The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 8

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Bewail! bewail!

Who whispered a tale, That they heard on the gale, Through the dark and the cold, The voice of the bold; And a boomerang flying; Flying, and flying, and flying?

Ah! her heart it is wasted with crying-- Do you hear her, Ulmarra?

Oh! her heart it is wasted with crying!

The Maid of Gerringong

Rolling through the gloomy gorges, comes the roaring southern blast, With a sound of torrents flying, like a routed army, past, And, beneath the s.h.a.ggy forelands, strange fantastic forms of surf Fly, like wild hounds, at the darkness, crouching over sea and earth; Swooping round the sunken caverns, with an aggravated roar; Falling where the waters tumble foaming on a screaming sh.o.r.e!

In a night like this we parted. Eyes were wet though speech was low, And our thoughts were all in mourning for the dear, dead Long Ago!

In a night like this we parted. Hearts were sad though they were young, And you left me very lonely, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

Said my darling, looking at me, through the radiance of her tears: "Many changes, O my loved One, we will meet in after years; Changes like to sudden sunbursts flashing down a rainy steep-- Changes like to swift-winged shadows falling on a moony deep!

And they are so cheerless sometimes, leaving, when they pa.s.s us by, Deepening dolours on the sweet, sad face of our Humanity.

But you'll hope, and fail and faint not, with that heart so warm and true, Watching for the coming Morning, that will flood the World for you; Listening through a thirsty silence, till the low winds bear along Eager footfalls--pleasant voices," said the Maid of Gerringong.

Said my darling, when the wind came sobbing wildly round the eaves: "Oh, the Purpose scattered from me, like the withered autumn leaves!

Oh, the wreck of Love's ambition! Oh, the fond and full belief That I yet should hear them hail you in your land a G.o.d-made chief!

In the loud day they may slumber, but my thoughts will not be still When the weary world is sleeping, and the moon is on the hill; Then your form will bend above me, then your voice will rise and fall, Though I turn and hide in darkness, with my face against the wall, And my Soul must rise and listen while those homeless memories throng Moaning in the night for shelter," said the Maid of Gerringong.

Ay, she pa.s.sed away and left me! Rising through the dusk of tears, Came a vision of that parting every day for many years!

Every day, though she had told me not to court the strange sweet pain, Something whispered--something led me to our olden haunts again: And I used to wander nightly, by the surges and the ships, Harping on those last fond accents that had trembled from her lips: Till a vessel crossed the waters, and I heard a stranger say, "One you loved has died in silence with her dear face turned away."

Oh! the eyes that flash upon me, and the voice that comes along-- Oh! my light, my life, my darling dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

Some one saith, "Oh, you that mock at Pa.s.sion with a worldly whine, Would you change the face of Nature--would you limit G.o.d's design?

Hide for shame from well-raised clamour, moderate fools who would be wise; Hide for shame--the World will hoot you! Love is Love, and never dies"

And another asketh, doubting that my brother speaks the truth, "Can we love in age as fondly as we did in days of youth?

Will dead faces always haunt us, in the time of faltering breath?

Shall we yearn, and we so feeble?" Ay, for Love is Love in Death.

Oh! the Faith with sure foundation!--let the Ages roll along, You are mine, and mine for ever, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

Last night, dear, I dreamt about you, and I thought that far from men We were walking, both together, in a fragrant seaside glen; Down where we could hear the surges wailing round the castled cliffs, Down where we could see the sunset reddening on the distant skiffs; There a fall of mountain waters tumbled through the knotted bowers Bright with rainbow colours reeling on the purple forest flowers.

And we rested on the benches of a cavern old and h.o.a.r; And I whispered, "this is surely her I loved in days of yore!

False he was who brought sad tidings! Why were you away so long, When you knew who waited for you, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong?

"Did the strangers come around you, in the far-off foreign land?

Did they lead you out of sorrow, with kind face and loving hand?

Had they pleasant ways to court you--had they silver words to bind?

Had they souls more fond and loyal than the soul you left behind?

Do not think I blame you, dear one! Ah! my heart is gushing o'er With the sudden joy and wonder, thus to see your face once more.

Happy is the chance which joins us after long, long years of pain: And, oh, blessed was whatever sent you back to me again!

