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The Poems of Henry Kendall
Henry Kendall

[Note on text:  Italicized words or phrases will be marked by tildes (~).
Lines longer than 78 characters have been broken according to metre,
and the continuation is indented two spaces.  A few obvious errors
have been corrected.]

This edition of Kendall contains:  (i)  The poems included in
the three volumes published during the author's lifetime;
(ii)  Those not reprinted by Kendall, but included in the collected editions
of 1886, 1890 and 1903; (iii)  Early pieces not hitherto reprinted;
(iv)  Poems, now first printed, from the Kendall MSS. in the Mitchell Library,
the use of which has been kindly permitted by the Trustees.
Certain topical skits and other pieces of no value have been omitted.

The Poems of Henry Kendall
With biographical note by Bertram Stevens


    Poems and Songs

The Muse of Australia
Fainting by the Way
Song of the Cattle-Hunters
God Help Our Men at Sea
Sitting by the Fire
Bellambi's Maid
The Curlew Song
The Ballad of Tanna
The Rain Comes Sobbing to the Door
Evening Hymn
The Wail in the Native Oak
Harps We Love
Waiting and Wishing
The Wild Kangaroo
Ella with the Shining Hair
The Barcoo
Bells Beyond the Forest
The Maid of Gerringong
The Opossum-Hunters
In the Depths of a Forest
To Charles Harpur
The River and the Hill
The Fate of the Explorers
Under the Figtree
Drowned at Sea
Morning in the Bush
The Girl I Left Behind Me
Amongst the Roses

    Leaves from Australian Forests

Prefatory Sonnets
The Hut by the Black Swamp
September in Australia
Ghost Glen
The Warrigal
At Euroma
Illa Creek
Moss on a Wall
On a Cattle Track
To Damascus
A Death in the Bush
A Spanish Love Song
The Last of His Tribe
The Voyage of Telegonus
Sitting by the Fire
Charles Harpur
By the Sea
King Saul at Gilboa
In the Valley
Twelve Sonnets --
 A Mountain Spring
 By a River
 A Reward
 To ----
 The Stanza of Childe Harold
 A Living Poet
 Dante and Virgil
 After Parting
 Alfred Tennyson
Sutherland's Grave
On the Paroo
Faith in God
Mountain Moss
The Glen of Arrawatta
Ellen Ray
At Dusk
Daniel Henry Deniehy
After the Hunt
Rose Lorraine

    Songs from the Mountains

To a Mountain
Mary Rivers
Beyond Kerguelen
Black Lizzie
Jim the Splitter
Bill the Bullock-Driver
When Underneath the Brown Dead Grass
The Voice in the Wild Oak
Billy Vickers
Peter the Piccaninny
Narrara Creek
In Memory of John Fairfax
The Sydney International Exhibition
Christmas Creek
The Curse of Mother Flood
On a Spanish Cathedral
The Melbourne International Exhibition
By the Cliffs of the Sea
Black Kate
A Hyde Park Larrikin
Names Upon a Stone
After Many Years

    Early Poems, 1859-70

The Merchant Ship
Oh, Tell Me, Ye Breezes
The Far Future
Silent Tears
Extempore Lines
The Old Year
The Earth Laments for Day
The Late W. V. Wild, Esq.
Australian War Song
The Ivy on the Wall
The Australian Emigrant
To My Brother, Basil E. Kendall
The Waterfall
The Song of Arda
The Helmsman
To Miss Annie Hopkins
Sonnets on the Discovery of Botany Bay by Captain Cook
To Henry Halloran
Lost in the Flood
Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Four
To ----
At Long Bay
For Ever
The Bereaved One
Deniehy's Lament
Deniehy's Dream
Cui Bono?
In Hyde Park
Australia Vindex
Ned the Larrikin
~In Memoriam~ -- Nicol Drysdale Stenhouse
Kiama Revisited
Passing Away
James Lionel Michael
Caroline Chisholm
Mount Erebus
Our Jack
Camped by the Creek

    Other Poems, 1871-82

Adam Lindsay Gordon
In Memory of Edward Butler
How the Melbourne Cup was Won
Blue Mountain Pioneers
Robert Parkes
At Her Window
William Bede Dalley
To the Spirit of Music
John Dunmore Lang
On a Baby Buried by the Hawkesbury
Song of the Shingle-Splitters
On a Street
Heath from the Highlands
The Austral Months
Aboriginal Death-Song
Sydney Harbour
A Birthday Trifle
Frank Denz
Sydney Exhibition Cantata
Hymn of Praise
Basil Moss
Hunted Down
~In Memoriam~ -- Alice Fane Gunn Stenhouse
From the Forests
John Bede Polding
Outre Mer

Biographical Note

Henry Kendall was the first Australian poet to draw his inspiration
from the life, scenery and traditions of the country.  In the beginnings
of Australian poetry the names of two other men stand with his --
Adam Lindsay Gordon, of English parentage and education,
and Charles Harpur, born in Australia a generation earlier than Kendall.
Harpur's work, though lacking vitality, shows fitful gleams of poetic fire
suggestive of greater achievement had the circumstances of his life
been more favourable.  Kendall, whose lot was scarcely more fortunate,
is a true singer; his songs remain, and are likely long to remain,
attractive to poetry lovers.

The poet's grandfather, Thomas Kendall, a Lincolnshire schoolmaster,
met the Revd. Samuel Marsden when the latter was in England
seeking assistants for his projected missionary work in New Zealand.
Kendall offered his services to the Church Missionary Society of London
and came out to Sydney in 1809.  Five years later he was sent
to the Bay of Islands as a lay missionary, holding also
the first magistrate's commission issued for New Zealand.
He soon made friends with the Maoris and learnt their language well enough
to compile a primer in pidgin-Maori, `A Korao no New Zealand; or,
the New Zealander's First Book', which George Howe printed for Marsden
at Sydney in 1815.  In 1820 Thomas Kendall went to England
with some Maori chiefs, and while there helped Professor Lee, of Cambridge,
to "fix" the Maori language -- the outcome of their work being
Lee and Kendall's `Grammar and Vocabulary of the Language of New Zealand',
published in the same year.

Returning to New Zealand, Kendall, in 1823, left the Missionary Society
and went with his son Basil to Chile.  In 1826 he came back to Australia,
and for his good work as a missionary received from
the New South Wales Government a grant of 1280 acres at Ulladulla,
on the South Coast.  There he entered the timber trade and became
owner and master of a small vessel used in the business.  About 1832
this vessel was wrecked near Sydney, and all on board, including the owner,
were drowned.

Of Basil Kendall's early career little is known.  While in South America
he saw service under Lord Cochrane, the famous tenth Earl of Dundonald,
who, after five brilliant years in the Chilean service, was,
between 1823 and 1825, fighting on behalf of Brazil.  Basil returned
to Australia, but disappears from view until 1840.  One day in that year
he met a Miss Melinda McNally, and next day they were married.
Soon afterwards they settled on the Ulladulla grant,
farming land at Kirmington, two miles from the little town of Milton.
There, in a primitive cottage Basil had built, twin sons --
Basil Edward and Henry -- were born on the 18th April, 1841.
Five years later the family moved to the Clarence River district
and settled near the Orara.  Basil Kendall had practically lost one lung
before his marriage, and failing health made it exceedingly difficult
for him to support his family, to which by this time three daughters
had been added.  On the Orara he grew steadily weaker, and died somewhere
about 1851.

Basil Kendall was well educated, and had done what he could to educate
his children.  After his death the family was scattered, and the two boys
were sent to a relative on the South Coast.  The scenery of this district
made a profound impression upon Henry, and is often referred to
in his early poems.  In 1855 his uncle Joseph took him as cabin boy
in his brig, the `Plumstead', for a two years' cruise in the Pacific,
during which they touched at many of the Islands and voyaged as far north
as Yokohama.  The beauty of the scenes he visited lived
in the boy's memory, but the rigours of ship life were so severe
that in after years he looked back on the voyage with horror.

Henry Kendall returned to Sydney in March, 1857, and at once
obtained employment in the city and set about making a home for
his mother and sisters.  Mrs. Kendall, granddaughter of Leonard McNally,
a Dublin notable of his day, was a clever, handsome woman
with a strong constitution and a volatile temperament.
Henry was always devoted to her, and considered that from her
he inherited whatever talent he possessed.  She helped in his education,
and encouraged him to write verse.

The first verses of his known to have been printed were
"O tell me, ye breezes" -- signed "H. Kendall" -- which appeared in
`The Australian Home Companion and Band of Hope Journal' in 1859.
A number of other poems by Kendall appeared in the same magazine
during 1860 and 1861.  But in a letter written years afterwards
to Mr. Sheridan Moore, Kendall says "My first essay in writing was sent to
`The Southern Cross' at the time you were sub-editor.  You, of course,
lit your pipe with it.  It was on the subject of the `Dunbar'.
After a few more attempts in prose and verse -- attempts only remarkable
for their being clever imitations -- I hit upon the right vein and wrote
the Curlew Song.  Then followed the crude, but sometimes happy verses
which made up my first volume."

The verses on the wreck of the `Dunbar', written at the age of sixteen,
were eventually printed in `The Empire' in 1860 as "The Merchant Ship".
Henry Parkes, the editor of that newspaper, had already welcomed
some of the boy's poems, and in `The Empire' of the 8th December, 1859,
had noticed as just published a song -- "Silent Tears" --
the words of which were written by "a young native poet, Mr. H. Kendall,
N.A.P."  These initials, which puzzled Parkes, as well they might,
meant no more than Native Australian Poet.

Kendall also sent some poems to `The Sydney Morning Herald';
there they attracted the attention of Henry Halloran, a civil servant
and a voluminous amateur writer, who sought out the poet
and tried to help him.

Kendall's mother brought him to Mr. Sheridan Moore, who had some reputation
as a literary critic.  He was greatly interested in the poems, and promised
to try to raise money for their publication.  Subscriptions were invited
by advertisement in January, 1861, but came in so slowly that,
after a year's delay, Kendall almost despaired of publication.

Meanwhile Moore had introduced Kendall to James Lionel Michael,
through whom he came to know Nicol D. Stenhouse, Dr. Woolley, and others
of the small group of literary men in Sydney.  Michael, a London solicitor,
had been a friend of some of the Pre-Raphaelite group of artists,
and was much more interested in literature than in the law
when the lure of gold brought him to Australia in 1853.
Himself a well-read man and a writer of very fair verse, he recognized
the decided promise of Kendall's work and gave him a place in his office.
In spite of their disparity in years they became friends,
and Kendall undoubtedly derived great benefit from Michael's influence
and from the use of his library.  When in 1861 Michael left Sydney
for Grafton, Kendall either accompanied him or joined him soon afterwards.
He did not, however, stay long at Grafton.  He found employment at Dungog
on the Williams River; afterwards went to Scone, where he worked
for a month or two, and then made his way back to Sydney.

Restive over the long delay in publication, and anxious to get
a critical estimate of his work, Kendall in January, 1862, made copies
of some pieces and sent them to the `Cornhill Magazine' with a letter
pleading for special consideration on account of the author's youth
and the indifference of Australians to anything produced
in their own country.  A reduced facsimile of this interesting letter
is printed here.  {In this etext, the letter has been transcribed
and is included at the end of this section.}  Thackeray was editor
of `Cornhill' up to April, 1862, but may not have seen this pathetic appeal
from the other side of the world.  At any rate, no notice of it was taken
by `Cornhill', and in July of the same year Kendall sent a similar letter
with copies of his verses to the `Athenaeum'.  The editor printed
the letter and some of the poems, with very kindly comments,
in the issue of 27th September, 1862.

In October, 1862, before this powerful encouragement reached
the young writer, `Poems and Songs' was published in Sydney
by Mr. J. R. Clarke.  `The Empire' published a favourable review.
Further notice of his work appeared in the `Athenaeum' during
the next four years, and in 1866 it was generously praised
by Mr. G. B. Barton in his `Poets and Prose Writers of New South Wales'.

Meanwhile in August, 1863, Kendall was, through Parkes' influence,
appointed to a clerkship in the Surveyor-General's Department
at one hundred and fifty pounds a year, and three years later
was transferred to the Colonial Secretary's Office at two hundred pounds
a year.  During this period he read extensively, and wrote much verse.
By 1867 he had so far overcome his natural shyness that he undertook
to deliver a series of lectures at the Sydney School of Arts.
One of these, on "Love, Courtship and Marriage", precipitated him
into experience of all three; for he walked home after the lecture
with Miss Charlotte Rutter, daughter of a Government medical officer,
straightway fell in love, and, after a brief courtship, they were married
in the following year.

The year 1868 was a memorable one for Kendall in other ways.  In April,
James Lionel Michael was found dead in the Clarence River, and in June
Charles Harpur died at Euroma.  Kendall had a great admiration
for Harpur's poems and wrote to him in the spirit of a disciple.
They corresponded for some years, but did not meet until a few months
before the elder poet's death.  Kendall describes Harpur
as then "a noble ruin -- scorched and wasted by the fire of sorrow."

In 1868, also, a prize was offered in Melbourne for
the best Australian poem, the judge being Richard Hengist Horne,
author of `Orion'.  Kendall sent in three poems and Horne
awarded the prize to "A Death in the Bush".  In an article printed
in Melbourne and Sydney newspapers he declared that the author
was a true poet, and that had there been three prizes,
the second and third would have gone to Kendall's other poems --
"The Glen of Arrawatta" and "Dungog".

The result of winning this prize was that Kendall decided to
abandon routine work and try to earn his living as a writer.
He resigned his position in the Colonial Secretary's Office
on the 31st March, 1869, and shortly afterwards left for Melbourne,
where his wife and daughter soon joined him.  Melbourne was then
a centre of greater literary activity than Sydney.  Neither then, however,
nor for a long time to come, was any number of people in Australia
sufficiently interested in local literature (apart from journalism)
to warrant the most gifted writer in depending upon his pen for support.
Still, Kendall managed to persuade Mr. George Robertson,
the principal Australian bookseller of those days, to undertake the risk
of his second book of poems -- `Leaves from Australian Forests' --
which was published towards the end of 1869.  But though the volume
showed a great advance in quality upon its predecessor,
it was a commercial failure, and the publisher lost ninety pounds over it.

In Melbourne, Kendall wrote prose, as well as satirical and serious verse,
for most of the papers.  The payment was small; in fact,
only a few newspapers then paid anything for verse.  He made a little money
by writing the words for a cantata, "Euterpe", sung at the opening of
the Melbourne Town Hall in 1870.  At the office of `The Colonial Monthly',
edited by Marcus Clarke, he met the best of the Melbourne literati,
and, though his reserved manner did not encourage intimacy,
one of them -- George Gordon McCrae -- became a close and true friend.
Lindsay Gordon, too, admired Kendall's poems, and learned to respect
a man whose disposition was in some ways like his own.
`Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes' appeared in June, 1870,
and Kendall received an advance copy and wrote a laudatory review
for `The Australasian'.  He and Gordon spent some hours
on the day of publication, discussing the book and poetry in general.
Both were depressed by the apparent futility of literary effort
in Australia, where nearly everyone was making haste to be rich.
Next morning Gordon shot himself -- tired of life at thirty-seven!
Kendall knew how Harpur's last long illness had been saddened
by the knowledge that the public was utterly indifferent to his poems;
he had seen the wreck of the once brilliant Deniehy;
and now the noble-hearted Gordon had given up the struggle.

To these depressing influences, and the hardships occasioned by
a meagre and uncertain income, was added a new grief -- the loss of
his first-born, Araluen, whose memory he enshrined years afterwards
in a poem of pathetic tenderness.  He returned to Sydney early in 1871,
broken in health and spirit.  The next two years were a time of tribulation,
during which, as he said later on, he passed into the shadow,
and emerged only through the devotion of his wife and the help
of the brothers Fagan, timber merchants, of Brisbane Water.
Kendall was the Fagans' guest at Narrara Creek, near Gosford,
and afterwards filled a clerical position in the business
which one of the brothers established at Camden Haven.
There he spent seven tranquil years with his wife and family,
and wrote the best of his poems.  In some of these he said
all that need be said against himself, for he was always frankly critical
of his conduct and work.

In his later years Kendall tasted some of the sweets of success.
He wrote the words of the opening Cantata sung at
the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879, and won a prize
of one hundred pounds offered by `The Sydney Morning Herald' for a poem
on the Exhibition.  His third collection -- `Songs from the Mountains' --
was published at Sydney in 1880, and realized a substantial profit.
In 1881 Sir Henry Parkes made a position for him, an Inspectorship
of State Forests at five hundred pounds a year.  Kendall's experience
in the timber business well fitted him for this, though his health
was not equal to the exposure attendant on the work.  He moved
to Cundletown, on the Manning River, before receiving the appointment,
and from that centre rode out on long tours of inspection.
During one of these he caught a chill; his lungs were affected,
and rapid consumption followed.  He went to Sydney for treatment
and was joined by his wife at Mr. Fagan's house in Redfern,
where he died in her arms on the 1st August, 1882.
He was buried at Waverley, overlooking the sea.

Kendall, it should be remembered, did not prepare a collected edition
of his poems, and it will be noticed that in the present volume
some lines and passages appear more than once.  The student and lover
of Kendall will be interested to see how these lines and passages
were taken from his own previous work and turned to better account
in later poems, and to note the gradual improvement of his style.
In his last book, `Songs from the Mountains', there are fewer echoes;
the touch is surer, and the imaginative level at his highest.
The shining wonder is that, under the conditions of Australian life
between 1860 and 1880, he should have written so much that is so good.

As our first sweet singer of "native woodnotes wild",
Kendall has an enduring place in the regard of all Australians;
and his best work is known and admired wherever English poetry is read.

                                        Bertram Stevens

{This is the transcription of the letter previously mentioned.}

                                        Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales.
                                          January 21, 1862

To the Editor of the "Cornhill Magazine".


Will you oblige me by reading this letter, and the accompanying verses?
Remember that they will have travelled sixteen thousand miles,
and on that account will be surely worth a few moments of your time.
I think that there is merit in the verses, and have sent them to you,
hoping that you -- yourself, will be of the same opinion.  If one
can be selected -- one up to the standard of the `Cornhill Magazine',
insert it, and you will be helping me practically.  I do not hint
of pecuniary remuneration however, for your recognition would be
sufficient reward.

Let me say a few words about myself:  I was born in this colony; and am now
in the nineteenth year of my age.  My education has been neglected --
hence you will very likely find that some of these effusions are immature.
At present the most of my time is occupied at an attorney's office,
but I do not earn enough there to cover expenses; considering that
I have to support my mother and three sisters.  I want to rise,
and if my poems are anywhere near the mark you can assist me
by noticing them.

They recognise me in this country as the "first Australian poet".
If the men who load me with their fulsome, foolish praises, really believed
{that I have talent (crossed out)} in my talents, and cared a whit
about fostering a native literature, they would give me a good situation;
and I should not have to appeal to you.

If one of the poems is found to be good enough, and you publish it,
someone here will _then_ surely do the rest.  On the other hand
if nothing can be gleaned from them, let the effusions and their author
be forgotten.  Hoping that you will not forget to read the verses,
I remain
                     Yours, Respectfully, H. Kendall.

    Poems and Songs

The Muse of Australia

Where the pines with the eagles are nestled in rifts,
 And the torrent leaps down to the surges,
I have followed her, clambering over the clifts,
 By the chasms and moon-haunted verges.
I know she is fair as the angels are fair,
For have I not caught a faint glimpse of her there;
A glimpse of her face and her glittering hair,
 And a hand with the Harp of Australia?

I never can reach you, to hear the sweet voice
 So full with the music of fountains!
Oh! when will you meet with that soul of your choice,
 Who will lead you down here from the mountains?
A lyre-bird lit on a shimmering space;
It dazzled mine eyes and I turned from the place,
And wept in the dark for a glorious face,
 And a hand with the Harp of Australia!


Rifted mountains, clad with forests, girded round by gleaming pines,
Where the morning, like an angel, robed in golden splendour shines;
Shimmering mountains, throwing downward on the slopes a mazy glare
Where the noonday glory sails through gulfs of calm and glittering air;
Stately mountains, high and hoary, piled with blocks of amber cloud,
Where the fading twilight lingers, when the winds are wailing loud;
Grand old mountains, overbeetling brawling brooks and deep ravines,
Where the moonshine, pale and mournful, flows on rocks and evergreens.

Underneath these regal ridges -- underneath the gnarly trees,
I am sitting, lonely-hearted, listening to a lonely breeze!
Sitting by an ancient casement, casting many a longing look
Out across the hazy gloaming -- out beyond the brawling brook!
Over pathways leading skyward -- over crag and swelling cone,
Past long hillocks looking like to waves of ocean turned to stone;
Yearning for a bliss unworldly, yearning for a brighter change,
Yearning for the mystic Aidenn, built beyond this mountain range.

Happy years, amongst these valleys, happy years have come and gone,
And my youthful hopes and friendships withered with them one by one;
Days and moments bearing onward many a bright and beauteous dream,
All have passed me like to sunstreaks flying down a distant stream.
Oh, the love returned by loved ones!  Oh, the faces that I knew!
Oh, the wrecks of fond affection!  Oh, the hearts so warm and true!
But their voices I remember, and a something lingers still,
Like a dying echo roaming sadly round a far off hill.

I would sojourn here contented, tranquil as I was of yore,
And would never wish to clamber, seeking for an unknown shore;
I have dwelt within this cottage twenty summers, and mine eyes
Never wandered erewhile round in search of undiscovered skies;
But a spirit sits beside me, veiled in robes of dazzling white,
And a dear one's whisper wakens with the symphonies of night;
And a low sad music cometh, borne along on windy wings,
Like a strain familiar rising from a maze of slumbering springs.

And the Spirit, by my window, speaketh to my restless soul,
Telling of the clime she came from, where the silent moments roll;
Telling of the bourne mysterious, where the sunny summers flee
Cliffs and coasts, by man untrodden, ridging round a shipless sea.
There the years of yore are blooming -- there departed life-dreams dwell,
There the faces beam with gladness that I loved in youth so well;
There the songs of childhood travel, over wave-worn steep and strand --
Over dale and upland stretching out behind this mountain land.

"Lovely Being, can a mortal, weary of this changeless scene,
Cross these cloudy summits to the land where man hath never been?
Can he find a pathway leading through that wildering mass of pines,
So that he shall reach the country where ethereal glory shines;
So that he may glance at waters never dark with coming ships;
Hearing round him gentle language floating from angelic lips;
Casting off his earthly fetters, living there for evermore;
All the blooms of Beauty near him, gleaming on that quiet shore?

"Ere you quit this ancient casement, tell me, is it well to yearn
For the evanescent visions, vanished never to return?
Is it well that I should with to leave this dreary world behind,
Seeking for your fair Utopia, which perchance I may not find?
Passing through a gloomy forest, scaling steeps like prison walls,
Where the scanty sunshine wavers and the moonlight seldom falls?
Oh, the feelings re-awakened!  Oh, the hopes of loftier range!
Is it well, thou friendly Being, well to wish for such a change?"

But the Spirit answers nothing! and the dazzling mantle fades;
And a wailing whisper wanders out from dismal seaside shades!
"Lo, the trees are moaning loudly, underneath their hood-like shrouds,
And the arch above us darkens, scarred with ragged thunder clouds!"
But the spirit answers nothing, and I linger all alone,
Gazing through the moony vapours where the lovely Dream has flown;
And my heart is beating sadly, and the music waxeth faint,
Sailing up to holy Heaven, like the anthems of a Saint.


Towards the hills of Jamberoo
   Some few fantastic shadows haste,
      Uplit with fires
      Like castle spires
   Outshining through a mirage waste.
Behold, a mournful glory sits
   On feathered ferns and woven brakes,
Where sobbing wild like restless child
   The gusty breeze of evening wakes!
Methinks I hear on every breath
   A lofty tone go passing by,
      That whispers -- "Weave,
      Though wood winds grieve,
   The fadeless blooms of Poesy!"

A spirit hand has been abroad --
   An evil hand to pluck the flowers --
      A world of wealth,
      And blooming health
   Has gone from fragrant seaside bowers.
The twilight waxeth dim and dark,
   The sad waves mutter sounds of woe,
But the evergreen retains its sheen,
   And happy hearts exist below;
But pleasure sparkles on the sward,
   And voices utter words of bliss,
      And while my bride
      Sits by my side,
   Oh, where's the scene surpassing this?

Kiama slumbers, robed with mist,
   All glittering in the dewy light
      That, brooding o'er
      The shingly shore,
   Lies resting in the arms of Night;
And foam-flecked crags with surges chill,
   And rocks embraced of cold-lipped spray,
Are moaning loud where billows crowd
   In angry numbers up the bay.
The holy stars come looking down
   On windy heights and swarthy strand,
      And Life and Love --
      The cliffs above --
   Are sitting fondly hand in hand.

I hear a music inwardly,
   That floods my soul with thoughts of joy;
      Within my heart
      Emotions start
   That Time may still but ne'er destroy.
An ancient Spring revives itself,
   And days which made the past divine;
And rich warm gleams from golden dreams,
   All glorious in their summer shine;
And songs of half forgotten hours,
   And many a sweet melodious strain,
      Which still shall rise
      Beneath the skies
   When all things else have died again.

A white sail glimmers out at sea --
   A vessel walking in her sleep;
      Some Power goes past
      That bends the mast,
   While frighted waves to leeward leap.
The moonshine veils the naked sand
   And ripples upward with the tide,
As underground there rolls a sound
   From where the caverned waters glide.
A face that bears affection's glow,
   The soul that speaks from gentle eyes,
      And joy which slips
      From loving lips
   Have made this spot my Paradise!


The heart that once was rich with light,
And happy in your grace,
Now lieth cold beneath the scorn
That gathers on your face;
And every joy it knew before,
And every templed dream,
Is paler than the dying flash
On yonder mountain stream.
The soul, regretting foundered bliss
Amid the wreck of years,
Hath mourned it with intensity
Too deep for human tears!

The forest fadeth underneath
The blast that rushes by --
The dripping leaves are white with death,
But Love will never die!
We both have seen the starry moss
That clings where Ruin reigns,
And ~one~ must know ~his~ lonely breast
Affection still retains;
Through all the sweetest hopes of life,
That clustered round and round,
Are lying now, like withered things,
Forsaken -- on the ground.

'Tis hard to think of what we were,
And what we might have been,
Had not an evil spirit crept
Across the tranquil scene:
Had fervent feelings in your soul
Not failed nor ceased to shine
As pure as those existing on,
And burning still in mine.
Had every treasure at your feet
That I was wont to pour,
Been never thrown like worthless weeds
Upon a barren shore!

The bitter edge of grief has passed,
I would not now upbraid;
Or count to you the broken vows,
So often idly made!
I would not cross your path to chase
The falsehood from your brow --
I ~know~, with all that borrowed light,
You are not happy now:
Since those that once have trampled down
Affection's early claim,
Have lost a peace they need not hope
To find on earth again.


A splendid sun betwixt the trees
Long spikes of flame did shoot,
When turning to the fragrant South,
With longing eyes and burning mouth,
I stretched a hand athwart the drouth,
And plucked at cooling fruit.

So thirst was quenched, and hastening on
With strength returned to me,
I set my face against the noon,
And reached a denser forest soon;
Which dipped into a still lagoon
Hard by the sooming sea.

All day the ocean beat on bar
And bank of gleaming sand;
Yet that lone pool was always mild,
It never moved when waves were wild,
But slumbered, like a quiet child,
Upon the lap of land.

And when I rested on the brink,
Amongst the fallen flowers,
I lay in calm; no leaves were stirred
By breath of wind, or wing of bird;
It was so still, you might have heard
The footfalls of the hours.

Faint slumbrous scents of roses filled
The air which covered me:
My words were low -- "she loved them so,
In Eden vales such odours blow:
How strange it is that roses grow
So near the shores of Sea!"

A sweeter fragrance never came
Across the Fields of Yore!
And when I said -- "we here would dwell," --
A low voice on the silence fell --
"Ah! if you loved the roses well,
You loved Aileen the more."

"Ay, that I did, and now would turn,
And fall and worship her!
But Oh, you dwell so far -- so high!
One cannot reach, though he may try,
The Morning land, and Jasper sky --
The balmy hills of Myrrh.

"Why vex me with delicious hints
Of fairest face, and rarest blooms;
You Spirit of a darling Dream
Which links itself with every theme
And thought of mine by surf or stream,
In glens -- or caverned glooms?"

She said, "thy wishes led me down,
From amaranthine bowers:
And since my face was haunting thee
With roses (dear which used to be),
They all have hither followed me,
The scents and shapes of flowers."

"Then stay, mine own evangel, stay!
Or, going, take me too;
But let me sojourn by your side,
If here we dwell or there abide,
It matters not!" I madly cried --
"I only care for you."

Oh, glittering Form that would not stay! --
Oh, sudden, sighing breeze!
A fainting rainbow dropped below
Far gleaming peaks and walls of snow
And there, a weary way, I go,
Towards the Sunrise seas.


The gums in the gully stand gloomy and stark,
 A torrent beneath them is leaping,
And the wind goes about like a ghost in the dark
 Where a chief of Wahibbi lies sleeping!
He dreams of a battle -- of foes of the past,
But he hears not the whooping abroad on the blast,
Nor the fall of the feet that are travelling fast.
 Oh, why dost thou slumber, Kooroora?

They come o'er the hills in their terrible ire,
 And speed by the woodlands and water;
They look down the hills at the flickering fire,
 All eager and thirsty for slaughter.
Lo! the stormy moon glares like a torch from the vale,
And a voice in the belah grows wild in its wail,
As the cries of the Wanneroos swell with the gale --
 Oh! rouse thee and meet them, Kooroora!

He starts from his sleep and he clutches his spear,
 And the echoes roll backward in wonder,
For a shouting strikes into the hollow woods near,
 Like the sound of a gathering thunder.
He clambers the ridge, with his face to the light,
The foes of Wahibbi come full in his sight --
The waters of Mooki will redden to-night.
 Go! and glory awaits thee, Kooroora!

Lo! yeelamans splinter and boomerangs clash,
 And a spear through the darkness is driven --
It whizzes along like a wandering flash
 From the heart of a hurricane riven.
They turn to the mountains, that gloomy-browed band;
The rain droppeth down with a moan to the land,
And the face of a chieftain lies buried in sand --
 Oh, the light that was quenched with Kooroora!

To-morrow the Wanneroo dogs will rejoice,
 And feast in this desolate valley;
But where are his brothers -- the friends of his choice,
 And why art thou absent, Ewalli?
Now silence draws back to the forest again,
And the wind, like a wayfarer, sleeps on the plain,
But the cheeks of a warrior bleach in the rain.
 Oh! where are thy mourners, Kooroora?

Fainting by the Way

Swarthy wastelands, wide and woodless, glittering miles and miles away,
Where the south wind seldom wanders and the winters will not stay;
Lurid wastelands, pent in silence, thick with hot and thirsty sighs,
Where the scanty thorn-leaves twinkle with their haggard, hopeless eyes;
Furnaced wastelands, hunched with hillocks, like to stony billows rolled,
Where the naked flats lie swirling, like a sea of darkened gold;
Burning wastelands, glancing upward with a weird and vacant stare,
Where the languid heavens quiver o'er red depths of stirless air!

"Oh, my brother, I am weary of this wildering waste of sand;
In the noontide we can never travel to the promised land!
Lo! the desert broadens round us, glaring wildly in my face,
With long leagues of sunflame on it, -- oh! the barren, barren place!
See, behind us gleams a green plot, shall we thither turn and rest
Till a cold wind flutters over, till the day is down the west?
I would follow, but I cannot!  Brother, let me here remain,
For the heart is dead within me, and I may not rise again."

"Wherefore stay to talk of fainting? -- rouse thee for awhile, my friend;
Evening hurries on our footsteps, and this journey soon will end.
Wherefore stay to talk of fainting, when the sun, with sinking fire,
Smites the blocks of broken thunder, blackening yonder craggy spire?
Even now the far-off landscape broods and fills with coming change,
And a withered moon grows brighter bending o'er that shadowed range;
At the feet of grassy summits sleeps a water calm and clear --
There is surely rest beyond it!  Comrade, wherefore tarry here?

"Yet a little longer struggle; we have walked a wilder plain,
And have met more troubles, trust me, than we e'er shall meet again!
Can you think of all the dangers you and I are living through
With a soul so weak and fearful, with the doubts ~I~ never knew?
Dost thou not remember that the thorns are clustered with the rose,
And that every Zin-like border may a pleasant land enclose?
Oh, across these sultry deserts many a fruitful scene we'll find,
And the blooms we gather shall be worth the wounds they leave behind!"

"Ah, my brother, it is useless!  See, o'erburdened with their load,
All the friends who went before us fall or falter by the road!
We have come a weary distance, seeking what we may not get,
And I think we are but children, chasing rainbows through the wet.
Tell me not of vernal valleys!  Is it well to hold a reed
Out for drowning men to clutch at in the moments of their need?
Go thy journey on without me; it is better I should stay,
Since my life is like an evening, fading, swooning fast away!

"Where are all the springs you talked of?  Have I not with pleading mouth
Looked to Heaven through a silence stifled in the crimson drouth?
Have I not, with lips unsated, watched to see the fountains burst,
Where I searched the rocks for cisterns?  And they only mocked my thirst!
Oh, I dreamt of countries fertile, bright with lakes and flashing rills
Leaping from their shady caverns, streaming round a thousand hills!
Leave me, brother, all is fruitless, barren, measureless, and dry,
And my God will ~never~ help me though I pray, and faint, and die!"

"Up!  I tell thee this is idle!  Oh, thou man of little faith!
Doubting on the verge of Aidenn, turning now to covet death!
By the fervent hopes within me, by the strength which nerves my soul,
By the heart that yearns to help thee, we shall live and reach the goal!
Rise and lean thy weight upon me.  Life is fair, and God is just,
And He yet will show us fountains, if we only look and trust!
Oh, I know it, and He leads us to the glens of stream and shade,
Where the low, sweet waters gurgle round the banks which cannot fade!"

Thus he spake, my friend and brother! and he took me by the hand,
And I think we walked the desert till the night was on the land;
Then we came to flowery hollows, where we heard a far-off stream
Singing in the moony twilight, like the rivers of my dream.
And the balmy winds came tripping softly through the pleasant trees,
And I thought they bore a murmur like a voice from sleeping seas.
So we travelled, so we reached it, and I never more will part
With the peace, as calm as sunset, folded round my weary heart.

Song of the Cattle-Hunters

While the morning light beams on the fern-matted streams,
 And the water-pools flash in its glow,
Down the ridges we fly, with a loud ringing cry --
 Down the ridges and gullies we go!
And the cattle we hunt -- they are racing in front,
 With a roar like the thunder of waves,
As the beat and the beat of our swift horses' feet
 Start the echoes away from their caves!
      As the beat and the beat
      Of our swift horses' feet
 Start the echoes away from their caves!

Like a wintry shore that the waters ride o'er,
 All the lowlands are filling with sound;
For swiftly we gain where the herds on the plain,
 Like a tempest, are tearing the ground!
And we'll follow them hard to the rails of the yard,
 O'er the gulches and mountain-tops grey,
Where the beat and the beat of our swift horses' feet
 Will die with the echoes away!
      Where the beat and the beat
      Of our swift horses' feet
 Will die with the echoes away!


The embers were blinking and clinking away,
 The casement half open was thrown;
There was nothing but cloud on the skirts of the Day,
 And I sat on the threshold alone!

And said to the river which flowed by my door
 With its beautiful face to the hill,
"I have waited and waited, all wearied and sore,
 But my love is a wanderer still!"

And said to the wind, as it paused in its flight
 To look through the shivering pane,
"There are memories moaning and homeless to-night
 That can never be tranquil again!"

And said to the woods, as their burdens were borne
 With a flutter and sigh to the eaves,
"They are wrinkled and wasted, and tattered and torn,
 And we too have our withering leaves."

Did I hear a low echo of footfalls about,
 Whilst watching those forest trees stark?
Or was it a dream that I hurried without
 To clutch at and grapple the dark?

In the shadow I stood for a moment and spake --
 "Bright thing that was loved in the past,
Oh! am I asleep -- or abroad and awake?
 And are you so near me at last?

"Oh, roamer from lands where the vanished years go,
 Oh, waif from those mystical zones,
Come here where I long for you, broken and low,
 On the mosses and watery stones!

"Come out of your silence and tell me if Life
 Is so fair in that world as they say;
Was it worth all this yearning, and weeping, and strife
 When you left it behind you to-day?

"Will it end all this watching, and doubting, and dread?
 Do these sorrows die out with our breath?
Will they pass from our souls like a nightmare," I said,
 "While we glide through the mazes of Death?

"Come out of that darkness and teach me the lore
 You have learned since I looked on your face;
By the summers that blossomed and faded of yore --
 By the lights which have fled to that place!

"You answer me not when I know that you could --
When I know that you could and you should;
 Though the storms be abroad on the wave;
Though the rain droppeth down with a wail to the wood,
 And my heart is as cold as your grave!"

God Help Our Men at Sea

The wild night comes like an owl to its lair,
 The black clouds follow fast,
And the sun-gleams die, and the lightnings glare,
 And the ships go heaving past, past, past --
 The ships go heaving past!
    Bar the doors, and higher, higher
    Pile the faggots on the fire:
    Now abroad, by many a light,
    Empty seats there are to-night --
    Empty seats that none may fill,
    For the storm grows louder still:
How it surges and swells through the gorges and dells,
 Under the ledges and over the lea,
Where a watery sound goeth moaning around --
    God help our men at sea!

Oh! never a tempest blew on the shore
 But that some heart did moan
For a darling voice it would hear no more
 And a face that had left it lone, lone, lone --
 A face that had left it lone!
    I am watching by a pane
    Darkened with the gusty rain,
    Watching, through a mist of tears,
    Sad with thoughts of other years,
    For a brother I did miss
    In a stormy time like this.
Ah! the torrent howls past, like a fiend on the blast,
 Under the ledges and over the lea;
And the pent waters gleam, and the wild surges scream --
    God help our men at sea!

Ah, Lord! they may grope through the dark to find
 Thy hand within the gale;
And cries may rise on the wings of the wind
 From mariners weary and pale, pale, pale --
 From mariners weary and pale!
    'Tis a fearful thing to know,
    While the storm-winds loudly blow,
    That a man can sometimes come
    Too near to his father's home;
    So that he shall kneel and say,
    "Lord, I would be far away!"
Ho! the hurricanes roar round a dangerous shore,
 Under the ledges and over the lea;
And there twinkles a light on the billows so white --
    God help our men at sea!

Sitting by the Fire

Barren Age and withered World!
Oh! the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof --
Pattering on the pane!
Frosty Age and cold, cold World!
Ghosts of other days,
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze.
Now the wind goes soughing wild
O'er the whistling Earth;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth!
Sitting by the fire,
Watching in its glow,
Ghosts of other days
Trooping to and fro.

     .    .    .    .    .

Oh, the nights -- the nights we've spent,
Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow;
Twenty summers back --
Twenty years ago!
If the days were days of toil
Wherefore should we mourn;
There were shadows near the shine,
Flowers with the thorn?
And we still can recollect
Evenings spent in mirth --
Fragments of a broken life,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow,
Twenty summers back --
Twenty years ago.

Beauty stooped to bless us once,
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow;
Forty summers back --
Forty years ago.
Words of love were interchanged,
Maiden hearts we stole;
And the light affection throws
Slept on every soul.
Oh, the hours went flying past --
Hours of priceless worth;
But we took no note of Time,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow,
Forty summers back --
Forty years ago.

Gleesome children were we not?
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back --
Sixty years ago.
Laughing voices filled the room;
Oh, the songs we sung,
When the evenings hurried by --
When our hearts were young!
Pleasant faces watched the flame --
Eyes illumed with mirth --
And we told some merry tales,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back --
Sixty years ago.

     .    .    .    .    .

Barren Age and withered World!
Oh, the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof --
Pattering on the pane!
Frosty Age and cold, cold World!
Ghosts of other days,
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze.
Now the wind goes soughing wild
O'er the whistling Earth;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Watching, in its glow,
Ghosts of other days
Trooping to and fro!

Bellambi's Maid

Amongst the thunder-splintered caves
 On Ocean's long and windy shore,
I catch the voice of dying waves
 Below the ridges old and hoar;
The spray descends in silver showers,
 And lovely whispers come and go,
Like echoes from the happy hours
 I never more may hope to know!
The low mimosa droops with locks
 Of yellow hair, in dewy glade,
While far above the caverned rocks
 I hear the dark Bellambi's Maid!

The moonlight dreams upon the sail
 That drives the restless ship to sea;
The clouds troop past the mountain vale,
 And sink like spirits down the lee;
The foggy peak of Corrimal,
 Uplifted, bears the pallid glow
That streams from yonder airy hall
 And robes the sleeping hills below;
The wandering meteors of the sky
 Beneath the distant waters wade,
While mystic music hurries by --
 The songs of dark Bellambi's Maid!

Why comes your voice, you lonely One,
 Along the wild harp's wailing strings?
Have not our hours of meeting gone,
 Like fading dreams on phantom wings?
Are not the grasses round your grave
 Yet springing green and fresh to view?
And does the gleam on Ocean's wave
 Tide gladness now to me and you?
Oh! cold and cheerless falls the night
 On withered hearts and hopes decayed:
And I have seen but little light
 Since died the dark Bellambi's Maid!

The Curlew Song

The viewless blast flies moaning past,
 Away to the forest trees,
Where giant pines and leafless vines
 Bend 'neath the wandering breeze!
From ferny streams, unearthly screams
 Are heard in the midnight blue;
As afar they roam to the shepherd's home,
 The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
    As afar they roam
    To the shepherd's home,
 The shrieks of the wild Curlew!

The mists are curled o'er a dark-faced world,
 And the shadows sleep around,
Where the clear lagoon reflects the moon
 In her hazy glory crowned;
While dingoes howl, and wake the growl
 Of the watchdog brave and true;
Whose loud, rough bark shoots up in the dark,
 With the song of the lone Curlew!
    Whose loud, rough bark
    Shoots up in the dark,
 With the song of the lone Curlew!

Near herby banks the dark green ranks
 Of the rushes stoop to drink;
And the ripples chime, in a measured time,
 On the smooth and mossy brink;
As wind-breaths sigh, and pass, and die,
 To start from the swamps anew,
And join again o'er ridge and plain
 With the wails of the sad Curlew!
    And join again
    O'er ridge and plain
 With the wails of the sad Curlew!

The clouds are thrown around the cone
 Of the mountain bare and high,
(Whose craggy peak uprears to the cheek --
 To the face of the sombre sky)
When down beneath the foggy wreath,
 Full many a gully through,
They rend the air, like cries of despair,
 The screams of the wild Curlew!
    They rend the air,
    Like cries of despair,
 The screams of the wild Curlew!

