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The Poems of Henry Kendall by Henry Kendall

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A blatant bigot with a big
Fat heavy fetid carcass,
You well become your greasy "rig" --
You're not a second Arcas.

What sort of "gospel" do you preach?
What "Bible" is your Bible?
There's worse than wormwood in your speech,
You livid, living libel!

How many lives are growing gray
Through your depraved behaviour!
I tell you plainly -- every day
You crucify the Saviour!

Some evil spirit curses you --
Your actions never vary:
You cannot point your finger to
One fact to the contrary.

You seem to have a wicked joy
In your malicious labour,
Endeavouring daily to destroy
The neighbour's love for neighbour.

The brutal curses you eject
Make strong men dread to hear you.
The world outside your petty sect
Feels sick when it is near you.

No man who shuns that little hole
You call your tabernacle
Can have, you shriek, a ransomed soul --
He wears the devil's shackle.

And, hence the "Papist" by your clan
Is dogged with words inhuman,
Because he loves that friend of man
The highest type of woman --

Because he has that faith which sees
Before the high Creator
A Virgin pleading on her knees --
A shining Mediator!

God help the souls who grope in night --
Who in your ways have trusted!
I've said enough! the more I write,
The more I feel disgusted.

The warm, soft air is tainted through
With your pernicious leaven.
I would not live ~one hour~ with you
In your peculiar heaven!

Now mount your musty pulpit -- thump,
And muddle flat clodhoppers;
And let some long-eared booby "hump"
The plate about for coppers.

At priest and parson spit and bark,
And shake your "church" with curses,
You bitter blackguard of the dark --
With this I close my verses.

Names Upon a Stone

(Inscribed to G. L. Fagan, Esq.)

Across bleak widths of broken sea
A fierce north-easter breaks,
And makes a thunder on the lea --
A whiteness of the lakes.
Here, while beyond the rainy stream
The wild winds sobbing blow,
I see the river of my dream
Four wasted years ago.

Narrara of the waterfalls,
The darling of the hills,
Whose home is under mountain walls
By many-luted rills!
Her bright green nooks and channels cool
I never more may see;
But, ah! the Past was beautiful --
The sights that used to be.

There was a rock-pool in a glen
Beyond Narrara's sands;
The mountains shut it in from men
In flowerful fairy lands;
But once we found its dwelling-place --
The lovely and the lone --
And, in a dream, I stooped to trace
Our names upon a stone.

Above us, where the star-like moss
Shone on the wet, green wall
That spanned the straitened stream across,
We saw the waterfall --
A silver singer far away,
By folded hills and hoar;
Its voice is in the woods to-day --
A voice I hear no more.

I wonder if the leaves that screen
The rock-pool of the past
Are yet as soft and cool and green
As when we saw them last!
I wonder if that tender thing,
The moss, has overgrown
The letters by the limpid spring --
Our names upon the stone!

Across the face of scenes we know
There may have come a change --
The places seen four years ago
Perhaps would now look strange.
To you, indeed, they cannot be
What haply once they were:
A friend beloved by you and me
No more will greet us there.

Because I know the filial grief
That shrinks beneath the touch --
The noble love whose words are brief --
I will not say too much;
But often when the night-winds strike
Across the sighing rills,
I think of him whose life was like
The rock-pool's in the hills.

A beauty like the light of song
Is in my dreams, that show
The grand old man who lived so long
As spotless as the snow.
A fitting garland for the dead
I cannot compass yet;
But many things he did and said
I never will forget.

In dells where once we used to rove
The slow, sad water grieves;
And ever comes from glimmering grove
The liturgy of leaves.
But time and toil have marked my face,
My heart has older grown
Since, in the woods, I stooped to trace
Our names upon the stone.


Lordly harp, by lordly master wakened from majestic sleep,
Yet shall speak and yet shall sing the words which make the fathers weep!
Voice surpassing human voices -- high, unearthly harmony --
Yet shall tell the tale of hero, in exalted years to be!
In the ranges, by the rivers, on the uplands, down the dells,
Where the sound of wind and wave is, where the mountain anthem swells,
Yet shall float the song of lustre, sweet with tears and fair with flame,
Shining with a theme of beauty, holy with our Leichhardt's name!
Name of him who faced for science thirsty tracts of bitter glow,
Lurid lands that no one knows of -- two-and-thirty years ago.

Born by hills of hard grey weather, far beyond the northern seas,
German mountains were his sponsors, and his mates were German trees;
Grandeur of the old-world forests passed into his radiant soul,
With the song of stormy crescents where the mighty waters roll.
Thus he came to be a brother of the river and the wood --
Thus the leaf, the bird, the blossom, grew a gracious sisterhood;
Nature led him to her children, in a space of light divine:
Kneeling down, he said -- "My mother, let me be as one of thine!"
So she took him -- thence she loved him -- lodged him in her home of dreams,
Taught him what the trees were saying, schooled him in the speech of streams.

For her sake he crossed the waters -- loving her, he left the place
Hallowed by his father's ashes, and his human mother's face --
Passed the seas and entered temples domed by skies of deathless beam,
Walled about by hills majestic, stately spires and peaks supreme!
Here he found a larger beauty -- here the lovely lights were new
On the slopes of many flowers, down the gold-green dells of dew.
In the great august cathedral of his holy lady, he
Daily worshipped at her altars, nightly bent the reverent knee --
Heard the hymns of night and morning, learned the psalm of solitudes;
Knew that God was very near him -- felt His presence in the woods!

But the starry angel, Science, from the home of glittering wings,
Came one day and talked to Nature by melodious mountain springs:
"Let thy son be mine," she pleaded; "lend him for a space," she said,
"So that he may earn the laurels I have woven for his head!"
And the lady, Nature, listened; and she took her loyal son
From the banks of moss and myrtle -- led him to the Shining One!
Filled his lordly soul with gladness -- told him of a spacious zone
Eye of man had never looked at, human foot had never known.
Then the angel, Science, beckoned, and he knelt and whispered low --
"I will follow where you lead me" -- two-and-thirty years ago.

On the tracts of thirst and furnace -- on the dumb, blind, burning plain,
Where the red earth gapes for moisture, and the wan leaves hiss for rain,
In a land of dry, fierce thunder, did he ever pause and dream
Of the cool green German valley and the singing German stream?
When the sun was as a menace, glaring from a sky of brass,
Did he ever rest, in visions, on a lap of German grass?
Past the waste of thorny terrors, did he reach a sphere of rills,
In a region yet untravelled, ringed by fair untrodden hills?
Was the spot where last he rested pleasant as an old-world lea?
Did the sweet winds come and lull him with the music of the sea?

