Results tagged “Roderic Quinn”

Stumps Drawn by Roderic Quinn

Where are all the flannelled clan
   On this perfect playing day --
Spofforth, Murdoch, Bannerman,
   Each at master in his way?
Where are those that cheered them on
From the packed pavilion?

Shod in white with linen hat,
   How they held our hearts in thrall --
Massey with his shining hat,
   Turner with his cunning ball!
Hark again the shouts of old --
"Bravo! Middle stump! Well bowled!"

Where is now that human hive
   That rent Heaven with cheers to see
Bonnor's most Homeric drive,
   When he lifted mightily
High and still more high the ball
Over clock and tower and all?

Many years have passed since then,
   Since that most amazing sight;
Boys, who saw it, grown to men
   Still recall it, pipes alight,
As companioned well they walk
Lost in old-time cricket talk.

Ah, the joy, the thrill intense,
   Watching from the crowded hill,
"Fourers" to the picket fence,
   "Fivers" over! Ah, the chill
Or the loud, triumphant shout
When the umpire nodded -- Out!

State and Test -- what joys they were
   When the game was in its prime!
How the blood in us would stir
   Into ecstasy what time
Cutting, driving, hard and sweet,
Some hold batsman saved defeat!

How the noise roared round the town,
   Making good the passing hours,
When the Vics. went tumbling down,
   And we knew the match was ours!
How we drooped downcast, ashamed,
When the Vics. the victory claimed!

Where are they, the blithe, the bold,
   Whom it was our joy to watch?
Some are grey and all are old,
   Some have played their final match --
Shouldered bats and gravely gone --
To the packed Pavilion.

Gone, too, are the watching throng;
   Now no more their plaudits rise.
All is silent save the song
   Of a lone lark in the skies;
And -- the sole life of the scene --
Swallows skim across the green.

First published in The Bulletin, 30 November 1916

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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Seagulls by Roderic Quinn

All day long when the sunlight gladdens
   Rock and headland, and beach and shoal,
White as the fierce salt surf that whitens
   Crested breakers that shoreward roll.

Hither, thither, with brave breasts buoyant,
   Loiter the gulls from near and far,
Now aloft on their spreading pinions,
   Now wings folded on beach and bar.

Salt airs breathing and lungs expanded.
   Thus I watch then till day grows dim;
Nigh and distant, the great sea, psalming,
   Lifts triumphant a ceaseless hymn.

Back from the shore when the shadows lengthen,
   Far, far homing before the night.
Sunset tinting their wings with color.
   West, west ever, they take their flight.

Far, far westward the gulls go speeding.
   League and league through the dying day,
Till, low specks on the western skyline,
   Faint and fainter, they fade away.

Birds, brave birds, when your flight is ended
   (Darkness veiling the rose-red west),
Stars above you, and night surrounding.
   Where, O where do you take your rest?

Where I know not; but this I witness
   (Dawnlight flooding the landscape fair),
Eastward flying, your snow-white legions
   Course their way through the dewy air.

Back again to the white sea-surges,
   Back again ere the world awake --
Brave beasts buoyant and wings extended
   East, east ever your course ye take.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 October 1919

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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The Circling Hearth-Fires by Roderic Quinn

My Countrymen, though you are young as yet
With little history, nought to show
Of lives enleagued against a foreign foe --
Torn flags and triumph, glory or regret;
Still some things make our kinshp sweet,
Some deeds inglorious but of royal worth,
As when with tireless arms and toiling feet
We felled the tree and tilled the earth.  

'Tis no great way that we have travelled since
Our feet first shook the storied dust
Of England from them, when with love and trust
In one another, and large confidence
In God above, our ways were ta'en
'Neath alien skies -- each keeping step in mind
And soul and purpose to one trumpet strain,
One urging music on the wind:

Yet tears of ours have wet the dust, have wooed
Some subtle green things from the ground --
Like violets -- only violets never wound
Such tendrils round the heart; the solitude
Has seen young hearts with love entwine;
And many gentle friends gone down to death
Have mingled with the dust, and made divine
The very soil we tread beneath.