The viewless blast flies moaning past,
 Away to the forest trees;
Where giant pines and leafless vines
 Bend 'neath the wandering breeze!
From ferny streams, unearthly screams
 Are heard in the midnight blue;
As afar they roam to the shepherd's home,
 The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
    As afar they roam
    To the shepherd's home,
 The shrieks of the wild Curlew!

The Ballad of Tanna

She knelt by the dead, in her passionate grief,
 Beneath a weird forest of Tanna;
She kissed the stern brow of her father and chief,
 And cursed the dark race of Alkanna.
With faces as wild as the clouds in the rain,
The sons of Kerrara came down to the plain,
And spoke to the mourner and buried the slain.
        Oh, the glory that died with Deloya!

"Wahina," they whispered, "Alkanna lies low,
 And the ghost of thy sire hath been gladdened,
For the men of his people have fought with the foe
 Till the rivers of Warra are reddened!"
She lifted her eyes to the glimmering hill,
Then spoke, with a voice like a musical rill,
"The time is too short; can I sojourn here still?"
        Oh, the Youth that was sad for Deloya!

"Wahina, why linger," Annatanam said,
 "When the tent of a chieftain is lonely?
There are others who grieve for the light that has fled,
 And one who waits here for you only!"
"Go -- leave me!" she cried.  "I would fain be alone;
I must stay where the trees and the wild waters moan;
For my heart is as cold as a wave-beaten stone."
        Oh, the Beauty that was broke for Deloya!

"Wahina, why weep o'er a handful of dust,
 When the souls of the brave are approaching?
Oh, look to the fires that are lit for the just,
 And the mighty who sleep in Arrochin!"
But she turned from the glare of the flame-smitten sea,
And a cry, like a whirlwind, came over the lea --
"Away to the mountains and leave her with me!"
        Oh, the heart that was broke for Deloya!

The Rain Comes Sobbing to the Door

The night grows dark, and weird, and cold; and thick drops patter on the pane;
There comes a wailing from the sea; the wind is weary of the rain.
The red coals click beneath the flame, and see, with slow and silent feet
The hooded shadows cross the woods to where the twilight waters beat!
Now, fan-wise from the ruddy fire, a brilliance sweeps athwart the floor;
As, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door:
    As, streaming down the lattices,
    The rain comes sobbing to the door.

Dull echoes round the casement fall, and through the empty chambers go,
Like forms unseen whom we can hear on tip-toe stealing to and fro.
But fill your glasses to the brims, and, through a mist of smiles and tears,
Our eyes shall tell how much we love to toast the shades of other years!
And hither they will flock again, the ghosts of things that are no more,
While, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door:
    While, streaming down the lattices,
    The rain comes sobbing to the door.

The tempest-trodden wastelands moan -- the trees are threshing at the blast;
And now they come, the pallid shapes of Dreams that perished in the past;
And, when we lift the windows up, a smothered whisper round us strays,
Like some lone wandering voice from graves
  that hold the wrecks of bygone days.
I tell ye that I ~love~ the storm, for think we not of ~thoughts~ of yore,
When, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door?
    When, streaming down the lattices,
    The rain comes sobbing to the door?

We'll drink to those we sadly miss, and sing some mournful song we know,
Since they may chance to hear it all, and muse on friends they've left below.
Who knows -- if souls in bliss can leave the borders of their Eden-home --
But that some loving one may now about the ancient threshold roam?
Oh, like an exile, he would hail a glimpse of the familiar floor,
Though, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door!
    Though, streaming down the lattices,
    The rain comes sobbing to the door!


* Another spelling of Orara, a tributary of the river Clarence.

Euroka, go over the tops of the hill,
 For the ~Death-clouds~ have passed us to-day,
And we'll cry in the dark for the foot-falls still,
 And the tracks which are fading away!
Let them yell to their lubras, the Bulginbah dogs,
 And say how our brothers were slain,
We shall wipe out our grief in the blood of their chief,
 And twenty more dead on the plain --
 On the blood-spattered spurs of the plain!
        But the low winds sigh,
        And the dead leaves fly,
        Where our warriors lie,
 In the dingoes' den -- in the white-cedar glen
 On the banks of the gloomy Urara!
        Urara!  Urara!
 On the banks of the gloomy Urara!

The Wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass,
 And crawl to their coverts for fear;
But we'll sit in the ashes and let them pass
 Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear!
Oh! our hearts will be lonely and low to-night
 When we think of the hunts of yore;
And the foes that we sought, and the fights which we fought,
 With those who will battle no more --
 Who will go to the battle no more!
        For the dull winds sigh,
        And the dead leaves fly,
        Where our warriors lie,
 In the dingoes' den -- in the white-cedar glen
 On the banks of the gloomy Urara!
        Urara!  Urara!
 On the banks of the gloomy Urara!

Oh! the gorges and gullies are black with crows,
 And they feast on the flesh of the brave;
But the forest is loud with the howls of our foes
 For those whom they never can save!
Let us crouch with our faces down to our knees,
 And hide in the dark of our hair;
For we will not return where the camp-fires burn,
 And see what is smouldering there --
 What is smouldering, mouldering there!
        Where the sad winds sigh --
        The dead leaves fly,
        And our warriors lie;
 In the dingoes' den -- in the white-cedar glen
 On the banks of the gloomy Urara!
        Urara!  Urara!
 On the banks of the gloomy Urara!

Evening Hymn

The crag-pent breezes sob and moan where hidden waters glide;
And twilight wanders round the earth with slow and shadowy stride.
The gleaming clouds, above the brows of western steeps uphurled,
Look like the spires of some fair town that bounds a brighter world.
Lo, from the depths of yonder wood, where many a blind creek strays,
The pure Australian moon comes forth, enwreathed with silver haze.
The rainy mists are trooping down the folding hills behind,
And distant torrent-voices rise like bells upon the wind.
The echeu's* songs are dying, with the flute-bird's mellow tone,
And night recalls the gloomy owl to rove the wilds alone;
Night, holy night, in robes of blue, with golden stars encrowned,
Ascending mountains like to walls that hem an Eden round.

* The rufous-breasted thickhead.

Oh, lovely moon! oh, holy night! how good your God must be,
When, through the glories of your light, He stoops to look at me!
Oh, glittering clouds and silvery shapes, that vanish one by one!
Is not the kindness of our Lord too great to think upon?
If human song could flow as free as His created breeze,
When, sloping from some hoary height, it sweeps the vacant seas,
Then should my voice to heaven ascend, my tuneful lyre be strung,
And music sweeter than the winds should roam these glens among.
Go by, ye golden-footed hours, to your mysterious bourne,
And hide the sins ye bear from hence, so that they ne'er return.
Teach me, ye beauteous stars, to kiss kind Mercy's chastening rod,
And, looking up from Nature's face, to worship Nature's God.


The sunsets fall and the sunsets fade,
 But still I walk this shadowy land;
And grapple the dark and only the dark
 In my search for a loving hand.

For it's here a still, deep woodland lies,
 With spurs of pine and sheaves of fern;
But I wander wild, and wail like a child
 For a face that will never return!

And it's here a mighty water flows,
 With drifts of wind and wimpled waves;
But the darling head of a dear one dead
 Is hidden beneath its caves.

The Wail in the Native Oak

Where the lone creek, chafing nightly in the cold and sad moonshine,
Beats beneath the twisted fern-roots and the drenched and dripping vine;
Where the gum trees, ringed and ragged, from the mazy margins rise,
Staring out against the heavens with their languid gaping eyes;
There I listened -- there I heard it!  Oh, that melancholy sound,
Wandering like a ghostly whisper, through the dreaming darkness round!
Wandering, like a fearful warning, where the withered twilight broke
Through a mass of mournful tresses, drooping down the Native Oak.

And I caught a glimpse of sunset fading from a far-off wild,
As I sat me down to fancy, like a thoughtful, wistful child --
Sat me down to fancy what might mean those hollow, hopeless tones,
Sooming round the swooning silence, dying out in smothered moans!
What might mean that muffled sobbing?  Did a lonely phantom wail,
Pent amongst those tangled branches barring out the moonlight pale?
Wept it for that gleam of glory wasting from the forest aisles;
For that fainting gleam of glory sad with flickering, sickly smiles?

In these woodlands I was restless!  I had seen a light depart,
And an ache for something vanished filled and chilled my longing heart,
And I linked my thoughts together -- "All seemed still and dull to-day,
But a painful symbol groweth from the shine that pales away!
This may not be idle dreaming; if the spirit roams," I said,
"This is surely one, a wanderer from the ages which have fled!
Who can look beyond the darkness; who can see so he may tell
Where the sunsets all have gone to; where the souls that leave us dwell?

"This might be a loving exile, full with faded thoughts returned,
Seeking for familiar faces, friends for whom he long had yearned.
Here his fathers must have sojourned -- here his people may have died,
Or, perchance, to distant forests all were scattered far and wide.
So he moans and so he lingers! weeping o'er the wasted wild;
Weeping o'er the desolation, like a lost, benighted child!
So he moans, and so he lingers!  Hence these fitful, fretful sighs,
Deep within the oak tree solemn!  Hence these weary, weary cries!

"Or who knows but that some secret lies beneath yon dismal mound?
Ha! a dreary, dreadful secret must be buried underground!
Not a ragged blade of verdure -- not one root of moss is there;
Who hath torn the grasses from it -- wherefore is that barrow bare?
Darkness shuts the forest round me.  Here I stand and, O my God!
This may be some injured spirit raving round and round the sod.
Hush! the tempest, how it travels!  Blood hath here been surely shed --
Hush! the thunder, how it mutters!  Oh, the unrequited Dead!"

Came a footfall past the water -- came a wild man through the gloom,
Down he stooped and faced the current, silent as the silent tomb;
Down he stooped and lapped the ripples:  not a single word he spoke,
But I whispered, "He can tell me of the Secret in the Oak?
Very thoughtful seems that forehead; many legends he may know;
Many tales and old traditions linked to what is here below!
I must ask him -- rest I cannot -- though my life upon it hung --
Though these wails are waxing louder, I must give my thoughts a tongue.

"Shake that silence from you, wild man!  I have looked into your face,
Hoping I should learn the story there about this fearful place.
Slake your thirst, but stay and tell me:  did your heart with terror beat,
When you stepped across the bare and blasted hillock at your feet?
Hearken to these croons so wretched deep within the dusk boughs pent!
Hold you not some strange tradition coupled with this strange lament?
When your tribe about their camp-fires hear that hollow, broken cry,
~Do they hint of deeds mysterious, hidden in the days gone by?~"

But he rose like one bewildered, shook his head and glided past;
Huddling whispers hurried after, hissing in the howling blast!
Now a sheet of lurid splendour swept athwart the mountain spire,
And a midnight squall came trumping down on zigzag paths of fire!
Through the tumult dashed a torrent flanking out in foaming streams,
Whilst the woodlands groaned and muttered like a monster vexed with dreams.
Then I swooned away in horror.  Oh! that shriek which rent the air,
Like the voice of some fell demon harrowed by a mad despair.

Harps We Love

The harp we love hath a royal burst!
 Its strings are mighty forest trees;
And branches, swaying to and fro,
 Are fingers sounding symphonies.

The harp we love hath a solemn sound!
 And rocks amongst the shallow seas
Are strings from which the rolling waves
 Draw forth their stirring harmonies.

The harp we love hath a low sweet voice!
 Its strings are in the bosom deep,
And Love will press those hidden chords
 When all the baser passions sleep.

Waiting and Wishing

I loiter by this surging sea,
Here, by this surging, sooming sea,
Here, by this wailing, wild-faced sea,
Dreaming through the dreamy night;
Yearning for a strange delight!
Will it ever, ever, ever fly to me,
    By this surging sea,
    By this surging, sooming sea,
    By this wailing, wild-faced sea?

I know some gentle spirit lives,
Some loving, lonely spirit lives,
Some melancholy spirit lives,
Walking o'er the earth for me,
Searching round the world for me!
Will she ever, ever, ever hither come?
    Where the waters roam,
    Where the sobbing waters roam!
    Where the raving waters roam!

All worn and wasted by the storms,
All gapped and fractured by the storms,
All split and splintered by the storms,
Overhead the caverns groan,
Gloomy, ghastly caverns groan! --
Will she ever, ever, ever fill this heart?
    Peace, O longing heart!
    Peace, O longing, beating heart!
    Peace, O beating, weary heart!

The Wild Kangaroo

The rain-clouds have gone to the deep --
 The East like a furnace doth glow;
And the day-spring is flooding the steep,
 And sheening the landscape below.
Oh, ye who are gifted with souls
 That delight in the music of birds,
Come forth where the scattered mist rolls,
 And listen to eloquent words!
Oh, ye who are fond of the sport,
 And would travel yon wilderness through,
Gather -- each to his place -- for a life-stirring chase,
 In the wake of the wild Kangaroo!
    Gather -- each to his place --
    For a life-stirring chase
 In the wake of the wild Kangaroo!

Beyond the wide rents of the fog,
 The trees are illumined with gold;
And the bark of the shepherd's brave dog
 Shoots away from the sheltering fold.
Down the depths of yon rock-border'd glade,
 A torrent goes foaming along;
And the blind-owls retire into shade,
 And the bell-bird beginneth its song.
By the side of that yawning abyss,
 Where the vapours are hurrying to,
We will merrily pass, looking down to the grass
 For the tracks of the wild Kangaroo!
    We will merrily pass,
    Looking down to the grass
 For the tracks of the wild Kangaroo.

Ho, brothers, away to the woods;
 Euroka hath clambered the hill;
But the morning there seldom intrudes,
 Where the night-shadows slumber on still.
We will roam o'er these forest-lands wild,
 And thread the dark masses of vines,
Where the winds, like the voice of a child,
 Are singing aloft in the pines.
We must keep down the glee of our hounds;
 We must ~steal~ through the glittering dew;
And the breezes shall sleep as we cautiously creep
 To the haunts of the wild Kangaroo.
    And the breezes shall sleep,
    As we cautiously creep
 To the haunts of the wild Kangaroo.

When we pass through a stillness like death
 The swamp fowl and timorous quail,
Like the leaves in a hurricane's breath,
 Will start from their nests in the vale;
And the forester,*  snuffing the air,
 Will bound from his covert so dark,
While we follow along in the rear,
 As arrows speed on to their mark!
Then the swift hounds shall bring him to bay,
 And we'll send forth a hearty halloo,
As we gather them all to be in at the fall --
 At the death of the wild Kangaroo!
    As we gather them all
    To be in at the fall --
 At the death of the wild Kangaroo!

* The Kangaroo.


Too cold, O my brother, too cold for my wife
 Is the Beauty you showed me this morning:
Nor yet have I found the sweet dream of my life,
 And good-bye to the sneering and scorning.
Would you have me cast down in the dark of her frown,
 Like others who bend at her shrine;
And would barter their souls for a statue-like face,
 And a heart that can never be mine?
    That can never be theirs nor mine.

Go after her, look at her, kneel at her feet,
 And mimic the lover romantic;
I have hated deceit, and she misses the treat
 Of driving me hopelessly frantic!
Now watch her, as deep in her carriage she lies,
 And love her, my friend, if you dare!
She would wither your life with her beautiful eyes,
 And strangle your soul with her hair!
    With a mesh of her splendid hair.


Let me talk of years evanished, let me harp upon the time
When we trod these sands together, in our boyhood's golden prime;
Let me lift again the curtain, while I gaze upon the past,
As the sailor glances homewards, watching from the topmost mast.
Here we rested on the grasses, in the glorious summer hours,
When the waters hurried seaward, fringed with ferns and forest flowers;
When our youthful eyes, rejoicing, saw the sunlight round the spray
In a rainbow-wreath of splendour, glittering underneath the day;
Sunlight flashing past the billows, falling cliffs and crags among,
Clothing hopeful friendship basking on the shores of Wollongong.

Echoes of departed voices, whispers from forgotten dreams,
Come across my spirit, like the murmurs of melodious streams.
Here we both have wandered nightly, when the moonshine cold and pale
Shimmer'd on the cone of Keira, sloping down the sleeping vale;
When the mournful waves came sobbing, sobbing on the furrowed shore,
Like to lone hearts weeping over loved ones they shall see no more;
While the silver ripples, stealing past the shells and slimy stones,
Broke beneath the caverns, dying, one by one, in muffled moans;
As the fragrant wood-winds roaming, with a fitful cadence sung
'Mid the ghostly branches belting round the shores of Wollongong.

Lovely faces flit before us, friendly forms around us stand;
Gleams of well-remembered gladness trip along the yellow sand.
Here the gold-green waters glistened underneath our dreaming gaze,
As the lights of Heaven slanted down the pallid ether haze;
Here the mossy rock-pool, like to one that stirs himself in sleep,
Trembled every moment at the roaring of the restless deep;
While the stately vessels swooping to the breezes fair and free,
Passed away like sheeted spectres, fading down the distant sea;
And our wakened fancies sparkled, and our soul-born thoughts we strung
Into joyous lyrics, singing with the waves of Wollongong.

Low-breathed strains of sweetest music float about my raptured ears;
Angel-eyes are glancing at me hopeful smiles and happy tears.
Merry feet go scaling up the old and thunder-shattered steeps,
And the billows clamber after, and the surge to ocean leaps,
Scattered into fruitless showers, falling where the breakers roll,
Baffled like the aspirations of a proud ambitious soul.
Far off sounds of silvery laughter through the hollow caverns ring,
While my heart leaps up to catch reviving pleasure on the wing;
And the years come trooping backward, and we both again are young,
Walking side by side upon the lovely shores of Wollongong.

Fleeting dreams and idle fancies!  Lo, the gloomy after Age
Creepeth, like an angry shadow, over life's eventful stage!
Joy is but a mocking phantom, throwing out its glitter brief --
Short-lived as the western sunbeam dying from the cedar leaf.
Here we linger, lonely-hearted, musing over visions fled,
While the sickly twilight withers from the arches overhead.
Semblance of a bliss delusive are those dull, receding rays;
Semblance of the faint reflection left to us of other days;
Days of vernal hope and gladness, hours when the blossoms sprung
Round the feet of blithesome ramblers by the shores of Wollongong.

Ella with the Shining Hair

Through many a fragrant cedar grove
 A darkened water moans;
And there pale Memory stood with Love
 Amongst the moss-green stones.

The shimmering sunlight fell and kissed
 The grasstree's golden sheaves;
But we were troubled with a mist
 Of music in the leaves.

One passed us, like a sudden gleam;
 Her face was deadly fair.
"Oh, go," we said, "you homeless Dream
 Of Ella's shining hair!

"We halt, like one with tired wings,
 And we would fain forget
That there are tempting, maddening things
 Too high to clutch at yet!

"Though seven Springs have filled the Wood
 With pleasant hints and signs,
Since faltering feet went forth and stood
 With Death amongst the pines."

From point to point unwittingly
 We wish to clamber still,
Till we have light enough to see
 The summits of the hill.

"O do not cry, my sister dear,"
 Said beaming Hope to Love,
"Though we have been so troubled here
 The Land is calm above;

"Beyond the regions of the storm
 We'll find the golden gates,
Where, all the day, a radiant Form,
 Our Ella, sits and waits."

And Memory murmured:  "She was one
 Of God's own darlings lent;
And Angels wept that she had gone,
 And wondered why she went.

"I know they came, and talked to her,
 Through every garden breeze,
About eternal Hills of Myrrh,
 And quiet Jasper Seas.

"For her the Earth contained no charms;
 All things were strange and wild;
And I believe a Seraph's arms
 Caught up the sainted Child."

And Love looked round, and said:  "Oh, you
 That sit by Beulah's streams,
Shake on this thirsty life the dew
 Which brings immortal dreams!

"Ah! turn to us, and greet us oft
 With looks of pitying balm,
And hints of heaven, in whispers soft,
 To make our troubles calm.

"My Ella with the shining hair,
 Behold, these many years,
We've held up wearied hands in prayer;
 And groped about in tears."

But Hope sings on:  "Beyond the storm
 We'll find the golden gates
Where, all the day, a radiant Form,
 Our Ella, sits and waits."

The Barcoo

(The Squatters' Song)

From the runs of the Narran, wide-dotted with sheep,
 And loud with the lowing of cattle,
We speed for a land where the strange forests sleep
 And the hidden creeks bubble and brattle!
Now call on the horses, and leave the blind courses
 And sources of rivers that all of us know;
For, crossing the ridges, and passing the ledges,
And running up gorges, we'll come to the verges
 Of gullies where waters eternally flow.
Oh! the herds they will rush down the spurs of the hill
 To feed on the grasses so cool and so sweet;
And I think that my life with delight will stand still
 When we halt with the pleasant Barcoo at our feet.

Good-bye to the Barwon, and brigalow scrubs,
 Adieu to the Culgoa ranges,
But look for the mulga and salt-bitten shrubs,
 Though the face of the forest-land changes.
The leagues we may travel down beds of hot gravel,
 And clay-crusted reaches where moisture hath been,
While searching for waters, may vex us and thwart us,
Yet who would be quailing, or fainting, or failing?
 Not you, who are men of the Narran, I ween!
When we leave the dry channels away to the south,
 And reach the far plains we are journeying to,
We will cry, though our lips may be glued with the drouth,
 Hip, hip, and hurrah for the pleasant Barcoo!

Bells Beyond the Forest

Wild-eyed woodlands, here I rest me, underneath the gaunt and ghastly trees;
Underneath fantastic-fronted caverns crammed with many a muffled breeze.
Far away from dusky towns and cities twinkling with the feet of men;
Listening to a sound of mellow music fleeting down the gusty glen;
Sitting by a rapid torrent, with the broken sunset in my face;
By a rapid, roaring torrent, tumbling through a dark and lonely place!
And I hear the bells beyond the forest, and the voice of distant streams;
And a flood of swelling singing, wafting round a world of ruined dreams.

Like to one who watches daylight dying from a lofty mountain spire,
When the autumn splendour scatters like a gust of faintly-gleaming fire;
So the silent spirit looketh through a mist of faded smiles and tears,
While across it stealeth all the sad and sweet divinity of years --
All the scenes of shine and shadow; light and darkness sleeping side by side
When my heart was wedded to existence, as a bridegroom to his bride:
While I travelled gaily onward with the vapours crowding in my wake,
Deeming that the Present hid the glory where the promised Morn would break.

Like to one who, by the waters standing, marks the reeling ocean wave
Moaning, hide his head all torn and shivered underneath his lonely cave,
So the soul within me glances at the tides of Purpose where they creep,
Dashed to fragments by the yawning ridges circling Life's tempestuous Deep!
Oh! the tattered leaves are dropping, dropping round me like a fall of rain;
While the dust of many a broken aspiration sweeps my troubled brain;
With the yearnings after Beauty, and the longings to be good and great;
And the thoughts of catching Fortune, flying on the tardy wings of Fate.

Bells, beyond the forest chiming, where is all the inspiration now
That was wont to flush my forehead, and to chase the pallor from my brow?
Did I not, amongst these thickets, weave my thoughts and passions into rhyme,
Trusting that the words were golden, hoping for the praise of after-time?
Where have all those fancies fled to?  Can the fond delusion linger still,
When the Evening withers o'er me, and the night is creeping up the hill?
If the years of strength have left me, and my life begins to fail and fade,
Who will learn my simple ballads; who will stay to sing the songs I've made?

Bells, beyond the forest ringing, lo, I hasten to the world again;
For the sun has smote the empty windows, and the day is on the wane!
Hear I not a dreamy echo, soughing through the rafters of the tree;
Like a sound of stormy rivers, or the ravings of a restless sea?
Should I loiter here to listen, while this fitful wind is on the wing?
No, the heart of Time is sobbing, and my spirit is a withered thing!
Let the rapid torrents tumble, let the woodlands whistle in the blast;
Mighty minstrels sing behind me, but the promise of my youth is past.


   Alone -- alone!
With a heart like a stone,
She maketh her moan
At the feet of the trees,
With her face on her knees,
And her hair streaming over;
Wildly, and wildly, and wildly;
For she misses the tracks of her lover!
Do you hear her, Ulmarra?
Oh, where are the tracks of her lover?

   Go by -- go by!
They have told her a lie,
Who said he was nigh,
In the white-cedar glen --
In the camps of his men:
And she sitteth there weeping --
Weeping, and weeping, and weeping,
For the face of a warrior sleeping!
Do you hear her, Ulmarra?
Oh! where is her warrior sleeping?

   A dream! a dream!
That they saw a bright gleam
Through the dusk boughs stream,
Where wild bees dwell,
And a tomahawk fell,
In moons which have faded;
Faded, and faded, and faded,
From woods where a chieftain lies shaded!
Do you hear her, Ulmarra?
Oh! where doth her chieftain lie shaded?

   Bewail! bewail!
Who whispered a tale,
That they heard on the gale,
Through the dark and the cold,
The voice of the bold;
And a boomerang flying;
Flying, and flying, and flying?
Ah! her heart it is wasted with crying --
Do you hear her, Ulmarra?
Oh! her heart it is wasted with crying!

The Maid of Gerringong

Rolling through the gloomy gorges, comes the roaring southern blast,
With a sound of torrents flying, like a routed army, past,
And, beneath the shaggy forelands, strange fantastic forms of surf
Fly, like wild hounds, at the darkness, crouching over sea and earth;
Swooping round the sunken caverns, with an aggravated roar;
Falling where the waters tumble foaming on a screaming shore!
In a night like this we parted.  Eyes were wet though speech was low,
And our thoughts were all in mourning for the dear, dead Long Ago!
In a night like this we parted.  Hearts were sad though they were young,
And you left me very lonely, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

Said my darling, looking at me, through the radiance of her tears:
"Many changes, O my loved One, we will meet in after years;
Changes like to sudden sunbursts flashing down a rainy steep --
Changes like to swift-winged shadows falling on a moony deep!
And they are so cheerless sometimes, leaving, when they pass us by,
Deepening dolours on the sweet, sad face of our Humanity.
But you'll hope, and fail and faint not, with that heart so warm and true,
Watching for the coming Morning, that will flood the World for you;
Listening through a thirsty silence, till the low winds bear along
Eager footfalls -- pleasant voices," said the Maid of Gerringong.

Said my darling, when the wind came sobbing wildly round the eaves:
"Oh, the Purpose scattered from me, like the withered autumn leaves!
Oh, the wreck of Love's ambition!  Oh, the fond and full belief
That I yet should hear them hail you in your land a God-made chief!
In the loud day they may slumber, but my thoughts will not be still
When the weary world is sleeping, and the moon is on the hill;
Then your form will bend above me, then your voice will rise and fall,
Though I turn and hide in darkness, with my face against the wall,
And my Soul must rise and listen while those homeless memories throng
Moaning in the night for shelter," said the Maid of Gerringong.

Ay, she passed away and left me!  Rising through the dusk of tears,
Came a vision of that parting every day for many years!
Every day, though she had told me not to court the strange sweet pain,
Something whispered -- something led me to our olden haunts again:
And I used to wander nightly, by the surges and the ships,
Harping on those last fond accents that had trembled from her lips:
Till a vessel crossed the waters, and I heard a stranger say,
"One you loved has died in silence with her dear face turned away."
Oh! the eyes that flash upon me, and the voice that comes along --
Oh! my light, my life, my darling dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

     .    .    .    .    .

Some one saith, "Oh, you that mock at Passion with a worldly whine,
Would you change the face of Nature -- would you limit God's design?
Hide for shame from well-raised clamour, moderate fools who would be wise;
Hide for shame -- the World will hoot you!  Love is Love, and never dies"
And another asketh, doubting that my brother speaks the truth,
"Can we love in age as fondly as we did in days of youth?
Will dead faces always haunt us, in the time of faltering breath?
Shall we yearn, and we so feeble?"  Ay, for Love is Love in Death.
Oh! the Faith with sure foundation! -- let the Ages roll along,
You are mine, and mine for ever, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

Last night, dear, I dreamt about you, and I thought that far from men
We were walking, both together, in a fragrant seaside glen;
Down where we could hear the surges wailing round the castled cliffs,
Down where we could see the sunset reddening on the distant skiffs;
There a fall of mountain waters tumbled through the knotted bowers
Bright with rainbow colours reeling on the purple forest flowers.
And we rested on the benches of a cavern old and hoar;
And I whispered, "this is surely her I loved in days of yore!
False he was who brought sad tidings!  Why were you away so long,
When you knew who waited for you, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong?

"Did the strangers come around you, in the far-off foreign land?
Did they lead you out of sorrow, with kind face and loving hand?
Had they pleasant ways to court you -- had they silver words to bind?
Had they souls more fond and loyal than the soul you left behind?
Do not think I blame you, dear one!  Ah! my heart is gushing o'er
With the sudden joy and wonder, thus to see your face once more.
Happy is the chance which joins us after long, long years of pain:
And, oh, blessed was whatever sent you back to me again!
Now our pleasure will be real -- now our hopes again are young:
Now we'll climb Life's brightest summits, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

"In the sound of many footfalls, did you falter with regret
For a step which used to gladden in the time so vivid yet?
When they left you in the night-hours, did you lie awake like me,
With the thoughts of what we had been -- what we never more could be?
Ah! you look but do not answer while I halt and question here,
Wondering why I am so happy, doubting that you are so near.
Sure these eyes with love are blinded, for your form is waxing faint;
And a dreamy splendour crowns it, like the halo round a saint!
When I talk of what we will be, and new aspirations throng,
Why are you so sadly silent, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong?"

But she faded into sunset, and the sunset passed from sight;
And I followed madly after, through the misty, moony night,
Crying, "do not leave me lonely!  Life has been so cold and drear,
You are all that God has left me, and I want you to be near!
Do not leave me in the darkness!  I have walked a weary way,
Listening for your truant footsteps -- turn and stay, my darling, stay!"
But she came not though I waited, watching through a splendid haze,
Where the lovely Phantom halted ere she vanished from my gaze.
Then I thought that rain was falling, for there rose a stormy song,
And I woke in gloom and tempest, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong!


Like a beautiful face looking ever at me
A pure bright moon cometh over the sea;
And I stand on the crags, and hear the falls
Go tumbling down, through the black river-walls;
And the heart of the gorge is rent with the cry
Of the pent-up winds in their agony!
You are far from me, dear, where I watch and wait,
Like a weary bird for a long-lost mate,
And my life is as dull as the sluggish stream
Feeling its way through a world of dream;
For here is a waste of darkness and fear,
And I call and I call, but no one will hear!
O darling of mine, do you ever yearn
For a something lost, which will never return?

O darling of mine, on the grave of dead Hours,
Do you feel, like me, for a handful of flowers?
Through the glens of the Past, do you wander along,
Like a restless ghost that hath done a wrong?
And, lying alone, do you look from the drouth
Of a thirsty Life with a pleading mouth?
When the rain's on the roof, and the gales are abroad,
Do you wash with your tears the feet of your God?
Oh! I know you do, and he sitteth alone,
Your wounded Love, while you mourn and moan --
Oh! I know you do, and he never will leap
From his silence with smiles, while you weep -- and weep!

Your coolness shake down, ye gathered green leaves,
For my spirit is faint with the love that it grieves!
Is there aught on the summit, O yearner through Night,
Aught on the summit which looks like the light;
When my soul is a-wearied and lone in the land,
Groping around will it touch a kind hand?
There are chasms between us as black as a pall,
But bring us together, O God over all!
And let me cast from me these fetters of Fear,
When I hear the glad singing of Faith so near;
For I know by the cheeks, which are pallid and wet,
And a listening life we shall mingle yet!
Oh! then I will turn to those eloquent eyes,
And clasp thee close, with a sweet surprise;
And a guest will go in by the heart's holy door,
And the chambers of Love shall be left no more.

The Opossum-Hunters

Hear ye not the waters beating where the rapid rivers, meeting
 With the winds above them fleeting, hurry to the distant seas,
And a smothered sound of singing from old Ocean upwards springing,
 Sending hollow echoes ringing like a wailing on the breeze?
For the tempest round us brewing, cometh with the clouds pursuing,
 And the bright Day, like a ruin, crumbles from the mournful trees.

When the thunder ceases pealing, and the stars up heaven are stealing,
 And the Moon above us wheeling throws her pleasant glances round,
From our homes we boldly sally 'neath the trysting tree to rally,
 For a night-hunt up the valley, with our brothers and the hound!
Through a wild-eyed Forest, staring at the light above it glaring,
 We will travel, little caring for the dangers where we bound.

Twisted boughs shall tremble o'er us, hollow woods shall moan before us,
 And the torrents like a chorus down the gorges dark shall sing;
And the vines shall shake and shiver, and the startled grasses quiver,
 Like the reeds beside a river in the gusty days of Spring;
While we forward haste delighted, through a region seldom lighted --
 Souls impatient, hearts excited -- like a wind upon the wing!

Oh! the solemn tones of Ocean, like the language of devotion,
 Or a voice of deep emotion, wander round the evening scene.
Oh! the ragged shadows cluster where, my brothers, we must muster
 Ere the warm moon lends her lustre to the cedars darkly green;
And the lights like flowers shall blossom, in high Heaven's kindly bosom,
 While we hunt the wild opossum, underneath its leafy screen;

Underneath the woven bowers, where the gloomy night-hawk cowers,
 Through a lapse of dreamy hours, in a stirless solitude!
And the hound -- that close beside us still will stay whate'er betide us --
 Through a 'wildering waste shall guide us --
   through a maze where few intrude,
Till the game is chased to cover, till the stirring sport is over,
 Till we bound, each happy rover, homeward down the laughing wood.

Oh, the joy in wandering thither, when fond friends are all together
 And our souls are like the weather -- cloudless, clear and fresh and free!
Let the sailor sing the story of the ancient ocean's glory,
 Forests golden, mountains hoary -- can he look and love like we?
Sordid worldling, haunt thy city with that heart so hard and gritty!
 There are those who turn with pity when they turn to think of thee!

In the Depths of a Forest

In the depths of a Forest secluded and wild,
 The night voices whisper in passionate numbers;
And I'm leaning again, as I did when a child,
 O'er the grave where my father so quietly slumbers.

The years have rolled by with a thundering sound
 But I knew, O ye woodlands, affection would know it,
And the spot which I stand on is sanctified ground
 By the love that I bear to him sleeping below it.

Oh! well may the winds with a saddening moan
 Go fitfully over the branches so dreary;
And well may I kneel by the time-shattered stone,
 And rejoice that a rest has been found for the weary.

To Charles Harpur

I would sit at your feet for long days,
 To hear the sweet Muse of the Wild
Speak out through the sad and the passionate lays
 Of her first and her favourite Child.

I would sit at your feet, for my soul
 Delights in the solitudes free;
And I stand where the creeks and the cataracts roll
 Whensoever I listen to thee!

I would sit at your feet, for I love
 By the gulches and torrents to roam;
And I long in this city for woodland and grove,
 And the peace of a wild forest home.

I would sit at your feet, and we'd dwell
 On the scenes of a long-vanished time,
While your thoughts into music would surge and would swell
 Like a breeze of our beautiful clime.

I would sit at your feet, for I know,
 Though the World in the Present be blind,
That the amaranth blossoms of Promise will blow
 When the Ages have left you behind.

I would sit at your feet, for I feel
 I am one of a glorious band
That ever will own you and hold you their Chief,
 And a Monarch of Song in the land!

The River and the Hill

And they shook their sweetness out in their sleep,
 On the brink of that beautiful stream,
But it wandered along with a wearisome song
 Like a lover that walks in a dream:
      So the roses blew
      When the winds went through,
  In the moonlight so white and so still;
      But the river it beat
      All night at the feet
    Of a cold and flinty hill --
    Of a hard and senseless hill!

I said, "We have often showered our loves
 Upon something as dry as the dust;
And the faith that is crost, and the hearts that are lost --
 Oh! how can we wittingly trust?
      Like the stream which flows,
      And wails as it goes,
  Through the moonlight so white and so still,
      To beat and to beat
      All night at the feet
    Of a cold and flinty hill --
    Of a hard and senseless hill?

"River, I stay where the sweet roses blow,
 And drink of their pleasant perfumes!
Oh, why do you moan, in this wide world alone,
 When so much affection here blooms?
      The winds wax faint,
      And the Moon like a Saint
  Glides over the woodlands so white and so still!
      But you beat and you beat
      All night at the feet
    Of that cold and flinty hill --
    Of that hard and senseless hill!"

The Fate of the Explorers

(A Fragment)

Set your face toward the darkness -- tell of deserts weird and wide,
Where unshaken woods are huddled, and low, languid waters glide;
Turn and tell of deserts lonely, lying pathless, deep and vast,
Where in utter silence ever Time seems slowly breathing past --
Silence only broken when the sun is flecked with cloudy bars,
Or when tropic squalls come hurtling underneath the sultry stars!
Deserts thorny, hot and thirsty, where the feet of men are strange,
And eternal Nature sleeps in solitudes which know no change.

Weakened with their lengthened labours, past long plains of stone and sand,
Down those trackless wilds they wandered, travellers from a far-off land,
Seeking now to join their brothers, struggling on with faltering feet,
For a glorious work was finished, and a noble task complete.
And they dreamt of welcome faces -- dreamt that soon unto their ears
Friendly greetings would be thronging, with a nation's well-earned cheers;
Since their courage never failed them, but with high, unflinching soul
Each was pressing forward, hoping, trusting all should reach the goal.

     .    .    .    .    .

Though he rallied in the morning, long before the close of day
He had sunk, the worn-out hero, fainting, dying by the way!
But with Death he wrestled hardly; three times rising from the sod,
Yet a little further onward o'er the weary waste he trod.
Facing Fate with heart undaunted, still the chief would totter on
Till the evening closed about him -- till the strength to move was gone;
Then he penned his latest writings, and, before his life was spent,
Gave the records to his comrade -- gave the watch he said was lent --
Gave them with his last commandments, charging him that night to stay
And to let him lie unburied when the soul had passed away.

Through that night he uttered little, rambling were the words he spoke:
And he turned and died in silence, when the tardy morning broke.
Many memories come together whilst in sight of death we dwell,
Much of sweet and sad reflection through the weary mind must well.
As those long hours glided past him, till the east with light was fraught,
Who may know the mournful secret -- who can tell us what he thought?

Very lone and very wretched was the brave man left behind,
Wandering over leagues of waste-land, seeking, hoping help to find;
Sleeping in deserted wurleys, fearful many nightfalls through
Lest unfriendly hands should rob him of his hoard of wild nardoo.

     .    .    .    .    .

Ere he reached their old encampment -- ere the well-known spot was gained,
Something nerved him -- something whispered that his other chief remained.
So he searched for food to give him, trusting they might both survive
Till the aid so long expected from the cities should arrive;
So he searched for food and took it to the gunyah where he found
Silence broken by his footfalls -- death and darkness on the ground.

Weak and wearied with his journey, there the lone survivor stooped,
And the disappointment bowed him and his heart with sadness drooped,
And he rose and raked a hollow with his wasted, feeble hands,
Where he took and hid the hero, in the rushes and the sands;
But he, like a brother, laid him out of reach of wind and rain,
And for many days he sojourned near him on that wild-faced plain;
Whilst he stayed beside the ruin, whilst he lingered with the dead,
Oh! he must have sat in shadow, gloomy as the tears he shed.

     .    .    .    .    .

Where our noble Burke was lying -- where his sad companion stood,
Came the natives of the forest -- came the wild men of the wood;
Down they looked, and saw the stranger -- he who there in quiet slept --
Down they knelt, and o'er the chieftain bitterly they moaned and wept:
Bitterly they mourned to see him all uncovered to the blast --
All uncovered to the tempest as it wailed and whistled past;
And they shrouded him with bushes, so in death that he might lie,
Like a warrior of their nation, sheltered from the stormy sky.

     .    .    .    .    .

Ye must rise and sing their praises, O ye bards with souls of fire,
For the people's voice shall echo through the wailings of your lyre;
And we'll welcome back their comrade, though our eyes with tears be blind
At the thoughts of promise perished, and the shadow left behind;
Now the leaves are bleaching round them -- now the gales above them glide,
But the end was all accomplished, and their fame is far and wide.
Though this fadeless glory cannot hide a grateful nation's grief,
And their laurels have been blended with the gloomy cypress leaf.

Let them rest where they have laboured! but, my country, mourn and moan;
We must build with human sorrow grander monuments than stone.
Let them rest, for oh! remember, that in long hereafter time
Sons of Science oft shall wander o'er that solitary clime!
Cities bright shall rise about it, Age and Beauty there shall stray,
And the fathers of the people, pointing to the graves, shall say:
"Here they fell, the glorious martyrs! when these plains were woodlands deep;
Here a friend, a brother, laid them; here the wild men came to weep."


(Inscribed to Madame Lucy Escott.)

As you glided and glided before us that time,
 A mystical, magical maiden,
We fancied we looked on a face from the clime
 Where the poets have builded their Aidenn!
And oh, the sweet shadows!  And oh, the warm gleams
Which lay on the land of our beautiful dreams,
While we walked by the margins of musical streams
 And heard your wild warbling around us!

We forgot what we were when we stood with the trees
 Near the banks of those silvery waters;
As ever in fragments they came on the breeze,
 The songs of old Rhine and his daughters!
And then you would pass with those radiant eyes
Which flashed like a light in the tropical skies --
And ah! the bright thoughts that would sparkle and rise
 While we heard your wild warbling around us.

Will you ever fly back to this city of ours
 With your harp and your voice and your beauty?
God knows we rejoice when we meet with such flowers
 On the hard road of Life and of Duty!
Oh! come as you did, with that face and that tone,
For we wistfully look to the hours which have flown,
And long for a glimpse of the gladness that shone
 When we heard your wild warbling around us.

Under the Figtree

Like drifts of balm from cedared glens, those darling memories come,
With soft low songs, and dear old tales, familiar to our home.
Then breathe again that faint refrain, so tender, sad, and true,
My soul turns round with listening eyes unto the harp and you!
The fragments of a broken Past are floating down the tide,
And she comes gleaming through the dark, my love, my life, my bride!
Oh! sit and sing -- I know her well, that phantom deadly fair
With large surprise, and sudden sighs, and streaming midnight hair!
I know her well, for face to face we stood amongst the sheaves,
Our voices mingling with a mist of music in the leaves!
I know her well, for hand in hand we walked beside the sea,
And heard the huddling waters boom beneath this old Figtree.

God help the man that goes abroad amongst the windy pines,
And wanders, like a gloomy bat, where never morning shines!
That steals about amidst the rout of broken stones and graves,
When round the cliffs the merry skiffs go scudding through the waves;
When, down the bay, the children play, and scamper on the sand,
And Life and Mirth illume the Earth, and Beauty fills the Land!
God help the man!  He only hears and fears the sleepless cries
Of smitten Love -- of homeless Love and moaning Memories.
Oh! when a rhyme of olden time is sung by one so dear,
I feel again the sweetest pain I've known for many a year;
And from a deep, dull sea of sleep faint fancies come to me,
And I forget how lone we sit beneath this old Figtree.