Let us dream so -- let us hope so! Haply in a cool green glade,
Far beyond the zone of furnace, Leichhardt's sacred shell was laid!
Haply in some leafy valley, underneath blue, gracious skies,
In the sound of mountain water, the heroic traveller lies!
Down a dell of dewy myrtle, where the light is soft and green,
And a month like English April sits, an immemorial queen,
Let us think that he is resting -- think that by a radiant grave
Ever come the songs of forest, and the voices of the wave!
~Thus~ we want our sons to find him -- find him under floral bowers,
Sleeping by the trees he loved so, covered with his darling flowers!

After Many Years

The song that once I dreamed about,
The tender, touching thing,
As radiant as the rose without --
The love of wind and wing --
The perfect verses, to the tune
Of woodland music set,
As beautiful as afternoon,
Remain unwritten yet.

It is too late to write them now --
The ancient fire is cold;
No ardent lights illume the brow,
As in the days of old.
I cannot dream the dream again;
But when the happy birds
Are singing in the sunny rain,
I think I hear its words.

I think I hear the echo still
Of long-forgotten tones,
When evening winds are on the hill
And sunset fires the cones;
But only in the hours supreme,
With songs of land and sea,
The lyrics of the leaf and stream,
This echo comes to me.

No longer doth the earth reveal
Her gracious green and gold;
I sit where youth was once, and feel
That I am growing old.
The lustre from the face of things
Is wearing all away;
Like one who halts with tired wings,
I rest and muse to-day.

There is a river in the range
I love to think about;
Perhaps the searching feet of change
Have never found it out.
Ah! oftentimes I used to look
Upon its banks, and long
To steal the beauty of that brook
And put it in a song.

I wonder if the slopes of moss,
In dreams so dear to me --
The falls of flower, and flower-like floss --
Are as they used to be!
I wonder if the waterfalls,
The singers far and fair,
That gleamed between the wet, green walls,
Are still the marvels there!

Ah! let me hope that in that place
The old familiar things
To which I turn a wistful face
Have never taken wings.
Let me retain the fancy still
That, past the lordly range,
There always shines, in folds of hill,
One spot secure from change!

I trust that yet the tender screen
That shades a certain nook,
Remains, with all its gold and green,
The glory of the brook.
It hides a secret to the birds
And waters only known:
The letters of two lovely words --
A poem on a stone.

Perhaps the lady of the past
Upon these lines may light,
The purest verses, and the last
That I may ever write.
She need not fear a word of blame --
Her tale the flowers keep --
The wind that heard me breathe her name
Has been for years asleep.

But in the night, and when the rain
The troubled torrent fills,
I often think I see again
The river in the hills;
And when the day is very near,
And birds are on the wing,
My spirit fancies it can hear
The song I cannot sing.

[End of Songs from the Mountains.]

Early Poems, 1859-70

(With a few exceptions, these are now printed
for the first time in book form).

The Merchant Ship

The sun o'er the waters was throwing
In the freshness of morning its beams;
And the breast of the ocean seemed glowing
With glittering silvery streams:
A bark in the distance was bounding
Away for the land on her lee;
And the boatswain's shrill whistle resounding
Came over and over the sea.
The breezes blew fair and were guiding
Her swiftly along on her track,
And the billows successively passing,
Were lost in the distance aback.
The sailors seemed busy preparing
For anchor to drop ere the night;
The red rusted cables in fathoms
Were haul'd from their prisons to light.
Each rope and each brace was attended
By stout-hearted sons of the main,
Whose voices, in unison blended,
Sang many a merry-toned strain.

Forgotten their care and their sorrow,
If of such they had ever known aught,
Each soul was wrapped up in the morrow --
The morrow which greeted them not;
A sunshiny hope was inspiring
And filling their hearts with a glow
Like that on the billows around them,
Like the silvery ocean below.
As they looked on the haven before them,
Already high looming and near,
What else but a joy could invade them,
Or what could they feel but a cheer?

. . . . .

The eve on the waters was clouded,
And gloomy and dark grew the sky;
The ocean in blackness was shrouded,
And wails of a tempest flew by;
The bark o'er the billows high surging
'Mid showers of the foam-crested spray,
Now sinking, now slowly emerging,
Held onward her dangerous way.
The gale in the distance was veering
To a point that would drift her on land,
And fearfully he that was steering
Look'd round on the cliff-girdled strand.
He thought of the home now before him
And muttered sincerely a prayer
That morning might safely restore him
To friends and to kind faces there.
He knew that if once at the mercy
Of the winds and those mountain-like waves
The sun would rise over the waters --
The day would return on their graves.

. . . . .

Still blacker the heavens were scowling,
Still nearer the rock-skirted shore;
Yet fiercer the tempest was howling
And louder the wild waters roar.
The cold rain in torrents came pouring
On deck thro' the rigging and shrouds,
And the deep, pitchy dark was illumined
Each moment with gleams from the clouds
Of forky-shap'd lightning as, darting,
It made a wide pathway on high,
And the sound of the thunder incessant
Re-echoed the breadth of the sky.
The light-hearted tars of the morning
Now gloomily watching the storm
Were silent, the glare from the flashes
Revealing each weather-beat form,
Their airy-built castles all vanished
When they heard the wild conflict ahead;
Their hopes of the morning were banished,
And terror seemed ruling instead.
They gazed on the heavens above them
And then on the waters beneath,
And shrunk as foreboding those billows
Might shroud them ere morrow in death.

. . . . .

Hark! A voice o'er the tempest came ringing,
A wild cry of bitter despair
Re-echoed by all in the vessel,
And filling the wind-ridden air.
The breakers and rocks were before them
Discovered too plain to their eyes,
And the heart-bursting shrieks of the hopeless
Ascending were lost in the skies.
Then a crash, then a moan from the dying
Went on, on the wings of the gale,
Soon hush'd in the roar of the waters
And the tempest's continuing wail.
The "Storm Power" loudly was sounding
Their funeral dirge as they passed,
And the white-crested waters around them
Re-echoed the voice of the blast.
The surges will show to the morrow
A fearful and heartrending sight,
And bereaved ones will weep in their sorrow
When they think of that terrible night.

. . . . .

The day on the ocean returning
Saw still'd to a slumber the deep --
Not a zephyr disturbing its bosom,
The winds and the breezes asleep.
Again the warm sunshine was gleaming
Refulgently fringing the sea,
Its rays to the horizon beaming
And clothing the land on the lee.
The billows were silently gliding
O'er the graves of the sailors beneath,
The waves round the vessel yet pointing
The scene of their anguish and death.
They seemed to the fancy bewailing
The sudden and terrible doom
Of those who were yesterday singing
And laughing in sight of their tomb.

. . . . .

'Tis thus on the sea of existence --
The morning begins without care,
Hope cheerfully points to the distance,
The Future beams sunny and fair;
And we -- as the bark o'er the billows,
Admiring the beauty of day,
With Fortune all smiling around us --
Glide onward our silvery way.
We know not nor fear for a sorrow
Ever crossing our pathway in life;
We judge from to-day the to-morrow
And dream not of meeting with strife.
This world seems to us as an Eden
And we wonder when hearing around
The cries of stern pain and affliction
How such an existence is found.
But we find to our cost when misfortune
Comes mantling our sun in its night,
That the Earth was not made to be Heaven,
Not always our life can be bright.
In turn we see each of our day-dreams
Dissolve into air and decay,
And learn that the hopes that are brightest
Fade soonest -- far soonest away.

