall haunt thee and harp On hellish and horrible themes!

"I will set my right hand on thy neck And my foot on thy body, nor bate, Till thy name shall become as a wreck And a byword for hisses and hate!"



Ned the Larrikin



A song that is bitter with grief—a ballad as pale as the light That comes with the fall of the leaf, I sing to the shadows to-night.

The laugh on the lyrical lips is sadder than laughter of ghosts Chained back in the pits of eclipse by wailing unnameable coasts.

I gathered this wreath at the close of day that was dripping with dew; The blossom you take for a rose was plucked from the branch of a yew.

The flower you fancy is sweet has black in the place of the red; For this is a song of the street—the ballad of larrikin Ned.

He stands at the door of the sink that gapes like a fissure of death: The face of him fiery with drink, the flame of its fume in his breath.

He thrives in the sickening scenes that the devil has under his ban; A rascal not out of his teens with the voice of a vicious old man.

A blossom of blackness, indeed—of Satan a sinister fruit! Far better the centipede's seed—the spawn of the adder or newt.

Than terror of talon or fang this imp of the alleys is worse: His speech is a poisonous slang—his phrases are coloured with curse.

The prison, the shackles, and chain are nothing to him and his type: He sings in the shadow of pain, and laughs at the impotent stripe.

There under the walls of the gaols the half of his life has been passed. He was born in the bosom of bale—he will go to the gallows at last.

No angel in Paradise kneels for him at the feet of the Lord; A Nemesis follows his heels in the flame of a sinister sword.

The sins of his fathers have brought this bitterness into his days— His life is accounted as naught; his soul is a brand for the blaze.

Did ever his countenance change? Did ever a moment supreme Illumine his face with a strange ineffably beautiful dream?

Before he was caught in the breach—in the pits of iniquity grim, Did ever the Deity reach the hand of a Father to him?

Behold, it is folly to say the evil was born in the blood; The rose that is cankered to-day was once an immaculate bud!

There might have been blossom and fruit—a harvest exceedingly fair, Instead of the venomous root, and flowers that startle and scare.

The burden—the burden is their's who, watching this garden about, Assisted the thistle and tares, and stamped the divinity out!

A growth like the larrikin Ned—a brutal unqualified clod, Is what ye are helping who'd tread on the necks of the prophets of God.

No more than a damnable weed ye water and foster, ye fools, Whose aim is to banish indeed the beautiful Christ from the schools.

The merciful, wonderful light of the seraph Religion behold These evil ones shut from the sight of the children who weep in the cold!

But verily trouble shall fall on such, and their portion shall be A harvest of hyssop and gall, and sorrow as wild as the sea.

For the rose of a radiant star is over the hills of the East, And the fathers are heartened for war— the prophet, the Saint, and the priest.

For a spirit of Deity makes the holy heirophants strong; And a morning of majesty breaks, and blossoms in colour and song.

Yea, now, by the altars august the elders are shining supreme; And brittle and barren as dust is the spiritless secular dream.

It's life as a vapour shall end as a fog in the fall of the year; For the Lord is a Father and Friend, and the day of His coming is near.



In Memoriam—Nicol Drysdale Stenhouse



Shall he, on whom the fair lord, Delphicus, Turned gracious eyes and countenance of shine, Be left to lie without a wreath from us, To sleep without a flower upon his shrine?

Shall he, the son of that resplendent Muse, Who gleams, high priestess of sweet scholarship, Still slumber on, and every bard refuse To touch a harp or move a tuneful lip?

No! let us speak, though feeble be our speech, And let us sing, though faltering be our strain, And haply echoes of the song may reach And please the soul we cannot see again.

We sing the beautiful, the radiant life That shone amongst us like the quiet moon, A fine exception in this sphere of strife, Whose time went by us like a hallowed tune.

Yon tomb, whereon the moonlit grasses sigh, Hides from our view the shell of one whose days Were set throughout to that grand harmony Which fills all minor spirits with amaze.

This was the man whose dear, lost face appears To rise betimes like some sweet evening dream, And holy memories of faultless years, And touching hours of quietness supreme.

He, having learned in full the golden rule, Which guides great lives, stood fairly by the same, Unruffled as the Oriental pool, Before the bright, disturbing angel came.

In Learning's halls he walked—a leading lord, He trod the sacred temple's inner floors; But kindness beamed in every look and word He gave the humblest Levite at the doors.

When scholars poor and bowed beneath the ban, Which clings as fire, were like to faint and fall, This was the gentle, good Samaritan, Who stopped and held a helping hand to all.

No term that savoured of unfriendliness, No censure through those pure lips ever passed; He saw the erring spirit's keen distress, And hoped for it, long-suffering to the last.

Moreover, in these days when Faith grows faint, And Heaven seems blurred by speculation wild, He, blameless as a mediaeval saint, Had all the trust which sanctifies a child.

But now he sleeps, and as the years go by, We'll often pause above his sacred dust, And think how grand a thing it is to die The noble death which deifies the just.



