The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 9

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Underneath the woven bowers, where the gloomy night-hawk cowers, Through a lapse of dreamy hours, in a stirless solitude!

And the hound--that close beside us still will stay whate'er betide us-- Through a 'wildering waste shall guide us-- through a maze where few intrude, Till the game is chased to cover, till the stirring sport is over, Till we bound, each happy rover, homeward down the laughing wood.

Oh, the joy in wandering thither, when fond friends are all together And our souls are like the weather--cloudless, clear and fresh and free!

Let the sailor sing the story of the ancient ocean's glory, Forests golden, mountains h.o.a.ry--can he look and love like we?

Sordid worldling, haunt thy city with that heart so hard and gritty!

There are those who turn with pity when they turn to think of thee!

In the Depths of a Forest

In the depths of a Forest secluded and wild, The night voices whisper in pa.s.sionate numbers; And I'm leaning again, as I did when a child, O'er the grave where my father so quietly slumbers.

The years have rolled by with a thundering sound But I knew, O ye woodlands, affection would know it, And the spot which I stand on is sanctified ground By the love that I bear to him sleeping below it.

Oh! well may the winds with a saddening moan Go fitfully over the branches so dreary; And well may I kneel by the time-shattered stone, And rejoice that a rest has been found for the weary.

To Charles Harpur

I would sit at your feet for long days, To hear the sweet Muse of the Wild Speak out through the sad and the pa.s.sionate lays Of her first and her favourite Child.

I would sit at your feet, for my soul Delights in the solitudes free; And I stand where the creeks and the cataracts roll Whensoever I listen to thee!

I would sit at your feet, for I love By the gulches and torrents to roam; And I long in this city for woodland and grove, And the peace of a wild forest home.

I would sit at your feet, and we'd dwell On the scenes of a long-vanished time, While your thoughts into music would surge and would swell Like a breeze of our beautiful clime.

I would sit at your feet, for I know, Though the World in the Present be blind, That the amaranth blossoms of Promise will blow When the Ages have left you behind.

I would sit at your feet, for I feel I am one of a glorious band That ever will own you and hold you their Chief, And a Monarch of Song in the land!

The River and the Hill

And they shook their sweetness out in their sleep, On the brink of that beautiful stream, But it wandered along with a wearisome song Like a lover that walks in a dream: So the roses blew When the winds went through, In the moonlight so white and so still; But the river it beat All night at the feet Of a cold and flinty hill-- Of a hard and senseless hill!

I said, "We have often showered our loves Upon something as dry as the dust; And the faith that is crost, and the hearts that are lost-- Oh! how can we wittingly trust?

Like the stream which flows, And wails as it goes, Through the moonlight so white and so still, To beat and to beat All night at the feet Of a cold and flinty hill-- Of a hard and senseless hill?

"River, I stay where the sweet roses blow, And drink of their pleasant perfumes!

Oh, why do you moan, in this wide world alone, When so much affection here blooms?

The winds wax faint, And the Moon like a Saint Glides over the woodlands so white and so still!

But you beat and you beat All night at the feet Of that cold and flinty hill-- Of that hard and senseless hill!"

The Fate of the Explorers

(A Fragment)

Set your face toward the darkness--tell of deserts weird and wide, Where unshaken woods are huddled, and low, languid waters glide; Turn and tell of deserts lonely, lying pathless, deep and vast, Where in utter silence ever Time seems slowly breathing past-- Silence only broken when the sun is flecked with cloudy bars, Or when tropic squalls come hurtling underneath the sultry stars!

Deserts th.o.r.n.y, hot and thirsty, where the feet of men are strange, And eternal Nature sleeps in solitudes which know no change.

Weakened with their lengthened labours, past long plains of stone and sand, Down those trackless wilds they wandered, travellers from a far-off land, Seeking now to join their brothers, struggling on with faltering feet, For a glorious work was finished, and a n.o.ble task complete.

And they dreamt of welcome faces--dreamt that soon unto their ears Friendly greetings would be thronging, with a nation's well-earned cheers; Since their courage never failed them, but with high, unflinching soul Each was pressing forward, hoping, trusting all should reach the goal.

Though he rallied in the morning, long before the close of day He had sunk, the worn-out hero, fainting, dying by the way!

But with Death he wrestled hardly; three times rising from the sod, Yet a little further onward o'er the weary waste he trod.

Facing Fate with heart undaunted, still the chief would totter on Till the evening closed about him--till the strength to move was gone; Then he penned his latest writings, and, before his life was spent, Gave the records to his comrade--gave the watch he said was lent-- Gave them with his last commandments, charging him that night to stay And to let him lie unburied when the soul had pa.s.sed away.

Through that night he uttered little, rambling were the words he spoke: And he turned and died in silence, when the tardy morning broke.

Many memories come together whilst in sight of death we dwell, Much of sweet and sad reflection through the weary mind must well.

As those long hours glided past him, till the east with light was fraught, Who may know the mournful secret--who can tell us what he thought?

Very lone and very wretched was the brave man left behind, Wandering over leagues of waste-land, seeking, hoping help to find; Sleeping in deserted wurleys, fearful many nightfalls through Lest unfriendly hands should rob him of his h.o.a.rd of wild nardoo.

Ere he reached their old encampment--ere the well-known spot was gained, Something nerved him--something whispered that his other chief remained.

So he searched for food to give him, trusting they might both survive Till the aid so long expected from the cities should arrive; So he searched for food and took it to the gunyah where he found Silence broken by his footfalls--death and darkness on the ground.

Weak and wearied with his journey, there the lone survivor stooped, And the disappointment bowed him and his heart with sadness drooped, And he rose and raked a hollow with his wasted, feeble hands, Where he took and hid the hero, in the rushes and the sands; But he, like a brother, laid him out of reach of wind and rain, And for many days he sojourned near him on that wild-faced plain; Whilst he stayed beside the ruin, whilst he lingered with the dead, Oh! he must have sat in shadow, gloomy as the tears he shed.

Where our n.o.ble Burke was lying--where his sad companion stood, Came the natives of the forest--came the wild men of the wood; Down they looked, and saw the stranger--he who there in quiet slept-- Down they knelt, and o'er the chieftain bitterly they moaned and wept: Bitterly they mourned to see him all uncovered to the blast-- All uncovered to the tempest as it wailed and whistled past; And they shrouded him with bushes, so in death that he might lie, Like a warrior of their nation, sheltered from the stormy sky.

Ye must rise and sing their praises, O ye bards with souls of fire, For the people's voice shall echo through the wailings of your lyre; And we'll welcome back their comrade, though our eyes with tears be blind At the thoughts of promise perished, and the shadow left behind; Now the leaves are bleaching round them--now the gales above them glide, But the end was all accomplished, and their fame is far and wide.

Though this fadeless glory cannot hide a grateful nation's grief, And their laurels have been blended with the gloomy cypress leaf.

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 9 summary

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