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Mighty nations! let them view Sons of generous sires in you.
By the days that sound afar, Sound, and shine like star by star; By the grand old years aflame With the fires of England's fame-- Heirs of those who fought for right When the world's wronged face was white-- Meet these guests your fortune sends, As your fathers met their friends; Let the beauty of your race Glow like morning in your face.
Where now a radiant city stands, The dark oak used to wave, The elfin harp of lonely lands Above the wild man's grave; Through windless woods, one clear, sweet stream (Sing soft and very low) Stole like the river of a dream A hundred years ago.
Upon the hills that blaze to-day With splendid dome and spire, The naked hunter tracked his prey, And slumbered by his fire.
Within the sound of shipless seas The wild rose used to blow About the feet of royal trees, A hundred years ago.
Ah! haply on some mossy slope, Against the shining springs, In those old days the angel Hope Sat down with folded wings; Perhaps she touched in dreams sublime, In glory and in glow, The skirts of this resplendent time, A hundred years ago.
A gracious morning on the hills of wet And wind and mist her glittering feet has set; The life and heat of light have chased away Australia's dark, mysterious yesterday.
A great, glad glory now flows down and shines On gold-green lands where waved funereal pines.
And hence a fair dream goes before our gaze, And lifts the skirts of the hereafter days, And sees afar, as dreams alone can see, The splendid marvel of the years to be.
_Ba.s.ses and Chorus_
Father, All-Bountiful, humbly we bend to Thee; Heads are uncovered in sight of Thy face.
Here, in the flow of the psalms that ascend to Thee, Teach us to live for the light of Thy grace.
Here, in the pause of the anthems of praise to Thee, Master and Maker--pre-eminent Friend-- Teach us to look to Thee--give all our days to Thee, Now and for evermore, world without end!
Hymn of Praise
[_Closing of Sydney International Exhibition._]
Encompa.s.sed by the psalm of hill and stream, By hymns august with their majestic theme, Here in the evening of exalted days To Thee, our Friend, we bow with breath of praise.
The great, sublime hosannas of the sea Ascend on wings of mighty winds to Thee, And mingled with their stately words are tones Of human love, O Lord of all the zones!
Ah! at the close of many splendid hours, While falls Thy gracious light in radiant showers, We seek Thy face, we praise Thee, bless Thee, sing This song of reverence, Master, Maker, King!
To Thee, from whom all shining blessings flow, All gifts of l.u.s.tre, all the joys we know, To Thee, O Father, in this lordly s.p.a.ce, The great world turns with worship in its face.
For that glad season which will pa.s.s to-day With light and music like a psalm away, The gathered nations with a grand accord, In sight of Thy high heaven, thank Thee, Lord!
All praise is Thine--all love that we can give Is also Thine, in whose large grace we live, In whom we find the _One_ long-suffering Friend, Whose immemorial mercy has no end.
Sing, mountain-wind, thy strong, superior song-- Thy haughty alpine anthem, over tracts Whose pa.s.ses and whose swift, rock-straitened streams Catch mighty life and voice from thee, and make A lordly harmony on sea-chafed heights.
Sing, mountain-wind, and take thine ancient tone, The grand, austere, imperial utterance.
Which drives my soul before it back to days In one dark hour of which, when Storm rode high Past broken hills, and when the polar gale Roared round the Otway with the bitter breath That speaks for ever of the White South Land Alone with G.o.d and Silence in the cold, I heard the touching tale of Basil Moss,
A story shining with a woman's love!
And who that knows that love can ever doubt How dear, divine, sublime a thing it is; For while the tale of Basil Moss was one Not blackened with those stark, satanic sins Which call for superhuman sacrifice, Still, from the records of the world's sad life, This great, sweet, gladdening fact at length we've learned, There's not a depth to which a man can fall, No slough of crime in which such one can lie Stoned with the scorn and curses of his kind, But that some tender woman can be found To love and shield him still.
What was the fate Of Basil Moss who, thirty years ago, A brave, high-minded, but impetuous youth, Left happy homesteads in the sweetest isle That wears the sober light of Northern suns?
