The Poems of Henry Kendall

This etext was typed and proofread (proofread twice — with a large interval) by Alan R. Light ( This was done very carefully so as to assure a clean, accurate copy. The Poems of Henry Kendall by Henry Kendall This edition of Kendall contains: (i) The poems included in the three volumes published during the
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This etext was typed and proofread (proofread twice — with a large interval) by Alan R. Light ( This was done very carefully so as to assure a clean, accurate copy.

The Poems of Henry Kendall
by Henry Kendall [Native-born Australian Poet — 1841-1882.]

[Note on text: Italicized words or phrases will be marked by tildes (~). Lines longer than 78 characters have been broken according to metre, and the continuation is indented two spaces. A few obvious errors have been corrected.]

This edition of Kendall contains: (i) The poems included in the three volumes published during the author’s lifetime; (ii) Those not reprinted by Kendall, but included in the collected editions of 1886, 1890 and 1903; (iii) Early pieces not hitherto reprinted; (iv) Poems, now first printed, from the Kendall MSS. in the Mitchell Library, the use of which has been kindly permitted by the Trustees. Certain topical skits and other pieces of no value have been omitted.

The Poems of Henry Kendall
With biographical note by Bertram Stevens


Poems and Songs

The Muse of Australia
Fainting by the Way
Song of the Cattle-Hunters
God Help Our Men at Sea
Sitting by the Fire
Bellambi’s Maid
The Curlew Song
The Ballad of Tanna
The Rain Comes Sobbing to the Door
Evening Hymn
The Wail in the Native Oak
Harps We Love
Waiting and Wishing
The Wild Kangaroo
Ella with the Shining Hair
The Barcoo
Bells Beyond the Forest
The Maid of Gerringong
The Opossum-Hunters
In the Depths of a Forest
To Charles Harpur
The River and the Hill
The Fate of the Explorers
Under the Figtree
Drowned at Sea
Morning in the Bush
The Girl I Left Behind Me
Amongst the Roses

Leaves from Australian Forests

Prefatory Sonnets
The Hut by the Black Swamp
September in Australia
Ghost Glen
The Warrigal
At Euroma
Illa Creek
Moss on a Wall
On a Cattle Track
To Damascus
A Death in the Bush
A Spanish Love Song
The Last of His Tribe
The Voyage of Telegonus
Sitting by the Fire
Charles Harpur
By the Sea
King Saul at Gilboa
In the Valley
Twelve Sonnets —
A Mountain Spring
By a River
A Reward
To —-
The Stanza of Childe Harold
A Living Poet
Dante and Virgil
After Parting
Alfred Tennyson
Sutherland’s Grave
On the Paroo
Faith in God
Mountain Moss
The Glen of Arrawatta
Ellen Ray
At Dusk
Daniel Henry Deniehy
After the Hunt
Rose Lorraine

Songs from the Mountains

To a Mountain
Mary Rivers
Beyond Kerguelen
Black Lizzie
Jim the Splitter
Bill the Bullock-Driver
When Underneath the Brown Dead Grass The Voice in the Wild Oak
Billy Vickers
Peter the Piccaninny
Narrara Creek
In Memory of John Fairfax
The Sydney International Exhibition Christmas Creek
The Curse of Mother Flood
On a Spanish Cathedral
The Melbourne International Exhibition By the Cliffs of the Sea
Black Kate
A Hyde Park Larrikin
Names Upon a Stone
After Many Years

Early Poems, 1859-70

The Merchant Ship
Oh, Tell Me, Ye Breezes
The Far Future
Silent Tears
Extempore Lines
The Old Year
The Earth Laments for Day
The Late W. V. Wild, Esq.
Australian War Song
The Ivy on the Wall
The Australian Emigrant
To My Brother, Basil E. Kendall
The Waterfall
The Song of Arda
The Helmsman
To Miss Annie Hopkins
Sonnets on the Discovery of Botany Bay by Captain Cook To Henry Halloran
Lost in the Flood
Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Four
To —-
At Long Bay
For Ever
The Bereaved One
Deniehy’s Lament
Deniehy’s Dream
Cui Bono?
In Hyde Park
Australia Vindex
Ned the Larrikin
~In Memoriam~ — Nicol Drysdale Stenhouse Rizpah
Kiama Revisited
Passing Away
James Lionel Michael
Caroline Chisholm
Mount Erebus
Our Jack
Camped by the Creek

Other Poems, 1871-82

Adam Lindsay Gordon
In Memory of Edward Butler
How the Melbourne Cup was Won
Blue Mountain Pioneers
Robert Parkes
At Her Window
William Bede Dalley
To the Spirit of Music
John Dunmore Lang
On a Baby Buried by the Hawkesbury
Song of the Shingle-Splitters
On a Street
Heath from the Highlands
The Austral Months
Aboriginal Death-Song
Sydney Harbour
A Birthday Trifle
Frank Denz
Sydney Exhibition Cantata
Hymn of Praise
Basil Moss
Hunted Down
~In Memoriam~ — Alice Fane Gunn Stenhouse From the Forests
John Bede Polding
Outre Mer

Biographical Note

Henry Kendall was the first Australian poet to draw his inspiration from the life, scenery and traditions of the country. In the beginnings of Australian poetry the names of two other men stand with his — Adam Lindsay Gordon, of English parentage and education, and Charles Harpur, born in Australia a generation earlier than Kendall. Harpur’s work, though lacking vitality, shows fitful gleams of poetic fire suggestive of greater achievement had the circumstances of his life been more favourable. Kendall, whose lot was scarcely more fortunate, is a true singer; his songs remain, and are likely long to remain, attractive to poetry lovers.

The poet’s grandfather, Thomas Kendall, a Lincolnshire schoolmaster, met the Revd. Samuel Marsden when the latter was in England seeking assistants for his projected missionary work in New Zealand. Kendall offered his services to the Church Missionary Society of London and came out to Sydney in 1809. Five years later he was sent to the Bay of Islands as a lay missionary, holding also the first magistrate’s commission issued for New Zealand. He soon made friends with the Maoris and learnt their language well enough to compile a primer in pidgin-Maori, `A Korao no New Zealand; or, the New Zealander’s First Book’, which George Howe printed for Marsden at Sydney in 1815. In 1820 Thomas Kendall went to England with some Maori chiefs, and while there helped Professor Lee, of Cambridge, to “fix” the Maori language — the outcome of their work being Lee and Kendall’s `Grammar and Vocabulary of the Language of New Zealand’, published in the same year.

Returning to New Zealand, Kendall, in 1823, left the Missionary Society and went with his son Basil to Chile. In 1826 he came back to Australia, and for his good work as a missionary received from the New South Wales Government a grant of 1280 acres at Ulladulla, on the South Coast. There he entered the timber trade and became owner and master of a small vessel used in the business. About 1832 this vessel was wrecked near Sydney, and all on board, including the owner, were drowned.

Of Basil Kendall’s early career little is known. While in South America he saw service under Lord Cochrane, the famous tenth Earl of Dundonald, who, after five brilliant years in the Chilean service, was, between 1823 and 1825, fighting on behalf of Brazil. Basil returned to Australia, but disappears from view until 1840. One day in that year he met a Miss Melinda McNally, and next day they were married. Soon afterwards they settled on the Ulladulla grant, farming land at Kirmington, two miles from the little town of Milton. There, in a primitive cottage Basil had built, twin sons — Basil Edward and Henry — were born on the 18th April, 1841. Five years later the family moved to the Clarence River district and settled near the Orara. Basil Kendall had practically lost one lung before his marriage, and failing health made it exceedingly difficult for him to support his family, to which by this time three daughters had been added. On the Orara he grew steadily weaker, and died somewhere about 1851.