Drowned at Sea

Gloomy cliffs, so worn and wasted with the washing of the waves,
Are ye not like giant tombstones round those lonely ocean graves?
Are ye not the sad memorials, telling of a mighty grief --
Dark with records ground and lettered into caverned rock and reef?
Oh! ye show them, and I know them, and my thoughts in mourning go
Down amongst your sunless chasms, deep into the surf below!
Oh! ye bear them, and declare them, and o'er every cleft and scar,
I have wept for dear dead brothers perished in the lost Dunbar!
        Ye smitten -- ye battered,
        And splintered and shattered
        Cliffs of the Sea!

Restless waves, so dim with dreams of sudden storms and gusty surge,
Roaring like a gathered whirlwind reeling round a mountain verge,
Were ye not like loosened maniacs, in the night when Beauty pale
Called upon her God, beseeching through the uproar of the gale?
Were ye not like maddened demons while young children faint with fear
Cried and cried and cried for succour, and no helping hand was near?
Oh, the sorrow of the morrow! -- lamentations near and far! --
Oh, the sobs for dear dead sisters perished in the lost Dunbar! --
        Ye ruthless, unsated,
        And hateful, and hated
        Waves of the Sea!

Ay, we stooped and moaned in darkness --
  eyes might strain and hearts might plead,
For their darlings crying wildly, they would never rise nor heed!
Ay, we yearned into their faces looking for the life in vain,
Wailing like to children blinded with a mist of sudden pain!
Dear hands clenched, and dear eyes rigid in a stern and stony stare,
Dear lips white from past affliction, dead to all our mad despair,
Ah, the groaning and the moaning -- ah, the thoughts which rise in tears
When we turn to all those loved ones, looking backward five long years!
        The fathers and mothers,
        The sisters and brothers
        Drowned at Sea!

Morning in the Bush

(A Juvenile Fragment.)

Above the skirts of yellow clouds,
The god-like Sun, arrayed
In blinding splendour, swiftly rose,
And looked athwart the glade;
The sleepy dingo watched him break
The bonds that curbed his flight;
And from his golden tresses shake
The fading gems of Night!
And wild goburras laughed aloud
Their merry morning songs,
As Echo answered in the depths
With a thousand thousand tongues;
The gully-depths where many a vine
Of ancient growth had crept,
To cluster round the hoary pine,
Where scanty mosses wept.

Huge stones, and damp and broken crags,
In wild chaotic heap,
Were lying at the barren base
Of the ferny hillside steep;
Between those fragments hollows lay,
Upfilled with fruitful ground,
Where many a modest floweret grew,
To scent the wind-breaths round;
As fertile patches bloom within
A dried and worldly heart,
When some that look can only see
The cold, the barren part!
The Miser, full with thoughts of gain,
The meanest of his race,
May in his breast some verdure hide,
Though none that verdure trace.

Where time-worn cliffs were jutting out,
With rough and ragged edges,
The snowy mountain-lily slept
Behind the earthy ledges;
Like some sweet Oriental Maid,
Who blindly deems it duty
To wear a veil before her face,
And hide her peerless beauty;
Or like to Innocence that thrives
In midst of sin and sorrows,
Nor from the cheerless scene around
The least infection borrows,
But stayeth out her mortal life --
Though in that lifetime lonely --
With Virtue's lustre round her heart,
And Virtue's lustre only.

A patch of sunshine here and there
Lay on a leaf-strewn water-pool,
Whose tribute trickled down the rocks
In gurgling ripples, clear and cool!
As iguanas, from the clefts,
Would steal along with rustling sound,
To where the restless eddies roamed
Amongst the arrowy rushes round.
While, scanning them with angry eyes
From off a fallen myrtle log
That branchless bridged the brushy creek,
There stood and barked, a Shepherd's Dog!
And underneath a neighbouring mass
Of wattles intertwining,
His Master lay -- his back against
The grassy banks reclining.

Beneath the shade of ironbarks,
Stretched o'er the valley's sloping bed --
Half hidden in a tea-tree scrub,
A flock of dusky sheep were spread;
And fitful bleating faintly came
On every joyous breath of wind,
That up the stony hills would fly,
And leave the hollows far behind!
Wild tones of music from the Creek
Were intermingling with the breeze,
The loud, rich lays of countless birds
Perched on the dark mimosa trees;
Those merry birds, with wings of light
Which rival every golden ray
Out-flashing from the lamps of Night,
Or streaming o'er the brow of Day.

Amongst the gnarly apple-trees,
A gorgeous tribe of parrots came;
And screaming, leapt from bough to bough,
Like living jets of crimson flame!
And where the hillside-growing gums
Their web-like foliage upward threw,
Old Nature rang with echoes from
The loud-voiced mountain cockatoo;
And a thousand nameless twittering things,
Between the rustling sapling sprays,
Were flashing through the fragrant leaves,
And dancing like to fabled fays;
Rejoicing in the glorious light
That beauteous Morning had unfurled
To make the heart of Nature glad,
And clothe with smiles a weeping World.

The Girl I Left Behind Me

(New Words to an Old Air.)

With sweet Regret -- (the dearest thing that Yesterday has left us) --
We often turn our homeless eyes to scenes whence Fate has reft us.
Here sitting by a fading flame, wild waifs of song remind me
Of Annie with her gentle ways, the Girl I left behind me.

I stood beside the surging sea, with lips of silent passion --
I faced you by the surging sea, O brows of mild repression!
I never said -- "my darling, stay!" -- the moments seemed to bind me
To something stifling all my words for the Girl I left behind me.

The pathos worn by common things -- by every wayside flower,
Or Autumn leaf on lonely winds, revives the parting hour.
Ye swooning thoughts without a voice -- ye tears which rose to blind me,
Why did she fade into the Dark, the Girl I left behind me.

At night they always come to me, the tender and true-hearted;
And in my dreams we join again the hands which now are parted;
And, looking through the gates of Sleep, the pleasant Moon doth find me
For ever wandering with my Love, the Girl I left behind me.

You know my life is incomplete, O far-off faint Ideal!
When shall I reach you from a depth of darkness which is real?
So I may mingle, soul in soul, with her that Heaven assigned me;
So she may lean upon my love, the Girl I left behind me.

Amongst the Roses

I walked through a Forest, beneath the hot noon,
On Etheline calling and calling!
One said:  "She will hear you and come to you soon,
When the coolness, my brother, is falling."
But I whispered:  "O Darling, I falter with pain!"
And the thirsty leaves rustled, and hissed for the rain,
Where a wayfarer halted and slept on the plain;
    And dreamt of a garden of Roses!
       Of a cool sweet place,
       And a nestling face
    In a dance and a dazzle of Roses.

In the drouth of a Desert, outwearied, I wept,
O Etheline, darkened with dolours!
But, folded in sunset, how long have you slept
By the Roses all reeling with colours?
A tree from its tresses a blossom did shake,
It fell on her face, and I feared she would wake,
So I brushed it away for ~her~ sweet sake;
    In that garden of beautiful Roses!
       In the dreamy perfumes
       From ripe-red blooms
    In a dance and a dazzle of Roses.


It is better, O day, that you go to your rest,
 For you go like a guest who was loth to remain!
Swing open, ye gates of the east and the west,
 And let out the wild shadows -- the night and the rain.

Ye winds, ye are dead, with your voices attuned,
 That thrilled the green life in the sweet-scented sheaves,
When I touched a warm hand which has faded, and swooned
 To a trance of the darkness, and blight on the leaves.

I had studied the lore in her maiden-like ways,
 And the large-hearted love of my Annie was won,
'Ere Summer had passed into passionate days,
 Or Autumn made ready her fruits for the Sun.

So my life was complete, and the hours that went by,
 And the moon and the willow-wooed waters around,
Might have known that we rested, my Annie and I,
 In happiness calm as the slumber of sound.

On Sundays we wandered, as glad as a breeze,
 By the rocks and the waves on a glittering beach;
Or we loitered in gardens melodious with bees,
 And sucked the sweet pulp of the plum and the peach.

"The Forest will show me the secrets of Fame,"
 I said to myself in the gum-shadowed glen,
"I will call every blossom and tree by its name,
 And the people shall deem me a man of the men.

"I will gather Roses of Sharon, my Soul, --
 The Roses of Sharon so cool and so sweet;
And our brothers shall see me entwining the whole
 For a garland to drop at my dear Annie's feet."

It is better, O day, that you go to your rest,
 For you go like a guest who was loth to remain!
Swing open, ye gates of the east and the west,
 And let out the wild shadows -- the night and the rain.


A Brother wandered forth with me,
 Beside a barren beach:
He harped on things beyond the sea,
 And out of reach.

He hinted once of unknown skies,
 And then I would not hark,
But turned away from steadfast eyes,
 Into the dark.

And said -- "an ancient faith is dead
 And wonder fills my mind:
I marvel how the blind have led
 So long the blind.

"Behold this truth we only know
 That night is on the land!
And we a weary way must go
 To find God's hand."

I wept -- "Our fathers told us, Lord,
 That Thou wert kind and just,
But lo! our wailings fly abroad
 For broken trust.

"How many evil ones are here
 Who mocking go about,
Because we are too faint with fear
 To wrestle Doubt!

"Thy riddles are beyond the ken
 Of creatures of the sod:
Remember that we are but men,
 And Thou art God!

"O, doting world, methinks your stay
 Is weaker than a reed!
Our Father turns His face away;
 'Tis dark indeed."

The evening woods lay huddled there,
 All wrapped in silence strange:
A sudden wind -- and lo! the air
 Was filled with change.

"Your words are wild," my brother said,
 "For God's voice fills the breeze;
Go -- hide yourself, as Adam did,
 Amongst the trees.

"I pluck the shoes from off my feet,
 But dare to look around;
Behold," he said, "my Lord I greet,
 On holy ground!"

And God spake through the wind to me --
 "Shake off that gloom of Fear,
You fainting soul who could not see
 That I was near.

"Why vex me crying day and night? --
 You call on me to hark!
But when I bless your world with light,
 Who makes it dark?

"Is there a ravelled riddle left
 That you would have undone?
What other doubts are there to sift?"
 I answered -- "None."

"My son, look up, if you would see
 The Promise on your way,
And turn a trustful face to me."
 I whispered -- "Yea."


My head is filled with olden rhymes beside this moaning sea,
But many and many a day has gone since I was dear to thee!
I know my passion fades away, and therefore oft regret
That some who love indeed can part and in the years forget.
Ah! through the twilights when we stood the wattle trees between,
We did not dream of such a time as this, fair Geraldine.

I do not say that all has gone of passion and of pain;
I yearn for many happy thoughts I shall not think again!
And often when the wind is up, and wailing round the eaves,
You sigh for withered Purpose shred and scattered like the leaves,
The Purpose blooming when we met each other on the green;
The sunset heavy in your curls, my golden Geraldine.

I think we lived a loftier life through hours of Long Ago,
For in the largened evening earth our spirits seemed to grow.
Well, that has passed, and here I stand, upon a lonely place,
While Night is stealing round the land, like Time across my face;
But I can calmly recollect our shadowy parting scene,
And swooning thoughts that had no voice -- no utterance, Geraldine.


(From "Jephthah".)

Hath he not followed a star through the darkness,
Ye people who sit at the table of Jephthah?
Oh! turn with the face to a light in the mountains,
Behold it is further from Achan than ever!

"I know how it is with my brothers in Mizpeh,"
Said Achan, the swift-footed runner of Zorah,
"They look at the wood they have hewn for the altar;
And think of a shadow in sackcloth and ashes.

"I know how it is with the daughter of Jephthah,
(O Ada, my love, and the fairest of women!)
She wails in the time when her heart is so zealous
For God who hath stricken the children of Ammon.

"I said I would bring her the odours of Edom,
And armfuls of spices to set at the banquet!
Behold I have fronted the chieftain her father;
And strong men have wept for the leader of thousands!

"My love is a rose of the roses of Sharon,
All lonely and bright as the Moon in the myrtles!
Her lips, like to honeycombs, fill with the sweetness
That Achan the thirsty is hindered from drinking.

"Her women have wept for the love that is wasted
Like wine, which is spilt when the people are wanting,
And hot winds have dried all the cisterns of Elim!
For love that is wasted her women were wailing!

"The timbrels fall silent!  And dost thou not hear it,
A voice, like the sound of a lute when we loiter,
And sit by the pools in the valleys of Arnon,
And suck the cool grapes that are growing in clusters?

"She glides, like a myrrh-scented wind, through the willows,
O Ada! behold it is Achan that speaketh:
I know thou art near me, but never can see thee,
Because of the horrible drouth in mine eyelids."

[End of Poems and Songs.]

    Leaves from Australian Forests


To her who, cast with me in trying days,
Stood in the place of health and power and praise;
Who, when I thought all light was out, became
A lamp of hope that put my fears to shame;
Who faced for love's sole sake the life austere
That waits upon the man of letters here;
Who, unawares, her deep affection showed
By many a touching little wifely mode;
Whose spirit, self-denying, dear, divine,
Its sorrows hid, so it might lessen mine --
To her, my bright, best friend, I dedicate
This book of songs -- 't will help to compensate
For much neglect.  The act, if not the rhyme,
Will touch her heart, and lead her to the time
Of trials past.  That which is most intense
Within these leaves is of her influence;
And if aught here is sweetened with a tone
Sincere, like love, it came of love alone.

Prefatory Sonnets


I purposed once to take my pen and write,
 Not songs, like some, tormented and awry
 With passion, but a cunning harmony
Of words and music caught from glen and height,
And lucid colours born of woodland light
 And shining places where the sea-streams lie.
But this was when the heat of youth glowed white,
 And since I've put the faded purpose by.
I have no faultless fruits to offer you
 Who read this book; but certain syllables
 Herein are borrowed from unfooted dells
And secret hollows dear to noontide dew;
And these at least, though far between and few,
 May catch the sense like subtle forest spells.


So take these kindly, even though there be
 Some notes that unto other lyres belong,
 Stray echoes from the elder sons of song;
And think how from its neighbouring native sea
The pensive shell doth borrow melody.
 I would not do the lordly masters wrong
 By filching fair words from the shining throng
Whose music haunts me as the wind a tree.
 Lo, when a stranger in soft Syrian glooms
Shot through with sunset, treads the cedar dells,
And hears the breezy ring of elfin bells
 Far down be where the white-haired cataract booms,
He, faint with sweetness caught from forest smells,
 Bears thence, unwitting, plunder of perfumes.

The Hut by the Black Swamp

Now comes the fierce north-easter, bound
 About with clouds and racks of rain,
And dry, dead leaves go whirling round
 In rings of dust, and sigh like pain
    Across the plain.

Now twilight, with a shadowy hand
 Of wild dominionship, doth keep
Strong hold of hollow straits of land,
 And watery sounds are loud and deep
    By gap and steep.

Keen, fitful gusts, that fly before
 The wings of storm when day hath shut
Its eyes on mountains, flaw by flaw,
 Fleet down by whistling box-tree butt,
    Against the hut.

And, ringed and girt with lurid pomp,
 Far eastern cliffs start up, and take
Thick steaming vapours from a swamp
 That lieth like a great blind lake,
    Of face opaque.

The moss that, like a tender grief,
 About an English ruin clings --
What time the wan autumnal leaf
 Faints, after many wanderings
    On windy wings --

That gracious growth, whose quiet green
 Is as a love in days austere,
Was never seen -- hath never been --
 On slab or roof, deserted here
    For many a year.

Nor comes the bird whose speech is song --
 Whose songs are silvery syllables
That unto glimmering woods belong,
 And deep, meandering mountain dells
    By yellow wells.

But rather here the wild-dog halts,
 And lifts the paw, and looks, and howls;
And here, in ruined forest vaults,
 Abide dim, dark, death-featured owls,
    Like monks in cowls.

Across this hut the nettle runs,
 And livid adders make their lair
In corners dank from lack of suns,
 And out of foetid furrows stare
    The growths that scare.

Here Summer's grasp of fire is laid
 On bark and slabs that rot, and breed
Squat ugly things of deadly shade,
 The scorpion, and the spiteful seed
    Of centipede.

Unhallowed thunders, harsh and dry,
 And flaming noontides, mute with heat,
Beneath the breathless, brazen sky,
 Upon these rifted rafters beat
    With torrid feet.

And night by night the fitful gale
 Doth carry past the bittern's boom,
The dingo's yell, the plover's wail,
 While lumbering shadows start, and loom,
    And hiss through gloom.

No sign of grace -- no hope of green,
 Cool-blossomed seasons marks the spot;
But chained to iron doom, I ween,
 'Tis left, like skeleton, to rot
    Where ruth is not.

For on this hut hath murder writ,
 With bloody fingers, hellish things;
And God will never visit it
 With flower or leaf of sweet-faced Springs,
    Or gentle wings.

September in Australia

Grey Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
 And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind of the West
 And the Spring in her raiment!
The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,
 While the forest discovers
Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,
 And the music of lovers.

September, the maid with the swift, silver feet!
 She glides, and she graces
The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,
 With her blossomy traces;
Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,
 She lightens and lingers
In spots where the harp of the evening glows,
 Attuned by her fingers.

The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips
 In a darling old fashion;
And the day goeth down with a song on its lips,
 Whose key-note is passion.
Far out in the fierce, bitter front of the sea
 I stand, and remember
Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,
 Resplendent September!

The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon
 And beats on the beaches,
Is filled with a tender and tremulous tune
 That touches and teaches;
The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,
 And the death of Devotion,
Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme
 In the waves of the ocean.

We, having a secret to others unknown,
 In the cool mountain-mosses,
May whisper together, September, alone
 Of our loves and our losses!
One word for her beauty, and one for the grace
 She gave to the hours;
And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face
 To sleep with the flowers.

High places that knew of the gold and the white
 On the forehead of Morning
Now darken and quake, and the steps of the Night
 Are heavy with warning.
Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud
 Through the echoing gorges;
She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,
 And her feet in the surges.

On the tops of the hills, on the turreted cones --
 Chief temples of thunder --
The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,
 Gliding over and under.
The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,
 Leapeth wild at the forelands;
And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,
 Complains in the moorlands.

Oh, season of changes -- of shadow and shine --
 September the splendid!
My song hath no music to mingle with thine,
 And its burden is ended;
But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,
 By mountain, by river,
Mayst lighten and listen, and loiter and run,
 With thy voices for ever!

Ghost Glen

"Shut your ears, stranger, or turn from Ghost Glen now,
For the paths are grown over, untrodden by men now;
Shut your ears, stranger," saith the grey mother, crooning
Her sorcery runic, when sets the half-moon in.

To-night the north-easter goes travelling slowly,
But it never stoops down to that hollow unholy;
To-night it rolls loud on the ridges red-litten,
But it cannot abide in that forest, sin-smitten.

For over the pitfall the moon-dew is thawing,
And, with never a body, two shadows stand sawing --
The wraiths of two sawyers (~step under and under~),
Who did a foul murder and were blackened with thunder!

Whenever the storm-wind comes driven and driving,
Through the blood-spattered timber you may see the saw striving --
You may see the saw heaving, and falling, and heaving,
Whenever the sea-creek is chafing and grieving!

And across a burnt body, as black as an adder,
Sits the sprite of a sheep-dog (was ever sight sadder?)
For, as the dry thunder splits louder and faster,
This sprite of a sheep-dog howls for his master.

"Oh, count your beads deftly," saith the grey mother, crooning
Her sorcery runic, when sets the half-moon in.
And well may she mutter, for the dark, hollow laughter
You will hear in the sawpits and the bloody logs after.

Ay, count your beads deftly, and keep your ways wary,
For the sake of the Saviour and sweet Mother Mary.
Pray for your peace in these perilous places,
And pray for the laying of horrible faces.

One starts, with a forehead wrinkled and livid,
Aghast at the lightnings sudden and vivid;
One telleth, with curses, the gold that they drew there
(Ah! cross your breast humbly) from him whom they slew there:

The stranger, who came from the loved, the romantic
Island that sleeps on the moaning Atlantic,
Leaving behind him a patient home, yearning
For the steps in the distance -- never returning;

Who was left in the forest, shrunken and starkly,
Burnt by his slayers (so men have said, darkly),
With the half-crazy sheep-dog, who cowered beside there,
And yelled at the silence, and marvelled, and died there.

Yea, cross your breast humbly and hold your breath tightly,
Or fly for your life from those shadows unsightly,
From the set staring features (cold, and so young, too),
And the death on the lips that a mother hath clung to.

I tell you -- that bushman is braver than most men
Who even in daylight doth go through the Ghost Glen,
Although in that hollow, unholy and lonely,
He sees the dank sawpits and bloody logs only.


Daphne!  Ladon's daughter, Daphne!  Set thyself in silver light,
Take thy thoughts of fairest texture, weave them into words of white --
Weave the rhyme of rose-lipped Daphne, nymph of wooded stream and shade,
Flying love of bright Apollo, -- fleeting type of faultless maid!
She, when followed from the forelands by the lord of lyre and lute,
Sped towards far-singing waters, past deep gardens flushed with fruit;
Took the path against Peneus, panted by its yellow banks;
Turned, and looked, and flew the faster through grey-tufted thicket ranks;
Flashed amongst high flowered sedges:  leaped across the brook, and ran
Down to where the fourfold shadows of a nether glade began;
There she dropped, like falling Hesper, heavy hair of radiant head
Hiding all the young abundance of her beauty's white and red.

Came the yellow-tressed Far-darter -- came the god whose feet are fire,
On his lips the name of Daphne, in his eyes a great desire;
Fond, full lips of lord and lover, sad because of suit denied;
Clear, grey eyes made keen by passion, panting, pained, unsatisfied.
Here he turned, and there he halted, now he paused, and now he flew,
Swifter than his sister's arrows, through soft dells of dreamy dew.
Vext with gleams of Ladon's daughter, dashed along the son of Jove,
Fast upon flower-trammelled Daphne fleeting on from grove to grove;
Flights of seawind hard behind him, breaths of bleak and whistling straits;
Drifts of driving cloud above him, like a troop of fierce-eyed Fates!
So he reached the water-shallows; then he stayed his steps, and heard
Daphne drop upon the grasses, fluttering like a wounded bird.

Was there help for Ladon's daughter?  Saturn's son is high and just:
Did he come between her beauty and the fierce Far-darter's lust?
As she lay, the helpless maiden, caught and bound in fast eclipse,
Did the lips of god drain pleasure from her sweet and swooning lips?
Now that these and all Love's treasures blushed, before the spoiler, bare,
Was the wrong that shall be nameless done, and seen, and suffered there?
No! for Zeus is King and Father.  Weary nymph and fiery god,
Bend the knee alike before him -- he is kind, and he is lord!
Therefore sing how clear-browed Pallas -- Pallas, friend of prayerful maid,
Lifted dazzling Daphne lightly, bore her down the breathless glade,
Did the thing that Zeus commanded:  so it came to pass that he
Who had chased a white-armed virgin, caught at her, and clasped a tree.

The Warrigal

* The Dingo, or Wild Dog of Australia.

The warrigal's lair is pent in bare,
 Black rocks at the gorge's mouth;
It is set in ways where Summer strays
 With the sprites of flame and drouth;
But when the heights are touched with lights
 Of hoar-frost, sleet, and shine,
His bed is made of the dead grass-blade
 And the leaves of the windy pine.

Through forest boles the storm-wind rolls,
 Vext of the sea-driv'n rain;
And, up in the clift, through many a rift,
 The voices of torrents complain.
The sad marsh-fowl and the lonely owl
 Are heard in the fog-wreaths grey,
When the warrigal wakes, and listens, and takes
 To the woods that shelter the prey.

In the gully-deeps the blind creek sleeps,
 And the silver, showery moon
Glides over the hills, and floats, and fills,
 And dreams in the dark lagoon;
While halting hard by the station yard,
 Aghast at the hut-flame nigh,
The warrigal yells -- and flats and fells
 Are loud with his dismal cry.

On the topmost peak of mountains bleak
 The south wind sobs, and strays
Through moaning pine and turpentine,
 And the rippling runnel ways;
And strong streams flow, and great mists go,
 Where the warrigal starts to hear
The watch-dog's bark break sharp in the dark,
 And flees like a phantom of fear.

The swift rains beat, and the thunders fleet
 On the wings of the fiery gale,
And down in the glen of pool and fen,
 The wild gums whistle and wail,
As over the plains and past the chains
 Of waterholes glimmering deep,
The warrigal flies from the shepherd's cries,
 And the clamour of dogs and sheep.

He roves through the lands of sultry sands,
 He hunts in the iron range,
Untamed as surge of the far sea verge,
 And fierce and fickle and strange.
The white man's track and the haunts of the black
 He shuns, and shudders to see;
For his joy he tastes in lonely wastes
 Where his mates are torrent and tree.


   On the storm-cloven Cape
      The bitter waves roll,
      With the bergs of the Pole,
And the darks and the damps of the Northern Sea:
      For the storm-cloven Cape
      Is an alien Shape
With a fearful face; and it moans, and it stands
      Outside all lands

   When the fruits of the year
      Have been gathered in Spain,
      And the Indian rain
Is rich on the evergreen lands of the Sun,
      There comes to this Cape
      To this alien Shape,
As the waters beat in and the echoes troop forth,
      The Wind of the North,

   And the wilted thyme,
      And the patches past
      Of the nettles cast
In the drift of the rift, and the broken rime,
      Are tumbled and blown
      To every zone
With the famished glede, and the plovers thinned
      By this fourfold Wind --
         This Wind sublime!

   On the wrinkled hills,
      By starts and fits,
      The wild Moon sits;
And the rindles fill and flash and fall
      In the way of her light,
      Through the straitened night,
When the sea-heralds clamour, and elves of the war,
      In the torrents afar,
         Hold festival!

   From ridge to ridge
      The polar fires
      On the naked spires,
With a foreign splendour, flit and flow;
      And clough and cave
      And architrave
Have a blood-coloured glamour on roof and on wall,
      Like a nether hall
         In the hells below!

   The dead, dry lips
      Of the ledges, split
      By the thunder fit
And the stress of the sprites of the forked flame,
      Anon break out,
      With a shriek and a shout,
Like a hard, bitter laughter, cracked and thin,
      From a ghost with a sin
         Too dark for a name!

   And all thro' the year,
      The fierce seas run
      From sun to sun,
Across the face of a vacant world!
      And the Wind flies forth
      From the wild, white North,
That shivers and harries the heart of things,
      And shapes with its wings
         A chaos uphurled!

   Like one who sees
      A rebel light
      In the thick of the night,
As he stumbles and staggers on summits afar --
      Who looks to it still,
      Up hill and hill,
With a steadfast hope (though the ways be deep,
      And rough, and steep),
         Like a steadfast star --

   So I, that stand
      On the outermost peaks
      Of peril, with cheeks
Blue with the salts of a frosty sea,
      Have learnt to wait,
      With an eye elate
And a heart intent, for the fuller blaze
      Of the Beauty that rays
         Like a glimpse for me --

   Of the Beauty that grows
      Whenever I hear
      The winds of Fear
From the tops and the bases of barrenness call;
      And the duplicate lore
      Which I learn evermore,
Is of Harmony filling and rounding the Storm,
      And the marvellous Form
         That governs all!


* A stream in the Braidwood district, New South Wales.

River, myrtle rimmed, and set
 Deep amongst unfooted dells --
Daughter of grey hills of wet,
 Born by mossed and yellow wells;

Now that soft September lays
 Tender hands on thee and thine,
Let me think of blue-eyed days,
 Star-like flowers and leaves of shine!

Cities soil the life with rust;
 Water banks are cool and sweet;
River, tired of noise and dust,
 Here I come to rest my feet.

Now the month from shade to sun
 Fleets and sings supremest songs,
Now the wilful wood-winds run
 Through the tangled cedar throngs.

Here are cushioned tufts and turns
 Where the sumptuous noontide lies:
Here are seen by flags and ferns
 Summer's large, luxurious eyes.

On this spot wan Winter casts
 Eyes of ruth, and spares its green
From his bitter sea-nursed blasts,
 Spears of rain and hailstones keen.

Rather here abideth Spring,
 Lady of a lovely land,
Dear to leaf and fluttering wing,
 Deep in blooms -- by breezes fanned.

Faithful friend beyond the main,
 Friend that time nor change makes cold;
Now, like ghosts, return again
 Pallid, perished days of old.

Ah, the days! -- the old, old theme,
 Never stale, but never new,
Floating like a pleasant dream,
 Back to me and back to you.

Since we rested on these slopes
 Seasons fierce have beaten down
Ardent loves and blossoming hopes --
 Loves that lift and hopes that crown.

But, believe me, still mine eyes
 Often fill with light that springs
From divinity, which lies
 Ever at the heart of things.

Solace do I sometimes find
 Where you used to hear with me
Songs of stream and forest wind,
 Tones of wave and harp-like tree.

Araluen -- home of dreams,
 Fairer for its flowerful glade
Than the face of Persian streams
 Or the slopes of Syrian shade;

Why should I still love it so,
 Friend and brother far away?
Ask the winds that come and go,
 What hath brought me here to-day.

Evermore of you I think,
 When the leaves begin to fall,
Where our river breaks its brink,
 And a rest is over all.

Evermore in quiet lands,
 Friend of mine beyond the sea,
Memory comes with cunning hands,
 Stays, and paints your face for me.

At Euroma

* Charles Harpur was buried at Euroma, N.S.W., but this poem refers
  to the grave of a stranger whose name is unknown.

They built his mound of the rough, red ground,
 By the dip of a desert dell,
Where all things sweet are killed by the heat,
 And scattered o'er flat and fell;
In a burning zone they left him alone,
 Past the uttermost western plain,
And the nightfall dim heard his funeral hymn
 In the voices of wind and rain.

The songs austere of the forests drear,
 And the echoes of clift and cave,
When the dark is keen where the storm hath been,
 Fleet over the far-away grave.
And through the days when the torrid rays
 Strike down on a coppery gloom,
Some spirit grieves in the perished leaves,
 Whose theme is that desolate tomb.

No human foot or paw of brute
 Halts now where the stranger sleeps;
But cloud and star his fellows are,
 And the rain that sobs and weeps.
The dingo yells by the far iron fells,
 The plover is loud in the range,
But they never come near to the slumberer here,
 Whose rest is a rest without change.

Ah! in his life, had he mother or wife,
 To wait for his step on the floor?
Did beauty wax dim while watching for him
 Who passed through the threshold no more?
Doth it trouble his head?  He is one with the dead;
 He lies by the alien streams;
And sweeter than sleep is death that is deep
 And unvexed by the lordship of dreams.

Illa Creek

A strong sea-wind flies up and sings
 Across the blown-wet border,
Whose stormy echo runs and rings
 Like bells in wild disorder.

Fierce breath hath vexed the foreland's face,
 It glistens, glooms, and glistens;
But deep within this quiet place
 Sweet Illa lies and listens.

Sweet Illa of the shining sands,
 She sleeps in shady hollows,
Where August flits with flowerful hands,
 And silver Summer follows.

Far up the naked hills is heard
 A noise of many waters,
But green-haired Illa lies unstirred
 Amongst her star-like daughters.

The tempest, pent in moaning ways,
 Awakes the shepherd yonder,
But Illa dreams unknown to days
 Whose wings are wind and thunder.

Here fairy hands and floral feet
 Are brought by bright October;
Here, stained with grapes and smit with heat,
 Comes Autumn, sweet and sober.

Here lovers rest, what time the red
 And yellow colours mingle,
And daylight droops with dying head
 Beyond the western dingle.

And here, from month to month, the time
 Is kissed by peace and pleasure,
While Nature sings her woodland rhyme
 And hoards her woodland treasure.

Ah, Illa Creek! ere evening spreads
 Her wings o'er towns unshaded,
How oft we seek thy mossy beds
 To lave our foreheads faded!

For, let me whisper, then we find
 The strength that lives, nor falters,
In wood and water, waste and wind,
 And hidden mountain altars.

Moss on a Wall

Dim dreams it hath of singing ways,
 Of far-off woodland water-heads,
And shining ends of April days
 Amongst the yellow runnel-beds.

Stoop closer to the ruined wall,
 Whereon the wilful wilding sleeps,
As if its home were waterfall
 By dripping clefts and shadowy steeps.

A little waif, whose beauty takes
 A touching tone because it dwells
So far away from mountain lakes,
 And lily leaves, and lightening fells.

Deep hidden in delicious floss
 It nestles, sister, from the heat --
A gracious growth of tender moss
 Whose nights are soft, whose days are sweet.

Swift gleams across its petals run
 With winds that hum a pleasant tune,
Serene surprises of the sun,
 And whispers from the lips of noon.

The evening-coloured apple-trees
 Are faint with July's frosty breath.
But lo! this stranger getteth ease,
 And shines amidst the strays of Death.

And at the turning of the year,
 When August wanders in the cold,
The raiment of the nursling here
 Is rich with green and glad with gold.

Oh, friend of mine, to one whose eyes
 Are vexed because of alien things,
For ever in the wall moss lies
 The peace of hills and hidden springs.

From faithless lips and fickle lights
 The tired pilgrim sets his face,
And thinketh here of sounds and sights
 In many a lovely forest-place.

And when by sudden fits and starts
 The sunset on the moss doth burn,
He often dreams, and, lo! the marts
 And streets are changed to dells of fern.

For, let me say, the wilding placed
 By hands unseen amongst these stones,
Restores a Past by Time effaced,
 Lost loves and long-forgotten tones!

As sometimes songs and scenes of old
 Come faintly unto you and me,
When winds are wailing in the cold,
 And rains are sobbing on the sea.


Turn from the ways of this Woman!  Campaspe we call her by name --
She is fairer than flowers of the fire --
  she is brighter than brightness of flame.
As a song that strikes swift to the heart
  with the beat of the blood of the South,
And a light and a leap and a smart, is the play of her perilous mouth.
Her eyes are as splendours that break in the rain at the set of the sun,
But turn from the steps of Campaspe -- a Woman to look at and shun!

Dost thou know of the cunning of Beauty?  Take heed to thyself and beware
Of the trap in the droop in the raiment -- the snare in the folds of the hair!
She is fulgent in flashes of pearl, the breeze with her breathing is sweet,
But fly from the face of the girl -- there is death in the fall of her feet!
Is she maiden or marvel of marble?  Oh, rather a tigress at wait
To pounce on thy soul for her pastime -- a leopard for love or for hate.

Woman of shadow and furnace!  She biteth her lips to restrain
Speech that springs out when she sleepeth,
  by the stirs and the starts of her pain.
As music half-shapen of sorrow, with its wants and its infinite wail,
Is the voice of Campaspe, the beauty at bay with her passion dead-pale.
Go out from the courts of her loving, nor tempt the fierce dance of desire
Where thy life would be shrivelled like stubble
  in the stress and the fervour of fire!

I know of one, gentle as moonlight -- she is sad as the shine of the moon,
But touching the ways of her eyes are:  she comes to my soul like a tune --
Like a tune that is filled with faint voices
  of the loved and the lost and the lone,
Doth this stranger abide with my silence:  like a tune with a tremulous tone.
The leopard, we call her, Campaspe!  I pluck at a rose and I stir
To think of this sweet-hearted maiden -- what name is too tender for her?

On a Cattle Track

Where the strength of dry thunder splits hill-rocks asunder,
 And the shouts of the desert-wind break,
By the gullies of deepness and ridges of steepness,
 Lo, the cattle track twists like a snake!
Like a sea of dead embers, burnt white by Decembers,
 A plain to the left of it lies;
And six fleeting horses dash down the creek courses
 With the terror of thirst in their eyes.

The false strength of fever, that deadly deceiver,
 Gives foot to each famishing beast;
And over lands rotten, by rain-winds forgotten,
 The mirage gleams out in the east.
Ah! the waters are hidden from riders and ridden
 In a stream where the cattle track dips;
And Death on their faces is scoring fierce traces,
 And the drouth is a fire on their lips.

It is far to the station, and gaunt Desolation
 Is a spectre that glooms in the way;
Like a red smoke the air is, like a hell-light its glare is,
 And as flame are the feet of the day.
The wastes are like metal that forges unsettle
 When the heat of the furnace is white;
And the cool breeze that bloweth when an English sun goeth,
 Is unknown to the wild desert night.

A cry of distress there! a horseman the less there!
 The mock-waters shine like a moon!
It is "Speed, and speed faster from this hole of disaster!
 And hurrah for yon God-sent lagoon!"
Doth a devil deceive them?  Ah, now let us leave them --
 We are burdened in life with the sad;
Our portion is trouble, our joy is a bubble,
 And the gladdest is never too glad.

From the pale tracts of peril, past mountain heads sterile,
 To a sweet river shadowed with reeds,
Where Summer steps lightly, and Winter beams brightly,
 The hoof-rutted cattle track leads.
There soft is the moonlight, and tender the noon-light;
 There fiery things falter and fall;
And there may be seen, now, the gold and the green, now,
 And the wings of a peace over all.

Hush, bittern and plover!  Go, wind, to thy cover
 Away by the snow-smitten Pole!
The rotten leaf falleth, the forest rain calleth;
 And what is the end of the whole?
Some men are successful after seasons distressful
 [Now, masters, the drift of my tale];
But the brink of salvation is a lair of damnation
 For others who struggle, yet fail.

To Damascus

Where the sinister sun of the Syrians beat
 On the brittle, bright stubble,
And the camels fell back from the swords of the heat,
Came Saul, with a fire in the soles of his feet,
 And a forehead of trouble.

And terrified faces to left and to right,
 Before and behind him,
Fled away with the speed of a maddening fright
To the cloughs of the bat and the chasms of night,
Each hoping the zealot would fail in his flight
 To find him and bind him.

For, behold you! the strong man of Tarsus came down
 With breathings of slaughter,
From the priests of the city, the chiefs of the town
(The lords with the sword, and the sires with the gown),
To harry the Christians, and trample, and drown,
 And waste them like water.

He was ever a fighter, this son of the Jews --
 A fighter in earnest;
And the Lord took delight in the strength of his thews,
For He knew he was one of the few He could choose
To fight out His battles and carry His news
Of a marvellous truth through the dark and the dews,
 And the desert lands furnaced!

He knew he was one of the few He could take
 For His mission supernal,
Whose feet would not falter, whose limbs would not ache,
Through the waterless lands of the thorn and the snake,
And the ways of the wild -- bearing up for the sake
 Of a Beauty eternal.

And therefore the road to Damascus was burned
 With a swift, sudden brightness;
While Saul, with his face in the bitter dust, learned
Of the sin which he did ere he tumbled, and turned
 Aghast at God's whiteness!

Of the sin which he did ere he covered his head
 From the strange revelation.
But, thereafter, you know of the life that he led --
How he preached to the peoples, and suffered, and sped
With the wonderful words which his Master had said,
 From nation to nation.

Now would we be like him, who suffer and see,
 If the Chooser should choose us!
For I tell you, brave brothers, whoever you be,
It is right, till all learn to look further, and see,
 That our Master should use us!

It is right, till all learn to discover and class,
 That our Master should task us:
For now we may judge of the Truth through a glass;
And the road over which they must evermore pass,
Who would think for the many, and fight for the mass,
 Is the road to Damascus.


By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling;
It lives in the mountain, where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges;
Through brakes of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers.
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.

The silver-voiced bell-birds, the darlings of day-time,
They sing in September their songs of the May-time.
When shadows wax strong and the thunder-bolts hurtle,
They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;
When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together
They start up like fairies that follow fair weather,
And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden
Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.

October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,
Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;
Loiters knee-deep in the grasses to listen,
Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten.
Then is the time when the water-moons splendid
Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended
Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning
Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the morning.

Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers
Are the voices of bell-birds to thirsty far-comers.
When fiery December sets foot in the forest,
And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,
Pent in the ridges for ever and ever.
The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,
With ring and with ripple, like runnels whose torrents
Are toned by the pebbles and leaves in the currents.

Often I sit, looking back to a childhood
Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,
Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of passion --
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest rafters;
So I might keep in the city and alleys
The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys,
Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.

A Death in the Bush

The hut was built of bark and shrunken slabs,
That wore the marks of many rains, and showed
Dry flaws wherein had crept and nestled rot.
Moreover, round the bases of the bark
Were left the tracks of flying forest fires,
As you may see them on the lower bole
Of every elder of the native woods.

For, ere the early settlers came and stocked
These wilds with sheep and kine, the grasses grew
So that they took the passing pilgrim in
And whelmed him, like a running sea, from sight.

And therefore, through the fiercer summer months,
While all the swamps were rotten; while the flats
Were baked and broken; when the clayey rifts
Yawned wide, half-choked with drifted herbage past,
Spontaneous flames would burst from thence and race
Across the prairies all day long.

                                   At night
The winds were up, and then, with four-fold speed
A harsh gigantic growth of smoke and fire
Would roar along the bottoms, in the wake
Of fainting flocks of parrots, wallaroos,
And 'wildered wild things, scattering right and left,
For safety vague, throughout the general gloom.

Anon the nearer hillside-growing trees
Would take the surges; thus from bough to bough
Was borne the flaming terror!  Bole and spire,
Rank after rank, now pillared, ringed, and rolled
In blinding blaze, stood out against the dead,
Down-smothered dark, for fifty leagues away.

For fifty leagues; and when the winds were strong
For fifty more!  But in the olden time
These fires were counted as the harbingers
Of life-essential storms, since out of smoke
And heat there came across the midnight ways
Abundant comfort, with upgathered clouds
And runnels babbling of a plenteous fall.

So comes the southern gale at evenfall
(The swift brick-fielder of the local folk),
About the streets of Sydney, when the dust
Lies burnt on glaring windows, and the men
Look forth from doors of drouth and drink the change
With thirsty haste, and that most thankful cry
Of "Here it is -- the cool, bright, blessed rain!"

The hut, I say, was built of bark and slabs,
And stood, the centre of a clearing, hemmed
By hurdle-yards, and ancients of the blacks;
These moped about their lazy fires, and sang
Wild ditties of the old days, with a sound
Of sorrow, like an everlasting wind
Which mingled with the echoes of the noon
And moaned amongst the noises of the night.

From thence a cattle track, with link to link,
Ran off against the fish-pools to the gap
Which sets you face to face with gleaming miles
Of broad Orara*, winding in amongst
Black, barren ridges, where the nether spurs
Are fenced about by cotton scrub, and grass
Blue-bitten with the salt of many droughts.

* A tributary of the river Clarence, N.S.W.

'Twas here the shepherd housed him every night,
And faced the prospect like a patient soul,
Borne up by some vague hope of better days,
And God's fine blessing in his faithful wife,
Until the humour of his malady
Took cunning changes from the good to bad,
And laid him lastly on a bed of death.

