Recently in Poems Category

Poem: Contemporary Portraits: Roderic Quinn by Arthur H. Adams

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The glad Australian sun's a-shine,
Spring riots in the blood like wine;
   For work who would be wishing?
So gaily out with rod and line,
   And let us all go fishing!

Pale, punctual clerks of office stream,
They work all day; they do not seem
   To live a life exciting.
But in the poet's endless dream
   The fish are always biting.

He baits his hook with memories,
And wafted by a rhythmic breeze
   He drifts on Life's smooth river,
Proud when upon his hook he sees
   A shining stanza quiver.

About his line quaint fancies play;
Dreams nibble all his bait away --
   His hook has nothing on it;
But sometimes at the end of day
   He lands a silver sonnet

And though sometimes he catches bream
He drops them back into the stream,
   For lovelier things he's wishing.
If on his hook there hangs a dream
   He's had a good day's fishing.

I wonder what fine fish he bought
With what his golden dream-fish brought?
   Surely there were none sweeter
Than those he in his stanzas caught
   Or netted in his metre?

Yet though his fish with joy are placed
Upon our table, sweet to taste,
   In these stern days one wishes
No grown man all his hours should waste
   Just catching pretty fishes!

First published in The Bulletin, 12 October 1916

Poem: The Poet's Song by Anonymous

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The Poet sang of a golden time,
   In the golden sunbeams standing,
When the world was young, in the olden time,
And the people heard his melodies chime
   Their tones with the echoes banding;
Men listened, rapt, as he struck the strings,
And women wept at their whisperings;
   But the Poet stood in that olden time,
When the drones were drowsily humming,
   In the summer of eld, the fair golden prime,
And sang of the time that was coming.

Winter came, and the world grew old,
   The snow fell chilling and numbing;
But the Poet stood singing, soothfast and bold --
Away through creation his harmonies rolled,
  And told of the time that was coming;
Men would not hear, and hurriedly passed --
For wild was the wind and bleak was the blast;
   And women but listened anon and afar,
Or simpered, "The singer is mumming!"
   But loud pealed his song, like a rune from a star,
And caroll'd the time that was coming.

Aged is the Poet, and silver-haired,
   Yet this day he stands a-singing --
He is noble and poor; his limbs are half bared,
But his heart is warm, and hath never despaired;
   Sonorous his voice, clear, and ringing;
Men will not heed, or cruelly jeer --
Women refuse him one womanly tear:
   They cry, "He sings nought of business and gold,
List not to the Vagabond's strumming!"
   But through the wide world swells and thrills as of old,
His song of the time that is coming.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 September 1885

Poem: The Solemn Scribes by Edward Dyson

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Why is the journalist so sad?
Why is his spirit never glad?
What sins upon his shoulders lie,
To pinch his cheeck and dim his eye?
Why do his moods to sorrow run?
What has he done?

Long years I've known the solemn men
Who sit about and push a pen,
And ever were they men of gloom,
Dyspetic, pallid blokes to whom
One soure of brightness only came --
The spirit flame.

Is't that mankind was never meant
To cower, copiously bent,
And earn its bread by massing words
In dreary, segregated herds,
Or bear the burden and the rage
Of all the AGE?

Upon their shoulders have been hurled
The heavy troubles of the WORLD;
Yet might they not presume to smile,
And cheery be once in a while,
Though staggering 'neath the weary strife
And stress of LIFE?

First published
in The Bulletin, 14 June 1917

Poem: The Ballade of the Envious Bard by Clarice Crosbie

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This is the pang I feel
   When I hear of a repartee,
Or some other bard's lines reveal
   Pure wit to the nth degree
In epigram, drollery,
   Swift sally or answer pat:
"It should have belonged to me!
   Why didn't I think of that?"

Ev'ry trump in the deal
   Is the hand I like to see;
I own (for I can't conceal)
   That crude avidity --
Greed, with a capital G --
   Lays my finer instincts flat,
And screams in raucous key:
   "Why didn't I think of that?"

Though I'd never descend to steal,
   I would gather the roving bee
Who gathers her golden meal
   Wherever she finds it free;
Shakspearean ways has she,
   Transmuting the borrowed sprat
To a mermaid....That's the plea!
   Why didn't I think of that?


Apollo, there wails to thee
   A literary gnat,
At the eagle's jeu d'esprit,
   "Why didn't I think of that?"

First published
in The Bulletin, 31 July 1924

Poem: Songs That I Know by A.G. MacGregor

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I know the songs of ancient Greece and Rome,   
Of Jason faring forth across the foam
To win the fleece, and safely bring it home.  
Narcissus, who was punished for conceit,
And Amazons who scorned the fireside seat,
But with the fiercest warriors would compete.
These songs I know and love!  

I know the English songs of Wode and Thor;
Of Jack o' Lanterns, dancing on the moor,
And witches burned by judgment of the law.   
I also know those songs of dim blue sky,
Of ordered woods and fields of golden rye,
Of trim clipped hedge, and brooks where fat trout lie.
These songs I know and love!

Then some quite other songs from these I know;
Sung by a friendly bunyip, whispering low,
Of warriors and lubras long ago,
Whose only dogs were warrigals made tame.   
Who danced corroborees and hunted game  
Around Port Jackson, long before we came.
These songs I know and love!

But dearer to my heart than all of these
Are those sweet songs, borne on each scented breeze
From wattle groves where sip the native bees.   
Give me the joyfully tinkling waterfall,
Half hidden by great spreading treeferns tall.   
These are the songs that do my heart enthral.   
These songs I know and love!  

I know the song each shy bush dweller sings,
From daybreak, when a small grey bellbird rings --
"Awake thou lazy one and stretch thy wings!"
Till all the golden air with sound vibrates
And every feathery throat with song pulsates
To join their music with wild mountain spates.
These songs I know and love!  

Oh, give to me the songs of mountain trails,
Where tall gums groan in grip of Winter's gales:  
Where golden glow of camp-fire leaps and fades,  
And kookaburras laugh the sun to rest
Behind grey mountains in a crimson West.
Of all the songs, my own land's I love best.
Her songs I know and love!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 November 1930

My Books by Dierdre Tregarthen

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Old friends of mine, who stay when humans leave me,
   Whose presence, like the stars, in darkness shine,
I never need to fear that you will grieve me,
   Old friends of mine.  

Here, one will fire my blood with laughter's wine,
   And this, with faery arts, from care reprieve me:
And that one charm with poetry divine.

Well tried and proved, from age you still retrieve me,  
   All moods you cater for with wisdom fine;
And until life may end, I pray, receive me,
   Old friends of mine.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 October 1927

The Library by Alice Gore-Jones

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Set in the mellow silence of the room
   Great carven bookshelves laden with grave books,
Dim faded rugs, spoils of an ancient loom,
   Deep cushioned chairs, and dreamy inglenooks.

The atmosphere is fragrant with a scent
   Where bowls of roses spill their rich perfume.
While to the whole austerity is lent
   By a white statue shining through the gloom.
A garden slumbers where the sunlight gleams,
   A bee is humming on the drowsy air:
This is the home of peace -- and yet there seems
   A subtle restless stirring everywhere.

High carven book-shelves laden with grave works
   Of stern philosophy and staid desire:
Beneath some cover young Adventure lurks;
   Romance is smiling with her lips of fire.

The sunlight weaves strange patterns on the floor.
   The air grows tremulous with muffled strife.
If I but turned a leaf, through its white door
   A thousand shining ghosts would leap to life.

First published in The Bulletin, 1 January 1920

Poem: The Busted Bard by C.J. Dennis

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["We do not pay for poetry." - Announcement in a Sydney theatrical paper.]

O bard, all baggy at the knees,
Whose goods the soulless bailiffs seize!
Bard, with the frayed, unlaundered cuff.
Get off old Pegasus!  Enough!

For, mark the stern and cold decree --
They "do not pay for poetry."
Rise and gard of commerce don:
Alas! they occupation's gone!

Go, get thee to a draper's store,
And learn by heart the draping lore.
Go, place thyself before the stock
And vend the unaesthetic sock.

Go, learn by groceing art to rob,
And peddle butter to the mob.
Go 'mong or merce or haberdash,
Or with the butcher butch for cash.

Go, e'en to win a humble meal,
And burgle, garrot, thug, or steal.
Some fresh employment you must choose,
For there's no money in the Muse.

O bard, your soul's dark curtains draw --
This, this is sure the final straw! --
And chant the doleful dirge with me:
"They do no pay for poetry!"

First published in The Gadfly, 23 October 1907

Note: this differs from the poem, with the same title, that Dennis wrote for The Critic in 1905.

Poem: A Ballade of Books by S. Elliott Napier

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Crude, garish, and much-batter'd band,
   Now long-neglected and forlorn;
Unkempt, unlovely, there they stand.
   Their bindings loose, their pages torn
   And much by moist young fingers worn;
Yet once what magic broth they'd brew --  
   Those books we smile at now with scorn --
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!     

Crusoe, affrighted on the sand,  
   "Brer Rabbit," chuckling in the thorn,
Fair Alice, down in Wonderland,
   And Vanderdecken on the Horn --
   Fiend-driven, reckless, and foresworn,  
These were our own, tried thro' and thro',
   Whose friendship could no bribe suborn --
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!    

Crooning their songs upon the sand,  
   The sirens knew us; 'mid the corn  
The poppy elves would hold our hand
   And with their blooms our brows adorn.
   With eastern djinn and Northern Norn   
We childishly familiar grew;
   For they in those old books were born --
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!


Crusader Time! Thy sword hath shorn
   And purged full many a faith deem'd true.
And so with ours -- but, ah! we mourn   
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 1926

Poem: A Poet's £oves by Albert Owen

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Base in the world's eyes is the wretch
   Who when he kisses tells;
But poets must have bread and meat:
Verse packed with sighs and kisses sweet
   Is still the sort that sells;
So, shamelessly, I write of how
I kissed Miranda on the brow.

I've sung my love for Lalage
   And earned a fortnight's rent:
Bold Bertha, with the wicked eye,
Helped me some furniture buy.
   An ev'ning that I spent
With Mabel, when reduced to verse,
Put fifteen shillings in my purse.

Of how I cuddled Dorothy,
   And flirted with Chlorine,
And dallied for a while with Ruth,
I've written; but the painful truth
   Makes me look still more mean.
The plain, unvarnished fact is this --
Although I tell, I do not kiss!

First published in The Bulletin, 18 April 1918

Poem: Products by Edward Dyson

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"What are Australia's literary products?" - Foster Frazer.

Our literary products? Fie:
What ignorance does this imply!
   Pray, will you tell us whose berries
   Are bigger than our gooseberries?
Who grows the maize so thick and high?

And where in all the world around
Can such enormous spuds be found?
   And answer if Atlantic has
   Sea-serpents as gigantic as
The ones that hereabout abound?

Our melons that a half-ton weigh,
Our wondrous pig that fills a dray,
   Our locusts -- the infernalists --
   The bright, tri-weekly journalist
Produces these things day by day.
Our literary products they!

First published in The Bulletin, 25 August 1910

Poem: The Settled Bards by Kodak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

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These be the grim suburban days,
   And, tho' in verse we frolic,
All soberly we go our ways
Writing our sweet commercial lays
And any sort of stuff that pays
   (Our Johnnie's got the colic).

When Omar was our guiding star
   We drank and quoted gaily,
But Middle Age said "Here you are!"
And now we live in suburbs far,
And watch the fleeting railway car,
   And rush to catch it daily.

We're settled down and going bald,
   And when we sit at table
The wife recites the Ones Who've Called
(Some years ago it would have palled,
But -- Pegasus is snugly stalled
   And champing in his stable).

We've done with dreams -- we've done with drinks
   (Could anything be stranger!)
And when we ask Peg. thro' the chinks
Of his abode just what he thinks,
The old steed whisks his tail, and winks
   Into his well-filled manger.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 August 1907

Poem: The Poet's Lyre by C. J. Dennis

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No longer are heard in C. J. Dennis's mountain home at Toolangi, to which he has just taken his bride, the strains of the banjo of his bachelorhood. He made the instrument himself - of native blackwood, galvanised-iron, the skin of a cat and the sinews of a wallaby. Let it sound its own requiem:

Just like the 'arp that onst on Tara's wall
   'Ung dumb as steak inside a butcher's shop,
I am the ghost of this 'ere festival:
   It ain't no cop
For me, what Low onst put in a cartoon;
I'm second fiddle in this 'oneymoon.

The dinkum days that 'im an' me 'ave spent!
   Though sooperseded by a gramophone,
I never tumbled it was permanent -
   That on me own
I'd lag soo-blanky-perfluous on the stage,
A silent oracle, like last week's AGE.

'Struth, it's enough to make me whip the cat
   'Oose skin was tanned me apron for to make,
To think I should be outed - on me pat.
   It takes the cake!
Though I can't play no "Chanson Sans Paroles"
Songs without words is surgin' through me soul!

Songs without words!  Ar, they was good ole times
   W'en songs 'ad words - it seems but yesterday
'Is fingers on my strings thrummed out the rhyms
   (And 'e could play!)
That were to bring 'im fame in "Ginger Mick."
'E scooped the pool - 'twas me that took the trick!

I scanned 'is lines for 'im without a 'itch;
   To me 'e owes the metre of 'is verse;
Ar, crool fate wot narked my concert-pitch!
   It makes me curse
The luck that turned, the forchune that betrayed,
My maker, an' the day that I was made.

Also, no more may sound an' strings combine
   As in the days ere I was carst aside;
Yet I am something more than tin an' twine -
   I 'ave me pride;
An' 'e don't recognise, by word or sign,
The mess 'e's made o' this 'ere life o' mine.

Yet, callin' back the old familiar tunes
   That galvanised the iron in me frame
(Now silent, spare me days, for many moons).
   I'd do the same
As I 'ave done, an' all my sould evoke
To re-inspire "The Sentimental Bloke."

The wind 'as mobs o' trees fer its delight,
   But only one was chosen for 'is lyre:
Mine was the wood 'e tipped would best ignite
   The poet's fire;
And of my fuel, may this coal glow red
W'ich my forgiveness 'eaps upon 'is 'ead!

First published in The Bulletin, 30 August 1917

Poem: Olden Rhymes by F.W. Hulme

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Why do ye scorn the rhymes of France,
   O Austral song-birds! And why, pray,
Neglect the joyous old romance,
   Sweet echoes of a bygone day,
   There is a beauty in the lay
That mocks old Time's severest test;
   Believe me, singers, when I say
That olden rhymes are far the best.

In their defence I couch a lance
   Of verse at once both grave and gay,
Of honeyed notes that in life's dance
   Oft ease sad hearts -- oft cares allay.
   I don my armour for the fray,
And set me forth upon my quest:
   To prove to all who say me nay
That olden rhymes are far the best.

Choose Austral themes, in the expanse
   Of ballads, rondeau, roundelay,
In these old shapes you will entrance
   Both heart and brain to do your sway;
   As a great master who doth play
Some old-time air, lulls us to rest,
   And in his mastery doth betray
That olden rhymes are far the best.


Australians, thus your art display!
   And so to you my plaint's addrest:
Remember, when you verse essay,
   That olden rhymes are far the best.

First published in The Bulletin, 11 July 1896 

Poem: To a Youthful Writer by Will Carter

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Read, youthful writer, read,
   If thou wouldst shape a song;
Learn of the hearts that bleed,
   The souls that suffer wrong.

Draw from the mint of minds
   That have enriched the past;
Raise the dark, dusty blinds,
   And thy brave song shall last.

Think of the lovely rose,
   With morning jewels bright;
The only gems it knows
   Are teardrops of the night.

Its tints the rainbow lends,
   Of purest radiancy;
Its scent the soil upsends,
   By Nature's alchemy.

Glean, youthful water, glean,
   The field is rich and vast.
Write what thy soul has seen,
   And thy great song will last.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 1935

Poem: Book-Comforted by Mariel Lee

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A cloistered path is mine to tread;
   Unvexed I go,
Companioned by the splendid dead,
   Though well I know
Of broken lives to Moloch fed,
Of sordid shifts for dally bread,
And bartered souls who, drifting, dread
   Life's turgid flow.

I joy in gallant company,
   Where sage and bard,
With wisdom, faith, and prophecy,
   All earth regard;
They trace man's lowly ancestry,
They seek to plumb all mystery,
They sing romance, high fantasy,
   Thought's treasured nard.

Would all might share this world apart,
   There win release
In life as re-create by art,
   Where discords cease!
Through solitude or clamorous mart,
When threatens doom with poison dart,
By faith, and visition stayed, the heart
   Knows cool deep peace.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 1932

Poem: To a Budding Bard by La Touche Hancock

Retire into your writing den,
   Put beeswax on your easy chair,
Take reams of paper, nib your pen,
   And ruffle your poetic hair!  

Don't write of love -- it's out of date --
   But try your hand at something new;
Work out a subject really great,
   And make it brilliant, if not true!

And, if you're lacking for some rhymes,
   Look up the poets -- they'll supply you --
'Tis one of those quite venial crimes,
   For which the public won't decry you!

You pause in doubt? A phase of Greek
   Will turn your lines in proper metre;
Or, if in French a rhyme you seek,
   Your verses will appear much sweeter.

And then I think, if I were you,
   I wouldn't send them to the papers,
But twist them up -- I often do --
   Into the neatest smoking papers.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 30 December 1903

Poem: The Mediocre Poet by Zora Cross

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I long to lie a long time still and lone
In this green valley under this blue sky.
I think the air, the day, the grass, and I
May breathe some secret to all else unknown.
I have a kinship with the leaves down blown
I shared with them when I was two feet high.
The very tremor of the breeze's sigh
Trembles in me and seems to be my own.

I shall lie here and wait and listen long,
And look and wonder, steal from laggard time
This air, this day, this grass, and make for you,
Stronger than life itself, a little song.
What shall I say more than this single rhyme:
"How green this valley is, this sky how blue?"

First published
in The Sydney Mail, 12 August 1925
Caring for others all your busy life,
Always within your heart eternal spring!
Truth more to you than petty party strife,
Helping by service every livinge thing;   
Ever humanity, no self-love there,
Reverence for every individual soul.
In all you saw a father's tender care.   
No heart too stained to help, uplift, make whole;
Ever was brotherhood your aim and goal.

Hail! "Grand old woman" of our hemisphere!
Energy ceaseless fired your mind and heart,
Love, your unfailing strength, brave friend sincere,
Earnest in all you did, with truth your art,
Noble, and happy soul, still play your part.

Speed on, great spirit, heaven is your home.
Progress your watchword ever, there as here,
Eternal youth, with greater things to come
Now gives you wider scope in higher sphere.
Comrade, inspire us still, your spirit near,
Ever you live in love, for ever dear. 

First published in The Register, 2 November 1925

Poem: The Cambaroora Star by Henry Lawson

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So you're writing for a paper? Well, it's nothing very new
To be writing yards of drivel for a tidy little screw;
You are young and educated and a clever chap you are,
But you'll never run a paper like the CAMBAROORA STAR
Though in point of education I am nothing but a dunce,
I myself -- you mayn't believe it -- helped to run a paper once
With a chap on Cambaroora, by the name of Charlie Brown,
And I'll tell you all about it if you'll take the story down.

On a golden day in when the sunrays were aslant,
Brown arrived in Cambaroora with a little printing plant
And his worldly goods and chattels --- rather damaged on the way ---
And a weary-looking woman who was following the dray.
He had bought an empty humpy, and, instead of getting tight,
Why, the diggers heard him working like a lunatic all night:
And next day a sign of canvas, writ in characters of tar,
Claimed the humpy as the office of the CAMBAROORA STAR.

Well, I cannot read, that's honest, but I had a digger friend
Who would read the paper to me from the title to the end;
And the STAR contained a leader running thieves and spielers down,
With a slap against claim-jumping, and a poem made by Brown.
Once I showed it to a critic, and he said 'twas very fine,
Though he wasn't long in finding glaring faults in every line;
But it was a song of Freedom --- all the clever critic said
Couldn't stop that song from ringing, ringing, ringing in my head.

So I went where Brown was working in his little hut hard by:
'My old mate has been a--reading of your writings, Brown,' said I ---
'I have studied on your leader, I agree with what you say,
'You have struck the bed-rock certain, and there ain't no get-away;
'Your paper's just the thumper for a young and growing land
'And your principles is honest, Brown; I want to shake your hand,
'And if there's any lumping in connection with the STAR,
'Well, I'll find the time to do it, and I'll help you --- there you are!'

Brown was every inch a digger (bronzed and bearded in the South),
But there seemed a kind of weakness round the corners of his mouth
When he took the hand I gave him; and he gripped it like a vice,
While he tried his best to thank me, and he stuttered once or twice.
But there wasn't need for talking --- we'd the same old loves and hates,
And we understood each other --- Charlie Brown and I were mates.
So we worked a little 'paddock' on a place they called the 'Bar',
And we sank a shaft together, and at night we worked the STAR.

Charlie thought and did his writing when his work was done at night,
And the missus used to 'set' it near as quick as he could write.
Well, I didn't shirk my promise, and I helped the thing, I guess,
For at night I worked the lever of the crazy printing-press;
Brown himself would do the feeding, and the missus used to 'fly' ---
She is flying with the angels, if there's justice up on high,
For she died on Cambaroora when the STAR began to go,
And was buried like the diggers buried diggers long ago.

Lord, that press! It was a jumper --- we could seldom get it right,
And were lucky if we averaged a hundred in the night.
Many nights we'd sit together in the windy hut and fold,
And I helped the thing a little when I struck a patch of gold;
And we battled for the diggers as the papers seldom do,
Though when the diggers errored, why, we touched the diggers too.
Yet the paper took the fancy of that roaring mining town,
And the diggers sent a nugget with their sympathy to Brown.

Oft I sat and smoked beside him in the listening hours of night,
When the shadows from the corners seemed to gather round the light ---
When his weary, aching fingers, closing stiffly round the pen,
Wrote defiant truth in language that could touch the hearts of men ---
Wrote until his eyelids shuddered --- wrote until the East was grey:
Wrote the stern and awful lessons that were taught him in his day;
And they knew that he was honest, and they read his smallest par,
For I think the diggers' Bible was the CAMBAROORA STAR.

Diggers then had little mercy for the loafer and the scamp ---
If there wasn't law and order, there was justice in the camp;
And the manly independence that is found where diggers are
Had a sentinel to guard it in the CAMBAROORA STAR.
There was strife about the Chinamen, who came in days of old
Like a swarm of thieves and loafers when the diggers found the gold ---
Like the sneaking fortune-hunters who are always found behind,
And who only shepherd diggers till they track them to the 'find'.

Charlie wrote a slinging leader, calling on his digger mates,
And he said: 'We think that Chinkies are as bad as syndicates.
What's the good of holding meetings where you only talk and swear?
Get a move upon the Chinkies when you've got an hour to spare.'
It was nine o'clock next morning when the Chows began to swarm,
But they weren't so long in going, for the diggers' blood was warm.
Then the diggers held a meeting, and they shouted: 'Hip hoorar!
Give three ringing cheers, my hearties, for the CAMBAROORA STAR.'

But the Cambaroora petered, and the diggers' sun went down,
And another sort of people came and settled in the town;
The reefing was conducted by a syndicate or two,
And they changed the name to 'Queensville', for their blood was very blue.
They wanted Brown to help them put the feathers in their nests,
But his leaders went like thunder for their vested interests,
And he fought for right and justice and he raved about the dawn
Of the reign of Man and Reason till his ads. were all withdrawn.

He was offered shares for nothing in the richest of the mines,
And he could have made a fortune had he run on other lines;
They abused him for his leaders, and they parodied his rhymes,
And they told him that his paper was a mile behind the times.
'Let the times alone,' said Charlie, 'they're all right, you needn't fret;
'For I started long before them, and they haven't caught me yet.
'But,' says he to me, 'they're coming, and they're not so very far ---
'Though I left the times behind me they are following the STAR.

'Let them do their worst,' said Charlie, 'but I'll never drop the reins
'While a single scrap of paper or an ounce of ink remains:
'I've another truth to tell them, though they tread me in the dirt,
'And I'll print another issue if I print it on my shirt.'
So we fought the battle bravely, and we did our very best
Just to make the final issue quite as lively as the rest.
And the swells in Cambaroora talked of feathers and of tar
When they read the final issue of the CAMBAROORA STAR.

Gold is stronger than the tongue is --- gold is stronger than the pen:
They'd have squirmed in Cambaroora had I found a nugget then;
But in vain we scraped together every penny we could get,
For they fixed us with their boycott and the plant was seized for debt.
'Twas a storekeeper who did it, and he sealed the paper's doom
Though we gave him ads. for nothing when the STAR began to boom:
'Twas a paltry bill for tucker, and the crawling, sneaking clown
Sold the debt for twice its value to the men who hated Brown.

I was digging up the river, and I swam the flooded bend
With a little cash and comfort for my literary friend.
Brown was sitting sad and lonely with his head bowed in despair,
While a single tallow candle threw a flicker on his hair,
And the gusty wind that whistled through the crannies of the door
Stirred the scattered files of paper that were lying on the floor.
Charlie took my hand in silence --- and by-and-by he said:
'Tom, old mate, we did our danmedest, but the brave old STAR is dead.'

Then he stood up on a sudden with a face as pale as death,
And he gripped my hand a moment, while he seemed to fight for breath:
'Tom, old friend,' he said, 'I'm going, and I'm ready to --- to start,
'For I know that there is something --- something crooked with my heart.
'Tom, my first child died. I loved her even better than the pen ---
'Tom --- and while the STAR was dying, why, I felt like I did THEN.
'Listen! Like the distant thunder of the rollers on the bar ---
Tom! I hear the --- diggers --- shouting: 'Bully for the STAR!

First published in The Boomerang, 19 December 1891

Poem: My Friends by Anonymous

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Most sympathising of my friends
Is he who to my frailties lends
A cloak of charity, or sends
   To me some kindly word;
Nor, when supinely I might yield,   
To some mean foe an unfought field,
Would he, if I to him appealed,
   Chide me, his friend, unheard.

Another friend I often find,   
If I go wrong, who seems unkind,
Yet leaves me comforted, resigned,
   After the pain is past.
He tells of the unequal fight   
'Twixt my own weakness and the might
Of those all armored for the right;      
   How I might fail at last.   

Some of my friends speak to me now
From 'neath the mounds where daisies grow,
They were the friends who loved me so --
   Methinks they love me yet.   
Each tells of virtue where was rife
All evil, and, amid the strife,
Each gave a noble, sacred life
   To win a coronet.    

And there are friends I always knew,
Yet dearer to me daily grew,   
As, erst and ever, I'd pursue
   My studies by their speech.     
On shelves, in tomes, they stand and lie;
As we commune I smile or sigh;
En deshabille I am not shy
   Of these, within my reach.

First published
in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 20 August 1898

Poem: The Poet's Realm by Will Carter

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Wider the Poet's realm is
   Than a kingdom by the sea;
Greater his mind's dominion
   Than sceptered sov'reignty.
Fairer his skies and clearer,
   Deeper his sea that flows
Where rock, in the pale reflection,
   The stars in rippled rows.
His voice is in laughing water,
   It sings in the leaping rill,
It swells in the rolling tempest,
   And truth is in it still.
His tongue hath a mystic message
   That travels the wide earth o'er,
It speaks in the pulsing present --
   It spake in the Long-Before,
Of courage, faith, and duty,
   Of wisdom grave and grand,
Till each ear hath heard its message,
   And each heart doth understand.
He sums the heart's deep passions,
   He marks their ebb and flow;
With Pity's gift he passes,
   With hope he whispers low.
From tower, high, impatient,
   His vision sweeps before;
Time is the winding stairway
   Death is the open door.
And ever, and still for ever,
   His thoughts in music flow;
Sweet is the breath of roses,
   Pure is the falling snow.
Yet sweeter not, nor purer,
   Are these than thoughts when strung
On lyric strings all tender,
   When Songs of Truth are sung,
Filling the grand concordance --
   Psalm of the sacred plan --
The bird and the bee and blossom,
   God and the soul of man.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 July 1931

Poem: As She is Spelt by C.J. Dennis

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Dear children: In this spelling bee
You have my deepest sympathy;
   For, in the days when I was yongue,
   Tho' werds tripped glibly from my toung,
Whene'er I came to spell them oubt
I found myself in dreadful dout
   Trigh as I wood, strive as I mite,
   I cood not tell the rong from wright.

I never new, I never saugh
A spelling book, but I cried "Faw!
   There's not won rool in awl the lot
   That has not sum exceptions got."
I red the lessons threw and threw,
Yet when into a man I grough
   I never coodd lern hough to spell
   Dou yew?  I hope yough do -- and well.

First published in The Herald, 8 July 1930 

Poem: An Afternoon Rhyme by Henry Halloran

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They say that we've no ballads got
   Anent this glorious nation,
Nothing of gold, or wool, or rot,
   Or Land Administration;
Nothing that Free Selection shows
   Above all other dreaming,
In making men the deadliest foes
   In "mail" and "dummy" scheming.

Well! these are hardly worth a song,
   They masque, in grand designing
The principles of "right" and "wrong"
   And constant undermining.
But surely we may find a theme,
   To fill a native ditty,
To float down Time's eternal stream,
   In honour of our city.

Of schemes I've heard of half a score
  That led to wealthy marriage;
That led -- but I must say no more --
   They flaunt it in their carriage.
I would not say a word of these,
   They are not bright and rosy,   
But e'en at the Antipodes
   May seem a little nosey.

Is there not some redeeming name
   O'er which the Muse may sorrow,    
And wish for it undying fame
   To gild Australia's morrow?
Bright artist of the pensive brow,
   Who toil'd in Rome's old city,
And toiling died, yet claims e'en now     
   Our deepest love and pity.    

I'll try some day a song of thee,
   Fair Adelaide, who ever
Breathed hopes that sought eternity
   For Art's sublime endeavour:
Who hungered not, and thirsted not,    
   For gold or adulation;
But sought that pure and perfect lot
   That dignifies a nation.      

Of Harpur I would say a word --  
   Sweet Dora's lyric lover --  
Whose song was one of wounded bird,   
   Of swan, or plaintive plover:
For now adown the fall of years,
   It sounds to hearts unheeding,   
His countrymen can shed no tears,   
   Tho' Pity self were pleading.  

Of Kendall, too, I might, perhaps,
   Say something when Time hurries  
To perfect peace the wayward lapse  
   Of Life that shades and worries.   
And e'en of Charley Tompson say --
   An earlier bard than any --
A something of her minstrel's lay,  
   Forgotten by the many.      

Nay, e'en of "Stolen Moments" Truth
   Might send some words of praising;
Of "Murmurs," which the pride of youth    
   Breathed forth with zeal amazing.   
Tho' not from Shelley-Swinburne mine,
   Nor Poe-cum-Browning meted,   
They held, in many a pregnant line,    
   What might be fairly treated.        

But politics make irons hot
   For each poetic sinner;    
An inquisition's deftly got   
   To grill him for a dinner.      
And so e'en strangers in the land,    
   Who work for leagues and booty,   
Will raise the scorner's fulsome hand   
   In criticisms sooty.  

But yet the rose must be the rose,
   The brier but the brier;             
Despite of friends, despite of foes,         
   Despite of ape and liar.
Despite of flatterers run mad,       
   Of harlequins and whipsters;
No genuine fame may ere be had
   By acrobats and tipsters.          

Adown a pleasant valley runs
   A silver brook, and sighing     
Sings in the light of quenchless suns,   
   In tones that are undying,         
Of her -- that artist pure and fair --
   Who, for her country's glory,    
Surrendered life without despair,  
   And long shall live in story.

First published
in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 May 1883

Poem: The Old Bohemian by Victor J. Daley

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The  world was in my debt,
   I was the Friend of Man,
When, years ago, I met
   The Old Bohemian.

His hat was shocking bad,
   He wore a faded tie,
And yet, withal, he had
   A moist and shining eye.

And though his purse was lean,
   And though his coat was dyed,
He had a lordly mien
   And air of ancient pride.

We sat in a hotel,
   And drank the amber ale;
And as I touched the bell
   I listened to his tale.

He told me that some day
   In his place I would be;
But all the world was gay ---
   No use in warning me.

He spoke of high Desire
   And aspirations true;
And flamed again the fire
   In eyes of faded blue.

"By God!" the old man said,
   "The days of old were grand;
I painted cities red,
   I owned the blessed land.

"I loved, when I was young,
   The girls in all the bars;
And, coming home, I hung
   My hat upon the stars.

"And O, the times were glad!
   Such times you never knew;
And O, the nights we had!
   And O, the jolly crew!

"Where are the songs --- the talk ---
   The friends that used to be;
I with my shadow walk
   At last for company.

And though we missed the bays,
   That Poets we would be;
And though we missed the bays
   We lived our Poetry!

"We talked and talked and talked,
   And slowly, one by one,
My old companions walked
   Into the setting sun."

The old Bohemian said,
   "The world owes nought to me,
I lie upon the bed
   Which I made --- carefully.

There is one way to play
   The mad Bohemian game,
I found and took the way ---
   And you will do the same."

Ah, that was years ago,
   When skies were bright and blue,
And now, alas, I know
   His prophecy was true.

Yet fill the glass once more,
   Bohemians, and sing ---
Upon another shore
   There waits another Spring!

First published in The Bulletin, 28 September 1901

Poem: The Song and the Singer by Edward Dyson

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My poet wrote: "Ah! blissful days
   Where Healesville's golden surges rise.
Ah! sweet, warm nights when hidden ways
   Brought thee to me with starlit eyes.
No more of joy can love reveal.
   When other flames illume the night,
In all their glory, dear, I feel
   Thy subtle warmth, and see thy light."

   There came to me a thought of awe:
   "Here's one that reeks not mortal law,
   A lover lion-like and free.
   Ah! Lord, send such a love to me."

My poet wrote: "I scorn the lays
   Of puny circumscribed life.
Give me my foe, and tumbled days,
   The wounds and fever of the strife.
I rive with scorn their little laws,
   Their measured rules I laughing try,
And throw them from my limbs as straws,
   For I must live, or I will die.

   With heating pulse I read his line,
   And whispered, "Here is the fine,
   Exalted soul. He seems to speak
   From some wind-polished mountain peak."

My poet wrote: "The open way,
   The great sea racing 'neath the sky,
These keep me drifting night and day.
   My tent is broad, its roof is high.
By writhing plain and mountain crust
   I chase the eagles on the wing.
Nought will from my unburied dust
   But restless vines and creepers spring."

   I said: "Here is the stir that shook,
   And oped the wide world like a book,
   The poet-soul implanted in
   Some bearded, hook-nosed Bedouin.

At last I saw a little man
In down-heeled slippers and a fez,
Who hastened with a painted can,
And watered all his cabbages.
There rooted in a wee backyard,
By stings of heat and storm forsook,
Is living still my splendid bard.
His wife she has a famished look.

   'Tis said, what's learned in suffering
   The animated poets sing.
   But with a keener note is trilled
   A gnawing instinct unfulfilled.

First published in The Bulletin, 24 May 1917

Poem: To an Impecunious Poet by J. S.

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Oh, sigh not for the power of kings,
   For transient is a royal crown;
The truth of which a poet sings
   Through every age is handed down.

And sigh not for the wealth of gold,
   Could gold unlock the secret door
To that wide world which you behold?
   Could king command your magic lore?

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 1936

Poem: C. J. Brennan by T. Inglis Moore

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Here in the kindly earth is laid away
   Him whom we loved, the spirit Titan-large,
With thoughts that strained within the bounded clay
   To infinites beyond earth's hidden marge:

Hostage of sadness, mighty soul confined
   In oubliettes of gloom and pain apart,
Till death's last ransom freed the restless mind
   And stilled the passion of that fiery heart.

No more shall he return, trembling, from tryst
   With Beauty, held remote from the world's throng,
And from her fervent lips divinely kist
   Draw forth his syllables of timeless song.

To him her lucid loveliness she hated
   In forest dells and legended romance,
So that he wandered all his days, ensnared
   By questing dreams, illumed with mystic trance.

His spirit, like a mountain high, august,
   Clove with its sharp desires the sky's blue rim,
And sombre crags of wisdom strong out-thrust
   Above the depths with light's excess grown dim.

The sun's white arrows pierce the serried trees,
   And splintered fall athwart the mauve-splashed boles
To mingle with dark-frondaged mysteries,
   The shine and shadow of his changing souls.

There far below the abyss, runnels plash
   In rippling melodies, and waterfalls
Flute rondos of delight, till drowned by clash
   Of thunder echoing from the mountain walls.

With night come chants of doom, while demon bands
   Hold cloudy revel under red-eyed Mars;
But still inviolate the mountain stands
   With head enskied, crowned with unconquered stars.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 October 1932

Poem: The Forlorn Author by Ambrose Gates

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I met a long, gaunt, shiv'ring being;
   So deep his woe, my heart's core bled;
   His feet's encasements' base had fled,
   Nor did his batter'd hat his head
Prevent the weeping cloud from seeing.

When sympathy on 's plight had touched,
   "I am an author, sir," he said,
   And aching were his eyes of lead;
   He heavily sigh'd and stayed his tread,
Then spake, and at his vitals clutched --

"Sweet youth was mine, and exultation
   That did unto my brian a seat
   Among immortals! yet meat
   Years past I've lack'd: all journals greet
My screed, but pay -- on publication!"

First published
in The Bulletin, 2 May 1903

Poem: The Poet to be Yet by Arthur H. Adams

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Not he who sings smooth songs that soothe --
   Sweet opiates that lull asleep
   The sorrow that would only weep;
   There are some spirit-stains so deep
That only tears may wash away.

Not he whose lays thrill fiercely till
   The soul is sick with surfeiting,
   Such passion flies, and leaves its sting,
   Till through the body quivering
The wearied dull pain throbs again.

Not he whose glad voice says "Rejoice!"
   For whom no clouds o'ercast the sky;
   Whose god is in his heaven so high
   That this dull world he come not nigh:
Life is no sun-kissed optimist!

But he who Sorrow's presence knows,
   Who hears the minor chords beneath
   The song of life, and feels the breath
   Upon his cheek of quiet death,
Yet stirs and sings of life and love.

Who in his suffering yet can sing;
   With that calm pathos in his face ---
   The hopeless yearning of the race ---
   Can chant the faith that holds its place,
Upsurging through each sore heart's speech;

Who, though his heart bleed, onward leads;
   Who knows eternal is our quest,
   Yet bids us toil and strive --- not rest ---
   Who looks life o'er and takes its best ---
This is the poet to be yet!

First published in Maoriland and Other Verses by Arthur H. Adams, 1899.

Poem: The Scenic Part of Poetry by Charles Harpur

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What's poetic, I ask, if a green Wood is not --
   A green Wood by balmy winds stirred?
And a Runnel that slides with a flash from its grot,
   And a trill like the song of a bird?
And we prize them when pictured by Poesy, more
   Than we did, when old outlying things,       
Because they are brought as it were to our door
   By the spells of the Bard while he sings.    

What's poetic I ask, if a Tempest is not,
   With its dragon-winds bellowing by,
And its thunder-flames seething out, hissingly hot.
   As from fissures and flaws in the sky?  
And we prize it, when pictured by Poesy, more  
   Than we did, when its terror was known,
Because its dread face looketh in at our door
   In its beauty and grandeur alone.