Rizpah



Said one who led the spears of swarthy Gad, To Jesse's mighty son: "My Lord, O King, I, halting hard by Gibeon's bleak-blown hill Three nightfalls past, saw dark-eyed Rizpah, clad In dripping sackcloth, pace with naked feet The flinty rock where lie unburied yet The sons of her and Saul; and he whose post Of watch is in those places desolate, Got up, and spake unto thy servant here Concerning her—yea, even unto me:— 'Behold,' he said, 'the woman seeks not rest, Nor fire, nor food, nor roof, nor any haunt Where sojourns man; but rather on yon rock Abideth, like a wild thing, with the slain, And watcheth them, lest evil wing or paw Should light upon the comely faces dead, To spoil them of their beauty. Three long moons Hath Rizpah, daughter of Aiah, dwelt With drouth and cold and rain and wind by turns, And many birds there are that know her face, And many beasts that flee not at her step, And many cunning eyes do look at her From serpent-holes and burrows of the rat. Moreover,' spake the scout, 'her skin is brown And sere by reason of exceeding heat; And all her darkness of abundant hair Is shot with gray, because of many nights When grief hath crouched in fellowship with frost Upon that desert rock. Yea, thus and thus Fares Rizpah,' said the spy, O King, to me."

But David, son of Jesse, spake no word, But turned himself, and wept against the wall.

We have our Rizpahs in these modern days Who've lost their households through no sin of theirs, On bloody fields and in the pits of war; And though their dead were sheltered in the sod By friendly hands, these have not suffered less Than she of Judah did, nor is their love Surpassed by hers. The Bard who, in great days Afar off yet, shall set to epic song The grand pathetic story of the strife That shook America for five long years, And struck its homes with desolation—he Shall in his lofty verse relate to men How, through the heat and havoc of that time, Columbia's Rachael in her Rama wept Her children, and would not be comforted; And sing of Woman waiting day by day With that high patience that no man attains, For tidings, from the bitter field, of spouse, Or son, or brother, or some other love Set face to face with Death. Moreover, he Shall say how, through her sleepless hours at night, When rain or leaves were dropping, every noise Seemed like an omen; every coming step Fell on her ears like a presentiment And every hand that rested on the door She fancied was a herald bearing grief; While every letter brought a faintness on That made her gasp before she opened it, To read the story written for her eyes, And cry, or brighten, over its contents.



Kiama Revisited



We stood by the window and hearkened To the voice of the runnels sea-driven, While, northward, the mountain-heads darkened, Girt round with the clamours of heaven. One peak with the storm at his portal Loomed out to the left of his brothers: Sustained, and sublime, and immortal, A king, and the lord of the others! Beneath him a cry from the surges Rang shrill, like a clarion calling; And about him, the wind of the gorges Went falling, and rising, and falling. But I, as the roofs of the thunder Were cloven with manifold fires, Turned back from the wail and the wonder, And dreamed of old days and desires. A song that was made, I remembered— A song that was made in the gloaming Of suns which are sunken and numbered With times that my heart hath no home in. But I said to my Dream, "I am calmer Than waters asleep on the river. I can look at the hills of Kiama And bury that dead Past for ever." "Past sight, out of mind, alienated," Said the Dream to me, wearily sighing, "Ah, where is the Winter you mated To Love, its decline and its dying? Here, five years ago, there were places That knew of her cunning to grieve you, But alas! for her eyes and her graces; And wherefore and how did she leave you! Have you hidden the ways of this Woman, Her whispers, her glances, her power To hold you, as demon holds human, Chained back to the day and the hour? Say, where have you buried her sweetness, Her coldness for youth and its yearning? Is the sleep of your Sorrow a witness She is passed all the roads of returning? Was she left with her beauty, O lover, And the shreds of your passion about her, Beyond reach and where none can discover? Ah! what is the wide world without her?"

I answered, "Behold, I was broken, Because of this bright, bitter maiden, Who helped me with never a token To beat down the dark I had strayed in. She knew that my soul was entangled By what was too fiery to bear then; Nor cared how she withered and strangled My life with her eyes and her hair then. But I have not leapt to the level Where light and the shadows dissever? She is fair, but a beautiful devil That I have forgotten for ever!" "She is sweeter than music or singing," Said the Dream to me, heavily moaning, "Her voice in your slumber is ringing; And where is the end—the atoning? Can you look at the red of the roses; Are you friend of the fields and the flowers? Can you bear the faint day as it closes And dies into twilighted hours? Do you love the low notes of the ballad She sang in her darling old fashion?" And I whispered, "O Dream, I am pallid And perished because of my passion." But the Wraith withered out, and the rifted Gray hills gleaming over the granges, Stood robed with moon-rainbows that shifted And shimmered resplendent with changes! While, for the dim ocean ledges, The storm and the surges were blended, Sheer down the bluff sides of the ridges Spent winds and the waters descended. The forests, the crags, and the forelands, Grew sweet with the stars after raining; But out in the north-lying moorlands, I heard the lone plover complaining. From these to Kiama, half-hidden In a yellow sea-mist on the slopings Of hills, by the torrents be-ridden, I turned with my aches and my hopings, Saying this—"There are those that are taken By Fate to wear Love as a raiment Whose texture is trouble with breaking Of youth and no hope of repayment."



