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The Poems of Henry Kendall
by Henry Kendall
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Where sighs the sedge and moans the marsh, The hermit plover calls; The voice of straitened streams is harsh By windy mountain walls; There is no gleam upon the hills Of last October's wings; The shining lady of the rills Is with forgotten things.

Now where the land's worn face is grey And storm is on the wave, What flower is left to bear away To Edward Butler's grave? What tender rose of song is here That I may pluck and send Across the hills and seas austere To my lamented friend?

There is no blossom left at all; But this white winter leaf, Whose glad green life is past recall, Is token of my grief. Where love is tending growths of grace, The first-born of the Spring, Perhaps there may be found a place For my pale offering.

For this heroic Irish heart We miss so much to-day, Whose life was of our lives a part, What words have I to say? Because I know the noble woe That shrinks beneath the touch— The pain of brothers stricken low— I will not say too much.

But often in the lonely space When night is on the land, I dream of a departed face— A gracious, vanished hand. And when the solemn waters roll Against the outer steep, I see a great, benignant soul Beside me in my sleep.

Yea, while the frost is on the ways With barren banks austere, The friend I knew in other days Is often very near. I do not hear a single tone; But where this brother gleams, The elders of the seasons flown Are with me in my dreams.

The saintly face of Stenhouse turns— His kind old eyes I see; And Pell and Ridley from their urns Arise and look at me. By Butler's side the lights reveal The father of his fold, I start from sleep in tears, and feel That I am growing old.

Where Edward Butler sleeps, the wave Is hardly ever heard; But now the leaves above his grave By August's songs are stirred. The slope beyond is green and still, And in my dreams I dream The hill is like an Irish hill Beside an Irish stream.



How the Melbourne Cup was Won



In the beams of a beautiful day, Made soft by a breeze from the sea, The horses were started away, The fleet-footed thirty and three; Where beauty, with shining attire, Shed more than a noon on the land, Like spirits of thunder and fire They flashed by the fence and the stand.

And the mouths of pale thousands were hushed When Somnus, a marvel of strength, Past Bowes like a sudden wind rushed, And led the bay colt by a length; But a chestnut came galloping through, And, down where the river-tide steals, O'Brien, on brave Waterloo, Dashed up to the big horse's heels.

But Cracknell still kept to the fore, And first by the water bend wheeled, When a cry from the stand, and a roar Ran over green furlongs of field; Far out by the back of the course— A demon of muscle and pluck— Flashed onward the favourite horse, With his hoofs flaming clear of the ruck.

But the wonderful Queenslander came, And the thundering leaders were three; And a ring, and a roll of acclaim, Went out, like a surge of the sea: "An Epigram! Epigram wins!"— "The Colt of the Derby"—"The bay!" But back where the crescent begins The favourite melted away.

And the marvel that came from the North, With another, was heavily thrown; And here at the turning flashed forth To the front a surprising unknown; By shed and by paddock and gate The strange, the magnificent black, Led Darebin a length in the straight, With thirty and one at his back.

But the Derby colt tired at the rails, And Ivory's marvellous bay Passed Burton, O'Brien, and Hales, As fleet as a flash of the day. But Gough on the African star Came clear in the front of his "field", Hard followed by Morrison's Czar And the blood unaccustomed to yield.

Yes, first from the turn to the end, With a boy on him paler than ghost, The horse that had hardly a friend Shot flashing like fire by the post. When Graham was "riding" 'twas late For his friends to applaud on the stands, The black, through the bend and "the straight", Had the race of the year in his hands.

In a clamour of calls and acclaim, He landed the money—the horse With the beautiful African name, That rang to the back of the course. Hurrah for the Hercules race, And the terror that came from his stall, With the bright, the intelligent face, To show the road home to them all!



Blue Mountain Pioneers



The dauntless three! For twenty days and nights These heroes battled with the haughty heights; For twenty spaces of the star and sun These Romans kept their harness buckled on; By gaping gorges, and by cliffs austere, These fathers struggled in the great old year. Their feet they set on strange hills scarred by fire, Their strong arms forced a path through brake and briar; They fought with Nature till they reached the throne Where morning glittered on the great UNKNOWN! There, in a time with praise and prayer supreme, Paused Blaxland, Lawson, Wentworth, in a dream; There, where the silver arrows of the day Smote slope and spire, they halted on their way. Behind them were the conquered hills—they faced The vast green West, with glad, strange beauty graced; And every tone of every cave and tree Was as a voice of splendid prophecy.



Robert Parkes

— * Son of Sir Henry Parkes. —



High travelling winds by royal hill Their awful anthem sing, And songs exalted flow and fill The caverns of the spring.

To-night across a wild wet plain A shadow sobs and strays; The trees are whispering in the rain Of long departed days.

I cannot say what forest saith— Its words are strange to me: I only know that in its breath Are tones that used to be.

Yea, in these deep dim solitudes I hear a sound I know— The voice that lived in Penrith woods Twelve weary years ago.

And while the hymn of other years Is on a listening land, The Angel of the Past appears And leads me by the hand;

And takes me over moaning wave, And tracts of sleepless change, To set me by a lonely grave Within a lonely range.

The halo of the beautiful Is round the quiet spot; The grass is deep and green and cool, Where sound of life is not.

Here in this lovely lap of bloom, The grace of glen and glade, That tender days and nights illume, My gentle friend was laid.

I do not mark the shell that lies Beneath the touching flowers; I only see the radiant eyes Of other scenes and hours.

I only turn, by grief inspired, Like some forsaken thing, To look upon a life retired As hushed Bethesda's spring.

The glory of unblemished days Is on the silent mound— The light of years, too pure for praise; I kneel on holy ground!

Here is the clay of one whose mind Was fairer than the dew, The sweetest nature of his kind I haply ever knew.

This Christian, walking on the white Clear paths apart from strife, Kept far from all the heat and light That fills his father's life.

The clamour and exceeding flame Were never in his days: A higher object was his aim Than thrones of shine and praise.

Ah! like an English April psalm, That floats by sea and strand, He passed away into the calm Of the Eternal Land.

The chair he filled is set aside Upon his father's floor; In morning hours, at eventide, His step is heard no more.

No more his face the forest knows; His voice is of the past; But from his life of beauty flows A radiance that will last.

Yea, from the hours that heard his speech High shining mem'ries give That fine example which will teach Our children how to live.

Here, kneeling in the body, far From grave of flower and dew, My friend beyond the path of star, I say these words to you.

Though you were as a fleeting flame Across my road austere, The memory of your face became A thing for ever dear.

I never have forgotten yet The Christian's gentle touch; And, since the time when last we met, You know I've suffered much.

I feel that I have given pain By certain words and deeds, But stricken here with Sorrow's rain, My contrite spirit bleeds.

For your sole sake I rue the blow, But this assurance send: I smote, in noon, the public foe, But not the private friend.

I know that once I wronged your sire, But since that awful day My soul has passed through blood and fire, My head is very grey.

Here let me pause! From years like yours There ever flows and thrives The splendid blessing which endures Beyond our little lives.

From lonely lands across the wave Is sent to-night by me This rose of reverence for the grave Beside the mountain lea.



At Her Window



To-night a strong south wind in thunder sings Across the city. Now by salt wet flats, And ridges perished with the breath of drought, Comes up a deep, sonorous, gulf-like voice— Far-travelled herald of some distant storm— That strikes with harsh gigantic wings the cliff, Where twofold Otway meets his straitened surf, And makes a white wrath of a league of sea.

To-night the fretted Yarra chafes its banks, And dusks and glistens; while the city shows A ring of windy light. From street to street The noise of labour, linked to hurrying wheels, Rolls off, as rolls the stately sound of wave, When he that hears it hastens from the shore.

To-night beside a moody window sits A wife who watches for her absent love; Her home is in a dim suburban street, In which the winds, like one with straitened breath, Now fleet with whispers dry and short half-sobs, Or pause and beat against the showery panes Like homeless mem'ries seeking for a home.