What's poetic, I ask, if the Ocean is not,
   Or in storm, or when calmly it sleeps,
Lying wide as the heaven whose face is begot
   Again in the womb of its deeps?  
And we prize it, when pictured by Poesy, more
   Than we did, when around us it wrought,
Because over thenceforth it lies at our door
   As a mighty possession of thought.

First published in The Empire, 28 October 1857

Poem: The Poet Heart by Emily Bulcock

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Lest through grey days all gleams depart
God gave to man the poet heart.
The heart that stores, for darkened hours,
The sunshine and the scent from flowers,
The fragrance of the morning breeze,
And weaves them into melodies!
None but himself may hear the song:
He hears it all his sweet life long.
Folks wonder why he should be gay
Who trudges on his lonely way:
They only see a desert track,
A weary form, a heavy pack.
And yet, for him, green places smile,
And unseen choirs the way beguile.

Others, less dowered, may glimpse at times
The fairy dell -- hear sweet flower-chimes!
For every man a poet is --
When life's supremest gifts are his!
But in the clangor of the mart,
Swiftly men lose the poet heart.
But he who drinks of beauty deep
Can hush his fiercest griefs asleep,
And when the Calvary way is long
He turns to pluck some flower of song!

First published in The Bulletin, 9 December 1922

Poem: The First Great Australian Poet by Charles Harpur

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Glorious His lot whom Poesie shall name
   Her first High Priest in this so sunny Clime,
Though thereby clothed as with a Robe of Flame! --
   With her Creations of the Olden Time
   Much conversant, and by their bulk sublime
Moulding new matter, let him build to Fame;
Quarrying from Nature's everlasting frame
   The scultured beauty of his lofty Rhyme.
   Then mirrored ever in his polished page
Shall grow his Countrywoman's lustrous eyes;
   And Future Patriots a righteous rage
Thence catch or simulate -- the Brave, and Wise,
And Lovely, so, beneath his native skies,
   Hallowing his Memory from age to age.

First published
in The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts and General Literature, 3 May 1845

Poem: Books by Suzanne Halling

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It's very queer.
One moment I am here,
Then I open my book
And disappear --
Though you look and look
I am nowhere near.
Would you like to know
Where I go?
I've opened the treasure chest of Time,
Flinging wide his jewels sublime.
For I seize the endless wealth of the ages,
Spilled for delight on the magic pages.
I'm stepping the winding paths of chance,   
That lead to the City of Lost Romance.   
I'm breathing Adventure's mountain air,   
Climbing lone heights with courage rare.   
Swift visions fade, brave voices call,
Down from the stars bright thoughts softly fall.
Sorrows that choke, joys that make all things right,
Laughter and tears -- what! Now say "Good-night."
So soon?
Why the moon
Is still low
When its light's shed
Down on my bed,
I shall look
Once again
At my book.

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 March 1931

Poem: Old and New by Emily Bulcock

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O singers of this later day -- the harvest is not reaped.
New fields are yours for gleaning in fuller radiance steeped.
Science brings daily marvels stirring the sluggish mind,
Opens new gates to wider thought -- so tarry not behind.

Leave Lovelace to his Phyllis, Wordsworth his Lucy meek,
Beauty still loves to linger on girlish lip and check.
Deem not all splendid things are said -- though many a harp was strung,
Though pioneers of poesy such varied songs have sung.

All wonders that were theirs are yours, and doubly yours to-day.
The magic harps they played on more fully stringed ye play,
And nature though she gave them rich spoil of virgin years  
Still keeps some new, late secrets -- meant only for your ears.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 January 1930
(Died August 1, 1882)

Had I gone first he surely would have writ
   Some kindly words in loving memory --
Touching a drear old history -- clothing it
   With grace, as ivy leaves -- an aged tree
But he has breasted first the mighty wave
   Which flows around Eternity, and left   
Blind seekers still to wonder and to crave,
   With clamorous thoughts, for light -- of light bereft.

I see the flying form of youth, the sun
   In radiant limbs -- distraught with blind desire --
And Daphne's hurrying shade, which seeks to shun
   His passionate looks that breathe destructive fire.
Two ghostly forms within a pit I see
   Sawing till doom; -- and stifled groans I hear
From shadows passing round a baleful tree,
   Until my creeping flesh is quick with fear.
And then, beyond the fiery cones of hills --
   That sing to the wild main in sympathy --   
I see in mossy rents the morning rills
   That march in midnight thunder to the sea.   
While from Kerguelen, on a stormy main,
   Swept by remorseless winds which scourge the Pole,
A voice comes echoing, as in grief or pain,
   "Oh! listen to a brother's passing soul;
I meet that Infinite of which we dreamed,
   The mighty mysteries to comprehend   
That fold life round, until it almost seemed  
   That God Himself had ceased to be our friend.
Beyond the stars there is a rest serene,
   Which neither love, nor fame, nor happiness
Can ever stir with hints of what has been.
   Nor make that gift supreme, or more or less!
Awhile, old friend! and then we meet once more,
   Not in the cruel conflicts of the day.    
Till then, adieu! the struggle now is o'er --
   The wearied spirit passes on its way."

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 August 1882

Poem: Wooing the Muse by Ethel Turner

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There is a girl who comes to school,
   Writes poems by the dozen
(I've heard it said some poet dead
   Was her grand-aunt's first cousin).

But she is merely short and stout,
   No claim has she to beauty,
Why should not I a poem try?
   I think it is my duty.

For I am tall, some say I'm fair,
   I've won a prize for spelling;
Well started then, with broad-nibbed pen,
   Great thoughts will soon come welling.

I think that I will write on Death,
   Like every other poet
(The word to rhyme will come in time,
   Just now I do not know it).

Deth, Meth, reth, seth, and likewise beth,
   Heth, feth, geth -- goodness gracious
I really thought, from all they've taught,
   The language was more spacious.

Perhaps I'd better write on Spring!
   Wing, sing, fling-ah, that's better;
"Come, gentle Spring, on birdlike wing"
(Next line start with large letter).

September is your own birth-month,
   Runth, dunth -- why, this is fearful;
Bunth, funth, and hunth, tunth, shunth, and skunth --
   I'm really getting tearful.

Perhaps she's got some special pen,
   That girl who scribbles verses,
Or owns some ink that makes you think.
   Perhaps some spell like Circe's

Descends to those who have the luck
   To own, midst their connections,
A great-aunt, whose first cousin's muse
   Could rhyme in all directions.

And now I think the matter out,
   I'm sure it will be better
To leave such trades to short, stout maids,
   Who have no looks to fetter.

And when you're tall and fair of face
   (Divinely fair, one flatters),
Rhythm and rhyme are waste of time,
   And simply senseless matters.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 6 March 1907
Vain, Bard! And do you think to climb
The Parnassian mount sublime?
And mingle with the classic throng
In the poetic realms of song?    

If such your wish you'll ne'er attain
A place in that poetic train;
Such low'ring themes were never sung
By lofty heart or lofty tongue.            

Lay little bickerings aside,
Find something worthy to deride,
And you will find the effort made
By noble labour will be paid.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 9 June 1883

Poem: A Bush Christmas by C. J. Dennis

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The sun burns hotly thro' the gums
As down the road old Rogan comes --
   The hatter from the lonely hut
   Beside the track to Woollybutt.
      He likes to spend his Christmas with us here.
He says a man gets sort of strange
Living alone without a change,
   Gets sort of settled in his way;
   And so he comes each Christmas day
To share a bite of tucker and a beer.

Dad and the boys have nought to do,
Except a stray odd job or two.
   Along the fence or in the yard,
   "It ain't a day for workin' hard."
Says Dad.  "One day a year don't matter much."
And then dishevelled, hot and red,
Mum, thro' the doorway puts her head
   And says, "This Christmas cooking, My!
   The sun's near fit for cooking by."
Upon her word she never did see such.

"Your fault," says Dad, "you know it is.
Plum puddin'!  on a day like this,
   And roasted turkeys!  Spare me days,
   I can't get over women's ways.
      In climates such as this the thing's all wrong.
A bit of cold corned beef an' bread
Would do us very well instead."
   Then Rogan said, "You're right; it's hot.
   It makes a feller drink a lot."
      And Dad gets up and says, "Well, come along."

The dinner's served -- full bite and sup.
"Come on," says Mum, "Now all sit up."
   The meal takes on a festive air;
   And even father eats his share
      And passes up his plate to have some more.
He laughs and says it's Christmas time,
"That's cookin', Mum. The stuffin's prime."
   But Rogan pauses once to praise,
   Then eats as tho' he'd starved for days.
      And pitches turkey bones outside the door.

The sun burns hotly thro' the gums,
The chirping of the locusts comes
   Across the paddocks, parched and grey.
   "Whew!" wheezes Father. "What a day!"
      And sheds his vest.  For coats no man had need.
Then Rogan shoves his plate aside
And sighs, as sated men have sighed,
   At many boards in many climes
   On many other Christmas times.
      "By gum!" he says, "That was a slap-up feed!"

Then, with his black pipe well alight,
Old Rogan brings the kids delight
   By telling o'er again his yarns
   Of Christmas tide 'mid English barns
      When he was, long ago, a farmer's boy.
His old eyes glisten as he sees
Half glimpses of old memories,
   Of whitened fields and winter snows,
   And yuletide logs and mistletoes,
   And all that half-forgotten, hallowed joy.

The children listen, mouths agape,
And see a land with no escape
   For biting cold and snow and frost --
   A land to all earth's brightness lost,
      A strange and freakish Christmas land to them.
But Rogan, with his dim old eyes
Grown far away and strangely wise
   Talks on; and pauses but to ask
   "Ain't there a drop more in that cask?"
   And father nods; but Mother says "Ahem!"

The sun slants redly thro' the gums
As quietly the evening comes,
   And Rogan gets his old grey mare,
   That matches well his own grey hair,
      And rides away into the setting sun.
"Ah, well," says Dad.  "I got to say
I never spent a lazier day.
   We ought to get that top fence wired."
   "My!" sighs poor Mum.  "But I am tired!
      An' all that washing up still to be done."

First published
in The Herald, 24 December 1931
Tell me not in future numbers
   That our thought becomes inane,
That our metre halts and lumbers
   When the Wattle blooms again.

Lies of great men all remind us
   We can challenge and restrain
Such attempts to bluff and blind us
   When the Wattle blooms again.

Therefore take our gage of battle!
   Freedom asserts her reign:
We are not dumb, driven cattle
   When the Wattle blooms again.

Doubtless ANSWERS, weekly, daily,
   Adding to his heap of slain,
Feels a jar, when Nature gaily
   Bids the Wattle bloom again.

Nocent censor! time thou learnest
   All this contract may contain --
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   But the Wattle blooms again.

Time may change this learned jernal
   From religious to profane,
But a rhythmic law eternal
   Makes the Wattle bloom again.

Trust no Flossie, howe'er pleasant,
   Sweeps are treacherous, totes are vain;
Banks and scrip are evanescent,
   But the Wattle blooms again.

Cultivate no fair ideal;
   Own no country-seat in Spain;
All these things must go to Sheol,
   Whil'st the Wattle blooms again.

Czar, and Pope and Dei Gratia
   Pass like phantoms of the brain
Never so our bright acacia,
   For the Wattle blooms again.

Thus you see, austere and lonely,
   Sailing o'er Life's solemn main,
One great fact is certain only --
   That the Wattle blooms again.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 August 1898

Poem: Come, Sing Australian Songs to Me! by John O'Brien

| No TrackBacks
Come, Little One, and sing to me
   A song our big wide land to bless,
Around whose gentle parent-knee
   We've twined the flowers of kindliness.

Your eyes are clear Australian blue,
   Your voice like soft bush breezes blown;
Her sunshine steeps the heart of you,
   Your tresses are the wattle's own.

What, no Australian song, my child,
   No lay of love, no hymn of praise?
And yet no mother ever smiled
   With our dear country's winsome ways:

You sing the songs of all the earth,
   Of bower and bloom and bird and bee;
And has the land that gave you birth
   No haunting, native melody?

Your poets' eager pens awake
   The world-old themes of love and youth.
The pulse of life, the joy, the ache,
   The pregnant line of earnest truth;

They dress you these in native guise,
   And interweave with loving hand
The freshness of your rain-washed skies,
   The colours of your sunlit land.

What, no Australian song, my dear?
   And yet I've heard the cottage ring
With notes the world would pause to hear,
   When at their work your sisters sing.

They sing the songs of all the earth,
   Of tender sky, and dimpling sea,
But all their strains have not the worth
   Of one Australian song, for me.

I've heard the harp the breezes play
   Among the wilding wilga-trees;
I've swept my world of care away
   When bush birds lift their melodies;

I've seen the paddocks all ablaze
   When spring in golden glory comes,
The purple hills of summer days,
   The autumn ochres through the gums;

I've seen the bright folk riding in
   O'er blooms that deck the clovered plain,
And neath the trees, when moonbeams spin
   Their silver-dappled counterpane.

What, no Australian song, my pet?
   No patriot note on native horn,
To bind the hearts in kindness met,
   And link the leal Australian-born?

Yet every exile, wandering lone
   Our happy careless homes among,
May live the best his heart has known
   Whene'er his country's songs are sung.

You sing the songs of all the earth,
   Of alien flower and alien tree:
But no one, in my grief or mirth,
   Will sing Australian songs to me.

You sing of every land but mine,
   Where life is lifting neath the sun.
Still all its spirit seems ashine
   In you, my little laughing one.

Your eyes are clear Australian blue,
   Your face is towards the future set:
The bounding, gladsome heart of you
   Is hers -- and only hers, my pet.

Ah, Little One, what dreams would rise
   If, nestled here upon my knee,
You'd flash those soft Australian eyes,
   And sing your country's songs to me!

First published in Around the Boree Log and Other Verses by John O'Brien, 1921.

Poem: The Commonplace Men by Constance Clyde

| No TrackBacks
A poet sings of the Flower of Love,
   And the Worth of a Woman's Heart
(But the red rose fades from the cheek of his wife,
   As she walks in her life apart).
He dreams of the maidens of old Romance,
   With their siren-like eyes aglow,
But she of the commonplace man and kind
   Who courted her long ago.

An artist paints us girl faces fair,
   Unmarred by a line severe
(But worn and lined is the face of the wife
   Who pledged him her love last year.)
She's bearing the burdens that two should bear;
   Her life is a study in grey
(Which might not have been had she wedded instead
   The commonplace man of clay).

Oh! poets may chant us their lordly lays
   Of love that can ne'er take wing
(But the usual men called Brown and Jones
   Are living the songs they sing).
The artist may tell us the life of toil
   Is ever the life sublime
(But the commonplace characters nobody knows
   Are acting it all the time).

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 9 December 1903

Poem: The Poet's Reputation by Richard Holt

| No TrackBacks

First published in The Bulletin, 29 October 1898

Poem: Poesy by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop

| No TrackBacks
   "Who ne'er his bread in sorrow ate,
      Who ne'er the mournful midnight hours
   Weeping upon his bed hath sate,
      He knows you not, ye Heavenly Powers." 

Since morning stars first sang in prayerful praise,
Since Adam's hymns resounded over space,
Or Sinai's hill trembled in glory's blaze;
Immortal song hath had acknowledged place.

Essence inherent of the sentient mind,
Mystic, yet co-existent with our breath,
A balm within the living brain enshrined  
Which mitigates and soothes our ills of earth.

Impassive-while the gloss on world looks bright,
A flitting shadow through our labour hours.
But ever near lone watchers of the night
A spirit-music from Elysian bowers.

Proud Poesy! thy genius leads secure
The golden vein along Time's turbid stream,
A sparkling star, whose light is ever pure
Winning the heart, a love-illumined dream.

"The harp of sorrow" knows thy gentle hand,
Its trembling chords awaking at thy call;
And sweetest melody by thy command
In tender tones floats forth "in dying fall."

Guardian and guide of every wandering thought;
To thee no clime is strange, no land unknown;
Medicine of mind, ever in sorrow sought,
Blest be the heart which claims thee as its own.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 October 1872

Poem: Last Stanzas of "The Bush" by Bernard O'Dowd

| No TrackBacks
Where is Australia, singer, do you know?
   These sordid farms and joyless factories,
Mephitic mines and lanes of pallid woe?
   Those ugly towns and cities such as these,
With incense sick to all unworthy power,
And all old sin in full malignant flower?
No! to her bourn her children still are faring;
   She is a temple that we are to build;
For her the ages have been long preparing,
   She is a prophecy to be fulfilled!

All that we love in olden lands and lore
   Was signal of her coming long ago!
Bacon foresaw her, Campanella, More,
   And Plato's eyes were with her star aglow!
Who toiled for Truth, whate'er their countries were,  
Who fought for Liberty, they yearned for her!
No corsair's gathering ground, nor tryst for schemers,
   No chapman Carthage to a huckster Tyre,
She is the Eldorado of old dreamers,
   The sleeping beauty of the world's desire.

She is the scroll on which we are to write
   Mythologies our own and epics new;
She is the port of our propitious flight
   From Ur idolatrous and Pharaoh's crew.
She is our own, unstained, if worthy we,
By dream or god, or star we would not see;
Her crystal beams all but the eagle dazzle.
   Her wind-wide ways none but the strong-winged sail;
She is Eutopia, she is Hy-Brasil,
   The watchers on the tower of morning hail!

Yet she shall be as we, the Potter, mould;
   Altar or tomb, as we aspire, despair;
What wine we bring shall she, the chalice, hold;
   What word we write shall she, the script, declare.
Bandage our eyes, she shall be Memphis, Spain;
Barter our souls, she shall be Tyre again;
And if we pour on her the red oblation,
   O'er all the world shall Asshur's buzzards throng;
Love-lit, her Chaos shall become Creation;
   And dewed with dream, her silence flower in song.

First published in The Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918. 

Poem: In a Library by Christopher P. Cranch

| No TrackBacks
In my friend's library I sit alone,
Hemmed in by books. The dead and living there,
Shrined in a thousand volumes rich and rare,
Tower in long rows with names to me unknown.  
A dim, half-curtained light o'er all is thrown.
A shadowed Dante looks with stony stare
Out from his dusky niche. The very air
Seems hushed before some intellectual throne.
What ranks of grand philosophers, what choice
And gay romancers, what historians sage.
What wits, what poets on those crowded shelves
All dumb for ever, till the mind gives voice
To each dead letter of each senseless page,
And adds a soul they own not of themselves! 

A miracle-that man should learn to fill
These little vessels with his boundless soul;
Should through these arbitrary signs control
The world, and scatter broadcast at his will
His unseen thoughts, in endless transcript still
Fast multiplied o'er lands from pole to pole  
By magic art ; and, as the ages roll, 
Still fresh as streamlets from the Muses' hill. 
Yet in these alcoves tranced, the lords of thought
Stand bound as by enchantment; signs or words
Have none to break the silence. None but they
Their mute, proud lips unlock who here have brought
The key. Them, as their masters, they obey;
For them they talk and sing like uncaged birds. 

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 15 March 1884

Poem: Lines for M. Forrest by E. M England

| No TrackBacks

(Died March 18, 1935)

She has put aside her lyre a little while
   She, the sweet singer, vendor of gay song;
She has put down her lyre, and with a smile
   Drifted to other fields, but not for long.

But not for long. Someday, where now she lingers
   She will grow weary, and will swiftly burn
To feel the strings again beneath her fingers,
   Then, like, a wandering minstrel, will return.  

She will return, with nuance and with laughter,
   Old echoes waking in the street and hill,
And all our kin and those who follow after
   Will know her note, and call her singer still!

First published in The Courier-Mail, 23 March 1935

Poem: My Epitaph by Randolph Bedford

| No TrackBacks
When I do think of many a friend ---
   The world to me a shambles is:
Where Butcher Death doth make an end,
   Alike of smile, and sneer, and kiss.
He lifts his pole-axe o'er the tall,
And bloody end he gives to all.

Two months ago he killed a mate
   Away in far Nyassaland;
Three months agone the Axe of Fate
   Laid low, upon the Torres sand,
A man whose life was all too brief --
A trusty pilot of the Reef.

One passed his checks at Hobart Town;
   One threw the seven in Papua;
One slung his alley in to drown;
   One sinned and burst by Burnett Bar;
Pluck palpitatlon was one's fate;
One turned it up in Foveaux Strait.

And, taking now a stitch in time,
   And Chronos by the Foreloek (such
Old metaphors do make for rhyme,
   And don't obscure the meaning much),
Of all my friends whom death must seize
I've written the obituaries.

Some are in prose, and some in verse;
   On all their virtues I enlarge;
With song I cover up the hearse,
   With lyrics deck the funeral barge.
A centenarian (what is truth?),
I weep because of my lost youth!

The friend who drinks in glee to-night!
   I'm ready with his earthly end;
My muse with bombazine bedight
   (I'll show you how to plant a friend)!
Ere yet the breath has left his clay
His funeral ode shall see the day.

But when I've finished all my pals:
   When dead are all the men I knew:
When worms --- Death's grisly seneschals ---
   Have hid them all from fleshly view;
I'll vainly search on land or sea
For one to write an ode on ME!

And as I could not quietly
   Stay in my grave unless 'twere done;
I state now, without hope or fee,
   How good it was ere Time was run;
Careless of blame or praise or laugh
I write here mine own epitaph.

       Died 31st Dec., 1968.

When all his virtues I record,
   The manly act -- the pregnant word --
And think how good he was and wise,
   The salt tears well into mine eyes.

Tall, golden-haired, and debonair ---
   (A duke from penny novelettes)
The Bow Bells Decorative Heir --
   (The one who always paid his debts).

His blue eye challenged, to outshine,
   The sun, his golden hair flowed down
His shoulders -- generous and fine
   Of Nature's King the Native Crown.

Quiet his mind, and calm as death;
   No impulse swayed his equal days;
He ever drew the equal breath;
   And walked in clear, unclouded ways.

A writer he --- a poet great --
   (His metres, envy said, were rude);
Great novelist --- tho' 'twas his fate
   By critics to be labelled crude.

A statesman he (or would have been),
   Master of Witanagemotes;
A salved Australia you'd have seen,
   But --- he polled insufficient votes!

But for that trifling circumstance,
   A greater, grander Hampden, he;
But smaller men achieved the chance,
   Lost by that mere discrepancy.

Hampden and Shakspeare rolled in one,
   He might have been ! ('twas not to be be!)
Oh great heart hidden from the sun
   With gold broad-barring all the sea!

He might have been --- well, anything!
   Napoleon, Dante --- aol that lot!
He might have Caesar been, or King!
   Alas, alack! But he was not.

He might have been an Orangeman!
   Rejoice an early death his fate
Saved from disgrace by that last ban --
   His young life ends at ninety-eight.

He might have been a councillor!!!
   Kind death has driven away our fears;
He's saved from being a mayoral bore --
   The thought gives gladness to our tears.

He loved to walk the earth around,
   Sauntering the world, and up and down
The forests that the deep seas bound,
   And wearied quickly of the town.

Rest deep then, Randolph! Rest for long!
   Tho' rest to thee will be a pain;
And when the boys, with jest or song,
   Come to thy grave, then rise again.

When tremulous, the earth's green breast
   Grows with the clamant life of Spring,
In your best Sunday bones rise, drest,
   And roam the bush, and have your fling.

Where bony youth and grisly wench
   Foot it in Bacchanal, and pass
Each other by the narrow trench
   That is their home below the grass!

         *   *   *   *   *

All of my friends may me forget!
   What need have I of friendship now?
When this my dirge is writ, and set
   To wait the chilling of my brow?
When life becomes but lees and draff
   I'm ready for my epitaph!

First published in The Bulletin, 28 May 1908

Poem: "Banjo's" Book by Will H. Ogilvie

| No TrackBacks
A volume arrived by mail to-day
   From the land of Captain Cook;
I opened it up with a loud "Hooray!"
   For here was the "Banjo's" book.

'Tis many a day since the "Banjo" strings
   Were touched to a tune of my heart,
And work and war and a thousand things
   Have wafted us worlds apart.

But I can go back when my eyes are shut
   To that hour in the long-lost time
When first I heard in a Darling hut
   The ring of a "Banjo" rhyme.

Those were the days when a boy's heart beat
   To the rhythm of life and love,
To the music drummed by a horse's feet
   And fifed by the wind above.

And I'm glad that his book got through all right,
   Unsunk by a submarine,
For "Banjo" and I can be mates to-night
   As we go where our hearts have been.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 July 1917

Poem: My Book by John Drayton

| No TrackBacks
No man writes a book without meaning something, though he may not have the faculty of writing consequentially, and of expressing his meaning. - Addison

It is complete -- the magnum opus finished.
   My book is writ; its joys shall be my own --
These none shall share. Delight is undiminished
   In that I revel selfish and alone.
Each line, as written, stands for anxious thinking;
   No pencilled sign was casually made.
At times my very soul with fear was shrinking;
   Again, I'd write a line and pause dismayed.
Here should be tears -- I wrote this line in sorrow --
   Here deeper grief, for much was put at stake;
Oft have I wished each day was its to-morrow,
   Oft slept with Fear -- with Care to mate, awake.
At length the end; I wrote in desperation
   To simplify the tangle in my skein,
And finished with a powerful situation --
   Finale -- in my very happiest vein.

No linotypist's inky paws shall fumble
   The pages of MY BOOK. No printer scoff
At my poor penmanship; no reader grumble,
   And wish I had been, timely, taken off.
The sacred pages only I shall study;
   And I for Recollection's joy alone
When I would have the reds of Life more ruddy,
   And realise a pleasure shared by none.

I'll read again the writing, in the double-book I made; ten thousand was the limit, and one horse I hadn't laid (for the cognoscenti knew him, and he had no chance, they said; where the quick were under saddle, he was listed with the dead).  But he cantered home the winner of the second big event, and I motored home a "skinner" - wherewithal I am content.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 January 1917

Poem: Scribes of the Bush by Frank Henty

| No TrackBacks
From slippered chills of drowsy morn, clean through until the moon
Of midnight shows her lamp forlorn, to light the late buffoon
Slow homeward from his loyal lodge --- or from the A.N.A. --
To shine on them and help them dodge the trees upon their way,
The pencil-pushers hump it, day by day.

Before the dawn is in the sky, while yet black night is here,
And restless worlds go flashing by to mock the man in beer
Who has his own starred universe within his bleary eyes ---
With many a random, rousing curse as time a-gallop flies,
The pale scribes of the grey bush wake and rise.

Their slow steeds start along the track to meet the dawn, aflame
Far down the skyline, grim and black; some days these nags go lame;
Some days they reef or plunge or kneel ungainly in the mud,
While, slow, the scribe, with clinging heel, slips forward, with a flood
Of threatenings to spill the poor plug's blood.

so, travrelling far, the restless scribe picks shining pearls for print
From council-swine -- gross diatribes and words whose flaring tint
Of turquoise or of purple fills the client one with joy;
He gathers gems from some bucolic cove in corduroy.
(Such little things that cove seem to annoy.)

Weird nights of pothouse banqueting, to toast the cricket club,
Fill up his hours. He haunts alike the chapel and the pub;
The township butcher posts him in the price of beef and chops;
The farmer, with his goat-like chiv., lies to him re the crops --
And! while! he! toils! his! salary! never! stops!

He courts the rectory and the manse each with its little show,
Tea-fight and concert --- no, no dance! --- where all good pressmen go;
And, final straw, the late press-night when, with the blushing dawn,
The scribe goes home with pipe alight, and half his screw in pawn
For beer, his system simply one . . . vast . . . yawn!

First published in The Bulletin, 16 June 1910

Poem: The Walled Garden by Clem Lack

| No TrackBacks
I have a fair walled garden,
   The winds are shut outside;
Secure and free from vandal,  
   Demesne both snug and wide.

No fruit of growth so foreign
   But in its soil finds room,
And never lift mine eyes in vain
   To find some bough a-bloom.

The flowers gleam like beacons,
   For dragon-flies that throng;
Nor doth it lack for nightingales
   To jewel it with song.

And where the friendly shade trees
   Clasp hands to arch a shrine
Are carven all the names I love;
   A radiant roll they shine.  

The leaves disdain to wither,
   And when a breeze goes by
They flutter into laughter
   Whose echo is a sigh.   

At eve, when tent of twilight
   Shuts out the spying sun,
I almost hear them whispering
   The Thousand Tales and One.

Yet (by a strange enchantment  
   Their eyes were veiled so!)
Some who within my garden walked
   Saw only books in row!

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 23 March 1929

Poem: Adam Lindsay Gordon by Marie E. J. Pitt

| No TrackBacks
Lulled by the sob of a southern sea
   He sleeps, who waked by the northern foam,
To dream of a brown land, wide and free,
   And make it his home;
Who sang great songs to its bluer dome,
   And netted the strong, strange speech it stirred
With the mourning note of an older lay,
   And swept from us like a wild, bright bird,
      Singing his heart away!

A fighter ever, a conqueror still,
   With his last ride ridden, his last song sung,
And the hemlock measure to drink or spill,
   While the vain shouts rung,
Swift from the tourney his strong soul swung
   Out through the dark to the Giver of Dreams;
Boldly as ever he rode fared he,
   West with the sunset's red triremes,
      Into his own country!

Small need had he of a graven stone
   Who rests so well in his quiet place
'Neath the drifted gold of his wattle, blown
   Through her leaves' green lace.
Nor ever in Hellas' years of grace,
   When Echo played with Olympian chords,
More proudly lifted a laurel tree
   To point the grave of a lord of words
      Sleeping in Thessaly!

Small need had he of a graven stone
   Whose songs have rung through a continent,
Like the notes of a morning bugle blown
   In the winds' high tent,
Reveillé to lands magnificent,
   Where beggars are monarchs of Come-by-Chance,
With titles too clear for a king to break,
   And more than a king is the bold free-lance,
      Singing for singing's sake!

First published in The Bulletin, 30 October 1919

Poem: The Ghost by Furnley Maurice

| No TrackBacks
Gird you no more at poets. They have sought
   To utter the unutterable joy.
The gesture breaks the dream; acts ruin thought,
   Whose color is debased with gross alloy.

A leaping horse, a sea-pool clear and cold,
   Night or her stars -- these have not found a name.
The rose is barbarous yet: and who has told
   The frightful grandeur of a leaping flame?

Men have grown used to glory, let it pass
   Im powerless lassitude -- vain, oh, so vain!
Are swept with glory as the wind the grass,
   Drink and are silent as the rose the rain.

But poets, being fools, are not content:
   They will name mysteries and utter most
Unutterable things; their blood is spent
   In Beauty 's woundings -- Beauty that's a ghost.

First published in The Bulletin, 7 December 1929

Poem: The Amateur Novelist's Guide Book by Youngjohn

| No TrackBacks
Make your hero handsome, tall;
   A short man will not do;
Poor, always, but in all things else
   Equal to any two.

Per contra, write the Rival rich,
   Ugly, or with a scowl;
Spice with a stern, rich, cruel Pa,
   At poorer prone to growl.

The Heroine of course you write
   The sweetest of the sweet;
An angel quite in every way,
   In all but love discreet.

Mamma must with the daughter side,
   Be constantly a-fretting;
Per opposition to papa,
   The other one abetting.

Put in secret love walks sad
   Atwixt the loving pair;
Tears, sighs, love-vows hard sworn by both,
   Exchange of locks of hair.

Once (only once! mind) break the match
   By a love row separation;
Then put the lass in love consumption,
   Him in desperation.

To save both dying make it up,
   Gretna Green wise fashion:
Then send the girl's pa after her
   In a tearing passion.

The old gent then renounces her,
   Finding himself outdone;
After --- introduce a daughter wee,
   Or a tiny grandson.

Present the darling he or she
   On suppliant knee bent;
Then make the grandpa thus to say:
   "Dear children, I relent."   

For matter more to bulge the book,
   Library volume form,
Dish up your friends and enemies,
   And write of sunsets warm.

Rules general! Indulge extremes,
   And which of course must meet;
The more impossible such are
   The cleverer the feat.

If falls in love some lord or duke,
   The maid should lowly be ---
Who in secret loves some other swain
   Of social low degree.

If vice versa you should write ---
   Want the lady dashing --
Why! make her wear the you know what;
   Let her do the mashing.

Of one thing very careful be:
   Avoid in every sense
Things commonplace or practical,
   Or you will give offence.   

Religion never touch upon,
   'Tis poison to each sect;   
On politics, I would remark,
   Be just as circumspect.

Poetry mind you never write,
   Inspired though you be full;
'Tis to critics and the world as is
   A red rag to a bull.

As others do just so do ye
   (As proved beyond a doubt);
Copy from others others' thoughts,
   Just turned a bit about.

Or, better still --- fast, medium, slow,
   Mix up three novels well;
The characters but just re-name,
   And who the deuce can tell!   

Then, if successful you are not,
   Let this your mind relieve:
'Tis literary jealousy
   Drags fell you may believe ---

Newspaper cliqueism, unfeed,
   (P'raps) editorial spleen ---
Stop! Here of course I go too far,
   Such yet has never been!

But popular should you become,
   Kick up with pure delight;
By one and all will lauded be
   Whatever rot you write.

Au revoir! Success attend;
   A pot should you become,
Please don't forget who taught you how,
   Though doomed fell humoursome.

But humour grim is oft put on
   A lesson to convey;
Home-truths lie hidden under what
   Many a fool doth say.

First published in The Queenslander, 9 April 1887

Poem: The Busted Bard: A Tragedy in Six Spasms by C. J. Dennis

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A bard one Spring did blithely sing
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
"I'll write a rhyme with a right good ring."
   Sing ho for a journey in the inky way!
With dictionaries bound in tan,
With pen and paper he began.
And oh, he was so spick and span.
Sing ho down derry for a literary man!
   For a lilting lay sing hey!

"Dear me," quoth he, "now let me see;"
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
"My masterpiece this thing must be."
   Sing ho for a treader in the inky way!
"A theme that's somewhat fresh to find
I'll exercise my mighty mind.
Now come, ye muses, pray be kind.
Sing hey down derry for the literary grind!
   For a lilting lay sing hey!"

"Ah, ha!  Hurrah!  Also Huzzah!
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
Eureka!  Likewise Ha, ha, ha!
   Sing ho for a header in the inky way!
I have it!  Just the very thing!
'Tis inspiration!  Now to sing
About the new-born babe of Spring.
Sing ho, with a literary ting-a-ling-a-ling!
   For a lilting lay sing hey!"

E'er this was read, I should have said
   Sing hey for a lilting lay sing hey!
The bard had influ. in his head.
   Sing ho for a treader in the inky way!
He sought to find a rhyme for babe.
Cried he:  "Id is ad awful shabe!
Alas!  Alack!  Cad this be fabe?
Sig ho, dowd derry for the literary gabe,
   For a lildig lay sig hey!"

In haste he took each rhyming book,
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
And found 'twas waste of time to look.
   Sing ho for a plodder in the inky way!
But still he sought, and sought and sought.
Alack, he thought there surely ought
To be a rhyme -- but found he naught.
Sing hey down derry; he was literally caught.
   For a lilting lay sing hey!

So, by his lot be warned: I wot
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
'Tis vain to search for what is not.
   Sing ho for wallow in the inky way.
Alas, there is no rhyme for babe.
Said he: "I thought to make a nabe
Ad dow I cah'd; but all the sabe --
Sig, hey dowd derry for the literary gabe.
   For a lilting lay, sig hey."

First published in The Critic, 28 June 1905

Poem: Bush Book Club by Francis Kenna

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It's a little thing is a book that is read,
   To those in the range of the city marts;
Where the rush of books is continuous
   In shops or the School of Arts.

A book that is done with is flung aside,
   For others are ready their part to play,
The lumber room is the doom of some,
   And some the boiler on washing day.

But out in the heart of the lonely bush
   There is many a girl and many a boy,
And many a toil worn woman, who
   Will welcome your cast-off books with joy.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 25 October 1930

Poem: The Mad Poet by Ernest O'Ferrall

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"I am the sun!" the poet yelled,
   And danced upon the strand.
"I am the sun!" He tightly held
   Some money in his hand;
"I gild the clouds with good red gold
   Each evening when I sink!
'Tis better far, so I am told,
   Than spending it on drink!"

"I am the moon!" he shouted then,
   And leaped with joy insane.
"I spill my silver freely when
   I've earned it with my brain;
It floats on water easily
   And winks up at the stars;
I'll rather drop it in the sea
   Than in the private bars!"

"Observe me gild the clouds!" (He cast
   A gold coin at the blue.)
"Here's moonlight!" (And a shilling passed
   And fell the sea into.)
"That's all I've got," the madman said;
   "Now, honest people, mark!
You'd better all go home to bed
   The whole world now is dark!"

First published in The Bulletin, 28 April 1910

Poem: Spring by Zora Cross

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Spring from grey winter's arms now leaps again,
   A rainbow child on either flower-like hand,
And, following, a careless sunny train
   Of poets scattering lays throughout the land.  

Look! like a green elf whistling wistfully
   Upon a reed-stem, Pan meanders there.
Orpheus and Pallas surely, too, I see  
   Out of the spring fling joy upon the air;

While, like a host of revellers' clashing din
   Of lyre and lute and harp and flute along,
Poet on poet, rhyme on rhyme begin --
   All lost in fragrance, honey, flower, and song.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August 1925

Poem: Bond or Free? by Ruth M. Bedford

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Let others, if they will, rehearse
The easy freedom of "free" verse;
I gladly serve in my brief time
The lovely tyranny of rhyme.

Let those who scorn restriction find
A formless country to their mind:
I still observe in numble awe
The sculptured limits of the law.

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 October 1933

Poem: Mary Gilmore by Jim Grahame

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   "A writer wrote of the hearts of men,
      And he followed their tracks afar,
   For his was a spirit that forced his pen
      To write of the things that are."
                          Henry Lawson.

Where the WORKER flounces the mantelpiece
   Or fringes the kitchen shelf,
Where hessian doors hide earthen floors,
   And the crockery-ware is delf,
There lies her book in a sacred nook,
   And it tells of the things that are,
From one seaboard to the next seaboard;
   For the writer has travelled far.

There's a grey-haired widow on Yanko Creek
   And a young wife out on the Bland,
Who feel the strength of the word she wrote
   Like the grip of a helping hand;
They have far more heart for the washing-day,
   More ease on the bright bush-track,
As to and fro' to the creek they go
   And carry the water back.

There are some that trudge with the bullock teams
   When their men go out for wool,
Who have learnt at night and can read and write,
   Though they've never been to school;
But it is not a novel or magazine
   That is most in' the rough brown hand;
Youth turns with age to her thoughtful page
   That they both can understand.

The squatters' wives have their novelettes
   And their stories of Araby,
With a trip to Sydney now and then,
   And a gimpse of the rolling sea;
They give small thought to the rough bush homes
   And the sorrows and pleasures there,
As they ponder the latest fashion notes
   And the dresses their sisters wear.

The women of hut and tent and camp
   Are in Mary Gilmore ken;
For she knows the lives of the bushmen's wives
   As our Lawson knew the men.
The Digger's bride from the other side
   Finds many a line to quote,
And many a homesick heart is cheered
   By the strength of a word she wrote.