Passing Away



The spirit of beautiful faces, The light on the forehead of Love, And the spell of past visited places, And the songs and the sweetness thereof; These, touched by a hand that is hoary; These, vext with a tune of decay, Are spoiled of their glow and their glory; And the burden is, "Passing away! Passing away!"

Old years and their changes come trooping At nightfall to you and to me, When Autumn sits faded and drooping By the sorrowful waves of the sea. Faint phantoms that float in the gloaming, Return with the whispers that say, "The end which is quiet is coming; Ye are weary, and passing away! Passing away!"

It is hard to awake and discover The swiftness that waits upon Time; But youth and its beauty are over, And Love has a sigh in its rhyme. The Life that looks back and remembers, Is troubled and tired and gray, And sick of the sullen Decembers, Whose burden is, "Passing away! Passing away!"

We have wandered and wandered together, And our joys have been many and deep; But seasons of alien weather Have ended in longings for sleep. Pale purpose and perishing passion, With never a farewell to say, Die down into sobs of suppression; The burden is, "Passing away! Passing away!"

We loved the soft tangle of tresses, The lips that were fain and afraid. And the silence of far wildernesses, With their dower of splendour and shade! For faces of sweetness we waited, And days of delight and delay, Ere Time and its voices were mated To a voice that sighs, "Passing away! Passing away!"

O years interwoven with stories Of strong aspirations and high, How fleet and how false were the glories That lived in your limited sky! Here, sitting by ruinous altars Of Promise, what word shall we say To the speech that the rainy wind falters, Whose burden is, "Passing away! Passing away!"



James Lionel Michael



Be his rest the rest he sought: Calm and deep. Let no wayward word or thought Vex his sleep.

Peace—the peace that no man knows— Now remains Where the wasted woodwind blows, Wakes and wanes.

Latter leaves, in Autumn's breath, White and sere, Sanctify the scholar's death, Lying here.

Soft surprises of the sun— Swift, serene— O'er the mute grave-grasses run, Cold and green.

Wet and cold the hillwinds moan; Let them rave! Love that takes a tender tone Lights his grave.

He who knew the friendless face Sorrows shew, Often sought this quiet place Years ago.

One, too apt to faint and fail, Loved to stray Here where water-shallows wail Day by day.

Care that lays her heavy hand On the best, Bound him with an iron hand; Let him rest.

Life, that flieth like a tune, Left his eyes, As an April afternoon Leaves the skies.

Peace is best! If life was hard Peace came next. Thus the scholar, thus the bard, Lies unvext.

Safely housed at last from rack— Far from pain; Who would wish to have him back? Back again?

Let the forms he loved so well Hover near; Shine of hill and shade of dell, Year by year.

All the wilful waifs that make Beauty's face, Let them sojourn for his sake Round this place.

Flying splendours, singing streams, Lutes and lights, May they be as happy dreams: Sounds and sights;

So that Time to Love may say, "Wherefore weep? Sweet is sleep at close of day! Death is sleep."



Elijah



Into that good old Hebrew's soul sublime The spirit of the wilderness had passed; For where the thunders of imperial Storm Rolled over mighty hills; and where the caves Of cloud-capt Horeb rang with hurricane; And where wild-featured Solitude did hold Supreme dominion; there the prophet saw And heard and felt that large mysterious life Which lies remote from cities, in the woods And rocks and waters of the mountained Earth. And so it came to pass, Elijah caught That scholarship which gave him power to see And solve the deep divinity that lies With Nature, under lordly forest-domes, And by the seas; and so his spirit waxed, Made strong and perfect by its fellowship With God's authentic world, until his eyes Became a splendour, and his face was as A glory with the vision of the seer. Thereafter, thundering in the towns of men, His voice, a trumpet of the Lord, did shake All evil to its deep foundations. He, The hairy man who ran before the king, Like some wild spectre fleeting through the storm, What time Jezreel's walls were smitten hard By fourfold wind and rain; 'twas he who slew The liars at the altars of the gods, And, at the very threshold of a throne, Heaped curses on its impious lord; 'twas he Jehovah raised to grapple Sin that stalked, Arrayed about with kingship; and to strike Through gold and purple, to the heart of it. And therefore Falsehood quaked before his face, And Tyranny grew dumb at sight of him, And Lust and Murder raged abroad no more; But where these were he walked, a shining son Of Truth, and cleared and sanctified the land.

Not always was the dreaded Tishbite stern; The scourge of despots, when he saw the face Of Love in sorrow by the bed of Death, Grew tender as a maid; and she who missed A little mouth that used to catch, and cling— A small, sweet trouble—at her yearning breast;* Yea, she of Zarephath, who sat and mourned The silence of a birdlike voice that made Her flutter with the joy of motherhood In other days, she came to know the heart Of Pity that the rugged prophet had. And when he took the soft, still child away, And laid it on his bed; and in the dark Sent up a pleading voice to Heaven; and drew The little body to his breast; and held It there until the bright, young soul returned To earth again; the gladdened woman saw A radiant beauty in Elijah's eyes, And knew the stranger was a man of God.

— * [Note.—These lines were suggested by a passage in an unpublished drama by my friend, the author of "Ashtaroth" {A. L. Gordon}—

"And she who missed A little mouth that used to catch and cling— A small sweet trouble—at her yearning breast."