Basil Kendall was well educated, and had done what he could to educate his children. After his death the family was scattered, and the two boys were sent to a relative on the South Coast. The scenery of this district made a profound impression upon Henry, and is often referred to in his early poems. In 1855 his uncle Joseph took him as cabin boy in his brig, the `Plumstead’, for a two years’ cruise in the Pacific, during which they touched at many of the Islands and voyaged as far north as Yokohama. The beauty of the scenes he visited lived in the boy’s memory, but the rigours of ship life were so severe that in after years he looked back on the voyage with horror.

Henry Kendall returned to Sydney in March, 1857, and at once obtained employment in the city and set about making a home for his mother and sisters. Mrs. Kendall, granddaughter of Leonard McNally, a Dublin notable of his day, was a clever, handsome woman with a strong constitution and a volatile temperament. Henry was always devoted to her, and considered that from her he inherited whatever talent he possessed. She helped in his education, and encouraged him to write verse.

The first verses of his known to have been printed were “O tell me, ye breezes” — signed “H. Kendall” — which appeared in `The Australian Home Companion and Band of Hope Journal’ in 1859. A number of other poems by Kendall appeared in the same magazine during 1860 and 1861. But in a letter written years afterwards to Mr. Sheridan Moore, Kendall says “My first essay in writing was sent to `The Southern Cross’ at the time you were sub-editor. You, of course, lit your pipe with it. It was on the subject of the `Dunbar’. After a few more attempts in prose and verse — attempts only remarkable for their being clever imitations — I hit upon the right vein and wrote the Curlew Song. Then followed the crude, but sometimes happy verses which made up my first volume.”

The verses on the wreck of the `Dunbar’, written at the age of sixteen, were eventually printed in `The Empire’ in 1860 as “The Merchant Ship”. Henry Parkes, the editor of that newspaper, had already welcomed some of the boy’s poems, and in `The Empire’ of the 8th December, 1859, had noticed as just published a song — “Silent Tears” — the words of which were written by “a young native poet, Mr. H. Kendall, N.A.P.” These initials, which puzzled Parkes, as well they might, meant no more than Native Australian Poet.

Kendall also sent some poems to `The Sydney Morning Herald’; there they attracted the attention of Henry Halloran, a civil servant and a voluminous amateur writer, who sought out the poet and tried to help him.

Kendall’s mother brought him to Mr. Sheridan Moore, who had some reputation as a literary critic. He was greatly interested in the poems, and promised to try to raise money for their publication. Subscriptions were invited by advertisement in January, 1861, but came in so slowly that, after a year’s delay, Kendall almost despaired of publication.

Meanwhile Moore had introduced Kendall to James Lionel Michael, through whom he came to know Nicol D. Stenhouse, Dr. Woolley, and others of the small group of literary men in Sydney. Michael, a London solicitor, had been a friend of some of the Pre-Raphaelite group of artists, and was much more interested in literature than in the law when the lure of gold brought him to Australia in 1853. Himself a well-read man and a writer of very fair verse, he recognized the decided promise of Kendall’s work and gave him a place in his office. In spite of their disparity in years they became friends, and Kendall undoubtedly derived great benefit from Michael’s influence and from the use of his library. When in 1861 Michael left Sydney for Grafton, Kendall either accompanied him or joined him soon afterwards. He did not, however, stay long at Grafton. He found employment at Dungog on the Williams River; afterwards went to Scone, where he worked for a month or two, and then made his way back to Sydney.

Restive over the long delay in publication, and anxious to get a critical estimate of his work, Kendall in January, 1862, made copies of some pieces and sent them to the `Cornhill Magazine’ with a letter pleading for special consideration on account of the author’s youth and the indifference of Australians to anything produced in their own country. A reduced facsimile of this interesting letter is printed here. {In this etext, the letter has been transcribed and is included at the end of this section.} Thackeray was editor of `Cornhill’ up to April, 1862, but may not have seen this pathetic appeal from the other side of the world. At any rate, no notice of it was taken by `Cornhill’, and in July of the same year Kendall sent a similar letter with copies of his verses to the `Athenaeum’. The editor printed the letter and some of the poems, with very kindly comments, in the issue of 27th September, 1862.

In October, 1862, before this powerful encouragement reached the young writer, `Poems and Songs’ was published in Sydney by Mr. J. R. Clarke. `The Empire’ published a favourable review. Further notice of his work appeared in the `Athenaeum’ during the next four years, and in 1866 it was generously praised by Mr. G. B. Barton in his `Poets and Prose Writers of New South Wales’.

Meanwhile in August, 1863, Kendall was, through Parkes’ influence, appointed to a clerkship in the Surveyor-General’s Department at one hundred and fifty pounds a year, and three years later was transferred to the Colonial Secretary’s Office at two hundred pounds a year. During this period he read extensively, and wrote much verse. By 1867 he had so far overcome his natural shyness that he undertook to deliver a series of lectures at the Sydney School of Arts. One of these, on “Love, Courtship and Marriage”, precipitated him into experience of all three; for he walked home after the lecture with Miss Charlotte Rutter, daughter of a Government medical officer, straightway fell in love, and, after a brief courtship, they were married in the following year.

The year 1868 was a memorable one for Kendall in other ways. In April, James Lionel Michael was found dead in the Clarence River, and in June Charles Harpur died at Euroma. Kendall had a great admiration for Harpur’s poems and wrote to him in the spirit of a disciple. They corresponded for some years, but did not meet until a few months before the elder poet’s death. Kendall describes Harpur as then “a noble ruin — scorched and wasted by the fire of sorrow.”

In 1868, also, a prize was offered in Melbourne for the best Australian poem, the judge being Richard Hengist Horne, author of `Orion’. Kendall sent in three poems and Horne awarded the prize to “A Death in the Bush”. In an article printed in Melbourne and Sydney newspapers he declared that the author was a true poet, and that had there been three prizes, the second and third would have gone to Kendall’s other poems — “The Glen of Arrawatta” and “Dungog”.

The result of winning this prize was that Kendall decided to abandon routine work and try to earn his living as a writer. He resigned his position in the Colonial Secretary’s Office on the 31st March, 1869, and shortly afterwards left for Melbourne, where his wife and daughter soon joined him. Melbourne was then a centre of greater literary activity than Sydney. Neither then, however, nor for a long time to come, was any number of people in Australia sufficiently interested in local literature (apart from journalism) to warrant the most gifted writer in depending upon his pen for support. Still, Kendall managed to persuade Mr. George Robertson, the principal Australian bookseller of those days, to undertake the risk of his second book of poems — `Leaves from Australian Forests’ — which was published towards the end of 1869. But though the volume showed a great advance in quality upon its predecessor, it was a commercial failure, and the publisher lost ninety pounds over it.

In Melbourne, Kendall wrote prose, as well as satirical and serious verse, for most of the papers. The payment was small; in fact, only a few newspapers then paid anything for verse. He made a little money by writing the words for a cantata, “Euterpe”, sung at the opening of the Melbourne Town Hall in 1870. At the office of `The Colonial Monthly’, edited by Marcus Clarke, he met the best of the Melbourne literati, and, though his reserved manner did not encourage intimacy, one of them — George Gordon McCrae — became a close and true friend. Lindsay Gordon, too, admired Kendall’s poems, and learned to respect a man whose disposition was in some ways like his own. `Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes’ appeared in June, 1870, and Kendall received an advance copy and wrote a laudatory review for `The Australasian’. He and Gordon spent some hours on the day of publication, discussing the book and poetry in general. Both were depressed by the apparent futility of literary effort in Australia, where nearly everyone was making haste to be rich. Next morning Gordon shot himself — tired of life at thirty-seven! Kendall knew how Harpur’s last long illness had been saddened by the knowledge that the public was utterly indifferent to his poems; he had seen the wreck of the once brilliant Deniehy; and now the noble-hearted Gordon had given up the struggle.