First published in The Bulletin, 14 June 1923

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

Poem: George Essex Evans by J. Bufton

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Singer of pearl-purl songs,
   Beneath thy sunlit skies;
Gone from the wrecks and the wrongs
   And loosed from the toils and the ties,
   Fled as the morning mist flies,
         Sung are thy songs.

Singer of earnest strains,
   Set free, O bard, are thou;
Snapped are life's cords and its chains,
   Soothed are its griefs and its pains;
   Fair are the bays on thy brow,
         A fadeless wreath.

Singer of deathless fame
   Born of the bardic race,
Never shall perish thy name,
   Ages thy worth shall acclaim;
   Australia hath pledged thee a place
         Deep in her heart.

Singer of joys and tears,
   Thy harp yields to thy crown,
Dread not the stream of the years,
   Fear not their flowing or frown,
   Sleep in immortal renown,
         Honoured and loved.

Singer of gain and loss,
   Of Queensland's fallen sons;
Bard of the star and the moss,
   Rest in the shade of the cross,
   Rest while Eternity runs,
         And sing God's songs.

First published in The Mercury, 20 November 1909

Note: George Essex Evans died in Toowoomba, Queensland, on 10 November 1909.

See other mentions of Essex Evans on Matilda, and on Rhymes Rudely Strung.

Poem: Sonnet by Catherine Helen Spence

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When will some new Australian poet rise?
   To all the height and glory of his theme?
   Nor on the sombre side for ever dream ---
Our bare baked plains, our pitiless blue skies,
'Neath which the haggard bushman strains his eyes
   To find some waterhole or hidden stream
   To save himself and flocks in want extreme!
This is not all Australia! Let us prize
Our grand inheritance! Had sunny Greece
More light, more glow, more freedom, or more mirth?
   Ours are wide vistas, bathed in purest air ---
   Youth's outdoor pleasures, age's indoor peace;
Where could we find a fairer home on earth
   Which we ourselves are free to make more fair?

First published in The Register, 8 January 1903

Poem: The Poet by Henry Halloran

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How little know the grov'lling mass,
   Immers'd in the pursuit of gain,
The heaven born visionings that pass,
   All glowing, through the poet's brain!

When Evening draws her twilight veil,
   When Cynthia, in her pensive car,
Uprises in the Past, to hail
   The Hesperian planet from afar;

When through the deep re-echoing vale
   The lonely bulbul thrills her note,
And, borne upon the evening gale,
   Angelic voices seem to float;--

'Tis then the poet loves to dwell
   Far from th' unhallow'd haunts of men:
How dear to him each shadowy dell--
   How dear each wild, terrific glen!

How dear the solitude of night
   To one whose thoughts are fix'd above--
How dear the visions of delight
   Thro' which his fancy loves to rove!

What tho' tho world has frown'd on him--  
   What tho' his early love was blighted
By penury's cold hand, and dim
   The torch his youthful fancy lighted?

What tho' the ceaseless flow of thought
   Has withered his once beauteous brow,
And sorrow to his cheek has brought
   A more than deadly paleness now?  

What though the sneer of sun-bask'd pride
   Has often stung his gentle breast?
And what tho' folly may deride,
   The heavenly flame it ne'er possess'd;--

And power neglect, and treach'ry wound,
   And Envy view with "jaundic'd eye"--
And Malice pour her poison round,
   And swell the tide of calumny?--    

Still, Genius! thy sacred home  
   'Midst mountain solitudes shall be;
There shall thy eagle spirit roam--
   There breathe thy deathless energy.

There shall thy deep mystenous tide
   Bear thoughts unknown to ancient lore,
And thy prophetic spirit glide
   Through realms unvisited before.    

Nor time nor space thy pow'r shall quell--
   Imagination's fields are thine--
Music resigns to thee her shell,
   And Thought its inexhausted mine!

First published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 8 October 1831

Poem: The Sower by Robert Crawford

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In tracking up his rhymes he seems to pace
   A moony path, indeed.
Even as a shadowy sower in a dream
   Might sow his faery seed:
In such a mystic world he seems to move,  
   And so unreal he,  
The seeds of fancy are indeed the things  
   He sets to melody.      

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 July 1926

Poem: Public Library by Ethel Davies

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As one brought newly from a desert place
And set within a garden, stands in awe
Of so much delicate and lovely grace
A breathing moment, ere he dares to draw
Nearer this bloom, or this, and with slow hand
Caress a silken petal, so was he
Whom yesterday we saw a stranger stand
Before the packed shelves of the library.
To-day he came again. As one, who is
Possessor of the garden, might ignore
The lesser flowers, and straightly choose and wear
The fairest, even so directly his
Familiar footsteps crossed the quiet floor
Toward that book to his desire most fair.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April 1933

Poem: The Protest of the Pipe and Glass Club by Victor Daley

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In the low-roofed tavern-room, full of pleasent smoke perfume,
We were drinking, in the golden even glow;
But, alas, the company was not what it used to be
When the Pipe and Glass Club met there years ago.

And our President arose and said: "Brethren, I suppose
You know well what we are here assembled for?
We wish strongly to protest" --- here he struck his grand old chest --
"'Gainst this cruel Japanese and Russian War.

"When the nations go to fight with their bayonets shining bright,
And their trumps and drums, and banners flaunting gay,
Do they know, or do they care, for the woe they cause elsewhere,
And the humble little industries they slay?

"I, myself, as you know all, earn a pittance sure, if small,
Writing yarns re birds and reptiles, and so forth,
But no paper will from me purchase Natural History
When Unnatural History's making in the North.

"Our friend Tityrus looks pale as he sits and sips his ale ---
Well he may, for when the sword-blades rasp and ring,
And the armies fight and bleed (in the papera) who would read
(Or would print) his 'Gentle Art of Gardening.'

"There's another friend I see -- who will buy his Poetry
When the wild beast on the readers is let loose,
When the Press shall shout and shriek and shall like a shambles reek
For his rhymes of love and dove who will find use?

"When the nations go to fight with their bayonets shining bright,
To themselves it may conceivably be play --
But, alas, my friends, I fear they care nothing for us here,
Nor for all the humble industries they slay."

In the low-roofed tavern-room there was silence sad and gloom,
Yet, somehow, I half expected blood would flow --
But, ah me, the company was not what it used to be
When the Pipe and Glass Club met there years ago.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 March 1904

Poem: A Book-Ghoul by O'Fipp

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To me, in fullness of conceit,
The showman bragged of many a feat
At auction, and with those who fell
On evil days, and had to sell
Their books; and next, in rasping tones,
He told how buried Smith and Jones
Left choicest volumes, treasured long,
Which he picked up for -- well, a song,
And made high profit on each book;
And then, with gain-foreseeing look,
He spoke the ominous reflection --
"You, too, must have a fine collection."

First published in The Bulletin, 30 June 1904

Poem: The Poet's Grave by Henry Halloran

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The warrior may rest in his trophied gloom,
   The statesman in abbey old;
But the poet shall have a brighter tomb,
   In the green bank's flowering mould.

No marble shall press his fiery clay,
   No walls his bones surround;
He shall rest with his eyes towards the God of Day,
   And the free winds blowing round.

And maidens shall come to the pleasant spot,
   And shall con his sweet themes o'er;
And one, perchance of a loftier lot,
   Shall the treasure she lost, deplore.

And children, whom he so dearly loved,
   Shall laugh as they frolic about;
And his spirit itself, with joy shall be moved,
   To hear their jocund shout.

And birds shall build, and flowers shall grow;
   And sunbeams shall scatter their light,
On the bank, which the poet now rests below;
   And the bright stars shall gleam all night.

But ye who have hearts, base, cruel, or cold,
   Trample not on the poet's grave;
He cared not for power, he cared not for gold,
   And loathed both the tyrant and slave.

First published in The Colonist, 15 June 1839

Poem: Vale! Mabel Forrest by "Fanuela" (F. C. Francis)

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Her piquant fancy painted Queensland scenes
   With gentle brush in Nature's golden hue.
She loved the reds and browns and verdent greens
   Of fern, and shrub, and flower crowned with dew.

She sensed the loss of trees, ring-barked and white,
   When winy sap had drained from every stem,
And felt the thrill when through the moonless night
   Forgotten leaves came rustling back to them!

Sleep on, thou singing pen, thou singing heart,
   At one with kindly earth and dawn and dew,
And may the soul of Nature now impart
   The secret of her majesty to you!

Through moonless nights, mayhap, soft shades will creep
   From leafy nest; from grassy mound and cave
To breathe a tender requiem of sleep --
   Forgotten dreams a-mourning at your grave!

First published in The Courier-Mail, 20 March 1935

Poem: To the Memory of Henry Kendall by David Flanagan

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Araluen! Araluen! first-fruit of a holy love,
I am speeding, swiftly speeding, to eternal life above;
Ah! I hear thee sweetly calling to thy father, "Come away";
And my soul shall pass to join thee in eternity, to-day.

Radiant spirit! thou didst leave us ere the heaven lit beam grew dim,
And immortal now thou shinest 'mid the joyful seraphim.
Days, and months, and years have vanished --- vanished o'er this troubled life,
Since we lost thee, Araluen; lost thee 'midst earth's weary strife.

Hark! I hear rich music swelling --- louder yet --- it fills mine ear,
And a glimpse of life eternal from thy dwelling sbines anear;
Now, I feel myself uplifted; nearer sounds that heavenly swell;
Oh! I pass from earth to heaven! Friends --- beloved --- fare-you-well.

Araluen! Araluen! with thy father by thy side,
Thou dost know the sweet reunion: But for us --- Ah! well he died.

First published in The Queenslander, 3 October 1891

Note: the "Araluen" referred to in this poem was the child of Henry Kendall who died at the age of 13 months in 1870. You can read more about her here.

Poem: Brunton Stephens by George Essex Evans

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The gentle heart that hated wrong,
   The courage that all ills withstood,
The seeing eye, the mighty song
   That stirred us into Nationhood,
      Have passed. What garlands can be spread?
      The Prince of Courtesy is dead.

The power that touched all human chords
   With wit that lightened thro' the years,
Without a sting, whose tender words
   Unsealed the fountain of our tears
      Ah! bow the heart and bend the head --
      The Prince of Courtesy is dead.

Great Singer of the South, who set
   Thy face to Duty as a star,
Though, in hushed skies of violet,
   Thy throne of kingship gleamed afar,
      Shall not the toll of common days
      Add nobler lustre to thy bays ?

O Mighty Voice, whose words shall stand --
   When all our songs have ceased to be --
Steadfast, the watchwords of our land?
   The guide and torch of Liberty !
      The Master-Poet called afar,
      And thou at last hast found thy star.

First published
in The Brisbane Courier, 1 July 1902

The subject of this poem is J. Brunton Stephens (1835-1902).

Poem: To Henry Halloran by Henry Kendall

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You know I left my forest home full loth;
   And those weird ways I know so well and long,
Dishevelled with their sloping sidelong growth
   Of twisted thorn and kurrajong.

It seems to me, my friend (and this wild thought
   Of all wild thoughts, doth chiefly make me bleed),
That in those hills and valleys wonder-fraught,    
   I loved and lost a noble creed !

A splendid creed! but let me even turn
   And bide myself from what I've seen, and try
To fathom certain truths you know, and learn
   The Beauty shining in your sky:   

Remembering you, in ardent autumn nights,
   And Stenhouse near you, like a fine stray guest
Of other days, with all his lore of lights
   So manifold and manifest!

Then hold me firm. I cannot choose but long
   For that which lies and burns beyond my reach;
Suggested in your steadfast subtle song
   And his most marvellous speech !

For now my Soul goes drifting back again ;
   Ay, drifting, drifting, like the silent snow
While scattered sheddings, in a fall of rain,
   Revive the dear lost Long Ago!

The time I, loitering by untrodden fens,
   Intent upon low-hanging lustrous skies,
Heard mellowed psalms from sounding southern glens,  
   Euroma, dear to dreaming eyes!  

And caught seductive tokens of a Voice
   Half-maddened with the dim delirious themes
Of perfect Love, and the immortal choice
   Of starry-faces-astral dreams!

That last was yours! And if you sometimes find
   An alien darkness on the front of things,
Sing none the less for Life, nor fall behind,
   Like me; with trailing tired wings!

Yea, though the heavy Earth wears sackcloth now
   Because she hath the great prophetic grief
Which makes me set my face one way, and bow
   And falter for a far belief,

Be faithful yet for all, my brave bright peer,
   In that rare light you hold so true and good;
And find me something clearer than the clear
   White spaces of Infinitude.

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 September 1864

Note: the subject of this poem is the poet Henry Halloran (1811-93).  "Stenhouse" in verse three is probably Nicol Drysdale Stenhouse (1806-73) who was a literary patron.

Poem: Christopher Brennan by Roderic Quinn

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You dwelt with us a little time,
   A poet true, and as the wind
That sings and dies you passed away
   With all the riches of your mind.

You nested with us for a while,
   And when in time you gathered wings,
You fled, and left us this alone
   Faint murmurs and far echoings.

Dwell where you will, fly where you will,
   To you, old schoolmate, there belong
The inspiration and the gift
   Of song, high song, undying song.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 October 1932

Note: the subject of this poem is the poet Christopher Brennan (1870-1932)

Poem: Roderic Quinn by E. J. Brady

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No more will Rod his lyrics sing,
   As tuneful as the thrush when Spring
With minstrel voice is calling;
   As joyous as the gentle chime
Of bellbirds in the Summertime
   From sylvan spires down-falling.

The harp is mute from which he drew
   The magic of a music new
Of woods and golden beaches;
   Its silent strings tell ne'er again
Enraptured tales of hill and plain
   And gleaming river reaches.
But this fair land shall ever be
   Indebted to his minstrelsy,
So, written on the portal
   Of Art's proud temple, will his name
Go down forevermore in fame
   Untarnished and immortal.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 1949

Note: the subject of this poem is the poet Roderic Quinn (1867-1949).

Poem: Words by A. M. Y.

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Words are lighter than the cloud-foam
   Of the restless ocean spray;
Vainer than the trembling shadow
   That the next hour steals away.
By the fall of summer rain drops
   Is the air as deeply stirred;
And the rose-leaf that we tread on
   Will outlive a word.

Yet, on the dull silence breaking
   With a lightning-flash, a word,
Bearing endless desolation
   On its lightning wings, I heard.
Earth can forgo no keener weapon,
   Dealing surer death and pain:
And the cruel echo answered
   Through long months again.

I have known one word hang star-like
   O'er a dreary waste of years,
And it only shone the brighter
   Looked at through a "mist of tears;"
While a weary wanderer gathered
   Hope and heart on life's dark way
By its faithful promise shining
   Clearer day by day.

I have known a spirit calmer
   Than the calmest lake, and clear
As the heavens that gazed upon it,
   With no wave of hope or fear;
But a storm had swept across it,
   And its deepest depths were stirred
Never, never, more to slumber--
   Only by a word.

Words are mighty, words are living;
   Serpents with their venomed stings,
Or bright angels, crowding round us
   With heaven's light upon their wings.
Every word has its own spirit,
   True or false, that never dies;
Every word man's lips have uttered
   Echoes in God's skies.

First published in The Queenslander, 24 November 1883

Poem: On My First Poetical Aspirations by Henry Halloran

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I found that others had some natural gift,
The pencil's treasures, or the charmed ear,
Or eloquence of tongue, which far and near
Might find admirers,--and I strove to sift
My own weak self, and seek amidst the drift
And waste of youth, some talent to revere;
And as I grew into my sixteenth year,
Within my spirit stirrings strange and swift
Began to wake, with tears and musings-sad:
I wander'd through the woods, and by the sea,
And in retired places linger'd long,
Until I thought my brain was growing mad,
For sighs of grief, and agonies of glee,     
Came to my lips, and gather'd into song.

First published in The Colonist, 21 May 1835

Poem: Hugh McCrae and Shaw Neilson by Olive Willey

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When Hugh McCrae takes up the pen
The sweaty centaurs stamp and prance,
Their hooves come thund'ring down the glen
And scatter green-clad dryads' dance;  
At maid and knight in sweetheart love
A satyr sneers from dark dim cave,
A dragon snatches bleeding glove
And makes a mock of manhood brave;  
Hugh drains the bowl of Rhenish wine
And calls to dance Elizabeth,
The 'cellos sigh for Columbine
And Hugh is not afraid of death;
But Neilson's songs much sweeter are
With ecstasy of springtime wine,
No ugly thought will ever jar
The tenderness of love divine
When Neilson sings of man and maid;
He sings of cherries red mid green
And all the wonders that shall fade
When summer brown comes in as queen;
The light that shines on orange trees
From realms rarely seen by men,
Is caught in Neilson's ecstasies
And prisoned by his poet's pen,
And music from the further spheres
Where man's sublimal love is born
Has cut his bonds of human fears
And made him strong who was so worn,
And there among the shadows cool
Where stood the gentle water bird
In reeds about the silver pool
His Maker's Voice he clearly heard.

First published in the Western Mail, 27 February 1947

Poem: Bury the Bard by Henry Halloran

| No TrackBacks
(In Memory of the late George James Macdonald, Esq.) 

      Bury the Bard in the forest wild,
            For he loved it well; 
And his heart through all changes was undefiled, 
And gloried wherever great Nature smiled,
            O'er mountain or dell. 

      Bury the Bard where the wild birds sing
            On the sunny slopes,-  
And where the bright flowers in myriads spring,--
Too soon, alas! to be withering,
            Like his Heart's fond hopes.

      Bury the Bard where the emus graze
            At the dawn of day,--
Where the crested pigeon her beauty displays,
And the Kangaroo stands in wild amaze,
            With her shadow at bay.

      Bury him friends, -- and gently spread,
            And with pity dear,
The earth o'er the Poet's beloved head:--
And stranger, if thou hast a tear to shed,
            Deny it not here.

      The dreams of a golden youth betray'd;--
            How oft they betray!
Men found him dead in the forest glade;
By an old dead tree he had knelt and pray'd,
            And pass'd away.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 February 1852

Note: George J. Macdonald (1805-51) was born in England and arrived in Sydney in 1826. He appears to have spent the bulk of his adult life in public service.  He died in the Swan Hill area of Victoria but details of his death are unclear.

Poem: Liberius by Emily Coungeau

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They nestle closely in a dim recess,
   Which morning brushes with soft, golden wings.
Thought has bequeathed rare legacies to bless
   The mind, with all its rich imaginings.

The Book, and Shakespeare, prince of literature,
   A Rollin, a Miscellany, and lo,
Biography, and Gibbon's Rome demure,
   With Shelley, Byron, Tennyson, and Poe.  

Euripides' Medea, Hippolytus,
   Alcestis, Hecuba, with backs that shine,
The Odyssey, Virgil's Aneidos,
   Homer and Horace, in a classic line.

Plutarch and Tacitus, in scarlet chrome,
   Elbow Longfellow. Dante, Burns, and Keats.
Scott gravely peers from out each bulky tome,  
   While Browning keeps a niche for Brooke and Yeats.

Mitchell's Australia, Adam Smith, between
   The Histories, Pierre Loti's tales, and Wells,
Carlyle and Omar Khayyam together lean
   On Kendall, Lawson, with their bushland spells.

When evening comes, and light is chastely dimmed,
   These gentle hermit spirits seem to steal
Like sentient beings 'gainst the long Past limned.
   Who galaxies of jewelled truths reveal.

Arcadia is here, amid the flowers  
   Of literature that gem blue, purling streams,
And emerald vales, where rosy footed hours
   Lead Contemplation wrapped in opal dreams.  

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 12 February 1927

Poem: My Epitaph by C. J. Dennis

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Oh, praise me now if you would please
My soul with soothing flatteries.
Praise with my living clay agrees.
         'Tis sweet, I vow.
Give me kind words while I can feel
The modest blushes gently steal,
What time my virtues you reveal.
         Oh, praise me now!

For, when the vital spark has fled,
No matter what kind words are said,
I'll simply go on being dead
         And take no heed.
Or if, perchance, beneath the clay,
I hear some kindly critic say,
"He was a boshter'in his day!"
         'Twere hard indeed.

'Twere bitter hard to be confined,
Gagged by grim Death, while fellows kind
Call my good qualities to mind,
         And softly sigh.
I vow I'd writhe within my bier,
And strive to croak at least, "Hear, hear!"
For I have ever prized that dear
         Right to reply.

And, when at last I meet my doom
And moulder in the chilly tomb,
Gaunt Death might play within the gloom --
         Who knows what pranks.
My very skeleton would squirm
To hear, on my behalf, some worm
Or some unlettered grave-yard germ
         Returning thanks.

Then, if you're keen on praising me,
I'd rather be alive to see
And hear and feel the flattery,
         And know 'tis true.
And when I rise to make reply
I fain would droop a modest eye
And by my halting, speech imply
         It is my due.

I do not want a monument.
Why should good money so be spent?
Nay, put it out at ten per cent.,
         And when you save
Enough to purchase goodly fare,
Then spread me out a banquet rare.
No gift's appreciated there,
         Within the grave.

Oh, praise me now while I am here;
In my attentive living ear
Pour adulation; never fear
         I mind the row.
I love to hear you harp upon
Those dulcet strings.  Play on, play on!
Do not delay until I'm gone.
         But praise me now!

First published in The Bulletin, 31 December 1914

Poem: The Conjuror by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
For me no peacock spreads its tail
With rainbow eyes of feathers made;
For me no ostrich feather fan
Plumes o'er a throne of fine brocade;
No coffee-coloured slaves kneel down   
Abased to earth beneath my frown!

No marble palaces are mine,
Pale mirrored in the lotus lake.
No elephant, coin-bonneted
Carries a howdah for my sake,
With painted head and gilded feet,
His trunk in champak blossoms sweet.

I boast no chests of jewels locked
In secret caverns for my own,
No gold Egyptian beds that lie
Beneath where Horus wings in stone.
No alabaster jars are mine   
From which the Pharaohs poured their wine.  

And, yet, I have a magic wand!
Hey! Presto! And such scenes leap up.
A Sleeping Beauty in a wood;
The Seneschal sprawls o'er his cup;
The hound lies with the hunted hare;
The hawk hangs frozen in the air!

Out of the dust of countless years
I can bring back proud Egypt's Queen,
Out of green Arden's mossy dells
Can conjure you a bunting scene,
Or, if austerer fancy wills,   
Some Buddhist temple from the hills.

Bring me a penny pot of ink,
A wooden holder and a nib,
And I will show you wizardry
To which some ancient mage was sib.
A sheet of paper to my band
-- What is it, sires, that you command?

First published in The Courier-Mail, 21 July 1934

Poem: Words by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks
Peace with a book beneath this green-glad tree;
   And in the flowery gully at my feet
Deaf stones too dumb for summer's melody
  And the long wind's compassionate, slow beat.

Rest with a book -- your book all fire and dew,
   Wrought of the brown old earths eternal youth;
Light, song, and star-dream -- all the soul of you,
   Guarding herein the treasury of Truth.

Sleep with a book. A dead leaf falls on me,
   So Nature yields her labor to the times.
But till the quiet of eternity
   Love's happy lips shall kiss to your green rhymes.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1920

Poem: Where Kendal Dreamed by Will M. Fleming

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Where Kendal dreamed beside Narara Creek 
   I watched the elusive shadows come and go
And listened to the feathered songsters seek
   Elysian food where perfumed blossoms blow.
Softly they came and sang and softly went,
And all the world was full of wonderment 
      Where Kendal dreamed.   

Close by the busy hands of restless men 
   Have torn the veil from Nature's patient brow;
Despoiled her beauty Commerce with his pen
   Makes note of discounts that the Trade allow, 
And little rocks, in passing on his way,
The glories that have graced a bygone day 
   Where Kendal dreamed.

The old, romantic solitude has fled,
   And, striving, men forget the storied past;
To-day is here and yesterday is dead.
   Though stricken hopes their spectre shadows cast
Narara still is fair, the hillside gleams,
And life is sweeter for the graceful dreams
   That Kendal dreamed.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 November 1926

Poem: Harry Morant by Will H. Ogilvie

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Harry Morant was a friend I had
   In the years long passed away,
A chivalrous, wild and reckless lad,
   A knight born out of his day.

Full of romance and void of fears,
   With a love of the world's applause,
He should have been one of the cavaliers
   Who fought in King Charles's cause.

He loved a girl and he loved a horse
   And he never let down a friend,
And reckless he was, but he rode his course
   With courage up to the end.

"Breaker Morant" was the name he earned,
   For no bucking horse could throw
This Englishman who had lived and learned
   As much as the bushmen know.

Many a mile have we crossed together,
   Out where the great plains lie,
To the clink of bit and the creak of leather --
   Harry Morant and I.

Time and again we would challenge Fate
   With some wild and reckless "dare,"
Shoving some green colt over a gate
   As though with a neck to spare.

At times in a wilder mood than most
   We would face them at naked wire,
Trusting the sight of a gidyea post
   Would lift them a half-foot higher.

And once we galloped a steeplechase
   For a bet -- 'twas a short half-mile
With one jump only, the stiffest place
   In a fence of the old bush style.

A barrier built of blue-gum rails
   As thick as a big man's thigh,
And mortised into the posts -- no nails --
   Unbreakable, four foot high.

Since both our horses were young and green
   And had never jumped or raced,
Were we men who had tired of this earthly scene
   We could scarce have been better placed.

"Off" cried "The Breaker," and off we went
   And he stole a length of lead.
Over the neck of the grey I bent
   And we charged the fence full speed.

The brown horse slowed and tried to swerve,
   But his rider with master hand
And flaming courage and iron nerve
   Made his lift leap and land.

He rapped it hard with ever foot
   And was nearly down on his nose;
Then I spurred the grey and followed suit
   And -- praise to the gods -- he rose.

He carried a splinter with both his knees
   And a hind-leg left some skin
But we caught them up at the wliga trees
   Sitting down for the short run-in.

The grey was game and he carried on
   But the brown had a bit to spare;
The post was passed, my pound was gone,
   And a laugh was all my share.

"The Breaker" is sleeping in some far place
   Where the Boer War heroes lie,
And we'll meet no more in a steaplechase --
   Harry Morant and I.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 March 1947

Poem: The Press Shall be Free! by Anonymous

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You may talk of your glorious freedom,
   Your laws, and your charters of Right;
But where are they now when we need 'em,
   Alas! have they all ta'en to flight?

Shall we suffer the tyrants to drive us,
   Who call ourselves Britons and free; 
Shall we suffer them now to deprive us
   Of the standard of true liberty.

What! shall the Republic of letters
   By the chains of oppression be bound;
Shall opinion be galled by their fetters,
   And sink into darkness profound!

Arise! if there's spirit among us,
   Shall we turn from the contest and flee;
Arise against those who would wrong us,
   Hurrah! for the Press shall be free.

The Press shall be free, for we prize it --
   We are not afraid of a frown.
The truth! we shall never disguise it,       
   Hurrah! we will not be put down.

First published in The Argus, 1 May 1849

Poem: At Gordon's Grave by T. S. Browning

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Our Gordon looked within his breast and sang;
And all his heart was in the melody
That leapt from off his lips and clearly rang
Throughout the bush in sad, sweet harmony
With all the other sounds that there are born,
And cradled 'mongst the gullies and the gums,
And like a stream from out the distant morn
Australian, his flood of singing comes
To us to-day; and with his best heart's blood
The stream is all alive ... And live it must
Whilst e'er in yonder tree so full in bud,
'Neath which his mouldered bones enrich the dust,
By day his notes stir in the song-bird's breast
And whisper in the boughs perpetually,
And whilst by night the breeze that knows no rest,
Picks up the echo of his melody.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 1933

Poem: Adam Lindsay Gordon by Lance Fallaw

Where the gum-trees' long shadows are spearing
   The highway's red zone,
There passes athwart the thin clearing
   A rider alone.
Head bowed over breast, forehead smitten
   By fortune his foe--
So we see, who have read what is written,
   The Gordon we know.

No! racing apace, not at canter
   We see him to-day.
We hear not the quip or the banter
   Of comrades at play.
But slow in his saddle goes leaning
   The stockrider sick,
And the thinker who sought for life's meaning
   Is tired of the trick.

Around him new lands, but within him
   Old fancies, old themes.
No thunder of horse-hoofs could win him
   From making of dreams.
Let others sweep past us with chorus,
   Exultant of eye.
A hush of grey sunsets comes o'er us
   As Gordon goes by.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 1930

Poem: Give Thy Thoughts to the World, Oh Poet! by Ellen E. Debney

Give thy thoughts to the world, oh poet!
   They are thine for the good of all--
The mighty who care to read them,
   The lowly in peasant hall.
Send them forth, in the name of Heaven,
   The gems from thy poet mind;
And let them be pure and holy,
   And true, and loving, and kind.

Give thy thoughts to the world, oh poet!
   It is not for thee to know
The good of aught thou hast written;
   Thou only must onward go
In the strength of the One above thee;
   So, like crumbs on the waters cast,
Shall thy silvery music echo,
   And touch e'en the soul at last.

Give thy thoughts to the world, oh poet!
   Stay not for the voice of praise;
'Twill surely retard thy progress,
   And dazzle thy upward gaze.
This life is so frail and fleeting,
   Thou wilt find it short indeed
To tell of thy glorious visions--
   Time rides on so swift a steed.

Give thy thoughts to the world, oh, poet,
   However humble they be;
Thought is parent to thought, and who knows
   What others may garner from thee.
There's many a grand conception
   That cometh of lowly birth;
Mind ever from mind is building
   The new from the old on earth.

Give thy thoughts to the world, oh, poet--
   A song for the wild wood glen,
A hymn for the grand old ocean,
   A sigh for the woes of men,
A soothing word to the weary,
   Sweet warblings too for the child,
A smile for all human happiness,
   A sob for the heart's grief wild.

Give thy thoughts to the world, oh, poet;
   By thine own life's joys and tears
Thou wilt gain fresh inspiration,
   And light for the coming years.
Thy warbles must echo somewhere
   Abroad in the wilderness,
And surely amongst the many
   A few may listen, and bless.

First published in The South Australian Advertiser, 30 March 1869

Poem: "Aye Atque Vale" by Mary Hannay Foott


One last salute; and then the long farewell!
   Sad silence of the Old Man Eloquent!
   The Soul, expatriate, strikes its time-bleached tent,
Departing, in the Farther Land to dwell.

Not flawless, it may be, the record stands --   
   He was but mortal. Yet, true Citizen,
   All his long life he served, with speech and pen,   
His Country, not himself; and with clean hands,
   Empty of lucre, he waves Adieu to men.

First published in The Queenslander, 2 May 1896

Poem: The Bard of Furthrest Out by Henry Lawson

He longed to be a Back-Blocks Bard,
And fame he wished to win --
He wrote at night and studied hard
He sent in "stuff" unceasingly,
But couldn't get it through;
And so, at last, he came to me
To see what I could do.

The poet's light was in his eye,
He aimed to be a man;
He bought a bluey and a fly,
A brand new billy-can.
I showed him how to roll his swag
And "sling it" with the best;
I gave him my old water-bag,
And pointed to the west.

"Now you can take the train as far
As Blazes if you like --
The wealthy go by motor-car
(Some travellers go by bike);
They race it through without a rest,
And find it very tame --
But if you tramp it to the west
You'll get there just the same.

"(No matter if the hour is late,
The morning goes Out-Back),
You do not need a dog nor mate,
You'll find them on the track.
You must avoid such deadly rhymes
As 'self' and 'elf' and 'shelf'.
But were it as in other times,
I'd go with you myself.

"Those days are done for me, but ah!
On hills where you shall be,
The wattle and the waratah
Are good to smell and see.
But there's a scent, my heart believes,
That 'travellers' set higher
Than wattle -- 'tis the dried gum leaves
That light the evening fire.

"The evening fire and morning fire
Are one fire in the Bush.
(You'll find the points that you require
As towards the west you push.)
And as you pass by ancient ways,
Old camps, and mountain springs,
The spirits of the Roaring Days
Will whisper many things.

"The lonely ridge-and-gully belt --
The spirit of the whole
It must be seen; it must be felt --
Must sink into your soul!
The summer silence-creek-oaks' sigh --
The windy, rainy "woosh" --
'Tis known to other men, and I --
The Spirit of the Bush!

"So on, and on, through dust and heat,
When past the spurs you be --
And you shall meet whom you shall meet,
And see what you shall see,
You need not claim the stranger's due,
They yield it everywhere,
And mateship is a thing that you
Must take for granted there.

"And in the land of Lord-knows-where --
Right up and furthest out --
You find a new Australia there
That we know nought about.
Live as they live, fight as they fight,
Succeed as they succeed,
And then come back again and write
For all the world to read."

I've got a note from Hungerford,
'Tis written frank and fair;
The bushman's grim philosophy --
The bushman's grin are there.
And tramping on through rain and drought --
Unlooked for and unmissed --
I may have sent to furthest out
The Great Bush Novelist.

First published in For Australia (1906)

Great God be thank'd, that there are men like thee,
Who ever rise, in sovereignty of mind,
Lifting against the oppressors of our kind
The voice of genius, -- still most sovereignly,
When boldest waxeth their arch-villainy,
Who, with the tyrant's purpose, are combined;
I thank Almighty God, who intertwined
Justice and truth with man's nobility,
For such as thou, true poet! Nothing can
Enhance the gusts of joyance now that thrills me,
In knowing how thy heart beats in this cause;
Or what I owe thy kindness, Halloran.
Would mingle in the feeling which so fills me
With happy thankfulness, and pure applause.

First published in Australasian Chronicle, 24 January 1843

[Note: you can read Henry Halloran's original sonnet here.]

Poem: Come Ye Home by C. J. Dennis

On Sunday, November 11, the Shrine of Remembrance to Victoria's fallen soldiers was dedicated in Melbourne.

Listening (said the old, grey Digger) . . .
With my finger on the trigger
   I was listening in the trenches on a dark night long ago,
And a lull came in the fighting,
Save a sudden gun-flash lighting
   Some black verge.  And I fell thinking of lost mates I used to know.

Listening, waiting, stern watch keeping,
I heard little whispers creeping
   In from where, 'mid fair fields tortured, No-man's land loomed out before.
And well I knew good mates were lying
There, grim-faced and death-defying,
   In that filth and noisome litter and the horror that was war.

List'ning so, a mood came o'er me;
And 'twas like a vision bore me
   To a deeper, lonelier darkness where the souls of dead men roam;
Where they wander, strife unheading;
And I heard a wistful pleading
   Down the lanes where lost men journey: "Come ye home!  Ah, come ye home!"

"Ye who fail, yet triumph failing"
   Ye who fall, yet falling soar
Into realms where, brother hailing
   Brother, bids farewell to war;
Ye for whom this red hell ended,
   With the last great, shuddering breath.
In the mute, uncomprehended,
   Dreamful dignity of death;
Back to your own land's sweet breast
Come ye home, lads -- home to rest."

Listening in my old bush shanty -
(Said grey Digger) living's scanty
   These dark days for won-out soldiers and I'd not the luck of some --
But from out the ether coming
I could hear a vast crowd's humming
   Hear the singing, then -- the Silence.  And I knew the Hour had come.

Listening, silent as I waited,
And the picture recreated,
   I could see the kneeling thousands by the Shrine's approaches there.
Then, above those heads low-bending,
Like an orison ascending,
   Saw a multitude's great yearning rise into the quivering air.

Listening so, again the seeming
Of a vision came; and dreaming
   There, I saw from out high Heaven spread above the great Shrine's dome,
From the wide skies overarching
I beheld battalions marching --
   Mates of mine!  My comrades, singing: Coming home!  Coming home!

"We who bore the cost of glory,
   We who paid the price of peace,
Now that, from this earth, war's story
   Shall, please God, for ever cease,
To this Shrine that you have lifted
   For a symbol and a sign
Of men's hearts, come we who drifted
   Thro' long years, oh, mates of mine!
To earth, my brothers' grieving blest
Now come we home, lads -- home to rest."

First published in The Herald, 12 November 1934

Note: today is Remembrance Day.

Poem: Sonnet by Henry Parkes

Who would not be a poet - to seclude
Himself in a bright, starry solitude,
   Away from earthly wretchedness, at will;
Where no unlovely thing might present be,
To dim the light of ideality,
   And Nature's glories might surround him still?
Who would not be a poet - to be blest
With the rich thoughts which they in words have drest:
To feel the fire of their undying hopes,
   To see all beauty with their gifted sight,
To hang o'er Byron's, Campbell's, Milton's, Pope's,
   And Spencer's page, with their divine delight?
Who would not e'n a poet's woes possess,
T' inherit that wild power which beautifies distress?

First published in Australasian Chronicle, 1 June 1841 

Poem: A Dream of the Melbourne Cup by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

A Long Way After Gordon

Bring me a quart of colonial beer
And some doughy damper to make good cheer,
   I must make a heavy dinner;
Heavily dine and heavily sup,
Of indigestible things fill up,
Next month they run the Melbourne Cup,
   And I have to dream the winner.

Stoke it in, boys! the half-cooked ham,
The rich ragout and the charming cham,
   I've got to mix my liquor;
Give me a gander's gaunt hind leg,
Hard and tough as a wooden peg,
And I'll keep it down with a hard-boiled egg,
   'Twill make me dream the quicker.

Now that I'm full of fearful feed,
Oh, but I'll dream of a winner indeed,
   In my restless, troubled slumber;
While the nightmares race through my heated brain
And their devil riders spur amain,
The trip for the Cup will reward my pain,
   And I'll spot the winning number.

Thousands and thousands and thousands more,
Like sands on the white Pacific shore,
   The crowding people cluster;
For evermore it's the story old,
While races are bought and backers are sold,
Drawn by the greed of the gain of gold,
   In their thousands still they muster.

And the bookies' cries grow fierce and hot,
"I'll lay the Cup! The double, if not!"
   "Five monkeys, Little John, sir!"
"Here's fives bar one, I lay, I lay!"
And so they shout through the live-long day,
And stick to the game that is sure to pay,
   While fools put money on, sir!

And now in my dream I seem to go
And bet with a "book" that I seem to know --
   A Hebrew moneylender;
A million to five is the price I get --
Not bad! but before I book the bet
The horse's name I clean forget,
   His number and even gender.

Now for the start, and here they come,
And the hoof-strokes roar like a mighty drum
   Beat by a hand unsteady;
They come like a rushing, roaring flood,
Hurrah for the speed of the Chester blood!
For Acme is making the pace so good
   They are some of 'em done already.

But round the track she begins to tire,
And a mighty shout goes up: "Crossfire!"
   The magpie jacket's leading;
And Crossfire challenges fierce and bold,
And the lead she'll have and the lead she'll hold,
But at length gives way to the black and gold,
   Which right to the front is speeding.

Carry them on and keep it up --
A flying race is the Melbourne Cup,
   You must race and stay to win it;
And old Commotion, Victoria's pride,
Now takes the lead with his raking stride,
And a mighty roar goes far and wide --
   "There's only Commotion in it!"

But one draws out from the beaten ruck
And up on the rails by a piece of luck
   He comes in a style that's clever;
"It's Trident! Trident! Hurrah for Hales!"
"Go at 'em now while their courage fails;"
"Trident! Trident! for New South Wales!"
   "The blue and white for ever!"

