Poem: In Memoriam: Marcus Clarke by Henry Kendall

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The night winds sob on mountains drear,
Where gleams by fits the wint'ry star;
And in the wild dumb woods I hear
A moaning harbor bar.
The branch and leaf are very still,
But now the great grave dark has grown,
The torrent in the harsh sea-hill
Sends forth a deeper tone.
Some sad, faint voice is far above,
And many things I dream, it saith,
Of home made beautiful by Love
And sanctified by Death.
I cannot catch its perfect phrase;
But, ah, the touching words to me
Bring back the lights of other days ---
The friends that used to be.
Here sitting by a dying flame,
I cannot choose but think with grief
Of Harpur, whose unhappy name
Is as an autumn leaf.
And domed by purer breadths of blue
Afar from folds of forest dark,
I see the eyes that once I knew ---
The eyes of Marcus Clarke.
Their clear, bright beauty shines a space;
But sunny dreams in shadows end,
The sods have hid the faded face
Of my heroic friend.
He sleeps where winds of evening pass,
Where water songs are soft and low ---
Upon his grave the tender grass
Has not had time to grow.
Few knew the cross he had to bear,
And moan beneath from day to day.
His were the bitter hours that wear
The human heart away.
The laurels in the pit were won:
He had to take the lot austere
That ever seems to wait upon
The man of letters here.
His soul was self-withdrawn. He made
A secret of the bitter life
Of struggle in inclement shade
For helpless child and wife.
He toiled for love unwatched, unseen,
And fought his troubles band by band,
Till, like a friend of gentle mien,
Death took him by the hand.
He rests in peace! No grasping thief
Of hope and health can steal away
The beauty of the flower and leaf
Upon his tomb to-day.
The fragrant woodwinds sing above
Where gleams the grace of willow fair;
And often kneels a mournful love
To plant a blossom there.
So let him sleep, whose life was hard;
And may they place beyond the wave
This tender rose of my regard
Upon his tranquil grave.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 September 1881

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 16, 2011 8:14 AM.

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