Two months thereafter, when the summer heat
Had roused the serpent from his rotten lair,
And made a noise of locusts in the boughs,
It came to this, that as the blood-red sun
Of one fierce day of many slanted down
Obliquely past the nether jags of peaks
And gulfs of mist, the tardy night came vexed
By belted clouds and scuds that wheeled and whirled
To left and right about the brazen clifts
Of ridges, rigid with a leaden gloom.

Then took the cattle to the forest camps
With vacant terror, and the hustled sheep
Stood dumb against the hurdles, even like
A fallen patch of shadowed mountain snow;
And ever through the curlew's call afar,
The storm grew on, while round the stinted slabs
Sharp snaps and hisses came, and went, and came,
The huddled tokens of a mighty blast
Which ran with an exceeding bitter cry
Across the tumbled fragments of the hills,
And through the sluices of the gorge and glen.

So, therefore, all about the shepherd's hut
That space was mute, save when the fastened dog,
Without a kennel, caught a passing glimpse
Of firelight moving through the lighted chinks,
For then he knew the hints of warmth within,
And stood and set his great pathetic eyes,
In wind and wet, imploring to be loosed.

Not often now the watcher left the couch
Of him she watched, since in his fitful sleep
His lips would stir to wayward themes, and close
With bodeful catches.  Once she moved away,
Half-deafened by terrific claps, and stooped
And looked without -- to see a pillar dim
Of gathered gusts and fiery rain.

The sick man woke, and, startled by the noise,
Stared round the room with dull, delirious sight,
At this wild thing and that:  for through his eyes
The place took fearful shapes, and fever showed
Strange crosswise lights about his pillow-head.
He, catching there at some phantasmic help,
Sat upright on the bolster with a cry
Of "Where is Jesus?  It is bitter cold!"
And then, because the thunder-calls outside
Were mixed for him with slanders of the past,
He called his weeping wife by name, and said,
"Come closer, darling!  We shall speed away
Across the seas, and seek some mountain home
Shut in from liars and the wicked words
That track us day and night and night and day."
So waned the sad refrain.  And those poor lips,
Whose latest phrases were for peace, grew mute,
And into everlasting silence passed.

As fares a swimmer who hath lost his breath
In 'wildering seas afar from any help --
Who, fronting Death, can never realize
The dreadful Presence, but is prone to clutch
At every weed upon the weltering wave --
So fared the watcher, poring o'er the last
Of him she loved, with dazed and stupid stare;
Half conscious of the sudden loss and lack
Of all that bound her life, but yet without
The power to take her mighty sorrow in.

Then came a patch or two of starry sky,
And through a reef of cloven thunder-cloud
The soft moon looked:  a patient face beyond
The fierce impatient shadows of the slopes
And the harsh voices of the broken hills!
A patient face, and one which came and wrought
A lovely silence, like a silver mist,
Across the rainy relics of the storm.

For in the breaks and pauses of her light
The gale died out in gusts:  yet, evermore
About the roof-tree on the dripping eaves,
The damp wind loitered, and a fitful drift
Sloped through the silent curtains, and athwart
The dead.

           There, when the glare had dropped behind
A mighty ridge of gloom, the woman turned
And sat in darkness, face to face with God,
And said, "I know," she said, "that Thou art wise;
That when we build and hope, and hope and build,
And see our best things fall, it comes to pass
For evermore that we must turn to Thee!
And therefore, now, because I cannot find
The faintest token of Divinity
In this my latest sorrow, let Thy light
Inform mine eyes, so I may learn to look
On something past the sight which shuts and blinds
And seems to drive me wholly, Lord, from Thee."

Now waned the moon beyond complaining depths,
And as the dawn looked forth from showery woods
(Whereon had dropped a hint of red and gold)
There went about the crooked cavern-eaves
Low flute-like echoes, with a noise of wings,
And waters flying down far-hidden fells.
Then might be seen the solitary owl
Perched in the clefts, scared at the coming light,
And staring outward (like a sea-shelled thing
Chased to his cover by some bright, fierce foe),
As at a monster in the middle waste.

At last the great kingfisher came, and called
Across the hollows, loud with early whips,
And lighted, laughing, on the shepherd's hut,
And roused the widow from a swoon like death.

This day, and after it was noised abroad
By blacks, and straggling horsemen on the roads,
That he was dead "who had been sick so long",
There flocked a troop from far-surrounding runs,
To see their neighbour, and to bury him;
And men who had forgotten how to cry
(Rough, flinty fellows of the native bush)
Now learned the bitter way, beholding there
The wasted shadow of an iron frame,
Brought down so low by years of fearful pain,
And marking, too, the woman's gentle face,
And all the pathos in her moaned reply
Of "Masters, we have lived in better days."

One stooped -- a stockman from the nearer hills --
To loose his wallet-strings, from whence he took
A bag of tea, and laid it on her lap;
Then sobbing, "God will help you, missus, yet,"
He sought his horse, with most bewildered eyes,
And, spurring, swiftly galloped down the glen.

Where black Orara nightly chafes his brink,
Midway between lamenting lines of oak
And Warra's Gap, the shepherd's grave was built;
And there the wild dog pauses, in the midst
Of moonless watches, howling through the gloom
At hopeless shadows flitting to and fro,
What time the east wind hums his darkest hymn,
And rains beat heavy on the ruined leaf.

There, while the autumn in the cedar trees
Sat cooped about by cloudy evergreens
The widow sojourned on the silent road,
And mutely faced the barren mound, and plucked
A straggling shrub from thence, and passed away,
Heart-broken, on to Sydney, where she took
Her passage in an English vessel bound
To London, for her home of other years.

At rest!  Not near, with Sorrow on his grave,
And roses quickened into beauty -- wrapt
In all the pathos of perennial bloom;
But far from these, beneath the fretful clay
Of lands within the lone perpetual cry
Of hermit plovers and the night-like oaks,
All moaning for the peace which never comes.

At rest!  And she who sits and waits behind
Is in the shadows; but her faith is sure,
And ~one~ fine promise of the coming days
Is breaking, like a blessed morning, far
On hills that "slope through darkness up to God."

A Spanish Love Song

From Andalusian gardens
 I bring the rose and rue,
And leaves of subtle odour,
 To weave a gift for you.
You'll know the reason wherefore
 The sad is with the sweet;
My flowers may lie, as I would,
 A carpet for your feet!

The heart -- the heart is constant;
 It holds its secret, Dear!
But often in the night time
 I keep awake for fear.
I have no hope to whisper,
 I have no prayer to send,
God save you from such passion!
 God help you from such end!

You first, you last, you false love!
 In dreams your lips I kiss,
And thus I greet your Shadow,
 "Take this, and this, and this!"
When dews are on the casement,
 And winds are in the pine,
I have you close beside me --
 In sleep your mouth is mine.

I never see you elsewhere;
 You never think of me;
But fired with fever for you
 Content I am to be.
You will not turn, my Darling,
 Nor answer when I call;
But yours are soul are body
 And love of mine and all!

You splendid Spaniard!  Listen --
 My passion leaps to flame
For neck and cheek and dimple,
 And cunning shades of shame!
I tell you, I would gladly
 Give Hell myself to keep,
To cling to, half a moment,
 The lips I taste in sleep.

The Last of His Tribe

He crouches, and buries his face on his knees,
 And hides in the dark of his hair;
For he cannot look up to the storm-smitten trees,
 Or think of the loneliness there --
 Of the loss and the loneliness there.

The wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass,
 And turn to their coverts for fear;
But he sits in the ashes and lets them pass
 Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear --
 With the nullah, the sling and the spear.

Uloola, behold him!  The thunder that breaks
 On the tops of the rocks with the rain,
And the wind which drives up with the salt of the lakes,
 Have made him a hunter again --
 A hunter and fisher again.

For his eyes have been full with a smouldering thought;
 But he dreams of the hunts of yore,
And of foes that he sought, and of fights that he fought
 With those who will battle no more --
 Who will go to the battle no more.

It is well that the water which tumbles and fills,
 Goes moaning and moaning along;
For an echo rolls out from the sides of the hills,
 And he starts at a wonderful song --
 At the sound of a wonderful song.

And he sees, through the rents of the scattering fogs,
 The corroboree warlike and grim,
And the lubra who sat by the fire on the logs,
 To watch, like a mourner, for him --
 Like a mother and mourner for him.

Will he go in his sleep from these desolate lands,
 Like a chief, to the rest of his race,
With the honey-voiced woman who beckons and stands,
 And gleams like a dream in his face --
 Like a marvellous dream in his face?


* A promontory on the coast of New South Wales.

Lo! in storms, the triple-headed
    Hill, whose dreaded
Bases battle with the seas,
Looms across fierce widths of fleeting
    Waters beating
Evermore on roaring leas!

Arakoon, the black, the lonely!
    Housed with only
Cloud and rain-wind, mist and damp;
Round whose foam-drenched feet and nether
    Depths, together
Sullen sprites of thunder tramp!

There the East hums loud and surly,
    Late and early,
Through the chasms and the caves,
And across the naked verges
    Leap the surges!
White and wailing waifs of waves.

Day by day the sea-fogs gathered --
    Tempest-fathered --
Pitch their tents on yonder peak,
Yellow drifts and fragments lying
    Where the flying
Torrents chafe the cloven creek!

And at nightfall, when the driven
    Bolts of heaven
Smite the rock and break the bluff,
Thither troop the elves whose home is
    Where the foam is,
And the echo and the clough.

Ever girt about with noises,
    Stormy voices,
And the salt breath of the Strait,
Stands the steadfast Mountain Giant,
    Grim, reliant,
Dark as Death, and firm as Fate.

So when trouble treads, like thunder,
    Weak men under --
Treads and breaks the thews of these --
Set thyself to bear it bravely,
    Greatly, gravely,
Like the hill in yonder seas;

Since the wrestling and endurance
    Give assurance
To the faint at bay with pain,
That no soul to strong endeavour
    Yoked for ever,
Works against the tide in vain.

The Voyage of Telegonus

Ill fares it with the man whose lips are set
To bitter themes and words that spite the gods;
For, seeing how the son of Saturn sways
With eyes and ears for all, this one shall halt
As on hard, hurtful hills; his days shall know
The plaintive front of sorrow; level looks
With cries ill-favoured shall be dealt to him;
And ~this~ shall be that he may think of peace
As one might think of alienated lips
Of sweetness touched for once in kind, warm dreams.
Yea, fathers of the high and holy face,
This soul thus sinning shall have cause to sob
"Ah, ah," for sleep, and space enough to learn
The wan, wild Hyrie's aggregated song
That starts the dwellers in distorted heights,
With all the meaning of perpetual sighs
Heard in the mountain deserts of the world,
And where the green-haired waters glide between
The thin, lank weeds and mallows of the marsh.
But thou to whom these things are like to shapes
That come of darkness -- thou whose life slips past
Regarding rather these with mute fast mouth --
Hear none the less how fleet Telegonus,
The brass-clad hunter, first took oar and smote
Swift eastward-going seas, with face direct
For narrowing channels and the twofold coasts
Past Colchis and the fierce Symplegades,
And utmost islands, washed by streams unknown.

For in a time when Phasis whitened wide
And drove with violent waters blown of wind
Against the bare, salt limits of the land,
It came to pass that, joined with Cytheraea,
The black-browed Ares, chafing for the wrong
Ulysses did him on the plains of Troy,
Set heart against the king; and when the storms
Sang high in thunder and the Thracian rain,
The god bethought him of a pale-mouthed priest
Of Thebae, kin to ancient Chariclo,
And of an omen which the prophet gave
That touched on death and grief to Ithaca;
Then, knowing how a heavy-handed fate
Had laid itself on Circe's brass-clad son,
He pricked the hunter with a lust that turned
All thoughts to travel and the seas remote;
But chiefly now he stirred Telegonus
To longings for his father's exiled face,
And dreams of rest and honey-hearted love
And quiet death with much of funeral flame
Far in the mountains of a favoured land
Beyond the wars and wailings of the waves.

So, past the ridges where the coast abrupt
Dips greyly westward, Circe's strong-armed son
Swept down the foam of sharp-divided straits
And faced the stress of opening seas.  Sheer out
The vessel drave; but three long moons the gale
Moaned round; and swift, strong streams of fire revealed
The labouring rowers and the lightening surf,
Pale watchers deafened of sonorous storm,
And dipping decks and rents of ruined sails.
Yea, when the hollow ocean-driven ship
Wheeled sideways, like a chariot cloven through
In hard hot battle, and the night came up
Against strange headlands lying east and north,
Behold a black, wild wind with death to all
Ran shoreward, charged with flame and thunder-smoke,
Which blew the waters into wastes of white,
And broke the bark, as lightning breaks the pine;
Whereat the sea in fearful circles showed
Unpitied faces turned from Zeus and light --
Wan swimmers wasted with their agony,
And hopeless eyes and moaning mouths of men.
But one held by the fragments of the wreck,
And Ares knew him for Telegonus,
Whom heavy-handed Fate had chained to deeds
Of dreadful note with sin beyond a name.
So, seeing this, the black-browed lord of war,
Arrayed about by Jove's authentic light,
Shot down amongst the shattered clouds and called
With mighty strain, betwixt the gaps of storm
"Oceanus! Oceanus!"  Whereat
The surf sprang white, as when a keel divides
The gleaming centre of a gathered wave;
And, ringed with flakes of splendid fire of foam,
The son of Terra rose half-way and blew
The triple trumpet of the water-gods,
At which great winds fell back and all the sea
Grew dumb, as on the land a war-feast breaks
When deep sleep falls upon the souls of men.
Then Ares of the night-like brow made known
The brass-clad hunter of the facile feet,
Hard clinging to the slippery logs of pine,
And told the omen to the hoary god
That touched on death and grief to Ithaca;
Wherefore Oceanus, with help of hand,
Bore by the chin the warrior of the North,
A moaning mass, across the shallowing surge,
And cast him on the rocks of alien shores
Against a wintry morning shot with storm.

Hear also, thou, how mighty gods sustain
The men set out to work the ends of Fate
Which fill the world with tales of many tears
And vex the sad face of humanity:
Six days and nights the brass-clad chief abode
Pent up in caverns by the straitening seas
And fed on ferns and limpets; but the dawn,
Before the strong sun of the seventh, brought
A fume of fire and smells of savoury meat
And much rejoicing, as from neighbouring feasts;
At which the hunter, seized with sudden lust,
Sprang up the crags, and, like a dream of fear,
Leapt, shouting, at a huddled host of hinds
Amongst the fragments of their steaming food;
And as the hoarse wood-wind in autumn sweeps
To every zone the hissing latter leaves,
So fleet Telegonus, by dint of spear
And strain of thunderous voice, did scatter these
East, south, and north.  'Twas then the chief had rest,
Hard by the outer coast of Ithaca,
Unknown to him who ate the spoil and slept.
Nor stayed he hand thereafter; but when noon
Burned dead on misty hills of stunted fir,
This man shook slumber from his limbs and sped
Against hoar beaches and the kindled cliffs
Of falling waters.  These he waded through,
Beholding, past the forests of the West,
A break of light and homes of many men,
And shining corn, and flowers, and fruits of flowers.
Yea, seeing these, the facile-footed chief
Grasped by the knot the huge Aeaean lance
And fell upon the farmers; wherefore they
Left hoe and plough, and crouched in heights remote,
Companioned with the grey-winged fogs; but he
Made waste their fields and throve upon their toil --
As throve the boar, the fierce four-footed curse
Which Artemis did raise in Calydon
To make stern mouths wax white with foreign fear,
All in the wild beginning of the world.

So one went down and told Laertes' son
Of what the brass-clad stranger from the straits
Had worked in Ithaca; whereat the King
Rose, like a god, and called his mighty heir,
Telemachus, the wisest of the wise;
And these two, having counsel, strode without,
And armed them with the arms of warlike days --
The helm, the javelin, and the sun-like shield,
And glancing greaves and quivering stars of steel.
Yea, stern Ulysses, rusted not with rest,
But dread as Ares, gleaming on his car
Gave out the reins; and straightway all the lands
Were struck by noise of steed and shouts of men,
And furious dust, and splendid wheels of flame.
Meanwhile the hunter (starting from a sleep
In which the pieces of a broken dream
Had shown him Circe with most tearful face),
Caught at his spear, and stood like one at bay
When Summer brings about Arcadian horns
And headlong horses mixt with maddened hounds;
Then huge Ulysses, like a fire of fight,
Sprang sideways on the flying car, and drave
Full at the brass-clad warrior of the North
His massive spear; but fleet Telegonus
Stooped from the death, but heard the speedy lance
Sing like a thin wind through the steaming air;
Yet he, dismayed not by the dreadful foe --
Unknown to him -- dealt out his strength, and aimed
A strenuous stroke at great Laertes' son,
Which missed the shield, but bit through flesh and bone,
And drank the blood, and dragged the soul from thence.
So fell the King!  And one cried "Ithaca!
Ah, Ithaca!" and turned his face and wept.
Then came another -- wise Telemachus --
Who knelt beside the man of many days
And pored upon the face; but lo, the life
Was like bright water spilt in sands of thirst,
A wasted splendour swiftly drawn away.
Yet held he by the dead:  he heeded not
The moaning warrior who had learnt his sin --
Who waited now, like one in lairs of pain,
Apart with darkness, hungry for his fate;
For had not wise Telemachus the lore
Which makes the pale-mouthed seer content to sleep
Amidst the desolations of the world?
So therefore he, who knew Telegonus,
The child of Circe by Laertes' son,
Was set to be a scourge of Zeus, smote not,
But rather sat with moody eyes, and mused,
And watched the dead.  For who may brave the gods?

Yet, O my fathers, when the people came,
And brought the holy oils and perfect fire,
And built the pile, and sang the tales of Troy --
Of desperate travels in the olden time,
By shadowy mountains and the roaring sea,
Near windy sands and past the Thracian snows --
The man who crossed them all to see his sire,
And had a loyal heart to give the king,
Instead of blows -- this man did little more
Than moan outside the fume of funeral rites,
All in a rushing twilight full of rain,
And clap his palms for sharper pains than swords.
Yea, when the night broke out against the flame,
And lonely noises loitered in the fens,
This man nor stirred nor slept, but lay at wait,
With fastened mouth.  For who may brave the gods?

Sitting by the Fire

Ah! the solace in the sitting,
 Sitting by the fire,
When the wind without is calling
And the fourfold clouds are falling,
With the rain-racks intermitting,
 Over slope and spire.
Ah! the solace in the sitting,
 Sitting by the fire.

Then, and then, a man may ponder,
 Sitting by the fire,
Over fair far days, and faces
Shining in sweet-coloured places
Ere the thunder broke asunder
 Life and dear Desire.
Thus, and thus, a man may ponder,
 Sitting by the fire.

Waifs of song pursue, perplex me,
 Sitting by the fire:
Just a note, and lo, the change then!
Like a child, I turn and range then,
Till a shadow starts to vex me --
 Passion's wasted pyre.
So do songs pursue, perplex me,
 Sitting by the fire.

Night by night -- the old, old story --
 Sitting by the fire,
Night by night, the dead leaves grieve me:
Ah! the touch when youth shall leave me,
Like my fathers, shrunken, hoary,
 With the years that tire.
Night by night -- that old, old story,
 Sitting by the fire.

Sing for slumber, sister Clara,
 Sitting by the fire.
I could hide my head and sleep now,
Far from those who laugh and weep now,
Like a trammelled, faint wayfarer,
 'Neath yon mountain-spire.
Sing for slumber, sister Clara,
 Sitting by the fire.


Sing her a song of the sun:
 Fill it with tones of the stream, --
Echoes of waters that run
 Glad with the gladdening gleam.
Let it be sweeter than rain,
 Lit by a tropical moon:
Light in the words of the strain,
 Love in the ways of the tune.

Softer than seasons of sleep:
 Dearer than life at its best!
Give her a ballad to keep,
 Wove of the passionate West:
Give it and say of the hours --
 "Haunted and hallowed of thee,
Flower-like woman of flowers,
 What shall the end of them be?"

You that have loved her so much,
 Loved her asleep and awake,
Trembled because of her touch,
 What have you said for her sake?
Far in the falls of the day,
 Down in the meadows of myrrh,
What has she left you to say
 Filled with the beauty of her?

Take her the best of your thoughts,
 Let them be gentle and grave,
Say, "I have come to thy courts,
 Maiden, with all that I have."
So she may turn with her sweet
 Face to your love and to you,
Learning the way to repeat
 Words that are brighter than dew.

Charles Harpur

Where Harpur lies, the rainy streams,
 And wet hill-heads, and hollows weeping,
Are swift with wind, and white with gleams,
 And hoarse with sounds of storms unsleeping.

Fit grave it is for one whose song
 Was tuned by tones he caught from torrents,
And filled with mountain breaths, and strong,
 Wild notes of falling forest currents.

So let him sleep, the rugged hymns
 And broken lights of woods above him!
And let me sing how sorrow dims
 The eyes of those that used to love him.

As April in the wilted wold
 Turns faded eyes on splendours waning,
What time the latter leaves are old,
 And ruin strikes the strays remaining;

So we that knew this singer dead,
 Whose hands attuned the harp Australian,
May set the face and bow the head,
 And mourn his fate and fortunes alien.

The burden of a perished faith
 Went sighing through his speech of sweetness,
With human hints of time and death,
 And subtle notes of incompleteness.

But when the fiery power of youth
 Had passed away and left him nameless,
Serene as light, and strong as truth,
 He lived his life, untired and tameless.

And, far and free, this man of men,
 With wintry hair and wasted feature,
Had fellowship with gorge and glen,
 And learned the loves and runes of Nature.

Strange words of wind, and rhymes of rain,
 And whispers from the inland fountains
Are mingled, in his various strain,
 With leafy breaths of piny mountains.

But as the undercurrents sigh
 Beneath the surface of a river,
The music of humanity
 Dwells in his forest-psalms for ever.

No soul was he to sit on heights
 And live with rocks apart and scornful:
Delights of men were his delights,
 And common troubles made him mournful.

The flying forms of unknown powers
 With lofty wonder caught and filled him;
But there were days of gracious hours
 When sights and sounds familiar thrilled him.

The pathos worn by wayside things,
 The passion found in simple faces,
Struck deeper than the life of springs
 Or strength of storms and sea-swept places.

But now he sleeps, the tired bard,
 The deepest sleep; and, lo! I proffer
These tender leaves of my regard,
 With hands that falter as they offer.


Sing the song of wave-worn Coogee, Coogee in the distance white,
With its jags and points disrupted, gaps and fractures fringed with light;
Haunt of gledes, and restless plovers of the melancholy wail
Ever lending deeper pathos to the melancholy gale.
There, my brothers, down the fissures, chasms deep and wan and wild,
Grows the sea-bloom, one that blushes like a shrinking, fair, blind child;
And amongst the oozing forelands many a glad, green rock-vine runs,
Getting ease on earthy ledges, sheltered from December suns.

Often, when a gusty morning, rising cold and grey and strange,
Lifts its face from watery spaces, vistas full with cloudy change,
Bearing up a gloomy burden which anon begins to wane,
Fading in the sudden shadow of a dark, determined rain,
Do I seek an eastern window, so to watch the breakers beat
Round the steadfast crags of Coogee, dim with drifts of driving sleet:
Hearing hollow mournful noises sweeping down a solemn shore,
While the grim sea-caves are tideless, and the storm strives at their core.

Often when the floating vapours fill the silent autumn leas,
Dreaming mem'ries fall like moonlight over silver sleeping seas.
Youth and I and Love together!  Other times and other themes
Come to me unsung, unwept for, through the faded evening gleams:
Come to me and touch me mutely -- I that looked and longed so well,
Shall I look and yet forget them? -- who may know or who foretell?
Though the southern wind roams, shadowed with its immemorial grief,
Where the frosty wings of Winter leave their whiteness on the leaf.

Friend of mine beyond the waters, here and here these perished days
Haunt me with their sweet dead faces and their old divided ways.
You that helped and you that loved me, take this song, and when you read,
Let the lost things come about you, set your thoughts and hear and heed.
Time has laid his burden on us --  we who wear our manhood now,
We would be the boys we have been, free of heart and bright of brow --
Be the boys for just an hour, with the splendour and the speech
Of thy lights and thunders, Coogee, flying up thy gleaming beach.

Heart's desire and heart's division! who would come and say to me,
With the eyes of far-off friendship, "You are as you used to be"?
Something glad and good has left me here with sickening discontent,
Tired of looking, neither knowing what it was or where it went.
So it is this sight of Coogee, shining in the morning dew,
Sets me stumbling through dim summers once on fire with youth and you --
Summers pale as southern evenings when the year has lost its power
And the wasted face of April weeps above the withered flower.

Not that seasons bring no solace, not that time lacks light and rest;
But the old things were the dearest and the old loves seem the best.
We that start at songs familiar, we that tremble at a tone
Floating down the ways of music, like a sigh of sweetness flown,
We can never feel the freshness, never find again the mood
Left among fair-featured places, brightened of our brotherhood.
This and this we have to think of when the night is over all,
And the woods begin to perish and the rains begin to fall.


Stand out, swift-footed leaders of the horns,
And draw strong breath, and fill the hollowy cliff
With shocks of clamour, -- let the chasm take
The noise of many trumpets, lest the hunt
Should die across the dim Aonian hills,
Nor break through thunder and the surf-white cave
That hems about the old-eyed Ogyges
And bars the sea-wind, rain-wind, and the sea!

Much fierce delight hath old-eyed Ogyges
(A hairless shadow in a lion's skin)
In tumult, and the gleam of flying spears,
And wild beasts vexed to death; "for," sayeth he,
"Here lying broken, do I count the days
For every trouble; being like the tree --
The many-wintered father of the trunks
On yonder ridges:  wherefore it is well
To feel the dead blood kindling in my veins
At sound of boar or battle; yea to find
A sudden stir, like life, about my feet,
And tingling pulses through this frame of mine
What time the cold clear dayspring, like a bird
Afar off, settles on the frost-bound peaks,
And all the deep blue gorges, darkening down,
Are filled with men and dogs and furious dust!"

So in the time whereof thou weetest well --
The melancholy morning of the World --
He mopes or mumbles, sleeps or shouts for glee,
And shakes his sides -- a cavern-hutted King!
But when the ouzel in the gaps at eve
Doth pipe her dreary ditty to the surge
All tumbling in the soft green level light,
He sits as quiet as a thick-mossed rock,
And dreameth in his cold old savage way
Of gliding barges on the wine-dark waves,
And glowing shapes, and sweeter things than sleep,
But chiefly, while the restless twofold bat
Goes flapping round the rainy eaves above,
Where one broad opening letteth in the moon,
He starteth, thinking of that grey-haired man,
His sire:  then oftentimes the white-armed child
Of thunder-bearing Jove, young Thebe, comes
And droops above him with her short sweet sighs
For Love distraught -- for dear Love's faded sake
That weeps and sings and weeps itself to death
Because of casual eyes, and lips of frost,
And careless mutterings, and most weary years.

Bethink you, doth the wan Egyptian count
This passion, wasting like an unfed flame,
Of any worth now; seeing that his thighs
Are shrunken to a span and that the blood,
Which used to spin tumultuous down his sides
Of life in leaping moments of desire,
Is drying like a thin and sluggish stream
In withered channels -- think you, doth he pause
For golden Thebe and her red young mouth?

Ah, golden Thebe -- Thebe, weeping there,
Like some sweet wood-nymph wailing for a rock,
If Octis with the Apollonian face --
That fair-haired prophet of the sun and stars --
Could take a mist and dip it in the West
To clothe thy limbs of shine about with shine
And all the wonder of the amethyst,
He'd do it -- kneeling like a slave for thee!
If he could find a dream to comfort thee,
He'd bring it:  thinking little of his lore,
But marvelling greatly at those eyes of thine.
Yea, if the Shepherd waiting for thy steps,
Pent down amongst the dank black-weeded rims,
Could shed his life like rain about thy feet,
He'd count it sweetness past all sweets of love
To die by thee -- his life's end in thy sight.

Oh, but he loves the hunt, doth Ogyges!
And therefore should we blow the horn for him:
He, sitting mumbling in his surf-white cave
With helpless feet and alienated eyes,
Should hear the noises nathless dawn by dawn
Which send him wandering swiftly through the days
When like a springing cataract he leapt
From crag to crag, the strongest in the chase
To spear the lion, leopard, or the boar!
Oh, but he loves the hunt; and, while the shouts
Of mighty winds are in this mountained World,
Behold the white bleak woodman, Winter, halts
And bends to him across a beard of snow
For wonder; seeing Summer in his looks
Because of dogs and calls from throats of hair
All in the savage hills of Hyria!
And, through the yellow evenings of the year,
What time September shows her mooned front
And poppies burnt to blackness droop for drouth,
The dear Demeter, splashed from heel to thigh
With spinning vine-blood, often stoops to him
To crush the grape against his wrinkled lips
Which sets him dreaming of the thickening wolves
In darkness, and the sound of moaning seas.
So with the blustering tempest doth he find
A stormy fellowship:  for when the North
Comes reeling downwards with a breath like spears,
Where Dryope the lonely sits all night
And holds her sorrow crushed betwixt her palms,
He thinketh mostly of that time of times
When Zeus the Thunderer -- broadly-blazing King --
Like some wild comet beautiful but fierce,
Leapt out of cloud and fire and smote the tops
Of black Ogygia with his red right hand,
At which great fragments tumbled to the Deeps --
The mighty fragments of a mountain-land --
And all the World became an awful Sea!

But, being tired, the hairless Ogyges
Best loveth night and dim forgetfulness!
"For," sayeth he, "to look for sleep is good
When every sleep is as a sleep of death
To men who live, yet know not why they live,
Nor how they live!  I have no thought to tell
The people when this time of mine began;
But forest after forest grows and falls,
And rock by rock is wasted with the rime,
While I sit on and wait the end of all;
Here taking every footstep for a sign;
An ancient shadow whiter than the foam!"

By the Sea

The caves of the sea have been troubled to-day
 With the water which whitens, and widens, and fills;
And a boat with our brother was driven away
 By a wind that came down from the tops of the hills.
Behold I have seen on the threshold again
 A face in a dazzle of hair!
Do you know that she watches the rain, and the main,
 And the waves which are moaning there?
  Ah, moaning and moaning there!

Now turn from your casements, and fasten your doors,
 And cover your faces, and pray, if you can;
There are wails in the wind, there are sighs on the shores,
 And alas, for the fate of a storm-beaten man!
Oh, dark falls the night on the rain-rutted verge,
 So sad with the sound of the foam!
Oh, wild is the sweep and the swirl of the surge;
 And his boat may never come home!
  Ah, never and never come home!

King Saul at Gilboa

With noise of battle and the dust of fray,
Half hid in fog, the gloomy mountain lay;
But Succoth's watchers, from their outer fields,
Saw fits of flame and gleams of clashing shields;
For, where the yellow river draws its spring,
The hosts of Israel travelled, thundering!
There, beating like the storm that sweeps to sea
Across the reefs of chafing Galilee,
The car of Abner and the sword of Saul
Drave Gaza down Gilboa's southern wall;
But swift and sure the spears of Ekron flew,
Till peak and slope were drenched with bloody dew.
"Shout, Timnath, shout!" the blazing leaders cried,
And hurled the stone and dashed the stave aside.
"Shout, Timnath, shout!  Let Hazor hold the height,
Bend the long bow and break the lords of fight!"

From every hand the swarthy strangers sprang,
Chief leaped on chief, with buckler buckler rang!
The flower of armies!  Set in Syrian heat,
The ridges clamoured under labouring feet;
Nor stayed the warriors till, from Salem's road,
The crescent horns of Abner's squadrons glowed.
Then, like a shooting splendour on the wing,
The strong-armed son of Kish came thundering;
And as in Autumn's fall, when woods are bare,
Two adverse tempests meet in middle air,
So Saul and Achish, grim with heat and hate,
Met by the brook and shook the scales of Fate.
For now the struggle swayed, and, firm as rocks
Against the storm-wind of the equinox,
The rallied lords of Judah stood and bore,
All day, the fiery tides of fourfold war.

But he that fasted in the secret cave
And called up Samuel from the quiet grave,
And stood with darkness and the mantled ghosts
A bitter night on shrill Samarian coasts,
Knew well the end -- of how the futile sword
Of Israel would be broken by the Lord;
How Gath would triumph, with the tawny line
That bend the knee at Dagon's brittle shrine;
And how the race of Kish would fall to wreck,
Because of vengeance stayed at Amalek.
Yet strove the sun-like king, nor rested hand
Till yellow evening filled the level land.
Then Judah reeled before a biting hail
Of sudden arrows shot from Achor's vale,
Where Libnah, lapped in blood from thigh to heel,
Drew the tense string, and pierced the quivering steel.
There fell the sons of Saul, and, man by man,
The chiefs of Israel, up to Jonathan;
And while swift Achish stooped and caught the spoil,
Ten chosen archers, red with sanguine toil,
Sped after Saul, who, faint and sick, and sore
With many wounds, had left the thick of war.
He, like a baffled bull by hunters pressed,
Turned sharp about, and faced the flooded west,
And saw the star-like spears and moony spokes
Gleam from the rocks and lighten through the oaks --
A sea of splendour!  How the chariots rolled
On wheels of blinding brightness manifold!
While stumbling over spike and spine and spur
Of sultry lands, escaped the son of Ner
With smitten men.  At this the front of Saul
Grew darker than a blasted tower wall;
And seeing how there crouched upon his right,
Aghast with fear, a black Amalekite,
He called, and said:  "I pray thee, man of pain,
Red from the scourge, and recent from the chain,
Set thou thy face to mine, and stoutly stand
With yonder bloody sword-hilt in thy hand,
And fall upon me."  But the faltering hind
Stood trembling, like a willow in the wind.
Then further Saul:  "Lest Ashdod's vaunting hosts
Should bear me captive to their bleak-blown coasts,
I pray thee, smite me! seeing peace has fled,
And rest lies wholly with the quiet dead."
At this a flood of sunset broke, and smote
Keen, blazing sapphires round a kingly throat,
Touched arm and shoulder, glittered in the crest,
And made swift starlights on a jewelled breast.
So, starting forward, like a loosened hound,
The stranger clutched the sword and wheeled it round,
And struck the Lord's Anointed.  Fierce and fleet
Philistia came, with shouts and clattering feet;
By gaping gorges and by rough defile
Dark Ashdod beat across a dusty mile;
Hot Hazor's bowmen toiled from spire to spire,
And Gath sprang upwards, like a gust of fire;
On either side did Libnah's lords appear,
And brass-clad Timnath thundered in the rear.
"Mark, Achish, mark!" -- South-west and south there sped
A dabbled hireling from the dreadful dead.
"Mark, Achish, mark!" -- The mighty front of Saul,
Great in his life and god-like in his fall!
This was the arm that broke Philistia's pride,
Where Kishon chafes his seaward-going tide;
This was the sword that smote till set of sun
Red Gath, from Michmash unto Ajalon,
Low in the dust.  And Israel scattered far!
And dead the trumps and crushed the hoofs of war!

So fell the king, as it was said by him
Who hid his forehead in a mantle dim
At bleak Endor, what time unholy rites
Vexed the long sleep of still Samarian heights;
For, bowed to earth before the hoary priest,
Did he of Kish withstand the smoking feast,
To fast, in darkness and in sackcloth rolled,
And house with wild things in the biting cold,
Because of sharpness lent to Gaza's sword,
And Judah widowed by the angry Lord.

So silence came.  As when the outer verge
Of Carmel takes the white and whistling surge,
Hoarse, hollow noises fill the caves, and roar
Along the margin of the echoing shore,
Thus war had thundered; but as evening breaks
Across the silver of Assyrian lakes,
When reapers rest, and through the level red
Of sunset, peace, like holy oil, is shed,
Thus silence fell.  But Israel's daughters crept
Outside their thresholds, waited, watched, and wept.

Then they that dwell beyond the flats and fens
Of sullen Jordan, and in gelid glens
Of Jabesh-Gilead -- chosen chiefs and few --
Around their loins the hasty girdle drew,
And faced the forests, huddled fold on fold,
And dells of glimmering greenness manifold.
What time Orion in the west did set
A shining foot on hills of wind and wet;
These journeyed nightly till they reached the capes
Where Ashdod revelled over heated grapes;
And while the feast was loud and scouts were turned,
From Saul's bound body cord by cord they burned,
And bore the king athwart the place of tombs,
And hasted eastward through the tufted glooms;
Nor broke the cake nor stayed the step till morn
Shot over Debir's cones and crags forlorn.

From Jabesh then the weeping virgins came;
In Jabesh then they built the funeral flame;
With costly woods they piled the lordly pyre,
Brought yellow oils and fed the perfect fire;
While round the crescent stately elders spread
The flashing armour of the mighty dead,
With crown and spear, and all the trophies won
From many wars by Israel's dreadful son.
Thence, when the feet of evening paused and stood
On shadowy mountains and the roaring flood,
(As through a rushing twilight, full of rain,
The weak moon looked athwart Gadara's plain),
The younger warriors bore the urn, and broke
The humid turf about a wintering oak,
And buried Saul; and, fasting, went their ways,
And hid their faces seven nights and days.

In the Valley

Said the yellow-haired Spirit of Spring
 To the white-footed Spirit of Snow,
"On the wings of the tempest take wing,
 And leave me the valleys, and go."
And, straightway, the streams were unchained,
 And the frost-fettered torrents broke free,
And the strength of the winter-wind waned
 In the dawn of a light on the sea.

Then a morning-breeze followed and fell,
 And the woods were alive and astir
With the pulse of a song in the dell,
 And a whisper of day in the fir.
Swift rings of sweet water were rolled
 Down the ways where the lily-leaves grew,
And the green, and the white, and the gold,
 Were wedded with purple and blue.

But the lips of the flower of the rose
 Said, "where is the ending hereof?
Is it sweet with you, life, at the close?
 Is it sad to be emptied of love?"
And the voice of the flower of the peach
 Was tender and touching in tone,
"When each has been grafted on each,
 It is sorrow to live on alone."

Then the leaves of the flower of the vine
 Said, "what will there be in the day
When the reapers are red with my wine,
 And the forests are yellow and grey?"
And the tremulous flower of the quince
 Made answer, "three seasons ago
My sisters were star-like, but since,
 Their graves have been made in the snow."

Then the whispering flower of the fern
 Said, "who will be sad at the death,
When Summer blows over the burn,
 With the fierceness of fire in her breath?"
And the mouth of the flower of the sedge
 Was opened to murmur and sigh,
"Sweet wind-breaths that pause at the edge
 Of the nightfall, and falter, and die."

Twelve Sonnets --


A Mountain Spring

Peace hath an altar there.  The sounding feet
 Of thunder and the 'wildering wings of rain
Against fire-rifted summits flash and beat,
 And through grey upper gorges swoop and strain;
 But round that hallowed mountain-spring remain,
Year after year, the days of tender heat,
And gracious nights, whose lips with flowers are sweet,
 And filtered lights, and lutes of soft refrain.
A still, bright pool.  To men I may not tell
 The secret that its heart of water knows,
 The story of a loved and lost repose;
Yet this I say to cliff and close-leaved dell:
A fitful spirit haunts yon limpid well,
 Whose likeness is the faithless face of Rose.



If Laura -- lady of the flower-soft face --
 Should light upon these verses, she may take
The tenderest line, and through its pulses trace
 What man can suffer for a woman's sake.
 For in the nights that burn, the days that break,
A thin pale figure stands in Passion's place,
And peace comes not, nor yet the perished grace
 Of youth, to keep old faiths and fires awake.
Ah! marvellous maid.  Life sobs, and sighing saith,
 "She left me, fleeting like a fluttered dove;
But I would have a moment of her breath,
 So I might taste the sweetest sense thereof,
 And catch from blossoming, honeyed lips of love
Some faint, some fair, some dim, delicious death."


By a River

By red-ripe mouth and brown, luxurious eyes
 Of her I love, by all your sweetness shed
In far, fair days, on one whose memory flies
 To faithless lights, and gracious speech gainsaid,
 I pray you, when yon river-path I tread,
Make with the woodlands some soft compromise,
Lest they should vex me into fruitless sighs
 With visions of a woman's gleaming head!
For every green and golden-hearted thing
 That gathers beauty in that shining place,
Beloved of beams and wooed by wind and wing,
 Is rife with glimpses of her marvellous face;
And in the whispers of the lips of Spring
 The music of her lute-like voice I trace.



What though his feet were shod with sharp, fierce flame,
 And death and ruin were his daily squires,
The Scythian, helped by Heaven's thunders, came:
 The time was ripe for God's avenging fires.
 Lo! loose, lewd trulls, and lean, luxurious liars
Had brought the fair, fine face of Rome to shame,
And made her one with sins beyond a name --
 That queenly daughter of imperial sires!
The blood of elders like the blood of sheep,
 Was dashed across the circus.  Once while din
And dust and lightnings, and a draggled heap
Of beast-slain men made lords with laughter leap,
 Night fell, with rain.  The earth, so sick of sin,
Had turned her face into the dark to weep.


A Reward

Because a steadfast flame of clear intent
 Gave force and beauty to full-actioned life;
Because his way was one of firm ascent,
 Whose stepping-stones were hewn of change and strife;
 Because as husband loveth noble wife
He loved fair Truth; because the thing he meant
To do, that thing he did, nor paused, nor bent
 In face of poor and pale conclusions; yea!
Because of this, how fares the Leader dead?
 What kind of mourners weep for him to-day?
What golden shroud is at his funeral spread?
 Upon his brow what leaves of laurel, say?
 ~About his breast is tied a sackcloth grey,
And knots of thorns deface his lordly head.~


To ----

A handmaid to the genius of thy song
 Is sweet, fair Scholarship.  'Tis she supplies
 The fiery spirit of the passioned eyes
With subtle syllables, whose notes belong
 To some chief source of perfect melodies;
And glancing through a laurelled, lordly throng
 Of shining singers, lo! my vision flies
To William Shakespeare!  He it is whose strong,
 Full, flute-like music haunts thy stately verse.
A worthy Levite of his court thou art!
 One sent among us to defeat the curse
That binds us to the Actual.  Yea, thy part,
Oh, lute-voiced lover! is to lull the heart
 Of love repelled, its darkness to disperse.


The Stanza of Childe Harold

Who framed the stanza of Childe Harold?  He
 It was who, halting on a stormy shore,
 Knew well the lofty voice which evermore,
In grand distress, doth haunt the sleepless sea
 With solemn sounds.  And as each wave did roll
 Till one came up, the mightiest of the whole,
To sweep and surge across the vacant lea,
Wild words were wedded to wild melody.
 This poet must have had a speechless sense
 Of some dead summer's boundless affluence;
Else, whither can we trace the passioned lore
Of Beauty, steeping to the very core
 His royal verse, and that rare light which lies
 About it, like a sunset in the skies?


