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Camped by the Creek
"All day a strong sun has been drinking The ponds in the Wattletree Glen; And now as they're puddles, I'm thinking We were wise to head hitherwards, men!
The country is heavy to nor'ard, But Lord, how you rattled along!
Jack's chestnut's best leg was put for'ard, And the bay from the start galloped strong; But for bottom, I'd stake my existence, There's none of the lot like the mare; For look! she has come the whole distance With never the 'turn of a hair'.
"But now let us stop, for the 'super'
Will want us to-morrow by noon; And as he can swear like a trooper, We can't be a minute too soon.
Here, d.i.c.k, you can hobble the filly And chestnut, but don't take a week; And, Jack, hurry off with the billy And fill it. We'll camp by the creek."
So spoke the old stockman, and quickly We made ourselves snug for the night; The smoke-wreaths above us curled thickly, For our pipes were the first thing a-light!
As we sat round a fire that only A well-seasoned bushman can make, Far forests grew silent and lonely, Though the paw was astir in the brake, But not till our supper was ended, And not till old Bill was asleep, Did wild things by wonder attended In shot of our camping-ground creep.
Scared eyes from thick tuft and tree-hollow Gleamed out thro' the forest-boles stark; And ever a hurry would follow Of fugitive feet in the dark.
While d.i.c.k and I yarned and talked over Old times that had gone like the sun, The wail of the desolate plover Came up from the swamps in the run.
And sniffing our supper, elated, From his den the red dingo crawled out; But skulked in the darkness, and waited, Like a cunning but cowardly scout.
Thereafter came sleep that soon falls on A man who has ridden all day; And when midnight had deepened the palls on The hills, we were snoring away.
But ere we dozed off, the wild noises Of forest, of fen, and of stream, Grew strange, and were one with the voices That died with a sweet semi-dream.
And the tones of the waterfall, blended With the song of the wind on the sh.o.r.e, Became a soft psalm that ascended, Grew far, and we heard it no more.
-- * A cantata, set to music by C. E. Horsley, and sung at the opening of the Melbourne Town Hall, 1870.
Hail to thee, Sound!--The power of Euterpe in all the scenes of life-- in religion; in works of charity; in soothing troubles by means of music; in all humane and high purposes; in war; in grief; in the social circle; the children's lullaby; the dance; the ballad; in conviviality; when far from home; at evening--the whole ending with an allegorical chorus, rejoicing at the building of a mighty hall erected for the recreation of a nation destined to take no inconsiderable part in the future history of the world.
_No. 1 Chorus_
All hail to thee, Sound! Since the time Calliope's son took the lyre, And lulled in the heart of their clime The demons of darkness and fire; Since Eurydice's lover brought tears To the eyes of the Princes of Night, Thou hast been, through the world's weary years, A marvellous source of delight-- Yea, a marvellous source of delight!
In the wind, in the wave, in the fall Of the water, each note of thine dwells; But Euterpe hath gathered from all The sweetest to weave into spells.
She makes a miraculous power Of thee with her magical skill; And gives us, for bounty or dower, The accents that soothe us or thrill!
Yea, the accents that soothe us or thrill!
All hail to thee, Sound! Let us thank The great Giver of light and of life For the music divine that we've drank, In seasons of peace and of strife, Let us gratefully think of the balm That falls on humanity tired, At the tones of the song or the psalm From lips and from fingers inspired-- Yea, from lips and from fingers inspired.
_No. 2 Quartette and Chorus_
When, in her sacred fanes G.o.d's daughter, sweet Religion, prays, Euterpe's holier strains Her thoughts from earth to heaven raise.
The organ notes sublime Put every worldly dream to flight; They sanctify the time, And fill the place with hallowed light.
_No. 3 Soprano Solo_
Yea, and when that meek-eyed maiden Men call Charity, comes fain To raise up spirits, laden With bleak poverty and pain: Often, in her cause enlisted, Music softens hearts like stones; And the fallen are a.s.sisted Through Euterpe's wondrous tones.
_No. 4 Orchestral Intermezzo_
_No. 5 Chorus_
Beautiful is Sound devoted To all ends humane and high; And its sweetness never floated Like a thing unheeded by.
Power it has on souls encrusted With the selfishness of years; Yea, and thousands Mammon-rusted, Hear it, feel it, leave in tears.
_No. 6 Choral Recitative (Men's voices only)_
When on the battlefield, and in the sight Of tens of thousands bent to smite and slay Their human brothers, how the soldier's heart Must leap at sounds of martial music, fired With all that spirit that the patriot loves Who seeks to win, or n.o.bly fall, for home!
_No. 7 Triumphal March_
_No. 8 Funeral Chorus_
Slowly and mournfully moves a procession, Wearing the signs Of sorrow, through loss, and it halts like a shadow Of death in the pines.
Come from the fane that is filled with G.o.d's presence, Sad sounds and deep; Holy Euterpe, she sings of our brother, We listen and weep.
Death, like the Angel that pa.s.sed over Egypt, Struck at us sore; Never again shall we turn at our loved one's Step at the door.
_No. 9 Chorus (Soprano voices only)_
But, pa.s.sing from sorrow, the spirit Of Music, a glory, doth rove Where it lightens the features of beauty, And burns through the accents of love-- The pa.s.sionate accents of love.
_No. 10 Lullaby Song--Contralto_
The night-shades gather, and the sea Sends up a sound, sonorous, deep; The plover's wail comes down the lea; By slope and vale the vapours weep, And dew is on the tree; And now where homesteads be, The children fall asleep, Asleep.
A low-voiced wind amongst the leaves, The sighing leaves that mourn the Spring, Like some lone spirit, flits and grieves, And grieves and flits on fitful wing.
But where Song is a guest, A lulling dreamy thing, The children fall to rest, To rest.