The poem to which I am indebted is entitled "The Road to Avernus". It is only fair that I should make this acknowledgment.—H.K.] —

We want a new Elijah in these days, A mighty spirit clad in shining arms Of Truth—yea, one whose lifted voice would break, Like thunder, on our modern Apathy, And shake the fanes of Falsehood from their domes Down to the firm foundations; one whose words, Directly coming from a source divine, Would fall like flame where Vice holds festival, And search the inmost heart of nations; one Made godlike with that scholarship supreme Which comes of suffering; one, with eyes to see The very core of things; with hands to grasp High opportunities, and use them for His glorious mission; one, whose face inspired Would wear a terror for the lying soul, But seem a glory in the sight of those Who make the light and sweetness of the world, And are the high priests of the Beautiful. Yea, one like this we want amongst us now To drive away the evil fogs that choke Our social atmosphere, and leave it clear And pure and hallowed with authentic light.



Manasseh



Manasseh, lord of Judah, and the son Of him who, favoured of Jehovah, saw At midnight, when the skies were flushed with fire, The splendid mystery of the shining air, That flamed above the black Assyrian camps, And breathed upon the evil hosts at rest, And shed swift violent sleep into their eyes; Manasseh, lord of Judah, when he came To fortify himself upon his throne, And saw great strength was gathered unto him, Let slip satanic passions he had nursed For years and years; and lo! the land that He Who thundered on the Oriental Mount Girt round with awful light, had set apart For Jacob's seed—the land that Moses strained On Nebo's topmost cone to see, grew black Beneath the shadow of despotic Sin That stalked on foot-ways dashed with human blood, And mocked high Heaven by audacious fires; And as when Storm, that voice of God, is loud Within the mountained Syrian wilderness, There flits a wailing through the wilted pines, So in the city of the wicked king A voice, like Abel's crying from the ground, Made sorrow of the broken evening winds, And darkness of the fair young morning lights, And silence in the homes of hunted men.

But in a time when grey-winged Autumn fogs Shut off the sun from Carmel's seaward side, And fitful gusts did speak within the trees Of rain beyond the waters, while the priests In Hinnom's echoing valley offered up Unhallowed sacrifices unto gods Of brass and stone, there came a trumpet's voice Along the bald, bleak northern flats; and then A harnessed horseman, riding furiously, Dashed down the ridge with an exceeding cry Of "Esarhaddon, Esarhaddon! haste Away, ye elders, lo, the swarthy foe Six leagues from hence hath made the land a fire, And all the dwellers of the hollowed hills Are flying hitherwards before a flame Of fifty thousand swords!" At this the men Of Baal turned about, set face, and fled Towards the thickets, where the impious king, Ringed round by grey, gaunt wizards with the brand Of Belial on their features, cowered low, And hid himself amongst the tangled thorns And shivered in a bitter seaborn wind, And caught the whiteness of a deathly fear.

There where the ash-pale forest-leaves were touched By Morning's shining fingers, and the inland depths Sent out rain-plenished voices west and south, The steel-clad scouts of Esarhaddon came And searched, and found Manasseh whom they bound And dragged before the swart Assyrian king; And Esarhaddon, scourge of Heaven, sent To strange Evil at its chiefest fanes, And so fulfil a dread divine decree, Took Judah's despot, fettered hand and foot, And cast him bleeding on a dungeon floor Hard by where swift Euphrates chafes his brink And gleams from cataract to cataract, And gives the gale a deep midwinter tone.

So fared Manasseh for the sins which brought Pale-featured Desolation to the tents Of alienated Judah; but one night, When ninety moons of wild unrest had passed, The humbled son of Hezekiah turned Himself towards the wall, and prayed and wept; And in an awful darkness face to face With God, he said—"I know, O Lord of Hosts, That Thou art wise and just and kind, and I Am shapen in iniquity; but by The years of black captivity, whose days And nights have marked my spirit passing through Fierce furnaces of suffering, and seen It groping in blind shadows with a hope To reach Thy Hand—by these, O Father, these That brought the swift, sad silver to my head Which should have come with Age—which came with Pain, I pray Thee hear these supplications now, And stoop and lift me from my low estate, And lend me this once my dominionship, So I may strive to live the bad Past down, And lead henceforth a white and wholesome life, And be thy contrite servant, Lord, indeed!"

The prayer was not in vain: for while the storm Sang high above the dim Chaldean domes— While, in the pines, the spirit of the rain Sobbed fitfully, Jehovah's angel came And made a splendour of the dungeon walls, And smote the bars, and led Manasseh forth And caught him up, nor set him down again Until the turrets of Jerusalem Sprang white before the flying travellers Against the congregated morning hills.

And he, the broken man made whole again, Was faithful to his promise. Every day Thereafter passing, bore upon its wings Some shining record of his faultless life, Some brightness of a high resolve fulfilled; And in good time, when all the land had rest, He found that he had lived the bad Past down, And gave God praise, and with his fathers slept.