To these depressing influences, and the hardships occasioned by a meagre and uncertain income, was added a new grief — the loss of his first-born, Araluen, whose memory he enshrined years afterwards in a poem of pathetic tenderness. He returned to Sydney early in 1871, broken in health and spirit. The next two years were a time of tribulation, during which, as he said later on, he passed into the shadow, and emerged only through the devotion of his wife and the help of the brothers Fagan, timber merchants, of Brisbane Water. Kendall was the Fagans’ guest at Narrara Creek, near Gosford, and afterwards filled a clerical position in the business which one of the brothers established at Camden Haven. There he spent seven tranquil years with his wife and family, and wrote the best of his poems. In some of these he said all that need be said against himself, for he was always frankly critical of his conduct and work.

In his later years Kendall tasted some of the sweets of success. He wrote the words of the opening Cantata sung at the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879, and won a prize of one hundred pounds offered by `The Sydney Morning Herald’ for a poem on the Exhibition. His third collection — `Songs from the Mountains’ — was published at Sydney in 1880, and realized a substantial profit. In 1881 Sir Henry Parkes made a position for him, an Inspectorship of State Forests at five hundred pounds a year. Kendall’s experience in the timber business well fitted him for this, though his health was not equal to the exposure attendant on the work. He moved to Cundletown, on the Manning River, before receiving the appointment, and from that centre rode out on long tours of inspection. During one of these he caught a chill; his lungs were affected, and rapid consumption followed. He went to Sydney for treatment and was joined by his wife at Mr. Fagan’s house in Redfern, where he died in her arms on the 1st August, 1882. He was buried at Waverley, overlooking the sea.

Kendall, it should be remembered, did not prepare a collected edition of his poems, and it will be noticed that in the present volume some lines and passages appear more than once. The student and lover of Kendall will be interested to see how these lines and passages were taken from his own previous work and turned to better account in later poems, and to note the gradual improvement of his style. In his last book, `Songs from the Mountains’, there are fewer echoes; the touch is surer, and the imaginative level at his highest. The shining wonder is that, under the conditions of Australian life between 1860 and 1880, he should have written so much that is so good.

As our first sweet singer of “native woodnotes wild”, Kendall has an enduring place in the regard of all Australians; and his best work is known and admired wherever English poetry is read.

Bertram Stevens

{This is the transcription of the letter previously mentioned.}

Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales. January 21, 1862

To the Editor of the “Cornhill Magazine”.


Will you oblige me by reading this letter, and the accompanying verses? Remember that they will have travelled sixteen thousand miles, and on that account will be surely worth a few moments of your time. I think that there is merit in the verses, and have sent them to you, hoping that you — yourself, will be of the same opinion. If one can be selected — one up to the standard of the `Cornhill Magazine’, insert it, and you will be helping me practically. I do not hint of pecuniary remuneration however, for your recognition would be sufficient reward.

Let me say a few words about myself: I was born in this colony; and am now in the nineteenth year of my age. My education has been neglected — hence you will very likely find that some of these effusions are immature. At present the most of my time is occupied at an attorney’s office, but I do not earn enough there to cover expenses; considering that I have to support my mother and three sisters. I want to rise, and if my poems are anywhere near the mark you can assist me by noticing them.

They recognise me in this country as the “first Australian poet”. If the men who load me with their fulsome, foolish praises, really believed {that I have talent (crossed out)} in my talents, and cared a whit about fostering a native literature, they would give me a good situation; and I should not have to appeal to you.

If one of the poems is found to be good enough, and you publish it, someone here will _then_ surely do the rest. On the other hand if nothing can be gleaned from them, let the effusions and their author be forgotten. Hoping that you will not forget to read the verses, I remain
Yours, Respectfully, H. Kendall.

Poems and Songs

The Muse of Australia

Where the pines with the eagles are nestled in rifts, And the torrent leaps down to the surges, I have followed her, clambering over the clifts, By the chasms and moon-haunted verges.
I know she is fair as the angels are fair, For have I not caught a faint glimpse of her there; A glimpse of her face and her glittering hair, And a hand with the Harp of Australia?

I never can reach you, to hear the sweet voice So full with the music of fountains!
Oh! when will you meet with that soul of your choice, Who will lead you down here from the mountains? A lyre-bird lit on a shimmering space;
It dazzled mine eyes and I turned from the place, And wept in the dark for a glorious face, And a hand with the Harp of Australia!


Rifted mountains, clad with forests, girded round by gleaming pines, Where the morning, like an angel, robed in golden splendour shines; Shimmering mountains, throwing downward on the slopes a mazy glare Where the noonday glory sails through gulfs of calm and glittering air; Stately mountains, high and hoary, piled with blocks of amber cloud, Where the fading twilight lingers, when the winds are wailing loud; Grand old mountains, overbeetling brawling brooks and deep ravines, Where the moonshine, pale and mournful, flows on rocks and evergreens.

Underneath these regal ridges — underneath the gnarly trees, I am sitting, lonely-hearted, listening to a lonely breeze! Sitting by an ancient casement, casting many a longing look Out across the hazy gloaming — out beyond the brawling brook! Over pathways leading skyward — over crag and swelling cone, Past long hillocks looking like to waves of ocean turned to stone; Yearning for a bliss unworldly, yearning for a brighter change, Yearning for the mystic Aidenn, built beyond this mountain range.

Happy years, amongst these valleys, happy years have come and gone, And my youthful hopes and friendships withered with them one by one; Days and moments bearing onward many a bright and beauteous dream, All have passed me like to sunstreaks flying down a distant stream. Oh, the love returned by loved ones! Oh, the faces that I knew! Oh, the wrecks of fond affection! Oh, the hearts so warm and true! But their voices I remember, and a something lingers still, Like a dying echo roaming sadly round a far off hill.

I would sojourn here contented, tranquil as I was of yore, And would never wish to clamber, seeking for an unknown shore; I have dwelt within this cottage twenty summers, and mine eyes Never wandered erewhile round in search of undiscovered skies; But a spirit sits beside me, veiled in robes of dazzling white, And a dear one’s whisper wakens with the symphonies of night; And a low sad music cometh, borne along on windy wings, Like a strain familiar rising from a maze of slumbering springs.

And the Spirit, by my window, speaketh to my restless soul, Telling of the clime she came from, where the silent moments roll; Telling of the bourne mysterious, where the sunny summers flee Cliffs and coasts, by man untrodden, ridging round a shipless sea. There the years of yore are blooming — there departed life-dreams dwell, There the faces beam with gladness that I loved in youth so well; There the songs of childhood travel, over wave-worn steep and strand — Over dale and upland stretching out behind this mountain land.

“Lovely Being, can a mortal, weary of this changeless scene, Cross these cloudy summits to the land where man hath never been? Can he find a pathway leading through that wildering mass of pines, So that he shall reach the country where ethereal glory shines; So that he may glance at waters never dark with coming ships; Hearing round him gentle language floating from angelic lips; Casting off his earthly fetters, living there for evermore; All the blooms of Beauty near him, gleaming on that quiet shore?

“Ere you quit this ancient casement, tell me, is it well to yearn For the evanescent visions, vanished never to return? Is it well that I should with to leave this dreary world behind, Seeking for your fair Utopia, which perchance I may not find? Passing through a gloomy forest, scaling steeps like prison walls, Where the scanty sunshine wavers and the moonlight seldom falls? Oh, the feelings re-awakened! Oh, the hopes of loftier range! Is it well, thou friendly Being, well to wish for such a change?”