There, where the plopping of the guttered rain Sounds like a heavy footstep in the dark, Where every shadow thrown by flickering light Seems like her husband halting at the door, I say a woman sits, and waits, and sits, Then trims her fire, and comes to wait again.

The chapel clock strikes twelve! He has not come. The night grows wilder, and the wind dies off The roads, now turned to thoroughfares of storm, Save when a solitary, stumbling foot Breaks through the clamour. Then the watcher starts, And trembles, with her hand upon the key, And flutters, with the love upon her lips; Then sighs, returns, and takes her seat once more.

Is this the old, old tale? Ah! do not ask, My gentle reader, but across your doubts Throw shining reasons on the happier side; Or, if you cannot choose but doubt the man— If you do count him in your thoughts as one Who leaves a good wife by a lonely hearth For more than half the night, for scenes (we'll say) Of revelry—I pray you think of how That wretch must suffer in his waking times (If he be human), when he recollects That through the long, long hours of evil feasts With painted sin, and under glaring gas, His brightest friend was at a window-sill A watcher, seated in a joyless room, And haply left without a loaf of bread.

I, having learnt from sources pure and high, From springs of love that make the perfect wife, Can say how much a woman will endure For one to whom her tender heart has passed. When fortune fails, and friends drop off, and time Has shadows waiting in predestined ways— When shame that grows from want of money comes, And sets its brand upon a husband's brow, And makes him walk an alien in the streets: One faithful face, on which a light divine Becomes a glory when vicissitude Is in its darkest mood—one face, I say, Marks not the fallings-off that others see, Seeks not to know the thoughts that others think, Cares not to hear the words that others say: But, through her deep and self-sufficing love, She only sees the bright-eyed youth that won Her maiden heart in other, happier days, And not the silent, gloomy-featured man That frets and shivers by a sullen fire.

And, therefore, knowing this from you, who've shared With me the ordeal of most trying times, I sometimes feel a hot shame flushing up, To think that there are those among my sex Who are so cursed with small-souled selfishness That they do give to noble wives like you, For love—that first and final flower of life— The dreadful portion of a drunkard's home.



William Bede Dalley



That love of letters which is as the light Of deathless verse, intense, ineffable, Hath made this scholar's nature like the white, Pure Roman soul of whom the poets tell.

He having lived so long with lords of thought, The grand hierophants of speech and song, Hath from the high, august communion caught Some portion of their inspiration strong.

The clear, bright atmosphere through which he looks Is one by no dim, close horizon bound; The power shed as flame from noble books Hath made for him a larger world around.

And he, thus strengthened with the fourfold force Which scholarship to genius gives, is one That liberal thinkers, pausing in their course, With fine esteem are glad to look upon.

He, with the faultless intuition born Of splendid faculties, sees things aright, And all his strong, immeasurable scorn Falls like a thunder on the hypocrite.

But for the sufferer and the son of shame On whom remorse—a great, sad burden—lies, His kindness glistens like a morning flame, Immense compassion shines within his eyes.

Firm to the Church by which his fathers stood, But tolerant to every form of creed, He longs for universal brotherhood, And is a Christian gentleman indeed.

These in his honour. May his life be long, And, like a summer with a brilliant close, As full of music as a perfect song, As radiant as a rich, unhandled rose.



To the Spirit of Music



I

The cool grass blowing in a breeze Of April valleys sooms and sways; On slopes that dip to quiet seas Through far, faint drifts of yellowing haze. I lie like one who, in a dream Of sounds and splendid coloured things, Seems lifted into life supreme And has a sense of waxing wings. For through a great arch-light which floods And breaks and spreads and swims along High royal-robed autumnal woods, I hear a glorious sunset song. But, ah, Euterpe! I that pause And listen to the strain divine Can never learn its words, because I am no son of thine.

How sweet is wandering where the west Is full of thee, what time the morn Looks from his halls of rosy rest Across green miles of gleaming corn!

How sweet are dreams in shady nooks, When bees are out, and day is mute, While down the dell there floats the brook's Fine echo of thy marvellous lute!

And oh, how sweet is that sad tune Of thine, within the evening breeze, Which roams beneath the mirrored moon On silver-sleeping summer seas!

How blest are they whom thou hast crowned, Thy priests—the lords who understand The deep divinity of sound, And live their lives in Wonderland!

These stand within thy courts and see The light exceeding round thy throne, But I—an alien unto thee— I faint afar off, and alone.

II

In hills where the keen Thessalonian Made clamour with horse and with horn, In oracular woods the Dodonian— The mystical maiden was born. And the high, the Olympian seven, Ringed round with ineffable flame, Baptized her in halos of heaven, And gave her her beautiful name. And Delphicus, loving her, brought her Immutable dower of dreams, And clothed her with glory, and taught her The words of the winds and the streams.

She dwelt with the echoes that dwell In far immemorial hills; She wove of their speeches a spell— She borrowed the songs of the rills; And anthems of forest and fire, And passionate psalms of the rain Had life in the life of the lyre, And breath in its infinite strain.

In a fair, in a floral abode, Of purple and yellow and red, The voice of her floated and flowed, The light of her lingered and spread, And ever there slipt through the bars Of the leaves of her luminous bowers, Syllables splendid as stars, And faultless as moon-litten flowers.

III

Lady of a land of wonder, Daughter of the hill supernal, Far from frost and far from thunder Under sons and moons eternal! Long ago the strong Immortals Took her hence on wheels of fire, Caught her up and shut their portals— Floral maid with fervent lyre. But stray fallen notes of brightness Yet within our world are ringing, Floating on the winds of lightness Glorious fragments of her singing.

Bud of light, she shines above us; But a few of starry pinions— Passioned souls who are her lovers— Dwell in her divine dominions. Few they are, but in the centric Fanes of Beauty hold their station; Kings of music, lords authentic, Of the worlds of Inspiration. These are they to whom are given Eyes to see the singing stream-land, Far from earth and near to heaven, Known to gods and men as Dreamland.

Mournful humanity, stricken and worn, Toiling for peace in undignified days, Set in a sphere with the shadows forlorn, Seeing sublimity dimmed by a haze— Mournful humanity wearing the sign Of trouble with time and unequable things, Long alienated from spaces divine, Sometimes remembers that once it had wings. Chiefly it is when the song and the light Sweeten the heart of the summering west, Music and glory that lend to the night Glimpses of marvellous havens of rest.

Chiefly it is when the beautiful day Dies with a sound on its lips like a psalm— Anthem of loveliness drifting away Over a sea of unspeakable calm.

Then Euterpe's harmonies In the ballad rich and rare, Freighted with old memories, Float upon the evening air— Float, like shine in films of rain, Full of past pathetic themes, Tales of perished joy and pain, Frail and faint as dreams in dreams. Then to far-off homes we rove, Homes of youth and hope and faith, Beautiful with lights of love— Sanctified by shrines of death.

Ah! and in that quiet hour Soul by soul is borne away Over tracts of leaf and flower, Lit with a supernal day; Over Music-world serene, Spheres unknown to woes and wars, Homes of wildernesses green, Silver seas and golden shores; Then, like spirits glorified, Sweet to hear and bright to see, Lords in Eden they abide Robed with strange new majesty.



John Dunmore Lang



The song that is last of the many Whose music is full of thy name, Is weaker, O father! than any, Is fainter than flickering flame. But far in the folds of the mountains Whose bases are hoary with sea, By lone immemorial fountains This singer is mourning for thee.

Because thou wert chief and a giant With those who fought on for the right A hero determined, defiant; As flame was the sleep of thy might. Like Stephen in days that are olden, Thy lot with a rabble was cast, But seasons came on that were golden, And Peace was thy mother at last.