Thus ends the story of Manasseh. If This verse should catch the eyes of one whose sin Lies heavy on his soul; who finds himself A shame-faced alien when he walks abroad, A moping shadow when he sits at home; Who has no human friends; who, day by day, Is smitten down by icy level looks From that cold Virtue which is merciless Because it knoweth not what wrestling with A fierce temptation means; if such a one Should read my tale of Hezekiah's son, Let him take heart, and gather up his strength, And step above men's scorn, and find his way By paths of fire, as brave Manasseh did, Up to the white heights of a blameless life; And it will come to pass that in the face Of grey old enmities, whose partial eyes Are blind to reformation, he will taste A sweetness in his thoughts, and live his time Arrayed with the efficient armour of That noble power which grows of self-respect, And makes a man a pillar in the world.



Caroline Chisholm

"A perfect woman, nobly planned, To warn, to comfort, and command."



The Priests and the Levites went forth, to feast at the courts of the Kings; They were vain of their greatness and worth, and gladdened with glittering things; They were fair in the favour of gold, and they walked on, with delicate feet, Where, famished and faint with the cold, the women fell down in the street.

The Priests and the Levites looked round, all vexed and perplexed at the cries Of the maiden who crouched to the ground with the madness of want in her eyes; And they muttered—"Few praises are earned when good hath been wrought in the dark; While the backs of the people are turned, we choose not to loiter nor hark."

Moreover they said—"It is fair that our deeds in the daylight should shine: If we feasted you, who would declare that we gave you our honey and wine." They gathered up garments of gold, and they stepped with their delicate feet, And the women who famished with cold, were left with the snow in the street.

The winds and the rains were abroad—the homeless looked vainly for alms; And they prayed in the dark to the Lord, with agony clenched in their palms, "There is none of us left that is whole," they cried, through their faltering breath, "We are clothed with a sickness of soul, and the shape of the shadow of death."

He heard them, and turned to the earth!— "I am pained," said the Lord, "at the woe Of my children so smitten with dearth; but the night of their trouble shall go." He called on His Chosen to come: she listened, and hastened to rise; And He charged her to build them a home, where the tears should be dried from their eyes.

God's servant came forth from the South: she told of a plentiful land; And wisdom was set in her mouth, and strength in the thews of her hand. She lifted them out of their fear, and they thought her their Moses and said: "We shall follow you, sister, from here to the country of sunshine and bread."

She fed them, and led them away, through tempest and tropical heat, Till they reached the far regions of day, and sweet-scented spaces of wheat. She hath made them a home with her hand, and they bloom like the summery vines; For they eat of the fat of the land, and drink of its glittering wines.



Mount Erebus

(A Fragment)



A mighty theatre of snow and fire, Girt with perpetual Winter, and sublime By reason of that lordly solitude Which dwells for ever at the world's white ends; And in that weird-faced wilderness of ice, There is no human foot, nor any paw Or hoof of beast, but where the shrill winds drive The famished birds of storm across the tracts Whose centre is the dim mysterious Pole. Beyond—yea far beyond the homes of man, By water never dark with coming ships, Near seas that know not feather, scale, or fin, The grand volcano, like a weird Isaiah, Set in that utmost region of the Earth, Doth thunder forth the awful utterance, Whose syllables are flame; and when the fierce Antarctic Night doth hold dominionship Within her fastnessess, then round the cone Of Erebus a crown of tenfold light Appears; and shafts of marvellous splendour shoot Far out to east and west and south and north, Whereat a gorgeous dome of glory roofs Wild leagues of mountain and transfigured waves, And lends all things a beauty terrible.

Far-reaching lands, whereon the hand of Change Hath never rested since the world began, Lie here in fearful fellowship with cold And rain and tempest. Here colossal horns Of hill start up and take the polar fogs Shot through with flying stars of fire; and here, Above the dead-grey crescents topped with spires Of thunder-smoke, one half the heaven flames With that supremest light whose glittering life Is yet a marvel unto all but One— The Entity Almighty, whom we feel Is nearest us when we are face to face With Nature's features aboriginal, And in the hearing of her primal speech And in the thraldom of her primal power.

While like the old Chaldean king who waxed Insane with pride, we human beings grow To think we are the mightiest of the world, And lords of all terrestrial things, behold The sea rolls in with a superb disdain Upon our peopled shores, omnipotent; And while we set up things of clay and call Our idols gods; and while we boast or fume About the petty honours, or the poor, Pale disappointments of our meagre lives, Lo, changeless as Eternity itself, The grand Antarctic mountain looms outside All breathing life; and, with its awful speech, Is as an emblem of the Power Supreme, Whose thunders shake the boundless Universe, Whose lightnings make a terror of all Space.



Our Jack



Twelve years ago our Jack was lost. All night, Twelve years ago, the Spirit of the Storm Sobbed round our camp. A wind of northern hills That hold a cold companionship with clouds Came down, and wrestled like a giant with The iron-featured woods; and fall and ford, The night our Jack was lost, sent forth a cry Of baffled waters, where the Murray sucked The rain-replenished torrents at his source, And gathered strength, and started for the sea.