These lines were written in 1857, and were suggested by the wreck
of the ~Dunbar~, but the writer did not confine himself in particular
to a description of that disaster, as may be seen from perusal. -- H.K.

Oh, Tell Me, Ye Breezes

Oh, tell me, ye breezes that spring from the west,
Oh, tell me, ere passing away,
If Leichhardt's bold spirit has fled to its rest?
Where moulders the traveller's clay?

Perchance as ye flitted on heedlessly by
The long lost was yielding his breath;
Perchance ye have borne on your wings the last sigh
That 'scap'd from the lone one in death.

Tell me, ye breezes, ye've traversed the wild,
And passed o'er the desolate spot,
Where reposeth in silence sweet Nature's own child,
Where slumbers one nearly forgot?

Ye answer me not but are passing away --
Ye breezes that spring from the west,
Unhallow'd still moulders the traveller's clay,
For unknown is the place of his rest.

The Far Future

Australia, advancing with rapid winged stride,
Shall plant among nations her banners in pride,
The yoke of dependence aside she will cast,
And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.
Her flag on the tempest will wave to proclaim
'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name;
The Future shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd,
The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing like day on the sky,
Has glimmer'd thro' darkness, will blazon on high,
A Gem in its glitter has yet to be seen,
When Progress has placed her where England has been;
When bursting those limits above she will soar,
Outstretching all rivals who've mounted before,
And, resting, will blaze with her glories unfurl'd,
The empire of empires and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with Power, will entwine
With Honour and Justice a Mercy divine;
No Despot shall trample -- no slave shall be bound --
Oppression must totter and fall to the ground.
The stain of all ages, tyrannical sway,
Will pass like a flash or a shadow away,
And shrink to nothing 'neath thunderbolts hurl'd
From the hand of the terror -- the boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with rapid wing'd stride,
Shall plant among nations her banners in pride;
The yoke of dependence aside she will cast,
And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.
Her flag in the tempest will wave to proclaim,
'Mong kingdoms and empires her national name,
And Ages shall see it, asleep or unfurl'd
The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

I hope the above will not be considered disloyal. It is but reasonable
to imagine that Australia will in the far future become
an independent nation -- that imagination springing as it does
from a native-born Australian brain. -- H.K.

Silent Tears

What bitter sorrow courses down
Yon mourner's faded cheek?
Those scalding drops betray a grief
Within, too full to speak.
Outspoken words cannot express
The pangs, the pains of years;
They're ne'er so deep or eloquent
As are those silent tears.

Here is a wound that in the breast
Must canker, hid'n from sight;
Though all without seems sunny day,
Within 'tis ever night.
Yet sometimes from this secret source
The gloomy truth appears;
The wind's dark dungeon must have vent
If but in silent tears.

The world may deem from outward looks
That heart is hard and cold;
But oh! could they the mantle lift
What sorrows would be told!
Then, only then, the truth would show
Which most the bosom sears:
The pain portrayed by burning words
Or that by -- silent tears.

Extempore Lines

* Suggested by one of John Bright's speeches on Electoral Reform.

A morning crowns the Western hill,
A day begins to reign,
A sun awakes o'er distant seas --
Shall never sleep again.
The world is growing old,
And men are waxing wise;
A mist has cleared -- a something falls
Like scales from off their eyes.

Too long the "Dark of Ignorance"
Has brooded on their way;
Too long Oppression 's stood before,
Excluding light of day.
But now they've found the track
And now they've seen the dawn,
A "beacon lamp" is pointing on,
Where stronger glows the morn.

Since Adam lived, the mighty ones
Have ever ruled the weak;
Since Noah's flood, the fettered slave
Has seldom dared to speak.
'Tis time a voice was heard,
'Tis time a voice was spoken
So in the chain of tyranny
A link or two be broken.

A tiny rill will swell a stream,
A spark will cause a flame,
And one man's burning eloquence
Has help'd to do the same.
And he will persevere,
And soon that blaze must spread,
Till to the corners of the earth
Reflecting beams are shed.

The "few" will try to beat it down,
But can they stop the flood --
Bind up the pinions of the light,
Or check the will of God?
And is it not His will
That deeply injured Right
Should overthrow the iron rule
And reign instead of Might?

The Old Year

It passed like the breath of the night-wind away,
It fled like a mist at the dawn of the day;
It lasted its moment, then backward was hurled,
Another increase to the age of the world.

It passed with its shadows, its smiles and its tears,
It passed as a stream to the ocean of years;
Years that were coming -- were here -- and are o'er,
The ages departed to visit no more.

It passed, but the bark on its billowy track
Leaves an impression on waters aback:
The glow of the gloaming remains on the sky,
Unwilling to leave us -- unwilling to die.

It fled; but away and away in its wake
There lingers a something that time cannot break.
The past and the future are joined by a chain,
And memories live that must ever remain.


(The Kanaka's Death-Song over his Chieftain.)

Shades of my father, the hour is approaching.
Prepare ye the `cava' for `Yona' on high;
Make ready the welcome, ye souls of Arrochin.
The Death God of Tanna speaks -- Yona must die.

No more will he traverse the flame sheeted mountain,
To lead forth his brothers to hunting and war;
No more will he drink from the time honoured fountain,
Nor rise in the councils of Uking-a-shaa.

His voice in the battle, loud thunder resembling,
Has died like a zephyr o'errunning the plain;
His whoop like the tempest thro' forest trees trembling,
Shall never strike foemen with terror again.

The `muska' hung up on the cocoa is sleeping,
And Attanam's spirits have gathered a-nigh
To see their destroyer; and, wailing and weeping,
Roll past on the night-breathing winds of the sky.

The lines are suspended, the `muttow' is broken,
The canoe's far away from the water-wash'd shore,
Mourn, mourn, ye `whyeenas', the word has been spoken,
The chieftain can bring ye the `weepan' no more.

Ye cloud-seated visions, ye shades of my fathers,
Awake from your slumbers, the trumpet blast blow;
The moments are flying, the mountain mist gathers,
And Yona is leaving his camp fire below.

. . . . .

The struggles are over, the cords are asunder,
Ye Phantoms hold forward your heavenly light,
Speak on the wings of the sky-shaking thunder,
And fill him with joy on the path of his flight.

Come downwards a space thro' the fogs till ye meet him,
Throw open the doors of Arrochin awide,
And stand on the thresholds, ye Shadows to greet him --
The glory of Tanna, the Uking'shaa's pride.