But the Spirit answers nothing! and the dazzling mantle fades; And a wailing whisper wanders out from dismal seaside shades! “Lo, the trees are moaning loudly, underneath their hood-like shrouds, And the arch above us darkens, scarred with ragged thunder clouds!” But the spirit answers nothing, and I linger all alone, Gazing through the moony vapours where the lovely Dream has flown; And my heart is beating sadly, and the music waxeth faint, Sailing up to holy Heaven, like the anthems of a Saint.


Towards the hills of Jamberoo
Some few fantastic shadows haste, Uplit with fires
Like castle spires
Outshining through a mirage waste. Behold, a mournful glory sits
On feathered ferns and woven brakes, Where sobbing wild like restless child
The gusty breeze of evening wakes! Methinks I hear on every breath
A lofty tone go passing by,
That whispers — “Weave,
Though wood winds grieve,
The fadeless blooms of Poesy!”

A spirit hand has been abroad —
An evil hand to pluck the flowers — A world of wealth,
And blooming health
Has gone from fragrant seaside bowers. The twilight waxeth dim and dark,
The sad waves mutter sounds of woe, But the evergreen retains its sheen,
And happy hearts exist below;
But pleasure sparkles on the sward, And voices utter words of bliss,
And while my bride
Sits by my side,
Oh, where’s the scene surpassing this?

Kiama slumbers, robed with mist,
All glittering in the dewy light
That, brooding o’er
The shingly shore,
Lies resting in the arms of Night; And foam-flecked crags with surges chill, And rocks embraced of cold-lipped spray, Are moaning loud where billows crowd
In angry numbers up the bay.
The holy stars come looking down
On windy heights and swarthy strand, And Life and Love —
The cliffs above —
Are sitting fondly hand in hand.

I hear a music inwardly,
That floods my soul with thoughts of joy; Within my heart
Emotions start
That Time may still but ne’er destroy. An ancient Spring revives itself,
And days which made the past divine; And rich warm gleams from golden dreams, All glorious in their summer shine;
And songs of half forgotten hours,
And many a sweet melodious strain, Which still shall rise
Beneath the skies
When all things else have died again.

A white sail glimmers out at sea —
A vessel walking in her sleep;
Some Power goes past
That bends the mast,
While frighted waves to leeward leap. The moonshine veils the naked sand
And ripples upward with the tide, As underground there rolls a sound
From where the caverned waters glide. A face that bears affection’s glow,
The soul that speaks from gentle eyes, And joy which slips
From loving lips
Have made this spot my Paradise!


The heart that once was rich with light, And happy in your grace,
Now lieth cold beneath the scorn
That gathers on your face;
And every joy it knew before,
And every templed dream,
Is paler than the dying flash
On yonder mountain stream.
The soul, regretting foundered bliss Amid the wreck of years,
Hath mourned it with intensity
Too deep for human tears!

The forest fadeth underneath
The blast that rushes by —
The dripping leaves are white with death, But Love will never die!
We both have seen the starry moss
That clings where Ruin reigns,
And ~one~ must know ~his~ lonely breast Affection still retains;
Through all the sweetest hopes of life, That clustered round and round,
Are lying now, like withered things, Forsaken — on the ground.

‘Tis hard to think of what we were,
And what we might have been,
Had not an evil spirit crept
Across the tranquil scene:
Had fervent feelings in your soul
Not failed nor ceased to shine
As pure as those existing on,
And burning still in mine.
Had every treasure at your feet
That I was wont to pour,
Been never thrown like worthless weeds Upon a barren shore!

The bitter edge of grief has passed,
I would not now upbraid;
Or count to you the broken vows,
So often idly made!
I would not cross your path to chase The falsehood from your brow —
I ~know~, with all that borrowed light, You are not happy now:
Since those that once have trampled down Affection’s early claim,
Have lost a peace they need not hope To find on earth again.


A splendid sun betwixt the trees
Long spikes of flame did shoot,
When turning to the fragrant South, With longing eyes and burning mouth,
I stretched a hand athwart the drouth, And plucked at cooling fruit.

So thirst was quenched, and hastening on With strength returned to me,
I set my face against the noon,
And reached a denser forest soon;
Which dipped into a still lagoon
Hard by the sooming sea.

All day the ocean beat on bar
And bank of gleaming sand;
Yet that lone pool was always mild, It never moved when waves were wild,
But slumbered, like a quiet child,
Upon the lap of land.

And when I rested on the brink,
Amongst the fallen flowers,
I lay in calm; no leaves were stirred By breath of wind, or wing of bird;
It was so still, you might have heard The footfalls of the hours.

Faint slumbrous scents of roses filled The air which covered me:
My words were low — “she loved them so, In Eden vales such odours blow:
How strange it is that roses grow
So near the shores of Sea!”

A sweeter fragrance never came
Across the Fields of Yore!
And when I said — “we here would dwell,” — A low voice on the silence fell —
“Ah! if you loved the roses well,
You loved Aileen the more.”

“Ay, that I did, and now would turn,
And fall and worship her!
But Oh, you dwell so far — so high! One cannot reach, though he may try,
The Morning land, and Jasper sky — The balmy hills of Myrrh.

“Why vex me with delicious hints
Of fairest face, and rarest blooms; You Spirit of a darling Dream
Which links itself with every theme And thought of mine by surf or stream,
In glens — or caverned glooms?”

She said, “thy wishes led me down,
From amaranthine bowers:
And since my face was haunting thee With roses (dear which used to be),
They all have hither followed me,
The scents and shapes of flowers.”

“Then stay, mine own evangel, stay!
Or, going, take me too;
But let me sojourn by your side,
If here we dwell or there abide,
It matters not!” I madly cried —
“I only care for you.”

Oh, glittering Form that would not stay! — Oh, sudden, sighing breeze!
A fainting rainbow dropped below
Far gleaming peaks and walls of snow And there, a weary way, I go,
Towards the Sunrise seas.


The gums in the gully stand gloomy and stark, A torrent beneath them is leaping,
And the wind goes about like a ghost in the dark Where a chief of Wahibbi lies sleeping! He dreams of a battle — of foes of the past, But he hears not the whooping abroad on the blast, Nor the fall of the feet that are travelling fast. Oh, why dost thou slumber, Kooroora?

They come o’er the hills in their terrible ire, And speed by the woodlands and water;
They look down the hills at the flickering fire, All eager and thirsty for slaughter.
Lo! the stormy moon glares like a torch from the vale, And a voice in the belah grows wild in its wail, As the cries of the Wanneroos swell with the gale — Oh! rouse thee and meet them, Kooroora!

He starts from his sleep and he clutches his spear, And the echoes roll backward in wonder, For a shouting strikes into the hollow woods near, Like the sound of a gathering thunder.
He clambers the ridge, with his face to the light, The foes of Wahibbi come full in his sight — The waters of Mooki will redden to-night. Go! and glory awaits thee, Kooroora!

Lo! yeelamans splinter and boomerangs clash, And a spear through the darkness is driven — It whizzes along like a wandering flash
From the heart of a hurricane riven. They turn to the mountains, that gloomy-browed band; The rain droppeth down with a moan to the land, And the face of a chieftain lies buried in sand — Oh, the light that was quenched with Kooroora!

To-morrow the Wanneroo dogs will rejoice, And feast in this desolate valley;
But where are his brothers — the friends of his choice, And why art thou absent, Ewalli?
Now silence draws back to the forest again, And the wind, like a wayfarer, sleeps on the plain, But the cheeks of a warrior bleach in the rain. Oh! where are thy mourners, Kooroora?

