The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 42

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The eve on the waters was clouded, And gloomy and dark grew the sky; The ocean in blackness was shrouded, And wails of a tempest flew by; The bark o'er the billows high surging 'Mid showers of the foam-crested spray, Now sinking, now slowly emerging, Held onward her dangerous way.

The gale in the distance was veering To a point that would drift her on land, And fearfully he that was steering Look'd round on the cliff-girdled strand.

He thought of the home now before him And muttered sincerely a prayer That morning might safely restore him To friends and to kind faces there.

He knew that if once at the mercy Of the winds and those mountain-like waves The sun would rise over the waters-- The day would return on their graves.

Still blacker the heavens were scowling, Still nearer the rock-skirted sh.o.r.e; Yet fiercer the tempest was howling And louder the wild waters roar.

The cold rain in torrents came pouring On deck thro' the rigging and shrouds, And the deep, pitchy dark was illumined Each moment with gleams from the clouds Of forky-shap'd lightning as, darting, It made a wide pathway on high, And the sound of the thunder incessant Re-echoed the breadth of the sky.

The light-hearted tars of the morning Now gloomily watching the storm Were silent, the glare from the flashes Revealing each weather-beat form, Their airy-built castles all vanished When they heard the wild conflict ahead; Their hopes of the morning were banished, And terror seemed ruling instead.

They gazed on the heavens above them And then on the waters beneath, And shrunk as foreboding those billows Might shroud them ere morrow in death.

Hark! A voice o'er the tempest came ringing, A wild cry of bitter despair Re-echoed by all in the vessel, And filling the wind-ridden air.

The breakers and rocks were before them Discovered too plain to their eyes, And the heart-bursting shrieks of the hopeless Ascending were lost in the skies.

Then a crash, then a moan from the dying Went on, on the wings of the gale, Soon hush'd in the roar of the waters And the tempest's continuing wail.

The "Storm Power" loudly was sounding Their funeral dirge as they pa.s.sed, And the white-crested waters around them Re-echoed the voice of the blast.

The surges will show to the morrow A fearful and heartrending sight, And bereaved ones will weep in their sorrow When they think of that terrible night.

The day on the ocean returning Saw still'd to a slumber the deep-- Not a zephyr disturbing its bosom, The winds and the breezes asleep.

Again the warm sunshine was gleaming Refulgently fringing the sea, Its rays to the horizon beaming And clothing the land on the lee.

The billows were silently gliding O'er the graves of the sailors beneath, The waves round the vessel yet pointing The scene of their anguish and death.

They seemed to the fancy bewailing The sudden and terrible doom Of those who were yesterday singing And laughing in sight of their tomb.

'Tis thus on the sea of existence-- The morning begins without care, Hope cheerfully points to the distance, The Future beams sunny and fair; And we--as the bark o'er the billows, Admiring the beauty of day, With Fortune all smiling around us-- Glide onward our silvery way.

We know not nor fear for a sorrow Ever crossing our pathway in life; We judge from to-day the to-morrow And dream not of meeting with strife.

This world seems to us as an Eden And we wonder when hearing around The cries of stern pain and affliction How such an existence is found.

But we find to our cost when misfortune Comes mantling our sun in its night, That the Earth was not made to be Heaven, Not always our life can be bright.

In turn we see each of our day-dreams Dissolve into air and decay, And learn that the hopes that are brightest Fade soonest--far soonest away.

These lines were written in 1857, and were suggested by the wreck of the _Dunbar_, but the writer did not confine himself in particular to a description of that disaster, as may be seen from perusal.--H.K.

Oh, Tell Me, Ye Breezes

Oh, tell me, ye breezes that spring from the west, Oh, tell me, ere pa.s.sing away, If Leichhardt's bold spirit has fled to its rest?

Where moulders the traveller's clay?

Perchance as ye flitted on heedlessly by The long lost was yielding his breath; Perchance ye have borne on your wings the last sigh That 'scap'd from the lone one in death.

Tell me, ye breezes, ye've traversed the wild, And pa.s.sed o'er the desolate spot, Where reposeth in silence sweet Nature's own child, Where slumbers one nearly forgot?

Ye answer me not but are pa.s.sing away-- Ye breezes that spring from the west, Unhallow'd still moulders the traveller's clay, For unknown is the place of his rest.

The Far Future

Australia, advancing with rapid winged stride, Shall plant among nations her banners in pride, The yoke of dependence aside she will cast, And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.

Her flag on the tempest will wave to proclaim 'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name; The Future shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd, The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing like day on the sky, Has glimmer'd thro' darkness, will blazon on high, A Gem in its glitter has yet to be seen, When Progress has placed her where England has been; When bursting those limits above she will soar, Outstretching all rivals who've mounted before, And, resting, will blaze with her glories unfurl'd, The empire of empires and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with Power, will entwine With Honour and Justice a Mercy divine; No Despot shall trample--no slave shall be bound-- Oppression must totter and fall to the ground.

The stain of all ages, tyrannical sway, Will pa.s.s like a flash or a shadow away, And shrink to nothing 'neath thunderbolts hurl'd From the hand of the terror--the boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with rapid wing'd stride, Shall plant among nations her banners in pride; The yoke of dependence aside she will cast, And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.

Her flag in the tempest will wave to proclaim, 'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name, And Ages shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

I hope the above will not be considered disloyal. It is but reasonable to imagine that Australia will in the far future become an independent nation--that imagination springing as it does from a native-born Australian brain.--H.K.

Silent Tears

What bitter sorrow courses down Yon mourner's faded cheek?

Those scalding drops betray a grief Within, too full to speak.

Outspoken words cannot express The pangs, the pains of years; They're ne'er so deep or eloquent As are those silent tears.

Here is a wound that in the breast Must canker, hid'n from sight; Though all without seems sunny day, Within 'tis ever night.

Yet sometimes from this secret source The gloomy truth appears; The wind's dark dungeon must have vent If but in silent tears.

The world may deem from outward looks That heart is hard and cold; But oh! could they the mantle lift What sorrows would be told!

Then, only then, the truth would show Which most the bosom sears: The pain portrayed by burning words Or that by--silent tears.

Extempore Lines

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 42 summary

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