I knew of thy fierce tribulation, Thou wert ever the same in my thought— The father and friend of a nation Through good and through evil report. At Ephesus, fighting in fetters, Paul drove the wild beasts to their pen; So thou with the lash of thy letters Whipped infamy back to its den.

The noise of thy battle is over, Thy sword is hung up in its sheath; Thy grave has been decked by its lover With beauty of willowy wreath. The winds sing about thee for ever, The voices of hill and of sea; But the cry of the conflict will never Bring sorrow again unto thee.



On a Baby Buried by the Hawkesbury

[Lines sent to a Young Mother.]



A grace that was lent for a very few hours, By the bountiful Spirit above us; She sleeps like a flower in the land of the flowers, She went ere she knew how to love us. Her music of Heaven was strange to this sphere, Her voice is a silence for ever; In the bitter, wild fall of a sorrowful year, We buried our bird by the river.

But the gold of the grass, and the green of the vine, And the music of wind and of water, And the torrent of song and superlative shine, Are close to our dear little daughter. The months of the year are all gracious to her, A winter breath visits her never; She sleeps like a bird in a cradle of myrrh, By the banks of the beautiful river.



Song of the Shingle-Splitters



In dark wild woods, where the lone owl broods And the dingoes nightly yell— Where the curlew's cry goes floating by, We splitters of shingles dwell. And all day through, from the time of the dew To the hour when the mopoke calls, Our mallets ring where the woodbirds sing Sweet hymns by the waterfalls. And all night long we are lulled by the song Of gales in the grand old trees; And in the brakes we can hear the lakes And the moan of the distant seas. For afar from heat and dust of street, And hall and turret and dome, In forest deep, where the torrents leap, Is the shingle-splitter's home.

The dweller in town may lie upon down, And own his palace and park: We envy him not his prosperous lot, Though we slumber on sheets of bark. Our food is rough, but we have enough; Our drink is better than wine: For cool creeks flow wherever we go, Shut in from the hot sunshine. Though rude our roof, it is weather-proof, And at the end of the days We sit and smoke over yarn and joke, By the bush-fire's sturdy blaze. For away from din and sorrow and sin, Where troubles but rarely come, We jog along, like a merry song, In the shingle-splitter's home.

What though our work be heavy, we shirk From nothing beneath the sun; And toil is sweet to those who can eat And rest when the day is done. In the Sabbath-time we hear no chime, No sound of the Sunday bells; But yet Heaven smiles on the forest aisles, And God in the woodland dwells. We listen to notes from the million throats Of chorister birds on high, Our psalm is the breeze in the lordly trees, And our dome is the broad blue sky. Oh! a brave, frank life, unsmitten by strife, We live wherever we roam, And our hearts are free as the great strong sea, In the shingle-splitter's home.



On a Street



I dread that street—its haggard face I have not seen for eight long years; A mother's curse is on the place, (There's blood, my reader, in her tears). No child of man shall ever track, Through filthy dust, the singer's feet— A fierce old memory drags me back; I hate its name—I dread that street.

Upon the lap of green, sweet lands, Whose months are like your English Mays, I try to hide in Lethe's sands The bitter, old Bohemian days. But sorrow speaks in singing leaf, And trouble talketh in the tide; The skirts of a stupendous grief Are trailing ever at my side.

I will not say who suffered there, 'Tis best the name aloof to keep, Because the world is very fair— Its light should sing the dark to sleep. But, let me whisper, in that street A woman, faint through want of bread, Has often pawned the quilt and sheet And wept upon a barren bed.

How gladly would I change my theme, Or cease the song and steal away, But on the hill and by the stream A ghost is with me night and day! A dreadful darkness, full of wild, Chaotic visions, comes to me: I seem to hear a dying child, Its mother's face I seem to see.

Here, surely, on this bank of bloom, My verse with shine would ever flow; But ah! it comes—the rented room, With man and wife who suffered so! From flower and leaf there is no hint— I only see a sharp distress— A lady in a faded print, A careworn writer for the press.

I only hear the brutal curse Of landlord clamouring for his pay; And yonder is the pauper's hearse That comes to take a child away. Apart, and with the half-grey head Of sudden age, again I see The father writing by the dead To earn the undertaker's fee.

No tear at all is asked for him— A drunkard well deserves his life; But voice will quiver, eyes grow dim, For her, the patient, pure young wife, The gentle girl of better days, As timid as a mountain fawn, Who used to choose untrodden ways, And place at night her rags in pawn.

She could not face the lighted square, Or show the street her poor, thin dress; In one close chamber, bleak and bare, She hid her burden of distress. Her happy schoolmates used to drive, On gaudy wheels, the town about; The meat that keeps a dog alive She often had to go without.

I tell you, this is not a tale Conceived by me, but bitter truth; Bohemia knows it, pinched and pale, Beside the pyre of burnt-out youth: These eyes of mine have often seen The sweet girl-wife, in winters rude, Steal out at night, through courts unclean, To hunt about for chips of wood.

Have I no word at all for him Who used down fetid lanes to slink, And squat in tap-room corners grim, And drown his thoughts in dregs of drink? This much I'll say, that when the flame Of reason reassumed its force, The hell the Christian fears to name, Was heaven to his fierce remorse.

Just think of him—beneath the ban, And steeped in sorrow to the neck, Without a friend—a feeble man, In failing health—a human wreck. With all his sense and scholarship, How could he face his fading wife? The devil never lifted whip With thongs like those that scourged his life.

But He in whom the dying thief Upon the Cross did place his trust, Forgets the sin and feels the grief, And lifts the sufferer from the dust. And now, because I have a dream, The man and woman found the light; A glory burns upon the stream, With gold and green the woods are bright.

But still I hate that haggard street, Its filthy courts, its alleys wild; In dreams of it I always meet The phantom of a wailing child. The name of it begets distress— Ah, song, be silent! show no more The lady in the perished dress, The scholar on the tap-room floor.



Heath from the Highlands



Here, where the great hills fall away To bays of silver sea, I hold within my hand to-day A wild thing, strange to me.

Behind me is the deep green dell Where lives familiar light; The leaves and flowers I know so well Are gleaming in my sight.

And yonder is the mountain glen, Where sings in trees unstirred By breath of breeze or axe of men The shining satin-bird.

The old weird cry of plover comes Across the marshy ways, And here the hermit hornet hums, And here the wild bee strays.

No novel life or light I see, On hill, in dale beneath: All things around are known to me Except this bit of heath.

This touching growth hath made me dream— It sends my soul afar To where the Scottish mountains gleam Against the Northern star.

It droops—this plant—like one who grieves; But, while my fancy glows, There is that glory on its leaves Which never robed the rose.

For near its wind-blown native spot Were born, by crags uphurled, The ringing songs of Walter Scott That shook the whole wide world.

There haply by the sounding streams, And where the fountains break, He saw the darling of his dreams, The Lady of the Lake.

And on the peaks where never leaf Of lowland beauty grew, Perhaps he met Clan Alpine's chief, The rugged Roderick Dhu.

Not far, perchance, this heather throve (Above fair banks of ferns), From that green place of stream and grove That knew the voice of Burns.

Against the radiant river ways Still waves the noble wood, Where in the old majestic days The Scottish poet stood.

Perhaps my heather used to beam In robes of morning frost, By dells which saw that lovely dream— The Mary that he lost.

I hope, indeed, the singer knew The little spot of land On which the mountain beauty grew That withers in my hand.

A Highland sky my vision fills; I feel the great, strong North— The hard grey weather of the hills That brings men-children forth.

The peaks of Scotland, where the din And flame of thunders go, Seem near me, with the masculine, Hale sons of wind and snow.

So potent is this heather here, That under skies of blue, I seem to breathe the atmosphere That William Wallace knew.

And under windy mountain wall, Where breaks the torrent loose, I fancy I can hear the call Of grand old Robert Bruce.