Fainting by the Way

Swarthy wastelands, wide and woodless, glittering miles and miles away, Where the south wind seldom wanders and the winters will not stay; Lurid wastelands, pent in silence, thick with hot and thirsty sighs, Where the scanty thorn-leaves twinkle with their haggard, hopeless eyes; Furnaced wastelands, hunched with hillocks, like to stony billows rolled, Where the naked flats lie swirling, like a sea of darkened gold; Burning wastelands, glancing upward with a weird and vacant stare, Where the languid heavens quiver o’er red depths of stirless air!

“Oh, my brother, I am weary of this wildering waste of sand; In the noontide we can never travel to the promised land! Lo! the desert broadens round us, glaring wildly in my face, With long leagues of sunflame on it, — oh! the barren, barren place! See, behind us gleams a green plot, shall we thither turn and rest Till a cold wind flutters over, till the day is down the west? I would follow, but I cannot! Brother, let me here remain, For the heart is dead within me, and I may not rise again.”

“Wherefore stay to talk of fainting? — rouse thee for awhile, my friend; Evening hurries on our footsteps, and this journey soon will end. Wherefore stay to talk of fainting, when the sun, with sinking fire, Smites the blocks of broken thunder, blackening yonder craggy spire? Even now the far-off landscape broods and fills with coming change, And a withered moon grows brighter bending o’er that shadowed range; At the feet of grassy summits sleeps a water calm and clear — There is surely rest beyond it! Comrade, wherefore tarry here?

“Yet a little longer struggle; we have walked a wilder plain, And have met more troubles, trust me, than we e’er shall meet again! Can you think of all the dangers you and I are living through With a soul so weak and fearful, with the doubts ~I~ never knew? Dost thou not remember that the thorns are clustered with the rose, And that every Zin-like border may a pleasant land enclose? Oh, across these sultry deserts many a fruitful scene we’ll find, And the blooms we gather shall be worth the wounds they leave behind!”

“Ah, my brother, it is useless! See, o’erburdened with their load, All the friends who went before us fall or falter by the road! We have come a weary distance, seeking what we may not get, And I think we are but children, chasing rainbows through the wet. Tell me not of vernal valleys! Is it well to hold a reed Out for drowning men to clutch at in the moments of their need? Go thy journey on without me; it is better I should stay, Since my life is like an evening, fading, swooning fast away!

“Where are all the springs you talked of? Have I not with pleading mouth Looked to Heaven through a silence stifled in the crimson drouth? Have I not, with lips unsated, watched to see the fountains burst, Where I searched the rocks for cisterns? And they only mocked my thirst! Oh, I dreamt of countries fertile, bright with lakes and flashing rills Leaping from their shady caverns, streaming round a thousand hills! Leave me, brother, all is fruitless, barren, measureless, and dry, And my God will ~never~ help me though I pray, and faint, and die!”

“Up! I tell thee this is idle! Oh, thou man of little faith! Doubting on the verge of Aidenn, turning now to covet death! By the fervent hopes within me, by the strength which nerves my soul, By the heart that yearns to help thee, we shall live and reach the goal! Rise and lean thy weight upon me. Life is fair, and God is just, And He yet will show us fountains, if we only look and trust! Oh, I know it, and He leads us to the glens of stream and shade, Where the low, sweet waters gurgle round the banks which cannot fade!”

Thus he spake, my friend and brother! and he took me by the hand, And I think we walked the desert till the night was on the land; Then we came to flowery hollows, where we heard a far-off stream Singing in the moony twilight, like the rivers of my dream. And the balmy winds came tripping softly through the pleasant trees, And I thought they bore a murmur like a voice from sleeping seas. So we travelled, so we reached it, and I never more will part With the peace, as calm as sunset, folded round my weary heart.

Song of the Cattle-Hunters

While the morning light beams on the fern-matted streams, And the water-pools flash in its glow,
Down the ridges we fly, with a loud ringing cry — Down the ridges and gullies we go!
And the cattle we hunt — they are racing in front, With a roar like the thunder of waves,
As the beat and the beat of our swift horses’ feet Start the echoes away from their caves! As the beat and the beat
Of our swift horses’ feet
Start the echoes away from their caves!

Like a wintry shore that the waters ride o’er, All the lowlands are filling with sound; For swiftly we gain where the herds on the plain, Like a tempest, are tearing the ground! And we’ll follow them hard to the rails of the yard, O’er the gulches and mountain-tops grey, Where the beat and the beat of our swift horses’ feet Will die with the echoes away!
Where the beat and the beat
Of our swift horses’ feet
Will die with the echoes away!


The embers were blinking and clinking away, The casement half open was thrown;
There was nothing but cloud on the skirts of the Day, And I sat on the threshold alone!

And said to the river which flowed by my door With its beautiful face to the hill,
“I have waited and waited, all wearied and sore, But my love is a wanderer still!”

And said to the wind, as it paused in its flight To look through the shivering pane,
“There are memories moaning and homeless to-night That can never be tranquil again!”

And said to the woods, as their burdens were borne With a flutter and sigh to the eaves,
“They are wrinkled and wasted, and tattered and torn, And we too have our withering leaves.”

Did I hear a low echo of footfalls about, Whilst watching those forest trees stark? Or was it a dream that I hurried without To clutch at and grapple the dark?

In the shadow I stood for a moment and spake — “Bright thing that was loved in the past, Oh! am I asleep — or abroad and awake?
And are you so near me at last?

“Oh, roamer from lands where the vanished years go, Oh, waif from those mystical zones,
Come here where I long for you, broken and low, On the mosses and watery stones!

“Come out of your silence and tell me if Life Is so fair in that world as they say;
Was it worth all this yearning, and weeping, and strife When you left it behind you to-day?

“Will it end all this watching, and doubting, and dread? Do these sorrows die out with our breath? Will they pass from our souls like a nightmare,” I said, “While we glide through the mazes of Death?

“Come out of that darkness and teach me the lore You have learned since I looked on your face; By the summers that blossomed and faded of yore — By the lights which have fled to that place!

“You answer me not when I know that you could — When I know that you could and you should; Though the storms be abroad on the wave; Though the rain droppeth down with a wail to the wood, And my heart is as cold as your grave!”

God Help Our Men at Sea

The wild night comes like an owl to its lair, The black clouds follow fast,
And the sun-gleams die, and the lightnings glare, And the ships go heaving past, past, past — The ships go heaving past!
Bar the doors, and higher, higher Pile the faggots on the fire:
Now abroad, by many a light,
Empty seats there are to-night — Empty seats that none may fill,
For the storm grows louder still: How it surges and swells through the gorges and dells, Under the ledges and over the lea,
Where a watery sound goeth moaning around — God help our men at sea!

Oh! never a tempest blew on the shore But that some heart did moan
For a darling voice it would hear no more And a face that had left it lone, lone, lone — A face that had left it lone!
I am watching by a pane
Darkened with the gusty rain,
Watching, through a mist of tears, Sad with thoughts of other years,
For a brother I did miss
In a stormy time like this.
Ah! the torrent howls past, like a fiend on the blast, Under the ledges and over the lea;
And the pent waters gleam, and the wild surges scream — God help our men at sea!

Ah, Lord! they may grope through the dark to find Thy hand within the gale;
And cries may rise on the wings of the wind From mariners weary and pale, pale, pale — From mariners weary and pale!
‘Tis a fearful thing to know,
While the storm-winds loudly blow, That a man can sometimes come
Too near to his father’s home;
So that he shall kneel and say,
“Lord, I would be far away!”
Ho! the hurricanes roar round a dangerous shore, Under the ledges and over the lea;
And there twinkles a light on the billows so white — God help our men at sea!