We took our Jack from Melbourne just two weeks Before this day twelve years ago. He left A home where Love upon the threshold paused, And wept across the shoulder of the lad, And blest us when we said we'd take good care To keep the idol of the house from harm. We were a band of three. We started thence To look for watered lands and pastures new, With faces set towards the down beyond Where cool Monaro's topmost mountain breaks The wings of many a seaward-going storm, And shapes them into wreaths of subtle fire. We were, I say, a band of three in all, With brother Tom for leader. Bright-eyed Jack, Who thought himself as big a man as Tom, Was self-elected second in command, And I was cook and groom. A week slipt by, Brimful of life—of health, and happiness; For though our progress northward had been slow, Because the country on the track was rough, No one amongst us let his spirits flag; Moreover, being young, and at the stage When all things novel wear a fine romance, We found in ridge and glen, and wood and rock And waterfall, and everything that dwells Outside with nature, pleasure of that kind Which only lives for those whose hearts are tired Of noisy cities, and are fain to feel The peace and power of the mighty hills.

The second week we crossed the upper fork Where Murray meets a river from the east; And there one evening dark with coming storm, We camped a furlong from the bank. Our Jack, The little man that used to sing and shout And start the merry echoes of the cliffs, And gravely help me to put up the tent, And try a thousand tricks and offices, That made me scold and laugh by turns—the pet Of sisters, and the youngest hope of one Who grew years older in a single night— Our Jack, I say, strayed off into the dusk, Lured by the noises of a waterfall; And though we hunted, shouting right and left, The whole night long, through wind and rain, and searched For five days afterwards, we never saw The lad again.

I turned to Tom and said, That wild fifth evening, "Which of us has heart Enough to put the saddle on our swiftest horse, And post away to Melbourne, there to meet And tell his mother we have lost her son? Or which of us can bear to stand and see The white affliction of a faded face, Made old by you and me? O, Tom, my boy, Her heart will break!" Tom moaned, but did not speak A word. He saddled horse, and galloped off. O, Jack! Jack! Jack! When bright-haired Benjamin Was sent to Egypt with his father's sons, Those rough half-brothers took more care of him Than we of you! But shall we never see Your happy face, my brave lad, any more? Nor hear you whistling in the fields at eve? Nor catch you up to mischief with your knife Amongst the apple trees? Nor find you out A truant playing on the road to school? Nor meet you, boy, in any other guise You used to take? Is this worn cap I hold The only thing you've left us of yourself? Are we to sit from night to night deceived Through rainy seasons by presentiments That make us start at shadows on the pane, And fancy that we hear you in the dark, And wonder that your step has grown so slow, And listen for your hand upon the door?



Camped by the Creek



"All day a strong sun has been drinking The ponds in the Wattletree Glen; And now as they're puddles, I'm thinking We were wise to head hitherwards, men! The country is heavy to nor'ard, But Lord, how you rattled along! Jack's chestnut's best leg was put for'ard, And the bay from the start galloped strong; But for bottom, I'd stake my existence, There's none of the lot like the mare; For look! she has come the whole distance With never the 'turn of a hair'.

"But now let us stop, for the 'super' Will want us to-morrow by noon; And as he can swear like a trooper, We can't be a minute too soon. Here, Dick, you can hobble the filly And chestnut, but don't take a week; And, Jack, hurry off with the billy And fill it. We'll camp by the creek."

So spoke the old stockman, and quickly We made ourselves snug for the night; The smoke-wreaths above us curled thickly, For our pipes were the first thing a-light! As we sat round a fire that only A well-seasoned bushman can make, Far forests grew silent and lonely, Though the paw was astir in the brake, But not till our supper was ended, And not till old Bill was asleep, Did wild things by wonder attended In shot of our camping-ground creep. Scared eyes from thick tuft and tree-hollow Gleamed out thro' the forest-boles stark; And ever a hurry would follow Of fugitive feet in the dark.

While Dick and I yarned and talked over Old times that had gone like the sun, The wail of the desolate plover Came up from the swamps in the run. And sniffing our supper, elated, From his den the red dingo crawled out; But skulked in the darkness, and waited, Like a cunning but cowardly scout. Thereafter came sleep that soon falls on A man who has ridden all day; And when midnight had deepened the palls on The hills, we were snoring away. But ere we dozed off, the wild noises Of forest, of fen, and of stream, Grew strange, and were one with the voices That died with a sweet semi-dream. And the tones of the waterfall, blended With the song of the wind on the shore, Became a soft psalm that ascended, Grew far, and we heard it no more.



Euterpe

— * A cantata, set to music by C. E. Horsley, and sung at the opening of the Melbourne Town Hall, 1870. —



Argument.

Hail to thee, Sound!—The power of Euterpe in all the scenes of life— in religion; in works of charity; in soothing troubles by means of music; in all humane and high purposes; in war; in grief; in the social circle; the children's lullaby; the dance; the ballad; in conviviality; when far from home; at evening—the whole ending with an allegorical chorus, rejoicing at the building of a mighty hall erected for the recreation of a nation destined to take no inconsiderable part in the future history of the world.

Overture

No. 1 Chorus

All hail to thee, Sound! Since the time Calliope's son took the lyre, And lulled in the heart of their clime The demons of darkness and fire; Since Eurydice's lover brought tears To the eyes of the Princes of Night, Thou hast been, through the world's weary years, A marvellous source of delight— Yea, a marvellous source of delight!