Thus we have learned to love our country, learned
To treasure every inch from foam
To foam; to title her with name of Home;
To light in her regard a flame that burned
No land in vain, that calls the eyes
Of men to glory heights and old renown;
That wild winds cannot quench, nor thunder-skies
Make dim, nor many waters drown.

Six hearths have circled round our shores, and round
The six hearths group a common race,
Though leagues divide; the one light on their face,
The same old songs and stories rise; the sound
Of kindred voices and the dear
Old English tongue make music; and men move
From hearth to hearth with little fear
Of aught, save open arms and love.

To keep these hearth-fires red, to keep the door
Of each house wide -- that is our part!
Surely 'tis noble! Surely, heart to heart,
God's love upon us and one gaol before
Is something worth! Something to win
Our hearts to effort! Something it were good
To garner soon! And something 'twould be sin
To cast aside in wanton mood.

My countrymen, hats off! with heart and will
Thank God that you are free, and then
Arise, and don your Nationhood like men,
And, manlike, face the world for good or ill.
Peace be to you, and in the tide
Of years great plenty till Time's course be run;
Six Ploughmen in the same field side by side,
But, if need be, six Swords as one.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 June 1899;
and later in
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918.

Note: this poem is also known by the title "The Circling Hearths".

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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The Turn of the Tide by Roderic Quinn

A long time waiting with little to show,
   We sat in our boat, at either side,
While the listless weeds washed to and fro.
   And here and there, at the will of the tide.

The bay was still. and the trees and flowers
   That nodded at noon were all asleep;
Yet never a silver-bream was ours.
   And never a crimson lord of the deep.

With little to say and much to think,
   We watched, while the velvet hours went by;
The ripples arise and the ripples sink,
   Alone on the water -- Rose and I.

I said to her then: "The good time flies.
   Let us get hence for the bay is wide."
Rose lifted her dark blue, laughing eys.
   And "Wait," she said, "till the turn of the tide."

The bay was azure from east to west --
   All still and azure from north to south;
The rose that reddened on Rose's breast
   Was red as the rose of Rose's mouth.

"'Tis weary waiting." I said to Rose.
   (Was ever a rose as fair as she?)
"The love-hour comes, and the love-hour goes.
   And when will the bright 'Yes° spoken be?."

Then Rose grew red -- do you wonder why? --
   And, somehow or other, I said or sighed:
"The line is set, but the prey is shy --
   I'll wait, dear Rose, till the turn of the tide."

First published in The Bulletin, 22 April 1915

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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Western Camps by Roderic Quinn

Three men stood with their glasses lifted
   Night was around them and flaring lamps: --
"Here's to the tried and true and sifted;
Here's to the flotsam tossed and drifted;
   Here's to the men in the Western Camps.

"Fill and drink (there is little drinking
   Night or day on the lonely track),
Mostly heroes are hourly sinking,
Mostly, vain in the firelight thinking,
   Gather the hearts of gold out back.

"Stars that fall are their lot forever;
   Lights that perish and stars that fall;
Fighting Fate with a brave heart ever --
Drifting leaves on a wayward river --
   Men for ever in spite of all.

"Here's to the gallant souls defeated;
   Here's to the heroes under-trod --
Hope-abandoned and mirage-cheated,
And, yet, by the right of their failure, seated
   Somewhere close to the feet of God.

"Here's to the heart that braves undaunted
   Toil and trouble for home and wife;
Here's to the fallen-spirit taunted;
Here's to the memory, sorrow-haunted;
   Here's to the soul grown sick of life.

"Drink to the man in the firelight sitting;
   Drink to his mistress of long ago;
Well --- 'twere well --- and the time were fitting,
If, in the shades of firelight flitting,
   She should come with her eyes aglow.

"Drink to the purpose, iron, oaken,
   Brought to nought by a woman's guile;
Drink to men with an old love-token
Somewhere -- close to their brave hearts broken;
   Drink to the martyred souls that smile.

"Drink to courage and all fine daring --
   Spirit trampling the flesh beneath;
Drink to the reckless heart uncaring;
Drink to mates at the last pinch sharing
   Their little all in the face of death.

