Poem: The Muses of Australia by Victor Daley

She plays her harp by hidden rills,
   The sweet shy Muse who dwells
In secret hollows of the hills,
   And green untrodden dells.

Her voice is as the voice of streams
   That under myrtles glide;
Our Kendall saw her face in dreams,
   And loved her till he died.

At times, by some green-eyelashed pool,
   She lies in slumber deep;
Her slender hands are white and cool
   As are the hands of sleep.

And, when the sun of Summer flaunts
   His fire the hills along,
She keeps her secret sunless haunts,
   And sings a shadowy song.

She weaves a wild, sweet magic rune,
   When o'er the tree-tops high
The silver sickle of the moon
   Shines in a rose-grey sky.

But in the dawn, the soft red dawn,
   When fade the stars above,
She walks upon a shining lawn,
   And sings the song of Love.

But, lo, the Muse with flashing eyes,
   And backward-streaming hair!
She grips her steed with strong brown thighs,
   Her panting breasts are bare.

In trances sweet, or tender dreams,
   She has not any part ---
Her blood runs like the blood that streams
   Out of the mountain's heart.

Her lips are red; the pride of life
   Her heart of passion thrills;
She is the Muse whose joy is strife,
   Whose home is on the hills.

Her voice is as a clarion clear,
   And rings o'er the hill and dell;
She sings a song of gallant cheer ---
   Dead Gordon knew her well.

She checks her steed upon a rise ---
   The wind uplifts his mane ---
And gazes far with flashing eyes
   Across the rolling plain.

Who comes in solemn majesty
   Through haze of throbbing heat?
It is the Desert Muse, and she
   Is veiled from head to feet.

Yet men the Mountain Muse will leave,
   And leave the Muse of Streams,
To follow her from dawn to eve ---
   And perish with their dreams.

She passes far beyond their ken,
   With slow and solemn pace,
Over the bleaching bones of men
   Who died to see her face.

Her secrets were to some revealed
   Who loved her passing well ---
But death with burning fingers sealed
   Their lips ere they could tell.

In silence dread she walks apart ---
   Yet I have heard men say
The song that slumbers in her heart
   Will wake the world some day.

She is the Muse of Tragedy,
   And walks on burning sands;
The greatest of the Muses Three
   In our Australian lands.

First published in The Lone Hand, 1 August 1907

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 1, 2010 9:24 AM.

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