In the wind, in the wave, in the fall Of the water, each note of thine dwells; But Euterpe hath gathered from all The sweetest to weave into spells. She makes a miraculous power Of thee with her magical skill; And gives us, for bounty or dower, The accents that soothe us or thrill! Yea, the accents that soothe us or thrill!

All hail to thee, Sound! Let us thank The great Giver of light and of life For the music divine that we've drank, In seasons of peace and of strife, Let us gratefully think of the balm That falls on humanity tired, At the tones of the song or the psalm From lips and from fingers inspired— Yea, from lips and from fingers inspired.

No. 2 Quartette and Chorus

When, in her sacred fanes God's daughter, sweet Religion, prays, Euterpe's holier strains Her thoughts from earth to heaven raise. The organ notes sublime Put every worldly dream to flight; They sanctify the time, And fill the place with hallowed light.

No. 3 Soprano Solo

Yea, and when that meek-eyed maiden Men call Charity, comes fain To raise up spirits, laden With bleak poverty and pain: Often, in her cause enlisted, Music softens hearts like stones; And the fallen are assisted Through Euterpe's wondrous tones.

No. 4 Orchestral Intermezzo

No. 5 Chorus

Beautiful is Sound devoted To all ends humane and high; And its sweetness never floated Like a thing unheeded by. Power it has on souls encrusted With the selfishness of years; Yea, and thousands Mammon-rusted, Hear it, feel it, leave in tears.

No. 6 Choral Recitative (Men's voices only)

When on the battlefield, and in the sight Of tens of thousands bent to smite and slay Their human brothers, how the soldier's heart Must leap at sounds of martial music, fired With all that spirit that the patriot loves Who seeks to win, or nobly fall, for home!

No. 7 Triumphal March

No. 8 Funeral Chorus

Slowly and mournfully moves a procession, Wearing the signs Of sorrow, through loss, and it halts like a shadow Of death in the pines. Come from the fane that is filled with God's presence, Sad sounds and deep; Holy Euterpe, she sings of our brother, We listen and weep. Death, like the Angel that passed over Egypt, Struck at us sore; Never again shall we turn at our loved one's Step at the door.

No. 9 Chorus (Soprano voices only)

But, passing from sorrow, the spirit Of Music, a glory, doth rove Where it lightens the features of beauty, And burns through the accents of love— The passionate accents of love.

No. 10 Lullaby Song—Contralto

The night-shades gather, and the sea Sends up a sound, sonorous, deep; The plover's wail comes down the lea; By slope and vale the vapours weep, And dew is on the tree; And now where homesteads be, The children fall asleep, Asleep.

A low-voiced wind amongst the leaves, The sighing leaves that mourn the Spring, Like some lone spirit, flits and grieves, And grieves and flits on fitful wing. But where Song is a guest, A lulling dreamy thing, The children fall to rest, To rest.

No. 11 Waltz Chorus

When the summer moon is beaming On the stirless waters dreaming, And the keen grey summits gleaming, Through a silver starry haze; In our homes to strains entrancing To the steps, the quickly glancing Steps of youths and maidens dancing, Maidens light of foot as fays.

Then the waltz, whose rhythmic paces Make melodious happy places, Brings a brightness to young faces, Brings a sweetness to the eyes. Sounds that move us like enthralling Accents, where the runnel falling, Sends out flute-like voices calling, Where the sweet wild moss-bed lies.

No. 12 Ballad—Tenor

When twilight glides with ghostly tread Across the western heights, And in the east the hills are red With sunset's fading lights; Then music floats from cot and hall Where social circles met, By sweet Euterpe held in thrall— Their daily cares forget.

What joy it is to watch the shine That hallows beauty's face When woman sings the strains divine, Whose passion floods the place! Then how the thoughts and feelings rove At song's inspiring breath, In homes made beautiful by love, Or sanctified by death.

What visions come, what dreams arise, What Edens youth will limn, When leaning over her whose eyes Have sweetened life for him! For while she sings and while she plays, And while her voice is low, His fancy paints diviner days Than any we can know.

No. 13 Drinking Song (Men's voices only)

But, hurrah! for the table that heavily groans With the good things that keep in the life: When we sing and we dance, and we drink to the tones That are masculine, thorough and blithe.

Good luck to us all! Over walnuts and wine We hear the rare songs that we know Are as brimful of mirth as the spring is of shine, And as healthy and hearty, we trow.

Then our glasses we charge to the ring of the stave That the flush to our faces doth send; For though life is a thing that winds up with the grave, We'll be jolly, my boys, to the end. Hurrah! Hurrah! Yes, jolly, my boys, to the end!

No. 14 Recitative—Bass

When far from friends, and home, and all the things That bind a man to life, how dear to him Is any old familiar sound that takes Him back to spots where Love and Hope In past days used to wander hand in hand Across high-flowered meadows, and the paths Whose borders shared the beauty of the spring, And borrowed splendour from autumnal suns.

No. 15 Chorus (The voices accompanied only by the violins playing "Home, Sweet Home".)