What happened him, the man who crossed far, fierce Sea-circles of the hoa.r.s.e Atlantic--who, Without a friend to help him in the world, Commenced his battle in this fair young land, A Levite in the Temple Beautiful Of Art, who struggled hard, but found that here Both Bard and Painter learn, by bitter ways, That they are aliens in the working world, And that all Heaven's templed clouds at morn And sunset do not weigh one loaf of bread!
_This_ was his tale. For years he kept himself Erect, and looked his troubles in the face And grappled them; and, being helped at last By one who found she loved him, who became The patient sharer of his lot austere, He beat them bravely back; but like the heads Of Lerna's fabled hydra, they returned From day to day in numbers multiplied; And so it came to pa.s.s that Basil Moss (Who was, though brave, no mental Hercules, Who hid beneath a calmness forced, the keen Heart-breaking sensibility--which is The awful, wild, specific curse that clings Forever to the Poet's twofold life) Gave way at last; but not before the hand Of sickness fell upon him--not before The drooping form and sad averted eyes Of hectic Hope, that figure far and faint, Had given all his later thoughts a tongue-- "It is too late--too late!"
There is no need To tell the elders of the English world What followed this. From step to step, the man-- Now fairly gripped by fierce Intemperance-- Descended in the social scale; and though He struggled hard at times to break away, And take the old free, dauntless stand again, He came to be as helpless as a child, And Darkness settled on the face of things, And Hope fell dead, and Will was paralysed.
Yet sometimes, in the gloomy breaks between Each fit of madness issuing from his sin, He used to wander through familiar woods With G.o.d's glad breezes blowing in his face, And try to feel as he was wont to feel In other years; but never could he find Again his old enthusiastic sense Of Beauty; never could he exorcize The evil spell which seemed to shackle down The fine, keen, subtle faculty that used To see into the heart of loveliness; And therefore Basil learned to shun the haunts Where Nature holds her chiefest courts, because They forced upon him in the saddest light The fact of what he was, and once had been.
So fared the drunkard for five awful years-- The last of which, while lighting singing dells, With many a flame of flowers, found Basil Moss Cooped with his wife in one small wretched room; And there, one night, the man, when ill and weak-- A sufferer from his latest bout of sin-- Moaned, stricken sorely with a fourfold sense Of all the degradation he had brought Upon himself, and on his patient wife; And while he wrestled with his strong remorse He looked upon a sweet but pallid face, And cried, "My G.o.d! is this the trusting girl I swore to love, to shield, to cherish so But ten years back? O, what a liar I am!"
She, shivering in a thin and faded dress Beside a handful of pale, smouldering fire, On hearing Basil's words, moved on her chair, And turning to him blue, beseeching eyes, And pinched, pathetic features, faintly said-- "O, Basil, love! now that you seem to feel And understand how much I've suffered since You first gave way--now that you comprehend The bitter heart-wear, darling, that has brought The swift, sad silver to this hair of mine Which should have come with Age--which came with Pain, Do make one more attempt to free yourself From what is slowly killing both of us; And if you do the thing I ask of you, If you but try this _once_, we may indeed-- We may be happy yet."
Then Basil Moss, Remembering in his marvellous agony How often he had found her in the dead Of icy nights with uncomplaining eyes, A watcher in a cheerless room for him; And thinking, too, that often, while he threw His scanty earnings over reeking bars, The darling that he really loved through all Was left without enough to eat--then Moss, I say, sprang to his feet with sinews set And knotted brows, and throat that gasped for air, And cried aloud--"My poor, poor girl, _I will_."
And so he did; and fought this time the fight Out to the bitter end; and with the help Of prayers and unremitting tenderness He gained the victory at last; but not-- No, not before the agony and sweat Of fierce Gethsemanes had come to him; And not before the awful nightly trials, When, set in mental furnaces of flame, With eyes that ached and wooed in vain for sleep, He had to fight the devil holding out The cup of Lethe to his fevered lips.