"Last toast this . . . may their hearts discover,
   On every track that the outcast tramps,
A friend in need and at need a lover,
Good roads beneath them and kind stars over,
   And pleasant dreams in their Western Camps.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 March 1905

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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The Fisher by Roderic Quinn

All night a noise of leaping fish
   Went round the bay,
And up and down the shallow sands
   Sang water at their play.

The mangroves drooped on salty creeks,
   And through the dark,
Making a pale patch in the deep,
   Gleamed, as it swam, a shark.

In streaks and twists of sudden fire
   Among the reeds
The bream went by, and where they passed
  The bubbles shone like beads.

All night the full deep drinking-song
   Of Nature stirred,
And nought beside, save leaping fish
   And some forlorn night-bird.

No lost wind wandered down the hills
   To tell of wide,
Wild waterways; on velvet moved
   The silky, sucking tide.

Deep down there sloped in shadowy mass
   A giant hill,
And midway, mirrored in the tide,
   The stars burned large and still.

The fisher, dreaming on the rocks,
   Heard Nature say
Strange, secret things that no one hears
   Upon the beaten way;

And whisperings and wonder stirred,
   And hopes and fears,
And sadness touched his heart, and filled
   His eyes with star-stained tears:

And so, thrilled through with joy and love
   And sweet distress,
He stood entranced, enchained by her
   Full-breasted loveliness.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 February 1898, and again in the same magazine on 24 August 1949;
and later in
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1946;
A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright, 1956;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Australia Fair: Poems and Paintings edited by Douglas Stewart, 1974;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985; and
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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The Camp Within the West by Roderic Quinn

O did you see a troop go by    
Way-weary and oppressed,    
Dead kisses on the drooping lip    
And a dead heart in the breast?    
 
Yea, I have seen them one by one
Way-weary and oppressed,   
And when I asked them, "Whither speed?"
They answered, "To the West!"

 
And were they pale as pale could be ---   
Death-pale with haunted eyes,
And did you see the hot white dust   
Range round their feet and rise?   
 
O, they were pale as pale could be,   
And pale as an embered leaf;   
The hot white dust had risen, but
They laid it with their grief.
   
 
Did no one say the way is long,   
And crave a little rest?   
O no, they said, "The night is nigh,   
Our camp is in the West!"

 
And did pain pierce their feet, as though   
The way with thorns were set,   
And were they visited by strange   
Dark angels of regret?   
 
Oh yes, and some were mute as death,
Though shot by many a dart,   
With them the salt of inward tears   
Went stinging through the heart. 
  
 
And how are these wayfarers called,   
And whither do they wend?
The Weary-Hearted --- and their road   
At sunset hath an end.
   
 
Shed tears for them ... Nay, nay, no tears
They yearn for endless rest;   
Perhaps large stars will burn above
Their camp within the West.
   
 
First published in The Bulletin, 15 October 1898 and in the same magazine on 29 December 1900 and 29 January 1930;
and later in
The Lone Hand, 1 April 1908;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
A Girdle of Song: By Poets of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Eire, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa edited by Edith M. Fry, 1944; and
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Drover of the Stars by Roderic Quinn

'Tis little I care for earth's kings,
   Its emperors, sultans and czars,
As I lie in the darkness and dream
   All alone with my sheep and the stars.

For as dust of the moment are they,
   Now agleam and now still on earth's breast;
But the stars, spreading wide in the night,
   Travel on, ever on to the west.

My sheep, snugly camped in the dark,
   Misty-white with the pale grasses blend;
But where is the camp of the stars?
   And whither, O Night, do they wend?

Through leagues of dry distance we came,
   Where dust-wreaths, wind-woven, upcurled,
Since Dawn dropped the rails of the east
   And let the Day into our world.

Slow-moving we travelled the plains,
   Trudging on through the sun and the wind,
Till Day galloped out of the west,
   And Night set the sliprails behind.

And now, by my camp-fire alone,
   A tryst with pale Wonder I keep --
That mystical Lady of Dreams,
   Whose hour is the sleep-of-the-sheep.

Foot-tired in the grasses they lie,
   Mist-pale in the darkness, and dumb;
Yet who was it mustered the stars,
   And whence and what leagues have they come?