A Living Poet

He knows the sweet vexation in the strife
 Of Love with Time, this bard who fain would stray
To fairer place beyond the storms of life,
 With astral faces near him day by day.
In deep-mossed dells the mellow waters flow
Which best he loves; for there the echoes, rife
With rich suggestions of his long ago,
 Astarte, pass with thee!  And, far away,
Dear southern seasons haunt the dreamy eye:
 Spring, flower-zoned, and Summer, warbling low
 In tasselled corn, alternate come and go,
While gypsy Autumn, splashed from heel to thigh
With vine-blood, treads the leaves; and, halting nigh,
 Wild Winter bends across a beard of snow.


Dante and Virgil

When lost Francesca sobbed her broken tale
 Of love and sin and boundless agony,
While that wan spirit by her side did wail
 And bite his lips for utter misery --
 The grief which could not speak, nor hear, nor see --
So tender grew the superhuman face
Of one who listened, that a mighty trace
 Of superhuman woe gave way, and pale
The sudden light up-struggled to its place;
 While all his limbs began to faint and fail
With such excess of pity.  But, behind,
 The Roman Virgil stood -- the calm, the wise --
 With not a shadow in his regal eyes,
A stately type of all his stately kind.



Sometimes we feel so spent for want of rest,
 We have no thought beyond.  I know to-day,
 When tired of bitter lips and dull delay
With faithless words, I cast mine eyes upon
The shadows of a distant mountain-crest,
And said "That hill must hide within its breast
Some secret glen secluded from the sun.
Oh, mother Nature! would that I could run
Outside to thee; and, like a wearied guest,
 Half blind with lamps, and sick of feasting, lay
An aching head on thee.  Then down the streams
 The moon might swim, and I should feel her grace,
 While soft winds blew the sorrows from my face,
So quiet in the fellowship of dreams."


After Parting

I cannot tell what change hath come to you
 To vex your splendid hair.  I only know
~One~ grief.  The passion left betwixt us two,
 Like some forsaken watchfire, burneth low.
 'Tis sad to turn and find it dying so,
Without a hope of resurrection!  Yet,
 O radiant face that found me tired and lone!
I shall not for the dear, dead past forget
 The sweetest looks of all the summers gone.
Ah! time hath made familiar wild regret;
 For now the leaves are white in last year's bowers,
And now doth sob along the ruined leas
The homeless storm from saddened southern seas,
 While March sits weeping over withered flowers.


Alfred Tennyson

The silvery dimness of a happy dream
 I've known of late.  Methought where Byron moans,
 Like some wild gulf in melancholy zones,
I passed tear-blinded.  Once a lurid gleam
 Of stormy sunset loitered on the sea,
While, travelling troubled like a straitened stream,
 The voice of Shelley died away from me.
 Still sore at heart, I reached a lake-lit lea.
And then the green-mossed glades with many a grove,
Where lies the calm which Wordsworth used to love,
 And, lastly, Locksley Hall, from whence did rise
A haunting song that blew and breathed and blew
With rare delights.  'Twas ~there~ I woke and knew
 The sumptuous comfort left in drowsy eyes.

Sutherland's Grave

* Sutherland:  Forby Sutherland, one of Captain Cook's seamen,
  who died shortly after the ~Endeavour~ anchored in Botany Bay, 1770.
  He was the first Englishman buried in Australia.

All night long the sea out yonder -- all night long the wailful sea,
Vext of winds and many thunders, seeketh rest unceasingly!
Seeketh rest in dens of tempest, where, like one distraught with pain,
Shouts the wild-eyed sprite, Confusion -- seeketh rest, and moans in vain:
Ah! but you should hear it calling, calling when the haggard sky
Takes the darks and damps of Winter with the mournful marsh-fowl's cry;
Even while the strong, swift torrents from the rainy ridges come
Leaping down and breaking backwards -- million-coloured shapes of foam!
Then, and then, the sea out yonder chiefly looketh for the boon
Portioned to the pleasant valleys and the grave sweet summer moon:
Boon of Peace, the still, the saintly spirit of the dew-dells deep --
Yellow dells and hollows haunted by the soft, dim dreams of sleep.

All night long the flying water breaks upon the stubborn rocks --
Ooze-filled forelands burnt and blackened,
  smit and scarred with lightning shocks;
But above the tender sea-thrift, but beyond the flowering fern,
Runs a little pathway westward -- pathway quaint with turn on turn --
Westward trending, thus it leads to shelving shores and slopes of mist:
Sleeping shores, and glassy bays of green and gold and amethyst!
~There~ tread gently -- ~gently~, pilgrim;
  ~there~ with thoughtful eyes look round;
Cross thy breast and bless the silence:  lo, the place is holy ground!
Holy ground for ever, stranger!  All the quiet silver lights
Dropping from the starry heavens through the soft Australian nights --
Dropping on those lone grave-grasses -- come serene, unbroken, clear,
Like the love of God the Father, falling, falling, year by year!
Yea, and like a Voice supernal, ~there~ the daily wind doth blow
In the leaves above the sailor buried ninety years ago.


A heap of low, dark, rocky coast,
 Unknown to foot or feather!
A sea-voice moaning like a ghost;
 And fits of fiery weather!

The flying Syrinx turned and sped
 By dim, mysterious hollows,
Where night is black, and day is red,
 And frost the fire-wind follows.

Strong, heavy footfalls in the wake
 Came up with flights of water:
The gods were mournful for the sake
 Of Ladon's lovely daughter.

For when she came to spike and spine,
 Where reef and river gather,
Her feet were sore with shell and chine;
 She could not travel farther.

Across a naked strait of land
 Blown sleet and surge were humming;
But trammelled with the shifting sand,
 She heard the monster coming!

A thing of hoofs and horns and lust:
 A gaunt, goat-footed stranger!
She bowed her body in the dust
 And called on Zeus to change her;

And called on Hermes, fair and fleet,
 And her of hounds and quiver,
To hide her in the thickets sweet
 That sighed above the river.

So he that sits on flaming wheels,
 And rules the sea and thunder,
Caught up the satyr by the heels
 And tore his skirts asunder.

While Arcas, of the glittering plumes,
 Took Ladon's daughter lightly,
And set her in the gracious glooms
 That mix with moon-mist nightly;

And touched her lips with wild-flower wine,
 And changed her body slowly,
Till, in soft reeds of song and shine,
 Her life was hidden wholly.

On the Paroo

* The name of a watercourse, often dry, which in flood-time
  reaches the river Darling.

As when the strong stream of a wintering sea
Rolls round our coast, with bodeful breaks of storm,
And swift salt rain, and bitter wind that saith
Wild things and woeful of the White South Land
Alone with God and silence in the cold --
As when this cometh, men from dripping doors
Look forth, and shudder for the mariners
Abroad, so we for absent brothers looked
In days of drought, and when the flying floods
Swept boundless; roaring down the bald, black plains
Beyond the farthest spur of western hills.

For where the Barwon cuts a rotten land,
Or lies unshaken, like a great blind creek,
Between hot mouldering banks, it came to this,
All in a time of short and thirsty sighs,
That thirty rainless months had left the pools
And grass as dry as ashes:  then it was
Our kinsmen started for the lone Paroo,
From point to point, with patient strivings, sheer
Across the horrors of the windless downs,
Blue gleaming like a sea of molten steel.

But never drought had broke them:  never flood
Had quenched them:  they with mighty youth and health,
And thews and sinews knotted like the trees --
~They~, like the children of the native woods,
Could stem the strenuous waters, or outlive
The crimson days and dull, dead nights of thirst
Like camels:  yet of what avail was strength
Alone to them -- though it was like the rocks
On stormy mountains -- in the bloody time
When fierce sleep caught them in the camps at rest,
And violent darkness gripped the life in them
And whelmed them, as an eagle unawares
Is whelmed and slaughtered in a sudden snare.

All murdered by the blacks; smit while they lay
In silver dreams, and with the far, faint fall
Of many waters breaking on their sleep!
Yea, in the tracts unknown of any man
Save savages -- the dim-discovered ways
Of footless silence or unhappy winds --
The wild men came upon them, like a fire
Of desert thunder; and the fine, firm lips
That touched a mother's lips a year before,
And hands that knew a dearer hand than life,
Were hewn -- a sacrifice before the stars,
And left with hooting owls and blowing clouds,
And falling leaves and solitary wings!

Aye, you may see their graves -- you who have toiled
And tripped and thirsted, like these men of ours;
For, verily, I say that ~not~ so deep
Their bones are that the scattered drift and dust
Of gusty days will never leave them bare.
O dear, dead, bleaching bones!  I know of those
Who have the wild, strong will to go and sit
Outside all things with you, and keep the ways
Aloof from bats, and snakes, and trampling feet
That smite your peace and theirs -- who have the heart,
Without the lusty limbs, to face the fire
And moonless midnights, and to be, indeed,
For very sorrow, like a moaning wind
In wintry forests with perpetual rain.

Because of this -- because of sisters left
With desperate purpose and dishevelled hair,
And broken breath, and sweetness quenched in tears --
Because of swifter silver for the head,
And furrows for the face -- because of these
That should have come with age, that come with pain --
O Master!  Father! sitting where our eyes
Are tired of looking, say for once are we --
Are ~we~ to set our lips with weary smiles
Before the bitterness of Life and Death,
And call it honey, while we bear away
A taste like wormwood?

                        Turn thyself, and sing --
Sing, Son of Sorrow!  Is there any gain
For breaking of the loins, for melting eyes,
And knees as weak as water? -- any peace,
Or hope for casual breath and labouring lips,
For clapping of the palms, and sharper sighs
Than frost; or any light to come for those
Who stand and mumble in the alien streets
With heads as grey as Winter? -- any balm
For pleading women, and the love that knows
Of nothing left to love?

                          They sleep a sleep
Unknown of dreams, these darling friends of ours.
And we who taste the core of many tales
Of tribulation -- we whose lives are salt
With tears indeed -- we therefore hide our eyes
And weep in secret, lest our grief should risk
The rest that hath no hurt from daily racks
Of fiery clouds and immemorial rains.

Faith in God

Have faith in God.  For whosoever lists
 To calm conviction in these days of strife,
Will learn that in this steadfast stand exists
 The scholarship severe of human life.

This face to face with doubt!  I know how strong
 His thews must be who fights and falls and bears,
By sleepless nights and vigils lone and long,
 And many a woeful wraith of wrestling prayers.

Yet trust in Him!  Not in an old man throned
 With thunders on an everlasting cloud,
But in that awful Entity enzoned
 By no wild wraths nor bitter homage loud.

When from the summit of some sudden steep
 Of speculation you have strength to turn
To things too boundless for the broken sweep
 Of finer comprehension, wait and learn

That God hath been "His own interpreter"
 From first to last.  So you will understand
The tribe who best succeed, when men most err,
 To suck through fogs the fatness of the land.

One thing is surer than the autumn tints
 We saw last week in yonder river bend --
That all our poor expression helps and hints,
 However vaguely, to the solemn end

That God is truth; and if our dim ideal
 Fall short of fact -- so short that we must weep --
Why shape specific sorrows, though the real
 Be not the song which erewhile made us sleep?

Remember, truth draws upward.  This to us
 Of steady happiness should be a cause
Beyond the differential calculus
 Or Kant's dull dogmas and mechanic laws.

A man is manliest when he wisely knows
 How vain it is to halt and pule and pine;
Whilst under every mystery haply flows
 The finest issue of a love divine.

Mountain Moss

It lies amongst the sleeping stones,
 Far down the hidden mountain glade;
And past its brink the torrent moans
 For ever in a dreamy shade.

A little patch of dark-green moss,
 Whose softness grew of quiet ways
(With all its deep, delicious floss)
 In slumb'rous suns of summer days.

You know the place?  With pleasant tints
 The broken sunset lights the bowers;
And then the woods are full with hints
 Of distant, dear, voluptuous flowers!

'Tis often now the pilgrim turns
 A faded face towards that seat,
And cools his brow amongst the ferns;
 The runnel dabbling at his feet.

There fierce December seldom goes,
 With scorching step and dust and drouth;
But, soft and low, October blows
 Sweet odours from her dewy mouth.

And Autumn, like a gipsy bold,
 Doth gather near it grapes and grain,
Ere Winter comes, the woodman old,
 To lop the leaves in wind and rain.

O, greenest moss of mountain glen,
 The face of Rose is known to thee;
But we shall never share with men
 A knowledge dear to love and me!

For are they not between us saved,
 The words my darling used to say,
What time the western waters laved
 The forehead of the fainting day?

Cool comfort had we on your breast
 While yet the fervid noon burned mute
O'er barley field and barren crest,
And leagues of gardens flushed with fruit.

Oh, sweet and low, we whispered so,
 And sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
But it was many years ago,
 When each, you know, was loved of each.

The Glen of Arrawatta

A sky of wind!  And while these fitful gusts
Are beating round the windows in the cold,
With sullen sobs of rain, behold I shape
A settler's story of the wild old times:
One told by camp-fires when the station drays
Were housed and hidden, forty years ago;
While swarthy drivers smoked their pipes, and drew,
And crowded round the friendly gleaming flame
That lured the dingo, howling, from his caves,
And brought sharp sudden feet about the brakes.

A tale of Love and Death.  And shall I say
A tale of love ~in~ death -- for all the patient eyes
That gathered darkness, watching for a son
And brother, never dreaming of the fate --
The fearful fate he met alone, unknown,
Within the ruthless Australasian wastes?

For in a far-off, sultry summer, rimmed
With thundercloud and red with forest fires,
All day, by ways uncouth and ledges rude,
The wild men held upon a stranger's trail,
Which ran against the rivers and athwart
The gorges of the deep blue western hills.

And when a cloudy sunset, like the flame
In windy evenings on the Plains of Thirst
Beyond the dead banks of the far Barcoo,
Lay heavy down the topmost peaks, they came,
With pent-in breath and stealthy steps, and crouched,
Like snakes, amongst the grasses, till the night
Had covered face from face, and thrown the gloom
Of many shadows on the front of things.

There, in the shelter of a nameless glen,
Fenced round by cedars and the tangled growths
Of blackwood, stained with brown and shot with grey,
The jaded white man built his fire, and turned
His horse adrift amongst the water-pools
That trickled underneath the yellow leaves
And made a pleasant murmur, like the brooks
Of England through the sweet autumnal noons.

Then, after he had slaked his thirst and used
The forest fare, for which a healthful day
Of mountain life had brought a zest, he took
His axe, and shaped with boughs and wattle-forks
A wurley, fashioned like a bushman's roof:
The door brought out athwart the strenuous flame
The back thatched in against a rising wind.

And while the sturdy hatchet filled the clifts
With sounds unknown, the immemorial haunts
Of echoes sent their lonely dwellers forth,
Who lived a life of wonder:  flying round
And round the glen -- what time the kangaroo
Leapt from his lair and huddled with the bats --
Far scattering down the wildly startled fells.
Then came the doleful owl; and evermore
The bleak morass gave out the bittern's call,
The plover's cry, and many a fitful wail
Of chilly omen, falling on the ear
Like those cold flaws of wind that come and go
An hour before the break of day.

The stranger held from toil, and, settling down,
He drew rough solace from his well-filled pipe,
And smoked into the night, revolving there
The primal questions of a squatter's life;
For in the flats, a short day's journey past
His present camp, his station yards were kept,
With many a lodge and paddock jutting forth
Across the heart of unnamed prairie-lands,
Now loud with bleating and the cattle bells,
And misty with the hut-fire's daily smoke.

Wide spreading flats, and western spurs of hills
That dipped to plains of dim perpetual blue;
Bold summits set against the thunder heaps;
And slopes behacked and crushed by battling kine,
Where now the furious tumult of their feet
Gives back the dust, and up from glen and brake
Evokes fierce clamour, and becomes indeed
A token of the squatter's daring life,
Which, growing inland -- growing year by year --
Doth set us thinking in these latter days,
And makes one ponder of the lonely lands
Beyond the lonely tracks of Burke and Wills,
Where, when the wandering Stuart fixed his camps
In central wastes, afar from any home
Or haunt of man, and in the changeless midst
Of sullen deserts and the footless miles
Of sultry silence, all the ways about
Grew strangely vocal, and a marvellous noise
Became the wonder of the waxing glooms.

Now, after darkness, like a mighty spell
Amongst the hills and dim, dispeopled dells,
Had brought a stillness to the soul of things,
It came to pass that, from the secret depths
Of dripping gorges, many a runnel-voice
Came, mellowed with the silence, and remained
About the caves, a sweet though alien sound;
Now rising ever, like a fervent flute
In moony evenings, when the theme is love;
Now falling, as ye hear the Sunday bells
While hastening fieldward from the gleaming town.

Then fell a softer mood, and memory paused
With faithful love, amidst the sainted shrines
Of youth and passion in the valleys past
Of dear delights which never grow again.
And if the stranger (who had left behind
Far anxious homesteads in a wave-swept isle,
To face a fierce sea-circle day by day,
And hear at night the dark Atlantic's moan)
~Now~ took a hope and planned a swift return,
With wealth and health and with a youth unspent,
To those sweet ones that stayed with want at home,
Say ~who~ shall blame him -- though the years are long,
And life is hard, and waiting makes the heart grow old?

Thus passed the time, until the moon serene
Stood over high dominion like a dream
Of peace:  within the white, transfigured woods;
And o'er the vast dew-dripping wilderness
Of slopes illumined with her silent fires.

Then, far beyond the home of pale red leaves
And silver sluices, and the shining stems
Of runnel blooms, the dreamy wanderer saw,
The wilder for the vision of the moon,
Stark desolations and a waste of plain,
All smit by flame and broken with the storms;
Black ghosts of trees, and sapless trunks that stood
Harsh hollow channels of the fiery noise,
Which ran from bole to bole a year before,
And grew with ruin, and was like, indeed,
The roar of mighty winds with wintering streams
That foam about the limits of the land
And mix their swiftness with the flying seas.

Now, when the man had turned his face about
To take his rest, behold the gem-like eyes
Of ambushed wild things stared from bole and brake
With dumb amaze and faint-recurring glance,
And fear anon that drove them down the brush;
While from his den the dingo, like a scout
In sheltered ways, crept out and cowered near
To sniff the tokens of the stranger's feast
And marvel at the shadows of the flame.

Thereafter grew the wind; and chafing depths
In distant waters sent a troubled cry
Across the slumb'rous forest; and the chill
Of coming rain was on the sleeper's brow,
When, flat as reptiles hutted in the scrub,
A deadly crescent crawled to where he lay --
A band of fierce, fantastic savages
That, starting naked round the faded fire,
With sudden spears and swift terrific yells,
Came bounding wildly at the white man's head,
And faced him, staring like a dream of Hell!

Here let me pass!  I would not stay to tell
Of hopeless struggles under crushing blows;
Of how the surging fiends, with thickening strokes,
Howled round the stranger till they drained his strength;
How Love and Life stood face to face with Hate
And Death; and then how Death was left alone
With Night and Silence in the sobbing rains.

So, after many moons, the searchers found
The body mouldering in the mouldering dell
Amidst the fungi and the bleaching leaves,
And buried it, and raised a stony mound
Which took the mosses.  Then the place became
The haunt of fearful legends and the lair
Of bats and adders.

                     There he lies and sleeps
From year to year -- in soft Australian nights,
And through the furnaced noons, and in the times
Of wind and wet!  Yet never mourner comes
To drop upon that grave the Christian's tear
Or pluck the foul, dank weeds of death away.

But while the English autumn filled her lap
With faded gold, and while the reapers cooled
Their flame-red faces in the clover grass,
They looked for him at home:  and when the frost
Had made a silence in the mourning lanes
And cooped the farmers by December fires,
They looked for him at home:  and through the days
Which brought about the million-coloured Spring,
With moon-like splendours, in the garden plots,
They looked for him at home:  while Summer danced,
A shining singer, through the tasselled corn,
They looked for him at home.  From sun to sun
They waited.  Season after season went,
And Memory wept upon the lonely moors,
And hope grew voiceless, and the watchers passed,
Like shadows, one by one away.

                                And he
Whose fate was hidden under forest leaves
And in the darkness of untrodden dells
Became a marvel.  Often by the hearths
In winter nights, and when the wind was wild
Outside the casements, children heard the tale
Of how he left their native vales behind
(Where he had been a child himself) to shape
New fortunes for his father's fallen house;
Of how he struggled -- how his name became,
By fine devotion and unselfish zeal,
A name of beauty in a selfish land;
And then of how the aching hours went by,
With patient listeners praying for the step
Which never crossed the floor again.  So passed
The tale to children; but the bitter end
Remained a wonder, like the unknown grave,
Alone with God and Silence in the hills.


Child of Light, the bright, the bird-like! wilt thou float and float to me,
Facing winds and sleets and waters, flying glimpses of the sea?
Down amongst the hills of tempest, where the elves of tumult roam --
Blown wet shadows of the summits, dim sonorous sprites of foam?
Here and here my days are wasted, shorn of leaf and stript of fruit:
Vexed because of speech half spoken, maiden with the marvellous lute!
Vexed because of songs half-shapen, smit with fire and mixed with pain:
Part of thee, and part of Sorrow, like a sunset pale with rain.
Child of Light, the bright, the bird-like! wilt thou float and float to me
Facing winds and sleets and waters, flying glimpses of the sea?

All night long, in fluent pauses, falling far, but full, but fine,
Faultless friend of flowers and fountains, do I hear that voice of thine --
All night long, amidst the burden of the lordly storm, that sings
High above the tumbled forelands, fleet and fierce with thunderings!
Then and then, my love, Euterpe, lips of life replete with dreams
Murmur for thy sweet, sharp fragments dying down Lethean streams:
Murmur for thy mouth's marred music, splendid hints that burn and break,
Heavy with excess of beauty:  murmur for thy music's sake.
All night long, in fluent pauses, falling far, but full, but fine,
Faultless friend of flowers and fountains, do I hear that voice of thine.

In the yellow flame of evening sound of thee doth 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 --
Sound that lightens, falls and lightens, flickers, faints and fades away.
I am famished of thy silence -- broken for the tender note
Caught with its surpassing passion -- caught and strangled in thy throat!
We have nought to help thy trouble -- nought for that which lieth mute
On the harpstring and the lutestring and the spirit of the lute.
In the yellow flame of evening sound of thee doth come and go
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow.

Daughter of the dead red summers!  Men that laugh and men that weep
Call thee Music -- shall I follow, choose their name, and turn and sleep?
What thou art, behold, I know not; but thy 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 me, 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 breathing, takes the rapture from thy strain,
Daughter of the dead red summers!  Men that laugh and men that weep
Call thee Music -- shall I follow, choose their name, and turn and sleep?

Ellen Ray

A quiet song for Ellen --
 The patient Ellen Ray,
A dreamer in the nightfall,
 A watcher in the day.
The wedded of the sailor
 Who keeps so far away:
A shadow on his forehead
 For patient Ellen Ray.

When autumn winds were driving
 Across the chafing bay,
He said the words of anger
 That wasted Ellen Ray:
He said the words of anger
 And went his bitter way:
Her dower was the darkness --
 The patient Ellen Ray.

Your comfort is a phantom,
 My patient Ellen Ray;
You house it in the night-time,
 It fronts you in the day;
And when the moon is very low
 And when the lights are grey,
You sit and hug a sorry hope,
 My patient Ellen Ray!

You sit and hug a sorry hope --
 Yet who will dare to say,
The sweetness of October
 Is not for Ellen Ray?
The bearer of a burden
 Must rest at fall of day;
And you have borne a heavy one,
 My patient Ellen Ray.

At Dusk

At dusk, like flowers that shun the day,
 Shy thoughts from dim recesses break,
And plead for words I dare not say
   For your sweet sake.

My early love! my first, my last!
 Mistakes have been that both must rue;
But all the passion of the past
   Survives for you.

The tender message Hope might send
 Sinks fainting at the lips of speech,
For, are you lover -- are you friend,
   That I would reach?

How much to-night I'd give to win
 A banished peace -- an old repose;
But here I sit, and sigh, and sin
   When no one knows.

The stern, the steadfast reticence,
 Which made the dearest phrases halt,
And checked a first and finest sense,
   Was not my fault.

I held my words because there grew
 About my life persistent pride;
And you were loved, who never knew
   What love could hide!

This purpose filled my soul like flame:
 To win you wealth and take the place
Where care is not, nor any shame
   To vex your face.

I said "Till then my heart must keep
 Its secrets safe and unconfest;"
And days and nights unknown to sleep
   The vow attest.

Yet, oh! my sweet, it seems so long
 Since you were near; and fates retard
The sequel of a struggle strong,
   And life is hard --

Too hard, when one is left alone
 To wrestle passion, never free
To turn and say to you, "My own,
   Come home to me!"


Strong pinions bore Safi, the dreamer,
 Through the dazzle and whirl of a race,
And the earth, raying up in confusion,
 Like a sea thundered under his face!

And the earth, raying up in confusion,
 Passed flying and flying afar,
Till it dropped like a moon into silence,
 And waned from a moon to a star.

Was it light, was it shadow he followed,
 That he swept through those desperate tracts,
With his hair beating back on his shoulders
 Like the tops of the wind-hackled flax?

"I come," murmured Safi, the dreamer,
 "I come, but thou fliest before:
But thy way hath the breath of the honey,
 And the scent of the myrrh evermore!"

His eyes were the eyes of a watcher
 Held on by luxurious faith,
And his lips were the lips of a longer
 Amazed with the beauty of Death.

"For ever and ever," he murmured,
 "My love, for the sweetness with thee,
Do I follow thy footsteps," said Safi,
 "Like the wind on a measureless sea."

And, fronting the furthermost spaces,
 He kept through the distances dim,
Till the days, and the years, and the cycles
 Were lost and forgotten by him.

When he came to the silver star-portals,
 The Queen of that wonderful place
Looked forth from her towers resplendent,
 And started, and dreamed in his face.

And one said, "This is Safi the Only,
 Who lived in a planet below,
And housed him apart from his fellows,
 A million of ages ago.

"He erred, if he suffers, to clutch at
 High lights from the wood and the street;
Not caring to see how his brothers
 Were content with the things at their feet."

But she whispered, "Ah, turn to the stranger!
 He looks like a lord of the land;
For his eyes are the eyes of an angel,
 And the thought on his forehead is grand!

"Is there never a peace for the sinner
 Whose sin is in this, that he mars
The light of his worship of Beauty,
 Forgetting the flower for the stars?"

"Behold him, my Sister immortal,
 And doubt that he knoweth his shame,
Who raves in the shadow for sweetness,
 And gloats on the ghost of a flame!

"His sin is his sin, if he suffers,
 Who wilfully straitened the truth;
And his doom is his doom, if he follows
 A lie without sorrow or ruth."

And another from uttermost verges
 Ran out with a terrible voice --
"Let him go -- it is well that he goeth,
 Though he break with the lot of his choice!"

"I come," murmured Safi, the dreamer,
 "I come, but thou fliest before:
But thy way hath the breath of the honey,
 And the scent of the myrrh evermore."

"My Queen," said the first of the Voices,
 "He hunteth a perilous wraith,
Arrayed with voluptuous fancies
 And ringed with tyrannical faith.

"Wound up in the heart of his error
 He must sweep through the silences dire,
Like one in the dark of a desert
 Allured by fallacious fire."

And she faltered, and asked, like a doubter,
 "When he hangs on those Spaces sublime
With the Terror that knoweth no limit,
 And holdeth no record of Time --

"Forgotten of God and the demons --
 Will he keep to his fancy amain?
Can he live for that horrible chaos
 Of flame and perpetual rain?"

But an answer as soft as a prayer
 Fell down from a high, hidden land,
And the words were the words of a language
 Which none but the gods understand.

Daniel Henry Deniehy

Take the harp, but very softly for our brother touch the strings:
Wind and wood shall help to wail him, waves and mournful mountain-springs.
Take the harp, but very softly, for the friend who grew so old
Through the hours we would not hear of -- nights we would not fain behold!
Other voices, sweeter voices, shall lament him year by year,
Though the morning finds us lonely, though we sit and marvel here:
Marvel much while Summer cometh, trammelled with November wheat,
Gold about her forehead gleaming, green and gold about her feet;
Yea, and while the land is dark with plover, gull, and gloomy glede,
Where the cold, swift songs of Winter fill the interlucent reed.

Yet, my harp -- and oh, my fathers! never look for Sorrow's lay,
Making life a mighty darkness in the patient noon of day;
Since he resteth whom we loved so, out beyond these fleeting seas,
Blowing clouds and restless regions paved with old perplexities,
In a land where thunder breaks not, in a place unknown of snow,
Where the rain is mute for ever, where the wild winds never go:
Home of far-forgotten phantoms -- genii of our peaceful prime,
Shining by perpetual waters past the ways of Change and Time:
Haven of the harried spirit, where it folds its wearied wings,
Turns its face and sleeps a sleep with deep forgetfulness of things.

His should be a grave by mountains, in a cool and thick-mossed lea,
With the lone creek falling past it -- falling ever to the sea.
His should be a grave by waters, by a bright and broad lagoon,
Making steadfast splendours hallowed of the quiet, shining moon.
There the elves of many forests -- wandering winds and flying lights --
Born of green, of happy mornings, dear to yellow summer nights,
Full of dole for him that loved them, then might halt and then might go,
Finding fathers of the people to their children speaking low --
Speaking low of one who, failing, suffered all the poet's pain,
Dying with the dead leaves round him -- hopes which never grow again.


Far in the ways of the hyaline wastes -- in the face of the splendid
Six of the sisters -- the star-dowered sisters ineffably bright,
Merope sitteth, the shadow-like wife of a monarch unfriended
Of Ades -- of Orcus, the fierce, the implacable god of the night.
Merope -- fugitive Merope! lost to thyself and thy lover,
Cast, like a dream, out of thought,
  with the moons which have passed into sleep,
What shall avail thee?  Alcyone's tears, or the sight to discover
Of Sisyphus pallid for thee by the blue, bitter lights of the deep --
Pallid, but patient for sorrow?  Oh, thou of the fire and the water,
Half with the flame of the sunset, and kin to the streams of the sea,
Hast thou the songs of old times for desire of thy dark-featured daughter,
Sweet with the lips of thy yearning, O Aethra! with tokens of thee --
Songs that would lull her, like kisses forgotten of silence where speech was
Less than the silence that bound it as passion is bound by a ban;
Seeing we know of thee, Mother, we turning and hearing how each was
Wrapt in the other ere Merope faltered and fell for a man?
Mortal she clave to, forgetting her birthright, forgetting the lordlike
Sons of the many-winged Father, and chiefs of the plume and the star,
Therefore, because that her sin was the grief of the grand and the godlike,
Sitteth thy child than a morning-moon bleaker, the faded, and far.
Ringed with the flower-like Six of the Seven, arrayed and anointed
Ever with beautiful pity, she watches, she weeps, and she wanes,
Blind as a flame on the hills of the Winter in hours appointed
For the life of the foam and the thunder --
  the strength of the imminent rains.
Who hath a portion, Alcyone, like her?  Asterope, fairer
Than sunset on snow, and beloved of all brightness, say what is there left
Sadder and paler than Pleione's daughter, disconsolate bearer
Of trouble that smites like a sword of the gods to the break of the heft?
Demeter, and Dryope, known to the forests, the falls, and the fountains,
Yearly, because of their walking and wailing and wringing of hands,
~Are~ they as one with this woman? -- of Hyrie, wild in the mountains,
Breaking her heart in the frosts and the fires of the uttermost lands?
~These~ have their bitterness.  This, for Persephone, that for Oechalian
Homes, and the lights of a kindness blown out with the stress of her shame:
One for her child, and one for her sin; but thou above all art an alien,
Girt with the halos that vex thee, and wrapt in a grief beyond name.
Yet sayeth Sisyphus -- Sisyphus, stricken and chained of the minioned
Kings of great darkness, and trodden in dust by the feet of the Fates --
"Sweet are the ways of thy watching, and pallid and perished and pinioned,
Moon amongst maidens, I leap for thy love like a god at the gates --
Leap for the dreams of a rose of the heavens, and beat at the portals
Paved with the pain of unsatisfied pleadings for thee and for thine!
But Zeus is immutable Master, and these are the walls the immortals
Build for our sighing, and who may set lips at the lords and repine?
Therefore," he saith, "I am sick for thee, Merope, faint for the tender
Touch of thy mouth, and the eyes like the lights of an altar to me;
But, lo, thou art far; and thy face is a still and a sorrowful splendour!
And the storm is abroad with the rain on the perilous straits of the sea."

After the Hunt

Underneath the windy mountain walls
 Forth we rode, an eager band,
By the surges and the verges and the gorges,
 Till the night was on the land --
 On the hazy, mazy land!
Far away the bounding prey
 Leapt across the ruts and logs,
But we galloped, galloped, galloped on,
 Till we heard the yapping of the dogs --
 The yapping and the yelping of the dogs.

Oh, it was a madly merry day
 We shall not so soon forget,
And the edges and the ledges and the ridges
 Haunt us with their echoes yet --
 Echoes, echoes, echoes yet!
While the moon is on the hill
 Gleaming through the streaming fogs,
 Don't you hear the yapping of the dogs --
 The yapping and the yelping of the dogs?

Rose Lorraine

Sweet water-moons, blown into lights
 Of flying gold on pool and creek,
And many sounds and many sights
 Of younger days are back this week.
I cannot say I sought to face
 Or greatly cared to cross again
The subtle spirit of the place
 Whose life is mixed with Rose Lorraine.

What though her voice rings clearly through
 A nightly dream I gladly keep,
No wish have I to start anew
 Heart fountains that have ceased to leap.
Here, face to face with different days,
 And later things that plead for love,
It would be worse than wrong to raise
 A phantom far too fain to move.

But, Rose Lorraine -- ah! Rose Lorraine,
 I'll whisper now, where no one hears --
If you should chance to meet again
 The man you kissed in soft, dead years,
Just say for once "He suffered much,"
 And add to this "His fate was worst
Because of me, my voice, my touch."
 There is no passion like the first!

If I that breathe your slow sweet name,
 As one breathes low notes on a flute,
Have vext your peace with word of blame,
 The phrase is dead -- the lips are mute.
Yet when I turn towards the wall,
 In stormy nights, in times of rain,
I often wish you could recall
 Your tender speeches, Rose Lorraine.

Because, you see, I thought them true,
 And did not count you self-deceived,
And gave myself in all to you,
 And looked on Love as Life achieved.
Then came the bitter, sudden change,
 The fastened lips, the dumb despair.
The first few weeks were very strange,
 And long, and sad, and hard to bear.

No woman lives with power to burst
 My passion's bonds, and set me free;
For Rose is last where Rose was first,
 And only Rose is fair to me.
The faintest memory of her face,
 The wilful face that hurt me so,
Is followed by a fiery trace
 That Rose Lorraine must never know.

I keep a faded ribbon string
 You used to wear about your throat;
And of this pale, this perished thing,
 I think I know the threads by rote.
God help such love!  To touch your hand,
 To loiter where your feet might fall,
You marvellous girl, my soul would stand
 The worst of hell -- its fires and all!

[End of Leaves from Australian Forests.]

    Songs from the Mountains

To a Mountain

To thee, O father of the stately peaks,
Above me in the loftier light -- to thee,
Imperial brother of those awful hills
Whose feet are set in splendid spheres of flame,
Whose heads are where the gods are, and whose sides
Of strength are belted round with all the zones
Of all the world, I dedicate these songs.
And if, within the compass of this book,
There lives and glows ~one~ verse in which there beats
The pulse of wind and torrent -- if ~one~ line
Is here that like a running water sounds,
And seems an echo from the lands of leaf,
Be sure that line is thine.  Here, in this home,
Away from men and books and all the schools,
I take thee for my Teacher.  In thy voice
Of deathless majesty, I, kneeling, hear
God's grand authentic Gospel!  Year by year,
The great sublime cantata of thy storm
Strikes through my spirit -- fills it with a life
Of startling beauty!  Thou my Bible art,
With holy leaves of rock, and flower, and tree,
And moss, and shining runnel.  From each page
That helps to make thy awful volume, I
Have learned a noble lesson.  In the psalm
Of thy grave winds, and in the liturgy
Of singing waters, lo! my soul has heard
The higher worship; and from thee, indeed,
The broad foundations of a finer hope
Were gathered in; and thou hast lifted up
The blind horizon for a larger faith!
Moreover, walking in exalted woods
Of naked glory, in the green and gold
Of forest sunshine, I have paused like one
With all the life transfigured; and a flood
Of light ineffable has made me feel
As felt the grand old prophets caught away
By flames of inspiration; but the words
Sufficient for the story of my Dream
Are far too splendid for poor human lips.
But thou, to whom I turn with reverent eyes --
O stately Father, whose majestic face
Shines far above the zone of wind and cloud,
Where high dominion of the morning is --
Thou hast the Song complete of which my songs
Are pallid adumbrations!  Certain sounds
Of strong authentic sorrow in this book
May have the sob of upland torrents -- these,
And only these, may touch the great World's heart;
For, lo! they are the issues of that grief
Which makes a man more human, and his life
More like that frank, exalted life of thine.
But in these pages there are other tones
In which thy large, superior voice is not --
Through which no beauty that resembles thine
Has ever shone.  ~These~ are the broken words
Of blind occasions, when the World has come
Between me and my Dream.  No song is here
Of mighty compass; for my singing robes
I've worn in stolen moments.  All my days
Have been the days of a laborious life,
And ever on my struggling soul has burned
The fierce heat of this hurried sphere.  But thou,
To whose fair majesty I dedicate
My book of rhymes -- thou hast the perfect rest
Which makes the heaven of the highest gods!
To thee the noises of this violent time
Are far, faint whispers; and, from age to age,
Within the world and yet apart from it,
Thou standest!  Round thy lordly capes the sea
Rolls on with a superb indifference
For ever; in thy deep, green, gracious glens
The silver fountains sing for ever.  Far
Above dim ghosts of waters in the caves,
The royal robe of morning on thy head
Abides for ever.  Evermore the wind
Is thy august companion; and thy peers
Are cloud, and thunder, and the face sublime
Of blue mid-heaven!  On thy awful brow
Is Deity; and in that voice of thine
There is the great imperial utterance
Of God for ever; and thy feet are set
Where evermore, through all the days and years,
There rolls the grand hymn of the deathless wave.

Mary Rivers

Path beside the silver waters, flashing in October's sun --
Walk, by green and golden margins where the sister streamlets run --
Twenty shining springs have vanished, full of flower, and leaf, and bird,
Since the step of Mary Rivers in your lawny dell was heard!
Twenty white-haired Junes have left us --
  grey with frost and bleak with gale --
Since the hand of her we loved so plucked the blossoms in your dale.
Twenty summers, twenty autumns, from the grand old hills have passed,
With their robes of royal colour, since we saw the darling last.

Morning comes -- the blessed morning! and the slow song of the sea,
Like a psalm from radiant altars, floats across a rose-red lea;
Then the fair, strong noonday blossoms, and the reaper seeks the cool
Valley of the moss and myrtle, and the glimmering water-pool.
Noonday flames and evening follows; and the lordly mountains rest
Heads arrayed with tenfold splendour on the rich heart of the West.
Evening walks with moon and music where the higher life has been;
But the face of Mary Rivers ~there~ will nevermore be seen.

Ah! when autumn dells are dewy, and the wave is very still,
And that grey ghost called the Twilight passes from the distant hill --
Even in the hallowed nightfall, when the fathers sit and dream,
And the splendid rose of heaven sees a sister in the stream --
Often do I watch the waters gleaming in a starry bay,
Thinking of a bygone beauty, and a season far away;
Musing on the grace that left us in a time of singing rain,
On the lady who will never walk amongst these heaths again.

Four there were, but two were taken; and this darling we deplore,
She was sweetest of the circle -- she was dearest of the four!
In the daytime and the dewtime comes the phantom of her face:
None will ever sit where she did -- none will ever fill her place.
With the passing of our Mary, like a sunset out of sight,
Passed away our pure first passion -- all its life and all its light!
All that made the world a dreamland -- all the glory and the glow
Of the fine, fresh, morning feeling vanished twenty years ago.

Girl, whose strange, unearthly beauty haunts us ever in our sleep,
Many griefs have worn our hearts out -- we are now too tired to weep!
Time has tried us, years have changed us; but the sweetness shed by you
Falls upon our spirits daily, like divine, immortal dew.
Shining are our thoughts about you -- of the blossoms past recall,
You are still the rose of lustre -- still the fairest of them all;
In the sleep that brings the garland gathered from the bygone hours,
You are still our Mary Rivers -- still the queen of all the flowers.

Let me ask, where none can hear me -- When you passed into the shine,
And you heard a great love calling, did you know that it was mine?
In your life of light and music, tell me did you ever see,
Shining in a holy silence, what was as a flame in me?
Ah, my darling! no one saw it.  Purer than untrodden dew
Was that first unhappy passion buried in the grave with you.
Bird and leaf will keep the secret -- wind and wood will never tell
Men the thing that I have whispered.  Mary Rivers, fare you well!


A waving of hats and of hands,
 The voices of thousands in one,
A shout from the ring and the stands,
 And a glitter of heads in the sun!
"~They are off -- they are off!~" is the roar,
 As the cracks settle down to the race,
With the "yellow and black" to the fore,
 And the Panic blood forcing the pace.

At the back of the course, and away
 Where the running-ground home again wheels,
Grubb travels in front on the bay,
 With a feather-weight hard at his heels.
But Yeomans, you see, is about,
 And the wily New Zealander waits,
Though the high-blooded flyer is out,
 Whose rider and colours are Tait's.

Look!  Ashworth comes on with a run
 To the head of the Levity colt;
And the fleet -- the magnificent son
 Of Panic is shooting his bolt.
Hurrah for the Weatherbit strain!
 A Fireworks is first in the straight;
And "~A Kelpie will win it again!~"
 Is the roar from the ring to the gate.

The leader must have it -- but no!
 For see, full of running, behind
A beautiful, wonderful foe
 With the speed of the thunder and wind!
A flashing of whips, and a cry,
 And Ashworth sits down on his horse,
With Kingsborough's head at his thigh
 And the "field" scattered over the course!

In a clamour of calls and acclaim
 The pair race away from the ruck:
The horse to the last of it game --
 A marvel of muscle and pluck!
But the foot of the Sappho is there,
 And Kingston's invincible strength;
And the numbers go up in the air --
 The colt is the first by a length!

The first, and the favourite too!
 The terror that came from his stall,
With the spirit of fire and of dew,
 To show the road home to them all;
From the back of the field to the straight
 He has come, as is ever his wont,
And carried his welter-like weight,
 Like a tradesman, right through to the front.

Nor wonder at cheering a wit,
 For this is the popular horse,
That never was beaten when "fit"
 By any four hoofs on the course;
To starter for Leger or Cup,
 Has he ever shown feather of fear
When saddle and rider were up
 And the case to be argued was clear?