Thanks, spirits departed! -- heard I not your voices
Faint rolling along on the breath of the gale?
Thanks, spirits departed! Le-en-na rejoices:
Ye've answered the mourner -- ye've silenced the wail.

The midnight is clearing; the Death-song is ended.
The Chieftain has gone, but ye've called him away;
For he smiled as he listened, obedient ascended,
The voice in his ear, and the torch on his way.

Tanna is one of the largest islands in the group known as the New Hebrides.
The natives of it, in common with all their South Sea brethren,
are generally titled by the whites "Kanakas". They are of the negro family,
resembling in feature, very closely, the Feejee tribes. It is said that
they believe in the existence of a Superior Being, whose earthly dwelling
they fancy is in the burning volcanoes for which the island is remarkable.
They believe in a future happy state, and call their heaven "Arrochin".
They are divided into small tribes or clans; the largest of these
are the Ukingh-a-shaa and Attanam families. A spirit of rivalry
between these two last-mentioned often causes long and bloody wars
all over the island.

Tanna, besides the never-sleeping volcano, has its other objects of interest
in the many boiling springs that surround the base of the burning mountain.
Some of these are held as holy, and none but chiefs are permitted
to taste their waters. Such restriction, however, does not extend over all.

When any of their great warriors die, the aborigines believe that
the spirits of Arrochin prepare a great feast there for their coming guest,
and for fear he should lose himself on the road thither they (the spirits)
call to him and blow trumpets, sending some one at the same time with torches
to meet him and guide him on his way to those blessed regions.

Explanation of Native Words:

"Arrochin" -- Heaven. "Cava" -- a drink extracted from a root.
(The natives believe it is made and drunk in Arrochin where it grows
as in Tanna). "Muska" (corruption of the English term, musket) --
of late their chief weapon in war. "Muttow" -- a fishing-hook.
"Whyeena" -- woman (this is not the original native appellation;
that I could never ascertain). "Weepan" -- Fish (their principal food).
"Leenna" and "Yona" -- native names. -- H.K.

The Earth Laments for Day

There's music wafting on the air,
The evening winds are sighing
Among the trees -- and yonder stream
Is mournfully replying,
Lamenting loud the sunny light
That in the west is dying.

The moon is rising o'er the hill,
Her slanting rays are creeping
Where Nature lies profoundly still
In happy quiet sleeping,
And resting on her face, they'll find
The earth is wet with weeping.

She mourneth for the lovely day,
Now deep in darkness shaded;
She sheds the dewy tear because
Of morning's mantle faded;
She misses from her breast the garb
In which the moon array'd it.

The evening queen will strive in vain
To break the spell which bound her;
A million stars can never throw
Departed warmth around her;
They all must pass away and leave
The earth as they had found her.

But why should gentle Nature weep
That night has overtaken
The wearied world that needed sleep,
Refreshed to re-awaken,
So richer light might burst around,
The gloomy shadows breaking?

Oh, can she not from yonder sky
That gleams above her, borrow
A single ray, or find a way
To check the tear of sorrow?
A beam of hope would last her till
The dawning of to-morrow.

The Late W. V. Wild, Esq.

Sad faces came round, and I dreamily said
"Though the harp of my country now slumbers,
Some hand will pass o'er it, in love for the dead,
And attune it to sorrowful numbers!"
But the hopes that I clung to are withering things,
For the days have gone by with a cloud on their wings,
And the touch of a bard is unknown to the strings --
~Oh, why art thou silent, Australia?~

The leaves of the autumn are scattering fast,
The willows look barren and lonely;
But I dream a sad dream of my friend of the past,
And his form I can dwell upon only!
In the strength of his youth I can see him go by.
There is health on the cheek, and a fire in the eye --
Oh, who would have thought that such beauty could die!
~Ah, mourn for thy noblest, Australia!~

A strange shadow broods o'er the desolate earth,
And the cypresses tremble and quiver;
But my heart waxeth dark with the thoughts of the worth
That has left us for ever and ever!
A dull cloud creepeth close to the moon,
And the winter winds pass with a shuddering croon --
Oh, why was he snatched from his brothers so soon?
~Ah, weep for thy lost one, Australia!~

How weary we grow when we turn to reflect
Upon what we have seen and believed in;
When harping on promises hopelessly wrecked,
And the things we have all been deceived in!
When a voice that I loved lingers near to me yet!
And a kind, handsome face which I'll never forget --
Can I wake to the present and stifle regret --
~Can I smother these feelings, Australia?~

It is useless to grieve o'er the light that has fled
But the harp of my country still slumbers;
And I thought that some bard in his love for the dead,
Would have thrilled it to sorrowful numbers!
Lo, the hopes that I clung to are withering things
For the days have gone by with a cloud on their wings,
And my hand is too feeble to strike at the strings --
~Oh, why art thou silent, Australia?~


Across the dripping ridges,
O, look, luxurious night!
She comes, the bright-haired beauty,
My luminous delight!
My luminous delight!
So hush, ye shores, your roar,
That my soul may sleep, forgetting
Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

Astarte, Syrian sister,
Your face is wet with tears;
I think you know the secret
One heart hath held for years!
One heart hath held for years!
But hide your hapless love,
And my sweet -- my Syrian sister,
Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

Ah, Helen Hope in heaven,
My queen of long ago,
I've swooned with adoration,
But could not tell you so,
Or dared not tell you so,
My radiant queen of yore!
And you've passed away and left me
Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

Astarte knoweth, darling,
Of eyes that once did weep,
What time entranced Passion
Hath kissed your lips in sleep;
Hath kissed your lips in sleep;
But now those tears are o'er,
Gone, my saint, with many a moan to
Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

If I am past all crying,
What thoughts are maddening me,
Of you, my darling, dying
Upon the lone, wide sea,
Upon the lone, wide sea,
Ah! hush, ye shores, your roar,
That my soul may sleep, forgetting
Dead Love's wild Nevermore!

Australian War Song

Men have said that ye were sleeping --
Hurl, Australians, back the lie;
Whet the swords you have in keeping,
Forward stand to do or die!
Hear ye not, across the ocean,
Echoes of the distant fray,
Sounds of loud and fierce commotion,
Swiftly sweeping on the way?
Hearts have woke from sluggish trances,
Woke to know their native worth;
Freedom with her train advances --
Freedom newly sprung to birth.
Despots start from thrones affrighted --
Tyrants hear the angry tread;
Where the slaves, whose prayers were slighted,
Marching -- draw the sword instead.

If the men of other nations
Dash their fetters to the ground;
When the foeman seeks your stations,
Will you willing slaves be found?
You the sons of hero fathers --
Sires that bled at Waterloo!
No! Your indignation gathers --
To your old traditions true;
Should the cannon's iron rattle
Sound between your harbour doors,
You will rise to wage the battle
In a just and righteous cause.
Patriot fires will scorch Oppression
Should it dare to draw too near;
And the tide of bold Aggression
~Must~ be stayed from coming here.