Who keeps them from straying apart?
   Who urges them straight on their route?
No answer -- none tell me; and lo!
   The Night, though it listen, is mute!

Watch 'neath the stars of the Cross,
   Orion, and Venus and Mars;
I am but a drover of sheep --
   But who is the Drover of Stars?

First published in The Bulletin, 1 August 1918;
and later in
Poems by Roderic Quinn, 1920;
Selections from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925; and
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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Bellevue Park by Roderic Quinn

I think that man has seldom looked upon
   A scene more beautiful than I behold
From this high park --- upon such azure ways,
   Endowed with such a lavishment of gold.

'Tis afternoon, and slanting autumn rays
   Are falling on the Harbour and the sea,
Which, 'neath a land-wind's soft and sweet caress,
   Awake to life and ripple raliantly.

By white loam washed --- a coast of gold and grey,
   Grey cliff and golden sand, shine north and south;
While, rail and sail, bright-glancing in the sun,
   A pleasure yacht glides towards the Harbour's mouth.

Entranced, enthralled, are all who hither come
   To gaze upon the loveliness outspread
Beneath, around; entranced, also, must be
   Yon single lark that singing floats o'erhead.

Entranced, enchanted, surely it must be,
   Such music dropping as it drifts along,
As though it seeks to voice the peerless scene --
   To tell its utter loveliness in song.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 5 June 1929

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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Stars in the Sea by Roderic Quinn


I took a boat on a starry night
   And went for a row on the water,
And she danced like a child on her wake of light,
   And bowed where the ripples caught her.

I vowed as I rowed on the velvet blue
   Through the night and the starry splendour;
To woo and sue a maiden I knew
   Till she bent to my pleadings tender.

My painted boat she was light and glad,
   And gladder my heart with wishing,
And I came in time to a little lad
   Who stood on the rocks a-fishing.

I said "Ahoy!" and he said "Ahoy!"
   And I asked how the fish were biting --
"And what are you trying to catch, my boy,
   Bream, silver and red -- or whiting?"

"Neither," he answered; "the seaweed mars
   My line, and the sharp shells under --
I am trying my luck with those great, big stars
   Down there in the round skies under."

Good-bye from him, and good-bye from me.
   And never a laugh came after;
So many go fishing for stars in the sea
   That it's hardly a subject for laughter.

  b18990415-p10-Stars in the Sea-illo-amended.jpg

First published in The Bulletin, 15 April 1899;
and later in
Aussie: The Australian Soldiers Magazine, 4 April 1918;
The Bulletin, 1 February 1950;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Note: the poem was originally published with the accompanying illustration.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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Books #2 - Poems by Roderic Quinn

poems_roderic_quinn_cover.jpg
poems_roderic_quinn_signature.JPG
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Cover, signature and title page from Poems by Roderic Quinn
Angus and Robertson edition, 1920.

Sydney Cove, January, 1788 by Roderic Quinn

She sat on the rocks -- her fireless eyes,
   Teased and tired with the thoughts of yore,
And paining her sense were alien skies,
   An alien sea and an alien shore.

In gold-green dusks she glimpsed new flowers,
   And the glittering wings of gleaming birds,
But haunting her still were English bowers,
   And the clinging sweetness of old love-words.

A soft breeze murmured of unknown shores,
   And laughed as it touched her with fingers light,
But she mourned the more for the wind that roars,
   Down sullen coasts on a northern night.

Like topaz gems on a sable dome,
   The stranger stars stole shyly forth,
She saw no stars like the stars of home,
   That burn white-fired in the frosty north.

A restless sea was at her feet,
   A restless sea of darkest blue,
The lights burned dimly on the Fleet,
   And these were all the ships it knew.

She watched the dark tides rise and fall,
   The lion-tides that night and noon
Range round the world and moan and call
   In sad sea-voices to the moon.

Through hour and hour they ebbed and flowed,
   Till last with sudden splendor day
Lit all the scene with gold and showed
   An arrow black on a garb of grey.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 March 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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The Street of Joy by Roderic Quinn

As I whistling walked the street,
   Blithesome as a boy,
Life went by with dancing feet,
   Linking arms with Joy.

