The Poems Of Henry Kendall - novelonlinefull.com
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Seeing the fathers are far Seeking the spoils of the dead Left on the path of the war, Matted and mangled and red.
Where Hornby, like a mighty fallen star, Burns through the darkness with a splendid ring Of tenfold light, and where the awful face Of Sydney's northern headland stares all night O'er dark, determined waters from the east, From year to year a wild, t.i.tanic voice Of fierce aggressive sea shoots up and makes,-- When storm sails high through drifts of driving sleet, And in the days when limpid waters gla.s.s December's sunny hair and forest face,-- A roaring down by immemorial caves, A thunder in the everlasting hills.
But calm and lucid as an English lake, Beloved by beams and wooed by wind and wing, Shut in from tempest-trampled wastes of wave, And sheltered from white wraths of surge by walls-- Grand ramparts founded by the hand of G.o.d, The lordly Harbour gleams. Yea, like a shield Of marvellous gold dropped in his fiery flight By some lost angel in the elder days, When Satan faced and fought Omnipotence, It shines amongst fair, flowering hills, and flows By dells of glimmering greenness manifold.
And all day long, when soft-eyed Spring comes round With gracious gifts of bird and leaf and gra.s.s-- And through the noon, when sumptuous Summer sleeps By yellowing runnels under beetling cliffs, This royal water blossoms far and wide With ships from all the corners of the world.
And while sweet Autumn with her gipsy face Stands in the gardens, splashed from heel to thigh With spinning vine-blood--yea, and when the mild, Wan face of our Australian Winter looks Across the congregated southern fens, Then low, melodious, sh.e.l.l-like songs are heard Beneath proud hulls and pompous clouds of sail, By yellow beaches under lisping leaves And hidden nooks to Youth and Beauty dear, And where the ear may catch the counter-voice Of Ocean travelling over far, blue tracts.
Moreover, when the moon is gazing down Upon her lovely reflex in the wave, (What time she, sitting in the zenith, makes A silver silence over stirless woods), Then, where its echoes start at sudden bells, And where its waters gleam with flying lights, The haven lies, in all its beauty clad, More lovely even than the golden lakes The poet saw, while dreaming splendid dreams Which showed his soul the far Hesperides.
A Birthday Trifle
Here in this gold-green evening end, While air is soft and sky is clear, What tender message shall I send To her I hold so dear?
What rose of song with breath like myrrh, And leaf of dew and fair pure beams Shall I select and give to her-- The lady of my dreams?
Alas! the blossom I would take, The song as sweet as Persian speech, And carry for my lady's sake, Is not within my reach.
I have no perfect gift of words, Or I would hasten now to send A ballad full of tunes of birds To please my lovely friend.
But this pure pleasure is my own, That I have power to waft away A hope as bright as heaven's zone On this her natal day.
May all her life be like the light That softens down in spheres divine, "As lovely as a Lapland night,"
All grace and chastened shine!
In the roar of the storm, in the wild bitter voice of the tempest-whipped sea, The cry of my darling, my child, comes ever and ever to me; And I stand where the haggard-faced wood stares down on a sinister sh.o.r.e, But all that is left is the hood of the babe I can cherish no more.
A little blue hood, with the shawl of the girl that I took for my wife In a happy old season, is all that remains of the light of my life; The wail of a woman in pain, and the sob of a smothering bird, They come through the darkness again-- in the wind and the rain they are heard.
Oh, women and men who have known the perils of weather and wave, It is sad that my sweet ones are blown under sea without shelter of grave; I sob like a child in the night, when the gale on the waters is loud-- My darlings went down in my sight, with neither a coffin nor shroud.
In the whistle of wind, and the whirl of ominous fragments of wreck, The wife, with her poor little girl, saw death on the lee of the deck; But, sirs, she depended on me--she trusted my comforting word; She is down in the depths of the sea--my love, with her beautiful bird.
In the boat I was ordered to go--I was not more afraid than the rest, But a husband will falter, you know, with the love of his life at his breast; My captain was angry a s.p.a.ce, but soon he grew tender in tone-- Perhaps there had flashed by his face a wife and a child of his own.
I was weak for some moments, and cried; but only one hope was in life; The hood upon baby I tied--I fastened the shawl on my wife.
The skipper took charge of the child--he stuck to his word till the last; But only this hood on the wild, bitter sh.o.r.e of the sea had been cast.
In the place of a coward, who shook like a leaf in the quivering boat, A seat by the rowlocks I took; but the sea had me soon by the throat, The surge gripped me fast by the neck--in a ring, and a roll, and a roar, I was cast like a piece of the wreck, on a bleak, beaten, shelterless sh.o.r.e.
And there were my darlings on board for the rest of that terrible day, And I watched and I prayed to the Lord, as never before I could pray.
The windy hills stared at the black, heavy clouds coming over the wave; My girl was expecting me back, but where was my power to save?
Ah! where was my power, when Death was glaring at me from the reef?
I cried till I gasped for my breath, aloof with a maddening grief.
We couldn't get back to the deck: I wanted to go, but the sea Dashed over the sides of the wreck, and carried my darling from me.
Oh, girl that I took by the hand to the altar two summers ago, I would you were buried on land--my dear, it would comfort me so!
I would you were sleeping where grows the gra.s.s and the musical reed!
For how can you find a repose in the toss of the tangle and weed?
The night sped along, and I strained to the shadow and saw to the end My captain and bird--he remained to the death a superlative friend: In the face of the hurricane wild, he clung with the babe to the mast; To the last he was true to my child--he was true to my child to the last.
The wind, like a life without home, comes mocking at door and at pane In the time of the cry of the foam--in the season of thunder and rain, And, dreaming, I start in the bed, and feel for my little one's brow-- But lost is the beautiful head; the cradle is tenantless now!
My home was all morning and glow when wife and her baby were there, But, ah! it is saddened, you know, by dresses my girl used to wear.
I cannot re-enter the door; its threshold can never be crossed, For fear I should see on the floor the shoes of the child I have lost.
There were three of us once in the world; but two are deep down in the sea, Where waif and where tangle are hurled--the two that were portions of me; They are far from me now, but I hear, when hushed are the night and the tide, The voice of my little one near--the step of my wife by my side.
Sydney Exhibition Cantata
Songs of morning, with your breath Sing the darkness now to death; Radiant river, beaming bay, Fair as Summer, shine to-day; Flying torrent, falling slope, Wear the face as bright as Hope; Wind and woodland, hill and sea, Lift your voices--sing for glee!
Greet the guests your fame has won-- Put your brightest garments on.
_Recitative and Chorus_
Lo, they come--the lords unknown, Sons of Peace, from every zone!
See above our waves unfurled All the flags of all the world!
North and south and west and east Gather in to grace our feast.
Shining nations! let them see How like England we can be.