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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 pa.s.s 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?
G.o.d 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.
G.o.d 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!
G.o.d 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 G.o.d, 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 G.o.d-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 cl.u.s.ter round the h.o.a.ry 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 l.u.s.tre round her heart, And Virtue's l.u.s.tre 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 ma.s.s Of wattles intertwining, His Master lay--his back against The gra.s.sy 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 c.o.c.katoo; 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.)