Look upon familiar places,
Mountain, river, hill and glade;
Look upon those beauteous faces,
Turning up to you for aid.
Think ye, in the time of danger,
When that threatening moment comes --
Will ye let the heartless stranger
Drive your kindred from their homes?
By the prayers which rise above you,
When you face him on the shore,
By the forms of those that love you --
Greet him with the rifle's roar!
While an arm can wield a sabre,
While you yet can lift a hand,
Strike and teach your hostile neighbour,
This is Freedom's chosen land.

The Ivy on the Wall

The verdant ivy clings around
Yon moss be-mantled wall,
As if it sought to hide the stones,
That crumbling soon must fall:
That relic of a bygone age
Now tottering to decay,
Has but one friend -- the ivy -- left.
The rest have passed away.

The fairy flowers that once did bloom
And smile beneath its shade;
They lingered till the autumn came,
And autumn saw them fade:
The emerald leaves that blushed between --
The winds away have blown;
But yet to cheer the mournful scene,
The ivy liveth on.

Thus heavenly hope will still survive,
When earthly joys have fled;
And all the flow'ry dreams of youth
Lie withering and dead.
When Winter comes -- it twines itself
Around the human heart;
And like the ivy on the wall
Will ne'er from thence depart.

The Australian Emigrant

How dazzling the sunbeams awoke on the spray,
When Australia first rose in the distance away,
As welcome to us on the deck of the bark,
As the dove to the vision of those in the ark!
What fairylike fancies appear'd to the view
As nearer and nearer the haven we drew!
What castles were built and rebuilt in the brain,
To totter and crumble to nothing again!

We had roam'd o'er the ocean -- had travers'd a path,
Where the tempest surrounded and shriek'd in its wrath:
Alike we had roll'd in the hurricane's breath,
And slumber'd on waters as silent as death:
We had watch'd the Day breaking each morn on the main,
And had seen it sink down in the billows again;
For week after week, till dishearten'd we thought
An age would elapse ere we enter'd the port.

How often while ploughing the `watery waste',
Our thoughts -- from the Future have turn'd to the Past;
How often our bosoms have heav'd with regret;
For faces and scenes we could never forget:
For we'd seen as the shadows o'er-curtain'd our minds
The cliffs of old England receding behind;
And had turned in our tears from the view of the shore,
The land of our childhood, to see it no more.

But when that red morning awoke from its sleep,
To show us this land like a cloud on the deep;
And when the warm sunbeams imparted their glow,
To the heavens above and the ocean below;
The hearts ' had been aching then revell'd with joy,
And a pleasure was tasted exempt from alloy;
The souls ' had been heavy grew happy and light
And all was forgotten in present delight.

'Tis true -- of the hopes that were verdant that day
There is more than the half of them withered away:
'Tis true that emotions of temper'd regret,
Still live for the country we'll never forget;
But yet we are happy, since learning to love
The scenes that surround us -- the skies are above,
We find ourselves bound, as it were by a spell,
In the clime we've adopted contented to dwell.

To My Brother, Basil E. Kendall

To-night the sea sends up a gulf-like sound,
And ancient rhymes are ringing in my head,
The many lilts of song we sang and said,
My friend and brother, when we journeyed round
Our haunts at Wollongong, that classic ground
For me at least, a lingerer deeply read
And steeped in beauty. Oft in trance I tread
Those shining shores, and hear your talk of Fame
With thought-flushed face and heart so well assured
(Beholding through the woodland's bright distress
The Moon half pillaged of her loveliness)
Of this wild dreamer: Had you but endured
A dubious dark, you might have won a name
With brighter bays than I can ever claim.

The Waterfall

The song of the water
Doomed ever to roam,
A beautiful exile,
Afar from its home.

The cliffs on the mountain,
The grand and the gray,
They took the bright creature
And hurled it away!

I heard the wild downfall,
And knew it must spill
A passionate heart out
All over the hill.

Oh! was it a daughter
Of sorrow and sin,
That they threw it so madly
Down into the lynn?

. . .

And listen, my Sister,
For this is the song
The Waterfall taught me
The ridges among: --

"Oh where are the shadows
So cool and so sweet
And the rocks," saith the water,
"With the moss on their feet?

"Oh, where are my playmates
The wind and the flowers --
The golden and purple --
Of honey-sweet bowers,

"Mine eyes have been blinded
Because of the sun;
And moaning and moaning
I listlessly run.

"These hills are so flinty! --
Ah! tell me, dark Earth,
What valley leads back to
The place of my birth? --

"What valley leads up to
The haunts where a child
Of the caverns I sported,
The free and the wild?

"There lift me," -- it crieth,
"I faint from the heat;
With a sob for the shadows
So cool and so sweet."

Ye rocks, that look over
With never a tear,
I yearn for one half of
The wasted love here!

My sister so wistful,
You know I believe,
Like a child for the mountains
This water doth grieve.

Ah! you with the blue eyes
And golden-brown hair,
Come closer and closer
And truly declare: --

Supposing a darling
Once happened to sin,
In a passionate space,
Would you carry her in --

If your fathers and mothers,
The grand and the gray,
Had taken the weak one
And hurled her away?

The Song of Arda

(From "Annatanam".)

Low as a lute, my love, beneath the call
Of storm, I hear a melancholy wind;
The memorably mournful wind of yore
Which is the very brother of the one
That wanders, like a hermit, by the mound
Of Death, in lone Annatanam. A song
Was shaped for this, what time we heard outside
The gentle falling of the faded leaf
In quiet noons: a song whose theme doth turn
On gaps of Ruin and the gay-green clifts
Beneath the summits haunted by the moon.
Yea, much it travels to the dens of dole;
And in the midst of this strange rhyme, my lords,
Our Desolation like a phantom sits
With wasted cheeks and eyes that cannot weep
And fastened lips crampt up in marvellous pain.

A song in whose voice is the voice of the foam
And the rhyme of the wintering wave,
And the tongue of the things that eternally roam
In forest, in fell or in cave;
But mostly 'tis like to the Wind without home
In the glen of a desolate grave --
Of a deep and desolate grave.

The torrent flies over the thunder-struck clift
With many and many a call;
The leaves are swept down, and a dolorous drift
Is hurried away with the fall.
But mostly 'tis like the Wind without home
In the glen of a desolate grave --
Of a deep and desolate grave.

Whoever goes thither by night or by day
Must mutter, O Father, to Thee,
For the shadows that startle, the sounds that waylay
Are heavy to hear and to see;
And a step and a moan and a whisper for aye
Have made it a sorrow to be --
A sorrow of sorrows to be.

Oh! cover your faces and shudder, and turn
And hide in the dark of your hair,
Nor look to the Glen in the Mountains, to learn
Of the mystery mouldering there;
But rather sit low in the ashes and urn
Dead hopes in your mighty despair --
In the depths of your mighty despair.