Under the whip! With the ears flat back,
Under the whip! Though the sinews crack,
   No sign of the base white feather:
Stick to it now for your breeding's sake,
Stick to it now though your hearts should break,
While the yells and roars make the grandstand shake,
   They come down the straight together.
Trident slowly forges ahead,
The fierce whips cut and the spurs are red,
   The pace is undiminished;
Now for the Panics that never fail!
But many a backer's face grows pale
As old Commotion swings his tail
   And swerves -- and the Cup is finished. 

And now in my dream it all comes back:
I bet my coin on the Sydney crack,
   A million I've won, no question!
"Give me my money, you hook-nosed hog!
Give me my money, bookmaking dog!"
But he disappears in a kind of fog,
   And I woke with "the indigestion".

Note: Today is Melbourne Cup Day, the 150th running of the race.

The subtitle "A Long Way After Gordon" means that, in the poet's estimation, the verses are not the equal of Adam Lindsay Gordon's racing poetry.  The poem was published in The Bulletin just prior to the running of the 1886 Melbourne Cup. All the horses referred to in it, with the exception of Acme, started in the race, which was won by Arsenal.  Trident finished fourth.

Poem: Warning to Essex Evans by A. Meston

   By the earth and by the Heavens
   I do warn you, Essex Evans!
   That your Muse must cry a halt,
   For your history is at fault!   

   We can stand your Welsh halloo
   With its cockadoodledoo!
   And your Taffy-land conceit
   O'er the Maori men's defeat,
But 'twas not the Cymric playing that surprised them!    
   It was not the legs or brains
   Of the Welshmen held the reins;
It was just the awful language paralysed them! 

   Why, the Irishman and Scot
   Merely hatched a graceful plot,
For with them the Maori men were not in danger;
   In every friendly fight,
   These man are too polite
To take laurels from a guest, or from a stranger! 

   But what I wish to say
   In a peaceful sort of way,
Is something; that will kill your little story
   Of the Cymric warriors bold,
   Who in desperate days of old
"Laid the Roman legions out in all their glory."

   That statement is a teaser
   For Tacitus and Caesar,
   Agrícola and Galgacus! 
   Would Evans try to make us
Believe this poet's tale of sportive omen?
   No Roman sighted Wales! 
   Never saw its hills and dales! 
No Roman saw a Taffy, and no Taffy saw a Roman! 

   'Twas the Caledonian Britons
   Who fought without the mittens! 
Who faced the Roman phalanx and strewed the land with slain! 
   In the Pict and Scot we trace 
   The old death-defying race
Who baffled back the Norseman and the fiery-crested Dane.

   Now just warn your playful Muse
   With that ancient piece of news,
When the first King Edward murdered all the poets found in Wales! 
   As their failings now are yours,
   For old history assures,
They were killed for writing poems telling wild historic tales.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 21 December 1905

Note: On 16 December 1905 the Welsh Rugby Union team defeated the touring New Zealand All-Blacks 3-0 at Cardiff Arms Park.  This was the only loss on tour for "The Originals" and George Essex Evans, being a true Welshman, glorified the victory in verse (see below) in The Brisbane Courier on 20 December, 1905.  Archie Meston issued his poetic warning to Evans the next day.

ONE FOR WALES by George Essex Evans

   O, the Thistle and the Rose,
   They are nursing knees and toes,
And the fiery-hearted Shamrock has gone under,
         But the gallant little Leek
         Had the unexpected check
To fall upon the Silver Fern like thunder.

   From the land of Silver Fern,
   Land of heather, rock, and burn,
Where wild rivers watch the snow-crests towering o'er them,
         Came the conquering " All Blacks,"
         Full of brand-new football knacks,
And Saxon, Scot, and Celt went down before them.

   But the mountains blood is strong
   In the land of war and song,
And the stormy hills of Wales are old in story;
         And with stubborn heart and stout
         Tuffy laid the Maori out,
As he laid the Roman Legions in their glory.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 20 December 1905

Poem: The World's Heroes by "Christophus" (George Essex Evans)

We see the world's great heroes stand
   With steadfast hearts and shining shields;
Their fame is wafted o'er the land--
   The victors of a thousand fields.

The victors of a thousand fields
   Where moral courage won the day;
No dimness mars those shining shields--
   Their fame shall never pass away.

But had I some great poet's lyre  
   To stir the inmost souls of men
With passion's strength, with notes of fire,
   And write high thoughts with poet's pen,

I'd sing not of those names of pride
   Whose fame has o'er the welkin rung,
But of the millions who have died
   Unknown, unnoticed, and unsung.

All the world's heroes! Can we know?
   Those countless throngs who move along
Firm in the path they have to go;
   Who choose the right and spurn the wrong?  

Each noble thought, unselfish deed,
   Can never fade -- can never die;
The world may pass on without heed,  
   But angels write it down on high;

'Tis writ on scrolls of fire above, 
   And holy angels gently say:
"The record of each deed of love
   Can never fade or pass away."

The world rolls on and time declines
   With every day, with every hour;
Truth like a star eternal shines
   And goodness blossoms as a flower.

Yet, though unnoticed and unknown
   Some humble hero sinks to die,
His record stands in heaven alone,
   And heavenly records cannot lie.

First published in The Queenslander, 6 March 1886

Poem: An Echo by "Christophus" (George Essex Evans)

In the harmony of ages floating from the dreamy Past,
In the old romantic legends where the seeds of song were cast,
In the pleasant fields of Fancy, whence the flowers of genius sprung,
Can we find a path untrodden? Can we find a song unsung?
Lamps of Genius burning brightly thro' the mists of bygone days,
With the light of strong endeavour ever mingling with their rays;
Dreams of dreamers, chants of singers made immortal in their song,
With a soft and tender cadence, or a passion fierce and strong;
Like the chimes from distant belfries, like the restless winds that blow
Northwards with tempestuous fury, southwards musically slow;
Like the thunderous roar of breakers bursting on a rocky strand,
Or the rhythmic rippling river murmuring softly thro' the land;
Sinking, soaring, swelling upwards sound their melodies sublime --
Sound the Voices of the Ages echoing thro' the Halls of Time.  
What is left us? Shall we wander midst the fields their feet have prest!
Sing again the songs they sang us in their passion of unrest!
Sing of Nature, 'neath whose influence all the poet's instinct stirs --
Feels the throbbing of his pulses beat in unison with hers;
When the Dawn's gray veil of vapour falls before the face of Day,
And the arrows of the sunshine drive the shadowy night away;
Like a goddess in her splendour, robed with many a roseate hue,
In the mantle of the morning, jewelled with the guttering dew!
Softer in the calm of sunset, mellower where the eye may see
Placid purple clouds, like islands, floating in a golden sea,
When the crimson-tinted sunlight sinks and pales in waning rays
And like rush of many waters come the thoughts of other days;
Till the creeping mists grow deeper and the evening air is still
With the awe of solemn shadows hanging darkly on the hill;
Till with wide and rapid pinions sweeps the Spirit of the Night,
And our thoughts are carried onwards in the current of its flight,
Through the wreathing mists of darkness where the midnight reigns alone
From the regions of the Finite to the bars of the Unknown.

All our songs are but the echoes of the chants long heard before;
All our loves and our ambitions like the wavebeats on the shore,
Coming, going, passing, ending with their restless hopes and fears,
Till at last in silence buried in the cenotaph of years.

First published in The Queenslander, 9 July 1887

Poem: A Ballad of Burdens by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson

The Editor wrote his political screed
   In ink that was fainter and fainter;
He rose to the call of his country's need,
And in spiderish characters wrote with speed,
   A column on "Cutting the Painter".

The "reader" sat in his high-backed chair,
   For literals he was a hunter;
But he stared aghast at the column long
Of the editorial hot and strong,
For the comp. inspired by some sense of wrong
   Had headed it "Gutting the Punter".

First published in The Sydney Sportsman, 24 April 1923

Poem: The House in Which the Poet was Born by Anonymous

A noble mansion sure it was;
   All that such could be made; 
Adorn'd with tower and turret high,
   And lofty colonnade.
Around it, doubtless, widely spread,
   Lay lawns of smoothest green; 
And far beyond, in dense array, 
   Deep, still, green woods are seen.

And at the door brave lacqueys stood         
   In vestments trimmed with gold,
And toward the pile in glittering rows 
   Proud equipages roll'd.
And there in chamber damask-hung,
   And gay with mirrors bright, 
The infant bard -- the child of song -
   First woke to life and light.

Was it not so? Shake not thy head, 
   Nor treat my dream with scorn;
It was in such a house and room
   The Poet sure was born.
Where else could one foredoom'd to hold
   0'er human hearts such sway -
Where else so great a lord of thought
   Be usher'd into day?

Hard by the road a humble cot
   Uprears its roof of thatch,       
The walls tenacious clay secures,
   The crazy door a latch;

Here in a chamber rude and mean,
   Of aspect all forlorn,
Within a recess deep and dark,
   The glorious bard was born.

No festive boards for him were spread;
   Nor came there courtly throng,
In smiiles array'd, and gay attire, 
   To hail the child of song.

Stern poverty sat lording it 
   Within that drear abode,
And little dreamt its inmates of
   The gift had been bestow'd.

But proud would many a palace lord 
   Have been if such a lot,
Had fallen to him, as fell that day
   Upon the peasant's cot.

First published in The Moreton Bay Courier, 1 January 1848

Poem: Tolstoi by Mary Hannay Foott

A shabby volume on the ledge;
   An idle hand that drew it forth;
Like him who slumbered in the sedge,
   There dwelt the Prophet of the North.

Wayfarer! --- Erst with heavy tread
   The paths of Story wont to trace---
What glamour on thine eyes is shed;
   That fain thou lingerest in the place?

Methought the Masters all were gone,
   Or quenched their fires --- by age bestowed;  
Yet now, behold, a light hath shone;
   Once more a message is bestowed!

From shores held sterile there hath sailed
   A galleon filled with richest freight.
O truthful picture slow unveiled!
   O precious word long untranslate!

We gazed --- yet scarce might understand.
   We hearkened --- to the voice alone.
We praised the labour of his hand,
   And still his heart remained unknown.

We drank with him the joy of Spring;  
   In Cossack foray learnt to ride;
With him we heard the gipsies sing---
   The cannon by the Euxine tide.

Then --- sleepless in the hour when none
   Save humankind unslumbering lie---
When stars are pallid and the sun
   Unlit, and weaklings faint and die--  

With sudden skill we read the rune---
   All tremulous and yet elate---
"Dread thou no dole; crave thou no boon;
   Be Duty unto thee as Fate!"

First published in The Queenslander, 1 June 1889

Poem: Ballad of the Bards by "Wendover"

"Let others traverse sea and land, and toll through various climes, I turn the world round with my hand, reading these poets' rhymes." -- LONGFELLOW.

Grant me, ye bards of olden times,
   Of these thy melodies,
That I may give unto these rhymes
The charm which bears your mellow chimes
   Across the centuries.

Give me of this that I may sing--    
   In pleasure hunting days--  
Of the pure pleasures that you bring
To him who listens, wondering,
   Enraptured with thy lays.

There is no theme of this our earth,
   Or of the heavens above,
But that ye sang me from my birth;
Betimes in sorrow, oft in mirth;
   Of vengeance or of love.

Ye sing tbe future, and I see
   With thy far-reaching eyes
The bright days in the years to be
Wherein man shall, unsullied, free,
   To his true stature rise.

Ye sing the hate that brings unrest;
   The love that tenderly,
From realms on high, to many a breast
Comes soothingly, a welcome guest,
   And sings of Arcady.

Of war ye sing, and then of peace,
   And back the soldiers roam;
Of Life's long marchings -- Death's release --
Of Voice that bids our marchings cease,
   And bugles sounding "Home."

Thus in my heart the melody
   Is ringing, and I pray
That never may the hollow glee
Which masks the suff'ring debauchee
   E'er tempt my thoughts away.

But as the years the ages throng,
   And the long aeons fly,
Oh, still may thy "undying song"
Uplift tbe right, stamp out the wrong,
   And lead men to the sky.

First published in The Queenslander, 28 May 1898

Poem: The Queanbeyan Age by J.G.

We won't give up the brave old AGE
   That's served us long and true;
We'll not forsake a good old friend
   For a doubtful one that's new.

Let others laud the new upstart,
   In faulty prose and doggerel rhyme;
We'll still stand by the good old AGE,
   For it has stood the test of time.

We'll not forsake the good old AGE,
   That valiant deeds has done;
That many a battel's fought for us,
   And noble victories won.  

We won't give up the good old AGE,
   That's won itself renown :
It aided men of worth to fame,
   And put vain upstarts down.

Then rally round the good old AGE,
   That's fought with might and main
For interests that are dear to us,
   And will do the same again.

First published in The Queanbeyan Age, 7 June 1879

Poem: Animus Non Mortalis Est by "Christophus" (George Essex Evans)

   Where are they now? --- the poets of all time,
   Who charmed the world with melody and rhyme,
      And thoughts sublime and deep.
Think'st thou they have expired ? No. He who said  
Their torch is quenched, and they are cold and dead,
      Hath lied--they do but sleep. 

   And in another purer atmosphere,
   Their songs shall peal more sweetly and more clear
      Than e'en they did on earth,
And gath'ring strength from what we cannot see
Shall swell in one great burst of harmony,
      With wider nobler girth.

First published in The Queenslander, 10 March 1883

Poem: Progress by Anonymous

| No TrackBacks
Steadily, steadily, step by step,
   Up the venturous builders go:
Carefully placing stone on stone,
   Thus the loftiest temples grow.

Patiently patiently, day by day,
The artist toils at his task away;
Touching it here and tinting it there,
Giving it ever, with infinite care,
A line more soft, or a hue more fair;
Till, little by little the picture grows,
And at last the cold canvass glows
With life and beauty and forms of grace,
That ever more in the world have place.

Thus, with the poet, hour after hour,
   He listens to catch the fairy chimes
That ring in his soul; though with magic power
   He weaves their melody into rhymes.
Slowly, carefully, word by word,
   Line by line, and thought by thought,
He fastens the golden tissue of Song,
   And thus are immortal anthems wrought.

Every wise observer knows,
   Every watchful gazer sees,
Nothing grand or beautiful grows,
   Save by gradual, slow degrees;
Ye who toil with a purpose high,
   And fondly the proud result await,
Murmur not, as the hours go by,
   That the season is long, the harvest late.

Remember, that brotherhood, strong and true,
   Builders and artists, and bards sublime,
Who lived in the past and worked like you,
   Worked and waited a wearisome time;
Dark and cheerless, and long their night,
   Yet they patiently at their task begun;
Till lo! thro' the clouds broke the morning light,   
   Which shines on the soul when success is won!

First published in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 9 November 1867

Poem: The World's Way by Anonymous

At Haroun's court it chanced, upon a time,
An Arab poet made this pleasant rhyme:

"The new moon is a horseshoe, wrought of God,
Wherewith the Sultan's stallion shall be shod."

On hearing this his Highness smiled, and gave
The man a gold piece. Sing again, O slave !

Above his lute the happy singer bent,
And turned another graceful compliment.

And, as before, the smiling Sultan gave
The man a Shekah. Sing again, O slave!

Again the verse came, fluent as a rill
That wanders, silver-footed, down a hill.

The Sultan listened, nodded as before.
Still gave the gold, and still demanded more.

The nimble fancy that had climbed so high.
Grew weary with its climbing by and by.

Strange discords rose, the sense went quite amiss;
The singer's rhymes refused to meet and kiss,

Invention flagged, the lute had got unstrung,
And twice he sang the song already sung.

The Sultan, furious, called a mute, and said:
"O Musta, straightway whip me off his head!"

Poets! not in Arabia alone
You get beheaded when your skill is gone.

First published in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 3 May 1887

Poem: Ballad of the Ban by C. J. Dennis

ln recent weeks, though most other civilised countries admit them freely, Australian political and bureaucratic censors have banned world famous plays, films, books, and now, a British-born woman whom Britain herself has no power, or desire, to exclude.

Tho' censorious sages, in fierce moral rages
On History's pages press, heavy of hand;
When it comes to suppressin' we are, we're confessin'
A boon an' a blessin' to this pious land.
A Savonarola, a Cromwell, whose mole a
Poor artist saved whole, a Comstock or a Knox--
These were hefty joy-biffers; but, classed as sin-sniffers
Our temp'rament differs. We're out of the box!

We're pure politicians; we feels our positions;
We feels that conditions in this 'oly land
Is clean, if bucolic. All frivolous frolic,
All views vitriolic, if furrin' is banned.
Tho' merely elected, we feels we're expected,
When sin is detected approaching our shore,
To sieze it an' sock it; before they can dock it
We ruthlessly lock it outside of our door.

With horror we're smitten when Britain, admittln'
The stuff that is written by sin-sodden blokes,
Condones evil-livers. It gives us the shivers;
Our righteousness quivers to hark at their jokes.
They falsely befriend us an' seek for to send us
Them works wot would end us in dreadful desire.
Tho' we scarce understand 'em, ere ever they lan's 'em
We scans 'em an' bans 'em an' burns 'em with fire.

Tho' tardy at dealin' with evils revealin'
The need for appealin' to local reform,
We're apt to get winkin' an' bashfully shrinkin'
When critics unthinkin' starts raisin' a storm.
We're good at forgettin' that murder an' sweatin'
An' startin'-price bettin' leaves much to be done.
The land may be swimmin' in sin over- brimmin' ...
But books, plays an' wimmin', we bans 'em like fun.

We bans 'em! We bars 'em ere ever they lan's 'em.
Then, "CENSORED!" we bran's 'em. An' dooty is done.

First published in The Herald, 13 November 1936

Poem: A Brown Ballad by F. S. Ferguson

Brown was a city clerk whose pay,
   More modest than his aspirations,
Would scarcely keep him in the clay;
   He therefore lived with his relations.

But he had aims above his screw;
   Its smallness caused him deep contrition;   
To poetry his soul-thoughts flew,   
   To be a bard was his ambition.

Yet midst the bottle of the town
   He suffered dearth of inspiration,
So with his holidays young Brown
   Set off for Tamberooner station.

He got a job as station hand,
   A job of just one month's duration;
Brown meant to write some poems grand
   While up on what be called vacation.     

What feared he for the work! Not he;   
   He'd willingly endure privation;
He said he'd give his head to see   
   Bush life upon an outback station.

By train and coach he travelled out,
   Around no sign of cattle grazing;
'Twas in the middle of a drought,
   The sun above was fairly blazing.   

But Brown saw nought but beauty there,
   'Twixt deepest thought his brain immersing,
And, building castles in the air,
   He failed to hear the others cursing.

The coach track ended at a town   
   Some ten miles from his destination;
Brown tramped it as the sun-sank down,
   And got there bathed in perspiration.     

Now Tamberooner held in pride   
   A somewhat shady reputation --
The roughest on the Queensland side,   
   The hands on Tamberoonor station.   

They made things hot for Poet Brown,
   The station work not understanding;
They made his life not worth a crown;
   They always made him do the branding!   

They made him swing the axe all day,
   Till poor Brown's arms were dully aching,
From morn until the sun's last ray,
   The while he felt his back was breaking.

They led the man a fearful time,
   Those demons up at Tamberooner;
But Brown stuck to his task as slime
   Adheres to any anchored schooner.

And when of nights he wrote his verse
   He lacked no fund of inspiration;
He dealt those devils curse on curse,
   Condemned them to incineration.

The station men those verses found,
   Their contents fairly made them shiver;
They swore they'd have the author drowned,
   They'd throw him in the nearest river.

But Brown was toiling down the track,   
   His swag hung heavy on his shoulder,
His face was worn and bent his back,
   He looked at least some ten years older.

By coach and train he travelled down,   
   The bush around still dry and glaring;
Brown longed once more to be in town,
   And sat there silent, idly staring.

And though while there in town the work
   May dim his bright imagination,
He somehow does the duty shirk
   Of seeking after inspiration.

First published in The Queenslander, 6 February 1897

Poem: Psychopomphiana by Zora Cross

(After reading an Anthology of Modern Verse.)

Soon Tennyson may have his dream come true --
That time would change the language so that he
Should find himself with Chaucer totally
Eclipsed -- a fossil curious to view,
Not understood save by the student-few.
Rhyme has gone out, and bored posterity
Dubs it B.F. (Before Freud), sic, B.C.
Verse has a rendezvous with all things new.
Nathless, vide: "Old soldiers never die,
They simply fade away." Old poets still 
Subconsciously in ghostly conclave meet,
As when, inserted like a Cyclop's eye,
A phrase or line filched from an ancient quill,
Illumes some modern poet's dark conceit.

First published in The Sunday Herald, 24 April 1949

Poem: Of Rudyard Kipling by Edmund W. N. Anderson

He twangs a loud note on his harsh-stringed lyre,
   And startles all the world with riotous sound;
His rough-hewn verse is all ablaze with fire
   Of genius, bursting boldly through the bound
Set by convention to a man's desire;
   He scorns with easy steps to tread along
The gentle slope, but strives to clamber higher
   Up perilous passes of the Mount of Song.

He has not learned the art of Watson's grace,
   Nor yet the trick of Dobson's dainty touch;
   He has not Swinburne's skill of rhythm, nor such
Melodious mastery of word and phrase:
   But with the strong voice of his stalwart race
Imperially he sings the Empire's praise.

First published in The Queenslander, 27 July 1895

Poem: The Poet by Arthur A. D. Bayldon

The poet sows his goodly seed
   Along the tracts of wrong;
And clasps around each kingly deed
   The trappings of his song.
Fresh tidings of old truths he spreads
   From jaded clime to clime.
The ceaseless spinning of the threads
   That weave the wool of Time
Is heard on that colossal height
   On which he sits alone,
Unfolded by the blinding light
   That streams from the Unknown.

First published in The Queenslander, 12 September 1896

Poem: A Sorrowful Stave by Patrick O'Maori (David McKee Wright)

The world is fair, I do not care a rap,
Here seated on the bush-clad Maungatapu,

Any by my side a maiden fair and comely
Who wears the ancient, noble name of Cholmondeley.

If she were gone, I would not care a rap who
Might sit upon the top of Maungatapu;

But, certain as her Christian name is Nelly,
I love to sit beside Miss Cholmondeley.

Which simple tale, in rhythm and rhyme,
Reveals the glory of our tongue sublime,

And gives the needed explanation well
Why rhyming bardlets never learn to spell;

For, using English methods free and flowery,
We needs must get to work to mangle Maori.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 August 1910

Poem: The Villian by Eardley Turner

"This wheeze, my boy," the boss had said,
   "Will get the biggest laugh
That ever yet was credited
   A mummer. I don't chaff --
No matter what has gone before,
The audience will scream and roar!"

The first night of the panto. came,
   My brother-comics I
Looked on with scorn; I meant to shame
   Their efforts by-and-by.
Scene 4 -- remember, if you please,
Was where I had to work the "wheeze."

The moment came! I cracked the joke
   Then waited for the scream;
But ne'er a sound the silence broke --
   It seemed a ghastly dream.
I woke up when, instead of cheers,
Hisses and hoots assailed my ears!

Hisses and hoots! I left the stage,
   Looking and feeling blue;
The prompter, eager to assuage
   My grief, said: "Thought yer knew,
That other bloomin' comic, he
Cracked that before yer in Scene 3!

 First published in The Bulletin, 17 November 1910

Poem: Rude Rhymes by Horace Stubbs

Away up near the Bowen Hills,
   Hard by the Exhibition, 
Are gardens placed by cunning hands
   In excellent position;
And thither in the spring-time sweet,
   As well as in the autumn,
I go to hunt for errant rhymes,
   And tarry till I've caught 'em.

Tis hard to woo them from the shade
   Wherein they love to gambol;
As if each tree of sounding name
   Were but a wayside bramble;
They round the Pittospori skip,
   Or in Gardiniæ dally;
Or from Convolvulaceæ sip,
   Or from the bush-house sally.

I think they tread upon the beds ---
   'Tis very wrong -- in fact
I Agree to punish them -- when caught ---
   With prickles of the Cacti.
They fan themselves with broad palm leaves,
   Crack jokes about the fig-tree;
They fight the genii of the place,
   And always claim the vict'ry.

At length each rude and errant rhyme
   Along the pathway lumbers,
Too tired for play, yet loth to help
   This minstrel with, his numbers.
Yes! Life is full of trouble -- but
   Of all the plagues that meet us
The greatest for a weary Bard
   Are certainly -- mosquitoes!

First published in The Queenslander, 16 July 1887

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

Poem: Honor of Anzac by C. J. Dennis

On Anzac Day when first the sun
   Looked on the stricken shore below,
Upon a sacrifice begun
   That was to drag thro' years of woe,
There youth, unbloodied and untried,
   Strove for a dear land leagues away,
And, to uphold her honor, died
         On Anzac Day.

They went, not meanly, since they must,
   But blithely to the sacrifice,
Leaving with us a holy trust,
   They went to pay the utmost price:
The price of honor that day won
   By many a lad, so lately gay,
Whose sightless eyes looked to that sun
         Of Anzac Day.

Theirs the full right to ask of life
   Her countless treasures for their own,
Not bloody agony and strife
   That folly of old worlds had sown.
Yet for their honor, and for ours,
   They saw no choice but to obey,
And found, what hells of pain-filled hours
         On Anzac Day?

For honor.  Is it but a name
   Now that their memory grows dim
In these drab days of peaceful shame
   When we wage battles no less grim
Because no dead bestrow the field
   And clamorous guns are years away?
Yet have we, too, no price to yield
         For Anzac Day?

For honor!  We were proud indeed,
   Vicarious glory swelled each breast
To know our sons had proved the breed,
   To know our seed had stood the test,
To know our kin had played the game
   As all true men would have them play.
Our honor 'twas they raised to fame
         On Anzac Day.

And shall those men who now conspire
   With foes more dread than Turk or Hun
To drag that honor in the mire
   Be counted kith to such a son?
While hucksters in the market place
   Would sell it for a hireling's pay,
Are we to bear this last disgrace
         On Anzac Day?

Surely this Honor still means much -
   Enough to men high in the State
To snatch it from the spoiler's clutch
   And keep that trust inviolate.
Surely enough remain to hedge
   Above that banner passed our way.
And save unsullied still the pledge
         Of Anzac Day.

First published in The Herald, 25 April 1931
[Today is ANZAC Day.]

Poem: Langwidge by C. J. Dennis

"The flamin' cows!" 'e ses; 'e did, an' worse;
   'Twas 'orrible the langwidge that 'e used.
It made me blood run cold to 'ear 'im curse;
   An' me that taken-back-like an' confused;
   W'ile them poor beasts 'e belted an' abused.
"They couldn't shift," 'e ses, "a blanky 'earse!
                     The flamin' cows!"

"The flamin' cows!" You oughter 'eard 'im curse.
   You would a bin that shocked. . . . An' the idear!
'Im usin' such remarks about a 'earse;
   An' 'is own brother buried not a year.
   "Not move a blanky 'earee!" 'e ses. My dear,
You 'ardly could imagine langwidge worse.
                     "The flamin' cows!"

"The flamin' cows!" Wot would the parson say?
   An' 'im so friendly-like with 'im an' 'er.
I pity 'er; I do, 'cos, in 'er way.
   She is respectable. But 'i! It's fur
   From me, as you well know, to cast a slur,
On anyone; but wot I 'eard that day. . . .
                     "The flamin' cows!"

"The flamin' cows!" I know quite well that we
   Ain't wot you'd call thin-skinned; and nasty pride
Is wot I never 'ad.... But 'er! ... W'y she --
   She's allus that stuck-up an' full o' side;
   A sorter thing I never could abide.
An' all the time 'er 'usband.... Goodness me!
                     "The flamin' cows!"

"The flamin' cows!" O' course 'e never knowed
   That I was list'nin' to 'im all the w'ile.
'E muster bin a full hour on the road;
   An', Lord, you could 'a' 'eard 'im for a mile.
   Jes' cos they stuck 'im in that boggy sile:
"If they ain't blanky swine," 'e ses, "I'm blowed!
                     The flamin' cows!"

"The flamin' cows!" W'y, if it 'ad occurred,
   An' me not 'eard, I'd 'ardly think it true.
An', you know well, I wouldn't breathe a word
   Against a livin' soul, I don't care 'oo;
   Not if the Queen of Hingland arst me to.
But, oh! that langwidge! If you only 'eard!
                     "The flamin' cows!"

"The flamin' cows!" 'e ses, an' more besides.
   An' fancy! 'Im! To think that 'e would swear!
W'y "Blarst!" 'e sez... Yes! "Blarst the'r blanky 'ides!"
   (Oh, you may well throw up your 'ands an' stare!)
   Yes - "Blarst," 'e ses, "the'r blanky 'ides an' 'air!
I'll out the blanky skin off er the'r sides!
                     The flamin' cows!"

First published in The Bulletin, 22 July 1909

Poem: The Poet by Bernard O'Dowd

They tell you the poet is useless and empty the sound of his lyre,
That science has made him a phantom, and thinned to a shadow his fire:
Yet reformer has never demolished a dungeon or den of the foe
But the flame of the soul of a poet pulsated in every blow.

They tell you he hinders with tinklings, with gags from an obsolete stage,
The dramas of deed and the worship of Laws in a practical age:
But the deeds of to-day are the children of magical dreams he has sung,
And the Laws are ineffable Fires that from niggardly heaven he wrung!

The bosoms of women he sang of are heaving to-day in our maids:
The God that he drew from the Silence our woes or our weariness aids:
Not a maxim has needled through Time, but a poet had feathered its shaft,
Not a law is a boon to the people but he has dictated its draft.

And why do we fight for our fellows? For Liberty why do we long?
Because with the core of our nerve-cells are woven the lightnings of song!
For the poet for ages illumined the animal dreams of our sires,
And his Thought-Become-Flesh is the matrix of all our unselfish desires!

Yea, why are we fain for the Beautiful? Why should we die for the Right?
Because through the forested æons, in spite of the priests of the Night,
Undeterred by the faggot or cross, uncorrupted by glory or gold,
To our mothers the poet his Vision of Goodness and Beauty has told.

When, comrades, we thrill to the message of speaker in highway or hall,
The voice of the poet is reaching the silenter poet in all:
And again, as of old, when the flames are to leap up the turrets of Wrong,
Shall the torch of the New Revolution be lit from the words of a Song!

First published in The Bulletin, 13 January 1910

Poem: Stanzas by Eta

Written in the blank leaf of a "Forget Me Not."


Lady, I would this little gift
   Should tell in years to come of me,
And on thy failing memory lift,
   A thought of one who honors thee.


I never read a favorite book,
   If read by one, my youth has known,  
But it recalls the tone, the look,
   That dwelt with them, tho' years have flown.


The simple mark, their pencil traced,
   Recalls some cherished thought or word --
A feeling -- not to be effaced
   By aught the heart may since have heard.


Then let this little work possess
   That silent, but endearing spell,
Which in thy hours of happiness,
   A something still of me may tell.

First published in The Sydney Herald, 13 March 1834

Poem: The Bard of Booralee by G. B.

Where old thoughts slumber something stirred,    
My youth came speading back to me;
And once again a chord was struck
Within my breast. I wished him luck,
That jubilantly piping bird I heard at Booralee.

Night's mantle over all was spread,
It was the hour before the dawn;
And, as I looked up at the sky,
The happy songster to descry,
The moon that erst her light had shed,
Had now that light withdrawn.

But still the lark sang gaily on,
Nor heeded he the cloud-dimmed moon;
Reverberant, the air replied.
As though it felt the minstrel's pride
One grand crescendo, and 'twas gone,
That joy-compelling tune.

Ah! blithesome bard of Booralee,
Why did you cease so soon your song
Had you but known the load of care
That weighed me down, the vibrant air
Might echo still the melody
For which my heart doth long.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December 1925

Poem: To Jean Curlewis. (Ethel Turner's Daughter) by Zora Cross

Vale! Sweet singer of the different song!   
Fair lays, young with Elizabethan dew,
You won from Rime's rare fields, known to how few
Who scatter Fancy's lyric seeds along!  
Your darling love, the sea, with tall ships strong,
Perchance gave you your gallant, boyish view.
No mere girl-writer you! Your vision blue
Swept far horizons with a rollicking throng.

Yet am I stretched apart this April day
With stinging tears for Poesy's sad loss;
My heart cleft open with a sorrow wide,
As once it knew when midst blithe childhood play,
I lay grief-strlcken on my fairy moss,
Because a little book-girl, "Judy," died.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 April 1930

Poem: David McKee Wright's Grave: At Emu Plains by Zora Cross

Poet, believe me, you are happiest,
Who lie for ever sleeping on this hill,
The river winding by at its smooth will,
No greater weight than grass upon your breast
Nor friend, nor foe can aggravate your rest,
Deep-bosomed in eternal peace, and still
As the wide sky, who takes her lazy fill
Of silence, immemorially blest.

I walk the razor-edge of life alone
In quest of that you found -- the perfect end
To all endeavour praise and petty blame --
Tumultuous love to the last breath out-thrown.
Oh, be to me the memory of a friend
When in proud terror I cry on God's name.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 1930

Poem: Rudyard Kipling by Zora Cross

Listen! In the square to-night
A band is playing. And rat-tat-tat  
A muffled drum beats Time to flight.
Comrade brothers, what was that?  
The jest dies on the colonel's lips.
The room is hushed. And eye seeks eye.  
The whispered word in panic trips.
O Simla Hills! Officers! Good-bye.
The mystic fountain-waters play.
God's gate clicks. Footsteps mid the flowers!
And half a dream from yesterday
"They" run to tell her "He is ours."
Yet Heaven splits on a dismayed cry.
Earth aches unto the inmost core,  
"Ah!" An international sigh ...
Rudyard Kipling sings no more.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 February 1936

Poem: John Galsworthy by C.J. Dennis

Yesterday's cables announce the death of John Galsworthy, the famous English novelist, playwright and philosopher.

Not for vague honors, not for treacherous power
   He lived and toiled thro' this, his earthy span;
But to uphold and cultivate the dower,
   God-given, for enlightment of man,
Here was no tale of talents mis-applied,
But of gifts to the last hour multiplied.
Grave, kindly scrivener, moved to no swift wrath
   By tyrannies or Greed's condoning pleas:
Pity was there for Vandal and for Goth
   Clutching insensate at earth's vanities.
Pity was there, with truth and justice, when
He held his shining mirror up to men.
That they might see themselves; not as they seem
   To smug content and sleek complacency
Lulled by the opiate of their false dream;
   But as some wise, kind visitant might see
And weigh and, by wise standards, judge the worth
Of all the sad frailities of earth.
So he has lived; and so he lays him down
   Leaving a picture with us at the end,
Not of some grim reformer's fretful frown;
   But of a pitying, understanding friend.
And if, thro' him, this blundering world should gain
One mite in wisdom, life were not in vain.

First published in The Herald, 2 February 1933

Poem: Robbie's Statue by Henry Lawson

Grown tired of mourning for my sins --
    And brooding over merits --
The other night with bothered brow
   I went amongst the spirits;
And I met one that I knew well:
   "Oh, Scotty's Ghost, is that you?
And did you see the fearsome crowd
   At Robbie Burns's statue?

"They hurried up in hansom cabs,
   Tall-hatted and frock-coated;
They trained it in from all the towns,
   The weird and hairy-throated;
They spoke in some outlandish tongue,
   They cut some comic capers,
And ilka man was wild to get
   His name in all the papers.

"They showed no gleam of intellect,
   Those frauds who rushed before us;
They knew one verse of 'Auld Lang Syne --'
   The first one and the chorus:
They clacked the clack o' Scotlan's Bard,
   They glibly talked of 'Rabby;'
But what if he had come to them
   Without a groat and shabby?

"They drank and wept for Robbie's sake,
   They stood and brayed like asses
(The living bard's a drunken rake,
   The dead one loved the lasses);
If Robbie Burns were here, they'd sit
   As still as any mouse is;
If Robbie Burns should come their way,
   They'd turn him out their houses.

"Oh, weep for bonny Scotland's bard!
   And praise the Scottish nation,
Who made him spy and let him die
   Heart-broken in privation:
Exciseman, so that he might live
   Through northern winters' rigours --
Just as in southern lands they give
   The hard-up rhymer figures.

"We need some songs of stinging fun
   To wake the States and light 'em;
I wish a man like Robert Burns
   Were here to-day to write 'em!
But still the mockery shall survive
   Till the Day o' Judgment crashes --
The men we scorn when we're alive
   With praise insult our ashes."

And Scotty's ghost said: "Never mind
   The fleas that you inherit;
The living bard can flick them off --
   They cannot hurt his spirit.
The crawlers round the bardie's name
   Shall crawl through all the ages;
His work's the living thing, and they
   Are fly-dirt on the pages."

First published in The Bulletin, 23 Februay 1905

Poem: Those Names by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson

The shearers sat in the firelight, hearty and hale and strong,
After the hard day's shearing, passing the joke along:
The "ringer" that shore a hundred, as they never were shorn before,
And the novice who, toiling bravely, had tommy-hawked half a score,
The tarboy, the cook, and the slushy, the sweeper that swept the board,
The picker-up, and the penner, with the rest of the shearing horde.
There were men from the inland stations where the skies like a furnace glow,
And men from the Snowy River, the land of the frozen snow;
There were swarthy Queensland drovers who reckoned all land by miles,
And farmers' sons from the Murray, where many a vineyard smiles.
They started at telling stories when they wearied of cards and games,
And to give these stories a flavour they threw in some local names,
And a man from the bleak Monaro, away on the tableland,
He fixed his eyes on the ceiling, and he started to play his hand.

He told them of Adjintoothbong, where the pine-clad mountains freeze,
And the weight of the snow in summer breaks branches off the trees,
And, as he warmed to the business, he let them have it strong --
Nimitybelle, Conargo, Wheeo, Bongongolong;
He lingered over them fondly, because they recalled to mind
A thought of the old bush homestead, and the girl that he left behind.
Then the shearers all sat silent till a man in the corner rose;
Said he, "I've travelled a-plenty but never heard names like those.
Out in the western districts, out on the Castlereagh
Most of the names are easy -- short for a man to say.

"You've heard of Mungrybambone and the Gundabluey pine,
Quobbotha, Girilambone, and Terramungamine,
Quambone, Eunonyhareenyha, Wee Waa, and Buntijo --"
But the rest of the shearers stopped him:  "For the sake of your jaw, go slow,
If you reckon those names are short ones out where such names prevail,
Just try and remember some long ones before you begin the tale."
And the man from the western district, though never a word he said,
Just winked with his dexter eyelid, and then he retired to bed.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 September 1890

Poem: Above Crow's Nest (Sydney) by Henry Lawson

A blanket low and leaden,
   Though rent across the west,
Whose darkness seems to deaden
   The brightest and the best;
A sunset white and staring
   On cloud-wrecks far away --
And haggard house-walls glaring
   A farewell to the day.

A light on tower and steeple,
   Where sun no longer shines --
My people, Oh my people!
   Rise up and read the signs!
Low looms the nearer high-line
   (No sign of star or moon),
The horseman on the skyline
   Rode hard this afternoon!

(Is he -- and who shall know it? --
   The spectre of a scout?
The spirit of a poet,
   Whose truths were met with doubt?
Who sought and who succeeded
   In marking danger's track --
Whose warnings were unheeded
   Till all the sky was black?)