No! rather the questionless pluck
 Of the blood unaccustomed to yield,
Preferred to spread-eagle the ruck,
 And make a long tail of the "field".
Bear witness, ye lovers of sport,
 To races of which he can boast,
When flyer by flyer was caught,
 And beaten by lengths on the post!

Lo! this is the beautiful bay --
 Of many, the marvellous one
Who showed us last season the way
 That a Leger should always be won.
There was something to look at and learn,
 Ye shrewd irreproachable "touts",
When the Panic colt tired at the turn,
 And the thing was all over -- but shouts!

Aye, that was the spin, when the twain
 Came locked by the bend of the course,
The Zealander pulling his rein,
 And the veteran hard on his horse!
When Ashworth was "riding" 'twas late
 For his friends to applaud on the stands,
And the Sappho colt entered the straight
 With the race of the year in his hands.

Just look at his withers, his thighs!
 And the way that he carries his head!
Has Richmond more wonderful eyes,
 Or Melbourne that spring in his tread?
The grand, the intelligent glance
 From a spirit that fathoms and feels,
Makes the heart of a horse-lover dance
 Till the warm-blooded life in him reels.

What care have I ever to know
 His owner by sight or by name?
The horse that I glory in so
 Is still the magnificent same.
I own I am proud of the pluck
 Of the sportsman that never was bought;
But the nag that spread-eagled the ruck
 Is bound to be first in my thought.

For who that has masculine flame,
 Or who that is thorough at all,
Can help feeling joy in the fame
 Of this king of the kings of the stall?
What odds if assumption has sealed
 His soulless hereafter abode,
So long as he shows to his "field"
 The gleam of his hoofs, and the road?

Beyond Kerguelen

Down in the South, by the waste without sail on it,
 Far from the zone of the blossom and tree,
Lieth, with winter and whirlwind and wail on it,
 Ghost of a land by the ghost of a sea.
Weird is the mist from the summit to base of it;
 Sun of its heaven is wizened and grey;
Phantom of life is the light on the face of it --
 Never is night on it, never is day!
Here is the shore without flower or bird on it;
 Here is no litany sweet of the springs --
Only the haughty, harsh thunder is heard on it,
 Only the storm, with the roar in its wings!

Shadow of moon is the moon in the sky of it --
 Wan as the face of a wizard, and far!
Never there shines from the firmament high of it
 Grace of the planet or glory of star.
All the year round, in the place of white days on it --
 All the year round where there never is night --
Lies a great sinister, bitter, blind haze on it:
 Growth that is neither of darkness nor light!
Wild is the cry of the sea in the caves by it --
 Sea that is smitten by spears of the snow;
Desolate songs are the songs of the waves by it --
 Down in the south, where the ships never go.

Storm from the Pole is the singer that sings to it
 Hymns of the land at the planet's grey verge.
Thunder discloses dark, wonderful things to it --
 Thunder and rain, and the dolorous surge.
Hills with no hope of a wing or a leaf on them,
 Scarred with the chronicles written by flame,
Stare, through the gloom of inscrutable grief on them,
 Down on the horns of the gulfs without name.
Cliffs, with the records of fierce flying fires on them --
 Loom over perilous pits of eclipse;
Alps, with anathema stamped in the spires on them --
 Out by the wave with a curse on its lips.

Never is sign of soft, beautiful green on it --
 Never the colour, the glory of rose!
Neither the fountain nor river is seen on it,
 Naked its crags are, and barren its snows!
Blue as the face of the drowned is the shore of it --
 Shore, with the capes of indefinite cave.
Strange is the voice of its wind, and the roar of it
 Startles the mountain and hushes the wave.
Out to the south and away to the north of it,
 Spectral and sad are the spaces untold!
All the year round a great cry goeth forth of it --
 Sob of this leper of lands in the cold.

No man hath stood, all its bleak, bitter years on it --
 Fall of a foot on its wastes is unknown:
Only the sound of the hurricane's spears on it
 Breaks with the shout from the uttermost zone.
Blind are its bays with the shadow of bale on them;
 Storms of the nadir their rocks have uphurled;
Earthquake hath registered deeply its tale on them --
 Tale of distress from the dawn of the world!
~There~ are the gaps, with the surges that seethe in them --
 Gaps in whose jaws is a menace that glares!
~There~ the wan reefs, with the merciless teeth in them,
 Gleam on a chaos that startles and scares!

Back in the dawn of this beautiful sphere, on it --
 Land of the dolorous, desolate face --
Beamed the blue day; and the bountiful year on it
 Fostered the leaf and the blossom of grace.
Grand were the lights of its midsummer noon on it --
 Mornings of majesty shone on its seas;
Glitter of star and the glory of moon on it
 Fell, in the march of the musical breeze.
Valleys and hills, with the whisper of wing in them,
 Dells of the daffodil -- spaces impearled,
Flowered and flashed with the splendour of Spring in them --
 Back in the morn of this wonderful world.

Soft were the words that the thunder then said to it --
 Said to this lustre of emerald plain;
Sun brought the yellow, the green, and the red to it --
 Sweet were the songs of its silvery rain.
Voices of water and wind in the bays of it
 Lingered, and lulled like the psalm of a dream.
Fair were the nights and effulgent the days of it --
 Moon was in shadow and shade in the beam.
Summer's chief throne was the marvellous coast of it,
 Home of the Spring was its luminous lea:
Garden of glitter!  But only the ghost of it
 Moans in the south by the ghost of a sea.

Black Lizzie

The gloved and jewelled bards who sing
 Of Pippa, Maud, and Dorothea,
Have hardly done the handsome thing
 For you, my inky Cytherea.

Flower of a land whose sunny skies
 Are like the dome of Dante's clime,
They ~might~ have praised your lips, your eyes,
 And, eke, your ankles in their rhyme!

But let them pass!  To right your wrong,
 Aspasia of the ardent South,
Your poet means to sing a song
 With some prolixity of mouth.

I'll even sketch you as you are
 In Herrick's style of carelessness,
Not overstocked with things that bar
 An ample view -- to wit, with dress.

You have your blanket, it is true;
 But then, if I am right at all,
What best would suit a dame like you
 Was worn by Eve before the Fall.

Indeed, the "fashion" is a thing
 That never cramped your cornless toes:
Your single jewel is a ring
 Slung in your penetrated nose.

I can't detect the flowing lines
 Of Grecian features in your face,
Nor are there patent any signs
 That link you with the Roman race.

In short, I do not think your mould
 Resembles, with its knobs of bone,
The fair Hellenic shapes of old
 Whose perfect forms survive in stone.

Still, if the charm called Beauty lies
 In ampleness of ear and lip,
And nostrils of exceeding size,
 You are a gem, my ladyship!

Here, squatting by the doubtful flame
 Of three poor sticks, without a roof
Above your head, impassive dame
 You live on -- somewhat hunger-proof.

The current scandals of the day
 Don't trouble you -- you seem to take
Things in the coolest sort of way --
 And ~wisest~ -- for you have no ache.

You smoke a pipe -- of course, you do!
 About an inch in length or less,
Which, from a sexual point of view,
 Mars somehow your attractiveness.

But, rather than resign the weed,
 You'd shock us, whites, by chewing it;
For etiquette is not indeed
 A thing that bothers you a bit.

Your people -- take them as a whole --
 Are careless on the score of grace;
And hence you needn't comb your poll
 Or decorate your unctuous face.

Still, seeing that a little soap
 Would soften an excess of tint,
You'll pardon my advance, I hope,
 In giving you a gentle hint.

You have your lovers -- dusky beaux
 Not made of the poetic stuff
That sports an Apollonian nose,
 And wears a sleek Byronic cuff.

But rather of a rougher clay
 Unmixed with overmuch romance,
Far better at the wildwood fray
 Than spinning in a ballroom dance.

~These~ scarcely are the sonneteers
 That sing their loves in faultless clothes:
~Your~ friends have more decided ears
 And more capaciousness of nose.

No doubt they suit you best -- although
 They woo you roughly it is said:
Their way of courtship is a blow
 Struck with a nullah on the head.

It doesn't hurt you much -- the thing
 Is hardly novel to your life;
And, ~sans~ the feast and marriage ring,
 You make a good impromptu wife.

This hasty sort of wedding might,
 In other cases, bring distress;
But then, your draper's bills are light --
 You're frugal in regard to dress.

You have no passion for the play,
 Or park, or other showy scenes;
And, hence, you have no scores to pay,
 And live within your husband's means.

Of course, his income isn't large, --
 And not too certain -- still you thrive
By steering well inside the marge,
 And keep your little ones alive.

In short, in some respects you set
 A fine example; and a few
Of those white matrons I have met
 Would show some sense by copying you.

Here let us part!  I will not say,
 O lady free from scents and starch,
That you are like, in any way,
 The authoress of "~Middlemarch~".

One cannot match her perfect phrase
 With commonplaces from your lip;
And yet there are some sexual traits
 That show your dim relationship.

Indeed, in spite of all the mists
 That grow from social codes, I see
The liberal likeness which exists
 Throughout our whole humanity.

And though I've laughed at your expense,
 O Dryad of the dusky race,
No man who has a heart and sense
 Would bring displeasure to your face.


"Daughter," said the ancient father, pausing by the evening sea,
"Turn thy face towards the sunset -- turn thy face and kneel with me!
Prayer and praise and holy fasting, lips of love and life of light,
These and these have made thee perfect -- shining saint with seraph's sight!
Look towards that flaming crescent -- look beyond that glowing space --
Tell me, sister of the angels, what is beaming in thy face?"
And the daughter, who had fasted, who had spent her days in prayer,
Till the glory of the Saviour touched her head and rested there,
Turned her eyes towards the sea-line -- saw beyond the fiery crest,
Floating over waves of jasper, far Hy-Brasil in the west.

All the calmness and the colour -- all the splendour and repose,
Flowing where the sunset flowered, like a silver-hearted rose!
There indeed was singing Eden, where the great gold river runs
Past the porch and gates of crystal, ringed by strong and shining ones!
There indeed was God's own garden, sailing down the sapphire sea --
Lawny dells and slopes of summer, dazzling stream and radiant tree!
Out against the hushed horizon -- out beneath the reverent day,
Flamed the Wonder on the waters -- flamed and flashed and passed away.
And the maiden who had seen it felt a hand within her own,
And an angel that we know not led her to the lands unknown.

Never since hath eye beheld it -- never since hath mortal, dazed
By its strange, unearthly splendour, on the floating Eden gazed!
Only once since Eve went weeping through a throng of glittering wings,
Hath the holy seen Hy-Brasil where the great gold river sings!
Only once by quiet waters, under still, resplendent skies,
Did the sister of the seraphs kneel in sight of Paradise!
She, the pure, the perfect woman, sanctified by patient prayer,
Had the eyes of saints of Heaven, all their glory in her hair:
Therefore God the Father whispered to a radiant spirit near --
"Show Our daughter fair Hy-Brasil -- show her this, and lead her here."

But beyond the halls of sunset, but within the wondrous west,
On the rose-red seas of evening, sails the Garden of the Blest.
Still the gates of glassy beauty, still the walls of glowing light,
Shine on waves that no man knows of, out of sound and out of sight.
Yet the slopes and lawns of lustre, yet the dells of sparkling streams,
Dip to tranquil shores of jasper, where the watching angel beams.
But, behold, our eyes are human, and our way is paved with pain,
We can never find Hy-Brasil, never see its hills again;
Never look on bays of crystal, never bend the reverent knee
In the sight of Eden floating -- floating on the sapphire sea!

Jim the Splitter

The bard who is singing of Wollombi Jim
Is hardly just now in the requisite trim
    To sit on his Pegasus fairly;
Besides, he is bluntly informed by the Muse
That Jim is a subject no singer should choose;
    For Jim is poetical rarely.

But being full up of the myths that are Greek --
Of the classic, and noble, and nude, and antique,
    Which means not a rag but the pelt on;
This poet intends to give Daphne the slip,
For the sake of a hero in moleskin and kip,
    With a jumper and snake-buckle belt on.

No party is Jim of the Pericles type --
He is modern right up from the toe to the pipe;
    And being no reader or roamer,
He hasn't Euripides much in the head;
And let it be carefully, tenderly said,
    He never has analysed Homer.

He can roar out a song of the twopenny kind;
But, knowing the beggar so well, I'm inclined
    To believe that a "par" about Kelly,
The rascal who skulked under shadow of curse,
Is more in his line than the happiest verse
    On the glittering pages of Shelley.

You mustn't, however, adjudge him in haste,
Because a red robber is more to his taste
    Than Ruskin, Rossetti, or Dante!
You see, he was bred in a bangalow wood,
And bangalow pith was the principal food
    His mother served out in her shanty.

His knowledge is this -- he can tell in the dark
What timber will split by the feel of the bark;
    And rough as his manner of speech is,
His wits to the fore he can readily bring
In passing off ash as the genuine thing
    When scarce in the forest the beech is.

In girthing a tree that he sells in the round,
He assumes, as a rule, that the body is sound,
    And measures, forgetting to bark it!
He may be a ninny, but still the old dog
Can plug to perfection the pipe of a log
    And palm it away on the market.

He splits a fair shingle, but holds to the rule
Of his father's, and, haply, his grandfather's school;
    Which means that he never has blundered,
When tying his shingles, by slinging in more
Than the recognized number of ninety and four
    To the bundle he sells for a hundred!

When asked by the market for ironbark red,
It always occurs to the Wollombi head
    To do a "mahogany" swindle.
In forests where never the ironbark grew,
When Jim is at work, it would flabbergast you
    To see how the ironbarks dwindle.

He can stick to the saddle, can Wollombi Jim,
And when a buckjumper dispenses with him,
    The leather goes off with the rider.
And, as to a team, over gully and hill
He can travel with twelve on the breadth of a quill
    And boss the unlucky offsider.

He shines at his best at the tiller of saw,
On the top of the pit, where his whisper is law
    To the gentleman working below him.
When the pair of them pause in a circle of dust,
Like a monarch he poses -- exalted, august --
    There's nothing this planet can show him!

For a man is a ~man~ who can sharpen and set,
And ~he~ is the only thing masculine yet
    According to sawyer and splitter --
Or rather according to Wollombi Jim;
And nothing will tempt me to differ from him,
    For Jim is a bit of a hitter.

But, being full up, we'll allow him to rip,
Along with his lingo, his saw, and his whip --
    He isn't the classical notion.
And, after a night in his humpy, you see,
A person of orthodox habits would be
    Refreshed by a dip in the ocean.

To tot him right up from the heel to the head,
He isn't the Grecian of whom we have read --
    His face is a trifle too shady.
The nymph in green valleys of Thessaly dim
Would never "jack up" her old lover for him,
    For she has the tastes of a lady.

So much for our hero!  A statuesque foot
Would suffer by wearing that heavy-nailed boot --
    Its owner is hardly Achilles.
However, he's happy!  He cuts a great "fig"
In the land where a coat is no part of the rig --
    In the country of damper and billies.


(Written in the shadow of 1872.)

    Ah, to be by Mooni now,
Where the great dark hills of wonder,
Scarred with storm and cleft asunder
By the strong sword of the thunder,
    Make a night on morning's brow!
Just to stand where Nature's face is
Flushed with power in forest places --
Where of God authentic trace is --
    Ah, to be by Mooni now!

    Just to be by Mooni's springs!
There to stand, the shining sharer
Of that larger life, and rarer
Beauty caught from beauty fairer
    Than the human face of things!
Soul of mine from sin abhorrent
Fain would hide by flashing current,
Like a sister of the torrent,
    Far away by Mooni's springs.

    He that is by Mooni now
Sees the water-sapphires gleaming
Where the River Spirit, dreaming,
Sleeps by fall and fountain streaming
    Under lute of leaf and bough --
Hears, where stamp of storm with stress is,
Psalms from unseen wildernesses
Deep amongst far hill-recesses --
    He that is by Mooni now.

    Yea, for him by Mooni's marge
Sings the yellow-haired September,
With the face the gods remember
When the ridge is burnt to ember,
    And the dumb sea chains the barge!
Where the mount like molten brass is,
Down beneath fern-feathered passes,
Noonday dew in cool green grasses
    Gleams on him by Mooni's marge.

    Who that dwells by Mooni yet,
Feels, in flowerful forest arches,
Smiting wings and breath that parches
Where strong Summer's path of march is,
    And the suns in thunder set?
Housed beneath the gracious kirtle
Of the shadowy water myrtle,
Winds may hiss with heat, and hurtle --
    He is safe by Mooni yet!

    Days there were when he who sings
(Dumb so long through passion's losses)
Stood where Mooni's water crosses
Shining tracts of green-haired mosses,
    Like a soul with radiant wings;
Then the psalm the wind rehearses --
Then the song the stream disperses
Lent a beauty to his verses,
    Who to-night of Mooni sings.

    Ah, the theme -- the sad, grey theme!
Certain days are not above me,
Certain hearts have ceased to love me,
Certain fancies fail to move me
    Like the affluent morning dream.
Head whereon the white is stealing,
Heart whose hurts are past all healing,
Where is now the first pure feeling?
    Ah, the theme -- the sad, grey theme!

    Sin and shame have left their trace!
He who mocks the mighty, gracious
Love of Christ, with eyes audacious,
Hunting after fires fallacious,
    Wears the issue in his face.
Soul that flouted gift and Giver,
Like the broken Persian river,
Thou hast lost thy strength for ever!
    Sin and shame have left their trace.

    In the years that used to be,
When the large, supreme occasion
Brought the life of inspiration,
Like a god's transfiguration
    Was the shining change in me.
Then, where Mooni's glory glances,
Clear, diviner countenances
Beamed on me like blessed chances,
    In the years that used to be.

    Ah, the beauty of old ways!
Then the man who so resembled
Lords of light unstained, unhumbled,
Touched the skirts of Christ, nor trembled
    At the grand benignant gaze!
Now he shrinks before the splendid
Face of Deity offended,
All the loveliness is ended!
    All the beauty of old ways!

    Still to be by Mooni cool --
Where the water-blossoms glister,
And, by gleaming vale and vista,
Sits the English April's sister
    Soft and sweet and wonderful.
Just to rest beyond the burning
Outer world -- its sneers and spurning --
Ah! my heart -- my heart is yearning
    Still to be by Mooni cool!

    Now, by Mooni's fair hill heads,
Lo, the gold green lights are glowing,
Where, because no wind is blowing,
Fancy hears the flowers growing
    In the herby watersheds!
Faint it is -- the sound of thunder
From the torrents far thereunder,
Where the meeting mountains ponder --
    Now, by Mooni's fair hill heads.

    Just to be where Mooni is,
Even where the fierce fall races
Down august, unfathomed places,
Where of sun or moon no trace is,
    And the streams of shadows hiss!
Have I not an ample reason
So to long for -- sick of treason --
Something of the grand old season,
    Just to be where Mooni is?


Gaul whose keel in far, dim ages ploughed wan widths of polar sea --
Gray old sailor of Massilia, who hath woven wreath for thee?
Who amongst the world's high singers ever breathed the tale sublime
Of the man who coasted England in the misty dawn of time?
Leaves of laurel, lights of music -- these and these have never shed
Glory on the name unheard of, lustre on the vanished head.
Lords of song, and these are many, never yet have raised the lay
For the white, wind-beaten seaman of a wild, forgotten day.
Harp of shining son of Godhead still is as a voice august;
But the man who first saw Britain sleeps beneath unnoticed dust.

From the fair, calm bays Hellenic, from the crescents and the bends,
Round the wall of crystal Athens, glowing in gold evening-ends,
Sailed abroad the grand, strong father, with his face towards the snow
Of the awful northern mountains, twenty centuries ago.
On the seas that none had heard of, by the shores where none had furled
Wing of canvas, passed this elder to the limits of the world.
Lurid limits, loud with thunder and the roar of flaming cone,
Ghastly tracts of ice and whirlwind lying in a dim, blind zone,
Bitter belts of naked region, girt about by cliffs of fear,
Where the Spirit of the Darkness dwells in heaven half the year.

Yea, against the wild, weird Thule, steered the stranger through the gates
Opened by a fire eternal, into tempest-trampled straits --
Thule, lying like a nightmare on the borders of the Pole:
Neither land, nor air, nor water, but a mixture of the whole!
Dumb, dead chaos, grey as spectre, now a mist and now a cloud,
Where the winds cry out for ever, and the wave is always loud.
Here the lord of many waters, in the great exalted years,
Saw the sight that no man knows of -- heard the sound that no man hears --
Felt that God was in the Shadow ere he turned his prow and sped
To the sweet green fields of England with the sunshine overhead.

In the day when pallid Persia fled before the Thracian steel,
By the land that now is London passed the strange Hellenic keel.
Up the bends of quiet river, hard by banks of grove and flower,
Sailed the father through a silence in the old majestic hour.
Not a sound of fin or feather, not a note of wave or breeze,
Vext the face of sleeping streamlets, broke the rest of stirless trees.
Not a foot was in the forest, not a voice was in the wood,
When the elder from Massilia over English waters stood.
All was new, and hushed, and holy -- all was pure untrodden space,
When the lord of many oceans turned to it a reverent face.

Man who knew resplendent Athens, set and framed in silver sea,
Did not dream a dream of England -- England of the years to be!
Friend of fathers like to Plato -- bards august and hallowed seers --
Did not see that tenfold glory, Britain of the future years!
Spirit filled with Grecian music, songs that charm the dark away,
On that large, supreme occasion, did not note diviner lay --
Did not hear the voice of Shakespeare -- all the mighty life was still,
Down the slopes that dipped to seaward, on the shoulders of the hill;
But the gold and green were brighter than the bloom of Thracian springs,
And a strange, surpassing beauty shone upon the face of things.

In a grave that no man thinks of -- back from far-forgotten bays --
Sleeps the grey, wind-beaten sailor of the old exalted days.
He that coasted Wales and Dover, he that first saw Sussex plains,
Passed away with head unlaurelled in the wild Thessalian rains.
In a space by hand untended, by a fen of vapours blind,
Lies the king of many waters -- out of sight and out of mind!
No one brings the yearly blossom -- no one culls the flower of grace,
For the shell of mighty father buried in that lonely place;
But the winds are low and holy, and the songs of sweetness flow,
Where he fell asleep for ever, twenty centuries ago.

Bill the Bullock-Driver

The leaders of millions, the lords of the lands,
 Who sway the wide world with their will
And shake the great globe with the strength of their hands,
 Flash past us -- unnoticed by Bill.

The elders of science who measure the spheres
 And weigh the vast bulk of the sun --
Who see the grand lights beyond aeons of years,
 Are less than a bullock to ~one~.

The singers that sweeten all time with their song --
 Pure voices that make us forget
Humanity's drama of marvellous wrong --
 To Bill are as mysteries yet.

By thunders of battle and nations uphurled,
 Bill's sympathies never were stirred:
The helmsmen who stand at the wheel of the world
 By him are unknown and unheard.

What trouble has Bill for the ruin of lands,
 Or the quarrels of temple and throne,
So long as the whip that he holds in his hands
 And the team that he drives are his own?

As straight and as sound as a slab without crack,
 Our Bill is a king in his way;
Though he camps by the side of a shingle track,
 And sleeps on the bed of his dray.

A whip-lash to him is as dear as a rose
 Would be to a delicate maid;
He carries his darlings wherever he goes,
 In a pocket-book tattered and frayed.

The joy of a bard when he happens to write
 A song like the song of his dream
Is nothing at all to our hero's delight
 In the pluck and the strength of his team.

For the kings of the earth, for the faces august
 Of princes, the millions may shout;
To Bill, as he lumbers along in the dust,
 A bullock's the grandest thing out.

His four-footed friends are the friends of his choice --
 No lover is Bill of your dames;
But the cattle that turn at the sound of his voice
 Have the sweetest of features and names.

A father's chief joy is a favourite son,
 When he reaches some eminent goal,
But the pride of Bill's heart is the hairy-legged one
 That pulls with a will at the pole.

His dray is no living, responsible thing,
 But he gives it the gender of life;
And, seeing his fancy is free in the wing,
 It suits him as well as a wife.

He thrives like an Arab.  Between the two wheels
 Is his bedroom, where, lying up-curled,
He thinks for himself, like a sultan, and feels
 That his home is the best in the world.

For, even though cattle, like subjects, will break
 At times from the yoke and the band,
Bill knows how to act when his rule is at stake,
 And is therefore a lord of the land.

Of course he must dream; but be sure that his dreams,
 If happy, must compass, alas!
Fat bullocks at feed by improbable streams,
 Knee-deep in improbable grass.

No poet is Bill, for the visions of night
 To him are as visions of day;
And the pipe that in sleep he endeavours to light
 Is the pipe that he smokes on the dray.

To the mighty, magnificent temples of God,
 In the hearts of the dominant hills,
Bill's eyes are as blind as the fire-blackened clod
 That burns far away from the rills.

Through beautiful, bountiful forests that screen
 A marvel of blossoms from heat --
Whose lights are the mellow and golden and green --
 Bill walks with irreverent feet.

The manifold splendours of mountain and wood
 By Bill like nonentities slip;
He loves the black myrtle because it is good
 As a handle to lash to his whip.

And thus through the world, with a swing in his tread,
 Our hero self-satisfied goes;
With his cabbage-tree hat on the back of his head,
 And the string of it under his nose.

Poor bullocky Bill!  In the circles select
 Of the scholars he hasn't a place;
But he walks like a ~man~, with his forehead erect,
 And he looks at God's day in the face.

For, rough as he seems, he would shudder to wrong
 A dog with the loss of a hair;
And the angels of shine and superlative song
 See his heart and the deity there.

Few know him, indeed; but the beauty that glows
 In the forest is loveliness still;
And Providence helping the life of the rose
 Is a Friend and a Father to Bill.


Years fifty, and seven to boot, have smitten the children of men
Since sound of a voice or a foot came out of the head of that glen.
The brand of black devil is there -- an evil wind moaneth around --
There is doom, there is death in the air:  a curse groweth up from the ground!
No noise of the axe or the saw in that hollow unholy is heard,
No fall of the hoof or the paw, no whirr of the wing of the bird;
But a grey mother down by the sea, as wan as the foam on the strait,
Has counted the beads on her knee these forty-nine winters and eight.

Whenever an elder is asked -- a white-headed man of the woods --
Of the terrible mystery masked where the dark everlastingly broods,
Be sure he will turn to the bay, with his back to the glen in the range,
And glide like a phantom away, with a countenance pallid with change.
From the line of dead timber that lies supine at the foot of the glade,
The fierce-featured eaglehawk flies -- afraid as a dove is afraid;
But back in that wilderness dread are a fall and the forks of a ford --
~Ah! pray and uncover your head, and lean like a child on the Lord.~

A sinister fog at the wane -- at the change of the moon cometh forth
Like an ominous ghost in the train of a bitter, black storm of the north!
At the head of the gully unknown it hangs like a spirit of bale.
And the noise of a shriek and a groan strikes up in the gusts of the gale.
In the throat of a feculent pit is the beard of a bloody-red sedge;
And a foam like the foam of a fit sweats out of the lips of the ledge.
But down in the water of death, in the livid, dead pool at the base --
~Bow low, with inaudible breath, beseech with the hands to the face!~

A furlong of fetid, black fen, with gelid, green patches of pond,
Lies dumb by the horns of the glen -- at the gates of the horror beyond;
And those who have looked on it tell of the terrible growths that are there --
The flowerage fostered by hell, the blossoms that startle and scare.
If ever a wandering bird should light on Gehennas like this
Be sure that a cry will be heard, and the sound of the flat adder's hiss.
But hard by the jaws of the bend is a ghastly Thing matted with moss --
~Ah, Lord! be a father, a friend, for the sake of the Christ of the Cross.~

Black Tom, with the sinews of five -- that never a hangman could hang --
In the days of the shackle and gyve, broke loose from the guards of the gang.
Thereafter, for seasons a score, this devil prowled under the ban;
A mate of red talon and paw, a wolf in the shape of a man.
But, ringed by ineffable fire, in a thunder and wind of the north,
The sword of Omnipotent ire -- the bolt of high Heaven went forth!
But, wan as the sorrowful foam, a grey mother waits by the sea
For the boys that have never come home these fifty-four winters and three.

From the folds of the forested hills there are ravelled and roundabout tracks,
Because of the terror that fills the strong-handed men of the axe!
Of the workers away in the range there is none that will wait for the night,
When the storm-stricken moon is in change and the sinister fog is in sight.
And later and deep in the dark, when the bitter wind whistles about,
There is never a howl or a bark from the dog in the kennel without,
But the white fathers fasten the door, and often and often they start,
At a sound like a foot on the floor and a touch like a hand on the heart.

When Underneath the Brown Dead Grass

When underneath the brown dead grass
 My weary bones are laid,
I hope I shall not see the glass
 At ninety in the shade.
I trust indeed that, when I lie
 Beneath the churchyard pine,
I shall not hear that startling cry
 "`Thermom' is ninety-nine!"

If one should whisper through my sleep
 "Come up and be alive,"
I'd answer -- ~No, unless you'll keep
 The glass at sixty-five.~
I ~might~ be willing if allowed
 To wear old Adam's rig,
And mix amongst the city crowd
 Like Polynesian "nig".

Far better in the sod to lie,
 With pasturing pig above,
Than broil beneath a copper sky --
 In sight of all I love!
Far better to be turned to grass
 To feed the poley cow,
Than be the half boiled bream, alas,
 That I am really now!

For cow and pig I would not hear,
 And hoof I would not see;
But if these items did appear
 They wouldn't trouble me.
For ah! the pelt of mortal man
 Weighs less than half a ton,
And any sight is better than
 A sultry southern sun.

The Voice in the Wild Oak

(Written in the shadow of 1872.)

Twelve years ago, when I could face
 High heaven's dome with different eyes --
In days full-flowered with hours of grace,
 And nights not sad with sighs --
I wrote a song in which I strove
 To shadow forth thy strain of woe,
Dark widowed sister of the grove! --
 Twelve wasted years ago.

But youth was then too young to find
 Those high authentic syllables,
Whose voice is like the wintering wind
 By sunless mountain fells;
Nor had I sinned and suffered then
 To that superlative degree
That I would rather seek, than men,
 Wild fellowship with thee!

But he who hears this autumn day
 Thy more than deep autumnal rhyme,
Is one whose hair was shot with grey
 By Grief instead of Time.
He has no need, like many a bard,
 To sing imaginary pain,
Because he bears, and finds it hard,
 The punishment of Cain.

No more he sees the affluence
 Which makes the heart of Nature glad;
For he has lost the fine, first sense
 Of Beauty that he had.
The old delight God's happy breeze
 Was wont to give, to Grief has grown;
And therefore, Niobe of trees,
 His song is like thine own!

But I, who am that perished soul,
 Have wasted so these powers of mine,
That I can never write that whole,
 Pure, perfect speech of thine.
Some lord of words august, supreme,
 The grave, grand melody demands;
The dark translation of thy theme
 I leave to other hands.

Yet here, where plovers nightly call
 Across dim, melancholy leas --
Where comes by whistling fen and fall
 The moan of far-off seas --
A grey, old Fancy often sits
 Beneath thy shade with tired wings,
And fills thy strong, strange rhyme by fits
 With awful utterings.

Then times there are when all the words
 Are like the sentences of one
Shut in by Fate from wind and birds
 And light of stars and sun,
No dazzling dryad, but a dark
 Dream-haunted spirit doomed to be
Imprisoned, crampt in bands of bark,
 For all eternity.

Yea, like the speech of one aghast
 At Immortality in chains,
What time the lordly storm rides past
 With flames and arrowy rains:
Some wan Tithonus of the wood,
 White with immeasurable years --
An awful ghost in solitude
 With moaning moors and meres.

And when high thunder smites the hill
 And hunts the wild dog to his den,
Thy cries, like maledictions, shrill
 And shriek from glen to glen,
As if a frightful memory whipped
 Thy soul for some infernal crime
That left it blasted, blind, and stript --
 A dread to Death and Time!

But when the fair-haired August dies,
 And flowers wax strong and beautiful,
Thy songs are stately harmonies
 By wood-lights green and cool --
Most like the voice of one who shows
 Through sufferings fierce, in fine relief,
A noble patience and repose --
 A dignity in grief.

But, ah! conceptions fade away,
 And still the life that lives in thee --
The soul of thy majestic lay --
 Remains a mystery!
And he must speak the speech divine --
 The language of the high-throned lords --
Who'd give that grand old theme of thine
 Its sense in faultless words.

By hollow lands and sea-tracts harsh,
 With ruin of the fourfold gale,
Where sighs the sedge and sobs the marsh,
 Still wail thy lonely wail;
And, year by year, one step will break
 The sleep of far hill-folded streams,
And seek, if only for thy sake
 Thy home of many dreams.

Billy Vickers

No song is this of leaf and bird,
 And gracious waters flowing;
I'm sick at heart, for I have heard
 Big Billy Vickers "blowing".

He'd never take a leading place
 In chambers legislative:
This booby with the vacant face --
 This hoddy-doddy native!

Indeed, I'm forced to say aside,
 To you, O reader, solely,
He only wants the horns and hide
 To be a bullock wholly.

But, like all noodles, he is vain;
 And when his tongue is wagging,
I feel inclined to copy Cain,
 And "drop" him for his bragging.

He, being Bush-bred, stands, of course,
 Six feet his dirty socks in;
His lingo is confined to horse
 And plough, and pig and oxen.

Two years ago he'd less to say
 Within his little circuit;
But now he has, besides a dray,
 A team of twelve to work it.

No wonder is it that he feels
 Inclined to clack and rattle
About his bullocks and his wheels --
 He owns a dozen cattle.

In short, to be exact and blunt,
 In his own estimation
He's "out and out" the head and front
 Top-sawyer of creation!

For, mark me, he can "sit a buck"
 For hours and hours together;
And never horse has had the luck
 To pitch him from the leather.

If ever he should have a "spill"
 Upon the grass or gravel,
Be sure of this, the saddle will
 With Billy Vickers travel.

At punching oxen you may guess
 There's nothing out can "camp" him:
He has, in fact, the slouch and dress
 Which bullock-driver stamp him.

I do not mean to give offence,
 But I have vainly striven
To ferret out the difference
 'Twixt driver and the driven.

Of course, the statements herein made
 In every other stanza
Are Billy's own; and I'm afraid
 They're stark extravaganza.

I feel constrained to treat as trash
 His noisy fiddle-faddle
About his doings with the lash,
 His feats upon the saddle.

But grant he "knows his way about",
 Or grant that he is silly,
There cannot be the slightest doubt
 Of Billy's faith in Billy.

Of all the doings of the day
 His ignorance is utter;
But he can quote the price of hay,
 The current rate of butter.

His notions of our leading men
 Are mixed and misty very:
He knows a cochin-china hen --
 He never speaks of Berry.

As you'll assume, he hasn't heard
 Of Madame Patti's singing;
But I will stake my solemn word
 He knows what maize is bringing.

Surrounded by majestic peaks,
 By lordly mountain ranges,
Where highest voice of thunder speaks
 His aspect never changes.

The grand Pacific there beyond
 His dirty hut is glowing:
He only sees a big salt pond,
 O'er which his grain is going.

The sea that covers half the sphere,
 With all its stately speeches,
Is held by Bill to be a mere
 Broad highway for his peaches.

Through Nature's splendid temples he
 Plods, under mountains hoary;
But he has not the eyes to see
 Their grandeur and their glory.

A bullock in a biped's boot,
 I iterate, is Billy!
He crushes with a careless foot
 The touching water-lily.

I've said enough -- I'll let him go!
 If he could read these verses,
He'd pepper me for hours, I know,
 With his peculiar curses.

But this is sure, he'll never change
 His manners loud and flashy,
Nor learn with neatness to arrange
 His clothing, cheap and trashy.

Like other louts, he'll jog along,
 And swig at shanty liquors,
And chew and spit.  Here ends the song
 Of Mr. Billy Vickers.


I am writing this song at the close
 Of a beautiful day of the spring
In a dell where the daffodil grows
 By a grove of the glimmering wing;
From glades where a musical word
 Comes ever from luminous fall,
I send you the song of a bird
 That I wish to be dear to you all.

I have given my darling the name
 Of a land at the gates of the day,
Where morning is always the same,
 And spring never passes away.
With a prayer for a lifetime of light,
 I christened her Persia, you see;
And I hope that some fathers to-night
 Will kneel in the spirit with me.

She is only commencing to look
 At the beauty in which she is set;
And forest and flower and brook,
 To her are all mysteries yet.
I know that to many my words
 Will seem insignificant things;
But ~you~ who are mothers of birds
 Will feel for the father who sings.

For all of you doubtless have been
 Where sorrows are many and wild;
And you ~know~ what a beautiful scene
 Of this world can be made by a child:
I am sure, if they listen to this,
 Sweet women will quiver, and long
To tenderly stoop to and kiss
 The Persia I've put in a song.

And I'm certain the critic will pause,
 And excuse, for the sake of my bird,
My sins against critical laws --
 The slips in the thought and the word.
And haply some dear little face
 Of his own to his mind will occur --
Some Persia who brightens his place --
 And I'll be forgiven for her.

A life that is turning to grey
 Has hardly been happy, you see;
But the rose that has dropped on my way
 Is morning and music to me.
Yea, she that I hold by the hand
 Is changing white winter to green,
And making a light of the land --
 All fathers will know what I mean:

All women and men who have known
 The sickness of sorrow and sin,
Will feel -- having babes of their own --
 My verse and the pathos therein.
For that must be touching which shows
 How a life has been led from the wild
To a garden of glitter and rose,
 By the flower-like hand of a child.

She is strange to this wonderful sphere;
 One summer and winter have set
Since God left her radiance here --
 Her sweet second year is not yet.
The world is so lovely and new
 To eyes full of eloquent light,
And, sisters, I'm hoping that you
 Will pray for my Persia to-night.

For I, who have suffered so much,
 And know what the bitterness is,
Am sad to think sorrow must touch
 Some day even darlings like this!
But sorrow is part of this life,
 And, therefore, a father doth long
For the blessing of mother and wife
 On the bird he has put in a song.


Strange is the song, and the soul that is singing
 Falters because of the vision it sees;
Voice that is not of the living is ringing
Down in the depths where the darkness is clinging,
 Even when Noon is the lord of the leas,
 Fast, like a curse, to the ghosts of the trees!

Here in a mist that is parted in sunder,
 Half with the darkness and half with the day;
Face of a woman, but face of a wonder,
Vivid and wild as a flame of the thunder,
 Flashes and fades, and the wail of the grey
 Water is loud on the straits of the bay!

Father, whose years have been many and weary --
 Elder, whose life is as lovely as light
Shining in ways that are sterile and dreary --
Tell me the name of this beautiful peri,
 Flashing on me like the wonderful white
 Star, at the meeting of morning and night.

Look to thy Saviour, and down on thy knee, man,
 Lean on the Lord, as the Zebedee leaned;
Daughter of hell is the neighbour of thee, man --
Lilith, of Adam the luminous leman!
 Turn to the Christ to be succoured and screened,
 Saved from the eyes of a marvellous fiend!

Serpent she is in the shape of a woman,
 Brighter than woman, ineffably fair!
Shelter thyself from the splendour, and sue, man;
Light that was never a loveliness human
 Lives in the face of this sinister snare,
 Longing to strangle thy soul with her hair!

Lilith, who came to the father and bound him
 Fast with her eyes in the first of the springs;
Lilith she is, but remember she drowned him,
Shedding her flood of gold tresses around him --
 Lulled him to sleep with the lyric she sings:
 Melody strange with unspeakable things!

Low is her voice, but beware of it ever,
 Swift bitter death is the fruit of delay;
Never was song of its beauty -- ah! never --
Heard on the mountain, or meadow, or river,
 Not of the night is it, not of the day --
 Fly from it, stranger, away and away.

Back on the hills are the blossom and feather,
 Glory of noon is on valley and spire;
Here is the grace of magnificent weather,
Where is the woman from gulfs of the nether?
 Where is the fiend with the face of desire?
 Gone, with a cry, in miraculous fire!

Sound that was not of this world, or the spacious
 Splendid blue heaven, has passed from the lea;
Dead is the voice of the devil audacious:
Only a dream is her music fallacious,
 Here, in the song and the shadow of tree,
 Down by the green and the gold of the sea.


Singer of songs of the hills --
 Dreamer, by waters unstirred,
Back in a valley of rills,
 Home of the leaf and the bird! --
Read in this fall of the year
 Just the compassionate phrase,
Faded with traces of tear,
 Written in far-away days:

"~Gone is the light of my lap
 (Lord, at Thy bidding I bow),
Here is my little one's cap,
 He has no need of it now,
Give it to somebody's boy --
 Somebody's darling~" -- she wrote.
Touching was Bob in his joy --
 Bob without boots or a coat.

Only a cap; but it gave
 Capless and comfortless one
Happiness, bright as the brave,
 Beautiful light of the sun.
Soft may the sanctified sod
 Rest on the father who led
Bob from the gutter, unshod --
 Covered his cold little head!

Bob from the foot to the crown
 Measured a yard, and no more --
Baby alone in the town,
 Homeless, and hungry, and sore --
Child that was never a child,
 Hiding away from the rain,
Draggled and dirty and wild,
 Down in a pipe of the drain.

Poor little beggar was Bob --
 Couldn't afford to be sick,
Getting a penny a job,
 Sometimes a curse and a kick.
Father was killed by the drink;
 Mother was driven to shame;
Bob couldn't manage to think --
 He had forgotten their name.

God was in heaven above,
 Flowers illumined the ground,
Women of infinite love
 Lived in the palaces round --
Saints with the character sweet
 Found in the fathers of old,
Laboured in alley and street --
 Baby slept out in the cold.

Nobody noticed the child --
 Nobody knew of the mite
Creeping about like a wild
 Thing in the shadow of night.
Beaten by drunkards and cowed --
 Frightened to speak or to sob --
How could he ask you aloud,
 "~Have you a penny for Bob?~"

Few were the pennies he got --
 Seldom could hide them away,
Watched by the ravenous sot
 Ever at wait for his prey.
Poor little man!  He would weep
 Oft for a morsel of bread;
Coppers he wanted to keep
 Went to the tavern instead.

This was his history, friend --
 Ragged, unhoused, and alone;
How could the child comprehend
 Love that he never had known?
Hunted about in the world,
 Crouching in crevices dim,
Crust with a curse at him hurled
 Stood for a kindness with him.

Little excited his joy --
 Bun after doing a job;
Mother of bright-headed boy,
 Think of the motherless Bob!
High in the heavens august
 Providence saw him, and said --
"~Out of the pits of the dust
 Lift him, and cover his head.~"

Ah, the ineffable grace,
 Father of children, in Thee!
Boy in a radiant place,
 Fanned by the breeze of the sea --
Child on a lullaby lap
 Said, in the pause of his pain,
"~Mother, don't bury my cap --
 Give it to Bob in the lane.~"

Beautiful bidding of Death!
 What could she do but obey,
Even when suffering Faith
 Hadn't the power to pray?
So, in the fall of the year,
 Saint with the fatherly head
Hunted for somebody's dear --
 "~Somebody's darling,~" he said.