Now our pleasure will be real--now our hopes again are young: Now we'll climb Life's brightest summits, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

"In the sound of many footfalls, did you falter with regret For a step which used to gladden in the time so vivid yet?

When they left you in the night-hours, did you lie awake like me, With the thoughts of what we had been--what we never more could be?

Ah! you look but do not answer while I halt and question here, Wondering why I am so happy, doubting that you are so near.

Sure these eyes with love are blinded, for your form is waxing faint; And a dreamy splendour crowns it, like the halo round a saint!

When I talk of what we will be, and new aspirations throng, Why are you so sadly silent, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong?"

But she faded into sunset, and the sunset pa.s.sed from sight; And I followed madly after, through the misty, moony night, Crying, "do not leave me lonely! Life has been so cold and drear, You are all that G.o.d has left me, and I want you to be near!

Do not leave me in the darkness! I have walked a weary way, Listening for your truant footsteps--turn and stay, my darling, stay!"

But she came not though I waited, watching through a splendid haze, Where the lovely Phantom halted ere she vanished from my gaze.

Then I thought that rain was falling, for there rose a stormy song, And I woke in gloom and tempest, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong!


Like a beautiful face looking ever at me A pure bright moon cometh over the sea; And I stand on the crags, and hear the falls Go tumbling down, through the black river-walls; And the heart of the gorge is rent with the cry Of the pent-up winds in their agony!

You are far from me, dear, where I watch and wait, Like a weary bird for a long-lost mate, And my life is as dull as the sluggish stream Feeling its way through a world of dream; For here is a waste of darkness and fear, And I call and I call, but no one will hear!

O darling of mine, do you ever yearn For a something lost, which will never return?

O darling of mine, on the grave of dead Hours, Do you feel, like me, for a handful of flowers?

Through the glens of the Past, do you wander along, Like a restless ghost that hath done a wrong?

And, lying alone, do you look from the drouth Of a thirsty Life with a pleading mouth?

When the rain's on the roof, and the gales are abroad, Do you wash with your tears the feet of your G.o.d?

Oh! I know you do, and he sitteth alone, Your wounded Love, while you mourn and moan-- Oh! I know you do, and he never will leap From his silence with smiles, while you weep--and weep!

Your coolness shake down, ye gathered green leaves, For my spirit is faint with the love that it grieves!

Is there aught on the summit, O yearner through Night, Aught on the summit which looks like the light; When my soul is a-wearied and lone in the land, Groping around will it touch a kind hand?

There are chasms between us as black as a pall, But bring us together, O G.o.d over all!

And let me cast from me these fetters of Fear, When I hear the glad singing of Faith so near; For I know by the cheeks, which are pallid and wet, And a listening life we shall mingle yet!

Oh! then I will turn to those eloquent eyes, And clasp thee close, with a sweet surprise; And a guest will go in by the heart's holy door, And the chambers of Love shall be left no more.

The Opossum-Hunters

Hear ye not the waters beating where the rapid rivers, meeting With the winds above them fleeting, hurry to the distant seas, And a smothered sound of singing from old Ocean upwards springing, Sending hollow echoes ringing like a wailing on the breeze?

For the tempest round us brewing, cometh with the clouds pursuing, And the bright Day, like a ruin, crumbles from the mournful trees.

When the thunder ceases pealing, and the stars up heaven are stealing, And the Moon above us wheeling throws her pleasant glances round, From our homes we boldly sally 'neath the trysting tree to rally, For a night-hunt up the valley, with our brothers and the hound!

Through a wild-eyed Forest, staring at the light above it glaring, We will travel, little caring for the dangers where we bound.

Twisted boughs shall tremble o'er us, hollow woods shall moan before us, And the torrents like a chorus down the gorges dark shall sing; And the vines shall shake and shiver, and the startled gra.s.ses quiver, Like the reeds beside a river in the gusty days of Spring; While we forward haste delighted, through a region seldom lighted-- Souls impatient, hearts excited--like a wind upon the wing!

Oh! the solemn tones of Ocean, like the language of devotion, Or a voice of deep emotion, wander round the evening scene.

Oh! the ragged shadows cl.u.s.ter where, my brothers, we must muster Ere the warm moon lends her l.u.s.tre to the cedars darkly green; And the lights like flowers shall blossom, in high Heaven's kindly bosom, While we hunt the wild opossum, underneath its leafy screen;

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 8 summary

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