It is a shameful story
   For our young, generous home  --
Without the rise and glory
   We'd go as Greece and Rome.
Without the sacrifices
   That make a nation's name,
The elder nation's vices
   And luxuries we claim.

Grown vain without a conquest,
   And sure without a fort,
And maddened in the one quest
   For pleasure or for sport.
Self-blinded to our starkness
   We'd fling the time away
To fight, half-armed, in darkness
   Who should be armed to-day.

This song is for the city,
   The city in its pride --
The coming time shall pity
   And shield the countryside.
Shall we live in the present
   Till fearful war-clouds loom,
And till the sullen peasant
   Shall leave us to our doom?

Cloud-fortresses titanic
   Along the western sky --
The tired, bowed mechanic
   And pallid clerk flit by.
Lit by a light unhealthy --
   The ghastly after-glare--
The veiled and goggled wealthy
   Drive fast -- they know not where.

Night's sullen spirit rouses,
   The darkening gables lour
From ugly four-roomed houses
   Verandah'd windows glower;
The last long day-stare dies on
   The scrub-ridged western side,
And round the near horizon
   The spectral horsemen ride.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 October 1906

Poem: Archibald's Monument by Henry Lawson

Doubtless the Old Chief chats to-night
With writers and artist who passed from sight
To a sanctum lit by as clear a light
   As the light of that Other Day;
With lovable humbugs, all too fond
Of the shorter cut to the land beyond --
With Marcus Clarke and "The Vagabond",
   With Daley and Harold Grey,
   "The Dipso" and Harold Grey.

No tear is needed, nor funeral frown.
Empty your glasses in bush and town
To a polished glass on th ebar turned down
   And be, as we are, content.
The songs we sang to a land unsung
As yet, and taught by his guiding tongue,
The lines we wrote when our hearts were young,
   Are Archibald's Monument.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 September 1919

Note: you can read other entries about J.F. Archibald here.

Poem: Written Out by Henry Lawson


Sing the song of the reckless, who care not what they do;
Sing the song of a sinner and the song of a writer, too --
Down in a pub in the alleys, in a dark and dirty hole,
With every soul a drunkard and the boss with never a soul.

Uncollared, unkempt, unshaven, sat the writer whose fame was fair,
And the girls of the streets were round him, and the bullies and bludgers there;
He was one of themselves and they told him the things that they had to tell --
He was studying human nature with his brothers and sisters in hell.

He was neither poor nor lonely, for a place in the world he'd won,
And up in the heights of the city he'd a thousand friends or none;
But he knew that his chums could wait awhile, that he'd reckon with foes at last,
For he lived far into a future that he knew because of the past.

They remembered the man he had been, they remembered the songs he wrote,
And some of them came to pity and some of them came to gloat:
Some of them shouted exulting -- some whispered with bated breath
That down in a den in the alleys he was drinking himself to death.

Thus said the voice of the hypocrites -- and the true hearts sighed with pain,
'Oh! he never will write as he used to write! He never will write again;'
A poet had written his epitaph in numbers of sad regret,
And the passing-notice was pigeon-holed, and the last review was set.

But the strength was in him to rise again to a greater height, he knew,
For the sake of the friends who were true to him and the work that he had to do;
He was sounding the depths that he had to know, he was gathering truths for his craft,
And he heard the chatter of little men -- and he turned to his beer and laughed.

First published in When I Was King and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1905

Poem: Yule Fever by C. J. Dennis


Note: it's that time of year when I head off for a few days up-country with the family for all things festive. I'll be back before the end of the year. In the meantime here's a poem from C.J. Dennis which captures some of the essence of the frenzied rush to Christmas.

I must go down to the shops again, to the crowded shops go I
And all I have is a long list of the gifts that I must buy,
And a few bob in the old kick and a mere spot of credit;
For he'll trust me, so the boss said, but I hate the way he said it.

I must go down to the shops again, for the call of Christmastide
Is a stern call and a hard call that may not be denied.
And all I ask is a fair choice at reasonable prices
And a hard heart for bland blokes with blandishing devices.

I must go down to the shops again. There's gifts for Mum and Dad
And Jim's gift and Joe's gift and toy for Peter's lad.
Then all I want are gloves for Clare? And June? I'll send her roses,
And -- who's next? The list says -- I've lost it! Holy Moses!

But I must go down to the shops again, to the shops and the milling crowd
On a hot day and a fierce day when the skies know ne'er a cloud;
And all I ask is a fair spin 'mid the masses overheating
And the loud bawl of the bored babe, and the toy drums beating.

I must go down to the shops again, for I would be counted still
With the kind coves of the free hand in this season of goodwill;
And all I ask is a stout heart to carry on undaunted
While we scour town for the salt-pot that we know Aunt Annie wanted.

I must go down to the shops again, for they'll ply me, sure as fate
With the pink tie and the puce sock, and I must reciprocate.
But all I ask is a long seat when the weary trek is finished
And enough left for the Yule feast ere the bank-roll be diminished.

First published in The Herald, 4 December 1935

Poem: Next Door by Henry Lawson

Whenever I'm moving my furniture in
   Or shifting my furniture out --
Which is nearly as often and risky as Sin
   In these days of shifting about --
There isn't a stretcher, there isn't a stick,
   Nor a mat that belongs to the floor;
There isn't a pot (Oh, my heart groweth sick!)
   That escapes from the glare of Next Door!
   That Basilisk Glare of Next Door.

Be it morn, noon or night -- be it early or late;
   Be it summer or winter or spring,
I cannot sneak down just to list at the gate
  For the song that the bottle-ohs sing;
With some bottles to sell that shall bring me a beer,
   And lead up to one or two more;
But I feel in my backbone the serpentine sneer,
   And the Basilisk Glare of Next Door.
   The political woman Next Door.

I really can't say, being no one of note,
   Why she glares at my odds and ends,
Excepting, maybe, I'm a frivolous Pote,
   With one or two frivolous friends,
Who help me to shift and to warm up the house
   For three or four glad hours or more,
In a suburb that hasn't the soul of a louse;
   And they've got no respect for Next Door!
   They don't give a damn for Next Door.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 February 1915

Poem: The Bard of Toolamine by Edward Dyson

We had a bard at Toolamine,
   And Toolamine was well content,
For Flayer said that very fine
Was every high, Miltonic line
Flung from his pen, as 'twere a note
Emitted from the mellow throat
   Of some big, brazen instrument.

His poems were anonymous --
   It was the poet's modest whim
To blush unseen. We made no fuss,
For no one seemed to care a cuss,
Until a city scribe with views.
Who read one day the TOOLA NEWS,
   Excitedly discovered him.

And then the wondering world was sure
   There lurked somewhere at Toolamine
A bard whose poems would endure
While there was English Literature --
One worthy of the splendid past,
Whose pearls of poesy were cast
   Before the dull, unheeding swine.

This Flayer was a man of might;
   HIs pen had swept an overplus
Of Austral bardlets out of sight,
And one was famous. Over night
Of him the critic made a joke,
And in the morn the bard awoke
   To find himself grown infamous.

He said the poet he had found
   The ravages of time would flout;
The thunder of his rhyme would sound
In ears unborn the world around.
But no one else could understand
How he was great, why he was grand,
   Or what his stuff was all about!

Still little critics took their cue
   From Flayer, and in ecstasy
They cried how beautiful, how true,
How old, and yet how strangely new,
How wonderful, almost divine,
Was this great bard of Toolamine --
   Whoever this great bard might be.

While Flayer praised, and quoted much
   To prove the mystic poet's worth,
The clamor of the crowd was such
That now the bard his latest clutch
Of verses signed, and so we knew
That Gonoff was the poet who
   Was set apart to shake the earth.

Of city critics twenty-three
   To Toolamine as pilgrims went.
We roared their antics grave to see
Before the bard, beneath a tree,
The township idiot was he,
The efforts of whose lanky Muse
The editor of TOOLA NEWS
   Had printed just for devilment!

First published in The Bulletin, 20 September 1906

Poem: Poets by James Gregor Grant

Poets are a joyous race,
   O'er the laughing earth they go,
Shedding charms o'er many a place
   Nature never favoured so.
Still to each divinest spot,
   Led by some auspicious star,
Scattering flowers where flowers are not,
   Making lovelier those that are.

Poets are a gifted race!
   If their gifts aright they knew;
Fallen splendour, perished grace,
   Their enchantments can renew.
They have power o'er day and night,
   Life, with all its joys and cares --
Earth, with all its bloom and blight
   Tears and transport - all are theirs!

Poets are a wayward race!
   Loneliest still when least alone,
They can find in every place
   Joys and sorrows of their own.
Grieved or glad by fitful starts,
   Pangs they feel that no one shares,
And a joy can fill their hearts
   That can fill no hearts but theirs!

Poets are a mighty race!
   They can reach to times unborn,
They can brand the vile and base
   VVith undying hate and scorn!
They can ward Detraction's blow --
   They oblivion's tide can stem --
And the good and brave must owe
   Immortality to them!

First published in The Argus, 3 April 1849

Poem: The Maxim by Edmund Fisher


Of all the maxims I retain
Within the precincts of my brain
   There's one I'm quoting daily;
Which maxim of immortal truth,
Distasteful to my callow youth,
   Was uttered by Disraeli.

Lord Beasconsfield, as he became
(Beneath this English titled name
   His ancestry concealing).
Said lightly -- meaning to express
Love's attitude to lowliness --
   "Man serves a woman kneeling."

With passioned prayer and tender plaint
He pays his homage to the saint,
   And soulful sighs he heaves her:
But -- note the words I now repeat --
But "when he gets upon his feet
   He walks away," and leaves her.

The lady, though she storm or scoff,
Cannot prevent his walking off
   Abstractedly, or gaily;
The passion-flower is born to die,
And man is bound to justify
   The maxim of Disraeli.

It worried me when'er I knelt,
For, all the times, I always felt
   That soon I must be going;
And from one's knees it's hard to rise
If tears from sweet Belinda's eyes
   Are picturesquely flowing.

But as I knew we had to part,
The scruples in my honest heart
   I never failed to smother.
Such loves are holy. In the past
Each seemed more holy than the last --
   Then, why not try Another?

And were the lady staunch and true,
Or just a flirt, the sky was blue
   And all the hours were golden.
For love's divinest ecstacies
To her who kept him on his knees
   The lover was beholden.

Perchance the dream would sweetly end,
And she would call me "dearest friend,"
   Or treat me "as a brother,"
And softly speak with smile serene
Of all the raptures that had been --
   Then, why not chase Another?

Ah! like the moons that wax and wane,
The roses died and bloomed again,
   And fresh young charms each gal'ad.
Inflamed by new poetic fire
I gratified my new desire
   To write another ballad.

And now I lilt the easy lay
Of one who knelt, and walked away
   When love had spent its fever,
The maxim printed on my mind
Forbade me (who says Love is blind?)
   To be a self-deceiver.

First published in The Bulletin, 11 February 1909

Poem: The Bard by Anonymous

He had wander'd wide in his minstrel pride,
   When Spring was upon his breast;
And his way was afar o'er turf and tide,
   For he sought a minstrel's rest!
From the fields of his home his brows were crown'd,
   A kindred's hands onwreathe'd them;
But in knightly courts my songs shall sound,
   Be honour'd the hard that breath'd them,
The world shall learn to prize the name
   Of them she loves in story!
So spake the voice of life's first fame,
   And he went in his spirit's glory.

He had wander'd long; but there came from far,
   With his tresses gray through years,
And a soul where blight had wrought its war,
   An aged man in tears.
On his bending form, with chords unstrung,
   A wither'd branch thrown o'er it,
The silenc'd charms of his loneness hung,
   And weary was he that bore it.
His freezing hand essay'd in part;
   'Twas vain - no voice was spoken!
Spent on the strings his struggling heart, --
   His heart, with his harp, was broken!

First published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 3 August 1830

Poem: The Australian Guitar by G. A. M. L.


While Albion's poets sweetly sing,
   And breathe the soul inspiring ode,
From the fair land where freedom dwells
   And commerce finds a safe abode;
Shall Austral's minstrel ne'er awake
   The song of the Southern star
Nor in his own calm summer eve
   Awake the light guitar.

While Scotia's ministrels swell their lyres
   To lays of their stern native land,
And Erin's harp responsive rings,
   From her green isle's more verdant strand;
Shall Austral's muse lie ever still
   Nor lisp an echo from afar?
Nor to the lays of the sunny clime
   Awake the light guitar.

Nor shall the lovers tale be told
   In weak words of moving void;
But the thrilling chords waft his plaint,
   In language not to be denied.
And Yarra's banks shall list his lay
   Whilst borne on the calm evening air,
Amidst Accasia's rich perfume
   He wakes the light guitar.

But bark, what murmurs fill the air,
   We bear the galling yoke no more
The cherished boon though long denied,
   Shall quickly reach our gladden'd shore;
And freedom's name shall fire the song,
   We bear the trammelled chains no more!
And bards to the new choral strain
   Shall wake the light guitar.

First published in The Melbourne Argus, 27 June 1848

Poem: Armistice: To His Dead Cobber from the Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis

I'm sittin' 'ere, Mick -- sittin' 'ere today,
Feelin' arf glum, 'arf sorter -- reverent.
   Thinkin' strange, crooked thorts of 'ow they say:
   "The 'eads is bowed thro' all a continent";
An' wond'rin' -- wond'rin' in a kind of doubt
   If other coves is feelin' like I do,
Tryin' to figure wot it's all about,
   An' -- if it's meanin' anythin' to you.

Silence ....... The hour strikes soon thro' all the land
An' 'eads bend low.  Old, mate, give me your 'and.
      Silence -- for you, Mick, an' for blokes like you
      To mark the Day -- the Day you never knoo.

The Day you never knoo, nor we forget ....
   I can't tell why I'm sittin' 'ere this way,
Scrawlin' a message that you'll never get --
   Or will you?  I dunno.  It's 'ard to say.
P'raps you'll know all about it, where you are,
   An' think, "Ah well, they ain't too bad a lot."
An' tell them other digs, up on your star
   That now, or nevermore, they ain't fergot.

Silence ....... Not 'ere alone, Mick -- everywhere --
In city an' country 'eads are bare.
      An', in this room, it seems as if I knoo
      Some friend 'oo came -- Old cobber!  Is it you?

My 'eart is full, Mick ..... 'Struth! I ain't the bloke
   As well you know, to go all soft an' wet.
Fair's fair, lad.  Times I've known when you 'ave spoke
   Like you was tough an' 'ard as 'ell -- an' yet
Somethin' behind your bluff an' swagger bold
   Showed all them narsty sentiments was kid.
It was that thing inside yeh, lad, wot told.
   It made you go an' do the thing you did.

Silence ...... There's mothers, Mick, you never knoo
No mother.  But they're prayin' for you too.
      In every 'eart -- The Boys! The Boys are there,
      The Boys ...... That very name, lad, is a pray'r.

The Boys!  Old cobber, I can see 'em still:
   The drums are rollin' an' the sunlight gleams
On bay'nits.  Men are marchin' with a will
   On to the glory of their boy'ood's dreams.
Glory?  You never found it that, too much.
   But, lad, you stuck it -- stuck it with the rest,
An' if your bearin' 'ad no soulful touch,
   'Twas for OUR souls that you went marchin' -- West.

Silence ...... The children too, Mick -- little kids,
Are standin'.  Not becos their teacher bids:
      They've knoo no war; but they 'ave stopped their play
      Becos they know, they feel it is The Day.

So may it be thro' all the comin' years.
   But sorrow's gone, lad.  It's not that we know.
The sobbin's passed, 'ole cobber, an' the tears.
   An' well we un'erstand you'd 'ave it so.
But somethin's deeper far than that 'as come,
   Somethin' a mind can't get within its bounds,
Somethin' I can't explain.  A man is dumb
   When 'e thinks .... Listen!  'Ear the bugles sound!

      *                    *
      *                    *
      *                    *

Well, Mick, ole cock, I dunno why I've wrote,
   It's just to ease a thing inside wot says
"Sit down, you sloppy coot, an' write a note
   To that old cobber of the olden days.
E'll know -- for sure 'e'll know."  So lad, it's done,
   Work's waitin', an' a man can't get in wrong;
Our goal is still ahead.  But yours is won:
   That's the one thing we know, lad, so -- So long!

Silence ...... It's over, Mick; so there you are.
I know you're 'appy up there on your star,
      Believe us lad, that star shall never fall
      While one is left to say "Gawd keep 'em all!"

First published in The Herald , 11 November 1927

[Today is Remembrance Day.]

Poem: Disillusion, or the Mistaken Muse by O. C. Cabot

   The poet at his window sat,
      A pen was in his hand;
   Beside him dozed the household cat,
      And peace was on the land;
The autumn sunshine, streaming in, was beautiful and bland.

   Far off, the breakers moan
      Along the shore, rock-starred;
   It seemed as if their monotone
      Was calling to the bard --
While, down below, his landlady was tidying-up the yard.

   He looked abroad, and then above,
      Toward the dazzling blue;
   Like some despairing, captive dove,
      A mournful glance he threw;
And sadly sighed, because his soul sought inspiration new.

   Alas! the breakers helped him not --
      The dazzling sky was dumb --
   And, though he thought an awful lot,
      Ideas would not come;
And he was not of those who fly to red, delusive Rum.

   Sudden and fierce a trumpet pealed
      Upon the autumn air;
   And instantly the poet wheeled
      And trembled in his chair --
"The Muse be praised!" he cried, "who sent that thought-awakening blare.

   "It shivers through my seeking brain
      And drowns the breakers' roar,
   And brings before my vision plain
      The awful pomp of war --
I hear them marching down the street -- I wonder what's the corps?

   "Ah, splendid lads in uniform
      Who guard our country's coast,
   And plunge through battle, fire and storm,
      A stern, undaunted host --
Right worthily have ye been dubbed the Nation's proudest boast!

   "The sun is sparkling on your helms,
      Your bayonets blaze bright,
   Like beings from heroic realms
      Ye burst upon the sight!
And, oh! my spirit yearns and burns to join ye in the fight!

   "I never heard the bugle call --
      Hark! There it swells again! --
   But Memory lifts the Past's dim pall
      And shows me clear and plain
The glorious wars your fathers waged -- and never waged in vain.

   "That martial sound reveals to me
      Each shrouded battlefield --
   Ten thousand gallant hearts I see,
      Who died but would not yield
When, from the grim, unconquered square, the shattered squadrons reeled!

   "Ha! Let me write!" He seized his pen
      The while his spirit glowed,
   And wrote in haste -- "Our fighting men:
      A Military Ode!"

   Then rose to view that stirring scene;
      But this was all it showed --
A bugle-playing ice-cream man come slowly up the road!

First published in The Bulletin, 9 July 1908

Poem: A Racing Rubaiyat by C. J. Dennis

Awake!  For now no longer does the Fear
Of Loss uphold Resolves of yester year:
   And, lo, the Layer of the Odds pours forth
His Spring Song to the Punter's eager Ear.

Come, book the Bet.  And on the clamorous Ring
The care-won caution of a Twelve-month fling.
   Who knows?  Tomorrow we may get the tip
That robs the Racing Game of all its sting.

Think; in the Paddock you may meet a Bloque
Who whispers secret Things about a Moke;
   And, if you back It and, perchance, It win,
The World is yours, and Life becomes a Joke.

The Owner's lips are lockt; the Trainer sighs,
And then goes dumb; the Tipster deals in lies.
   But what of that?  Throw down the Gage to chance:
Grasp a pin bravely, lad, and shut your eyes.

And if the Tip you take, the Cash you bet
End in the Nothing all things end in, yet,
    As Lessons learned last Year were this Year scorned,
So this Year's lessons next year you'll forget.

And when Thyself with listless Foot shall pass
Amongst torn Tickets littering the Grass,
   Reflect, some tens of thousands share your shame;
You are but merely one more Silly Ass.

First published in The Herald, 5 November 1934

[Today is Melbourne Cup Day.]

Poem: The Printer's Love by Anonymous

We love to see the blooming rose,
   In all its beauty dress'd;
We love to hear our friends disclose.
   The emotions of their breast.

We love to see a ship arrive,
   Well laden to our shore
We love to see our neighbours thrive --
   And love to bless the poor.

We love to see domestic life
   With uninterrupted joys --
We love to see a youthful wife
   Not pleased with trifling toys.

We love all these -- yet far above
   All that we ever said,
We love what every Printer loves --
   To have Subscriptions paid.

First published in The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 16 July 1836

Poem: The Press Shall Be Free! by Anonymous

You may talk of your glorious freedom,
   Your laws, and your charters of Right;
But where are they now when we need 'em,
   Alas! have they all ta'en to flight?

Shall we suffer the tyrants to drive us,
   Who call ourselves Britons and free;
Shall we suffer them now to deprive us
   Of the standard of true liberty.

What! shall the Republic of letters
   By the chains of oppression be bound;
Shall opinion be galled by their fetters,
   And sink into darkness profound!

Arise! if there's spirit among us,
   Shall we turn from the contest and flee;
Arise against those who would wrong us,
   Hurruh! for the Press shall be free.

The Press shall be free, for we prize it --
   We are not afraid of a frown.
The truth! we shall never disguise it,
   Hurrah! we will not be put down.

First published in The Argus, 1 May 1849

Poem: The Lost Poet by Nellie A. Evans

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He was born to stir the spirit of his race to tears and laughter;
He was born to be the writer and the singer of his age.
For he had the gift in keeping, and the generations after
Should have held his name, "The Deathless," as a glorious heritage.

His the gift of dream and wonder, his to see with clearer vision
Through the old pretence and fashion, to the heart of Hidden Things;
But his people stood before him, and they barred the gift's fruition,
And they told him of the madness that such dreaming ever brings.

They had words to crush the yearning of the high ambitious spirits,
And they held his spirit downward as it struggled to the light;
And they whispered to each other, "'Tis the madness he inherits
From the Father and the Mother; let us guide his steps aright."

So they dragged him slowly downward -- he was young and very lonely,
And he turned him from the starway, and he made their cares his own,
And then -- Ah, shall we blame him, if he sunk a short while only
To the level of his kindred, for the wrong was theirs alone.

Then he woke as if from slumber, but the starry path was hidden,
And the spirit world was shrouded, and he sought its light in vain.
And the gift of song went from him, as it came to him, unbidden;
He had turned to meaner worship, and he might not sing again.

So he bade farewell for ever to the glowing spire and steeple,
To the strong blue hills a-shimmer, to the brightness of the sun,
And he left the youth behind him, that was slain by his own people,
In a grave rose-piled and hidden, and the poet-life was done.

Then he wandered forth a rover, and the dark and silent spaces
Never knew the sound of singing by its magic lay uncrossed;
But the wrong went up to heaven, and the angels bowed their faces,
And the stars were veiled and hidden for the poet who was lost.

First printed in The Bulletin, 24 December 1908

Poem: George Essex Evans by J. Bufton

Singer of pearl-purl songs,
   Beneath thy sunlit skies;
Gone from the wrecks and the wrongs
   And loosed from the toils and the ties,
   Fled as the morning mist flies,
      Sung are thy songs.

Singer of earnest strains,
   Set free, O bard, are thou;
Snapped are life's cords and its chains,
Soothed are its griefs and its pains;
   Fair are the bays on thy brow,
      A fadeless wreath.

Singer of deathless fame
   Born of the bardic race,
Never shall perish thy name,
Ages thy worth shall acclaim;
   Australia hath pledged thee a place
      Deep in her heart.

Singer of joys and tears,
   Thy harp yields to thy crown,
Dread not the stream of the years,
   Fear not their flowing or frown,
   Sleep in immortal renown,
      Honoured and loved.

Singer of gain and loss,
   Of Queensland's fallen sons;
Bard of the star and the moss,
Rest in the shade of the cross,
   Rest while Eternity runs,
      And sing God's songs.

First published in The Mercury, 20 November 1909

Queensland poet George Essex Evans was born on 18th June 1863 and died on 10th November 1909.

Poem: History of a Printer by Anonymous

"Blest Invention, alone to God the praise!
For gifting man this noble art to raise;
From thee what benefits do men possess?
Our Nation's Bulwark is -- the BRITISH PRESS!"

At ten years old (as if to raise my fame)
My father placed me in a wooden frame
In my left hand he clapt an iron stick
On which brass rule was often heard to click. 
Though I'm not skill'd in Greek or Latin lore,  
Nor ancient Hebrew used in days of yore,
With due submission I inform my betters.
That I can boast I am a man of letters.
Bred to the bar, though I ne'er studied law,
I well could espy every deed I saw; 
And though no Christian merchant, Turk, or Jew,  
I've dealt in pearl, and oft in diamond too.
And, though unskill'd in aught of pastry art,  
In making pie I oft have had my part.
This, too, I own, whatever my condition,
That I have often practis'd imposition
When numerous lines and columns have appear'd
In hostile proof, I've prick'd them in the beard
With bodkin keen, as poinards were of old, 
Which vile assassins oft employed for gold.
I am no traitor, but depend upon't,
I've form'd and placed French cannon in the front;
With English too, I've hit them in the nick,
And chased whole thousands with one shooting-stick.    
In forming lines it oft has been my pride,
Into a town to pour a whole broadside
Oft at the gallows have I tugg'd and sweat,    
And with a mallet heavy metier beat.
A galley slave near fifty years I've been,
And at the stocks my hands wore often seen;
But still, to show my history's not ill paged,
At cards and balls I've often been engag'd.
Though never rich, I yet have had my horse,  
But found by doing so my case was worse;
For, when with others in the chase I've join'd,
I've met with crosses that have hurt my mind.
When author's works by me were looked o'er,
I've lock'd them up to publish them the more. 
And, though no doz, this my assertions true,
'I've been a pointer and a setter to;
But not a spaniel, for I ne'er could lick
The foot of him who dared attempt to kick.  
Howe'er an author did his language dress,
In varïous forms I've sent it to the press
But hard's the fate of poor unlucky I,
My father taught me in damp sheets to lie;
Yet, when the tympans and the platten bell,
They form'd new lines for other folks to tell.  
Although neglected at my grammar schools,
I've paid obedience to the chapel rules;
And yet, to prove that I was not uncivil,
I always spoke in favour of the devil.

   But now no more the brazen rule doth click,
Nor well-adjusted line adorn the stick;
No more I see the chapellonions sit
To try their causes and exert their wit.
While the gav pitcher jovially would pass,
From ass to pig, from pig again to ass;
And thus one truth most other truth surpasses,
I've drank with pigs, and often fed with asses,
So when astray from either sty or stall,
And they on me would in their trumping call,
I pledge my soul as witness of the deed,
I ne'er forsook them in the time of need;
Unless indeed I'd set up every space, 
And caused myself to have an empty case.
At present I have set up every letter.
My copy's out and I've imposed the matter;    
And when my cuter form returns to clay,
Preserve, O GOD! my inner form I pray;
If I perchance, and there can be no doubt,
Have made a double or have left an out,
The error's trivial, 'tis with us as common
As noisy tongue is to a scolding woman.
My case being out and nothing to distribute, 
Should some kind ass or generous pig contribute,
To fill my case, in thinking I'll be proud,
And bray and grunt my gratitude aloud.  
If to some wood-hole I am doom'd to go,
To end my days in misery and woe,
Where tyrants rule with cruelly replete,
Ah! dread abode -- the poor man's last retreat,
'Midst dire oppression, anguish, pain, and grief,
Without a friend to yield the least relief ;
Then haste, kind Death, in pity to my age,
And clap the FINIS, to my life's last page.
May heaven's great Author my foul proof revise,
Cancel the page in which my error lies
And raise my form above the ethereal skies.


No more shall copy bad perplex my brain ;
No more shall type's small face my eye-balls strain;
No more the proof's foul page create me troubles,
By errors, transpositions, fonts and doubles;  
No more to overrun shall I begin;
No more be driving out or taking in;
The stubborn Pressman's frown I now may scoff;
Raised, corrected, finally worked off!

First published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 17 March 1842

Poem: To Content by E. O'S (Edward O'Shaughnessy)

Content! thy throne as was thy birth,
Is in supernal realms; of earth
   No denizen art thou;
Then, much as I may wish thee mine,
I will not bend before thy shrine,
   Nor waste for thee one verse.

Thou art the theme of poets' lays,
The idol of the sages' praise,
   Who bid mankind be free
From human passions and desires,
All the wild tumults hope inspires,
   And seek alone for thee.

'Twere right; did not experience teach
How useless is the truth they preach;
   "Content is happiness."
We know it, but as well we know
There is no happiness below,
   Thou stranger here no less.

The tenant of the lowly cot
Finds thee no sharer of his lot,
   As dreaming bards still chime;
Thou fliest from peasant, prince, and sage,
From ardent youth, from hopeless age,
   From sex, and rank, and clime.

Wealth, rank, and power, lead mortals on
With hopes of joy that oft is won,
   Tho' short, imperfect, vain,
But who seeks thee, and spurns at these,
Seeks what on earth heaven's fixed decrees
   Forbid him to attain.

Star of their course, let virtue shine,
And all they may of bliss divine,
   She gives mankind to feel,
And gives to those who seek the strife,
Of power and fame, as those whose life
   Ne'er own'd ambition's zeal.

Then goddess, tho' thy lover, I
Forswear myself thy votary, --
   To Hope alone I bow;
Whose joys, still withering and still blooming,
Are yet more real than aught illuming
   This dreary path below.

First published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 5 April 1831

Poem: The Poet's Luck by D.M.W. (David McKee Wright)

If, with some sudden witchery of rime,
My laureate head I smote against a star,
And knocking it a little sideways, made
A void in Nature, would the neighbours care?
Would Jones foresake his joyous pumpkin patch
To gaze across the fence in silent awe
For one brief moment? Would Bill Henderson
Renounce at eve his deep verandah chair,
And speak of other things than wind and sun
And the land's need of moisture? Vain the hope.
Somewhere are those would mouth my music o'er
In shady gardens murmurous with bees,
Or in the cool of some book sanctuary
Thrill inly with a quiet ecstasy
Born of my rimes. Some faintly-fashioned maid
Would shrine me as a master in her thought,
And deem me most worthy of the crown
Long worn by Frances Ridley Havergal.
Some pressman, hot from the large butcher-house
Of language and romance and poesy,
Would slap a hearty hand upon my back,
And praise me as a weakling of the craft
Whereof himself was master. While the gods,
Rapt in large wonder, almost stood aside
As they would call me to another throne
Set in Olympus -- mocking idiot Fate
Would still award the most unequal prize,
Red shining gold for their fly-haunted tripe,
And copper for the full rich wine of song.

First published in The Bulletin, 31 December 1908

Note: Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) was an English religious poet and hymn writer.   

Poem: Bill's Opinion by Jemima Beaumont Fletcher

Oo's the pote laureate, yer want ter know?
Now, blime, coves, the joker makes me blush
By arskin sich a question. Yus, yus, yus!
They aint got any reverent feelins now,
Them blokes that torks about Horstralian potes
As if they was a mob of ewes an rams
Sent to the show. Taint right. Now, Bill an me --
Bill Shakespeare's often at our place these times --
Aint never found out oo's the greater pote,
Himself or me. I think e skites the best
In blood an thunder pieces, though, my oath,
My own Ned Kelly epic aint too stinkin.
But when it comes to little simple things
About a bloomin kid oose mother croaked,
Bill owns that e carnt touch me. Then me hodes
About Hortstalia's navy. Bill carnt show
Nothin to equal them, an owns e carnt.
"It's great," says e, "now blime if it aint,"
An slaps is thigh. Now what I want ter know,
When all the bloomin torkers ave their day,
What price the best Horstralian pote, cash down,
Before I enter for the bloomin at
Of gory tin? Lawson an Paterson,
Grant Hervey an the rest have wrote some stuff
That even Bill admires. Chris Marlowe dont.
But Chris goes always strong for Roderic Quinn,
And reckons Adams an Will Ogilvie
Ave points that rather andicap old Greene.
But what's the use of torkin, wot's the price?
There's the respect that weighs with Bill an me.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 June 1908

Note: This poem forms a part of the responses to The Bulletin's call for nominations for an Australian poet laureate. You can read another one here.

Poem: Song by "Young Fiffey"

"To any tune you like."

   All the times now are chang'd,
   All men's minds are derang'd,
They're turning hunters of gold. 'Tis too bad,
   Some leaving a station,
   Some pre-occupation;
By Jove, tbey are all California mad.

   Our great Poet's going,
   For gold he'll be hoeing,
Or maybe he'll wash the dust out of the sand.
   He's leaving a gold mine,
   That in his verse does shine,
Our own mighty Poet, the pride of our land.

   And when that he is gone,
   Oh! where will we find one
To write 'bout thie Bulls and the trials in town.
   There is not one fit, sir,
   With him to compete, sir,
From the great Aristocrat down to the Clown.

   Ye nine lovely beauties,
   (Oh teach him his duties,)
I pray you prevent him from going away.
   Pray keep him contended,
   With rhymes to be "prented,"

   For I certainly think he'll never say nay.
   For the rest of the chaps, What e'er their mishaps,
I care not a toss, what their fortune may be,
   For I am quite callous,
   To prose making fellows,
A rattling young rhymer's the fellow for me.

First published in The Argus, 9 July 1849

Poem: Hints in Season by Mrs Edward Caudle

Alas! what sore discomfiture poor scribblers labor under,
In every contribution the printer makes a blunder,
Errata constantly appear; while editorial sages
Declare that needful hands are unattainable for wages.
"All frantic rush for yellow ore," they ruefully exclaim,
"Disordering our city and exposing us to blame:
Did Bendigo, or Ballarat, or the Echunga Diggins,
Approximate old England, th' inimitable Dickens
Might issue " Household Words" in vain: aye, gentles, I avow it;
And if my ipse dixit's doubted, crave of Doctor Hewitt
The genuine opinion of his literary frater:) --
Could any human intellect presiding o'er a paper
Indulge its daily readers with a faultless publication,
While such a mania prevails? is their interrogation.
In justice to Victoria's press -- a suff'rer though I be too --
In favor of its Editors I must record my veto.
Oh! unpropitious epocha for literary men.
When nuggets, dust, quartz specimens, quite supersede the pen --
When social wrong lives unredressed; schemes worth consideration,
Are liable to sad mistakes, and oft non-publication.
Last Thursday morn the Herald made me use in one production
Instead of "consternation" the uncanny word "construction."
The Argus, in a rhyming scrap, with much chagrin I read,
Excluded my expression "heart" and substituted "head;"
But notwithstanding these and many errors here untold,
Attribute all to their true source:- Insatiate thirst for gold!
While speaking of this yellow fever -- (pry thee, no misprint)
I wish the Government would take a well intentioned hint :-
Contagion, fearful, fatal peril lurks insidiously
In fetid stagnant pools, which shock the nerves olfactory
Of Melbourne's doomed inhabitants; - aye, doomed I boldly say.
If these contaminations still pollute the public way!
Men of Victoria, arouse! destruction's seeds will sorely yield
Prolific harvest! -- Pestilence prepares to reap the field!
Death onward stalks with giant stride, insensible to pity,
Shaking his dart exultingly o'er this neglected city
Awake, I say, to action ! nor suffer the historic page
To chronicle your Town's perdition from its golden age!
And now, kind Editors, grave senators, good citizens, excuse
The unsophisticated candour of an English woman's muse,
Who having Melbourne's weal at heart would fain behold it flourish,
And mourns that such infectious germs its fertile breast should nourish,
Who hopes to see its literature assume a loftier rank --
The Arts and Sciences succeed the present mental blank.

First published in The Argus, 6 October 1852

Poem: The Poet's Visitors by P. Luftig (Peter Airey)

Kling-ling-ling-ling! They'll be breaking
   That poor bell-rope clean in two.
Would to Heav'n the Deuce were taking
   All the noisy, ringing crew!

"Boy! Who makes that row appalling?"
   "Sir, an ancient, dowdy dame,
Wrinkled, crinkled, comes a-calling;
   Wisdom is the lady's name."
"Boy! To sober statesmen send her
   Or to sages grey" (I said)
"They may possibly attend her --
   As for me -- I'm sick in bed."

"Boy, who's there?" "A frowsy, frigid,
   Rusty-dress-enveloped dame,
With an aspect stern and rigid --
   Madame Frugal is her name."
"Tell her that I'm not at leisure:
   She would bid me scrape and save;
Songs and flowers are all my treasure --
   Songs and flowers are all I crave."

"Boy! who's there?" "A young and slender
   Smiling dashing sort of dame,
Blest with eyes of bluest splendor,
   Freedom is the lady's name."
"Let her in! But, stay -- the darling
   Seems to chirp and chatter so --"
"Sir -- she's loud as any starling."
   "Starling? -- Thunder! Let her go!"

"Boy! Who's there?" "A damsel jolly,
   Gay of dress and light of mien,
Laughs and says her name is Folly --"
   "Folly, boy -- the Poet's Queen!
Bid her go, thou blockhead? Never!
   For where'er the poets roam,
Folly's faithful subjects ever,
   When she calls we're always home."

First published in The Bulletin, 3 March 1900

Poem: The Drovers in Reply by Edward Dyson

We are wondering why those fellows who are writing cheerful ditties
Of the rosy times out droving, and the dust and death of cities,
Do not leave the dreary office, ask a drover for a billet,
And enjoy 'the views,' 'the campfires,' and 'the freedom' while they fill it.

If it's fun to travel cattle or to picnic with merinoes,
Well the drover doesn't see it--few poetic raptures he knows.
As for sleeping on the plains beneath 'the pale moon' always seen there,
That is most appreciated by the man who's never been there.

And the 'balmy air,' the horses, and the 'wondrous constellations,'
The 'possum-rugs, and billies, and the tough and musty rations,
It's strange they only please the swell in urban streets residing,
Where the trams are always handy if he has a taste for riding.

We have travelled far with cattle for the very best of reasons--
For a living--we've gone droving in all latitudes and seasons,
But have never had a mate content with pleasures of this kidney,
And who wouldn't change his blisses for a flutter down in Sydney.

Night watches are delightful when the stars are really splendid
To the sentimental stranger, but his joy is quickly ended
When the rain comes down in sluice-heads, or the cutting hailstones pelter,
And the sheep drift with the blizzard, and the horses bolt for shelter.

Don't imagine we are soured, but it's peculiarly annoying
To be told by city writers of the pleasures we're enjoying,
When perhaps we've nothing better than some fluky water handy,
Whilst the scribes in showy bar-rooms take iced seltzer with their brandy.

The dust in town is nothing to the dust the drover curses,
And the dust a drover swallows, and the awful thirst he nurses
When he's on the hard macadam, where the wethers cannot browse, and
The sirocco drives right at him, and he follows twenty thousand.

This droving on the plain is really charming when the weather
Isn't hot enough to curl the soles right off your upper leather,
Or so cold that when the morning wind comes hissing through the grasses
You can feel it cut your eyelids like a whip-lash as it passes.

There are bull-ants in the blankets, wicked horses cramps, and 'skeeters,'
And a drinking boss like Halligan, or one like Humpy Peters,
Who is mean about the rations, and a flowing stream of curses
From the break of day to camping, through good fortune and reverses.

Yes, we wonder why the fellows who are building chipper ditties
Of the rosy times out droving and the dust and death of cities,
Do not quit the stuffy office, ask old Peters for a billet,
And enjoy the stars, the camp-fires, and the freedom while they fill it.