The Austral Months



January

The first fair month! In singing Summer's sphere She glows, the eldest daughter of the year. All light, all warmth, all passion, breaths of myrrh, And subtle hints of rose-lands, come with her. She is the warm, live month of lustre—she Makes glad the land and lulls the strong, sad sea. The highest hope comes with her. In her face Of pure, clear colour lives exalted grace; Her speech is beauty, and her radiant eyes Are eloquent with splendid prophecies.

February

The bright-haired, blue-eyed last of Summer. Lo, Her clear song lives in all the winds that blow; The upland torrent and the lowland rill, The stream of valley and the spring of hill, The pools that slumber and the brooks that run Where dense the leaves are, green the light of sun, Take all her grace of voice and colour. She, With rich warm vine-blood splashed from heel to knee, Comes radiant through the yellow woodlands. Far And near her sweet gifts shine like star by star. She is the true Demeter. Life of root Glows under her in gardens flushed with fruit; She fills the fields with strength and passion—makes A fire of lustre on the lawn-ringed lakes; Her beauty awes the great wild sea; the height Of grey magnificence takes strange delight And softens at her presence, at the dear Sweet face whose memory beams through all the year.

March

Clear upland voices, full of wind and stream, Greet March, the sister of the flying beam And speedy shadow. She, with rainbow crowned, Lives in a sphere of songs of mazy sound. The hymn of waters and the gale's high tone, With anthems from the thunder's mountain throne, Are with her ever. This, behold, is she Who draws its great cry from the strong, sad sea; She is the month of majesty. Her force Is power that moves along a stately course, Within the lines of order, like no wild And lawless strength of winter's fiercest child. About her are the wind-whipped torrents; far Above her gleams and flies the stormy star, And round her, through the highlands and their rocks, Rings loud the grand speech from the equinox.

April

The darling of Australia's Autumn—now Down dewy dells the strong, swift torrents flow! This is the month of singing waters—here A tender radiance fills the Southern year; No bitter winter sets on herb and root, Within these gracious glades, a frosty foot; The spears of sleet, the arrows of the hail, Are here unknown. But down the dark green dale Of moss and myrtle, and the herby streams, This April wanders in a home of dreams; Her flower-soft name makes language falter. All Her paths are soft and cool, and runnels fall In music round her; and the woodlands sing For evermore, with voice of wind and wing, Because this is the month of beauty—this The crowning grace of all the grace that is.

May

Now sings a cool, bland wind, where falls and flows The runnel by the grave of last year's rose; Now, underneath the strong perennial leaves, The first slow voice of wintering torrent grieves. Now in a light like English August's day, Is seen the fair, sweet, chastened face of May; She is the daughter of the year who stands With Autumn's last rich offerings in her hands; Behind her gleams the ghost of April's noon, Before her is the far, faint dawn of June; She lingers where the dells and dewy leas Catch stormy sayings from the great bold seas; Her nightly raiment is the misty fold That zones her round with moonlight-coloured gold; And in the day she sheds, from shining wings, A tender heat that keeps the life in things.

June

Not like that month when, in imperial space, The high, strong sun stares at the white world's face; Not like that haughty daughter of the year Who moves, a splendour, in a splendid sphere; But rather like a nymph of afternoon, With cool, soft sunshine, comes Australian June. She is the calm, sweet lady, from whose lips No breath of living passion ever slips; The wind that on her virgin forehead blows Was born too late to speak of last year's rose; She never saw a blossom, but her eyes Of tender beauty see blue, gracious skies; She loves the mosses, and her feet have been In woodlands where the leaves are always green; Her days pass on with sea-songs, and her nights Shine, full of stars, on lands of frosty lights.

July

High travelling winds, filled with the strong storm's soul, Are here, with dark, strange sayings from the Pole; Now is the time when every great cave rings With sharp, clear echoes caught from mountain springs; This is the season when all torrents run Beneath no bright, glad beauty of the sun. Here, where the trace of last year's green is lost, Are haughty gales, and lordships of the frost. Far down, by fields forlorn and forelands bleak, Are wings that fly not, birds that never speak; But in the deep hearts of the glens, unseen, Stand grave, mute forests of eternal green; And here the lady, born in wind and rain, Comes oft to moan and clap her palms with pain. This is our wild-faced July, in whose breast Is never faultless light or perfect rest.

August

Across the range, by every scarred black fell, Strong Winter blows his horn of wild farewell; And in the glens, where yet there moves no wing, A slow, sweet voice is singing of the Spring. Yea, where the bright, quick woodland torrents run, A music trembles under rain and sun. The lips that breathe it are the lips of her At whose dear touch the wan world's pulses stir— The nymph who sets the bow of promise high And fills with warm life-light the bleak grey sky. She is the fair-haired August. Ere she leaves She brings the woodbine blossom round the eaves; And where the bitter barbs of frost have been She makes a beauty with her gold and green; And, while a sea-song floats from bay and beach, She sheds a mist of blossoms on the peach.

[For September, see p. 70.] {In this etext, search for "September in Australia", in "Leaves from Australian Forests".—A. L.}

October

Where fountains sing and many waters meet, October comes with blossom-trammelled feet. She sheds green glory by the wayside rills And clothes with grace the haughty-featured hills. This is the queen of all the year. She brings The pure chief beauty of our southern springs. Fair lady of the yellow hair! Her breath Starts flowers to life, and shames the storm to death; Through tender nights and days of generous sun By prospering woods her clear strong torrents run; In far deep forests, where all life is mute, Of leaf and bough she makes a touching lute. Her life is lovely. Stream, and wind, and bird Have seen her face—her marvellous voice have heard; And, in strange tracts of wildwood, all day long, They tell the story in surpassing song.

November

Now beats the first warm pulse of Summer—now There shines great glory on the mountain's brow. The face of heaven in the western sky, When falls the sun, is filled with Deity! And while the first light floods the lake and lea, The morning makes a marvel of the sea; The strong leaves sing; and in the deep green zones Of rock-bound glens the streams have many tones; And where the evening-coloured waters pass, Now glides November down fair falls of grass. She is the wonder with the golden wings, Who lays one hand in Summer's—one in Spring's; About her hair a sunset radiance glows; Her mouth is sister of the dewy rose; And all the beauty of the pure blue skies Has lent its lustre to her soft bright eyes.

December

The month whose face is holiness! She brings With her the glory of majestic things. What words of light, what high resplendent phrase Have I for all the lustre of her days? She comes, and carries in her shining sphere August traditions of the world's great year; The noble tale which lifts the human race Has made a morning of her sacred face. Now in the emerald home of flower and wing Clear summer streams their sweet hosannas sing; The winds are full of anthems, and a lute Speaks in the listening hills when night is mute And through dim tracks where talks the royal tree There floats a grand hymn from the mighty sea; And where the grey, grave, pondering mountains stand High music lives—the place is holy land!



Aboriginal Death-Song



Feet of the flying, and fierce Tops of the sharp-headed spear, Hard by the thickets that pierce, Lo! they are nimble and near.

Women are we, and the wives Strong Arrawatta hath won; Weary because of our lives, Sick of the face of the sun.

Koola, our love and our light, What have they done unto you? Man of the star-reaching sight, Dipped in the fire and the dew.

Black-headed snakes in the grass Struck at the fleet-footed lord— Still is his voice at the pass, Soundless his step at the ford.

Far by the forested glen, Starkly he lies in the rain; Kings of the council of men Shout for their leader in vain.

Yea, and the fish-river clear Never shall blacken below Spear and the shadow of spear, Bow and the shadow of bow.

Hunter and climber of trees, Now doth his tomahawk rust, (Dread of the cunning wild bees), Hidden in hillocks of dust.

We, who were followed and bound, Dashed under foot by the foe, Sit with our eyes to the ground, Faint from the brand and the blow.

