Poem: A Vision Splendid by Victor Daley (Part 2)

Then straightaway I appointed
   To chant by day and night,
The brilliant young Australian
   Who sang "The Land of Light."

I also gave in fashion
   Hilariously free,
The Girl and Horse Department
   In charge of Ogilvie.

And on the roof-ridge Brady
   Sang salt-junk chanties great
To cheer the stout sea-lawyers
   Who sail the Ship of State.

And tender-hearted Lawson
   Sang everybody's wrongs;
And Brennan, in the basement,
   Crooned weird, symbolic songs.

And on the throne beside me,
   Above the common din,
He sang his Songs of Beauty,
   My friend, the poet Quinn.

Our own Australian artists
   Made beautiful its halls --
The mighty steeds of Mahony
   Pranced proudly on the walls.

Tom Roberts, he was there, too,
   With painted portraits fine
Of men of light and leading --
   Me, and some friends of mine.

And Souter's Leering Lady,
   'Neath hat and over fan,
With Souter's cat was ogling
   His check-clothed gentleman.

And Fischer, Ashton, Lister,
   With beetling genius rife --
Pardieu! I was their Patron,
   And set them up for life.

And from each dusky corner,
   In petrified new birth,
Glared busts of Me and Barton,
   By Nelson Illingworth.

And nine fair Muses dwelt there,
   With board and lodging free;
Six by the States were chosen,
   And I selected three.

And there we turned out blithely
   Australian poems sound,
To sell in lengths like carpet,
   And also by the pound.

For Paddy Quinn, the Statesman,
   Had made a law which said
That native authors only
   On pain of death be read.

O, brother bards, I grieve that
   Good dreams do not come true;
You see how very nobly
   I would have done to you!

But, ah! the vision vanished,
   And took away in tow
The National Australian
   Head Poetry Bureau.

First published in The Bulletin, 1 September 1904
The first part of this poem was reprinted last week.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 16, 2006 10:00 AM.

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