First published in Rhymes from the Mines and Other Lines 1896

Poem: To * * * * * *: Written for an Album by Iota

Oh! read these verses with indulgent eyes,
And since they're written for the book you prize,
Let them presume a vacant page to find
'Midst the chaste wreath, cull'd by your tasteful mind.

England's fam'd poet, when he made that pray'r *
To one he said he lov'd, like you perhaps fair;
Wish'd that her heart a vacant spot retained,
Where he might write the flame he felt, or feign'd.

Not mine that wish - I've been too long the sport
Of wayward Fate, and seldom I resort
Where beauty smiles; there's danger in her eye;
And, since I cannot fight, I always fly.

Australia now contains as sweet, as fair,
As lovely features as are found elsewhere:
But though 'tis sweet to gaze on beaming eyes,
I shun their glances and avoid surprise.

I could but love the loveliest - well for me,
Since fortune frowns, that my own heart is free;
Free as the life I lead, since now I roam
From wild to wild, and cannot boast a home.

You perhaps think all must love - well! be it so -
I love - I am not mad-not now - oh! no;
I love - sometimes to write my thoughts in books,
And gain a sunny smile from beauty's looks,

The thought now cheers me - perhaps when I'm forgot,
And roaming distant from this happy spot ;
That eyes, like yours, as brilliant, looks as fair,
May chance to linger for a moment there.

* See Moore's Poems - " Lines written for a scrap book."

First published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 31 July 1830

Poem: "Gone Bung!" by E. Newton McCulloch

There's a capital expression
Which -- to make a slight digression --
   Had Australia for its birthplace, though it's in the Saxon tongue.
For beautiful simplicity
In showing up duplicity
   Of every sort, you cannot beat the phrase, "Gone Bung!"

When "a wild cat scheme's" promoted,
And eventually floated,
   Through the pertinacious way in which its praises have been sung
By some papers interested,
Do the "lambkins" who invested
   Ever fully grasp the meaning of the words, "Gone Bung?"

When a man has made his money
By a " lucky spec.," it's funny
   Just to hear his brother-climbers, who are on a lower rung,--
"If it hadn't been for me, Sir,
"Where the devil would he be, Sir ?
   " Why, if I'd not stood his friend, Sir, he'd have just ' Gone Bung.' "

We have all heard, too, of nations
That won't keep their proper stations
   In the World's rank, but must "go the pace " - especially the young
Why they throw away their chances
And they ruin their finances
   By insensate emulation, with result -- "Gone Bung ! "

I might moralise for hours,
Were it not for failing powers
   (Though don't think that I'm referring to my powers of brain or lung,
As they never have been stronger).
But I can't write any longer,
   For the ink-pot's nearly empty and my pen's "gone bung!"

First published in The West Australian, 17 September 1894

Poem: Ballad by Delta

That song doth cause my tears to flow,
   My care-worn heart to mourn;
It calls to mind the days gone by,
   That never can return
It tells of hopes that brightly shone,
   When life was in its spring,
And love made earth a paradise,
   And life a charmed thing.
When joy lit up the face with smiles,
   And played the heart along;
And she I loved so fervently,
   Was wont to sing that song!

I bear those old, familiar words,
   And listen to that air,
Until my bosom's finest chords,
   A mournful echo are:
I've sat beneath the forest tree,
   That shades the humble cot,
Where dwelt my love, to hear her sing;
   How changed is now my lot:
The tree, the cot, are standing still,
   Where they have stood so long;
But she is sleeping in the grave,
   That used to sing that song!

First published in The Argus, 1 September 1851

Poem: To J--- K--- by D. L.


O Jamie, lad, ye should think shame,
Your yet unsullied name to stain,
By pilfering the works of others,
To prove you are poetic brothers.

'Tis hard to climb Parnassus height
By those who have not genius bright ;
But harder far to keep that road
Inspired by neither man nor God.

Many have tried its height to scale,
Who wished they ne'er had left the vale,
But been content, quite free from strife,
In the abode of humble life.

But should you still incline to scribble,
And at the muse desire to nibble :
Just try to weave it from your head,
Which will yield dross, tho' twere but lead.

But when you other media take,
To raise your fame, 'tis sad mistake;
You'd better in oblivion hide
Your unknown and ignoble head.

So, Jamie, don't neglect advice,
For you can have it at your price;
But should it make you rather pensive,
Be sure it was not meant offensive.

First published in The Argus, 8 January 1850

Poem: The Right by Edmund Teesdale

To those who spake in Freedom's cause!
   Those men of old,
Who formed and set her deathless laws
   In Godlike mould!
Who saw the truth, and spake it out
Till thousand throats took up the shout,
And bore it down the stream of time,
O'er every sea, through every clime,
      In cadence deep !

To those who bled in Freedom's van,
   In days gone by!
Who lifted up poor trampled man
   From Slavery.
And bade him gase beyond the earth ;
Who hewed the way for Freedom's birth,
And left their names on history's page,
The watchword of an after age
      In Freedom's fight !

To those who died. The martyr host
   Who gave their breath--
Who made the right their trust and boast,
   E'en to the death :
Enthusiast minds of impulse strong,
Crushed by Oppression's dastard throng :
Oh, may their deeds nerve heart and hand,
Their souls pervade each struggling band,
      Their faith uphold!

To those who sang the ragged rhyme
   In chorus wild,
Or tuned the sweet melodious chime
   In hymnings mild?
The prophet-bards who loved their kind,
And left their legacies of mind,
For man of every hue and name,
To feed the intellectual flame,
      And cheer the way.

To those who live amongst us now!
   Those patriot men
Who dare lift up the earnest brow
   And strive again?
Oh may we love and bear them up,
And snatch the hemlock from their cup;
Whilst side by side in Freedom's cause,
We struggle hard for equal laws
   With tongue and pen!

First published in The Argus, 12 May 1851

Poem: A Jacobite in Love by Edyson (Edward Dyson)

But few of us who live the life
   In single woe or beatitude,
Or take the customary wife,
   And raise the regulation brood,
Are really loved at any time
   With that fine frenzy which the bards
Have raved about in torrid rhyme.
   This fact the wiser man regards
With calm content, if but a few
Who love him not pretend they do.

No lurid loves have been our own,
   Which, like snap-dragon, offer sweets,
And burn the fingers to the bone
   That dip to take the dainty meats.
A dimpled form, a merry eye,
   A kindly heart -- this much for us,
And though she fail to melt and sigh
   We shall not make a graceless fuss,
If but she spice a little sense
Of liking with a warm pretence.

We boast unto no great extent
   Adoring us made many grieve,
But some have paid the compliment
   Of very pretty make-believe;
And looking back on one or two,
   On Ruth demure and radiant Rose,
In gratitude we weave a few
   Well-meaning rhymes, and here propose
For happy victims -- all the host --
"The Young Pretenders," boys, a toast.

First published in The Bulletin, 31 May 1906

Poem: The Bards Who Bite Your Lug by Edyson (Edward Dyson)

I love to hear my country's moods
   Translated into living song,
And walk with awe where multitudes
   Of sweet Australian singers throng.
But late suspicion comes to me --
   Not cannibal nor prowling Thug
Is half as dangerous as he,
   The bard who bites your lug!

He comes in many shapes, his guise
   Ascetic is or amorous;
His mood is sometimes old and wise,
   And sometimes young and frivolous.
If you're a reverent denizen,
   A simple, mute, admiring mug,
You feel a thrill ecstatic when
   The poet bites your lug.

How oft the suave, beguiling voice
   Has praised "that little thing" of mine!
How sweet the cadences: "How choice--
   How musical the second line!"
But well I knew the tones of guile
   Were but the operator's drug
To lull the sense to stupor while
   The poet bit my lug.

Ear-marked are half Australia's sons
   With teeth of poets blithe or dree,
And wise is he who reads and runs
   To dodge the child of poesy.
"Beware this animal, it bites!"
   Should be upon the forehead dug
Of that fine soul who rhymes and writes,
   The bard who bites your lug.

First published in The Bulletin, 2 August 1906

Poem: Shelley by Robert Wisdom

Thine was a love-fraught mission, glorious bard,
   To raise the flag of Liberty unfurled,
   And pave the way for truth throughout the world -
Hatred and calumny thy sole reward -
   Nature and Love and Poesy combined
   To mould and animate thy godlike mind.
Faith, Tyranny, and Custom thou did'st scorn -
   Foul mists that darken Truth's resplendent day -
And petty hopes and fears of low cares born,
   Spurning the dull earth and its joys away:
As far aloft by noblest impulse driven
   The eagle soars in majesty and might.
Beyond the clouds that 'neath the cope of Heaven
   Screen from his view the sun's etherial light.

First published in The Maitland Mercury, and Hunter River General Advertiser 4 February 1854

We are sated of songs that hymn the praise
Of a world beyond our ken;
We are bored by the ballads of beaten ways,
And milk and water men;
We are tired of the tales that lovers told
To the cooing, amorous dove;
We have banished the minstrelsy of old,
And the lyric of languid love,
While we stand where the ways of men have end,
And the untrod tracks commence,
We weary of songs that poets penned
In pastoral indolence.
The sleepy sonnet that lovers make
Where weeping willows arch
Cannot the passionate soul awake
Of men who outward march.
Our harps are hung in the towering
And the mulga low and gray
Our ballads are sung by every breeze
That flogs the sea to spray;
We want no lay of a moonlit strand
No idyll of daisied mead,
For the rhymes that our hearts can understand
Are the rhymes that our hearts can read.

First published in Jarrahland Jingles: A Volume of Westralian Verse 1908

Poem: The Spirit of Poetry by George Essex Evans


All things are Hers. Concealed or manifest,
   Found or unfound, Her Spirit lives in each --
Dumb till the Master-Soul its secret guessed
      And gave its silence speech.

All things are Hers. She is the Crystal Queen
   Of all men's vision, and the moving breath
Which through the greyness of the sordid scene
      Gloweth and quickeneth.

She is the flower-maid of the dreaming noon,
   The goddess of the temple of the night;
Where the berg-turrets gleam beneath the moon
      She builds Her throne of white.

She knows the Battle-Hymn of mighty wars
   When wind and ocean thunder on strand.
She knows the song the lonely river-bars
      Sing to the listening land.

Armoured and helmeted and spurred for fight
   She fires men's hearts to right the bitter wrong;
Yet sits She weaving of a summer night
      Flowers of a bridal song.

She gives the temper that has made men great
   And fashioned heroes out of common clay,
And welded firm into a mighty State
      The tribes of yesterday.

Youth's radiant vision, and the dreamy dawn
   Of the soft lovelight in a maiden's eyes,
And holiest joys of motherhood, are drawn
      By Her from Paradise.

She knows the Wheel-Song of the Stars that run
   Their glittering courses through the blue abyss.
Ere the round earth fell flaimg form the sun
      Her spirit was, and is.

She is the Phoenix, ever making true
   The dim tradition of the misty morn.
The crucible of science gives anew
      Her fairy form re-born.

All things are Hers -- but not with equal word
   Dowers She the pilgrims of the sacred shrine.
Only the Great Interpreters have heard
      Her melodies divine.

All things are Hers, and so to Her I bring
   Songs of the dreams that haunt me on my way --
I who scarce hear the rustle of Her wing
      Borne on the wind away!

First published in The Secret Key and Other Verses by George Essex Evans 1906

Poem: Brunton Stevens by George Essex Evans

The gentle heart that hated wrong,
   The courage that all ills withsood,
The seeing eye, the mighty song
   That stirred us into Nationhood,
      Have passed. What garlands can be spread?
      The Prince of Courtesy is dead.

The power that touched all human chords
   With wit that lightened thro' the years
Without a sting, whose tender words
   Unsealed the fountain of our tears -
      Ah! bow the heart and bend the head -
      The Prince of Courtesy is dead.

Great Singer of the South, who set
   Thy face to Duty as a star,
Though, in hushed skies of violet,
   Thy throne of kingship gleamed afar,
      Shall not the toil of common days
      And nobler lustre to thy days!

O Mighty Voice, whose words shall stand -
   When all our songs have ceased to be -
Steadfast, the watchwords of our land,
   The guide and torch of Liberty!
      The Master-Poet called afar,
      And thou at last hast found thy star!

First published in The Secret Key and Other Verses by George Essex Evans, 1906

Poem: A Dedication by Adam Lindsay Gordon

They are rhymes rudely strung with intent less
   Of sound than of words,
In lands where bright blossoms are scentless,
   And songless bright birds;
Where, with fire and fierce drought on her tresses,
Insatiable summer oppresses
Sere woodlands and sad wildernesses,
   And faint flocks and herds.

Where in dreariest days, when all dews end,
   And all winds are warm,
Wild Winter's large flood-gates are loosen'd,
   And floods, freed by storm,
From broken-up fountain heads, dash on
Dry deserts with long pent up passion --
Here rhyme was first framed without fashion --
   Song shaped without form.

Whence gather'd? -- The locust's glad chirrup
   May furnish a stave;
The ring of a rowel and stirrup,
   The wash of a wave;
The chaunt of the marsh frog in rushes,
That chimes through the pauses and hushes
Of nightfall, the torrent that gushes,
   The tempests that rave.

In the deep'ning of dawn, when it dapples
   The dusk of the sky,
With streaks like the redd'ning of apples,
   The ripening of rye.
To eastward, when cluster by cluster,
Dim stars and dull planets, that muster,
Wax wan in a world of white lustre
   That spreads far and high.

In the gathering of night gloom o'erhead, in
   The still silent change,
All fire-flush'd when forest trees redden
   On slopes of the range.
When the gnarl'd, knotted trunks Eucalyptian
Seem carved, like weird columns Egyptian,
With curious device, quaint inscription,
   And hieroglyph strange.

In the Spring, when the wattle gold trembles
   'Twixt shadow and shine,
When each dew-laden air draught resembles
   A long draught of wine;
When the sky-line's blue burnish'd resistance
Makes deeper the dreamiest distance,
Some song in all hearts hath existence, --
   Such songs have been mine.

First published in Some Australian Poets: Selections from the Works of Adam Lindsay Gordon, Henry Clarence Kendall and James B. Stephens edited by Alexander Sutherland, 1897

Poem: The Rejected Authors' Club by Creeve Roe (Victor Daley) Part 2

We have members in full measure:
Men of business and of pleasure,
Who in quiet hours of leisure
      Court the Muse.
Some are big men in the city,
Yet can write you poems pretty,
Or a sweet decadent ditty,
      When they choose.

And our Chairman is a German;
He's a firm man and a fair man,
And to quell a row a rare man --
      Six feet tall.
When he brings down his small hammer
There is then an end to clamour --
      Once for all.

Lord! 'Tis good to see their capers --
Bankers, brewers, wholesale drapers,
And proprietors of papers
      (Keep it dark!)
Who, o'er pen-names, write spring verses,
Which their Editors, with curses,
Chuck into their wicker hearse --
      What a lark!

And they do not write their stellar
Compositions in a cellar,
But each bard and story-teller
      Sits down square
By a bottle of best claret,
And cigars of nineteen carat --
Which you don't get in a garret,
      I can swear.

From a banker up in Warwick
We've an epic allegoric,
Full of color and caloric
      Upon Loans;
And an ode lies on our table
On the subject of the cable
Written by an author able --
      Name of Jones.

Yes, our club holds up its head -- there
Are some very fine things read there,
And fine literature bred there --
      Words that burn,
And no editors shall get them,
Though the want of them should fret them,
If they pine and sicken -- let them --
      It's their turn.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 September 1909

[Note: part 1 of this poem was posted last week.]

Poem: The Rejected Authors' Club by Creeve Roe (Victor Daley) Part 1

Trodden worms may turn -- to vipers,
There are bounds set to all gripers
Of the Chance -- from kings to swipers
      In a pub.
Certain gentlemen respected
In this town, and well-connected,
Have established The Rejected
      Authors' Club.

Now the Editor tyrannic
Shall no more with smile Satanic --
Or perhaps in jealous panic --
      Drop their screed
In his basket-grave infernal,
Wherein rest, in peace eternal,
Better things than in his journal
      People read.

Let that Editorial Vulture
In his pages give sepulture
To his friends' work; Men of Culture
      Will not care.
He no more shall bullyrag them,
Satirise and nag and scrag them --
For wild horses will not drag them
      To his lair.

They have found a place of meeting
That will take a lot of beating;
There you may, for moments fleeting
      Shoulders rub
With stout poets, rich and wary,
Who write verses light and airy --
And they've made me Secretary
      Of the Club.

Our club rooms -- we're no ascetics --
Are a lesson in aesthetics,
And our sofas are not bed ticks
If your saw our fine-cut glasses,
And our pictures -- each first-class is --
You would be -- and this no gas is --
      Much surprised.
In our club there no no needy
Bards or storytellers seedy,
Who demand with voices greedy
      Coin or gore --
No poor devils who with scowling
Brows write love-songs, while the prowling
Wolf of Hunger comes a-howling
      To their door.

If with us you chanced to mingle,
It would make your pulses tingle
Just to hear the joyful jingle
      Of the coin
In our pockets -- that's a chiming
That is better than your rhyming,
And your poor Parnassus climbing --
      Will you join?

First published in The Bulletin, 16 September 1909

[Note: part 2 of this poem will be posted next week.]

Poem: The Demoralising Effect of the Ostrich Habit by Foe

He never realised what the British command of the sea really meant until he engaged in that trip. - "Doctor" Ward, of Sydney Telegraph

The greatest editor is he
   Who trains each thinking cell,
So that he sees when he should see --
   When all the facts fit well.

The wisest editor you'll find,
   Of all the thinking throng
Is he who goes extremely blind
   When all the facts are wrong.

Now he who props a falling cause
   Like Freetrade, I surmise,
And is a medico of laws
   Must be both great and wise.

Therefore, he sees when all is well,
   And doesn't when it's not,
Because he's trained each thinking cell
   For sense or simple rot.

Self-hypnotised, he proves at will
   That black is virgin white;
Long years he practises until
   He comes to think he's right.

Then all is well; his agile brain
   O'er rocky places vaults;
And, if he would come back again,
   He lightly somersaults.

But turning Reason inside out --
   Rightly the sport of Youth --
Brings on short-sightedness and doubt
   And mars the hunt for Truth.

The fact long balanced on its head
   Is difficult to place
When you require the thing instead
   To look well on its base.

And facts seem hardly facts at all
   When many you have blinked,
And said the writing on the wall
   Was wrong -- or indistinct.

Then plain statistics in a row
   Convey no picture true;
Romance lives in each folio
   Of ev'ry book of blue.

To be "impressed" -- to "realise,"
   'Tis necessary then
To gaze on things with startled eyes,
   And peer and gaze again.

Then home you come with knowledge packed,
   And serve out from your store,
With pride and joy, some simple fact
   That all men knew before.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 September 1909

Poem: The Poet's Kiss by Henry Lawson (Part 2)

She pictured him with burning eyes,
   And heavy hair thrown back
From gloomy brows so worldly wise
   And sadly on the rack.
A wasted form -- transparent hands
   That angels might caress;
A heart that ached for many lands,
   And clean but careless dress.

She longed to take those hands of his,
   And, with her spirit, bow,
And kiss them, if she dared not kiss
   His lips, or gloomy brow.
She longed to look into his eyes,
   And ask him, with a sigh,
If they might meet in Paradise --
   And then go home and die.

They'd three green seasons after brown
   (So runs the world away);
They sent her down to Sydney town
   To have a holiday.
In fear and trembling -- yet with joy --
   In fluttering hope and doubt,
And, eager-hearted as a boy,
   She sought her poet out.

She found him too, no matter how,
   Nor does it matter where;
The gloom upon his grimy brow
   Was hidden by his hair.
The poet's words were thick and slow,
   The poet's chin was slack;
His bloodshot eyes were burning, though,
   And one of them was black.

His clothes were careless, right enough,
   But they were far from clean,
And he was, briefly -- in the rough --
   The Man He Might Have Been.
He heard her worship with a laugh,
   Her sorrow with a frown --
He scrawled a drunken autograph,
   And borrowed half-a-crown.

The sky is lead -- storm-waters whirl
   Down gullies deep and dark,
And there's a disillusioned girl
   Far out at Stringybark.
And, after all, there is a chance,
   This is a song of woe --
'Twas sung to buy a pair of pants,
   And that is all I know.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 May 1909
[Note: the first part of this poem was published last week .]

Poem: The Poet's Kiss by Henry Lawson (Part 1)

A comedy -- a tragedy --
   A broken head, or egg --
And some of us would laugh to see
   A blind man's wooden leg.
So much that seemeth sad is gay --
   That seemeth weal is woe --
That, till it's sung, I cannot say
   If this song's sad or no.

Her freckled face was small and sweet,
   Her large grey eyes were sad;
Through cold and slush, and dust and heat,
   She slaved to help her dad.
By ridges brooding ever now,
   And gullies deep and dark,
She milked the everlasting cow
   Out there at Stringybark.

It was a fearsome life indeed,
   That few might understand;
Her only pleasure was to read
   The poets of the land --
The songs of drovers far away,
   Of love, and city strife;
And Men that Might Have Been -- 'twas they
   Who brightened her young life.

And when the evening milk was set,
   And poddy calves were fed,
And when she'd cooked what she could get
   For Dad and Tom and Ted,
And when she'd penned the calves and bought
   The morning's firewood in,
She had a rest (as so she ought)
   And read THE BULLETIN.

There was a bard who sang the Bush,
   The ocean wide and wild,
The bushmen and the city push --
   She'd read him when a child:
He sang of Hope and grim despair,
   Of backs bent to the rod,
Of fights for freedom everywhere,
   And -- oh! he was her god.

He sang of gaunt bushwomen slaves,
   Of bush girls sad and lone;
Of broken hearts and lonely graves
   (Of others' and his own);
He sang of many a noble deed,
   And many an act of grace:
And, all her life, since she could read,
   She'd longed to see his face.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 May 1909
[The second part of this poem will be published next week.]

Poem: A Boomerang by D.M.W. (David McKee Wright)

It was a tender-pinioned little thing,
      The song I made.
I said: "Go spread your silver-silken wing,
Fly to the kindly editor and sing,
      All unafraid,
And home again some store of treasure bring."

Swiftly it sped upon its happy way
      Down the sweet wind;
It left its little perch at peep of day,
Three weeks in Sydney town it made its stay.
      "With thanks declined"
It fluttered home to say.

I sent it out upon another flight,
      But it came back;
No editor was gladdened at the sight,
Nor bade it sing for the dull world's delight;
      It learned the knack
Of boomeranging home again all right.

Now strive all fowls against my bird in vain,
      It bears the palm;
Home-seeking pigeons with despair are slain
What time the editor hath read my strain
      And said one damn,
For swift as light my song is back again.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 September 1909

Poem: Rod Quinn by John Le Gay Brereton

How many years, how many years have fled,
   Since in the cool dim parlour sat the three --
   Lawson and I and, lounging easily,
The beaming indolent poet! Then instead
Of labouring weary at the mill, we led
   The careless life of wanderers, frank and free,
   And had the wealth of a new-found world in fee:
How pitiless time gropes on with tireless tread!

A glass was raised, and golden liquor glowed
   When a ray from summer streets came piercing in;
      He drank the sunlight in the gloomy place!
And now I know the magic drink bestowed
   A vital golden splendour on Roderic Quinn,
      Which fumbling fingers of Time will scarce efface.

First published in Swag's Up! by John Le Gay Brereton, 1928

Poem: The Ineffable by Charles Harpur

Words are the special dies of Thought,
   And well they mint its gold,
But Feeling cannot so be brought
   Within their sublest mould.

With minds on some great theme intent,
   We seek to them at length,
And lo, we utter all we meant,
   To wonder at their strength.

But when we thought their might would wreak
   The expression, hardly sane,
Of highest joy or grief -- how weak
   We find them, and how vain?

Acting the bliss of feeling, Thought
   May seize her very air,
And then, as to her heaven upcaught,
   Its transports thus declare:

My joy floods out, like Horeb's rill
   Loosed by the Prophet's rod!
My soul, all light, with blissful will,
   Rays like a Star of God!

But Feeling's happy self the while,
   All silently apart,
May only wear a glowing smile,
   And breathe as from the heart.

Or Thought, to imitate her woe,
   May wildly cry aloud,
My peace is wasting as I go,
   Even like a summer cloud!

My spirit hath so deep a wound,
   No cure might be devised,
And shed like water on the ground
   Is all that most I prized.

While Feeling's self may only shake
   Her weary head, or start
To find how vainly words would break
   The silence of her heart.

Or when the holiest spirit, Love,
   Plumed with purpureal beams,
Comes like a heaven-descended dove,
   To nestle with our dreams;

In vain would Thought in words, though rich
   And rare as gems, reveal
That mystic grace of passion which
   We feel -- and can but feel.

But most, when Music's seraph-fire
   Runs kindling through the air,
Making it such as Gods respire,
   (And Gods perhaps are there!)

How vainly would the sublest wit
   Word-picture as they roll,
The clouds of glory it hath lit
   Like sunrise in the soul!

Like sunrise, when its conquering glow
   Smiles through the vapours cold,
Till all their ragged inlets flow
   With floods of burning gold!

The deep of the Ineffable --
   That Deep which none may sound,
Pours round us, with its breathing spell --
   Immeasurably round!

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 1 January 1876

Poem: White Paper by Sydney Jephcott

Smooth white paper 'neath the pen;
   Richest field that iron ploughs,
Germinating thoughts of men,
   Though no heaven its rain allows;
Till they ripen, thousand fold,
   And our spirits reap the corn,
In a day-long dream of gold;
   Food for all the souls unborn.

Like the murmur of the earth,
   When we listen stooping low;
Like the sap that sings in mirth,
   Hastening up the trees that grow;
Evermore a tiny song
   Sings the pen unto it, while
Thought's elixir flows along,
   Diviner than the holy Nile.

Greater than the sphering sea,
   For it holds the sea and land;
Seed of all ideas to be
   Down its current borne like sand.
How our fathers in the dark
   Pored on it the plans obscure,
By star-light or stake-fires stark
   Tracing there the path secure.

The poor paper drawn askance
   With the spell of Truth half-known,
Holds back Hell of ignorance,
   Roaring round us, thronged, alone.
O white list of champions,
   Spirit born, and schooled for fight,
Mailed in armour of the sun's
   Who shall win our utmost right!

Think of paper lightly sold,
   Which few pence had made too dear
On its blank to have enscrolled
   Beatrice, Lucifer, or Lear!
Think of paper Milton took,
   Written, in his hands to feel,
Musing of what things a look
   Down its pages would reveal.

O the glorious Heaven wrought
   By Cadmean souls of yore,
From pure element of thought!
   And thy leaves they are its door!
Light they open, and we stand
   Past the sovereignty of Fate,
Glad amongst them, calm and grand,
   The Creators and Create!

First published in The Secrets of the South: Australian Poems by Sydney Jephcott (1892)

Poem: Words by Charles Harpur

Words are Deeds.
The words we hear
May revolutionize or rear
A mighty state.
The words we read
May orb a spiritual deed
Excelling any fleshly one,
As much as the celestial sun
Transcends a bonfire, made to throw
A light on some Raree-show.
A simple proverb, tagged with rhyme,
May colour half the course of time;
The pregnant saying of a sage
May influence every coming age;
A song in its effects may be
More glorious than Thermopylae;
While a great Book is in my view
A greater deed than Waterloo,
And many a lay that schoolboys scan
A nobler feat than Inkermann.

[Note: I'm not sure when this poem was first published; Austlit puts it as An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens (1907). I'd guess it was originally published in an obscure New South Wales newspaper that is yet to be indexed, or was found in the poet's papers after his death in 1868.]

Poem: To What Base Use by Milky White (E.S. Emerson)

A bush bar held an old bush bard
   ('Twas yesternight at Got-a-thirst),
Beered-up, and whiskied, and three-starr'd --
   In fact, a bush bard on the burst.

And he was knocking down a cheque
   For poems supplied, and shouting beer
And fags for many a social wreck,
   Who, one by one, did chew his ear.

And what time blue and green and grey
   And yellow things climbed over him,
He spoke in an instructive way
   Of jams whose Christian name is Jim.

"They all have uses, friends," he said.
   "Observe that lizard on the bar;
Note the curved horns upon his head --
   He's worth at least a three-inch par.

"And that brown toad, with lips as blue
   As Buckley's chance, and that young snake,
With nineteen tails of different hue,
   They'll both good nature-studies make.

"I'd like to photograph them now,
   But -- see those scorpions on the chair!
They've both got udders like a cow,
   And cloven hoofs and golden hair!

"They form a genus of their own.
   S. platycerus, from the East;
Ah! what a pity they have flown;
   They meant an article at least.

"But never mind! This centipede --
   Note his dog-teeth, how huge and grim!
No doubt, no doubt I shall succeed
   To make Miltonic verse of him.

"And this" -- he rose and gripped the boss,
   And threw him heavily and knelt
Upon his bulky chest -- "this cross
   Between a pumpkin and a pelt,

"I'll screw its neck and bottle it
   In spirits, till a way I see
To dish it up well trimmed with wit --
   As Aboriginality."

But, oh! alas! that old bush bard,
   That old bush bard upon the burst,
He slept last night on something hard
   Down in the quod of Got-a-thirst.

And whilst this morn his head doth ache
   And all his senses seem to swim,
He knows the local rag will make
   A great big paragraph of him.

First published in The Bulletin, 11 March 1909

Poem: After Many Years by Henry Kendall

The song that once I dreamed about,
   The tender, touching thing,
As radiant as the rose without --
   The love of wind and wing --
The perfect verses, to the tune
   Of woodland music set,
As beautiful as afternoon,
   Remain unwritten yet.

It is too late to write them now --
   The ancient fire is cold;
No ardent lights illume the brow,
   As in the days of old.
I cannot dream the dream again;
   But when the happy birds
Are singing in the sunny rain,
   I think I hear its words.

I think I hear the echo still
   Of long-forgotten tones,
When evening winds are on the hill
   And sunset fires the cones;
But only in the hours supreme,
   With songs of land and sea,
The lyrics of the leaf and stream,
   This echo comes to me.

No longer doth the earth reveal
   Her gracious green and gold;
I sit where youth was once, and feel
   That I am growing old.
The lustre from the face of things
   Is wearing all away;
Like one who halts with tired wings,
   I rest and muse to-day.

There is a river in the range
   I love to think about;
Perhaps the searching feet of change
   Have never found it out.
Ah! oftentimes I used to look
   Upon its banks, and long
To steal the beauty of that brook
   And put it in a song.

I wonder if the slopes of moss,
   In dreams so dear to me --
The falls of flower, and flower-like floss --
   Are as they used to be!
I wonder if the waterfalls,
   The singers far and fair,
That gleamed between the wet, green walls,
   Are still the marvels there!

Ah! let me hope that in that place
   The old familiar things
To which I turn a wistful face
   Have never taken wings.
Let me retain the fancy still
   That, past the lordly range,
There always shines, in folds of hill,
   One spot secure from change!

I trust that yet the tender screen
   That shades a certain nook,
Remains, with all its gold and green,
   The glory of the brook.
It hides a secret to the birds
   And waters only known:
The letters of two lovely words --
   A poem on a stone.

Perhaps the lady of the past
   Upon these lines may light,
The purest verses, and the last
   That I may ever write.
She need not fear a word of blame --
   Her tale the flowers keep --
The wind that heard me breathe her name
   Has been for years asleep.

But in the night, and when the rain
   The troubled torrent fills,
I often think I see again
   The river in the hills;
And when the day is very near,
   And birds are on the wing,
My spirit fancies it can hear
   The song I cannot sing.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 July 1898

Poem: An Encouragement to Literature by Silas Snell (Edward Dyson)

Premier Murray explains that the Vic. Government has appointed a new hangman. The payment he receives is 2s. a day as a retaining fee and £3 for an execution. The man is known as plain "Smith of Victoria," but his real identity is kept dark.

Who would not be a hangman fine,
   A hero of the choking rope?
   The job extends a wider scope
Than offers in another line
For thought profound and dreams divine.

The hangman whiles his hours away
   'Twixt catting backs and breaking necks,
   With no grim cares his soul to vex;
For though he have no man to flay
He gaily draws two bob a day.

From hangings and from floggings he
   Can turn, and sweet occasion find
   To feed his eye, improve his mind --
How glad would any poet be,
Endowed with Smith's retaining fee!

But stay! M.'sP. have striven with
   A hope to smooth the lot austere
   That waits on men of letters here;
A strong suspicion whispereth --
An Austral bard is Mr. Smith!

He coils the rope, the cat resigns;
   And now the bard has ample time
   To build anew the lofty rhyme,
Well knowing (though the press declines)
That men will hang upon his lines.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 March 1909

Poem: The Golden Vein by C.G.A. Colles

Some sing the songs of the storied past, and some of the lights-o'-love;
Some chant refrains of the underworld, and some of the world above,
Let each man sing of the things he feels in a voice that is clear and strong,
That each shall achieve the work of his heart and add to his nation's song.

For there's often a twist of the master-hand in the build of a hodman's brain
That his fellows may fail to understand if he speak not the trite and plain;
And an inexpensive and puerile wit may gird at the thought in rhyme,
Unaware of the message enwrapt in it, addressed to a broader time.

For many a body is like a hearse -- its passenger dead within;
And there's many a mouth to gibe at a verse with a sneering, cynical grin,
While its fellow, bred on the same coarse fare, must suffer the jeers inane,
For beneath the grime of his sordid life is a shoot of the golden vein.

Yea, a man may stand in a dingy bar and traffic in beer and rum,
And the soul of the man go wand'ring far -- though the voice of his soul be dumb --
Apart from the barman's meaner self, a thing of another sphere,
Abhorring the stale tobacco smoke, and loathing the smell of beer.

For there's many a good sea-song been writ in a city garret bare;
And some have scaled the Olympian heights at the head of a creaky stair;
And some have sat on an office stool and dreamed of the deeper things,
While the chrysalis-soul of the man's desire bides ever with folded wings.

Let each man sing of the things he feels, in a voice that is sure and strong,
That each shall achieve the work of his heart, and add to his nation's song;
That the dream of a miner touch the stars, and a barman hear the bees,
And the cabman's soul go out to the bush, and the pawn-broker's to the seas!

First published in The Bulletin, 16 January 1908

Poem: "Thou Shalt Write" by Horace Halloran

"I'll write no more!" the poet said,
   Sore goaded by the critics' sneers --
Down drooped his fine leonine head,
   His eyes were dim with unshed tears.

"Oh little men of little minds!
   Oh madly throbbing heart and brain!"
He hurled his papers to the winds
   (His ink went through a window pane).

"I'll write no more" -- he seemed to choke --
   Then broke in twain his trusty quill,
When, lo! a voice behind him spoke:
   "'Ere, wot about this washin' bill?"

The poet's soul flamed in his cheek,
   He turned the hireling base to quell --
Then sitting down with aspect meek,
   Began once more to write like --

First published in The Bulletin, 6 February 1908

Poem: Two Sonnets by Henry Kendall


I purposed once to take my pen and write,
   Not songs, like some, tormented and awry
   With passion, but a cunning harmony
Of words and music caught from glen and height,
And lucid colours born of woodland light
   And shining places where the sea-streams lie.
But this was when the heat of youth glowed white,
   And since I've put the faded purpose by.
I have no faultless fruits to offer you
   Who read this book; but certain syllables
   Herein are borrowed from unfooted dells
And secret hollows dear to noontide dew;
And these at least, though far between and few,
   May catch the sense like subtle forest spells.


So take these kindly, even though there be
   Some notes that unto other lyres belong,
   Stray echoes from the elder sons of song;
And think how from its neighbouring native sea
The pensive shell doth borrow melody.
   I would not do the lordly masters wrong
   By filching fair words from the shining throng
Whose music haunts me as the wind a tree!
   Lo, when a stranger in soft Syrian glooms
Shot through with sunset treads the cedar dells,
And hears the breezy ring of elfin bells
   Far down by where the white-haired cataract booms,
He, faint with sweetness caught from forest smells,
   Bears thence, unwitting, plunder of perfumes.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 11 October 1879

Poem: Poets of the Tomb by Henry Lawson

The world has had enough of bards who wish that they were dead,
'Tis time the people passed a law to knock 'em on the head,
For 'twould be lovely if their friends could grant the rest they crave --
Those bards of `tears' and `vanished hopes', those poets of the grave.
They say that life's an awful thing, and full of care and gloom,
They talk of peace and restfulness connected with the tomb.

They say that man is made of dirt, and die, of course, he must;
But, all the same, a man is made of pretty solid dust.
There is a thing that they forget, so let it here be writ,
That some are made of common mud, and some are made of GRIT;
Some try to help the world along while others fret and fume
And wish that they were slumbering in the silence of the tomb.

'Twixt mother's arms and coffin-gear a man has work to do!
And if he does his very best he mostly worries through,
And while there is a wrong to right, and while the world goes round,
An honest man alive is worth a million underground.
And yet, as long as sheoaks sigh and wattle-blossoms bloom,
The world shall hear the drivel of the poets of the tomb.

And though the graveyard poets long to vanish from the scene,
I notice that they mostly wish their resting-place kept green.
Now, were I rotting underground, I do not think I'd care
If wombats rooted on the mound or if the cows camped there;
And should I have some feelings left when I have gone before,
I think a ton of solid stone would hurt my feelings more.

Such wormy songs of mouldy joys can give me no delight;
I'll take my chances with the world, I'd rather live and fight.
Though Fortune laughs along my track, or wears her blackest frown,
I'll try to do the world some good before I tumble down.
Let's fight for things that ought to be, and try to make 'em boom;
We cannot help mankind when we are ashes in the tomb.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 October 1892

Poem: On Adam Lindsay Gordon by A. Patchett Martin

We know thy tale, and rashly deem it crime,
   O Bard! who won us with thy wild bush songs;
No more shall we in thy deep passionate rhyme
   Read the fresh utterance of a poet's wrongs.
Thy end was sad-cut off in Life's full prime,
   When Fame seemed nigh, and all else that belongs
To high endeavour. Who, alas! can tell
   The hidden sources of thy soul-felt woes?
Thou did'st not murmur, but th' untimely bell
   Rang out that thou and this cold world were foes.
Ah! when he sailed, young, resolute, and proud,
   From England's shore, to make a home on this.
Perchance some maiden weeping in the crowd,
   Cared for naught else beside his parting kiss.

First published in The West Australian, 3 October 1885

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

Poem: The Sick Dray-Horse by Kodak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

Melbourne horses have been suffering greatly with influenza. - News Item.

Horse poets have sung in this cantering metre the deeds of the moke and the way they were done,
Of brave steeplechasing, mad charges and musters; of cups of great value and how they were won;
The race-horse, the pack-horse, the colt and the filly, the mare and the gelding -- they've all had their say.
Now here's how the dray-horse contracted the "flu" by absorbing the germs that were hid in the hay.

The life of a dray-horse is dreadfully sordid -- he toils in the shafts that the fav'rite may fling
The mud of defiance on following horses when flying for home to the "roar of the ring"
(Which technical phrase is a trifle confusing unless you're well up in the verses of those
Who've sung in this jiggity-joggity metre the) -- What's that? The dray-horse's story? Here goes!