The Helmsman

Like one who meets a staggering blow,
The stout old ship doth reel,
And waters vast go seething past --
But will it last, this fearful blast,
On straining shroud and groaning mast,
O sailor at the wheel?

His face is smitten with the wind,
His cheeks are chilled with rain;
And you were right, his hair is white,
But eyes are calm and heart is light
~He~ does not fear the strife to-night,
He knows the roaring main.

Ho, Sailor! Will to-morrow bring
The hours of pleasant rest?
An answer low -- "I do not know,
The thunders grow and far winds blow,
But storms may come and storms may go --
Our God, He judgeth best!"

Now you are right, brave mariner,
But we are not like you;
We, used to shore, our fates deplore,
And fear the more when waters roar;
So few amongst us look before,
Or stop to think that Heaven is o'er --
Ah! what you say is true.

And those who go abroad in ships,
Who seldom see the land,
But sail and stray so far away,
Should trust and pray, for are not they,
When Darkness blinds them on their way,
All guided by God's hand?

But you are wrinkled, grey and worn;
'Tis time you dwelt in peace!
Your prime is past; we fail so fast;
You may not last through every blast,
And, oh, 'tis fearful to be cast
Amongst the smothering seas!

Is there no absent face to love
That you must live alone?
If faith did fade, if friends betrayed,
And turned, and staid resolves you'd made,
Ah, still 'tis pleasant to be laid
Where you at least are known.

The answer slides betwixt our words --
"The season shines and glooms
On ship and strand, on sea and land,
But life must go and Time is spanned,
As well you know when out you stand
With Death amongst the tombs!

"It matters not to one so old
Who mourns when Fate comes round,
And one may sleep down in the deep
As well as those beneath the heap
That fifty stormy years will sweep
And trample to the ground."

Your speech is wise, brave mariner,
And we would let you be;
You speak with truth, you strive to soothe;
But, oh, the wrecks of Love and Truth,
What say you to our tears for Youth
And Beauty drowned at sea?

"Oh, talk not of the Beauty lost,
Since first these decks I trod
The hopeless stare on faces fair,
The streaming, bare, dishevelled hair,
The wild despair, the sinking -- where,
Oh where, oh where? -- My God!"

To Miss Annie Hopkins

Beneath the shelter of the bush,
In undisturbed repose --
Unruffled by the kiss of breeze --
There lurks a smiling rose;
Beneath thine outer beauty, gleams,
In holy light enshrined,
A symbol of the blooming flower,
A pure, unspotted mind.

The lovely tint that crowns the hill
When westward sinks the sun,
The milder dazzle in the stream
That evening sits upon,
The morning blushes, mantling o'er
The face of land and sea,
They all recall to mind the charms
That are combined in thee!


Fifteen miles and then the harbour! Here we cannot choose but stand,
Faces thrust towards the day-break, listening for our native land!
Close-reefed topsails shuddering over, straining down the groaning mast;
For a tempest cleaves the darkness, hissing, howling, shrieking past!
Lo! the air is flecked with stormbirds, and their melancholy wail
Lends a tone of deeper pathos to the melancholy gale!
Whilst away they wheel to leeward, leaving in their rapid flight
Wind and water grappling wildly through the watches of the night.

Yesterday we both were happy; but my soul is filled with change,
And I'm sad, my gallant comrade, with foreshadowings vague and strange!
Dear old place, are we so near you? Like to one that speaks in sleep,
I'm talking, thinking wildly o'er this moaning, maddened deep!
Much it makes me marvel, brother, that such thoughts should linger nigh
Now we know what shore is hidden somewhere in that misty sky!
Oh! I even fear to see it; and I've never felt so low
Since we turned our faces from it, seven weary years ago.

Have you faith at all in omens? Fits of passion I have known
When it seemed in crowded towns as if I walked the Earth alone!
And amongst my comrades often, o'er the lucent, laughing sea,
I have felt like one that drifteth on a dark and dangerous lee!
As a man who, crossing waters underneath a moony night,
Knows there will be gloomy weather if a cloudrack bounds the light,
So I hold, when Life is splendid, and our hopes are new and warm,
We can sometimes, looking forward, see the shade and feel the storm.

When you called me I was dreaming that this thunder raged no more,
And we travelled, both together, on a calm, delightful shore;
That we went along rejoicing, for I thought I heard you say,
"Now we soon shall see them, brother -- now our fears have passed away!"
Pleasant were those deep green wild-woods; and we hurried, like a breeze,
Till I saw a distant opening through the porches of the trees;
And our village faintly gleaming past the forest and the stream;
But we wandered sadly through it with the Spirit of my Dream.

Why was our delight so fickle? Was it well while there to mourn;
When the loved -- the loving, crowding, came to welcome our return?
In my vision, once so glorious, did we find that aught was changed;
Or that ONE whom WE remembered was forgotten or estranged?
Through a mist of many voices, listening for sweet accents fled,
Heard we hints of lost affection, or of gentle faces dead?
No! but on the quiet dreamscape came a darkness like a pall
And a ghostly shadow, brother, fell and rested over all.

Talking thus my friend I fronted, and in trustful tones he spake --
"I have long been waiting, watching here to see the morning break;
Now behold the bright fulfilment! Did my Spirit yearn in vain;
And amidst this holy splendour can a moody heart remain?
Let them pass, those wayward fancies! Waking thoughts return with sleep;
And they mingle strangely sometimes, while we lie in slumber deep;
But, believe me, dreams are nothing. If unto His creatures weak
God should whisper of the Future, not in riddles will He speak."

Since he answered I have rested, for his brave words fell like balm;
And we reached the land in daylight, and the tempest died in calm;
Though the sounds of gusty fragments of a faint and broken breeze
Still went gliding with the runnels, gurgling down the spangled leas!
So we turned and travelled onward, till we rested at a place
Where a Vision fell about us, sunned with many a lovely face;
Then we heard low silvery voices; and I knelt upon the shore --
Knelt and whispered, "God I thank Thee! and will wander never more."

Sonnets on the Discovery of Botany Bay by Captain Cook


The First Attempt to Reach the Shore

Where is the painter who shall paint for you,
My Austral brothers, with a pencil steeped
In hues of Truth, the weather-smitten crew
Who gazed on unknown shores -- a thoughtful few --
What time the heart of their great Leader leaped
Till he was faint with pain of longing? New
And wondrous sights on each and every hand,
Like strange supernal visions, grew and grew
Until the rocks and trees, and sea and sand,
Danced madly in the tear-bewildered view!
And from the surf a fierce, fantastic band
Of startled wild men to the hills withdrew
With yells of fear! Who'll paint thy face, O Cook!
Turned seaward, "after many a wistful look!"


