The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 46

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Now you are right, brave mariner, But we are not like you; We, used to sh.o.r.e, our fates deplore, And fear the more when waters roar; So few amongst us look before, Or stop to think that Heaven is o'er-- Ah! what you say is true.

And those who go abroad in ships, Who seldom see the land, But sail and stray so far away, Should trust and pray, for are not they, When Darkness blinds them on their way, All guided by G.o.d's hand?

But you are wrinkled, grey and worn; 'Tis time you dwelt in peace!

Your prime is past; we fail so fast; You may not last through every blast, And, oh, 'tis fearful to be cast Amongst the smothering seas!

Is there no absent face to love That you must live alone?

If faith did fade, if friends betrayed, And turned, and staid resolves you'd made, Ah, still 'tis pleasant to be laid Where you at least are known.

The answer slides betwixt our words-- "The season shines and glooms On ship and strand, on sea and land, But life must go and Time is spanned, As well you know when out you stand With Death amongst the tombs!

"It matters not to one so old Who mourns when Fate comes round, And one may sleep down in the deep As well as those beneath the heap That fifty stormy years will sweep And trample to the ground."

Your speech is wise, brave mariner, And we would let you be; You speak with truth, you strive to soothe; But, oh, the wrecks of Love and Truth, What say you to our tears for Youth And Beauty drowned at sea?

"Oh, talk not of the Beauty lost, Since first these decks I trod The hopeless stare on faces fair, The streaming, bare, dishevelled hair, The wild despair, the sinking--where, Oh where, oh where?--My G.o.d!"

To Miss Annie Hopkins

Beneath the shelter of the bush, In undisturbed repose-- Unruffled by the kiss of breeze-- There lurks a smiling rose; Beneath thine outer beauty, gleams, In holy light enshrined, A symbol of the blooming flower, A pure, unspotted mind.

The lovely tint that crowns the hill When westward sinks the sun, The milder dazzle in the stream That evening sits upon, The morning blushes, mantling o'er The face of land and sea, They all recall to mind the charms That are combined in thee!


Fifteen miles and then the harbour! Here we cannot choose but stand, Faces thrust towards the day-break, listening for our native land!

Close-reefed topsails shuddering over, straining down the groaning mast; For a tempest cleaves the darkness, hissing, howling, shrieking past!

Lo! the air is flecked with stormbirds, and their melancholy wail Lends a tone of deeper pathos to the melancholy gale!

Whilst away they wheel to leeward, leaving in their rapid flight Wind and water grappling wildly through the watches of the night.

Yesterday we both were happy; but my soul is filled with change, And I'm sad, my gallant comrade, with foreshadowings vague and strange!

Dear old place, are we so near you? Like to one that speaks in sleep, I'm talking, thinking wildly o'er this moaning, maddened deep!

Much it makes me marvel, brother, that such thoughts should linger nigh Now we know what sh.o.r.e is hidden somewhere in that misty sky!

Oh! I even fear to see it; and I've never felt so low Since we turned our faces from it, seven weary years ago.

Have you faith at all in omens? Fits of pa.s.sion I have known When it seemed in crowded towns as if I walked the Earth alone!

And amongst my comrades often, o'er the lucent, laughing sea, I have felt like one that drifteth on a dark and dangerous lee!

As a man who, crossing waters underneath a moony night, Knows there will be gloomy weather if a cloudrack bounds the light, So I hold, when Life is splendid, and our hopes are new and warm, We can sometimes, looking forward, see the shade and feel the storm.

When you called me I was dreaming that this thunder raged no more, And we travelled, both together, on a calm, delightful sh.o.r.e; That we went along rejoicing, for I thought I heard you say, "Now we soon shall see them, brother--now our fears have pa.s.sed away!"

Pleasant were those deep green wild-woods; and we hurried, like a breeze, Till I saw a distant opening through the porches of the trees; And our village faintly gleaming past the forest and the stream; But we wandered sadly through it with the Spirit of my Dream.

Why was our delight so fickle? Was it well while there to mourn; When the loved--the loving, crowding, came to welcome our return?

In my vision, once so glorious, did we find that aught was changed; Or that ONE whom WE remembered was forgotten or estranged?

Through a mist of many voices, listening for sweet accents fled, Heard we hints of lost affection, or of gentle faces dead?

No! but on the quiet dreamscape came a darkness like a pall And a ghostly shadow, brother, fell and rested over all.

Talking thus my friend I fronted, and in trustful tones he spake-- "I have long been waiting, watching here to see the morning break; Now behold the bright fulfilment! Did my Spirit yearn in vain; And amidst this holy splendour can a moody heart remain?

Let them pa.s.s, those wayward fancies! Waking thoughts return with sleep; And they mingle strangely sometimes, while we lie in slumber deep; But, believe me, dreams are nothing. If unto His creatures weak G.o.d should whisper of the Future, not in riddles will He speak."

Since he answered I have rested, for his brave words fell like balm; And we reached the land in daylight, and the tempest died in calm; Though the sounds of gusty fragments of a faint and broken breeze Still went gliding with the runnels, gurgling down the spangled leas!

So we turned and travelled onward, till we rested at a place Where a Vision fell about us, sunned with many a lovely face; Then we heard low silvery voices; and I knelt upon the sh.o.r.e-- Knelt and whispered, "G.o.d I thank Thee! and will wander never more."

Sonnets on the Discovery of Botany Bay by Captain Cook


The First Attempt to Reach the Sh.o.r.e

Where is the painter who shall paint for you, My Austral brothers, with a pencil steeped In hues of Truth, the weather-smitten crew Who gazed on unknown sh.o.r.es--a thoughtful few-- What time the heart of their great Leader leaped Till he was faint with pain of longing? New And wondrous sights on each and every hand, Like strange supernal visions, grew and grew Until the rocks and trees, and sea and sand, Danced madly in the tear-bewildered view!

And from the surf a fierce, fantastic band Of startled wild men to the hills withdrew With yells of fear! Who'll paint thy face, O Cook!

Turned seaward, "after many a wistful look!"


The Second Attempt, Opposed by Two of the Natives

"There were but two, and we were forty! Yet,"

The Captain wrote, "that dauntless couple throve, And faced our wildering faces; and I said 'Lie to awhile!' I did not choose to let A strife go on of little worth to _us_.

And so unequal! But the dying tread Of flying kinsmen moved them not: for wet With surf and wild with streaks of white and black The pair remained."--O stout Caractacus!

'Twas thus you stood when Caesar's legions strove To beat their few, fantastic foemen back-- Your patriots with their savage stripes of red!

To drench the stormy cliff and moaning cove With faithful blood, as pure as any ever shed.


The Spot Where Cook Landed

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 46 summary

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