Reprint: Mr. Halloran's Poems

| No TrackBacks

Poems, Odes, Songs. By Henry Halloran, C.M.G.

Sydney : Turner and Henderson.

Amid the multitude of Jubilee poems and odes by great and small, those from Mr. Halloran's pen have no unworthy place. There is a vast difference between verse made to order and that which springs directly from a real emotion or feeling. Much that has been written by men of world-wide fame upon the Queen and the Jubilee is tame, unreal, and calculated to make the mind antagonistic to any poetical expressions of the spirit of the time. Not without dread would the critic naturally pick up Mr. Halloran's tastefully edited book of "Poems, Songs, and Odes," dedicated in a sonnet to Lady Carrington, but there is cause to be thankful that there is something worth quoting in this book on this now wearying subject. Lord Tennyson's ode was a dismal failure. Mr. Lewis Morris's was laboured and unmusical, however careful and classical it was in form, and the hosts of others were no better, and principally worse. Where many masters have failed it would be too much to expect Mr. Halloran to succeed, and it would be unjust to him and to the public to say that the peoms are altogether worthy. But there is a reality, a spontaneity, and a genuineness about many of the verses that go far to disarm criticism. There are undoubtedly too many poems of the same kind in the volume, and the old ideas are worked over and over again, but they are evidently the gleanings of many years, and show a continued attitude of loyalty to the throne, as well as many fine thoughts of of a mind accustomed to speak in numbers. The very honesty of the poetical purpose commands respect, and the lines are not infrequent which would not look ill beside the work of greater men. However little one may agree with the excess of feeling which pervades the volume, there is enough that is good in it to merit praise and to entitle Mr. Halloran to a hearing on his theme. The following lines, from an ode on the anniversary of the birth of her Majesty, are indicative of the tenor of the volume and of the musical force that is in it :

  "The banners of crimson and gold
      Rise high in the bright May sun --  
   And the air is crisp and cold,
      And the stars fade one by one:
   The wave has the hue of the sky,
      And the earth has been freshened by rain;
   If we sigh, not for sorrow we sigh
      For there's joy both of heart and of brain;   
   This day is the day of the year
      That should banish all sorrow and spleen;
   While we loyally join in each cheer
      Of "Health and Long Life to the Queen;"
   Be there one who holds back from the cheer
      Let him perish of sorrow and spleen.

      * * * * *

   Far from the land where She dwells --
      That royal old land of the North --
   The spirit of loyalty swells
      In the bosoms of Manhood and Worth:   
   Our people in marlow and bone --
      Though ocean may thunder between- -
   Stand true to the death, to the Throne,
      Stand loyal to death, to the Queen."

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 July 1887

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 22, 2011 6:53 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #261 - Other Passports: Poems 1958-1985 by Clive James was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Literary Monuments #29 - Henry Lawson is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en