Then at sea, or in wild wood, Then ashore or afloat, All the scenes of his childhood Come back at a note; At the turn of a ballad, At the tones of a song, Cometh Memory, pallid And speechless so long; And she points with her finger To phantom-like years, And loveth to linger In silence, in tears.

No. 16 Solo—Bass

In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go, Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow; In the yellow flame of evening, at the setting of the day, Sounds that lighten, fall, and lighten, flicker, faint, and fade away; What they are, behold, we know not, but their honey slakes and slays Half the want which whitens manhood in the stress of alien days. Even as a wondrous woman, struck with love and great desire, Hast thou been to us, EUTERPE, half of tears and half of fire; But thy joy is swift and fitful, and a subtle sense of pain Sighs through thy melodious breathings, takes the rapture from thy strain. In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go. Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow.

No. 17 Recitative—Soprano

And thus it is that Music manifold, In fanes, in Passion's sanctuaries, or where The social feast is held, is still the power That bindeth heart to heart; and whether Grief, Or Love, or Pleasure form the link, we know 'Tis still a bond that makes Humanity, That wearied entity, a single whole, And soothes the trouble of the heart bereaved, And lulls the beatings in the breast that yearns, And gives more gladness to the gladdest things.

No. 18 Finale—Chorus

Now a vision comes, O brothers, blended With supremest sounds of harmony— Comes, and shows a temple, stately, splendid, In a radiant city by the sea. Founders, fathers of a mighty nation, Raised the walls, and built the royal dome, Gleaming now from lofty, lordly station, Like a dream of Athens, or of Rome! And a splendour of sound, A thunder of song, Rolls sea-like around, Comes sea-like along.

The ringing, and ringing, and ringing, Of voices of choristers singing, Inspired by a national joy, Strike through the marvellous hall, Fly by the aisle and the wall, While the organ notes roam From basement to dome— Now low as a wail, Now loud as a gale, And as grand as the music that builded old Troy.



Sedan



Another battle! and the sounds have rolled By many a gloomy gorge and wasted plain O'er huddled hills and mountains manifold, Like winds that run before a heavy rain When Autumn lops the leaves and drooping grain, And earth lies deep in brown and cloudy gold. My brothers, lo! our grand old England stands, With weapons gleaming in her ready hands, Outside the tumult! Let us watch and trust That she will never darken in the dust And drift of wild contention, but remain The hope and stay of many troubled lands, Where so she waits the issue of the fight, Aloof; but praying "God defend the Right!"

[End of Early Poems, 1859-70.]



OTHER POEMS, 1871-82



Adam Lindsay Gordon



At rest! Hard by the margin of that sea Whose sounds are mingled with his noble verse Now lies the shell that never more will house The fine strong spirit of my gifted friend. Yea, he who flashed upon us suddenly, A shining soul with syllables of fire, Who sang the first great songs these lands can claim To be their own; the one who did not seem To know what royal place awaited him Within the Temple of the Beautiful, Has passed away; and we who knew him sit Aghast in darkness, dumb with that great grief Whose stature yet we cannot comprehend; While over yonder churchyard, hearsed with pines, The night wind sings its immemorial hymn, And sobs above a newly-covered grave. The bard, the scholar, and the man who lived That frank, that open-hearted life which keeps The splendid fire of English chivalry From dying out; the one who never wronged A fellow man; the faithful friend who judged The many, anxious to be loved of him By what he saw, and not by what he heard, As lesser spirits do; the brave, great soul That never told a lie, or turned aside To fly from danger—he, as I say, was one Of that bright company this sin-stained world Can ill afford to lose.

They did not know, The hundreds who had read his sturdy verse And revelled over ringing major notes, The mournful meaning of the undersong Which runs through all he wrote, and often takes The deep autumnal, half-prophetic tone Of forest winds in March; nor did they think That on that healthy-hearted man there lay The wild specific curse which seems to cling Forever to the Poet's twofold life!

To Adam Lindsay Gordon, I who laid Two years ago on Lionel Michael's grave A tender leaf of my regard; yea, I Who culled a garland from the flowers of song To place where Harpur sleeps; I, left alone, The sad disciple of a shining band Now gone—to Adam Lindsay Gordon's name I dedicate these lines; and if 'tis true That, past the darkness of the grave, the soul Becomes omniscient, then the bard may stoop From his high seat to take the offering, And read it with a sigh for human friends, In human bonds, and grey with human griefs.

And having wove and proffered this poor wreath, I stand to-day as lone as he who saw At nightfall, through the glimmering moony mist, The last of Arthur on the wailing mere, And strained in vain to hear the going voice.



In Memory of Edward Butler



A voice of grave, deep emphasis Is in the woods to-night; No sound of radiant day is this, No cadence of the light. Here in the fall and flights of leaves Against grey widths of sea, The spirit of the forests grieves For lost Persephone.

The fair divinity that roves Where many waters sing Doth miss her daughter of the groves— The golden-headed Spring. She cannot find the shining hand That once the rose caressed; There is no blossom on the land, No bird in last year's nest.

Here, where this strange Demeter weeps— This large, sad life unseen— Where July's strong, wild torrent leaps The wet hill-heads between, I sit and listen to the grief, The high, supreme distress, Which sobs above the fallen leaf Like human tenderness!

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