Bob, who was nobody's child,
 Sitting on nobody's lap,
Draggled and dirty and wild --
 Bob got the little one's cap.
Strange were compassionate words!
 Waif of the alley and lane
Dreamed of the music of birds
 Floating about in the rain.

White-headed father in God,
 Over thy beautiful grave
Green is the grass of the sod,
 Soft is the sound of the wave.
Down by the slopes of the sea
 Often and often will sob
Boy who was fostered by thee --
 This is the story of Bob.

Peter the Piccaninny

He has a name which can't be brought
 Within the sphere of metre;
But, as he's Peter by report,
 I'll trot him out as Peter.

I call him mine; but don't suppose
 That I'm his dad, O reader!
My wife has got a Norman nose --
 She reads the tales of Ouida.

I never loved a nigger belle --
 My tastes are too aesthetic!
The perfume from a gin is -- well,
 A rather strong emetic.

But, seeing that my theme is Pete,
 This verse will be the neater
If I keep on the proper beat,
 And stick throughout to Peter.

We picked him up the Lord knows where!
 At noon we came across him
Asleep beside a hunk of bear --
 His paunch was bulged with 'possum.

(Last stanza will not bear, I own,
 A pressure analytic;
But bard whose weight is fourteen stone,
 Is apt to thump the critic.)

We asked the kid to give his name:
 He didn't seem too willing --
The darkey played the darkey's game --
 We tipped him with a shilling!

We tipped him with a shining bob --
 No Tommy Dodd, believe us.
We didn't "tumble" to his job --
 Ah, why did Pete deceive us!

I, being, as I've said, a bard,
 Resolved at once to foster
This mite whose length was just a yard --
 This portable impostor!

"This babe" -- I spoke in Wordsworth's tone --
 (See Wordsworth's "Lucy", neighbour)
"I'll make a darling of my own;
 And he'll repay my labour.

"He'll grow as gentle as a fawn --
 As quiet as the blossoms
That beautify a land of lawn --
 He'll eat no more opossums.

"The child I to myself will take
 In a paternal manner;
And ah! he will not swallow snake
 In future, or `goanna'.

"Will you reside with me, my dear?"
 I asked in accents mellow --
The nigger grinned from ear to ear,
 And said, "All right, old fellow!"

And so my Pete was taken home --
 My pretty piccaninny!
And, not to speak of soap or comb,
 His cleansing cost a guinea.

"But hang expenses!" I exclaimed,
 "I'll give him education:
A `nig' is better when he's tamed,
 Perhaps, than a Caucasian.

"Ethnologists are in the wrong
 About our sable brothers;
And I intend to stop the song
 Of Pickering and others."

Alas, I didn't do it though!
 Old Pickering's conclusions
Were to the point, as issues show,
 And mine were mere delusions.

My inky pet was clothed and fed
 For months exceeding forty;
But to the end, it must be said,
 His ways were very naughty.

When told about the Land of Morn
 Above this world of Mammon,
He'd shout, with an emphatic scorn,
 "Ah, gammon, gammon, gammon!"

He never lingered, like the bard,
 To sniff at rose expanding.
"Me like," he said, "em cattle-yard --
 Fine smell -- de smell of branding!"

The soul of man, I tried to show,
 Went up beyond our vision.
"You ebber see dat fellow go?"
 He asked in sheer derision.

In short, it soon occurred to me
 This kid of six or seven,
Who wouldn't learn his A B C,
 Was hardly ripe for heaven.

He never lost his appetite --
 He bigger grew, and bigger;
And proved, with every inch of height,
 A nigger is a nigger.

And, looking from this moment back,
 I have a strong persuasion
That, after all, a finished black
 Is not the "clean" -- Caucasian.

Dear Peter from my threshold went,
 One morning in the body:
He "dropped" me, to oblige a gent --
 A gent with spear and waddy!

He shelved me for a boomerang --
 We never had a quarrel;
And, if a moral here doth hang,
 Why let it hang -- the moral!

My mournful tale its course has run --
 My Pete, when last I spied him,
Was eating 'possum underdone:
 He had his gin beside him.

Narrara Creek

(Written in the shadow of 1872.)

From the rainy hill-heads, where, in starts and in spasms,
Leaps wild the white torrent from chasms to chasms --
From the home of bold echoes, whose voices of wonder
Fly out of blind caverns struck black by high thunder --
Through gorges august, in whose nether recesses
Is heard the far psalm of unseen wildernesses --
Like a dominant spirit, a strong-handed sharer
Of spoil with the tempest, comes down the Narrara.

Yea, where the great sword of the hurricane cleaveth
The forested fells that the dark never leaveth --
By fierce-featured crags, in whose evil abysses
The clammy snake coils, and the flat adder hisses --
Past lordly rock temples, where Silence is riven
By the anthems supreme of the four winds of heaven --
It speeds, with the cry of the streams of the fountains
It chained to its sides, and dragged down from the mountains!

But when it goes forth from the slopes with a sally --
Being strengthened with tribute from many a valley --
It broadens and brightens, and thereupon marches
Above the stream sapphires and under green arches,
With the rhythm of majesty -- careless of cumber --
Its might in repose and its fierceness in slumber --
Till it beams on the plains, where the wind is a bearer
Of words from the sea to the stately Narrara!

Narrara! grand son of the haughty hill torrent,
Too late in my day have I looked at thy current --
Too late in my life to discern and inherit
The soul of thy beauty, the joy of thy spirit!
With the years of the youth and the hairs of the hoary,
I sit like a shadow outside of thy glory;
Nor look with the morning-like feelings, O river,
That illumined the boy in the days gone for ever!

Ah! sad are the sounds of old ballads which borrow
One-half of their grief from the listener's sorrow;
And sad are the eyes of the pilgrim who traces
The ruins of Time in revisited places;
But sadder than all is the sense of his losses
That cometh to one when a sudden age crosses
And cripples his manhood.  So, stricken by fate, I
Felt older at thirty than some do at eighty.

Because I believe in the beautiful story,
The poem of Greece in the days of her glory --
That the high-seated Lord of the woods and the waters
Has peopled His world with His deified daughters --
That flowerful forests and waterways streaming
Are gracious with goddesses glowing and gleaming --
I pray that thy singing divinity, fairer
Than wonderful women, may listen, Narrara!

O spirit of sea-going currents! -- thou, being
The child of immortals, all-knowing, all-seeing --
Thou hast at thy heart the dark truth that I borrow
For the song that I sing thee, no fanciful sorrow;
In the sight of thine eyes is the history written
Of Love smitten down as the strong leaf is smitten;
And before thee there goeth a phantom beseeching
For faculties forfeited -- hopes beyond reaching.

     .    .    .    .    .

Thou knowest, O sister of deities blazing
With splendour ineffable, beauty amazing,
What life the gods gave me -- what largess I tasted --
The youth thrown away, and the faculties wasted.
I might, as thou seest, have stood in high places,
Instead of in pits where the brand of disgrace is,
A byword for scoffers -- a butt and a caution,
With the grave of poor Burns and Maginn for my portion.

But the heart of the Father Supreme is offended,
And my life in the light of His favour is ended;
And, whipped by inflexible devils, I shiver,
With a hollow "~Too late~" in my hearing for ever;
But thou -- being sinless, exalted, supernal,
The daughter of diademed gods, the eternal --
Shalt shine in thy waters when time and existence
Have dwindled, like stars, in unspeakable distance.

But the face of thy river -- the torrented power
That smites at the rock while it fosters the flower --
Shall gleam in my dreams with the summer-look splendid,
And the beauty of woodlands and waterfalls blended;
And often I'll think of far-forested noises,
And the emphasis deep of grand sea-going voices,
And turn to Narrara the eyes of a lover,
When the sorrowful days of my singing are over.

In Memory of John Fairfax

Because this man fulfilled his days,
Like one who walks with steadfast gaze
Averted from forbidden ways
 With lures of fair, false flowerage deep,
Behold the Lord whose throne is dim
With fires of flaming seraphim --
The Christ that suffered sent for him:
 "He giveth His beloved sleep."

Think not that souls whose deeds august
Put sin to shame and make men just
Become at last the helpless dust
 That wintering winds through waste-lands sweep!
The higher life within us cries,
Like some fine spirit from the skies,
"The Father's blessing on us lies --
 `He giveth His beloved sleep.'"

Not human sleep -- the fitful rest
With evil shapes of dreams distressed, --
But perfect quiet, unexpressed
 By any worldly word we keep.
The dim Hereafter framed in creeds
May not be this; but He who reads
Our lives, sets flowers on wayside weeds --
 "He giveth His beloved sleep."

Be sure this hero who has passed
The human space -- the outer vast --
Who worked in harness to the last,
 Doth now a hallowed harvest reap.
Love sees his grave, nor turns away --
The eyes of faith are like the day,
And grief has not a word to say --
 "He giveth His beloved sleep."

That fair, rare spirit, Honour, throws
A light, which puts to shame the rose,
Across his grave, because she knows
 The son whose ashes it doth keep;
And, like far music, ~this~ is heard --
"Behold the man who never stirred,
By word of his, an angry word! --
 `He giveth His beloved sleep.'"

He earned his place.  Within his hands,
The power which counsels and commands,
And shapes the social life of lands,
 Became a blessing pure and deep.
Through thirty years of turbulence
Our thoughts were sweetened with a sense
Of his benignant influence --
 "He giveth His beloved sleep."

No splendid talents, which excite
Like music, songs, or floods of light,
Were his; but, rather, all those bright,
 Calm qualities of soul which reap
A mute, but certain, fine respect,
Not only from a source elect,
But from the hearts of every sect --
 "He giveth His beloved sleep."

He giveth His beloved rest!
The faithful soul that onward pressed,
Unswerving, from Life's east to west,
 By paths austere and passes steep,
Is past all toil; and, over Death,
With reverent hands and prayerful breath,
I plant this flower, alive with faith --
 "He giveth His beloved sleep."


* Araluen:  The poet's daughter, who died in infancy.

Take this rose, and very gently place it on the tender, deep
Mosses where our little darling, Araluen, lies asleep.
Put the blossom close to baby -- kneel with me, my love, and pray;
We must leave the bird we've buried -- say good-bye to her to-day.
In the shadow of our trouble we must go to other lands,
And the flowers we have fostered will be left to other hands:
Other eyes will watch them growing -- other feet will softly tread
Where two hearts are nearly breaking, where so many tears are shed.
Bitter is the world we live in:  life and love are mixed with pain;
We will never see these daisies -- never water them again.

Ah! the saddest thought in leaving baby in this bush alone
Is that we have not been able on her grave to place a stone:
We have been too poor to do it; but, my darling, never mind --
God is in the gracious heavens, and His sun and rain are kind:
They will dress the spot with beauty, they will make the grasses grow:
Many winds will lull our birdie, many songs will come and go.
Here the blue-eyed Spring will linger, here the shining month will stay,
Like a friend, by  Araluen, when we two are far away;
But beyond the wild, wide waters, we will tread another shore --
We will never watch this blossom, never see it any more.

Girl, whose hand at God's high altar in the dear, dead year I pressed,
Lean your stricken head upon me -- this is still your lover's breast!
She who sleeps was first and sweetest -- none we have to take her place;
Empty is the little cradle -- absent is the little face.
Other children may be given; but this rose beyond recall,
But this garland of your girlhood, will be dearest of them all.
None will ever, Araluen, nestle where you used to be,
In my heart of hearts, you darling, when the world was new to me;
We were young when you were with us, life and love were happy things
To your father and your mother ere the angels gave you wings.

You that sit and sob beside me -- you, upon whose golden head
Many rains of many sorrows have from day to day been shed;
Who because your love was noble, faced with me the lot austere
Ever pressing with its hardship on the man of letters here --
Let me feel that you are near me, lay your hand within mine own;
You are all I have to live for, now that we are left alone.
Three there were, but one has vanished.  Sins of mine have made you weep;
But forgive your baby's father now that baby is asleep.
Let us go, for night is falling; leave the darling with her flowers;
Other hands will come and tend them -- other friends in other hours.

The Sydney International Exhibition

(The poem which won the prize offered by the proprietors
of the "Sydney Morning Herald".)

Now, while Orion, flaming south, doth set
A shining foot on hills of wind and wet --
Far haughty hills beyond the fountains cold
And dells of glimmering greenness manifold --
While August sings the advent of the Spring,
And in the calm is heard September's wing,
The lordly voice of song I ask of thee,
High, deathless radiance -- crowned Calliope!
What though we never hear the great god's lays
Which made all music the Hellenic days --
What though the face of thy fair heaven beams
Still only on the crystal Grecian streams --
What though a sky of new, strange beauty shines
Where no white Dryad sings within the pines:
Here is a land whose large, imperial grace
Must tempt thee, goddess, in thine holy place!
Here are the dells of peace and plenilune,
The hills of morning and the slopes of noon;
Here are the waters dear to days of blue,
And dark-green hollows of the noontide dew;
Here lies the harp, by fragrant wood-winds fanned,
That waits the coming of thy quickening hand!
And shall Australia, framed and set in sea,
August with glory, wait in vain for thee?
Shall more than Tempe's beauty be unsung
Because its shine is strange -- its colours young?
No! by the full, live light which puts to shame
The far, fair splendours of Thessalian flame --
By yonder forest psalm which sinks and swells
Like that of Phocis, grave with oracles --
By deep prophetic winds that come and go
Where whispering springs of pondering mountains flow --
By lute-like leaves and many-languaged caves,
Where sounds the strong hosanna of the waves,
This great new majesty shall not remain
Unhonoured by the high immortal strain!
Soon, soon, the music of the southern lyre
Shall start and blossom with a speech like fire!
Soon, soon, shall flower and flow in flame divine
Thy songs, Apollo, and Euterpe, thine!
Strong, shining sons of Delphicus shall rise
With all their father's glory in their eyes;
And then shall beam on yonder slopes and springs
The light that swims upon the light of things.
And therefore, lingering in a land of lawn,
I, standing here, a singer of the dawn,
With gaze upturned to where wan summits lie
Against the morning flowing up the sky --
Whose eyes in dreams of many colours see
A glittering vision of the years to be --
Do ask of thee, Calliope, one hour
Of life pre-eminent with perfect power,
That I may leave a song whose lonely rays
May shine hereafter from these songless days.

For now there breaks across the faint grey range
The rose-red dawning of a radiant change.
A soft, sweet voice is in the valleys deep,
Where darkness droops and sings itself to sleep.
The grave, mute woods, that yet the silence hold
Of dim, dead ages, gleam with hints of gold.
Yon eastern cape that meets the straitened wave --
A twofold tower above the whistling cave --
Whose strength in thunder shields the gentle lea,
And makes a white wrath of a league of sea,
Now wears the face of peace; and in the bay
The weak, spent voice of Winter dies away.
In every dell there is a whispering wing,
On every lawn a glimmer of the Spring;
By every hill are growths of tender green --
On every slope a fair, new life is seen;
And lo! beneath the morning's blossoming fires,
The shining city of a hundred spires,
In mists of gold, by countless havens furled,
And glad with all the flags of all the world!

These are the shores, where, in a dream of fear,
Cathay saw darkness dwelling half the year!*1*
These are the coasts that old fallacious tales
Chained down with ice and ringed with sleepless gales!
This is the land that, in the hour of awe,
From Indian peaks the rapt Venetian saw!*2*
Here is the long grey line of strange sea wall
That checked the prow of the audacious Gaul,
What time he steered towards the southern snow,
From zone to zone, four hundred years ago!*3*
By yonder gulf, whose marching waters meet
The wine-dark currents from the isles of heat,
Strong sons of Europe, in a far dim year,
Faced ghastly foes, and felt the alien spear!
There, in a later dawn, by shipless waves,
The tender grasses found forgotten graves.*4*
Far in the west, beyond those hills sublime,
Dirk Hartog anchored in the olden time;
There, by a wild-faced bay, and in a cleft,
His shining name the fair-haired Northman left;*5*
And, on those broad imperial waters, far
Beneath the lordly occidental star,
Sailed Tasman down a great and glowing space
Whose softer lights were like his lady's face.
In dreams of her he roved from zone to zone,
And gave her lovely name to coasts unknown*6*
And saw, in streaming sunset everywhere,
The curious beauty of her golden hair,
By flaming tracts of tropic afternoon,
Where in low heavens hangs a fourfold moon.
Here, on the tides of a resplendent year,
By capes of jasper, came the buccaneer.*7*
Then, then, the wild men, flying from the beach,
First heard the clear, bold sounds of English speech;
And then first fell across a Southern plain
The broad, strong shadows of a Saxon train.
Near yonder wall of stately cliff, that braves
The arrogance of congregated waves,
The daring son of grey old Yorkshire stood
And dreamed in a majestic solitude,
What time a gentle April shed its showers,
Aflame with sunset, on the Bay of Flowers.*8*
The noble seaman who withheld the hand,
And spared the Hector of his native land --
The single savage, yelling on the beach
The dark, strange curses of barbaric speech.
Exalted sailor! whose benignant phrase
Shines full of beauty in these latter days;
Who met the naked tribes of fiery skies
With great, divine compassion in his eyes;
Who died, like Him of hoary Nazareth,
That death august -- the radiant martyr's death;
Who in the last hour showed the Christian face
Whose crumbling beauty shamed the alien race.
In peace he sleeps where deep eternal calms
Lie round the land of heavy-fruited palms.
Lo! in that dell, behind a singing bar,
Where deep, pure pools of glittering waters are,
Beyond a mossy, yellow, gleaming glade,
The last of Forby Sutherland was laid --
The blue-eyed Saxon from the hills of snow
Who fell asleep a hundred years ago.
In flowerful shades, where gold and green are rife,
Still rests the shell of his forgotten life.
Far, far away, beneath some northern sky
The fathers of his humble household lie;
But by his lonely grave are sapphire streams,
And gracious woodlands, where the fire-fly gleams;
And ever comes across a silver lea
The hymn sublime of the eternal sea.

*1* According to Mr. R. H. Major, and others, the Great Southern Land
    is referred to in old Chinese records as a polar continent,
    subject to the long polar nights.
*2* Marco Polo mentions a large land called by the Malays Lochac.
    The northern coast was supposed to be in latitude 10 Degrees S.
*3* Mr. R. H. Major discovered a map of Terra Australis
    dated A.D. 1555 and bearing the name of Le Testu, a French pilot.
    Le Testu must have visited these coasts some years before
    the date of the chart.
*4* The sailors of the ~Duyfken~, a Dutch vessel which entered
    the Gulf of Carpentaria in A.D. 1606, were attacked by the natives.
    In the fray some of the whites were killed.  No doubt these
    unlucky adventurers were the first Europeans buried in Australia.
*5* Dirk Hartog left a tin plate, bearing his name, in Shark Bay,
    Western Australia.
*6* The story of Tasman's love for Maria, the daughter of Governor Van Diemen,
    was generally accepted at the time Kendall wrote; but it has since
    been disproved.  Maria was the wife of Antony Van Diemen,
    Governor of Batavia, who had no children.  -- Ed.
*7* Dampier.
*8* Botany Bay.

On that bold hill, against a broad blue stream,
Stood Arthur Phillip in a day of dream:
What time the mists of morning westward rolled,
And heaven flowered on a bay of gold!
Here, in the hour that shines and sounds afar,
Flamed first old England's banner like a star;
Here, in a time august with prayer and praise,
Was born the nation of these splendid days;
And here this land's majestic yesterday
Of immemorial silence died away.
Where are the woods that, ninety summers back,
Stood hoar with ages by the water-track?
Where are the valleys of the flashing wing,
The dim green margins and the glimmering spring?
Where now the warrior of the forest race,
His glaring war-paint and his fearless face?
The banks of April and the groves of bird,
The glades of silence and the pools unstirred,
The gleaming savage and the whistling spear,
Passed with the passing of a wild old year!
A single torrent singing by the wave,
A shadowy relic in a mountain cave,
A ghost of fire in immemorial hills,
The whittled tree by folded wayside rills,
The call of bird that hides in hollows far,
Where feet of thunder, wings of winter are --
Of all that Past, these wrecks of wind and rain,
These touching memories -- these alone remain!

What sun is this that beams and broadens west?
What wonder this, in deathless glory dressed?
What strange, sweet harp of highest god took flame
And gave this Troy its life, its light, its name?
What awful lyre of marvellous power and range
Upraised this Ilion -- wrought this dazzling change?
No shining singer of Hellenic dreams
Set yonder splendour by the morning streams!
No god who glimmers in a doubtful sphere
Shed glory there -- created beauty here!
This is the city that our fathers framed --
These are the crescents by the elders named!
The human hands of strong, heroic men
Broke down the mountain, filled the gaping glen,
Ran streets through swamp, built banks against the foam,
And bent the arch and raised the lordly dome!
Here are the towers that the founders made!
Here are the temples where these Romans prayed!
Here stand the courts in which their leaders met!
Here are their homes, and here their altars yet!
Here sleep the grand old men whose lives sublime
Of thought and action shine and sound through time!
Who worked in darkness -- onward fought their ways
To bring about these large majestic days --
Who left their sons the hearts and high desires
Which built this city of the hundred spires!

A stately Morning rises on the wing,
The hills take colour, and the valleys sing.
A strong September flames beyond the lea --
A silver vision on a silver sea.
A new Age, "cast in a diviner mould",
Comes crowned with lustre, zoned and shod with gold!
What dream is this on lawny spaces set?
What miracle of dome and minaret?
What great mute majesty is this that takes
The first of morning ere the song-bird wakes?
Lo, this was built to honour gathering lands
By Celtic, Saxon, Australasian hands!
These are the halls where all the flags unfurled
Break into speech that welcomes all the world.
And lo, our friends are here from every zone --
From isles we dream of and from tracts unknown!
Here are the fathers from the stately space
Where Ireland is and England's sacred face!
Here are the Norsemen from their strong sea-wall,
The grave, grand Teuton and the brilliant Gaul!
From green, sweet groves the dark-eyed Lusians sail,
And proud Iberia leaves the grape-flushed vale.
Here are the lords whose starry banner shines
From fierce Magellan to the Arctic pines.
Here come the strangers from the gates of day --
From hills of sunrise and from white Cathay.
The spicy islands send their swarthy sons,
The lofty North its mailed and mighty ones.
Venetian keels are floating on our sea;
Our eyes are glad with radiant Italy!
Yea, North and South, and glowing West and East,
Are gathering here to grace our splendid feast!
The chiefs from peaks august with Asian snow,
The elders born where regal roses grow,
Come hither, with the flower of that fair land
That blooms beyond the fiery tracts of sand
Where Syrian suns their angry lustres fling
Across blind channels of the bygone spring.
And on this great, auspicious day, the flowers
Of labour glorify majestic hours.

The singing angel from the starry sphere
Of dazzling Science shows his wonders here;
And Art, the dream-clad spirit, starts, and brings
From Fairyland her strange, sweet, glittering things.
Here are the works man did, what time his face
Was touched by God in some exalted place;
Here glows the splendour -- here the marvel wrought
When Heaven flashed upon the maker's thought!
Yea, here are all the miracles sublime --
The lights of Genius and the stars of Time!
And, being lifted by this noble noon,
Australia broadens like a tropic moon.
Her white, pure lustre beams across the zones;
The nations greet her from their awful thrones.
From hence the morning beauty of her name
Will shine afar, like an exceeding flame.
Her place will be with mighty lords, whose sway
Controls the thunder and the marching day.
Her crown will shine beside the crowns of kings
Who shape the seasons, rule the course of things,
The fame of her across the years to be
Will spread like light on a surpassing sea;
And graced with glory, girt with power august,
Her life will last till all things turn to dust.

To Thee the face of song is lifted now,
O Lord! to whom the awful mountains bow;
Whose hands, unseen, the tenfold storms control;
Whose thunders shake the spheres from pole to pole;
Who from Thy highest heaven lookest down,
The sea Thy footstool, and the sun Thy crown;
Around whose throne the deathless planets sing
Hosannas to their high, eternal King.
To Thee the soul of prayer this morning turns,
With faith that glitters, and with hope that burns!
And, in the moments of majestic calm
That fill the heart in pauses of the psalm,
She asks Thy blessing for this fair young land
That flowers within the hollow of Thine hand!
She seeks of Thee that boon, that gift sublime,
The Christian radiance, for this hope of Time!
And Thou wilt listen! and Thy face will bend
To smile upon us -- Master, Father, Friend!
The Christ to whom pure pleading heart hath crept
Was human once, and in the darkness wept;
The gracious love that helped us long ago
Will on us like a summer sunrise flow,
And be a light to guide the nation's feet
On holy paths -- on sacred ways and sweet.

Christmas Creek

Phantom streams were in the distance -- mocking lights of lake and pool --
Ghosts of trees of soft green lustre -- groves of shadows deep and cool!
Yea, some devil ran before them changing skies of brass to blue,
Setting bloom where curse is planted, where a grass-blade never grew.
Six there were, and high above them glared a wild and wizened sun,
Ninety leagues from where the waters of the singing valleys run.
There before them, there behind them, was the great, stark, stubborn plain,
Where the dry winds hiss for ever, and the blind earth moans for rain!
Ringed about by tracks of furnace, ninety leagues from stream and tree,
Six there were, with wasted faces, working northwards to the sea!

     .    .    .    .    .

Ah, the bitter, hopeless desert!  Here these broken human wrecks
Trod the wilds where sand of fire is with the spiteful spinifex,
Toiled through spheres that no bird knows of, where with fiery emphasis
Hell hath stamped its awful mint-mark deep on every thing that is!
Toiled and thirsted, strove and suffered!  ~This~ was where December's breath
As a wind of smiting flame is on weird, haggard wastes of death!
~This~ was where a withered moan is, and the gleam of weak, wan star,
And a thunder full of menace sends its mighty voices far!
~This~ was where black execrations, from some dark tribunal hurled,
Set the brand of curse on all things in the morning of the world!

     .    .    .    .    .

One man yielded -- then another -- then a lad of nineteen years
Reeled and fell, with English rivers singing softly in his ears,
English grasses started round him -- then the grace of Sussex lea
Came and touched him with the beauty of a green land by the sea!
Old-world faces thronged about him -- old-world voices spoke to him;
But his speech was like a whisper, and his eyes were very dim.
In a dream of golden evening, beaming on a quiet strand,
Lay the stranger till a bright One came and took him by the hand.
England vanished; died the voices; but he heard a holier tone,
And an angel that we know not led him to the lands unknown!

     .    .    .    .    .

Six there were, but three were taken!  Three were left to struggle still;
But against the red horizon flamed a horn of brindled hill!
But beyond the northern skyline, past a wall of steep austere,
Lay the land of light and coolness in an April-coloured year!
"Courage, brothers!" cried the leader.  "On the slope of yonder peak
There are tracts of herb and shadow, and the channels of the creek!"
So they made one last great effort --
  haled their beasts through brake and briar,
Set their feet on spurs of furnace, grappled spikes and crags of fire,
Fought the stubborn mountain forces, smote down naked, natural powers,
Till they gazed from thrones of Morning on a sphere of streams and flowers.

Out behind them was the desert, glaring like a sea of brass!
Here before them were the valleys, fair with moonlight-coloured grass!
At their backs were haggard waste-lands, bickering in a wicked blaze!
In their faces beamed the waters, marching down melodious ways!
Touching was the cool, soft lustre over laps of lawn and lea;
And majestic was the great road Morning made across the sea.
On the sacred day of Christmas, after seven months of grief,
Rested three of six who started, on a bank of moss and leaf --
Rested by a running river, in a hushed, a holy week;
And they named the stream that saved them --
  named it fitly -- "Christmas Creek".


* Orara:  A tributary of the river Clarence.

The strong sob of the chafing stream
 That seaward fights its way
Down crags of glitter, dells of gleam,
 Is in the hills to-day.

But far and faint, a grey-winged form
 Hangs where the wild lights wane --
The phantom of a bygone storm,
 A ghost of wind and rain.

The soft white feet of afternoon
 Are on the shining meads,
The breeze is as a pleasant tune
 Amongst the happy reeds.

The fierce, disastrous, flying fire,
 That made the great caves ring,
And scarred the slope, and broke the spire,
 Is a forgotten thing.

The air is full of mellow sounds,
 The wet hill-heads are bright,
And down the fall of fragrant grounds,
 The deep ways flame with light.

A rose-red space of stream I see,
 Past banks of tender fern;
A radiant brook, unknown to me
 Beyond its upper turn.

The singing, silver life I hear,
 Whose home is in the green,
Far-folded woods of fountains clear,
 Where I have never been.

Ah, brook above the upper bend,
 I often long to stand
Where you in soft, cool shades descend
 From the untrodden land!

Ah, folded woods, that hide the grace
 Of moss and torrents strong,
I often wish to know the face
 Of that which sings your song!

But I may linger, long, and look
 Till night is over all:
My eyes will never see the brook,
 Or sweet, strange waterfall.

The world is round me with its heat,
 And toil, and cares that tire;
I cannot with my feeble feet
 Climb after my desire.

But, on the lap of lands unseen,
 Within a secret zone,
There shine diviner gold and green
 Than man has ever known.

And where the silver waters sing
 Down hushed and holy dells,
The flower of a celestial Spring --
 A tenfold splendour, dwells.

Yea, in my dream of fall and brook
 By far sweet forests furled,
I see that light for which I look
 In vain through all the world --

The glory of a larger sky
 On slopes of hills sublime,
That speak with God and morning, high
 Above the ways of Time!

Ah! haply in this sphere of change
 Where shadows spoil the beam,
It would not do to climb that range
 And test my radiant Dream.

The slightest glimpse of yonder place,
 Untrodden and alone,
Might wholly kill that nameless grace,
 The charm of the unknown.

And therefore, though I look and long,
 Perhaps the lot is bright
Which keeps the river of the song
 A beauty out of sight.

The Curse of Mother Flood

Wizened the wood is, and wan is the way through it;
 White as a corpse is the face of the fen;
Only blue adders abide in and stray through it --
 Adders and venom and horrors to men.
Here is the "ghost of a garden" whose minister
 Fosters strange blossoms that startle and scare.
Red as man's blood is the sun that, with sinister
 Flame, is a menace of hell in the air.
Wrinkled and haggard the hills are -- the jags of them
 Gape like to living and ominous things:
Storm and dry thunder cry out in the crags of them --
 Fire, and the wind with a woe in its wings.

Never a moon without clammy-cold shroud on it
 Hitherward comes, or a flower-like star!
Only the hiss of the tempest is loud on it --
 Hiss, and the moan of a bitter sea bar.
Here on this waste, and to left and to right of it,
 Never is lisp or the ripple of rain:
Fierce is the daytime and wild is the night of it,
 Flame without limit and frost without wane!
Trees half alive, with the sense of a curse on them,
 Shudder and shrink from the black heavy gale;
Ghastly, with boughs like the plumes of a hearse on them:
 Barren of blossom and blasted with bale.

Under the cliff that stares down to the south of it --
 Back by the horns of a hazardous hill,
Dumb is the gorge with a grave in the mouth of it
 Still, as a corpse in a coffin is still.
Never there hovers a hope of the Spring by it --
 Never a glimmer of yellow and green:
Only the bat with a whisper of wing by it
 Flits like a life out of flesh and unseen.
Here are the growths that are livid and glutinous,
 Speckled, and bloated with poisonous blood:
This is the haunt of the viper-breed mutinous:
 Cursed with the curse of weird Catherine Flood.

He that hath looked on it -- hurried aghast from it,
 Hair of him frozen with horror straightway,
Chased by a sudden strange pestilent blast from it --
 Where is the speech of him -- what can he say?
Hath he not seen the fierce ghost of a hag in it?
 Heard maledictions that startle the stars?
Dumb is his mouth as a mouth with a gag in it --
 Mute is his life as a life within bars.
Just the one glimpse of that grey, shrieking woman there
 Ringed by a circle of furnace and fiend!
He that went happy and healthy and human there --
 Where shall the white leper fly to be cleaned?

Here, in a pit with indefinite doom on it,
 Here, in the fumes of a feculent moat,
Under an alp with inscrutable gloom on it,
 Squats the wild witch with a ghoul at her throat!
Black execration that cannot be spoken of --
 Speech of red hell that would suffocate Song,
Starts from this terror with never a token of
 Day and its loveliness all the year long.
Sin without name to it -- man never heard of it --
 Crime that would startle a fiend from his lair,
Blasted this Glen, and the leaf and the bird of it --
 ~Where is there hope for it, Father, O where?~

Far in the days of our fathers, the life in it
 Blossomed and beamed in the sight of the sun:
Yellow and green and the purple were rife in it,
 Singers of morning and waters that run.
Storm of the equinox shed no distress on it,
 Thunder spoke softly, and summer-time left
Sunset's forsaken bright beautiful dress on it --
 Blessing that shone half the night in the cleft.
Hymns of the highlands -- hosannas from hills by it,
 Psalms of great forests made holy the spot:
Cool were the mosses and clear were the rills by it --
 Far in the days when the Horror was not.

Twenty miles south is the strong, shining Hawkesbury --
 Spacious and splendid, and lordly with blooms.
There, between mountains magnificent, walks bury
 Miles of their beauty in green myrtle glooms.
There, in the dell, is the fountain with falls by it --
 Falls, and a torrent of summering stream:
There is the cave with the hyaline halls by it --
 Haunt of the echo and home of the dream.
Over the hill, by the marvellous base of it,
 Wanders the wind with a song in its breath
Out to the sea with the gold on the face of it --
 Twenty miles south of the Valley of Death.

On a Spanish Cathedral

* Every happy expression in these stanzas may fairly be claimed
  by the Hon. W. B. Dalley (~Author's note~).

Deep under the spires of a hill, by the feet of the thunder-cloud trod,
I pause in a luminous, still, magnificent temple of God!
At the steps of the altar august -- a vision of angels in stone --
I kneel, with my head to the dust, on the floors by the seraphim known.
No father in Jesus is near, with the high, the compassionate face;
But the glory of Godhead is here -- its presence transfigures the place!
Behold in this beautiful fane, with the lights of blue heaven impearled,
I think of the Elders of Spain, in the deserts -- the wilds of the world!

I think of the wanderers poor who knelt on the flints and the sands,
When the mighty and merciless Moor was lord of the Lady of Lands.
Where the African scimitar flamed, with a swift, bitter death in its kiss,
The fathers, unknown and unnamed, found God in cathedrals like this!
The glow of His Spirit -- the beam of His blessing -- made lords of the men
Whose food was the herb of the stream, whose roof was the dome of the den.
And, far in the hills by the sea, these awful hierophants prayed
For Rome and its temples to be -- in a temple by Deity made.

Who knows of their faith -- of its power?
  Perhaps, with the light in their eyes,
They saw, in some wonderful hour, the marvel of centuries rise!
Perhaps in some moment supreme, when the mountains were holy and still,
They dreamed the magnificent dream that came to the monks of Seville!
Surrounded by pillars and spires whose summits shone out in the glare
Of the high, the omnipotent fires, who knows what was seen by them there?
Be sure, if they saw, in the noon of their faith, some ineffable fane,
They looked on the church like a moon dropped down by the Lord into Spain.

And the Elders who shone in the time when Christ over Christendom beamed
May have dreamed at their altars sublime
  the dream that their fathers had dreamed,
By the glory of Italy moved -- the majesty shining in Rome --
They turned to the land that they loved,
  and prayed for a church in their home;
And a soul of unspeakable fire descended on them, and they fought
And laboured a life for the spire and tower and dome of their thought!
These grew under blessing and praise, as morning in summertime grows --
As Troy in the dawn of the days to the music of Delphicus rose.

In a land of bewildering light, where the feet of the season are Spring's,
They worked in the day and the night, surrounded by beautiful things.
The wonderful blossoms in stone -- the flower and leaf of the Moor,
On column and cupola shone, and gleamed on the glimmering floor.
In a splendour of colour and form, from the marvellous African's hands
Yet vivid and shining and warm, they planted the Flower of the Lands.
Inspired by the patience supreme of the mute, the magnificent past,
They toiled till the dome of their dream in the firmament blossomed at last!

Just think of these men -- of their time --
  of the days of their deed, and the scene!
How touching their zeal -- how sublime
  their suppression of self must have been!
In a city yet hacked by the sword and scarred by the flame of the Moor,
They started the work of their Lord, sad, silent, and solemnly poor.
These fathers, how little they thought of themselves, and how much of the days
When the children of men would be brought to pray in their temple, and praise!
Ah! full of the radiant, still, heroic old life that has flown,
The merciful monks of Seville toiled on, and died bare and unknown.

The music, the colour, the gleam of their mighty cathedral will be
Hereafter a luminous dream of the heaven I never may see;
To a spirit that suffers and seeks for the calm of a competent creed,
This temple, whose majesty speaks, becomes a religion indeed;
The passionate lights -- the intense, the ineffable beauty of sound --
Go straight to the heart through the sense,
  as a song would of seraphim crowned.
And lo! by these altars august, the life that is highest we live,
And are filled with the infinite trust
  and the peace that the world cannot give.

They have passed, have the elders of time --
  they have gone; but the work of their hands,
Pre-eminent, peerless, sublime, like a type of eternity stands!
They are mute, are the fathers who made this church in the century dim;
But the dome with their beauty arrayed remains, a perpetual hymn.
Their names are unknown; but so long as the humble in spirit and pure
Are worshipped in speech and in song, our love for these monks will endure;
And the lesson by sacrifice taught will live in the light of the years
With a reverence not to be bought, and a tenderness deeper than tears.


No classic warrior tempts my pen
 To fill with verse these pages --
No lordly-hearted man of men
 My Muse's thought engages.

Let others choose the mighty dead,
 And sing their battles over!
My champion, too, has fought and bled --
 My theme is one-eyed Rover.

A grave old dog, with tattered ears
 Too sore to cock up, reader! --
A four-legged hero, full of years,
 But sturdy as a cedar.

Still, age is age; and if my rhyme
 Is dashed with words pathetic,
Don't wonder, friend; I've seen the time
 When Rove was more athletic.

He lies coiled up before me now,
 A comfortable crescent.
His night-black nose and grizzled brow
 Fixed in a fashion pleasant.

But ever and anon he lifts
 The one good eye I mention,
And tries a thousand doggish shifts
 To rivet my attention.

Just let me name his name, and up
 You'll see him start and patter
Towards me, like a six-months' pup
 In point of speed, but fatter.

He pokes his head upon my lap,
 Nor heeds the whip above him;
Because he knows, the dear old chap,
 His human friends all love him.

Our younger dogs cut off from hence
 At sight of lash uplifted;
But Rove, with grand indifference,
 Remains, and can't be shifted.

And, ah! the set upon his phiz
 At meals defies expression;
For I confess that Rover is
 A cadger by profession.

The lesser favourites of the place
 At dinner keep their distance;
But by my chair one grizzled face
 Begs on with brave persistence.

His jaws present a toothless sight,
 But still my hearty hero
Can satisfy an appetite
 Which brings a bone to zero.

And while Spot barks and pussy mews,
 To move the cook's compassion,
He takes his after-dinner snooze
 In genuine biped fashion.

In fact, in this, our ancient pet
 So hits off human nature,
That I at times almost forget
 He's but a dog in feature.

Between his tail and bright old eye
 The swift communications
Outstrip the messages which fly
 From telegraphic stations.

And, ah! that tail's rich eloquence
 Conveys too clear a moral,
For men who have a grain of sense
 About its drift to quarrel.

At night, his voice is only heard
 When it is wanted badly;
For Rover is too cute a bird
 To follow shadows madly.

The pup and Carlo in the dark
 Will start at crickets chirring;
But when we hear the old dog bark
 We know there's ~something~ stirring.

He knows a gun, does Rover here;
 And if I cock a trigger,
He makes himself from tail to ear
 An admirable figure.

For, once the fowling piece is out,
 And game is on the ~tapis~,
The set upon my hero's snout
 Would make a cockle happy.

And as for horses, why, betwixt
 Our chestnut mare and Rover
The mutual friendship is as fixed
 As any love of lover.

And when his master's hand resigns
 The bridle for the paddle,
His dogship on the grass reclines,
 And stays and minds the saddle.

Of other friends he has no lack;
 Grey pussy is his crony,
And kittens mount upon his back,
 As youngsters mount a pony.

They talk of man's superior sense,
 And charge the few with treason
Who think a dog's intelligence
 Is very like our reason.

But though Philosophy has tried
 A score of definitions,
'Twixt man and dog it can't decide
 The relative positions.

And I believe upon the whole
 (Though you my creed deny, sir),
That Rove's entitled to a soul
 As much as you or I, sir!

Indeed, I fail to see the force
 Of your derisive laughter
Because I will not say my horse
 Has not some horse-hereafter.

A fig for dogmas -- let them pass!
 There's much in life to grieve us;
And what most grieves is ~this~, alas!
 That all our best friends leave us.

And when I sip my nightly grog,
 And watch old Rover blinking,
This royal ruin of a dog
 Calls forth some serious thinking.

For, though he's lightly touched by Fate,
 I cannot help remarking
The step of age is in his gait,
 Its hoarseness in his barking.

He still goes on his rounds at night
 To keep off forest prowlers;
But, ah! he has no teeth to bite
 The cunning-hearted howlers.

Not like the Rover that, erewhile,
 Gave droves of dingoes battle,
And dashed through flood and fierce defile --
 The friend, but dread, of cattle.

Not like to him that, in past years,
 Won fight by fight, and scattered
Whole tribes of dogs with rags of ears
 And tail-ends torn and tattered.

But while time tells upon our pet,
 And makes him greyer daily,
He is a noble fellow yet,
 And wears his old age gaily.

Still, dogs must die; and in the end,
 When he is past caressing,
We'll mourn him like some human friend
 Whose presence was a blessing.

Till then, be bread and peace his lot --
 A life of calm and clover!
The pup may sleep outside with Spot --
 We'll keep the nook for Rover.

The Melbourne International Exhibition

[~Written for Music.~]


Brothers from far-away lands,
 Sons of the fathers of fame,
Here are our hearts and our hands --
 This is our song of acclaim.
Lords from magnificent zones,
 Shores of superlative sway,
Awful with lustre of thrones,
 This is our greeting to-day.
Europe and Asia are here --
 Shining they enter our ports!
She that is half of the sphere
 Beams like a sun in our courts.
Children of elders whose day
 Shone to the planet's white ends,
Meet, in the noble old way,
 Sons of your forefather's friends.