Dumb with the sorrow that kills, Sorrow for brother and chief, Terror of thundering hills, Having no hope in our grief,

Seeing the fathers are far Seeking the spoils of the dead Left on the path of the war, Matted and mangled and red.



Sydney Harbour



Where Hornby, like a mighty fallen star, Burns through the darkness with a splendid ring Of tenfold light, and where the awful face Of Sydney's northern headland stares all night O'er dark, determined waters from the east, From year to year a wild, Titanic voice Of fierce aggressive sea shoots up and makes,— When storm sails high through drifts of driving sleet, And in the days when limpid waters glass December's sunny hair and forest face,— A roaring down by immemorial caves, A thunder in the everlasting hills.

But calm and lucid as an English lake, Beloved by beams and wooed by wind and wing, Shut in from tempest-trampled wastes of wave, And sheltered from white wraths of surge by walls— Grand ramparts founded by the hand of God, The lordly Harbour gleams. Yea, like a shield Of marvellous gold dropped in his fiery flight By some lost angel in the elder days, When Satan faced and fought Omnipotence, It shines amongst fair, flowering hills, and flows By dells of glimmering greenness manifold. And all day long, when soft-eyed Spring comes round With gracious gifts of bird and leaf and grass— And through the noon, when sumptuous Summer sleeps By yellowing runnels under beetling cliffs, This royal water blossoms far and wide With ships from all the corners of the world.

And while sweet Autumn with her gipsy face Stands in the gardens, splashed from heel to thigh With spinning vine-blood—yea, and when the mild, Wan face of our Australian Winter looks Across the congregated southern fens, Then low, melodious, shell-like songs are heard Beneath proud hulls and pompous clouds of sail, By yellow beaches under lisping leaves And hidden nooks to Youth and Beauty dear, And where the ear may catch the counter-voice Of Ocean travelling over far, blue tracts.

Moreover, when the moon is gazing down Upon her lovely reflex in the wave, (What time she, sitting in the zenith, makes A silver silence over stirless woods), Then, where its echoes start at sudden bells, And where its waters gleam with flying lights, The haven lies, in all its beauty clad, More lovely even than the golden lakes The poet saw, while dreaming splendid dreams Which showed his soul the far Hesperides.



A Birthday Trifle



Here in this gold-green evening end, While air is soft and sky is clear, What tender message shall I send To her I hold so dear? What rose of song with breath like myrrh, And leaf of dew and fair pure beams Shall I select and give to her— The lady of my dreams?

Alas! the blossom I would take, The song as sweet as Persian speech, And carry for my lady's sake, Is not within my reach. I have no perfect gift of words, Or I would hasten now to send A ballad full of tunes of birds To please my lovely friend.

But this pure pleasure is my own, That I have power to waft away A hope as bright as heaven's zone On this her natal day. May all her life be like the light That softens down in spheres divine, "As lovely as a Lapland night," All grace and chastened shine!



Frank Denz



In the roar of the storm, in the wild bitter voice of the tempest-whipped sea, The cry of my darling, my child, comes ever and ever to me; And I stand where the haggard-faced wood stares down on a sinister shore, But all that is left is the hood of the babe I can cherish no more.

A little blue hood, with the shawl of the girl that I took for my wife In a happy old season, is all that remains of the light of my life; The wail of a woman in pain, and the sob of a smothering bird, They come through the darkness again— in the wind and the rain they are heard.

Oh, women and men who have known the perils of weather and wave, It is sad that my sweet ones are blown under sea without shelter of grave; I sob like a child in the night, when the gale on the waters is loud— My darlings went down in my sight, with neither a coffin nor shroud.

In the whistle of wind, and the whirl of ominous fragments of wreck, The wife, with her poor little girl, saw death on the lee of the deck; But, sirs, she depended on me—she trusted my comforting word; She is down in the depths of the sea—my love, with her beautiful bird.

In the boat I was ordered to go—I was not more afraid than the rest, But a husband will falter, you know, with the love of his life at his breast; My captain was angry a space, but soon he grew tender in tone— Perhaps there had flashed by his face a wife and a child of his own.

I was weak for some moments, and cried; but only one hope was in life; The hood upon baby I tied—I fastened the shawl on my wife. The skipper took charge of the child—he stuck to his word till the last; But only this hood on the wild, bitter shore of the sea had been cast.

In the place of a coward, who shook like a leaf in the quivering boat, A seat by the rowlocks I took; but the sea had me soon by the throat, The surge gripped me fast by the neck—in a ring, and a roll, and a roar, I was cast like a piece of the wreck, on a bleak, beaten, shelterless shore.

And there were my darlings on board for the rest of that terrible day, And I watched and I prayed to the Lord, as never before I could pray. The windy hills stared at the black, heavy clouds coming over the wave; My girl was expecting me back, but where was my power to save?

Ah! where was my power, when Death was glaring at me from the reef? I cried till I gasped for my breath, aloof with a maddening grief. We couldn't get back to the deck: I wanted to go, but the sea Dashed over the sides of the wreck, and carried my darling from me.

Oh, girl that I took by the hand to the altar two summers ago, I would you were buried on land—my dear, it would comfort me so! I would you were sleeping where grows the grass and the musical reed! For how can you find a repose in the toss of the tangle and weed?

The night sped along, and I strained to the shadow and saw to the end My captain and bird—he remained to the death a superlative friend: In the face of the hurricane wild, he clung with the babe to the mast; To the last he was true to my child—he was true to my child to the last.

The wind, like a life without home, comes mocking at door and at pane In the time of the cry of the foam—in the season of thunder and rain, And, dreaming, I start in the bed, and feel for my little one's brow— But lost is the beautiful head; the cradle is tenantless now!

My home was all morning and glow when wife and her baby were there, But, ah! it is saddened, you know, by dresses my girl used to wear. I cannot re-enter the door; its threshold can never be crossed, For fear I should see on the floor the shoes of the child I have lost.

There were three of us once in the world; but two are deep down in the sea, Where waif and where tangle are hurled—the two that were portions of me; They are far from me now, but I hear, when hushed are the night and the tide, The voice of my little one near—the step of my wife by my side.



Sydney Exhibition Cantata



Part I

Chorus

Songs of morning, with your breath Sing the darkness now to death; Radiant river, beaming bay, Fair as Summer, shine to-day; Flying torrent, falling slope, Wear the face as bright as Hope; Wind and woodland, hill and sea, Lift your voices—sing for glee! Greet the guests your fame has won— Put your brightest garments on.

Recitative and Chorus

Lo, they come—the lords unknown, Sons of Peace, from every zone! See above our waves unfurled All the flags of all the world! North and south and west and east Gather in to grace our feast. Shining nations! let them see How like England we can be. Mighty nations! let them view Sons of generous sires in you.

Solo—Tenor

By the days that sound afar, Sound, and shine like star by star; By the grand old years aflame With the fires of England's fame— Heirs of those who fought for right When the world's wronged face was white— Meet these guests your fortune sends, As your fathers met their friends; Let the beauty of your race Glow like morning in your face.

Part II

Solo—Bass

Where now a radiant city stands, The dark oak used to wave, The elfin harp of lonely lands Above the wild man's grave; Through windless woods, one clear, sweet stream (Sing soft and very low) Stole like the river of a dream A hundred years ago.

Solo—Alto

Upon the hills that blaze to-day With splendid dome and spire, The naked hunter tracked his prey, And slumbered by his fire. Within the sound of shipless seas The wild rose used to blow About the feet of royal trees, A hundred years ago.

Solo—Soprano

Ah! haply on some mossy slope, Against the shining springs, In those old days the angel Hope Sat down with folded wings; Perhaps she touched in dreams sublime, In glory and in glow, The skirts of this resplendent time, A hundred years ago.

Part III

Children

A gracious morning on the hills of wet And wind and mist her glittering feet has set; The life and heat of light have chased away Australia's dark, mysterious yesterday. A great, glad glory now flows down and shines On gold-green lands where waved funereal pines.