Sitting by the Fire

Barren Age and withered World!
Oh! the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof —
Pattering on the pane!
Frosty Age and cold, cold World!
Ghosts of other days,
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze.
Now the wind goes soughing wild
O’er the whistling Earth;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth!
Sitting by the fire,
Watching in its glow,
Ghosts of other days
Trooping to and fro.

. . . . .

Oh, the nights — the nights we’ve spent, Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow;
Twenty summers back —
Twenty years ago!
If the days were days of toil
Wherefore should we mourn;
There were shadows near the shine,
Flowers with the thorn?
And we still can recollect
Evenings spent in mirth —
Fragments of a broken life,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow,
Twenty summers back —
Twenty years ago.

Beauty stooped to bless us once,
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow;
Forty summers back —
Forty years ago.
Words of love were interchanged,
Maiden hearts we stole;
And the light affection throws
Slept on every soul.
Oh, the hours went flying past —
Hours of priceless worth;
But we took no note of Time,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow,
Forty summers back —
Forty years ago.

Gleesome children were we not?
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back —
Sixty years ago.
Laughing voices filled the room;
Oh, the songs we sung,
When the evenings hurried by —
When our hearts were young!
Pleasant faces watched the flame — Eyes illumed with mirth —
And we told some merry tales,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back —
Sixty years ago.

. . . . .

Barren Age and withered World!
Oh, the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof —
Pattering on the pane!
Frosty Age and cold, cold World!
Ghosts of other days,
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze.
Now the wind goes soughing wild
O’er the whistling Earth;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Watching, in its glow,
Ghosts of other days
Trooping to and fro!

Bellambi’s Maid

Amongst the thunder-splintered caves
On Ocean’s long and windy shore,
I catch the voice of dying waves
Below the ridges old and hoar;
The spray descends in silver showers, And lovely whispers come and go,
Like echoes from the happy hours
I never more may hope to know!
The low mimosa droops with locks
Of yellow hair, in dewy glade,
While far above the caverned rocks
I hear the dark Bellambi’s Maid!

The moonlight dreams upon the sail
That drives the restless ship to sea; The clouds troop past the mountain vale, And sink like spirits down the lee;
The foggy peak of Corrimal,
Uplifted, bears the pallid glow
That streams from yonder airy hall
And robes the sleeping hills below; The wandering meteors of the sky
Beneath the distant waters wade,
While mystic music hurries by —
The songs of dark Bellambi’s Maid!

Why comes your voice, you lonely One, Along the wild harp’s wailing strings?
Have not our hours of meeting gone, Like fading dreams on phantom wings?
Are not the grasses round your grave Yet springing green and fresh to view?
And does the gleam on Ocean’s wave
Tide gladness now to me and you?
Oh! cold and cheerless falls the night On withered hearts and hopes decayed:
And I have seen but little light
Since died the dark Bellambi’s Maid!

The Curlew Song

The viewless blast flies moaning past, Away to the forest trees,
Where giant pines and leafless vines Bend ‘neath the wandering breeze!
From ferny streams, unearthly screams Are heard in the midnight blue;
As afar they roam to the shepherd’s home, The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
As afar they roam
To the shepherd’s home,
The shrieks of the wild Curlew!

The mists are curled o’er a dark-faced world, And the shadows sleep around,
Where the clear lagoon reflects the moon In her hazy glory crowned;
While dingoes howl, and wake the growl Of the watchdog brave and true;
Whose loud, rough bark shoots up in the dark, With the song of the lone Curlew!
Whose loud, rough bark
Shoots up in the dark,
With the song of the lone Curlew!

Near herby banks the dark green ranks Of the rushes stoop to drink;
And the ripples chime, in a measured time, On the smooth and mossy brink;
As wind-breaths sigh, and pass, and die, To start from the swamps anew,
And join again o’er ridge and plain With the wails of the sad Curlew!
And join again
O’er ridge and plain
With the wails of the sad Curlew!

The clouds are thrown around the cone Of the mountain bare and high,
(Whose craggy peak uprears to the cheek — To the face of the sombre sky)
When down beneath the foggy wreath, Full many a gully through,
They rend the air, like cries of despair, The screams of the wild Curlew!
They rend the air,
Like cries of despair,
The screams of the wild Curlew!

The viewless blast flies moaning past, Away to the forest trees;
Where giant pines and leafless vines Bend ‘neath the wandering breeze!
From ferny streams, unearthly screams Are heard in the midnight blue;
As afar they roam to the shepherd’s home, The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
As afar they roam
To the shepherd’s home,
The shrieks of the wild Curlew!

The Ballad of Tanna

She knelt by the dead, in her passionate grief, Beneath a weird forest of Tanna;
She kissed the stern brow of her father and chief, And cursed the dark race of Alkanna.
With faces as wild as the clouds in the rain, The sons of Kerrara came down to the plain, And spoke to the mourner and buried the slain. Oh, the glory that died with Deloya!

“Wahina,” they whispered, “Alkanna lies low, And the ghost of thy sire hath been gladdened, For the men of his people have fought with the foe Till the rivers of Warra are reddened!” She lifted her eyes to the glimmering hill, Then spoke, with a voice like a musical rill, “The time is too short; can I sojourn here still?” Oh, the Youth that was sad for Deloya!

“Wahina, why linger,” Annatanam said, “When the tent of a chieftain is lonely? There are others who grieve for the light that has fled, And one who waits here for you only!”
“Go — leave me!” she cried. “I would fain be alone; I must stay where the trees and the wild waters moan; For my heart is as cold as a wave-beaten stone.” Oh, the Beauty that was broke for Deloya!

“Wahina, why weep o’er a handful of dust, When the souls of the brave are approaching? Oh, look to the fires that are lit for the just, And the mighty who sleep in Arrochin!”
But she turned from the glare of the flame-smitten sea, And a cry, like a whirlwind, came over the lea — “Away to the mountains and leave her with me!” Oh, the heart that was broke for Deloya!

The Rain Comes Sobbing to the Door

The night grows dark, and weird, and cold; and thick drops patter on the pane; There comes a wailing from the sea; the wind is weary of the rain. The red coals click beneath the flame, and see, with slow and silent feet The hooded shadows cross the woods to where the twilight waters beat! Now, fan-wise from the ruddy fire, a brilliance sweeps athwart the floor; As, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door: As, streaming down the lattices,
The rain comes sobbing to the door.

Dull echoes round the casement fall, and through the empty chambers go, Like forms unseen whom we can hear on tip-toe stealing to and fro. But fill your glasses to the brims, and, through a mist of smiles and tears, Our eyes shall tell how much we love to toast the shades of other years! And hither they will flock again, the ghosts of things that are no more, While, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door: While, streaming down the lattices,
The rain comes sobbing to the door.

The tempest-trodden wastelands moan — the trees are threshing at the blast; And now they come, the pallid shapes of Dreams that perished in the past; And, when we lift the windows up, a smothered whisper round us strays, Like some lone wandering voice from graves that hold the wrecks of bygone days.
I tell ye that I ~love~ the storm, for think we not of ~thoughts~ of yore, When, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door? When, streaming down the lattices,
The rain comes sobbing to the door?

We’ll drink to those we sadly miss, and sing some mournful song we know, Since they may chance to hear it all, and muse on friends they’ve left below. Who knows — if souls in bliss can leave the borders of their Eden-home — But that some loving one may now about the ancient threshold roam? Oh, like an exile, he would hail a glimpse of the familiar floor, Though, streaming down the lattices, the rain comes sobbing to the door! Though, streaming down the lattices,
The rain comes sobbing to the door!