Shone the sun in cloudless skies,
   Fragrant flowed the air,
Laughing eyes met laughing eyes,
   Bliss breathed everywhere.

Hucksters stood in square and mart,
   Decked with flower and spray.
"Whistle, whistle," sang my heart,
   "Ne'er was such a day."

Hands outstretched with friendly grips
   Gave me greeting brave;
Beggars begged with laughing lips,
   Careless of who gave.

Lissome, light-of-foot youth,
   Age beside me strolled;
Rages and tatters seemed, in truth,
   Silks and cloth-of-gold.

Young again, with hearts aglow,
   Wandered dame and sire,
Children hurried to and fro,
   Clad in bright attire.

Hucksters stood in square and mart,
   Decked with spray and flower.
"Whistle, whistle," sang my heart,
   "Ne'er was such an hour."

Oh, but life was fair and sweet,
   Gay with golden gleams,
As I whisted down that street
   In the Town o' Dreams.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 February 1922

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Australian Poets #4 - Roderic Quinn

roderic_quinn.jpg

Roderic Quinn (1867-1949)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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The Army of the Mind by Roderic Quinn

There rolled a rumour round about the world;
And as it rolled, stormlike, its import gained,
Foretelling bloody tales of flags unfurled,
Of battle-winds and clouds that redly rained.

The sleepless spirits of the nations stood
Upon the outer walls to watch the foe:
How breaks the dawn? "In smoke and skies of blood."
What hope for man? "No hope but endless woe."

The black disease of fear ranged tower and town,
And hope took sick and languished where it spread;
Souls lost their faith-holds and went tumbling down
To Godless depths; for even God seemed dead.

The builders building up the glowing dome --
The dome it took ten thousand years to make,
Ceased work and waited for the shock to come,
The battle-thunder and the chaos-quake.

Men dreamt old Self had risen from the dust,
Re-donned his skins and clutched his club and knife,
And brought again the reign of blood and lust,
The ancient code of midnight stealth and strife.

The hearts of men grew startled as a word,
And sane eyes filled with fierce, insensate light;
For foot to foot, and gleaming sword to sword,
The nations stood for one world-pending fight.

The rumour grew: men cursed the evil star
That wrought malicious influence at their birth;
Their fear-assaulted minds were gripped by war,
War, war, and naught but war upon the earth.

Desire lay slain: lost ardours left the heart
A place of ashes, dreary and agloom;
Farewells were said, and lovers drew apart
And, surged by terror, fixed their eyes on doom.

The Painter's work was done; the Poets song
At end; the hour's eclipse made all things dim:
A cloud of doom, a fear of future wrong
Dulled ear and eye and heart, lamed brain and limb.

Long time the rumour gnawed the hearts of men;
Long time they stooped abjectly 'neath its power;
When hark! what breaks upon the watchers' ken?
What say the watchers on the Eastern tower?

"'Tis smoke, 'tis dust, 'tis glory, it is morn!
Morn's army hither comes, a golden host --
Their rise and fall the rise and fall of corn
Wind-swept, or as the sea-roll on a coast.

Not yon the light of cannon in the sky;
'Tis but a mirror-flash that tells afar
All time's achievement cannot, shall not die;
We march from peace to peace -- not peace to war.

This is the glowing army of the mind,
Long sought for by war-weary souls and wise;
With lifted swords and bugles on the wind
They march to battle with battalioned lies.

They seek the sated Dragon of the Smoke,
The black heart-wrecker from fell regions brought,
A splendour not of steel marks each sword-stroke,
For every sword is but a lifted thought."

Thus march they on, and thus their numbers grow,
Just here and there set back by fire and blood;
But time is theirs, and where their legions flow
They stay and flourish, and their work is good.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 January 1901; and later in the same magazine on 5 April 1906.

Author: Roderic Quinn (1867-1949) was born in Sydney, and met the future poets Christopher Brennan and E.J. Brady during his school years.  Considered by many during his lifetime to be a poet of talent, he described himself as "a pleasant minor poet". 

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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