Solo—Soprano

And hence a fair dream goes before our gaze, And lifts the skirts of the hereafter days, And sees afar, as dreams alone can see, The splendid marvel of the years to be.

Part IV

Basses and Chorus

Father, All-Bountiful, humbly we bend to Thee; Heads are uncovered in sight of Thy face. Here, in the flow of the psalms that ascend to Thee, Teach us to live for the light of Thy grace. Here, in the pause of the anthems of praise to Thee, Master and Maker—pre-eminent Friend— Teach us to look to Thee—give all our days to Thee, Now and for evermore, world without end!



Hymn of Praise

[Closing of Sydney International Exhibition.]



Encompassed by the psalm of hill and stream, By hymns august with their majestic theme, Here in the evening of exalted days To Thee, our Friend, we bow with breath of praise.

The great, sublime hosannas of the sea Ascend on wings of mighty winds to Thee, And mingled with their stately words are tones Of human love, O Lord of all the zones!

Ah! at the close of many splendid hours, While falls Thy gracious light in radiant showers, We seek Thy face, we praise Thee, bless Thee, sing This song of reverence, Master, Maker, King!

To Thee, from whom all shining blessings flow, All gifts of lustre, all the joys we know, To Thee, O Father, in this lordly space, The great world turns with worship in its face.

For that glad season which will pass to-day With light and music like a psalm away, The gathered nations with a grand accord, In sight of Thy high heaven, thank Thee, Lord!

All praise is Thine—all love that we can give Is also Thine, in whose large grace we live, In whom we find the One long-suffering Friend, Whose immemorial mercy has no end.



Basil Moss



Sing, mountain-wind, thy strong, superior song— Thy haughty alpine anthem, over tracts Whose passes and whose swift, rock-straitened streams Catch mighty life and voice from thee, and make A lordly harmony on sea-chafed heights. Sing, mountain-wind, and take thine ancient tone, The grand, austere, imperial utterance. Which drives my soul before it back to days In one dark hour of which, when Storm rode high Past broken hills, and when the polar gale Roared round the Otway with the bitter breath That speaks for ever of the White South Land Alone with God and Silence in the cold, I heard the touching tale of Basil Moss,

A story shining with a woman's love! And who that knows that love can ever doubt How dear, divine, sublime a thing it is; For while the tale of Basil Moss was one Not blackened with those stark, satanic sins Which call for superhuman sacrifice, Still, from the records of the world's sad life, This great, sweet, gladdening fact at length we've learned, There's not a depth to which a man can fall, No slough of crime in which such one can lie Stoned with the scorn and curses of his kind, But that some tender woman can be found To love and shield him still.

What was the fate Of Basil Moss who, thirty years ago, A brave, high-minded, but impetuous youth, Left happy homesteads in the sweetest isle That wears the sober light of Northern suns? What happened him, the man who crossed far, fierce Sea-circles of the hoarse Atlantic—who, Without a friend to help him in the world, Commenced his battle in this fair young land, A Levite in the Temple Beautiful Of Art, who struggled hard, but found that here Both Bard and Painter learn, by bitter ways, That they are aliens in the working world, And that all Heaven's templed clouds at morn And sunset do not weigh one loaf of bread!

This was his tale. For years he kept himself Erect, and looked his troubles in the face And grappled them; and, being helped at last By one who found she loved him, who became The patient sharer of his lot austere, He beat them bravely back; but like the heads Of Lerna's fabled hydra, they returned From day to day in numbers multiplied; And so it came to pass that Basil Moss (Who was, though brave, no mental Hercules, Who hid beneath a calmness forced, the keen Heart-breaking sensibility—which is The awful, wild, specific curse that clings Forever to the Poet's twofold life) Gave way at last; but not before the hand Of sickness fell upon him—not before The drooping form and sad averted eyes Of hectic Hope, that figure far and faint, Had given all his later thoughts a tongue— "It is too late—too late!"

There is no need To tell the elders of the English world What followed this. From step to step, the man— Now fairly gripped by fierce Intemperance— Descended in the social scale; and though He struggled hard at times to break away, And take the old free, dauntless stand again, He came to be as helpless as a child, And Darkness settled on the face of things, And Hope fell dead, and Will was paralysed.

Yet sometimes, in the gloomy breaks between Each fit of madness issuing from his sin, He used to wander through familiar woods With God's glad breezes blowing in his face, And try to feel as he was wont to feel In other years; but never could he find Again his old enthusiastic sense Of Beauty; never could he exorcize The evil spell which seemed to shackle down The fine, keen, subtle faculty that used To see into the heart of loveliness; And therefore Basil learned to shun the haunts Where Nature holds her chiefest courts, because They forced upon him in the saddest light The fact of what he was, and once had been.

So fared the drunkard for five awful years— The last of which, while lighting singing dells, With many a flame of flowers, found Basil Moss Cooped with his wife in one small wretched room; And there, one night, the man, when ill and weak— A sufferer from his latest bout of sin— Moaned, stricken sorely with a fourfold sense Of all the degradation he had brought Upon himself, and on his patient wife; And while he wrestled with his strong remorse He looked upon a sweet but pallid face, And cried, "My God! is this the trusting girl I swore to love, to shield, to cherish so But ten years back? O, what a liar I am!" She, shivering in a thin and faded dress Beside a handful of pale, smouldering fire, On hearing Basil's words, moved on her chair, And turning to him blue, beseeching eyes, And pinched, pathetic features, faintly said— "O, Basil, love! now that you seem to feel And understand how much I've suffered since You first gave way—now that you comprehend The bitter heart-wear, darling, that has brought The swift, sad silver to this hair of mine Which should have come with Age—which came with Pain, Do make one more attempt to free yourself From what is slowly killing both of us; And if you do the thing I ask of you, If you but try this once, we may indeed— We may be happy yet."

Then Basil Moss, Remembering in his marvellous agony How often he had found her in the dead Of icy nights with uncomplaining eyes, A watcher in a cheerless room for him; And thinking, too, that often, while he threw His scanty earnings over reeking bars, The darling that he really loved through all Was left without enough to eat—then Moss, I say, sprang to his feet with sinews set And knotted brows, and throat that gasped for air, And cried aloud—"My poor, poor girl, I will."

And so he did; and fought this time the fight Out to the bitter end; and with the help Of prayers and unremitting tenderness He gained the victory at last; but not— No, not before the agony and sweat Of fierce Gethsemanes had come to him; And not before the awful nightly trials, When, set in mental furnaces of flame, With eyes that ached and wooed in vain for sleep, He had to fight the devil holding out The cup of Lethe to his fevered lips. But still he conquered; and the end was this, That though he often had to face the eyes Of that bleak Virtue which is not of Christ (Because the gracious Lord of Love was one with Him Who blessed the dying thief upon the cross), He held his way with no unfaltering steps, And gathered hope and light, and never missed To do a thing for the sake of good. And every day that glided through the world Saw some fine instance of his bright reform, And some assurance he would never fall Into the pits and traps of hell again. And thus it came to pass that Basil's name Grew sweet with men; and, when he died, his end Was calm—was evening-like, and beautiful.

Here ends the tale of Basil Moss. To wives Who suffer as the Painter's darling did, I dedicate these lines; and hope they'll bear In mind those efforts of her lovely life, Which saved her husband's soul; and proved that while A man who sins can entertain remorse, He is not wholly lost. If such as they But follow her, they may be sure of this, That Love, that sweet authentic messenger From God, can never fail while there is left Within the fallen one a single pulse Of what the angels call humanity.



Hunted Down



Two years had the tiger, whose shape was that of a sinister man, Been out since the night of escape—two years under horror and ban. In a time full of thunder and rain, when hurricanes hackled the tree, He slipt through the sludge of a drain, and swam a fierce fork of the sea. Through the roar of the storm, and the ring and the wild savage whistle of hail, Did this naked, whipt, desperate thing break loose from the guards of the gaol. And breasting the foam of the bay, and facing the fangs of the bight, With a great cruel cry on his way, he dashed through the darkness of night.