* Another spelling of Orara, a tributary of the river Clarence. —

Euroka, go over the tops of the hill, For the ~Death-clouds~ have passed us to-day, And we’ll cry in the dark for the foot-falls still, And the tracks which are fading away!
Let them yell to their lubras, the Bulginbah dogs, And say how our brothers were slain,
We shall wipe out our grief in the blood of their chief, And twenty more dead on the plain —
On the blood-spattered spurs of the plain! But the low winds sigh,
And the dead leaves fly,
Where our warriors lie,
In the dingoes’ den — in the white-cedar glen On the banks of the gloomy Urara!
Urara! Urara!
On the banks of the gloomy Urara!

The Wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass, And crawl to their coverts for fear;
But we’ll sit in the ashes and let them pass Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear! Oh! our hearts will be lonely and low to-night When we think of the hunts of yore;
And the foes that we sought, and the fights which we fought, With those who will battle no more —
Who will go to the battle no more! For the dull winds sigh,
And the dead leaves fly,
Where our warriors lie,
In the dingoes’ den — in the white-cedar glen On the banks of the gloomy Urara!
Urara! Urara!
On the banks of the gloomy Urara!

Oh! the gorges and gullies are black with crows, And they feast on the flesh of the brave; But the forest is loud with the howls of our foes For those whom they never can save!
Let us crouch with our faces down to our knees, And hide in the dark of our hair;
For we will not return where the camp-fires burn, And see what is smouldering there —
What is smouldering, mouldering there! Where the sad winds sigh —
The dead leaves fly,
And our warriors lie;
In the dingoes’ den — in the white-cedar glen On the banks of the gloomy Urara!
Urara! Urara!
On the banks of the gloomy Urara!

Evening Hymn

The crag-pent breezes sob and moan where hidden waters glide; And twilight wanders round the earth with slow and shadowy stride. The gleaming clouds, above the brows of western steeps uphurled, Look like the spires of some fair town that bounds a brighter world. Lo, from the depths of yonder wood, where many a blind creek strays, The pure Australian moon comes forth, enwreathed with silver haze. The rainy mists are trooping down the folding hills behind, And distant torrent-voices rise like bells upon the wind. The echeu’s* songs are dying, with the flute-bird’s mellow tone, And night recalls the gloomy owl to rove the wilds alone; Night, holy night, in robes of blue, with golden stars encrowned, Ascending mountains like to walls that hem an Eden round.

* The rufous-breasted thickhead.

Oh, lovely moon! oh, holy night! how good your God must be, When, through the glories of your light, He stoops to look at me! Oh, glittering clouds and silvery shapes, that vanish one by one! Is not the kindness of our Lord too great to think upon? If human song could flow as free as His created breeze, When, sloping from some hoary height, it sweeps the vacant seas, Then should my voice to heaven ascend, my tuneful lyre be strung, And music sweeter than the winds should roam these glens among. Go by, ye golden-footed hours, to your mysterious bourne, And hide the sins ye bear from hence, so that they ne’er return. Teach me, ye beauteous stars, to kiss kind Mercy’s chastening rod, And, looking up from Nature’s face, to worship Nature’s God.


The sunsets fall and the sunsets fade, But still I walk this shadowy land;
And grapple the dark and only the dark In my search for a loving hand.

For it’s here a still, deep woodland lies, With spurs of pine and sheaves of fern; But I wander wild, and wail like a child For a face that will never return!

And it’s here a mighty water flows,
With drifts of wind and wimpled waves; But the darling head of a dear one dead
Is hidden beneath its caves.

The Wail in the Native Oak

Where the lone creek, chafing nightly in the cold and sad moonshine, Beats beneath the twisted fern-roots and the drenched and dripping vine; Where the gum trees, ringed and ragged, from the mazy margins rise, Staring out against the heavens with their languid gaping eyes; There I listened — there I heard it! Oh, that melancholy sound, Wandering like a ghostly whisper, through the dreaming darkness round! Wandering, like a fearful warning, where the withered twilight broke Through a mass of mournful tresses, drooping down the Native Oak.

And I caught a glimpse of sunset fading from a far-off wild, As I sat me down to fancy, like a thoughtful, wistful child — Sat me down to fancy what might mean those hollow, hopeless tones, Sooming round the swooning silence, dying out in smothered moans! What might mean that muffled sobbing? Did a lonely phantom wail, Pent amongst those tangled branches barring out the moonlight pale? Wept it for that gleam of glory wasting from the forest aisles; For that fainting gleam of glory sad with flickering, sickly smiles?

In these woodlands I was restless! I had seen a light depart, And an ache for something vanished filled and chilled my longing heart, And I linked my thoughts together — “All seemed still and dull to-day, But a painful symbol groweth from the shine that pales away! This may not be idle dreaming; if the spirit roams,” I said, “This is surely one, a wanderer from the ages which have fled! Who can look beyond the darkness; who can see so he may tell Where the sunsets all have gone to; where the souls that leave us dwell?

“This might be a loving exile, full with faded thoughts returned, Seeking for familiar faces, friends for whom he long had yearned. Here his fathers must have sojourned — here his people may have died, Or, perchance, to distant forests all were scattered far and wide. So he moans and so he lingers! weeping o’er the wasted wild; Weeping o’er the desolation, like a lost, benighted child! So he moans, and so he lingers! Hence these fitful, fretful sighs, Deep within the oak tree solemn! Hence these weary, weary cries!

“Or who knows but that some secret lies beneath yon dismal mound? Ha! a dreary, dreadful secret must be buried underground! Not a ragged blade of verdure — not one root of moss is there; Who hath torn the grasses from it — wherefore is that barrow bare? Darkness shuts the forest round me. Here I stand and, O my God! This may be some injured spirit raving round and round the sod. Hush! the tempest, how it travels! Blood hath here been surely shed — Hush! the thunder, how it mutters! Oh, the unrequited Dead!”

Came a footfall past the water — came a wild man through the gloom, Down he stooped and faced the current, silent as the silent tomb; Down he stooped and lapped the ripples: not a single word he spoke, But I whispered, “He can tell me of the Secret in the Oak? Very thoughtful seems that forehead; many legends he may know; Many tales and old traditions linked to what is here below! I must ask him — rest I cannot — though my life upon it hung — Though these wails are waxing louder, I must give my thoughts a tongue.

“Shake that silence from you, wild man! I have looked into your face, Hoping I should learn the story there about this fearful place. Slake your thirst, but stay and tell me: did your heart with terror beat, When you stepped across the bare and blasted hillock at your feet? Hearken to these croons so wretched deep within the dusk boughs pent! Hold you not some strange tradition coupled with this strange lament? When your tribe about their camp-fires hear that hollow, broken cry, ~Do they hint of deeds mysterious, hidden in the days gone by?~”

But he rose like one bewildered, shook his head and glided past; Huddling whispers hurried after, hissing in the howling blast! Now a sheet of lurid splendour swept athwart the mountain spire, And a midnight squall came trumping down on zigzag paths of fire! Through the tumult dashed a torrent flanking out in foaming streams, Whilst the woodlands groaned and muttered like a monster vexed with dreams. Then I swooned away in horror. Oh! that shriek which rent the air, Like the voice of some fell demon harrowed by a mad despair.

Harps We Love

The harp we love hath a royal burst!
Its strings are mighty forest trees; And branches, swaying to and fro,
Are fingers sounding symphonies.

The harp we love hath a solemn sound! And rocks amongst the shallow seas
Are strings from which the rolling waves Draw forth their stirring harmonies.

The harp we love hath a low sweet voice! Its strings are in the bosom deep,
And Love will press those hidden chords When all the baser passions sleep.

Waiting and Wishing

I loiter by this surging sea,
Here, by this surging, sooming sea, Here, by this wailing, wild-faced sea,
Dreaming through the dreamy night;
Yearning for a strange delight!
Will it ever, ever, ever fly to me, By this surging sea,
By this surging, sooming sea,
By this wailing, wild-faced sea?