His name doesn't matter -- his pedigree either. I'm ignorant, too, of the date of his birth.
I really don't know whereabouts he was bred, but no doubt it was somewhere on top of the earth.
He hadn't a point you could hang one poor verse on; not once in his life had he been near a course;
He worked for his living by drawing a milk-cart; he was, in plain speech, "just an average horse."

The life of the suburbs -- that doleful existence -- ne'er quickened his stride nor affected his ears
(You've noticed no doubt, in the horse poets' verses how his brute goes on when the multitude cheers);
"He pricked up his ears and shot out like an arrow by shouting released from the galloping crowd;
I muttered 'Good boy!'" -- and so on and so forth. (I'm convinced such verses should not be allowed.)

He had no adventures, this dray-horse I speak of; his nerves they were steady -- he lived on a farm,
He had no occasion to rush at high fences, nor gallop like mad at a midnight alarm;
He knew not bush-fires, nor troopers, nor bookies; he'd no habit of snorting when war trumpets blew;
He hadn't a vice and he hadn't a virtue. His only performance was catching the "flu."

I may be allowed to remark ere proceeding, a horse of this kind makes a terrible job,
You simply can't stretch him much more than a column; his value in ink is about twenty bob;
But having adroitly made up five long verses, I'll put down the fact that you all along knew.
In proper horse language: "The gallant old fellow was down in his stall.

He'd contacted the 'flu.'" "We treated him well" -- you observe I continue to write in the poet's pathetical strain --
"But spite of bran mashes and ev'ry attention, he never got up in the stable again;
He died like the game 'un he was just at daybreak. I broke down and sobbed as his last breath he drew.
God grant his old ghost in the Paddocks of Peter will never again catch the merciless 'flu.'"

First published in The Bulletin, 8 October 1908

Poem: Two Minutes by C.J. Dennis

"Armistice Day emphasises sharply our obligations to the thousands of Australian soldiers who are waging a grim, exhausting fight against the cruel rigors of unemployment and adversity." - From a leading article.

The Armistice....A silence shrouds the city:
   Men's heads are bowed and many an eye is wet,
As minds con o'er an olden tale of pity,
   Of grief and terror no man may forget.
Then thro' the silence break old sounds - the cheering,
   The marching feet, the clattering limber wheel;
And, thro' the tears, blurred pictures are appearing
   Of leaf-brown soldiers and the glint of steel.

The Armistice....A sound comes now of weeping:
   New pictures form, and merge, and fade away
In grim succession, thro' the dread years creeping
   Unto the dawning of this Glorious Day.
"The Peace! The Victory!" Done is the grieving,
   As thro' the land speeds that exultant roar.
Yet, thro' it all, a thread of pain goes weaving -
   Pain for the men who marched to march no more.

The Armistice....Now bugles cease their wailing;
   The Silence ends, and life flows on, once more....
And this our tribute; what is it availing
   While living warriors still plead at our door?
Warriors yet, grown old, but ever keeping
   The grim fight on, unarmed, unmailed, unled.
Is all our debt to quit ghosts, long sleeping?
   Mourner, return. You would not mock the dead?

First published in The Herald, 11 November 1931

Poem: Mortgaged by Hugh McCrae

These spotted trousers, now too short,
Were once some verses smoothly wrought,
The worn-out bluchers on my feet
Twin sonnets to My Lady Sweet,
This "decker" hanging round my nose
The product of an ODE TO ROSE;
The collar, tie and underpants
Are still an editor's advance
For some wild Bacchanalian song
The gods, I hope, will send along...
To work a dead horse off one's hand
(More so, of Pegasus's brand)
Is what a poet hates to do,
Yet still is what Fate drives us to.
Ah me, I feel my soul is ripe
For forty couplets' worth of tripe,
Three lines of beer, a verse of bread,
But O ... I'll have to pay instead
   That d___d old Editor!!

First published in The Bulletin, 27 August 1908

Poem: Carnival Time by C.J. Dennis

The present Melbourne Cup Carnival promises to be, from many points of view, one of the most successful. Clubs and hotels are taxed to the limit for accommodation, and everywhere men speak confidently of returning prosperity.

Now is the season of Carnival.
   Who's for the sunlit course?
Who's for the beat of galloping feet
   And the day and the way of the horse?
Who joins the dance, tho' Lady Chance
   Pleasure or pain may yield,
Who comes to the call of Carnival?
   "Seven to four the field!"

This is the week of the Carnival
   And the sign of a brighter dawn In men's affairs.
Who sheds old cares
   Where gay frocks fleck the lawn?
Who would forget old days of fret?
   Who comes to the call of mirth
And the conquering steeds? ... They're off! Who leads?
   And the hoof beats spurn the earth.

Then, Hi! for the height of Carnival,
   Gayer than all gone past:
And the nameless fears of the deadening years
   Forsake men's minds at last.
Bright jackets flash beneath the sun
   As the roar of the crowd begins,
And lifts and swells at a great home run:
   "Who leads? Who lasts? Who wins?"

Ho! for the call of Carnival!
   Way for the Sport of
Kings! And men, grown sane, turn once again
   To all that high hope brings.
Who's for the Carnival? Who grows gay
   Where galloping Fortune speeds
Around the turn to gallop our way
   With the galloping, galloping steeds?

First published in The Herald, 6 November 1933
[Today is Melbourne Cup Day.]

Poem: The Man Next Door by Kodak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

Fragments of song around me lie,
   Fair ballads of delight,
Sweet things an editor would buy
   And treasure at first sight;
All broken now, they're but a heap
   Of paper on the floor.
(Some night, armed with an axe, I'll leap
   Upon the fiend next door!)

Whene'er a verse I try to write,
   Or spin a story gay,
There comes a howling in the night
   That chases thought away;
Then, throwing down the pen, I call
   Down curses on his roar.
(Some night, with daggers three, I'll fall
   On him who shrieks next door!)

If I am feeling fit and well,
   And forth the inkpot bring,
He gives a wild and dismal yell
   And starts his bellowing.
I glare upon him from above
   As round his room he prowls,
While all the songs I most do love
   He mangles into howls.

The golden guineas fade away,
   The bailiff waits without;
I curse each agonising bray,
   I curse each empty shout;
My pen is still, my brain is numb,
   My senses sick and sore.
(I've asked for something swift to come
   And slay the Noise next door!)

First published in The Bulletin, 16 July 1908

Poem: "So Nice" by D.M.W. (David McKee Wright)

A poet's crown is mostly made of thorns.
His throne is something fashioned like a cross.
His singing robes are mentioned in the bill
The tailor sends what time the month is young.
His rhymes are all of gold, but nosey men
Regard his paper as of little worth.
The washerlady cannot understand.
The grocer will not take his grandest ode
As an exchange for butter. Woe is me!
Old Homer singing when the world was young
Had better luck. The butcher at the gate
Paused wondering when he sang, and gave him forth
Three sausages for each hexameter.
The milkman called on Sappho, pouring out
Measures of milk for each stately line,
And also cream on Sundays. Ovid too,
In banishment beyond the Euxine wave,
Had but to troll a song of gods and loves,
And all the Gothic swine-herds rendered pork
In token of their homage. Times are changed.
The only things my golden rhymes will buy
Are Mary's smiles. If these were edible,
Then were my larder largely stocked indeed.
Yet must I sing. Mary is darning socks,
And when the ode has end her dear lips frame
Three golden words, three only, every time;
She bites a thread and murmurs, "It is nice."

First published in The Bulletin, 10 September 1908

Poem: Boronia by Waif Wander (Mary Fortune)

Welcome, sweet Spring, but not for wealth
   Of wattle bloom, or daffodil,
Or violets, or lilies fair,
   Or perfumed, pale jonquil;
We love them all, but willingly
   We would them all delete,
Rather than lose thy heavenly breath,
   Boronia, brown and sweet.

Thou fair, fair West, what wealth is then,
   Thy kauri forests grand,
Thy happy homesteads, and thy stretch
   Of green, productive land;
Thy streamlets margined rich with flowers,
   Thy rivers deep and wide,
Where the graceful black swans thou hast limned
   For thy insignia glide.

Thou hast thy "Gold of Ophir," too,
   Where in the deep, dark mine,
With hidden wealth for workers' hands
   The wine-red rubies shine;
We envy not thee one or all,
   But gladly turn to greet
Thy spring-sent messages of love,
   In brown Boronia sweet.

The lover lays thee on his lips,
   And sighs for kisses fled,
The mother lays thee on her breast,
   And weeps her baby dead;
I place thy by my weakling pen,
   And Heaven-sent tidings greet,
For well I know thou hast been there,
   Boronia, brown and sweet.

First published in The Australasian, 23 September 1907

[Thanks to Lucy Sussex for providing this.]

Poem: Mr. Fillemupagain by Creeve Roe (Victor Daley)

When you first come to the city
   With a seething rural brain,
And are just a little witty,
   And, though verdant, not too vain --
You will meet a jovial fellow,
   With a beaming smile and bland,
Who will state, in accents mellow,
   That he's proud to shake your hand.

      He will ask you, then, to test
      Any drink you fancy best,
And if times are very flush with him he'll treat you to champagne,
      He will fill you, good and square,
      To the tap-roots of your hair --
For a free and festive soul is Mr. Fillemupagain.

He will stand in pose dramatic,
   Like a histrionic star,
And remark in tones emphatic,
   Which will echo through the bar,
That he's read your Book of Verses,
   Which he knows will bring you fame...
You'll imbibe your drink with curses,
   But you'll listen all the same.

      You will see him everywhere.
      He has always time to spare.
You will meet him on the Block, and in the most secluded lane.
      You are bound to strike him, too,
      At each musical shivoo --
For a plentiful old bird is Mr. Fillemupagain.

Grown familiar then, and bolder,
   He will talk till all is blue;
And, while weeping on your shoulder,
   He will quote your verse to you;
Till you wish that ere you'd written
   Rhymes, in idle moments bred,
You had been by someone smitten
   With a hammer on the head.

      But he doesn't care a rap,
      And calls you "Dear old chap!"
And defies the crowd to name a Bard, in colored print of plain,
      Who is fit to lace the shoes
      Of your shovel-footed Muse --
Oh, a gushing, slushing friend is Mr. Fillemupagain!

Young Bush Genius, pray take warning,
   And, when you behold him -- flee!
If you do not, some fine morning,
   On the road to Waverley,
He will -- when your hearse draws level
   With his pub -- say, with a wink,
"Yes, I knew him well, poor devil:
   He destroyed himself with drink."

      He admires your writings much;
      And your fine poetic touch
Makes the Toohey tears run down his nose in sentimental rain;
      But when cold you lie and dumb,
      He will say you wrote on Rum,
For a Fiend disguised in Fat is Mr. Fillemupagain.

First published in The Bulletin, 10 June 1899
[In the last stanza above, "Toohey" refers to the Sydney brewery.]

Poem: The Feast of Life by Louis Esson

      "The Pride of Life has ceased;
      Life is no more a Feast,
A banquet that the Pagan gods provide."
      So in a chamber bare,
      Upon an attic stair,
The Poet penned his lurid ode with pride.

      "Vixi." He dipped his pen
      In purple ink, and then
Wrote: "Semiramis I have looked upon,
      Seen wall o'er high wall rise
      Until the threatened skies,
And hanging gardens ranged round Babylon.

      "At Athens, Carthage, Tyre,
      I gratified desire;
In beaked Phoenician ships I made my way.
      In Egypt, by old Nile,
      I learned the Sphinx's guile,
And I have flung the dice in Nineveh.

      "The world grows drab and grey,
      But I have had my day.
The Golden House of Nero was my home.
      Once, when the Eagles soared
      And Caesar's legions roared,
I wore the purple of Imperial Rome.

      "Of Joy appointed Priest
      I spread the gorgeous Feast
Of peacocks' brains and tongues of nightingales.
      Flower crowned, drank Coan wine
      In festivals divine
At thought of which the stoutest stomach quails,

      "On silken couch reclined
      Like gods we lay and dined,
Refreshed with Dacian combat, Grecian song;
      On ladders dwarfs tossed balls,
      Birds sang round frescoed walls,
And Syrian damsels swayed to flute and gong.

      "What cared I that the flood
      Of Time was choked with blood
When Martial mocked, and Ovid tales did spin?
      Their verses crooned that bliss is
      But roses, wine and kisses,
What though the Stoic Schools which deem it sin!

      "The List of Life is done.
      We turn beneath the Sun
Bound to the iron wheel of Circumstance.
      But poets yet shall rise
      To offer sacrifice
Within the smoking temples of Romance.

      "Drag to the dust cold Truth
      That, pledged to recless Youth.
Of Pleasure I be King; of Sun, High Priest.
      Yea, I would rule once more
      A Roman Emporer,
Though all the world were butchered for one Feast."

      The youth disbursed his rent,
      Then brushed his hair, and went
To find a place where food was not too dear.
      A waitress came; and shy
      He stammered, said he'd try
A bath bun, and a glass of ginger beer.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 July 1908

Poem: The Poet by Kokak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

Continuing, Mr Lasker argued that bursaries should be tenable at the University in courses other than the arts and part of the science course. What was the use of such a literary degree to a poor man? He might get a position as a tutor. Mr Hogue: He might develop into a poet. - Daily paper.

To be a poet is to bring
A furrowed brow, a piece of string,
And pen and ink and paper white Into a lonely room at night,
And, while the wingéd hours do fly,
To write a rhyme a crown will buy.
Whereas, when first ye sat ye down,
Ye dreamed the rhyme would buy a crown.

To be a poet is to owe,
And here and there in stealth to go;
To fly on swift impassioned feet
From wrathful traders in the street;
For odes and lyrics, tho' they be
Exquisite, are not currency.
No butcher will an MS. take
As fair exchange for good rump steak.

To be a poet is to graze
Old Pegagsus for many days
Upon the dismal fields of hash,
And afterwards to flog and lash
The ancient steed, who loudly squeals,
And spurns the paper with his heels,
Till he arrives, foam-splashed and spent,
Where the ode ends that pays the rent.

To be a poet, I'm afraid,
Is but a sorry sort of trade.
The poet never can compete
With grocers who sell things to eat;
And golden dreams, and visions bright,
Will never stay an appetite.
Likewise the yearnings of the soul
Don't equal one small sausage-roll.

Ah! often from my attic high
I've watched banana-men go by.
And thought how vain 'twould be to shove
A truck piled high with odes to Love,
And lyrics sweet, and sonnets too,
About the suburbs, as they do
The yellow fruit we know so well,
Which seems so readily to sell.

He is a wretched fool indeed
Who yearns the intellect to feed.
A poet cannot sink his teeth Into the freshest laurel-wreath.
Oft, when from lodgings I've been sent,
I've thought "There's little nourishment
In writing verse. At any price,
A poem is but food for mice."

First published in The Bulletin, 19 March 1908

Poem: "Ars Longa, Lodger Brevis" by Nero

He came to stay, across the way. The landlady was proudly gay,
   For he was no "rough workin' man,"
But read a book with studious look, or p'raps a pen and paper took
   To give his wondrous thoughts a plan.

For he was learned. 'Twas said he earned much gold by verse that in him burned;
   He toned the squalid street anew,
When he would go with footstep slow, and meditating brow and low,
   Past, when the evening odors blew.

"There goes ther pote," with awestruck note, would slip the gaping youngster's throat,
   As by their shabby cots he went;
And maidens too, brown-eyed and blue, blushed shyly as he sauntered through
   With weight of inspiration bent.

But lack-a-day! It's say to say what happened one regretful day,
   Or rather night. His dreamy eye
Forgot to dream, as it would seem, for, ere the morn's most youthful beam,
   He'd flown, and left his rent-bill high.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 July 1908

Poem: The Victor by Kodak (Ernest O' Ferrall)

A fierce, gray wind blows out of the north,
   And the ghosts go forth in pairs.
The ARGUS rises in holy wrath
   And the lodger falls down the stairs.

The crimson eye of the candle wick
   Looks out of its cowl of flame;
A bailiff pounds with a heavy stick,
   And calleth aloud my name.

I see no gold in the inkpot dry
   (I KNOW there's none in my purse),
And so I list to his hopeless sigh,
   And hearken unto his curse.

And then I mount to the fanlight high,
   And gaze on his want of hair;
On bended knee he hath glued his eye
   To the lock! The KEY is there!

But he stareth in with all his soul,
   Like the ghost the gods desise,
That glares for ever through some small hole
   In the gate of Paradise.

I marvel much how he keeps so fat,
   And what is his lordly fee;
But what I really feel flattered at
   Is his kneeling down to ME!

A bailiff stout is a noble sight,
   While I am a poet small;
And yet -- hath he not this very night
   Knelt down in my dusty hall!

I'll spare -- as a victor may -- his life
   And let him depart in peace,
Tho' I might have flung a paper-knife
   And given his soul release!

An evil wind blows out of the north,
   And the ghosts walk hand in hand;
The ARGUS rises in holy wrath,
   And is hard to understand.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 February 1908

Poem: Meditations on a Pawn Ticket by Henry Lawson

Let carrion conspire to damn my name,
The rocky roadway to enduring fame
I have explored, and I have paid the cost,
For one by one my chattels I have tossed
Unto the bandits who in ambush lurk,
And thrive so very well who seldom work.
Assistant porters agitate my hand,
And find me cushioned seat, nor make demand
Of cash, for in the pocket of my vest
I hold the passport to the regions blest.
For this, my badge of pride, I sniff disdain
On lazy men who failed to catch the train,
Who, groping for some priceless collar-stud,
Their passage lost, but found a deal of mud.
With much placidity I gaze afar
On one who, in his snorting motor-car,
Shutters the sunshine from his goggled face,
And strives to emulate my aërial pace.
For well I know how he is handicapped,
And drugged and stiffened and in luxury lapped.
And most profoundly do I guess his ire
When large tin-tacks rise up to burst his tyre;
Or when some guardian of celestial order
Disputes his right to scorch across the border.

And so, because I sit on Fortune's knee,
I call the guard; he with humility
Takes of my orders due delivery
That I (I mention pain and penalty
And special care for men like Carnegie)
Must not at any cost disturbed be.
I lodge complaint, for that there is a draught
Somewhere. I smite the man and vow him daft,
And bid him draw the blind, cover my shanks;
All this he does, and so, to earn his thanks,
I give him twopence; he forgets his scars,
And sings my praises to the blushing stars.
And now, to ponder o'er my present state,
I give me up to calmly cogitate.

My old friends, Crabbe and Dryden, I have pawned --
The gods know best, and often I have yawned
Their leaves among, and sought for louder lays
That voiced the tumult of existing days.
What of it? Is it not made manifest
That he who seeks the Muses with full zest
Shall be the coal of his own altar fire,
Or come to buying furniture on hire?
Why quarrel with the gods? Are they not good
Who hand us bills-of-fare for special food?
If all is "off," here is no need to question
Or search the plate for germs of indigestion.
You strutting merchant, who, with bellied girth,
Shadows the children's portion of the earth
In long obeisance to his goddess, Pelf,
First pawned his principles, and then himself;
And that his body pledge was little worth,
Aspires to pawn the country of his birth.

Victor, a speck of sunshine, now does flit,
And "Hamer," of the meditative wit --
And, maybe, "Kodak" one day joins the Throng
Where bailiffs never interrupt the song.
I, too, shall live on stews empyrean,
And so I scorch to heights Olympian,
Holding within the hollow of my hand
The precious passport to the Glory Land.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 May 1908

"Victor" is Victor Daley (1858-1905).
"Hamer" is Harold Mercer (1882-1952).
"Kodak" is Ernest O'Ferrall (1881-1925).

Poem: The Horse Poet by D. (Edward Dyson)

The late "Joe" Giuliani (champion rider) had two bitter unconquerable dislikes -- viz., horse-poets and motors, in that order of detestation. -- Bulletin, 21/5/'08.

Observe the Horse-poet, camerado:
He is full, positively full, of strange oaths,
And quaint, unusual blasphemies;
Weird, unconvincing reminiscences are his,
Likewise he is dirty.
         Dios! but he is dirty!
Hearken while he skites!
He speaks of a race run "in blanky old Dynamite's year."
It appears that he owned Dynamite,
         Also he trained him,
         He taught him to jump,
         He steered him in his every race,
         He weighed in and out with him;
The animal owed all, abso-blanky-lootly all, of its success in life to him
         The Horse-poet;
         Whom mark closely.

Hold while he tells of his astuteness.
Of Ikey O'Brien he now sings, and of the latter's pathetic fatuity.
Ike, when up against the Horse-poet, was, it appears, a Poor Circumstance always;
He was a Mug, a Lamb, a Jay,
An over-ripe financial vegetable from which the rind might be peeled
         In huge lumps
         And quantities.
The road to Randwick is paved with bust pencillers
All named Isaac O'Brien,
And each the victim of the Horse-poet,
The triumphant person,
Who knows men and things.

Gather ye now, camerados, around the bowed knees of his Pegasus,
He will tell you how he did it all.
Or rather, on second thoughts, he won't;
For his methods are Indescribable.
Likewise it were useless in any case to attempt to describe them; for they are Inimitable.
And it is just as well that they are,
Since there is no money in them;
In which respect they resemble the Horse-poet,
         Who has done all things,
         And most men,
            Yet remains, withal,
            (Or durned near it);
         And sick of Life,
One of whose Supreme and Mysterious Wonders he nevertheless continues to be.

First published in The Bulletin, 28 May 1908

Poem: The Editorial We by Gilrooney (R.J. Cassidy)

We are the corpse behind the walls
   That writes of sea and sky;
We are the individuals
   Who obsoleted "I."
We are the men who turn the wheels --
   Cohorts of Destinee!
We are the saints whom no one paints --
   The Co-essential We!

We've hitched our dreams unto the stars
   But, oh! the plural curse
Has quite absorbed our highest pars,
   And commandeered our verse!
We are the sullen slaves who write
   That all men may be free;
But, as I said, we're really dead --
   Our coffin's labelled "WE"!

First published in The Bulletin, 14 May 1908

Poem: A Jug of Wine: Pursuing Omar by Hamer (Harold Mercer)

A book of verse as pillow for my head;
A Jug of Wine -- what is the use of bread?
   And your voice singing in the wilderness --
Why, even that would cause me little dread!

A book of verses of a decent size
Can make a pillow that the best might prize;
   And you -- the you that always will intrude --
Why, you can hunt away disturbing flies.

Sing if you will; in a suburban street
I live my days, and there much music meet.
   I doubt if you such discord can create
As when the neighbours with their songs compete.

But why the bread, that happens in the line?
Is it the poet's, or the flies', or thine?
   Perchance it is a pillow for your head --
My thoughts are centred in the Jug of Wine.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 June 1908

Poem: The Selfish and Revolutionary Poet by John Bede

I have not spent a gladder day in years
   Than Friday, July 24, '08.
At 10 a.m. (or thereabouts) my ears
   Were soothed with silence, whereat I elate.
Dashed to the peg whereon my hat was hung,
   And gained with eager haste the outer air.

The cars had stopped! My withers were unwrung.
   I sought a tramguard out, and spoke him fair.
"Greetings, old friend!" I cried with shining eyes;
   "You do me signal service even while
The tramway service you disorganise --
   The which explains my gay and joyous smile.

"Weak is my liver, weaker still my mind;
   While street cars run I WON'T take exercise.
The street cars cry a halt. What do we find?
   I have to walk. My liver trouble flies.
"I -- in my trade of poet -- always found
   That inspiration vanished with a yell

What time she heard the loud, insistent sound
   Of your (forgive me) blanky warning bell.
"My Pegasus, a sorry steed at best,
   Went lame in front, got string-halt and behaved
Outrageously, making himself a pest
   When he saw trams -- trams rendered him depraved.

"Strike on, old friend, strike on! Cherish no fears
   That we will disapprove your deeds who rhyme
For bread. Stand fast! The strike may last for years;
   Hewers of verse are with you all the time!"

First published in The Bulletin, 30 July 1908

Poem: The Money Bowl by Kodak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

This is the legend poets troll
   Of One on some first-floor
Who keeps a brimming money-bowl
   Beside his office door.

And ev'ry morn the office waif --
   A small, old-fashioned boy --
Doth fill it gaily from the safe
   With jingling, golden joy.

Then, as the day draws slowly on,
   The bards creep up the stair
And feast their hollow eyes upon
   The treasure gleaming there.

A tattered sign that swings above
   The bowl gives all to know,
"Take what you need, with my best love!
   Don't count; to count is low."

So, stooping to the calabash,
   Each bard drops in a tear,
And takes a handful of cash
   That buys the soothing beer.

They steal like ghosts adown the stair,
   They creep like spectres up;
And gradually pubwards bear
   The Treasure of the Cup.

Next morn the office waif appears
   To sweep with might and main;
He brushes up the poets' tears,
   And fills the bowl again.

This is the legend poets troll
   Of some good editor
Who keeps a brimming money bowl
   Beside his office door.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 July 1908

Poem: The Mystic by C.J. Dennis

An "Ode to the Moon" did he indite
   With his two-and-half soul-power.
('Twas the child of a starlit summer night,
   Begot by a gloomy hour.)

And he vowed it was a work immense,
   And he quoted it a lot,
And he published it at his own expense;
   But the cold, hard world said - "Rot!"

And he wrote him ringing verse of horse,
   And the stockman, and his pipe,
And the brooding bushland; but, of course,
   The world just murmured - "Tripe!"

So he sat him down for another fling,
   And his time-exposure mind
Evolved a topical sort of thing,
   Of a gay and hum'rous kind.

And he looked to see the world go wild,
   And laugh until it cried;
But the verse was poor and the humor mild,
   And - "Bosh!" the tired world sighed.

Then he oiled his weird, ball-bearing mind,
   In a dull, despairing mood,
And he wrote a thing of a cryptic kind,
   Which nobody understood.

'Twas an ode to the "Umph" and the "Thingmebob,"
   With a lilt and a right good ring,
And hints of a smirk, a snarl, a sob,
   And a murky murmuring.

Nay, nobody understood a word,
   Nor strove to understand;
But few dared say it was absurd,
   So most agreed 'twas "Grand!"

Then he let his hair grow lank and long,
   And an air intense he got,
And ever he strove to nurse in song
   The cult of the "Dunnowhat."

And now he never writes in vain,
   But a famous man is he,
With a ten soul-power and a chuck-lathe brain,
   And an air of mysterie.

So, of his lot take heed; I wot
   If you aspire to fame,
Don't waste a tune on horse or moon,
   But rave of Whatsitsname;
                        It's tame,
   But still it's Whatsitsname.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 April 1908

Poem: Ballade of Frustration by Alan B.

I quail beneath the jursidiction
   Of all my creditors unpaid,
Whose ineluctable restriction
   Chains Poesy to sordid Trade.
   Where is the chant of pool and glade,
The splendid things I ache to utter?
   Wait, Fortune, wait -- ah, fickle jade,
This is a song for bread and butter!

Where is my book of deep prediction,
   Such as the thoughtful Wells portrayed?
The philosophic contradiction
   That puts old Nietzsche in the shade?
   Where are injustices inveighed,
Setting my readers in a flutter?
   These calls I haven't obeyed;
This is a song for bread and butter.

Then there's a book of glowing fiction.
   The stuff by which men's hearts are swayed,
A masterpiece of thought and diction,
   Warm with the love of man and maid,
   But still undone; and I'm afraid
'Twill have to wait, what time I stutter
   In quip and foolish pasquinade;
This is a song for bread and butter.


And lyrics, too, I might have made:
   Fine, flowing verse, sans halt or splutter;
But there's a butcher to be paid ....
   This is a song for bread and butter!

First published in The Bulletin, 12 August 1920

Poem: Two Singers by Kodak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

The summer morn was bright and fair,
And bees were humming everywhere;
A frowning poet nursed his jaw
And listened to a squealing saw.

"Whoo-whee! Wow-zee! Whizz-kling!" The teeth
Sang to the red wood underneath;
The logs were loaded on the wain
And then the song began again.

The poet bit his pen and tried
The saw-mill's screech to set aside;
He could not think of anything
For that "Whoo-whee! Wow-zee! Whizz-kling!"

Before the screaming of the disc
His tame-lamb thoughts refused to frisk;
They trembled back to cells remote,
While the saw cut the forest's throat.

A bloke whose nerves were never raw
Shoved timber at the whirling saw,
And did not guess his honest toil
Was making someone's brain-pan boil.

"Whoo-whee! The red-gum's dying wail
Rose like the spirit of a gale.
The poet snatched his hat and ran
To interview the working man.

Into the sawmill yard he dashed
And sought the thing that sang and flashed.
"Stop that damned saw!" Someone cried: "Bill!
Stop that there saw!" Soon all was still.

"What's up?" they asked, and gathered round
In all the yard there was no sound.
"I cannot work," the poet said,
"With that thing ringing in my head!"

"I have Important Work to do,
And a Great Soul appeals to you
To stop the saw -- or stop its row."
A sad voice said, "Gorblimey -- how?"

"I do not know!" the poet cried.
The foreman called plain Bill aside:
"Hey! ask him what he does. Poor cow!
He don't look right to me, somehow."

Said Bill, "What is this job you're at?"
The poet beamed beneath his hat:
"I'm writing verse." "Oh, that's your lurk!
Gorstrooth! I thought you told us 'work'!"

He nodded, and the waiting saw
Began again. Into its maw
He thrust a log. "Whoo-whee!" it cried.
The cursing poet stepped aside.

"Isn't that fine?" the sawyer sang,
As the bright shield revolved and rang.
"There's music -- and just smell the wood!
I tell you, Digger, work is good!

"With that saw singing all day
A bloke's ashamed to take his pay.
What? Don't yer like it? Well, that's queer;
For music you can't have much ear."

The stricken poet rushed away
And did no further "work" that day;
That bard whose nerves were never raw
Exulted in his singing saw.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 August 1920

Poem: The Dead Poet by Arthur Bayldon

Never again shall he with wizard sleight
Ensare on threshold of his soul the bright
Unearthly splendors that would oft alight,
And in the magic web of melody
Display them flashing as when they were free.
Never again shall he be inflamed by Spring
Soar to the gods to hear Apollo sing
Songs ah! so sweet and with so tense a lyre
They seemed as nectar flowing through white fire.
Never again shall he fold truths in rhyme
And thrust them clinging 'neath the wings of Time,
Shape a fine fancy with unfaltering taste,
Fondling the colors that the sounds embraced;
Or with eyes dim from dreaming watch the slow
Ascending sun's plume on a fervid glow,
And pinions palely spreading far away;
Or hear at night, when on his couch he lay,
The moaning of the moonlit toiling sea
With burden of o'erwhelming memory,
Seeming to carry in an undertone
Rumors of dauntless heroes he had known,
Who bearded even gods to glut desire
And fought beneath the thunder of their ire.
Lured by the glamor of translunar dreams
He chased through mist the ever-fleeting gleams.
Aloof from wealth's red bubbled vanities,
Contented to be thought not worldly wise
Since he, when flamed the mantle of the seer,
In mood majestic trod the magian sphere
Where nature's veil at his authentic glance
Fell quivering from her fire-bright countenance,
And heard, like an abysmal heaving sea,
The movement of the Eternal Harmony.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 August 1920

Poem: My Literary Friend by Henry Lawson

Once I wrote a little poem which I thought was very fine,
And I showed the printer's copy to a critic friend of mine,
First he praised the thing a little, then he found a little fault;
'The ideas are good,' he muttered, 'but the rhythm seems to halt.'

So I straighten'd up the rhythm where he marked it with his pen,
And I copied it and showed it to my clever friend again.
'You've improved the metre greatly, but the rhymes are bad,' he said,
As he read it slowly, scratching surplus wisdom from his head.

So I worked as he suggested (I believe in taking time),
And I burnt the 'midnight taper' while I straightened up the rhyme.
'It is better now,' he muttered, 'you go on and you'll succeed,
'It has got a ring about it -- the ideas are what you need.'

So I worked for hours upon it (I go on when I commence),
And I kept in view the rhythm and the jingle and the sense,
And I copied it and took it to my solemn friend once more --
It reminded him of something he had somewhere read before.

Now the people say I'd never put such horrors into print
If I wasn't too conceited to accept a friendly hint,
And my dearest friends are certain that I'd profit in the end
If I'd always show my copy to a literary friend.

First published in The Bulletin, 31 October 1891

Poem: Puristic Protestationing by C.J. Dennis

Amongst the unwieldy collection of spurious words and phrases, coined or perverted in fevered haste to meet modern chaotic conditions -- as, for example, "reconditioning," "cavalcade," "finalizing," "implementing" -- now springs the masterpiece. The latest term, used to describe the class of strike, now rapidly spreading in America and elsewhere, is "sit-downing."

Out of the well of English undeviled
   Few phrases come to match the heavy frowning
With which grave scholars long since have reviled
   The modern habit of linguistic clowning.
In vain do they depreciate the mood
   For adjectival "verbing," verbal "nouning";
And now, the worst of all the ugly brood,
   Comes this uncouth monstrosity "Sit-downing."

Had we a worthy Minister of Art,
   I think I should be ceaselessly partitioning
For the stern banning of each flash upstart,
   Like that most awful bounder "air-conditioning":
An apt example of these hustling days
   Of crude circumlocutory "expressioning":
When all they mean by that unlovely phrase
   Is merely ventilating or, say, freshening.

They will "face up to it," who merely face
   A situation, and, in ways surprising,
When they would end a matter then, in place
   Of ending it, they speak of "finalizing."
It may sound erudite to minds that squint --
   This cumbersome and clumsy verbal sinning
That so offends old-fashioned eyes in print
   And pester ancient ears when "listen-inning."

Then let us not, sit-downing to this curse,
   At poisoned pools and wells impure go supping;
But, ere we be afflicted by far worse,
   Let us be resolute in our stand-upping
To this base treason. Let us strike a blow
   At those who in such tangled fields go rovering.
Else shall we see King's-Englishing brought low
   As the last bulwark trembles to fall-overing.

First published in The Herald, 24 March 1937

Poem: Grace Jennings Carmichael by Henry Lawson

"But the broken heart of the poet is written between the lines." Grace Jennings Carmichael, bush girl, born in Gippsland, Vic., spent her young life in the bush; went to Melbourne into the Children's Training Hospital and obtained a certificate. Wrote verses for many years to the Australasian. Died in great poverty in London in 1904. Three younger children (one or more probably Australians) still in a London workhouse.

I hate the pen, the foolscap fair,
   The poet's corner, and the page,
For Grief and Death are written there,
   In every land and every age.
The poets sing and play their parts,
   Their daring cheers, their humour shines,
But, ah! my friends! their broken hearts
   Have writ in blood between the lines.

They fought to build a Commonwealth,
   They write for women and for men,
They give their youth, we give their health
   And never prostitute the pen.
Their work in other tongues is read,
   And when sad years wear out the pen,
Then they may seek their happy dead
   Or go and starve in exile then.

A grudging meed of praise you give,
   Or, your excuse, the ready lie --
(O! God, you don't know how they live!
   O! God, you don't know how they die!)
The poetess, whose gentle tone
   Oft cheered your mothers' hearts when down;
A lonely woman, fought alone
   The bitter fight in London town.

Your rich to lilac lands resort,
   And old-world luxuries they buy;
You pour out gold to Cant and Sport
   And give a million to a lie.
You give to cheats who rant and rave
   With eyes that glare and arms that whirl,
But not a penny that might save
   The children of the Gippsland girl.

First published in The Skyline Riders and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1910

Poem: A Thought of Henry Kendall by M.M.

Had I gone first he surely would have writ
   Some kindly words in loving memory --
Touching a drear old history -- clothing it
   With grace, as ivy leaves -- and aged tree

But he has breasted first the mighty wave
   Which flows around Eternity, and left
Blind seekers still to wonder and to crave,
   With clamorous thoughts, for light -- of light bereft.

I see the flying form of youth, the sun
   In radiant limbs -- distraught with blind desire --
And Daphne's hurrying shade, which seeks to shun
   His passionate looks that breathe destructive fire.

Two ghastly forms within a pit I see
   Sawing till doom; -- and stifled groans I hear
From shadows passing round a baleful tree,
   Until my creeping flesh is quick with fear.

And then, beyond the fiery cones of hills --
   That sing to the wild main in sympathy --
I see in mossy rents the morning rills
   That march in midnight thunder to the sea.

While from Kerguelen, on a stormy main,
   Swept by remorseless winds which scourge the Pole,
A voice comes echoing, as in grief or pain,
   "Oh! listen to a brother's passing soul;

I meet that Infinite of which we dreamed,
   The mighty mysteries to comprehend
That fold life round, until it almost seemed
   That God Himself had ceased to be our friend.

Beyond the stars there is a rest serene,
   Which neither love, nor fame, nor happiness
Can ever stir with hints of what has been.
   Nor make that gift supreme, or more or less!

Awhile, old friend! and then we meet once more,
   Not in the cruel conflicts of the day.
Till then, adieu! the struggle now is o'er --
   The wearied spirit passes on its way."

First published in Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 August 1882
Note: Henry Kendall died on 1st August 1882.

Poem: Charles Harpur by Henry Kendall

Where Harpur lies, the rainy streams,
   And wet hill-heads, and hollows weeping,
Are swift with wind, and white with gleams,
   And hoarse with sounds of storms unsleeping.

Fit grave it is for one whose song
   Was tuned by tones he caught from torrents,
And filled with mountain breaths, and strong,
   Wild notes of falling forest currents.

So let him sleep, the rugged hymns
   And broken lights of woods above him!
And let me sing how sorrow dims
   The eyes of those that used to love him.

As April in the wilted wold
   Turns faded eyes on splendours waning,
What time the latter leaves are old,
   And ruin strikes the strays remaining;

So we that knew this singer dead,
   Whose hands attuned the harp Australian,
May set the face and bow the head,
   And mourn his fate and fortunes alien.

The burden of a perished faith
   Went sighing through his speech of sweetness,
With human hints of time and death,
   And subtle notes of incompleteness.

But when the fiery power of youth
   Had passed away and left him nameless,
Serene as light, and strong as truth,
   He lived his life, untired and tameless.

And, far and free, this man of men,
   With wintry hair and wasted feature,
Had fellowship with gorge and glen,
   And learned the loves and runes of Nature.

Strange words of wind, and rhymes of rain,
   And whispers from the inland fountains
Are mingled, in his various strain,
   With leafy breaths of piny mountains.

But as the undercurrents sigh
   Beneath the surface of a river,
The music of humanity
   Dwells in his forest-psalms for ever.

No soul was he to sit on heights
   And live with rocks apart and scornful:
Delights of men were his delights,
   And common troubles made him mournful.

The flying forms of unknown powers
   With lofty wonder caught and filled him;
But there were days of gracious hours
   When sights and sounds familiar thrilled him.

The pathos worn by wayside things,
   The passion found in simple faces,
Struck deeper than the life of springs
   Or strength of storms and sea-swept places.

But now he sleeps, the tired bard,
   The deepest sleep; and, lo! I proffer
These tender leaves of my regard,
   With hands that falter as they offer.

First published in The Sydney Mail, July 1868
Charles Harpur died on 10th June, 1868.