The Second Attempt, Opposed by Two of the Natives

"There were but two, and we were forty! Yet,"
The Captain wrote, "that dauntless couple throve,
And faced our wildering faces; and I said
`Lie to awhile!' I did not choose to let
A strife go on of little worth to ~us~.
And so unequal! But the dying tread
Of flying kinsmen moved them not: for wet
With surf and wild with streaks of white and black
The pair remained." -- O stout Caractacus!
'Twas thus you stood when Caesar's legions strove
To beat their few, fantastic foemen back --
Your patriots with their savage stripes of red!
To drench the stormy cliff and moaning cove
With faithful blood, as pure as any ever shed.


The Spot Where Cook Landed

Chaotic crags are huddled east and west --
Dark, heavy crags, against a straitened sea
That cometh, like a troubled soul in quest
Of voiceless rest where never dwelleth rest,
With noise "like thunder everlasting."
But here, behold a silent space of sand! --
Oh, pilgrim, halt! -- it even seems to be
~Asleep in other years~. How still! How grand!
How awful in its wild solemnity!
~This~ is the spot on which the Chief did land,
And there, perchance, he stood what time a band
Of yelling strangers scoured the savage lea.
Dear friend, with thoughtful eyes look slowly round --
By all the sacred Past 'tis sacred ground.


Sutherland's Grave

'Tis holy ground! The silent silver lights
And darks undreamed of, falling year by year
Upon his sleep, in soft Australian nights,
Are joys enough for him who lieth here
So sanctified with Rest. We need not rear
The storied monument o'er such a spot!
That soul, the first for whom the Christian tear
Was shed on Austral soil, hath heritage
Most ample! Let the ages wane with age,
The grass which clothes ~this~ grave shall wither not.
See yonder quiet lily! Have the blights
Of many winters left it on a faded tomb?*
Oh, peace! Its fellows, glad with green delights,
Shall gather round it deep eternal bloom!

* A wild lily grows on the spot supposed to be Sutherland's grave. -- H.K.

To Henry Halloran

You know I left my forest home full loth,
And those weird ways I knew so well and long,
Dishevelled with their sloping sidelong growth
Of twisted thorn and kurrajong.

It seems to me, my friend (and this wild thought
Of all wild thoughts, doth chiefly make me bleed),
That in those hills and valleys wonder-fraught,
I loved and lost a noble creed.

A splendid creed! But let me even turn
And hide myself from what I've seen, and try
To fathom certain truths you know, and learn
The Beauty shining in your sky:

Remembering you in ardent autumn nights,
And Stenhouse near you, like a fine stray guest
Of other days, with all his lore of lights
So manifold and manifest!

Then hold me firm. I cannot choose but long
For that which lies and burns beyond my reach,
Suggested in your steadfast, subtle song
And his most marvellous speech!

For now my soul goes drifting back again,
Ay, drifting, drifting, like the silent snow
While scattered sheddings, in a fall of rain,
Revive the dear lost Long Ago!

The time I, loitering by untrodden fens,
Intent upon low-hanging lustrous skies,
Heard mellowed psalms from sounding southern glens --
Euroma, dear to dreaming eyes!

And caught seductive tokens of a voice
Half maddened with the dim, delirious themes
Of perfect Love, and the immortal choice
Of starry faces -- Astral dreams!

That last was yours! And if you sometimes find
An alien darkness on the front of things,
Sing none the less for Life, nor fall behind,
Like me, with trailing, tired wings!

Yea, though the heavy Earth wears sackcloth now
Because she hath the great prophetic grief
Which makes me set my face one way, and bow
And falter for a far belief,

Be faithful yet for all, my brave bright peer,
In that rare light you hold so true and good;
And find me something clearer than the clear
White spaces of Infinitude.

Lost in the Flood

When God drave the ruthless waters
From our cornfields to the sea,
Came she where our wives and daughters
Sobbed their thanks on bended knee.
Hidden faces! there ye found her
Mute as death, and staring wild
At the shadow waxing round her
Like the presence of her child --
Of her drenched and drowning child!

Dark thoughts live when tears won't gather;
Who can tell us what she felt?
It was human, O my Father,
If she blamed Thee while she knelt!
Ever, as a benediction
Fell like balm on all and each,
Rose a young face whose affliction
Choked and stayed the founts of speech --
Stayed and shut the founts of speech!

Often doth she sit and ponder
Over gleams of happy hair!
How her white hands used to wander,
Like a flood of moonlight there!
Lord -- our Lord! Thou know'st her weakness:
Give her faith that she may pray;
And the subtle strength of meekness,
Lest she falter by the way --
Falter, fainting, by the way!

"Darling!" saith she, wildly moaning
Where the grass-grown silence lies,
"Is there rest from sobs and groaning --
Rest with you beyond the skies?
Child of mine, so far above me!
Late it waxeth -- dark and late;
Will the love with which I love thee,
Lift me where you sit and wait --
Darling! where you sit and wait?"

Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Four

I hear no footfall beating through the dark,
A lonely gust is loitering at the pane;
There is no sound within these forests stark
Beyond a splash or two of sullen rain;

But you are with us! and our patient land
Is filled with long-expected change at last,
Though we have scarce the heart to lift a hand
Of welcome, after all the yearning past!

Ah! marvel not; the days and nights were long
And cold and dull and dashed with many tears;
And lately there hath been a doleful song,
Of "Mene, Mene," in our restless ears!

Indeed, we've said, "The royal son of Time,
Whose feet will shortly cross our threshold floor,
May lead us to those outer heights sublime
Our Sires have sold their lives to see before!

We'll follow him! Beyond the waves and wrecks
Of years fulfilled, some fine results must lie;
We'll pass the last of all wild things that vex
The pale, sad face of our Humanity!"

But now our fainting feet are loth to stray
From trodden paths; our eyes with pain are blind!
We've lost fair treasures by the weary way;
We cry, like children, to be left behind.

Our human speech is dim. Yet, latest born
Of God's Eternity, there came to me,
In saddened streets last week, from lips forlorn
A sound more solemn than the sleepless sea!

O, Rachael! Rachael! We have heard the cries
In Rama, stranger, o'er our darling dead;
And seen our mothers with the heavy eyes,
Who would not hearken to be comforted!

Then lead us gently! It must come to pass
That some of us shall halt and faint and fall;
For we are looking through a darkened glass,
And Heaven seems far, and faith grows cold and pale.

I know, for one, I need a subtle strength
I have not yet to hold me from a fall;
What time I cry to God within the length
Of weary hours; my face against the wall!

My mourning brothers! in the long, still nights,
When sleep is wilful, and the lone moon shines,
Bethink you of the silent, silver lights,
And darks with Death amongst the moody pines!

Then, though you cannot shut a stricken face
Away from you, this hope will come about
That Christ hath sent again throughout the place
Some signs of Love to worst and weaken doubt.

So you may find in every afterthought
A peace beyond your best expression dear;
And haply hearken to the Voice which wrought
Such strength in Peter on the seas of fear!