I know some gentle spirit lives,
Some loving, lonely spirit lives,
Some melancholy spirit lives,
Walking o’er the earth for me,
Searching round the world for me!
Will she ever, ever, ever hither come? Where the waters roam,
Where the sobbing waters roam!
Where the raving waters roam!

All worn and wasted by the storms,
All gapped and fractured by the storms, All split and splintered by the storms,
Overhead the caverns groan,
Gloomy, ghastly caverns groan! —
Will she ever, ever, ever fill this heart? Peace, O longing heart!
Peace, O longing, beating heart!
Peace, O beating, weary heart!

The Wild Kangaroo

The rain-clouds have gone to the deep — The East like a furnace doth glow;
And the day-spring is flooding the steep, And sheening the landscape below.
Oh, ye who are gifted with souls
That delight in the music of birds, Come forth where the scattered mist rolls, And listen to eloquent words!
Oh, ye who are fond of the sport,
And would travel yon wilderness through, Gather — each to his place — for a life-stirring chase, In the wake of the wild Kangaroo!
Gather — each to his place —
For a life-stirring chase
In the wake of the wild Kangaroo!

Beyond the wide rents of the fog,
The trees are illumined with gold; And the bark of the shepherd’s brave dog Shoots away from the sheltering fold.
Down the depths of yon rock-border’d glade, A torrent goes foaming along;
And the blind-owls retire into shade, And the bell-bird beginneth its song.
By the side of that yawning abyss,
Where the vapours are hurrying to, We will merrily pass, looking down to the grass For the tracks of the wild Kangaroo!
We will merrily pass,
Looking down to the grass
For the tracks of the wild Kangaroo.

Ho, brothers, away to the woods;
Euroka hath clambered the hill;
But the morning there seldom intrudes, Where the night-shadows slumber on still. We will roam o’er these forest-lands wild, And thread the dark masses of vines,
Where the winds, like the voice of a child, Are singing aloft in the pines.
We must keep down the glee of our hounds; We must ~steal~ through the glittering dew; And the breezes shall sleep as we cautiously creep To the haunts of the wild Kangaroo.
And the breezes shall sleep,
As we cautiously creep
To the haunts of the wild Kangaroo.

When we pass through a stillness like death The swamp fowl and timorous quail,
Like the leaves in a hurricane’s breath, Will start from their nests in the vale; And the forester,* snuffing the air,
Will bound from his covert so dark, While we follow along in the rear,
As arrows speed on to their mark!
Then the swift hounds shall bring him to bay, And we’ll send forth a hearty halloo,
As we gather them all to be in at the fall — At the death of the wild Kangaroo!
As we gather them all
To be in at the fall —
At the death of the wild Kangaroo!

* The Kangaroo.


Too cold, O my brother, too cold for my wife Is the Beauty you showed me this morning: Nor yet have I found the sweet dream of my life, And good-bye to the sneering and scorning. Would you have me cast down in the dark of her frown, Like others who bend at her shrine;
And would barter their souls for a statue-like face, And a heart that can never be mine?
That can never be theirs nor mine.

Go after her, look at her, kneel at her feet, And mimic the lover romantic;
I have hated deceit, and she misses the treat Of driving me hopelessly frantic!
Now watch her, as deep in her carriage she lies, And love her, my friend, if you dare!
She would wither your life with her beautiful eyes, And strangle your soul with her hair!
With a mesh of her splendid hair.


Let me talk of years evanished, let me harp upon the time When we trod these sands together, in our boyhood’s golden prime; Let me lift again the curtain, while I gaze upon the past, As the sailor glances homewards, watching from the topmost mast. Here we rested on the grasses, in the glorious summer hours, When the waters hurried seaward, fringed with ferns and forest flowers; When our youthful eyes, rejoicing, saw the sunlight round the spray In a rainbow-wreath of splendour, glittering underneath the day; Sunlight flashing past the billows, falling cliffs and crags among, Clothing hopeful friendship basking on the shores of Wollongong.

Echoes of departed voices, whispers from forgotten dreams, Come across my spirit, like the murmurs of melodious streams. Here we both have wandered nightly, when the moonshine cold and pale Shimmer’d on the cone of Keira, sloping down the sleeping vale; When the mournful waves came sobbing, sobbing on the furrowed shore, Like to lone hearts weeping over loved ones they shall see no more; While the silver ripples, stealing past the shells and slimy stones, Broke beneath the caverns, dying, one by one, in muffled moans; As the fragrant wood-winds roaming, with a fitful cadence sung ‘Mid the ghostly branches belting round the shores of Wollongong.

Lovely faces flit before us, friendly forms around us stand; Gleams of well-remembered gladness trip along the yellow sand. Here the gold-green waters glistened underneath our dreaming gaze, As the lights of Heaven slanted down the pallid ether haze; Here the mossy rock-pool, like to one that stirs himself in sleep, Trembled every moment at the roaring of the restless deep; While the stately vessels swooping to the breezes fair and free, Passed away like sheeted spectres, fading down the distant sea; And our wakened fancies sparkled, and our soul-born thoughts we strung Into joyous lyrics, singing with the waves of Wollongong.

Low-breathed strains of sweetest music float about my raptured ears; Angel-eyes are glancing at me hopeful smiles and happy tears. Merry feet go scaling up the old and thunder-shattered steeps, And the billows clamber after, and the surge to ocean leaps, Scattered into fruitless showers, falling where the breakers roll, Baffled like the aspirations of a proud ambitious soul. Far off sounds of silvery laughter through the hollow caverns ring, While my heart leaps up to catch reviving pleasure on the wing; And the years come trooping backward, and we both again are young, Walking side by side upon the lovely shores of Wollongong.

Fleeting dreams and idle fancies! Lo, the gloomy after Age Creepeth, like an angry shadow, over life’s eventful stage! Joy is but a mocking phantom, throwing out its glitter brief — Short-lived as the western sunbeam dying from the cedar leaf. Here we linger, lonely-hearted, musing over visions fled, While the sickly twilight withers from the arches overhead. Semblance of a bliss delusive are those dull, receding rays; Semblance of the faint reflection left to us of other days; Days of vernal hope and gladness, hours when the blossoms sprung Round the feet of blithesome ramblers by the shores of Wollongong.

Ella with the Shining Hair

Through many a fragrant cedar grove
A darkened water moans;
And there pale Memory stood with Love Amongst the moss-green stones.

The shimmering sunlight fell and kissed The grasstree’s golden sheaves;
But we were troubled with a mist
Of music in the leaves.

One passed us, like a sudden gleam;
Her face was deadly fair.
“Oh, go,” we said, “you homeless Dream Of Ella’s shining hair!

“We halt, like one with tired wings,
And we would fain forget
That there are tempting, maddening things Too high to clutch at yet!

“Though seven Springs have filled the Wood With pleasant hints and signs,
Since faltering feet went forth and stood With Death amongst the pines.”

From point to point unwittingly
We wish to clamber still,
Till we have light enough to see
The summits of the hill.

“O do not cry, my sister dear,”
Said beaming Hope to Love,
“Though we have been so troubled here The Land is calm above;

“Beyond the regions of the storm
We’ll find the golden gates,
Where, all the day, a radiant Form, Our Ella, sits and waits.”

And Memory murmured: “She was one
Of God’s own darlings lent;
And Angels wept that she had gone,
And wondered why she went.

“I know they came, and talked to her, Through every garden breeze,
About eternal Hills of Myrrh,
And quiet Jasper Seas.

“For her the Earth contained no charms; All things were strange and wild;