an ebook published by Project Gutenberg Australia

Title: Poems And Songs
Author: Henry Kendall
eBook No.: 2300451h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: April 2023
Most recent update: April 2023

This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore

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Poems And Songs

Henry Kendall




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 

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 wish 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 Squatter’s 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 Culgoä 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 The 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.”


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