But foiled was the terror of fin, and baffled the strength of the tide, For a devil supported his chin and a fiend kept a watch at his side. And hands of iniquity drest the hellish hyena, and gave Him food in the hills of the west—in cells of indefinite cave. Then, strengthened and weaponed, this peer of the brute, on the track of its prey, Sprang out, and shed sorrow and fear through the beautiful fields of the day. And pillage and murder, and worse, swept peace from the face of the land— The black, bitter work of this curse with the blood on his infamous hand.

But wolf of the hills at the end—chased back to the depths of his lair— Had horror for neighbour and friend—he supped in the dark with despair. A whisper of leaf or a breath of the wind in the watch of the night Was ever as message of death to this devil bent double with fright. For now were the hunters abroad; and the fiend like an adder at bay, Cast out of the sight of the Lord, in the folds of his fastnesses lay. Yea, skulking in pits of the slime—in venomous dens of eclipse— He cowered and bided his time, with the white malice set on his lips.

Two years had his shadow been cast in forest, on highway, and run; But Nemesis tracked him at last, and swept him from under the sun. Foul felons in chains were ashamed to speak of the bloodthirsty thing Who lived, like a panther inflamed, the life that no singer can sing— Who butchered one night in the wild three women, a lad, and a maid, And cut the sweet throat of a child—its mother's pure blood on his blade! But over the plains and away by the range and the forested lake, Rode hard, for a week and a day, the terrible tracker, Dick Blake.

Dick Blake had the scent of a hound, the eye of a lynx, and could track Where never a sign on the ground or the rock could be seen by the black. A rascal at large, when he heard that Blake was out hard at his heels, Felt just as the wilderness bird, in the snare fettered hopelessly, feels. And, hence, when the wolf with the brand of Cain written thrice on his face, Knew terrible Dick was at hand, he slunk like a snake to his place— To the depths of his kennel he crept, far back in the passages dim; But Blake and his mates never slept; they hunted and listened for him.

The mountains were many, but he who had captured big Terrigal Bill, The slayer of Hawkins and Lee, found tracks by a conical hill. There were three in the party—no more: Dick Blake and his brother, and one Who came from a far-away shore, called here by the blood of his son. Two nights and two days did they wait on the trail of the curst of all men; But on the third morning a fate led Dick to the door of the den; And a thunder ran up from the south and smote all the woods into sound; And Blake, with an oath on his mouth, called out for the fiend underground.

But the answer was blue, bitter lead, and the brother of Dick, with a cry, Fell back, and the storm overhead set night like a seal on the sky; And the strength of the hurricane tore asunder hill-turrets uphurled; And a rushing of rain and a roar made wan the green widths of the world. The flame, and the roll, and the ring, and the hiss of the thunder and hail Set fear on the face of the Spring laid bare to the arrow of gale. But here in the flash and the din, in the cry of the mountain and wave, Dick Blake, through the shadow, dashed in and strangled the wolf in his cave.



Wamberal



Just a shell, to which the seaweed glittering yet with greenness clings, Like the song that once I loved so, softly of the old time sings— Softly of the old time speaketh—bringing ever back to me Sights of far-off lordly forelands—glimpses of the sounding sea! Now the cliffs are all before me—now, indeed, do I behold Shining growths on wild wet hillheads, quiet pools of green and gold. And, across the gleaming beaches, lo! the mighty flow and fall Of the great ingathering waters thundering under Wamberal!

Back there are the pondering mountains; there the dim, dumb ranges loom— Ghostly shapes in dead grey vapour—half-seen peaks august with gloom. There the voice of troubled torrents, hidden in unfathomed deeps, Known to moss and faint green sunlight, wanders down the oozy steeps. There the lake of many runnels nestles in a windless wild Far amongst thick-folded forests, like a radiant human child. And beyond surf-smitten uplands—high above the highest spur— Lo! the clouds like tents of tempest on the crags of Kincumber!

Wamberal, the home of echoes! Hard against a streaming strand, Sits the hill of blind black caverns, at the limits of the land. Here the haughty water marches—here the flights of straitened sea Make a noise like that of trumpets, breaking wide across the lea! But behold, in yonder crescent that a ring of island locks Are the gold and emerald cisterns shining moonlike in the rocks! Clear, bright cisterns, zoned by mosses, where the faint wet blossoms dwell With the leaf of many colours—down beside the starry shell.

Friend of mine beyond the mountains, here and here the perished days Come like sad reproachful phantoms, in the deep grey evening haze— Come like ghosts, and sit beside me when the noise of day is still, And the rain is on the window, and the wind is on the hill. Then they linger, but they speak not, while my memory roams and roams Over scenes by death made sacred—other lands and other homes! Places sanctified by sorrow—sweetened by the face of yore— Face that you and I may look on (friend and brother) nevermore!

Seasons come with tender solace—time lacks neither light nor rest; But the old thoughts were such dear ones, and the old days seem the best. And to those who've loved and suffered, every pulse of wind or rain— Every song with sadness in it, brings the peopled Past again. Therefore, just this shell yet dripping, with this weed of green and grey, Sets me thinking—sets me dreaming of the places far away; Dreaming of the golden rockpools—of the foreland and the fall; And the home behind the mountains looming over Wamberal.



In Memoriam—Alice Fane Gunn Stenhouse

— * Daughter of Nicol Drysdale Stenhouse. —



The grand, authentic songs that roll Across grey widths of wild-faced sea, The lordly anthems of the Pole, Are loud upon the lea.

Yea, deep and full the South Wind sings The mighty symphonies that make A thunder at the mountain springs— A whiteness on the lake.

And where the hermit hornet hums, When Summer fires his wings with gold, The hollow voice of August comes, Across the rain and cold.

Now on the misty mountain tops, Where gleams the crag and glares the fell, Wild Winter, like one hunted, stops And shouts a fierce farewell.

Keen fitful gusts shoot past the shore And hiss by moor and moody mere— The heralds bleak that come before The turning of the year.

A sobbing spirit wanders where By fits and starts the wild-fire shines; Like one who walks in deep despair, With Death amongst the pines.

And ah! the fine, majestic grief Which fills the heart of forests lone, And makes a lute of limb and leaf Is human in its tone.

Too human for the thought to slip— How every song that sorrow sings Betrays the broad relationship Of all created things.

Man's mournful speech, the wail of tree, The words the winds and waters say, Make up that general elegy, Whose burden is decay.

To-night my soul looks back and sees, Across wind-broken wastes of wave, A widow on her bended knees Beside a new-made grave.

A sufferer with a touching face By love and grief made beautiful; Whose rapt religion lights the place Where death holds awful rule.

The fair, tired soul whose twofold grief For child and father lends a tone Of pathos to the pallid leaf That sighs above the stone.

The large beloved heart whereon She used to lean, lies still and cold, Where, like a seraph, shines the sun On flowerful green and gold.

I knew him well—the grand, the sweet, Pure nature past all human praise; The dear Gamaliel at whose feet I sat in other days.

He, glorified by god-like lore, First showed my soul Life's highest aim; When, like one winged, I breathed—before The years of sin and shame.

God called him Home. And, in the calm Beyond our best possessions priced, He passed, as floats a faultless psalm, To his fair Father, Christ.

But left as solace for the hours Of sorrow and the loss thereof; A sister of the birds and flowers, The daughter of his love.

She, like a stray sweet seraph, shed A healing spirit, that flamed and flowed As if about her bright young head A crown of saintship glowed.

Suppressing, with sublime self-slight, The awful face of that distress Which fell upon her youth like blight, She shone like happiness.

And, in the home so sanctified By death in its most noble guise, She kissed the lips of love, and dried The tears in sorrow's eyes.