To ----

Ah, often do I wait and watch,
And look up, straining through the Real
With longing eyes, my friend, to catch
Faint glimpses of your white Ideal.

I know she loved to rest her feet
By slumbrous seas and hidden strand;
But mostly hints of her I meet
On moony spots of mountain land.

I've never reached her shining place,
And only cross at times a gleam;
As one might pass a fleeting face
Just on the outside of a Dream.

But you may climb, her happy Choice!
She knows your step, the maiden true,
And ever when she hears your voice,
She turns and sits and waits for you.

How sweet to rest on breezy crest
With such a Love, what time the Morn
Looks from his halls of rosy rest,
Across green miles of gleaming corn!

How sweet to find a leafy nook,
When bees are out, and Day burns mute,
Where you may hear a passion'd brook
Play past you, like a mellow flute!

Or, turning from the sunken sun,
On fields of dim delight to lie --
To close your eyes and muse upon
The twilight's strange divinity!

Or through the Night's mysterious noon,
While Sound lies hushed among the trees,
To sit and watch a mirror'd moon
Float over silver-sleeping seas!

Oh, vain regret! why should I stay
To think and dream of joys unknown?
You walk with her from day to day,
I faint afar off -- and alone.

At Long Bay

Five years ago! you cannot choose
But know the face of change,
Though July sleeps and Spring renews
The gloss in gorge and range.

Five years ago! I hardly know
How they have slipped away,
Since here we watched at ebb and flow
The waters of the Bay;

And saw, with eyes of little faith,
From cumbered summits fade
The rainbow and the rainbow wraith,
That shadow of a shade.

For Love and Youth were vext with doubt,
Like ships on driving seas,
And in those days the heart gave out
Unthankful similes.

But let it be! I've often said
His lot was hardly cast
Who never turned a happy head
To an unhappy Past --

Who never turned a face of light
To cares beyond recall:
He only fares in sorer plight
Who hath no Past at all!

So take my faith, and let it stand
Between us for a sign
That five bright years have known the land
Since yonder tumbled line

Of seacliff took our troubled talk --
The words at random thrown,
And Echo lived about this walk
Of gap and slimy stone.

Here first we learned the Love which leaves
No lack or loss behind,
The dark, sweet Love which woos the eves
And haunts the morning wind.

And roves with runnels in the dell,
And houses by the wave
What time the storm hath struck the fell
And Terror fills the cave --

A Love, you know, that lives and lies
For moments past control,
And mellows through the Poet's eyes
And sweetens in his soul.

Here first we faced a briny breeze,
What time the middle gale
Went shrilling over whitened seas
With flying towers of sail.

And here we heard the plovers call
As shattered pauses came,
When Heaven showed a fiery wall
With sheets of wasted flame.

Here grebe and gull and heavy glede
Passed eastward far away,
The while the wind, with slackened speed,
Drooped with the dying Day.

And here our friendship, like a tree,
Perennial grew and grew,
Till you were glad to live for me,
And I to live for you.

For Ever

Out of the body for ever,
Wearily sobbing, "Oh, whither?"
A Soul that hath wasted its chances
Floats on the limitless ether.

Lost in dim, horrible blankness;
Drifting like wind on a sea,
Untraversed and vacant and moaning,
Nor shallow nor shore on the lee!

Helpless, unfriended, forsaken;
Haunted and tracked by the Past,
With fragments of pitiless voices,
And desolate faces aghast!

One saith -- "It is well that he goeth
Naked and fainting with cold,
Who worshipped his sweet-smelling garments,
Arrayed with the cunning of old!

"Hark! how he crieth, my brothers,
With pain for the glittering things
He saw on the shoulders of Rulers,
And the might in the mouths of the Kings!

"This Soul hath been one of the idlers
Who wait with still hands, when they lack
For Fortune, like Joseph, to throw them
The cup thrust in Benjamin's sack.

"Now, had he been faithful in striving,
And warring with Wrong to the sword,
He must have passed over these spaces
Caught up in the arms of the Lord."

A second: "Lo, Passion was wilful;
And, glad with voluptuous sighs,
He held it luxurious trouble
To ache for luxurious eyes!

"She bound him, the woman resplendent;
She withered his strength with her stare;
And Faith hath been twisted and strangled
With folds of her luminous hair!

"Was it well, O you wandering wailer,
Abandoned in terrible space,
To halt on the highway to Heaven
Because of a glittering face?"

And another: "Behold, he was careful:
He faltered to think of his Youth,
Dejected and weary and footsore,
Alone on the dim road to Truth.

"If the way had been shorter and greener
And brighter, he might have been brave;
But the goal was too far and he fainted,
Like Peter with Christ on the wave!"

Beyond the wild haunts of the mockers --
Far in the distance and gray,
Floateth that sorrowful spirit
Away, and away, and away.

Pale phantoms fly past it, like shadows:
Dim eyes that are blinded with tears;
Old faces all white with affliction --
The ghosts of the wasted dead years!

"Soul that hath ruined us, shiver
And moan when you know us," they cry --
"Behold, I was part of thy substance!" --
"And I" -- saith another -- "and I!"

Drifting from starless abysses
Into the ether sublime,
Where is no upward nor downward,
Nor region nor record of Time!

Out of the Body for ever
No refuge -- no succour nor stay --
Floated that sorrowful Spirit
Away, and away, and away.


To N. D. Stenhouse, Esq.

Dark days have passed, but you who taught me then
To look upon the world with trustful eyes,
Are not forgotten! Quick to sympathise
With noble thoughts, I've dreamt of moments when
Your low voice filled with strains of fairer skies!
Stray breaths of Grecian song that went and came,
Like floating fragrance from some quiet glen
In those far hills which shine with classic fame
Of passioned nymphs and grand-browed god-like men!
I sometimes fear my heart hath lost the same
Sweet sense of harmony; but ~this~ I know
That Beauty waits on you ~where'er~ you go,
Because she loveth child-like Faith! Her bowers
Are rich for it with glad perennial flowers.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A lofty Type of all her sex, I ween,
My English brothers, though your wayward race
Now slight the Soul that never wore a screen,
And loved too well to keep her noble place!
Ah, bravest Woman that our World hath seen
(A light in spaces wild and tempest-tost),
In every verse of thine, behold, we trace
The full reflection of an earnest face
And hear the scrawling of an eager pen!
O sisters! knowing what you've loved and lost,
I ask where shall we find its like, and when?
That dear heart with its passion sorrow-crost,
And pathos rippling, like a brook in June
Amongst the roses of a windless noon.

Sir Walter Scott

The Bard of ancient lore! Like one forlorn,
He turned, enamoured, to the silent Past;
And searching down its mazes gray and vast,
As you might find the blossom by the thorn,
He found fair things in barren places cast
And brought them up into the light of morn.
Lo! Truth, resplendent, as a tropic dawn,
Shines always through his wond'rous pictures! Hence

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