Dressed is the beautiful city -- the spires of it
 Burn in the firmament stately and still;
Forest has vanished -- the wood and the lyres of it,
 Lutes of the sea-wind and harps of the hill.
This is the region, and here is the bay by it,
 Collins, the deathless, beheld in a dream:
Flinders and Fawkner, our forefathers grey, by it
 Paused in the hush of a season supreme.
Here, on the waters of majesty near to us,
 Lingered the leaders by towers of flame:
Elders who turn from the lordly old year to us
 Crowned with the lights of ineffable fame.


Nine and seventy years ago,
 Up the blaze of yonder bay,
 On a great exalted day,
Came from seas august with snow --
Waters where the whirlwinds blow --
 First of England's sons who stood
 By the deep green, bygone wood
Where the wild song used to flow
Nine and seventy years ago.

Five and forty years ago,
 On a grand auspicious morn
 When the South Wind blew his horn,
Where the splendid mountains glow --
Peaks that God and Sunrise know --
 Came the fearless, famous band,
 Founders of our radiant land,
From the lawns where roses grow,
Five and forty years ago.


By gracious slopes of fair green hills,
 In shadows cool and deep,
Where floats the psalm of many rills,
 The noble elders sleep.
But while their children's children last,
 While seed from seedling springs,
The print and perfume of their past
 Will be as deathless things.

Their voices are with vanished years,
 With other days and hours;
Their homes are sanctified by tears --
 They sleep amongst the flowers.
They do not walk by street or stream,
 Or tread by grove or shore,
But, in the nation's highest dream,
 They shine for evermore.


By lawny slope and lucent strand
Are singing flags of every land;
On streams of splendour -- bays impearled --
The keels are here of all the world.
With lutes of light and cymbals clear
We waft goodwill to every sphere.
The links of love to-day are thrown
From sea to sea -- from zone to zone;
And, lo! we greet, in glory drest,
The lords that come from east and west,
And march like noble children forth
To meet our fathers from the North!


To Thee be the glory, All-Bountiful Giver!
 The song that we sing is an anthem to Thee,
Whose blessing is shed on Thy people for ever,
 Whose love is like beautiful light on the sea.
Behold, with high sense of Thy mercy unsleeping,
 We come to Thee, kneel to Thee, praise Thee, and pray,
O Lord, in whose hand is the strength that is keeping
 The storm from the wave and the night from the day!

By the Cliffs of the Sea

(In Memory of Samuel Bennett.)

In a far-away glen of the hills,
 Where the bird of the night is at rest,
Shut in from the thunder that fills
 The fog-hidden caves of the west --
In a sound of the leaf, and the lute
 Of the wind on the quiet lagoon,
I stand, like a worshipper, mute
 In the flow of a marvellous tune!
And the song that is sweet to my sense
 Is, "Nearer, my God, unto Thee";
But it carries me sorrowing hence,
 To a grave by the cliffs of the sea.

So many have gone that I loved --
 So few of the fathers remain,
That where in old seasons I moved
 I could never be happy again.
In the breaks of this beautiful psalm,
 With its deep, its devotional tone,
And hints of ineffable calm,
 I feel like a stranger, alone.
No wonder my eyes are so dim --
 ~Your~ trouble is heavy on me,
O widow and daughter of him
 Who sleeps in the grave by the sea!

The years have been hard that have pressed
 On a head full of premature grey,
Since Stenhouse went down to his rest,
 And Harpur was taken away.
In the soft yellow evening-ends,
 The wind of the water is faint
By the home of the last of my friends --
 The shrine of the father and saint.
The tenderness touching -- the grace
 Of Ridley no more is for me;
And flowers have hidden the face
 Of the brother who sleeps by the sea.

The vehement voice of the South
 Is loud where the journalist lies;
But calm hath encompassed his mouth,
 And sweet is the peace in his eyes.
Called hence by the Power who knows
 When the work of a hero is done,
He turned at the message, and rose
 With the harness of diligence on.
In the midst of magnificent toil,
 He bowed at the holy decree;
And green is the grass on the soil
 Of the grave by the cliffs of the sea.

I knew him, indeed; and I knew,
 Having suffered so much in his day,
What a beautiful nature and true
 In Bennett was hidden away.
In the folds of a shame without end,
 When the lips of the scorner were curled,
I found in this brother a friend --
 The last that was left in the world.
Ah! under the surface austere
 Compassion was native to thee;
I send from my solitude here
 This rose for the grave by the sea.

To the high, the heroic intent
 Of a life that was never at rest,
He held, with a courage unspent,
 Through the worst of his days and the best.
Far back in the years that are dead
 He knew of the bitterness cold
That saddens with silver the head
 And makes a man suddenly old.
The dignity gracing his grief
 Was ever a lesson to me;
He lies under blossom and leaf
 In a grave by the cliffs of the sea.

Above him the wandering face
 Of the moon is a loveliness now,
And anthems encompass the place
 From lutes of the luminous bough.
The forelands are fiery with foam
 Where often and often he roved;
He sleeps in the sight of the home
 That he built by the waters he loved.
The wave is his fellow at night,
 And the sun, shining over the lea,
Sheds out an unspeakable light
 On this grave by the cliffs of the sea.


A silver slope, a fall of firs, a league of gleaming grasses,
And fiery cones, and sultry spurs, and swarthy pits and passes!

     .    .    .    .    .

The long-haired Cyclops bated breath, and bit his lip and hearkened,
And dug and dragged the stone of death, by ways that dipped and darkened.

Across a tract of furnaced flints there came a wind of water,
From yellow banks with tender hints of Tethys' white-armed daughter.

She sat amongst wild singing weeds, by beds of myrrh and moly;
And Acis made a flute of reeds, and drew its accents slowly;

And taught its spirit subtle sounds that leapt beyond suppression,
And paused and panted on the bounds of fierce and fitful passion.

Then he who shaped the cunning tune, by keen desire made bolder,
Fell fainting, like a fervent noon, upon the sea-nymph's shoulder.

Sicilian suns had laid a dower of light and life about her:
Her beauty was a gracious flower -- the heart fell dead without her.

"Ah, Galate," said Polypheme, "I would that I could find thee
Some finest tone of hill or stream, wherewith to lull and bind thee!

"What lyre is left of marvellous range, whose subtle strings, containing
Some note supreme, might catch and change, or set thy passion waning? --

"Thy passion for the fair-haired youth whose fleet, light feet perplex me
By ledges rude, on paths uncouth, and broken ways that vex me?

"Ah, turn to me! else violent sleep shall track the cunning lover;
And thou wilt wait and thou wilt weep when I his haunts discover."

But golden Galatea laughed, and Thosa's son, like thunder,
Broke through a rifty runnel shaft, and dashed its rocks asunder,

And poised the bulk, and hurled the stone, and crushed the hidden Acis,
And struck with sorrow drear and lone the sweetest of all faces.

To Zeus, the mighty Father, she, with plaint and prayer, departed:
Then from fierce Aetna to the sea a fountained water started --

A lucent stream of lutes and lights -- cool haunt of flower and feather,
Whose silver days and yellow nights made years of hallowed weather.

Here Galatea used to come, and rest beside the river;
Because, in faint, soft, blowing foam, her shepherd lived for ever.

Black Kate

Kate, they say, is seventeen --
 Do not count her sweet, you know.
Arms of her are rather lean --
 Ditto, calves and feet, you know.
Features of Hellenic type
 Are not patent here, you see.
Katie loves a black clay pipe --
 Doesn't hate her beer, you see.

Spartan Helen used to wear
 Tresses in a plait, perhaps:
Kate has ochre in her hair --
 Nose is rather flat, perhaps.
Rose Lorraine's surpassing dress
 Glitters at the ball, you see:
Daughter of the wilderness
 Has no dress at all, you see.

Laura's lovers every day
 In sweet verse embody her:
Katie's have a different way,
 Being frank, they "waddy" her.
Amy by her suitor kissed,
 Every nightfall looks for him:
Kitty's sweetheart isn't missed --
 Kitty "humps" and cooks for him.

Smith, and Brown, and Jenkins, bring
 Roses to the fair, you know.
Darkies at their Katie fling
 Hunks of native bear, you know.
English girls examine well
 All the food they take, you twig:
Kate is hardly keen of smell --
 Kate will eat a snake, you twig.

Yonder lady's sitting room --
 Clean and cool and dark it is:
Kitty's chamber needs no broom --
 Just a sheet of bark it is.
You may find a pipe or two
 If you poke and grope about:
Not a bit of starch or blue --
 Not a sign of soap about.

Girl I know reads ~Lalla Rookh~ --
 Poem of the "heady" sort:
Kate is better as a cook
 Of the rough and ready sort.
Byron's verse on Waterloo,
 Makes my darling glad, you see:
Kate prefers a kangaroo --
 Which is very sad, you see.

Other ladies wear a hat
 Fit to write a sonnet on:
Kitty has -- the naughty cat --
 Neither hat nor bonnet on!
Fifty silks has Madame Tate --
 She who loves to spank it on:
All her clothes are worn by Kate
 When she has her blanket on.

Let her rip! the Phrygian boy
 Bolted with a brighter one;
And the girl who ruined Troy
 Was a rather whiter one.
Katie's mouth is hardly Greek --
 Hardly like a rose it is:
Katie's nose is not antique --
 Not the classic nose it is.

Dryad in the grand old day,
 Though she walked the woods about,
Didn't smoke a penny clay --
 Didn't "hump" her goods about.
Daphne by the fairy lake,
 Far away from din and all,
Never ate a yard of snake,
 Head and tail and skin and all.

A Hyde Park Larrikin

* To the servants of God that are to be found in every denomination,
  these verses, of course, do not apply.  -- H.K.

You may have heard of Proclus, sir,
 If you have been a reader;
And you may know a bit of her
 Who helped the Lycian leader.

I have my doubts -- the head you "sport"
 (Now mark me, don't get crusty)
Is hardly of the classic sort --
 Your lore, I think, is fusty.

Most likely you have stuck to tracts
 Flushed through with flaming curses --
I judge you, neighbour, by your acts --
 So don't you d----n my verses.

But to my theme.  The Asian sage,
 Whose name above I mention,
Lived in the pitchy Pagan age,
 A life without pretension.

He may have worshipped gods like Zeus,
 And termed old Dis a master;
But then he had a strong excuse --
 He never heard a pastor.

However, it occurs to me
 That, had he cut Demeter
And followed you, or followed me,
 He wouldn't have been sweeter.

No doubt with "shepherds" of this time
 He's not the "clean potato",
Because -- excuse me for my rhyme --
 He pinned his faith to Plato.

But these are facts you can't deny,
 My pastor, smudged and sooty,
His mind was like a summer sky --
 He lived a life of beauty --

To lift his brothers' thoughts above
 This earth he used to labour:
His heart was luminous with love --
 He didn't wound his neighbour.

To him all men were just the same --
 He never foamed at altars,
Although he lived ere Moody came --
 Ere Sankey dealt in psalters.

The Lycian sage, my "reverend" sir,
 Had not your chances ample;
But, after all, I must prefer
 His perfect, pure example.

You, having read the Holy Writ --
 The Book the angels foster --
Say have you helped us on a bit,
 You overfed impostor?

What have you done to edify,
 You clammy chapel tinker?
What act like his of days gone by --
 The grand old Asian thinker?

Is there no deed of yours at all
 With beauty shining through it?
Ah, no! your heart reveals its gall
 On every side I view it.

A blatant bigot with a big
 Fat heavy fetid carcass,
You well become your greasy "rig" --
 You're not a second Arcas.

What sort of "gospel" do you preach?
 What "Bible" is your Bible?
There's worse than wormwood in your speech,
 You livid, living libel!

How many lives are growing gray
 Through your depraved behaviour!
I tell you plainly -- every day
 You crucify the Saviour!

Some evil spirit curses you --
 Your actions never vary:
You cannot point your finger to
 One fact to the contrary.

You seem to have a wicked joy
 In your malicious labour,
Endeavouring daily to destroy
 The neighbour's love for neighbour.

The brutal curses you eject
 Make strong men dread to hear you.
The world outside your petty sect
 Feels sick when it is near you.

No man who shuns that little hole
 You call your tabernacle
Can have, you shriek, a ransomed soul --
 He wears the devil's shackle.

And, hence the "Papist" by your clan
 Is dogged with words inhuman,
Because he loves that friend of man
 The highest type of woman --

Because he has that faith which sees
 Before the high Creator
A Virgin pleading on her knees --
 A shining Mediator!

God help the souls who grope in night --
 Who in your ways have trusted!
I've said enough! the more I write,
 The more I feel disgusted.

The warm, soft air is tainted through
 With your pernicious leaven.
I would not live ~one hour~ with you
 In your peculiar heaven!

Now mount your musty pulpit -- thump,
 And muddle flat clodhoppers;
And let some long-eared booby "hump"
 The plate about for coppers.

At priest and parson spit and bark,
 And shake your "church" with curses,
You bitter blackguard of the dark --
 With this I close my verses.

Names Upon a Stone

(Inscribed to G. L. Fagan, Esq.)

Across bleak widths of broken sea
 A fierce north-easter breaks,
And makes a thunder on the lea --
 A whiteness of the lakes.
Here, while beyond the rainy stream
 The wild winds sobbing blow,
I see the river of my dream
 Four wasted years ago.

Narrara of the waterfalls,
 The darling of the hills,
Whose home is under mountain walls
 By many-luted rills!
Her bright green nooks and channels cool
 I never more may see;
But, ah! the Past was beautiful --
 The sights that used to be.

There was a rock-pool in a glen
 Beyond Narrara's sands;
The mountains shut it in from men
 In flowerful fairy lands;
But once we found its dwelling-place --
 The lovely and the lone --
And, in a dream, I stooped to trace
 Our names upon a stone.

Above us, where the star-like moss
 Shone on the wet, green wall
That spanned the straitened stream across,
 We saw the waterfall --
A silver singer far away,
 By folded hills and hoar;
Its voice is in the woods to-day --
 A voice I hear no more.

I wonder if the leaves that screen
 The rock-pool of the past
Are yet as soft and cool and green
 As when we saw them last!
I wonder if that tender thing,
 The moss, has overgrown
The letters by the limpid spring --
 Our names upon the stone!

Across the face of scenes we know
 There may have come a change --
The places seen four years ago
 Perhaps would now look strange.
To you, indeed, they cannot be
 What haply once they were:
A friend beloved by you and me
 No more will greet us there.

Because I know the filial grief
 That shrinks beneath the touch --
The noble love whose words are brief --
 I will not say too much;
But often when the night-winds strike
 Across the sighing rills,
I think of him whose life was like
 The rock-pool's in the hills.

A beauty like the light of song
 Is in my dreams, that show
The grand old man who lived so long
 As spotless as the snow.
A fitting garland for the dead
 I cannot compass yet;
But many things he did and said
 I never will forget.

In dells where once we used to rove
 The slow, sad water grieves;
And ever comes from glimmering grove
 The liturgy of leaves.
But time and toil have marked my face,
 My heart has older grown
Since, in the woods, I stooped to trace
 Our names upon the stone.


Lordly harp, by lordly master wakened from majestic sleep,
Yet shall speak and yet shall sing the words which make the fathers weep!
Voice surpassing human voices -- high, unearthly harmony --
Yet shall tell the tale of hero, in exalted years to be!
In the ranges, by the rivers, on the uplands, down the dells,
Where the sound of wind and wave is, where the mountain anthem swells,
Yet shall float the song of lustre, sweet with tears and fair with flame,
Shining with a theme of beauty, holy with our Leichhardt's name!
Name of him who faced for science thirsty tracts of bitter glow,
Lurid lands that no one knows of -- two-and-thirty years ago.

Born by hills of hard grey weather, far beyond the northern seas,
German mountains were his sponsors, and his mates were German trees;
Grandeur of the old-world forests passed into his radiant soul,
With the song of stormy crescents where the mighty waters roll.
Thus he came to be a brother of the river and the wood --
Thus the leaf, the bird, the blossom, grew a gracious sisterhood;
Nature led him to her children, in a space of light divine:
Kneeling down, he said -- "My mother, let me be as one of thine!"
So she took him -- thence she loved him -- lodged him in her home of dreams,
Taught him what the trees were saying, schooled him in the speech of streams.

For her sake he crossed the waters -- loving her, he left the place
Hallowed by his father's ashes, and his human mother's face --
Passed the seas and entered temples domed by skies of deathless beam,
Walled about by hills majestic, stately spires and peaks supreme!
Here he found a larger beauty -- here the lovely lights were new
On the slopes of many flowers, down the gold-green dells of dew.
In the great august cathedral of his holy lady, he
Daily worshipped at her altars, nightly bent the reverent knee --
Heard the hymns of night and morning, learned the psalm of solitudes;
Knew that God was very near him -- felt His presence in the woods!

But the starry angel, Science, from the home of glittering wings,
Came one day and talked to Nature by melodious mountain springs:
"Let thy son be mine," she pleaded; "lend him for a space," she said,
"So that he may earn the laurels I have woven for his head!"
And the lady, Nature, listened; and she took her loyal son
From the banks of moss and myrtle -- led him to the Shining One!
Filled his lordly soul with gladness -- told him of a spacious zone
Eye of man had never looked at, human foot had never known.
Then the angel, Science, beckoned, and he knelt and whispered low --
"I will follow where you lead me" -- two-and-thirty years ago.

On the tracts of thirst and furnace -- on the dumb, blind, burning plain,
Where the red earth gapes for moisture, and the wan leaves hiss for rain,
In a land of dry, fierce thunder, did he ever pause and dream
Of the cool green German valley and the singing German stream?
When the sun was as a menace, glaring from a sky of brass,
Did he ever rest, in visions, on a lap of German grass?
Past the waste of thorny terrors, did he reach a sphere of rills,
In a region yet untravelled, ringed by fair untrodden hills?
Was the spot where last he rested pleasant as an old-world lea?
Did the sweet winds come and lull him with the music of the sea?

Let us dream so -- let us hope so!  Haply in a cool green glade,
Far beyond the zone of furnace, Leichhardt's sacred shell was laid!
Haply in some leafy valley, underneath blue, gracious skies,
In the sound of mountain water, the heroic traveller lies!
Down a dell of dewy myrtle, where the light is soft and green,
And a month like English April sits, an immemorial queen,
Let us think that he is resting -- think that by a radiant grave
Ever come the songs of forest, and the voices of the wave!
~Thus~ we want our sons to find him -- find him under floral bowers,
Sleeping by the trees he loved so, covered with his darling flowers!

After Many Years

The song that once I dreamed about,
 The tender, touching thing,
As radiant as the rose without --
 The love of wind and wing --
The perfect verses, to the tune
 Of woodland music set,
As beautiful as afternoon,
 Remain unwritten yet.

It is too late to write them now --
 The ancient fire is cold;
No ardent lights illume the brow,
 As in the days of old.
I cannot dream the dream again;
 But when the happy birds
Are singing in the sunny rain,
 I think I hear its words.

I think I hear the echo still
 Of long-forgotten tones,
When evening winds are on the hill
 And sunset fires the cones;
But only in the hours supreme,
 With songs of land and sea,
The lyrics of the leaf and stream,
 This echo comes to me.

No longer doth the earth reveal
 Her gracious green and gold;
I sit where youth was once, and feel
 That I am growing old.
The lustre from the face of things
 Is wearing all away;
Like one who halts with tired wings,
 I rest and muse to-day.

There is a river in the range
 I love to think about;
Perhaps the searching feet of change
 Have never found it out.
Ah! oftentimes I used to look
 Upon its banks, and long
To steal the beauty of that brook
 And put it in a song.

I wonder if the slopes of moss,
 In dreams so dear to me --
The falls of flower, and flower-like floss --
 Are as they used to be!
I wonder if the waterfalls,
 The singers far and fair,
That gleamed between the wet, green walls,
 Are still the marvels there!

Ah! let me hope that in that place
 The old familiar things
To which I turn a wistful face
 Have never taken wings.
Let me retain the fancy still
 That, past the lordly range,
There always shines, in folds of hill,
 One spot secure from change!

I trust that yet the tender screen
 That shades a certain nook,
Remains, with all its gold and green,
 The glory of the brook.
It hides a secret to the birds
 And waters only known:
The letters of two lovely words --
 A poem on a stone.

Perhaps the lady of the past
 Upon these lines may light,
The purest verses, and the last
 That I may ever write.
She need not fear a word of blame --
 Her tale the flowers keep --
The wind that heard me breathe her name
 Has been for years asleep.

But in the night, and when the rain
 The troubled torrent fills,
I often think I see again
 The river in the hills;
And when the day is very near,
 And birds are on the wing,
My spirit fancies it can hear
 The song I cannot sing.

[End of Songs from the Mountains.]

    Early Poems, 1859-70

(With a few exceptions, these are now printed
for the first time in book form).

The Merchant Ship

The sun o'er the waters was throwing
 In the freshness of morning its beams;
And the breast of the ocean seemed glowing
 With glittering silvery streams:
A bark in the distance was bounding
 Away for the land on her lee;
And the boatswain's shrill whistle resounding
 Came over and over the sea.
The breezes blew fair and were guiding
 Her swiftly along on her track,
And the billows successively passing,
 Were lost in the distance aback.
The sailors seemed busy preparing
 For anchor to drop ere the night;
The red rusted cables in fathoms
 Were haul'd from their prisons to light.
Each rope and each brace was attended
 By stout-hearted sons of the main,
Whose voices, in unison blended,
 Sang many a merry-toned strain.

Forgotten their care and their sorrow,
 If of such they had ever known aught,
Each soul was wrapped up in the morrow --
 The morrow which greeted them not;
A sunshiny hope was inspiring
 And filling their hearts with a glow
Like that on the billows around them,
 Like the silvery ocean below.
As they looked on the haven before them,
 Already high looming and near,
What else but a joy could invade them,
 Or what could they feel but a cheer?

     .    .    .    .    .

The eve on the waters was clouded,
 And gloomy and dark grew the sky;
The ocean in blackness was shrouded,
 And wails of a tempest flew by;
The bark o'er the billows high surging
 'Mid showers of the foam-crested spray,
Now sinking, now slowly emerging,
 Held onward her dangerous way.
The gale in the distance was veering
 To a point that would drift her on land,
And fearfully he that was steering
 Look'd round on the cliff-girdled strand.
He thought of the home now before him
 And muttered sincerely a prayer
That morning might safely restore him
 To friends and to kind faces there.
He knew that if once at the mercy
 Of the winds and those mountain-like waves
The sun would rise over the waters --
 The day would return on their graves.

     .    .    .    .    .

Still blacker the heavens were scowling,
 Still nearer the rock-skirted shore;
Yet fiercer the tempest was howling
 And louder the wild waters roar.
The cold rain in torrents came pouring
 On deck thro' the rigging and shrouds,
And the deep, pitchy dark was illumined
 Each moment with gleams from the clouds
Of forky-shap'd lightning as, darting,
 It made a wide pathway on high,
And the sound of the thunder incessant
 Re-echoed the breadth of the sky.
The light-hearted tars of the morning
 Now gloomily watching the storm
Were silent, the glare from the flashes
 Revealing each weather-beat form,
Their airy-built castles all vanished
 When they heard the wild conflict ahead;
Their hopes of the morning were banished,
 And terror seemed ruling instead.
They gazed on the heavens above them
 And then on the waters beneath,
And shrunk as foreboding those billows
 Might shroud them ere morrow in death.

     .    .    .    .    .

Hark!  A voice o'er the tempest came ringing,
 A wild cry of bitter despair
Re-echoed by all in the vessel,
 And filling the wind-ridden air.
The breakers and rocks were before them
 Discovered too plain to their eyes,
And the heart-bursting shrieks of the hopeless
 Ascending were lost in the skies.
Then a crash, then a moan from the dying
 Went on, on the wings of the gale,
Soon hush'd in the roar of the waters
 And the tempest's continuing wail.
The "Storm Power" loudly was sounding
 Their funeral dirge as they passed,
And the white-crested waters around them
 Re-echoed the voice of the blast.
The surges will show to the morrow
 A fearful and heartrending sight,
And bereaved ones will weep in their sorrow
 When they think of that terrible night.

     .    .    .    .    .

The day on the ocean returning
 Saw still'd to a slumber the deep --
Not a zephyr disturbing its bosom,
 The winds and the breezes asleep.
Again the warm sunshine was gleaming
 Refulgently fringing the sea,
Its rays to the horizon beaming
 And clothing the land on the lee.
The billows were silently gliding
 O'er the graves of the sailors beneath,
The waves round the vessel yet pointing
 The scene of their anguish and death.
They seemed to the fancy bewailing
 The sudden and terrible doom
Of those who were yesterday singing
 And laughing in sight of their tomb.

     .    .    .    .    .

'Tis thus on the sea of existence --
 The morning begins without care,
Hope cheerfully points to the distance,
 The Future beams sunny and fair;
And we -- as the bark o'er the billows,
 Admiring the beauty of day,
With Fortune all smiling around us --
 Glide onward our silvery way.
We know not nor fear for a sorrow
 Ever crossing our pathway in life;
We judge from to-day the to-morrow
 And dream not of meeting with strife.
This world seems to us as an Eden
 And we wonder when hearing around
The cries of stern pain and affliction
 How such an existence is found.
But we find to our cost when misfortune
 Comes mantling our sun in its night,
That the Earth was not made to be Heaven,
 Not always our life can be bright.
In turn we see each of our day-dreams
 Dissolve into air and decay,
And learn that the hopes that are brightest
 Fade soonest -- far soonest away.

These lines were written in 1857, and were suggested by the wreck
of the ~Dunbar~, but the writer did not confine himself in particular
to a description of that disaster, as may be seen from perusal.  -- H.K.

Oh, Tell Me, Ye Breezes

Oh, tell me, ye breezes that spring from the west,
 Oh, tell me, ere passing away,
If Leichhardt's bold spirit has fled to its rest?
 Where moulders the traveller's clay?

Perchance as ye flitted on heedlessly by
 The long lost was yielding his breath;
Perchance ye have borne on your wings the last sigh
 That 'scap'd from the lone one in death.

Tell me, ye breezes, ye've traversed the wild,
 And passed o'er the desolate spot,
Where reposeth in silence sweet Nature's own child,
 Where slumbers one nearly forgot?

Ye answer me not but are passing away --
 Ye breezes that spring from the west,
Unhallow'd still moulders the traveller's clay,
 For unknown is the place of his rest.

The Far Future

Australia, advancing with rapid winged stride,
Shall plant among nations her banners in pride,
The yoke of dependence aside she will cast,
And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.
Her flag on the tempest will wave to proclaim
'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name;
The Future shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd,
The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing like day on the sky,
Has glimmer'd thro' darkness, will blazon on high,
A Gem in its glitter has yet to be seen,
When Progress has placed her where England has been;
When bursting those limits above she will soar,
Outstretching all rivals who've mounted before,
And, resting, will blaze with her glories unfurl'd,
The empire of empires and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with Power, will entwine
With Honour and Justice a Mercy divine;
No Despot shall trample -- no slave shall be bound --
Oppression must totter and fall to the ground.
The stain of all ages, tyrannical sway,
Will pass like a flash or a shadow away,
And shrink to nothing 'neath thunderbolts hurl'd
From the hand of the terror -- the boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with rapid wing'd stride,
Shall plant among nations her banners in pride;
The yoke of dependence aside she will cast,
And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.
Her flag in the tempest will wave to proclaim,
'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name,
And Ages shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd
The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

I hope the above will not be considered disloyal.  It is but reasonable
to imagine that Australia will in the far future become
an independent nation -- that imagination springing as it does
from a native-born Australian brain.  -- H.K.

Silent Tears

What bitter sorrow courses down
 Yon mourner's faded cheek?
Those scalding drops betray a grief
 Within, too full to speak.
Outspoken words cannot express
 The pangs, the pains of years;
They're ne'er so deep or eloquent
 As are those silent tears.

Here is a wound that in the breast
 Must canker, hid'n from sight;
Though all without seems sunny day,
 Within 'tis ever night.
Yet sometimes from this secret source
 The gloomy truth appears;
The wind's dark dungeon must have vent
 If but in silent tears.

The world may deem from outward looks
 That heart is hard and cold;
But oh! could they the mantle lift
 What sorrows would be told!
Then, only then, the truth would show
 Which most the bosom sears:
The pain portrayed by burning words
 Or that by -- silent tears.

Extempore Lines

*  Suggested by one of John Bright's speeches on Electoral Reform.

A morning crowns the Western hill,
 A day begins to reign,
A sun awakes o'er distant seas --
 Shall never sleep again.
The world is growing old,
 And men are waxing wise;
A mist has cleared -- a something falls
 Like scales from off their eyes.

Too long the "Dark of Ignorance"
 Has brooded on their way;
Too long Oppression 's stood before,
 Excluding light of day.
But now they've found the track
 And now they've seen the dawn,
A "beacon lamp" is pointing on,
 Where stronger glows the morn.

Since Adam lived, the mighty ones
 Have ever ruled the weak;
Since Noah's flood, the fettered slave
 Has seldom dared to speak.
'Tis time a voice was heard,
 'Tis time a voice was spoken
So in the chain of tyranny
 A link or two be broken.

A tiny rill will swell a stream,
 A spark will cause a flame,
And one man's burning eloquence
 Has help'd to do the same.
And he will persevere,
 And soon that blaze must spread,
Till to the corners of the earth
 Reflecting beams are shed.

The "few" will try to beat it down,
 But can they stop the flood --
Bind up the pinions of the light,
 Or check the will of God?
And is it not His will
 That deeply injured Right
Should overthrow the iron rule
 And reign instead of Might?

The Old Year

It passed like the breath of the night-wind away,
It fled like a mist at the dawn of the day;
It lasted its moment, then backward was hurled,
Another increase to the age of the world.

It passed with its shadows, its smiles and its tears,
It passed as a stream to the ocean of years;
Years that were coming -- were here -- and are o'er,
The ages departed to visit no more.

It passed, but the bark on its billowy track
Leaves an impression on waters aback:
The glow of the gloaming remains on the sky,
Unwilling to leave us -- unwilling to die.

It fled; but away and away in its wake
There lingers a something that time cannot break.
The past and the future are joined by a chain,
And memories live that must ever remain.


(The Kanaka's Death-Song over his Chieftain.)

Shades of my father, the hour is approaching.
 Prepare ye the `cava' for `Yona' on high;
Make ready the welcome, ye souls of Arrochin.
 The Death God of Tanna speaks -- Yona must die.

No more will he traverse the flame sheeted mountain,
 To lead forth his brothers to hunting and war;
No more will he drink from the time honoured fountain,
 Nor rise in the councils of Uking-a-shaa.

His voice in the battle, loud thunder resembling,
 Has died like a zephyr o'errunning the plain;
His whoop like the tempest thro' forest trees trembling,
 Shall never strike foemen with terror again.

The `muska' hung up on the cocoa is sleeping,
 And Attanam's spirits have gathered a-nigh
To see their destroyer; and, wailing and weeping,
 Roll past on the night-breathing winds of the sky.

The lines are suspended, the `muttow' is broken,
 The canoe's far away from the water-wash'd shore,
Mourn, mourn, ye `whyeenas', the word has been spoken,
 The chieftain can bring ye the `weepan' no more.

Ye cloud-seated visions, ye shades of my fathers,
 Awake from your slumbers, the trumpet blast blow;
The moments are flying, the mountain mist gathers,
 And Yona is leaving his camp fire below.

     .    .    .    .    .

The struggles are over, the cords are asunder,
 Ye Phantoms hold forward your heavenly light,
Speak on the wings of the sky-shaking thunder,
 And fill him with joy on the path of his flight.

Come downwards a space thro' the fogs till ye meet him,
 Throw open the doors of Arrochin awide,
And stand on the thresholds, ye Shadows to greet him --
 The glory of Tanna, the Uking'shaa's pride.

Thanks, spirits departed! -- heard I not your voices
 Faint rolling along on the breath of the gale?
Thanks, spirits departed!  Le-en-na rejoices:
 Ye've answered the mourner -- ye've silenced the wail.

The midnight is clearing; the Death-song is ended.
 The Chieftain has gone, but ye've called him away;
For he smiled as he listened, obedient ascended,
 The voice in his ear, and the torch on his way.

Tanna is one of the largest islands in the group known as the New Hebrides.
The natives of it, in common with all their South Sea brethren,
are generally titled by the whites "Kanakas".  They are of the negro family,
resembling in feature, very closely, the Feejee tribes.  It is said that
they believe in the existence of a Superior Being, whose earthly dwelling
they fancy is in the burning volcanoes for which the island is remarkable.
They believe in a future happy state, and call their heaven "Arrochin".
They are divided into small tribes or clans; the largest of these
are the Ukingh-a-shaa and Attanam families.  A spirit of rivalry
between these two last-mentioned often causes long and bloody wars
all over the island.

Tanna, besides the never-sleeping volcano, has its other objects of interest
in the many boiling springs that surround the base of the burning mountain.
Some of these are held as holy, and none but chiefs are permitted
to taste their waters.  Such restriction, however, does not extend over all.

When any of their great warriors die, the aborigines believe that
the spirits of Arrochin prepare a great feast there for their coming guest,
and for fear he should lose himself on the road thither they (the spirits)
call to him and blow trumpets, sending some one at the same time with torches
to meet him and guide him on his way to those blessed regions.

  Explanation of Native Words:

"Arrochin" -- Heaven.  "Cava" -- a drink extracted from a root.
(The natives believe it is made and drunk in Arrochin where it grows
as in Tanna).  "Muska" (corruption of the English term, musket) --
of late their chief weapon in war.  "Muttow" -- a fishing-hook.
"Whyeena" -- woman (this is not the original native appellation;
that I could never ascertain).  "Weepan" -- Fish (their principal food).
"Leenna" and "Yona" -- native names.  -- H.K.

The Earth Laments for Day

There's music wafting on the air,
 The evening winds are sighing
Among the trees -- and yonder stream
 Is mournfully replying,
Lamenting loud the sunny light
 That in the west is dying.

The moon is rising o'er the hill,
 Her slanting rays are creeping
Where Nature lies profoundly still
 In happy quiet sleeping,
And resting on her face, they'll find
 The earth is wet with weeping.

She mourneth for the lovely day,
 Now deep in darkness shaded;
She sheds the dewy tear because
 Of morning's mantle faded;
She misses from her breast the garb
 In which the moon array'd it.

The evening queen will strive in vain
 To break the spell which bound her;
A million stars can never throw
 Departed warmth around her;
They all must pass away and leave
 The earth as they had found her.

But why should gentle Nature weep
 That night has overtaken
The wearied world that needed sleep,
 Refreshed to re-awaken,
So richer light might burst around,
 The gloomy shadows breaking?

Oh, can she not from yonder sky
 That gleams above her, borrow
A single ray, or find a way
 To check the tear of sorrow?
A beam of hope would last her till
 The dawning of to-morrow.

The Late W. V. Wild, Esq.

Sad faces came round, and I dreamily said
 "Though the harp of my country now slumbers,
Some hand will pass o'er it, in love for the dead,
 And attune it to sorrowful numbers!"
But the hopes that I clung to are withering things,
For the days have gone by with a cloud on their wings,
And the touch of a bard is unknown to the strings --
 ~Oh, why art thou silent, Australia?~

The leaves of the autumn are scattering fast,
 The willows look barren and lonely;
But I dream a sad dream of my friend of the past,
 And his form I can dwell upon only!
In the strength of his youth I can see him go by.
There is health on the cheek, and a fire in the eye --
Oh, who would have thought that such beauty could die!
 ~Ah, mourn for thy noblest, Australia!~

A strange shadow broods o'er the desolate earth,
 And the cypresses tremble and quiver;
But my heart waxeth dark with the thoughts of the worth
 That has left us for ever and ever!
A dull cloud creepeth close to the moon,
And the winter winds pass with a shuddering croon --
Oh, why was he snatched from his brothers so soon?
 ~Ah, weep for thy lost one, Australia!~

How weary we grow when we turn to reflect
 Upon what we have seen and believed in;
When harping on promises hopelessly wrecked,
 And the things we have all been deceived in!
When a voice that I loved lingers near to me yet!
And a kind, handsome face which I'll never forget --
Can I wake to the present and stifle regret --
 ~Can I smother these feelings, Australia?~

It is useless to grieve o'er the light that has fled
 But the harp of my country still slumbers;
And I thought that some bard in his love for the dead,
 Would have thrilled it to sorrowful numbers!
Lo, the hopes that I clung to are withering things
For the days have gone by with a cloud on their wings,
And my hand is too feeble to strike at the strings --
 ~Oh, why art thou silent, Australia?~


 Across the dripping ridges,
  O, look, luxurious night!
 She comes, the bright-haired beauty,
  My luminous delight!
  My luminous delight!
 So hush, ye shores, your roar,
That my soul may sleep, forgetting
 Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

 Astarte, Syrian sister,
  Your face is wet with tears;
 I think you know the secret
  One heart hath held for years!
  One heart hath held for years!
 But hide your hapless love,
And my sweet -- my Syrian sister,
 Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

 Ah, Helen Hope in heaven,
  My queen of long ago,
 I've swooned with adoration,
  But could not tell you so,
  Or dared not tell you so,
 My radiant queen of yore!
And you've passed away and left me
 Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

 Astarte knoweth, darling,
  Of eyes that once did weep,
 What time entranced Passion
  Hath kissed your lips in sleep;
  Hath kissed your lips in sleep;
 But now those tears are o'er,
Gone, my saint, with many a moan to
 Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

 If I am past all crying,
  What thoughts are maddening me,
 Of you, my darling, dying
  Upon the lone, wide sea,
  Upon the lone, wide sea,
 Ah! hush, ye shores, your roar,
That my soul may sleep, forgetting
 Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

Australian War Song

Men have said that ye were sleeping --
 Hurl, Australians, back the lie;
Whet the swords you have in keeping,
 Forward stand to do or die!
Hear ye not, across the ocean,
 Echoes of the distant fray,
Sounds of loud and fierce commotion,
 Swiftly sweeping on the way?
Hearts have woke from sluggish trances,
 Woke to know their native worth;
Freedom with her train advances --
 Freedom newly sprung to birth.
Despots start from thrones affrighted --
 Tyrants hear the angry tread;
Where the slaves, whose prayers were slighted,
 Marching -- draw the sword instead.

If the men of other nations
 Dash their fetters to the ground;
When the foeman seeks your stations,
 Will you willing slaves be found?
You the sons of hero fathers --
 Sires that bled at Waterloo!
No!  Your indignation gathers --
 To your old traditions true;
Should the cannon's iron rattle
 Sound between your harbour doors,
You will rise to wage the battle
 In a just and righteous cause.
Patriot fires will scorch Oppression
 Should it dare to draw too near;
And the tide of bold Aggression
 ~Must~ be stayed from coming here.

Look upon familiar places,
 Mountain, river, hill and glade;
Look upon those beauteous faces,
 Turning up to you for aid.
Think ye, in the time of danger,
 When that threatening moment comes --
Will ye let the heartless stranger
 Drive your kindred from their homes?
By the prayers which rise above you,
 When you face him on the shore,
By the forms of those that love you --
 Greet him with the rifle's roar!
While an arm can wield a sabre,
 While you yet can lift a hand,
Strike and teach your hostile neighbour,
 This is Freedom's chosen land.

The Ivy on the Wall

The verdant ivy clings around
 Yon moss be-mantled wall,
As if it sought to hide the stones,
 That crumbling soon must fall:
That relic of a bygone age
 Now tottering to decay,
Has but one friend -- the ivy -- left.
 The rest have passed away.

The fairy flowers that once did bloom
 And smile beneath its shade;
They lingered till the autumn came,
 And autumn saw them fade:
The emerald leaves that blushed between --
 The winds away have blown;
But yet to cheer the mournful scene,
 The ivy liveth on.

Thus heavenly hope will still survive,
 When earthly joys have fled;
And all the flow'ry dreams of youth
 Lie withering and dead.
When Winter comes -- it twines itself
 Around the human heart;
And like the ivy on the wall
 Will ne'er from thence depart.

The Australian Emigrant

How dazzling the sunbeams awoke on the spray,
When Australia first rose in the distance away,
As welcome to us on the deck of the bark,
As the dove to the vision of those in the ark!
What fairylike fancies appear'd to the view
As nearer and nearer the haven we drew!
What castles were built and rebuilt in the brain,
To totter and crumble to nothing again!

We had roam'd o'er the ocean -- had travers'd a path,
Where the tempest surrounded and shriek'd in its wrath:
Alike we had roll'd in the hurricane's breath,
And slumber'd on waters as silent as death:
We had watch'd the Day breaking each morn on the main,
And had seen it sink down in the billows again;
For week after week, till dishearten'd we thought
An age would elapse ere we enter'd the port.

How often while ploughing the `watery waste',
Our thoughts -- from the Future have turn'd to the Past;
How often our bosoms have heav'd with regret;
For faces and scenes we could never forget:
For we'd seen as the shadows o'er-curtain'd our minds
The cliffs of old England receding behind;
And had turned in our tears from the view of the shore,
The land of our childhood, to see it no more.

But when that red morning awoke from its sleep,
To show us this land like a cloud on the deep;
And when the warm sunbeams imparted their glow,
To the heavens above and the ocean below;
The hearts ' had been aching then revell'd with joy,
And a pleasure was tasted exempt from alloy;
The souls ' had been heavy grew happy and light
And all was forgotten in present delight.

'Tis true -- of the hopes that were verdant that day
There is more than the half of them withered away:
'Tis true that emotions of temper'd regret,
Still live for the country we'll never forget;
But yet we are happy, since learning to love
The scenes that surround us -- the skies are above,
We find ourselves bound, as it were by a spell,
In the clime we've adopted contented to dwell.

To My Brother, Basil E. Kendall

To-night the sea sends up a gulf-like sound,
And ancient rhymes are ringing in my head,
The many lilts of song we sang and said,
My friend and brother, when we journeyed round
Our haunts at Wollongong, that classic ground
For me at least, a lingerer deeply read
And steeped in beauty.  Oft in trance I tread
Those shining shores, and hear your talk of Fame
With thought-flushed face and heart so well assured
(Beholding through the woodland's bright distress
The Moon half pillaged of her loveliness)
Of this wild dreamer:  Had you but endured
A dubious dark, you might have won a name
With brighter bays than I can ever claim.

The Waterfall

The song of the water
 Doomed ever to roam,
A beautiful exile,
 Afar from its home.

The cliffs on the mountain,
 The grand and the gray,
They took the bright creature
 And hurled it away!

I heard the wild downfall,
 And knew it must spill
A passionate heart out
 All over the hill.

Oh! was it a daughter
 Of sorrow and sin,
That they threw it so madly
 Down into the lynn?

     .    .    .

And listen, my Sister,
 For this is the song
The Waterfall taught me
 The ridges among: --

"Oh where are the shadows
 So cool and so sweet
And the rocks," saith the water,
 "With the moss on their feet?

"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!


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


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!"


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.


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.


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.


  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?


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.


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."


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, 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.


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


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.


     ~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,

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.


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!

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.}


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.]


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