And helped the widowed heart to lean, So broken up with human cares, On one who must be felt and seen By such pure souls as hers.

Moreover, having lived, and learned The taste of Life's most bitter spring, For all the sick this sister yearned— The poor and suffering.

But though she had for every one The phrase of comfort and the smile, This shining daughter of the sun Was dying all the while.

Yet self-withdrawn—held out of reach Was grief; except when music blent Its deep, divine, prophetic speech With voice and instrument.

Then sometimes would escape a cry From that dark other life of hers— The half of her humanity— And sob through sound and verse.

At last there came the holy touch, With psalms from higher homes and hours; And she who loved the flowers so much Now sleeps amongst the flowers.

By hearse-like yews and grey-haired moss, Where wails the wind in starts and fits, Twice bowed and broken down with loss, The wife, the mother sits.

God help her soul! She cannot see, For very trouble, anything Beyond this wild Gethsemane Of swift, black suffering;

Except it be that faltering faith Which leads the lips of life to say: "There must be something past this death— Lord, teach me how to pray!"

Ah, teach her, Lord! And shed through grief The clear full light, the undefiled, The blessing of the bright belief Which sanctified her child.

Let me, a son of sin and doubt, Whose feet are set in ways amiss— Who cannot read Thy riddle out, Just plead, and ask Thee this;

Give her the eyes to see the things— The Life and Love I cannot see; And lift her with the helping wings Thou hast denied to me.

Yea, shining from the highest blue On those that sing by Beulah's streams, Shake on her thirsty soul the dew Which brings immortal dreams.

So that her heart may find the great, Pure faith for which it looks so long; And learn the noble way to wait, To suffer, and be strong.



From the Forests

— * Introductory verses for "The Sydney University Review", 1881. —



Where in a green, moist, myrtle dell The torrent voice rings strong And clear, above a star-bright well, I write this woodland song.

The melodies of many leaves Float in a fragrant zone; And here are flowers by deep-mossed eaves That day has never known.

I'll weave a garland out of these, The darlings of the birds, And send it over singing seas With certain sunny words—

With certain words alive with light Of welcome for a thing Of promise, born beneath the white, Soft afternoon of Spring.

The faithful few have waited long A life like this to see; And they will understand the song That flows to-day from me.

May every page within this book Be as a radiant hour; Or like a bank of mountain brook, All flower and leaf and flower.

May all the strength and all the grace Of Letters make it beam As beams a lawn whose lovely face Is as a glorious dream.

And may that strange divinity That men call Genius write Some deathless thing in days to be, To fill those days with light.

Here where the free, frank waters run, I pray this book may grow A sacred candour like the sun Above the morning snow.

May noble thoughts in faultless words— In clean white diction—make It shine as shines the home of birds And moss and leaf and lake.

This fair fresh life with joy I hail, And this belief express, Its days will be a brilliant tale Of effort and success.

Here ends my song; I have a dream Of beauty like the grace Which lies upon the land of stream In yonder mountain place.



John Bede Polding

— * Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney —



With reverent eyes and bowed, uncovered head, A son of sorrow kneels by fanes you knew; But cannot say the words that should be said To crowned and winged divinities like you.

The perfect speech of superhuman spheres Man has not heard since He of Nazareth, Slain for the sins of twice two thousand years, Saw Godship gleaming through the gates of Death.

And therefore he who in these latter days Has lost a Father—falling by the shrine, Can only use the world's ephemeral phrase, Not, Lord, the faultless language that is Thine.

But he, Thy son upon whose shoulders shone So long Elisha's gleaming garments, may Be pleased to hear a pleading human tone To sift the spirit of the words I say.

O, Master, since the gentle Stenhouse died And left the void that none can ever fill, One harp at least has sorrow thrown aside, Its strings all broken, and its notes all still.

Some lofty lord of music yet may find Its pulse of passion. I can never touch The chords again—my life has been too blind; I've sinned too long and suffered far too much.

But you will listen to the voice, although The harp is silent—you who glorified Your great, sad gift of life, because you know How souls are tempted and how hearts are tried.

O marvellous follower in the steps of Christ, How pure your spirit must have been to see That light beyond our best expression priced The effluence of benignant Deity.

You saw it, Father? Let me think you did Because I, groping in the mists of Doubt, Am sometimes fearful that God's face is hid From all—that none can read His riddle out!

A hope from lives like yours must everywhere Become like faith—that blessing undefiled, The refuge of the grey philosopher— The consolation of the simple child.

Here in a land of many sects, where God As shaped by man in countless forms appears, Few comprehend how carefully you trod Without a slip for two and forty years.

How wonderful the self-repression must Have been, that made you to the lovely close The Christian crowned with universal trust, The foe-less Father in a land of foes.

How patiently—with how divine a strength Of tolerance you must have watched the frays Of fighting churches—warring through the length Of your bright, beautiful, unruffled days!

Because men strove you did not love them less; You felt for each—for everyone and all— With that same apostolic tenderness Which Samuel felt when yearning over Saul.

A crowned hierophant—a high Chief-Priest On flame with robes of light, you used to be; But yet you were as humble as the least Of those who followed Him of Galilee.

'Mid splendid forms of faith which flower and fill God's oldest Church with gleams ineffable You stand, Our Lord's serene disciple still, In all the blaze which on your pallium fell.

The pomp of altars, chasubles, and fires Of incense, moved you not; nor yet the dome Of haughty beauty—follower of the Sires— Who made a holiness of elder Rome.

A lord of scholarship whose knowledge ran Through every groove of human history, you Were this and more—a Christian gentleman; A fount of learning with a heart like dew.

O Father! I who at your feet have knelt, On wings of singing fall, and fail to sing, Remembering the immense compassion felt By you for every form of suffering.

As dies a gentle April in a sky Of faultless beauty—after many days Of loveliness and grand tranquillity— So passed your presence from our human gaze.

But though your stately face is as the dust That windy hills to wintering hollows give, Your memory like a deity august Is with us still, to teach us how to live.

Ah! may it teach us—may the lives that are Take colour from the life that was; and may Those souls be helped that in the dark so far Have strayed, and have forgotten how to pray!

Let one of these at least retain the hope That fine examples, like a blessed dew Of summer falling in a fruitful scope, Give birth to issues beautiful and true.

Such hope, O Master, is a light indeed To him that knows how hard it is to save The spirit resting on no certain creed Who kneels to plant this blossom on your grave.



Outre Mer



I see, as one in dreaming, A broad, bright, quiet sea; Beyond it lies a haven— The only home for me. Some men grow strong with trouble, But all my strength is past, And tired and full of sorrow, I long to sleep at last. By force of chance and changes Man's life is hard at best; And, seeing rest is voiceless, The dearest thing is rest.

Beyond the sea—behold it, The home I wish to seek The refuge of the weary, The solace of the weak! Sweet angel fingers beckon, Sweet angel voices ask My soul to cross the waters; And yet I dread the task. God help the man whose trials Are tares that he must reap; He cannot face the future— His only hope is sleep.

Across the main a vision Of sunset coasts and skies, And widths of waters gleaming, Enchant my human eyes. I, who have sinned and suffered, Have sought—with tears have sought— To rule my life with goodness, And shape it to my thought; And yet there is no refuge To shield me from distress, Except the realm of slumber And great forgetfulness.

[End of Other Poems, 1871-82.]



Note on corrections made: Less than a dozen errors were corrected, mostly punctuation, and one incorrect letter. However, one correction is in question. On p. 339 of this 1920 edition, or in this etext, the 1st line of the 9th stanza of "On a Street", the copy reads:

I tell you, this not a tale

which is neither grammatically nor rhythmically correct, for the poem in question. It has been corrected as:

I tell you, this is not a tale

which is probably correct. As this is the most serious error noticed in the text, I trust the reader will find the whole to be satisfactory.—A. L.

THE END

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