Poem: The March - Anzac Day, 1928 by C.J. Dennis

On with the dance! For the years have flown
Has not the world o'er weary grown
   Of bygone heroes, of bygone deeds?
   Shall we not turn to our later needs?
Must we ever be sobbing, ever be sad
O'er the mother who lost her soldier lad?
   On with the .....

            THEY WERE --
                  OUR DEAD!"

On with the work; for there's much to do,
Cash and preferment, for me and for you
   Wait on our doing. Why halt to pray
   For a long-gone grief, for a long-dead day?
Have we not given? Have we not spent
To mend the broken, to aid the bent?
   On with the .....

            THEY WERE --
                  OUR DEAD!"

On with the gaiety! On with the fun!
What are we caring, with life begun,
   For lives long ended? Can they not rest?
   On with the .....

            THEY WERE --
                  OUR DEAD!"

First published in the Herald, 25 April 1928
Note: it is of interest that the bulk of Dennis's work in the "Herald", some three to four thousand pieces, were signed with the penname "Den". His Anzac Day poems always carried his own name.

Poem: Adam Lindsay Gordon by Henry Kendall

At rest! Hard by the margin of that sea
Whose sounds are mingled with his noble verse
Now lies the shell that never more will
house The fine strong spirit of my gifted friend.
Yea, he who flashed upon us suddenly,
A shining soul with syllables of fire,
Who sang the first great songs these lands can claim
To be their own; the one who did not seem
To know what royal place awaited him
Within the Temple of the Beautiful,
Has passed away; and we who knew him sit
Aghast in darkness, dumb with that great grief
Whose stature yet we cannot comprehend;
While over yonder churchyard, hearsed with pines,
The night wind sings its immemorial hymn,
And sobs above a newly-covered grave.
The bard, the scholar, and the man who lived
That frank, that open-hearted life which keeps
The splendid fire of English chivalry
From dying out; the one who never wronged
A fellow man; the faithful friend who judged
The many, anxious to be loved of him
By what he saw, and not by what he heard,
As lesser spirits do; the brave, great soul
That never told a lie, or turned aside
To fly from danger -- he, as I say, was one
Of that bright company this sin-stained world
Can ill afford to lose.

                  They did not know,
The hundreds who had read his sturdy verse
And revelled over ringing major notes,
The mournful meaning of the undersong
Which runs through all he wrote, and often takes
The deep autumnal, half-prophetic tone
Of forest winds in March; nor did they think
That on that healthy-hearted man there lay
The wild specific curse which seems to cling
Forever to the Poet's twofold life!

To Adam Lindsay Gordon, I who laid
Two years ago on Lionel Michael's grave
A tender leaf of my regard; yea, I
Who culled a garland from the flowers of song
To place where Harpur sleeps; I, left alone,
The sad disciple of a shining band
Now gone -- to Adam Lindsay Gordon's name
I dedicate these lines; and if 'tis true
That, past the darkness of the grave, the soul
Becomes omniscient, then the bard may stoop
From his high seat to take the offering,
And read it with a sigh for human friends,
In human bonds, and grey with human griefs.

And having wove and proffered this poor wreath,
I stand to-day as lone as he who saw
At nightfall, through the glimmering moony mist,
The last of Arthur on the wailing mere,
And strained in vain to hear the going voice.

First published in The Australasian, 1 July 1870

Poem: Henry Clarence Kendall by W.S.

Oh, Mother Nature, beat thy breasts and weep
For him thine ardent lover gone to sleep!
Embrace in loving arms
Thy hierophant, the chanter of thy psalms!

He loved thy daedal forests; yes, he felt
That they were thine own temples, so he dwelt
Within them, dwelt with thee.
Great Mother, thou shouldst sing his elegy!

Ye sentinels of earth, ye hills that stand
'Tween earth and sky, like giants that command
The slopes to heaven, weep
For him, our late-voiced brother gone to sleep!

Ye winds, whose strong pulsations filled his rhymes
With varied cadences, that swelled to chimes
Or moved with stately tread
Like armies, wail for him, the harper dead!

In tears, ye Austral mothers, teach his name
And songs to all your little ones; the flame
That burnt within his breast
Should burn in theirs; he loved his country best.

Ye sturdy sons of energy, whose ways
Are cast among the backwoods, in his lays
He sang your hopes, our fears, Your daring deeds;
then weep, he claims your tears.

And thou, sweet Spring, he loved thee, bring soft showers,
And balmy airs, and amaranthine flow'rs,
And bursting blossoms throw
Upon his grave -- there let them ever blew.

Great Mother Nature, beat thy breats and weep
For him, thy lute-voiced lover gone to sleep!
Embrace in loving arms
Thy hierophant, the chanter of thy psalms!

First published in The Bulletin, 26 August 1882

Note: Henry Kendall died on 1st August, 1882, aged 43.

Poem: Will Yer Write It Down For Me? by Henry Lawson

In the parlour of the shanty where the lives have all gone wrong,
When a singer or reciter gives a story or a song,
Where the poet's heart is speaking to their hearts in every line,
Till the hardest curse and blubber at the thoughts of Auld Lang Syne;
Then a boozer lurches forward with an oath for all disguise --
Prayers and curses in his soul, and tears and liquor in his eyes --
Grasps the singer or reciter with a death-grip by the hand:
"That's the truth, bloke! Sling it at 'em! Oh! Gorbli'me, that was grand!
Don't mind me; I've got 'em. You know! What's yer name, bloke! Don't yer see? Who's the bloke what wrote the po'try? Will yer write it down fer me?"

And the backblocks' bard goes through it, ever seeking as he goes
For the line of least resistance to the hearts of men he knows;
And he tracks their hearts in mateship, and he tracks them out alone --
Seeking for the power to sway them, till he finds it in his own,
Feels what they feel, loves what they love, learns to hate what they condemn,
Takes his pen in tears and triumph, and he writes it down for them.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 January 1903

Poem: The Poet and the Muse by Victor Daley

                        THE POET

The Darling of the Year with sifted gold
   Of sunshine makes the old earth young again;
   Spring's dancing music lilts in praise and vein,
And all the world is merry as of old:
   But shadows only dwell within my brain;
My heart is like a heath with ashes cold.

O Muse, if I have loved thee late and long,
   If I have worshipped thee, and made a shrine
   To hold thine image in this heart of mine,
And served thee with the service of my song,
   And poured my years out at thy feet divine --
Where art thou now when ghosts around me throng?

Where is the pride, above the pride of kings,
   That once I felt when in the glowing air
   I saw the shining wonder of thy hair,
And heard the rustle of thy radiant wings
   Alas, and have I come by ways so fair
To dust and ashes and the end of things?

My soul is compassed round by phantoms vast,
   Whose black wings shut from me the sweet blue sky
   And blue broad sea I knew when thou wert nigh.
O Muse, return to me! ... She comes at last!
   And I can now, clear-voiced, like Agag, cry --
Surely the bitterness of Death is past!

                        THE MUSE

Thou wert my servant in the time gone by,
   And through the world I led thee by the hand,
   And showed thee all the beauty of the land,
And all the marvels of the Earth and Sky.
   Thy nights and days I held at my command,
And unto thee I gave the Seeing Eye.

The sacred secret of the infinite
   That burns beneath the beauty of the rose,
   And in the hearts of youth and maiden glows,
And fills and thrills the world with life and light,
   And is the soul of all that breathes and grows --
I made it visible unto thy sight.

But now another Muse holds thee in thrall.
   Thou canst not serve us twain: that is the law.

                        THE POET

   "O Goddess, ere thou dost from me withdraw,
Show me what other Muse I serve withal!"

                        THE MUSE

                        The Poet turned and saw
The shadow of a Wine-Jar on the wall.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 December 1900

Poem: The Sorrows of a Simple Bard by Henry Lawson

When I tell a tale of virtue and of injured innocence,
Then my publishers and lawyers are the densest of the dense:
With the blank face of an image and the nod of keep-it-dark
And a wink of mighty meaning at their confidential clerk.

(When, Oh! tell me when shall poets cease to be misunderstood?
When, Oh! When? shall people reckon rhymers can be any good?
Do their work and pay their debts and drink their pint of beer, and then,
Look in woman's eyes and leave them, just like ordinary men?)

"Is there literary friendship 'twix the sexes? don't you think?"
And they wink their idiotic and exasperating wink.
"Can't we kiss a clever woman without wanting any more?"
And their clock-work nod is only more decided than before.

But if I should hint that there's a little woman somewhere, say,
Then the public and the law are interested straight away,
The impassive confidential gets a bright and cheerful glance--
Things are straightway on a footing that may lead to an advance.

Both are married and respected and they both are rising higher:
One's church warden, one's a deacon in a fashionable choir.
And the clerks have both unblemished private characters to show--
What do they know about woman? That's what I should like to know.

(Flash of dark eyes in the moonlight, in the scrub or far afield,
Blouse-sleeves back from white arms clinging -- clinging while she will not yield,
Or the fair head on your shoulder and the grey eyes moist and mild--
Weary of the strife with passion, yielding like a tired child.)

There's my aunt; the dear old lady hints about "experience"
When I go to her for comfort with my injured innocence.
She screws up a wise expression, while she listens, for my pains--
Isn't it an awful pity women haven't any brains?

Now I'm serious and angry, for it isn't any joke --
Poets have been damned for ages by such evil-minded folk.
Must we all be public blackguards? Can't a rhymer be a man,
Spite of Byron's silly mistress -- Burns's gawky Mary Ann?

As tame bards they will not have us, and I don't know what they want,
There's my publisher and lawyer, my admirers and my aunt.
Do they want a rake and a spendthrift? Look out! Tradesman trusting me!
Look out! Husbands! Fathers! Brothers! I'll be wicked as can be!
         There now.

First published in For Australia and Other Poems by Henry Lawson, 1913

Poem: A Word from the Bards by Henry Lawson

It is New Year's Day and I rise to state that here on the Sydney side
The Bards have commenced to fill out of late and they're showing their binjies with pride
They're patting their binjies with pride, old man, and I want you to understand,
That a binjied bard is a bard indeed when he sings in the Southern Land,
      Old chaps,
   When he sings in the Southern Land.

For the Southern Land is the Poet's Home, and over the world's wide roam,
There was never till now a binjied bard that lived in a poet's home, old man;
For the poet's home was a hell on earth, and I want you to understand,
That it isn't exactly a paradise down here in the Southern Land,
      Old chap,
      Down here in the Southern Land.

The Beer and the Bailiff were gone last night and the "temple" doorstep clean,
And our heads are clear and our hearts are light with wine from the Riverine--
With wine from the Riverine, old man, and I want you to understand
That Bard, Beer and Bailiff too long were kin down here in the Southern Land,
      Old man,
   Down here in the Southern Land.

It is not because of a larger fee, nor yet that the bards are free,
For the bards I know and the bards I see are married enough for three;
Are married enough for three, old man, and I want you to understand,
They've a right to be married enough for four, down here in the Southern Land,
      My girl,
   Down here in the Southern Land.

But I think it's because a bird went round and twittered in ears of men
That bards have care and the world seems bare as seen from the rhyming den,
And twittered in ears of men, old chaps, and got folks to understand
That a poet is something more than a joke down here in the Southern Land,
      Old man,
   Down here in the Southern Land.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 May 1907

Poem: The Bards Who Lived at Manly by Henry Lawson (Part 2)

The door of some old stable --
   We'd borrowed for a drink --
A page of rhymes and sketches,
   And stained with beer and ink;
A dead hand drew the portraits --
   And, say, should I be shamed,
To seek it out in Manly
   And get the old door framed?

They left the masterpieces
   The artist dreamed of long;
They could not take the gardens
   From Victor Daley's song;
They left his summer islands
   And fairy ships at sea,
They could not take my mountains
   And western plains from me.

One bailiff was our brother,
   No better and no worse --
And, oh! the yarns he told us
   To put in prose and verse,
And sorry we to lose him,
   And sorry he to go --
(Oh! skeletons of Pott's Point,
   How many things we know)!

The very prince of laughter,
   With brains and sympathy;
And with us on the last night
   He spent his bailiff's fee.
He banished Durkin's gruffness,
   He set my soul afloat,
And drew till day on Daley's
   Bright store of anecdote.

He said he'd stick to business --
   Though he could well be free --
If but to save poor devils
   From harder "bums" than he,
Now artist, bard and bailiff
   Have left this vale of sin --
I trust, if they reach Heaven,
   They'll take that bailiff in.

The bards that lived in Manly
   Have vanished one and one;
But do not think in Manly
   Bohemian days are done.
They bled me white in Manly
   When rich and tempest-tossed --
I'll leave some bills in Manly
   To pay for what I lost.

They'd grab and grind in Manly,
   Then slander, sneer, and flout.
The shocked of moral Manly!
   They starved my brothers out.
The miserable village,
   Set in a scene so fair,
Were honester and cleaner
   If some of us were there!

But one went with December --
   These last lines seem to-night
Like some song I remember,
   And not a song I write.
With vision strangely clearer
   My old chums seem to be,
In death and absence, nearer
   Than e'er they were to me.

Alone, and still not lonely --
   When tears will not be shed --
I wish that I could only
   Believe that they were dead.
With hardly curbed emotion,
   I can't but think, somehow,
In Manly by the ocean
   They're waiting for me now.

First published in For Australia and Other Poems by Henry Lawson, 1913

(The first part of this poem was published last week.)

Poem: The Bards Who Lived at Manly by Henry Lawson (Part 1)

The camp of high-class spielers,
   Who sneered in summer dress,
And doo-dah dilettante,
   And scornful "venuses" --
House agents, and storekeepers,
   All eager they to "bleed" --
The bards who tackled Manly,
   Were plucky bards indeed!

With shops that feared to trust them,
   And pubs that looked askance;
And prigs who read their verses,
   But gave them not a glance; --
When all were vain and selfish,
   And editors were hard --
The bard that stuck to Manly
   Was sure a mighty bard.

What mattered floors were barren,
   And windows curtainless,
And our life seemed to others
   But blackguard recklessness?
We wore our clothes for comfort,
   We earned our bread alway,
And beer and good tobacco
   Came somehow every day.

Came kindred souls to Manly --
   Outsiders that we knew,
And with them scribes and artists,
   And low comedians too;
And sometimes bright girl writers --
   Called "Tommy", "Jack", or "Pat" --
(Though each one had a sweetheart
   The rest knew nought of that).

'Twas not the paltry village
   We honoured unaware,
Or welcome warm, or friendship,
   Or "tone" that took us there;
We longed to sing for mankind,
   Where heaven's breath was free
We only sought the grandeur
   Of sea-cliff, sands and sea.

And we were glad at Manly,
   All unaware of "swells",
Of doctors and of nurses,
   And private hospitals;
With little fear of bailiffs,
   And great contempt for greed --
The bards who lived at Manly,
   They were a healthy breed.

Oh! moonlit nights at Manly,
   When all the world was fair!
In shirts and turned-up trousers
   We larked like big boys there.
Oh! glorious autumn mornings --
   The gold and green and blue --
We "stripped" as well as any,
   And swam as strongly too.

The artist had a missus,
   Who rather loved the wretch,
And so for days together
   He'd stay at home and sketch.
And then -- I fear 'twas only
   When things were getting tight --
The bards would shun each other,
   And hump themselves -- and write.

When bailiffs came to Manly
   They'd find no "sticks" to take,
We'd welcome them as brothers --
   Their grimy hands we'd shake;
We'd send for beer in billies --
   And straightway send for more --
And bailiff nights in Manly
   Were merry nights of yore.

There are some things that landlords
   And law can't do at all:
They could not take the pictures
   We painted on the wall;
They could not take the table --
   The table was a door;
They could not take the bedsteads --
   The beds were on the floor.

First published in For Australia and Other Poems by Henry Lawson, 1913

(The second part of this poem will be published next week.)

Poem: Irony by Roderic Quinn

All night a great wind blew across the land,
Come fresh from wild and salty seas,
With many voices loud and low
Appealing to the sympathies
Of those with whom long long ago It had been friends, but who
Had lost the way to know and understand Its weird and tearless woe.

A sleeper drawn from ancient fairies, stirred,
Breathed strangely in a deep unrest
As though his heart were choked with grief;
The moon down-stealing in the west
Threw every move of limb and leaf
Upon his blind. Now this
Was he the wind sought wildly -- had he heard --
Alas, the friend in need was deaf!

All time a great thought wandered round the world
Naked and breathing loveliness,
Seeking in alien souls a home
But thwarted always, knocking no less
At every door, yet forced to roam
A wonder unexpressed;
A sense of strangeness as of wings unfurled
Hovered at times o'er some.

He heard the knocking at the inner door;
He saw her face a light intense
And stood amazed, irresolute.
"Now, thou who hast the poet-sense
In song serene and absolute
Proclaim my hidden worth."
He sobbed, she drooped her wings ... Woe evermore!
The chosen mind was mute.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 April 1899

Poem: To Will Ogilvie by Smike

We drink a toast to your fair-haired girl,
   But we drink again to the dark-tressed maid.
For you there is charm in a golden curl,
   But for us there's a magic in either shade.

We drink again to your horse that's grey,
   But we drink again to the steed that's black;
And our hearts go out to the brown and bay,
   And the chestnut, too, when he heads the track.

No fault we find with the grey or gold,
   Of either sort there are good and bad.
So to each good horse here's a rider bold:
   And to each kind lass here's a lively lad.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 July 1899

Poem: A Settlement by Roderic Quinn

If I told you, little girl,
As you sit serene and muse,
   With your red lips so compressed,
   And that verse-book on your breast,
Of the flower, the rose you are --
Would you pinch me for stale news?

If his verses please you so,
Would the poet meet your scorn?
   If he sought to lay his head
   Where his verses lie half-read --
Would he wake you from your dream?
Would the rose unleash a thorn?

Ah, the verses on your breast!
And the book so gently nursed!
   Must a poet ever make
   Life a dream for others' sake?
Must he pour the wine and stand --
Stand for ever all athirst?

If the song be worth a coin
(Such a coin as few would miss),
   What's to pay the soul that gave
   All its best of gay or grave?
If a song be worth a coin,
Sure the singer's worth a kiss!

If the singer, little girl,
Pressed his suit for payment sweet,
   I am sure that you who muse
   Would not thrust him out -- refuse;
So ... Ah well, that pays the debt:
And in kind ... I make receipt.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 October 1900

Poem: The Poets of Australia by Will M. Fleming

They are rising in endless numbers
   From ways that are wide and lone,
Dream-eyed with the fire that slumbers
   And feeds on the heart, unknown;
Deep-souled, but with lips grown scornful,
   And shallow to careless eyes,
With hearts that are tender -- mournful
   Those cynical writers rise.

From realms of a restless roaming,
   From creeks where the camp-fires glow,
From flash of the waters foaming,
   From plains where the night-winds blow;
From dreams of a mighty longing
   To deeds of a sordid world,
From the memories softly thronging
   To lips that are grimly curled.

By shadow and star, in sadness,
   By dusk and the lonely moon,
By moan of the midnight madness,
   By calm of the deep mid-noon;
Pale-browned o'er their sun-brown faces,
   Hard-handed and soft of heart,
All reckless, the squadron paces,
   And each in his soul apart.

And what are the hopes they cherish?
   And what are the dreams they dream
When cynical scornings perish,
   And lawless the lovelights gleam?
Bent low o'er the sweat-stained bridle
   They rise, with a careless hold;
Each with his broken idol,
   Each with his dream untold.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 January 1900

Poem: The Kid by C.J. Dennis

Now, this ain't a loocid story, but it 'as a 'igh-class moral.
   I can mop up all the praises hurled at me by them it soots.
An' with them it don't appeal to I don't seek to pick a quarrel;
   But I pause to say in passin', that I hold 'em brainless coots.

Well it mighter been a nightmare or it mighter been a vision.
   Why or 'ow or where it 'appened, or 'ow long or short ago --
These are items I am shy of; but I've come to this decision:
   It all 'appened some'ow somewhere, an' I'm tellin' all I know.

With this lengthy introduction -- which I'm trustin', inter-arlier,
   Will be paid for, cash, at space rates, to assist a bard in need --
(For the lot of jingle-writers in our own sun-kissed Australier
   Ain't so sunny as it might be, on the 'ole) -- I'll now proceed.

There was me -- who's most important, bein' here to tell the story --
   There was Kodak's gloomy lodger, an' a 'Enry Lawson bloke,
Also E.J. Brady's pirate, full of husky oaths and gory,
   An' a plump and pleasin' female from an Ambrose Dyson joke.

Likewise with us at the geth'rin' was Grant 'Ervey's Strong Australian.
   An' a curly Souter peach; it was a treat the way she dressed;
An' a Louis Esson dryad, sparsely gowned an' somewot alien
   (For which rhyme I point to many precedents amongst the best).

Also there were many others, far too noomerous to mention;
   Bron men, somewot out of drorin', but exceedin' terse an' keen;
Yeller pups, George Reids an' dry dogs -- but it is not my intention
   To innoomerate the items in a Chris'mas BULLYTEEN.

Where we were I 'ave no notion, tho' it mighter been Parnassus.
   Any'ow -- but I'm forgettin' one small guest that came unbid;
Standin' in a corner sulkin', seldom speakin', 'cept to sass us,
   Rubbin' 'is thin calves together, stood a Norman Lindsay kid.

But the main point of this story is that all of us was stony;
   An' we needed money badly for to give ourselves a treat.
An' we wanted to present the editor with somethin' toney
   In the shape of clubs or rest cures, just to try an' get 'im sweet.

"Mates, alas, there's nothin' left us," ses the gloomy Lawson native.
   "We can only look for other castaways from other wrecks."
When the Wild Cat, on 'is windlass, scratched 'is left ear contemplative
   An' remarked, "I think I've gotter scheme to land the fatted cheques.

"We are valuable assets," 'e went on, in tones finanshul.
   "We are also reproductive, an' I think I see a chance
To relieve the present tension, an' secure a sum substanshul,
   Which all comes of my acquaintance with low schemes an' 'igh finance.

"If we borrer twenty thousand on our natcheral resourses --
   On all BULLETTEEN creations -- it will purchase many beers.
We can maffick, an' pay int'rest -- which is a triflin' thing of course is --
   With a sinkin' fund extendin' over ninety-seven years."

Well! To say we was elated is to put the matter mildly.
   I can still 'ear Brady's pirate yellin', "Bite mates, let us bite!"
I can still see Kodak's lodger kick 'is slippered feet, and wildly
   Try to borrer two-an'-sixpence on the spot....But oh, that night!

"Where do I come in?" a squeaky voice arose above our shoutin',
   Rose an' squeaked, shrill an' insistent, over all our joyous din.
'Twas the kid, the Lindsay youngster, standin' in 'is corner poutin'.
   "Take a pull, yer bloomin' wasters! Blime, where do I come in?

"Nice lot, ain't yer? Garn, yer loafers! Let the comin' generation
   Suck their thumbs an' watch yer jag, an' 'ump the bill when it comes due;
Slave an' work when you 'ave snuffed it. An' you look for veneration
   From us kids! Why, blime, who could venerate the likes of you?

"As THE BULLYTEEN been preachin' years an' years an' years for nuffin'
   On the vice of floatin' loans an' gettin' in the 'ands of Yids?
Playin' up yer borrered money! Eatin' drinkin', swillin', stuffin'!
   Then, when you 'ave chucked a seven, what a picnic for the kids!"

Spare me! You could 'ear a pin drop when that little kid 'ad finished.
   We just 'ung our 'eads in silence, till the Strong Australian spoke.
(Brady's pirate tore 'is whiskers, with 'is lust for jags dimished;
   An' the Souter peach was sobbin' on the breast of Lawson's bloke.)

"Comrades," ses the Strong Australian, "see our star all glory litten!
   Heed the ancient, beer-stained story! Heed the warning of the kid!
Lo, the way of ink's before us! Ringing verses shall be written
   In which I shall figure largely. Yes, I shall." An', 'struth, 'e did!

Ses the pirate, with the remnants of 'is whiskers fiercely bristlin'.
   "In the war of life together we must take each wound and sear."
"Now, we care not where we're bound for," ses the Lawson native, whistlin'
   For 'is dawg. "It's up Matilda." As for me, I ses, "'Ear, 'ear."

As I sed, this yarn ain't loocid, but its moral should not fail yer.
   I shall ne'er fergit that ev'nin' or the voice above the din.
It's the cry of all the kiddies, born an' unborn, in Australyer,
   When we flash our borrered millyuns: "Blime, where do we come in?"

First published in The Bulletin, 20 May 1909

Poem: To the Memory of Claude Marquet by C.J. Dennis

Because to him the wise gods gave
   Rare gifts, to lesser folk denied,
He might have thriven, Mammon's slave,
Rich in the goods that small men crave,
   But poor in all beside.

And yet, because his was the pride
   Possessed by earnest men and brave,
He stayed by his weak brothers' side
And there he fought, loved, laughed and died,
   And went, loved, to his grave.

Because his was the simple heart
   That found small lure in pelf or praise,
For greater ends he plied his art,
And, asking little, played his part
   A rich man all his days.

The simple heart, the single aim
   That guided e'er his ready pen,
The gay indifference to Fame --
Things such as these shall leave a name
   Cherished 'mid fellow men.

And we who knew that steady gaze,
   The open hand, the ready laugh,
The fighting face and kindly ways,
Know, too, his smiling scorn of praise.
   Yet this for epitaph:

A fighter all his days was he,
Yet, dying, left no enemy.

First published in Cartoons by Claude Marquet Memorial Volume 1920
[Claude Marquet (1869-1920) was a well-known political cartoonist who expressed a radical philosophy and an idealistic view of the worker in his cartoons. His work appeared in such publications as The Bulletin, Melbourne Punch and Australian Worker.]

Poem: The Corpse That Won't Lie Still by C.J. Dennis

Aye, call it murder is ye will!
   'Tis not the crime I fear.
If his cold curse would but lie still
   And silent in its bier,
Then would I be indeed content,
And count it folly to repent.

With these two hands I've slain the knave;
   I've watched the red blood drop;
I've rammed him tight into his grave,
   And piled the clods atop,
And tramped them down exultingly....
Now back he comes to grin at me.

Once have I slain him in his bed,
   Twice by the midnight blaze;
Thrice have I looked upon him dead
   All in these seven days.
Yet here, this night, I've seen him stand
And pluck the pen from out my hand.

Nay, never spook nor sprite is he,
   But solid flesh and blood,
Who schemes with deep malignity
   To stint my livelihood.
And he had vowed a vow my name
Shall never grace the scroll of fame.

My name he bears, my garb he wears,
   My pipes he idly smokes;
And, friend-like, he but rarely cares
   To praise my sorry jokes.
He spends my money lavishly
With ne'er a thrifty thought for me.

And when my ready cash is gone
   He runs me into debt.
Stern duty he will harp upon
   When I would fain forget.
But when, through toil, I would be free
He soothes me with rank sophistry.

Whene'er with resolutions stern
   I sit me down to work,
And mighty thoughts within me burn,
   Then forth comes he to lurk
Here at my elbow, where he clings
And whispers of forbidden things.

So when I woo some lofty theme
   Of deep religious tone,
He lures me on to idly dream,
   As we sit there alone.
Of girls I have and have not kissed,
Of favors won and chances missed.

He whispers of that tempting book
   I have no time to read;
"One peep," he pleads: "one hasty look!
   Where is the harm, indeed?"
And when I speak of work, and sigh,
"'Twill do to-morrow!" is his cry.

And oft - too well I know how oft -
   Beneath his subtle spell
I fall, and dream of living soft
   Who know - aye, none so well -
That living soft is but for him
Who earns his ease with labor grim.

Dreams, dreams, and ever idle dreams!
   His glozing art I hate!
Yet pleasant for the hour it seems,
   His soothing opiate.
And, though I slay him, this I dread:
He oftener alive than dead.

Oh, I have to be so very sure,
   No later than last night,
That I had pinned the knave secure,
   And I was free to write
Those mighty masterpieces which
To pen my fingers ever itch.

But, with his slouch and lazy leer,
   Lo, came back he to-day:
With wheedling lips against mine ear
   He tempted me to play
At tennis all the afternoon.
Work and resolve forgot so soon!

Yet, spite his faults, he is, I swear,
   A merry knave withal;
And when I have the time to spare -
   That's seldom, if at all -
I'd roam with him 'mid fields and flow'rs
If he'd be still in business hours.

Each morn I bash him on the head
   And hide him out of sight.
Full, sure, indeed, that he is dead;
   But back he comes each night,
And on the lotus buds we feed
When bread and butter is my need.

Though many ways his death I've planned
   And slain him, as I've said,
He takes a lot of killing and
   He'll never stay long dead.
And, though, each day i cause his death,
I know he'll live while I have breath.

But let me vow the vow again -
   The vow I know by heart -
And, here and now, with hasty pen,
   Stab to some vital part.
And, mocked by his departing laugh,
Rewrite his oft-writ epitaph.

"Here lies the man I should not be
   By all stern rules of life.
The man who's plagued and hampered me
   All through this mundane strife.
A lazy, loafing knave was he....
But, sooth, he was fine company."

First published in The Bulletin, 17 September 1914

Poem: Accent Conscious by C.J. Dennis

The Australian Broadcasting Commission is endeavoring to standardise Australian voices by engaging announcers who will lead us into right ways of speech. This country, declares the Commission, has become "accent conscious" since the advent of wireless.

Trouble brews along the border for the word has got around
   That blokes an' coves an' coots must mind their tongues;
Out about the long dry stages
Where the willie-willie rages
   Strange sounds are issuing from leathern lungs.
Vowels, consonants and diphthongs in the old bark hut take place
Of the talk of clips or cattle or "wot won the 'urdle race."

For the world grows regimented and the olden orders pass
   With those ancient heroes that we knew of old.
Out beyond the sandy ranges
Culture grows and fashion changes
   And a bloke has got to talk the way he's told.
For the craze of "standardising" has Australia in its grip,
And Lawson's friends, Joe Wilson, and his mates have got the pip.

These old battlers, so accustomed to the old Australian drawl,
   Find it hard to knuckle down to modern ways.
Tho' the purists may deride them,
'Twas their speech identified them,
   For they talked the Aussie lingo all their days.
But the Man from Snowy River strives to change his "Oi' to "I;"
And Clancy of the Overflow now wears an old school tie.

I have long since sought the reason why all men should be as peas
   In speech, in thought, in action, e'en in strife.
Uniformity around them
Serves but further to confound them,
   Since it washes all the color out of life.
But the bloke who beat the favorite now sports jodhpurs with an air,
And the Man from Ironbark marcels his hair.

First published in The Herald, 8 June 1938

Poem: The Play by C.J. Dennis - Part 2

Nex' day 'e words a gorspil cove about
A secret weddin'; an' they plan it out.
'E spouts a piece about 'ow 'e's bewitched:
Then they git 'itched ...
Now, 'ere's the place where I fair git the pip!
She's 'is for keeps, an' yet 'e lets 'er slip!

Ar! but 'e makes me sick! A fair gazob!
E's jist the glarsey on the soulful sob,
'E'll sigh and spruik, a' 'owl a love-sick vow --
(The silly cow!)
But when 'e's got 'er, spliced an' on the straight
'E crools the pitch, an' tries to kid it's Fate.

Aw! Fate me foot! Instid of slopin' soon
As 'e was wed, off on 'is 'oneymoon,
'Im an' 'is cobber, called Mick Curio,
They 'ave to go
An' mix it wiv that push o' Capulets.
They look fer trouble; an' it's wot they gets.

A tug named Tyball (cousin to the skirt)
Sprags 'em an' makes a start to sling off dirt.
Nex' minnit there's a reel ole ding-dong go ---
'Arf round or so.
Mick Curio, 'e gets it in the neck,
"Ar rats!" 'e sez, an' passes in 'is check.

Quite natchril, Romeo gits wet as 'ell.
"It's me or you!" 'e 'owls, an' wiv a yell,
Plunks Tyball through the gizzard wiv 'is sword,
'Ow I ongcored!
"Put in the boot!" I sez. "Put in the boot!"
"'Ush!" sez Doreen ... "Shame!" sez some silly coot.

Then Romeo, 'e dunno wot to do.
The cops gits busy, like they allwiz do,
An' nose around until 'e gits blue funk
An' does a bunk.
They wants 'is tart to wed some other guy.
"Ah, strike!" she sez. "I wish that I could die!"

Now, this 'ere gorspil bloke's a fair shrewd 'ead.
Sez 'e "I'll dope yeh, so they'll think yer dead."
(I tips 'e was a cunnin' sort, wot knoo
A thing or two.)
She takes 'is knock-out drops, up in 'er room:
They think she's snuffed, an' plant 'er in 'er tomb.

Then things gits mixed a treat an' starts to whirl.
'Ere's Romeo comes back an' finds 'is girl
Tucked in 'er little coffing, cold an' stiff,
An' in a jiff,
'E swallows lysol, throws a fancy fit,
'Ead over turkey, an' 'is soul 'as flit.

Then Juli-et wakes up an' sees 'im there,
Turns on the water-works an' tears 'er 'air,
"Dear love," she sez, "I cannot live alone!"
An' wiv a moan,
She grabs 'is pockit knife, an' ends 'er cares ...
"Peanuts or lollies!" sez a boy upstairs.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 July 1914
This poem forms part of The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis
Part 1 of this poem was published last week.

Poem: The Play by C.J. Dennis - Part 1

Wot's in a name? -- she sez . . . An' then she sighs,
An' clasps 'er little 'ands, an' rolls 'er eyes.
"A rose," she sez, "be any other name
Would smell the same.
Oh, w'erefore art you Romeo, young sir?
Chuck yer ole pot, an' change yer moniker!"

Doreen an' me, we bin to see a show --
The swell two-dollar touch. Bong tong, yeh know.
A chair apiece wiv velvit on the seat;
A slap-up treat.
The drarmer's writ be Shakespeare, years ago,
About a barmy goat called Romeo.

"Lady, be yonder moon I swear!" sez 'e.
An' then 'e climbs up on the balkiney;
An' there they smooge a treat, wiv pretty words
Like two love-birds.
I nudge Doreen. She whispers, "Ain't it grand!"
'Er eyes is shining an' I squeeze 'er 'and.

'Wot's in a name?" she sez. 'Struth, I dunno.
Billo is just as good as Romeo.
She may be Juli-er or Juli-et --
'E loves 'er yet.
If she's the tart 'e wants, then she's 'is queen,
Names never count ... But ar, I like "Doreen!"

A sweeter, dearer sound I never 'eard;
Ther's music 'angs around that little word,
Doreen! ... But wot was this I starts to say
About the play?
I'm off me beat. But when a bloke's in love
'Is thorts turns 'er way, like a 'omin' dove.

This Romeo 'e's lurkin' wiv a crew --
A dead tough crowd o' crooks -- called Montague.
'Is cliner's push -- wot's nicknamed Capulet --
They 'as 'em set.
Fair narks they are, jist like them back-street clicks,
Ixcep' they fights wiv skewers 'stid o' bricks.

Wot's in a name? Wot's in a string o' words?
They scraps in ole Verona wiv the'r swords,
An' never give a bloke a stray dog's chance,
An' that's Romance.
But when they deals it out wiv bricks an' boots
In Little Lon., they're low, degraded broots.

Wot's jist plain stoush wiv us, right 'ere to-day,
Is "valler" if yer fur enough away.
Some time, some writer bloke will do the trick
Wiv Ginger Mick,
Of Spadger's Lane.
'E'll be a Romeo,
When 'e's bin dead five 'undred years or so.

Fair Juli-et, she gives 'er boy the tip.
Sez she: "Don't sling that crowd o' mine no lip;
An' if you run agin a Capulet,
Jist do a get."
'E swears 'e's done wiv lash; 'e'll chuck it clean.
(Same as I done when I first met Doreen.)

They smooge some more at that. Ar, strike me blue!
It gimme Joes to sit an' watch them two! '
E'd break away an' start to say good-bye,
An' then she'd sigh
"Ow, Ro-me-o!" an' git a strangle-holt,
An' 'ang around 'im like she feared 'e'd bolt.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 July 1914

This poem forms part of The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis
Part 2 of this poem will be published next week.

Poem: The Poet's Songs by R. Crawford

Ingenio arbusta ubi nata sunt non insita. - Naevius

The copse-wood merely sows
   Itself, not planted;
And so it is with those
   Strange and enchanted
Moods that have taken root,
Bloomed, and e'en borne fruit,
Or e'er the poet knew't,

The little songs that fly,
   When the lips parted
Let dreams of ear and eye
   Forth, so warm-hearted:
Be it a joy or pain,
Each to chaunt is fain
What in the parent brain
   Soothed or smarted.

This is the poet's dower,
   None, none completer;
As if 'twere Love's own flower,
   Than all flowers sweeter,
Which, as the seer saith,
Still breathes a faery breath
Where Beauty smiles, though Death
   May come to meet her.

First published in The Lone Hand, 1 June 1908

Poem: The Pannikin Poet by "The B." (A.B. "Banjo" Paterson)

There's nothing here sublime,
But just a roving Rhyme,
Run off to pass the time,
   With nought titanic in
The theme that it supports,
And, though it treats of quarts,
It's bare of golden thoughts --
   It's just a pannikin.

I think it's rather hard
That each Australian bard --
Each wan, poetic card --
   With thoughts galvanic in
His fiery soul alight,
In wild aerial flight,
Will sit him down and write
   About a pannikin.

He makes some new-chum fare
From out his English lair
To hunt the native bear,
   That curious mannikin;
And then when times get bad
That wand'ring English lad
Writes out a message sad
   Upon his pannikin:

"Oh, mother, think of me
Beneath the wattle tree
(For you may bet that he
   Will drag the wattle in)
"Oh, mother, here I think
That I shall have to sink
There ain't a single drink
   The watter-bottle in."

The dingo homeward hies,
The sooty crows uprise
And caw their fierce surprise
   A tone Satanic in;
And bearded bushmen tread
Around the sleepers' head --
"See here -- the bloke is dead."
   "Now where's his pannikin."

They read his words and weep,
And lay him down to sleep
Where wattle-branches sweep
   A style mechanic in;
And, reader, that's the way
The poets of to-day
Spin out their little lay
   About a pannikin.

First published in The Bulletin, 28 May 1892

Poem: Ballad of St. Dynamite by Grant Hervey

O Lord, in Thy Ledgers of Heaven,
   'Midst entries three-billions-and-three,
Let One Line of Credit be given,
To the Bards Who Have Blasted and Striven
   To make this humanity gee!
There is praise for the deacons seraphic,
   There are harps for the saints in the pews;
In the census of souls and their traffic
Keep a space for the Bards Who Are Graphic
   And abrupt in expressing their views!
For Thou knowest that each is a prophet,
   And that fervour abides in his curse;
O Lord, lest the Wowsers should scoff it,
Keep a page or a small corner of it
For the praise and reward of each prophet
   Exploding in Verse!

Yes, Lord, 'midst the rust and corrosion --
   'Midst the dross and the slush and the flam;
There is need for the Priests of Explosion;
So, here, I give notice of motion
   Ere the Books of Eternity slam!
It is moved that a saint's white apparel
   Be reserved for the Bard Who Goes Bang;
Keep a harp and a crown -- keep a barrel
For the Bard with a Fuse to his Carol,
   And whose psalm stirs the herd with its clang!
Yea, Thou knowest that Man needs a spasm
   To arouse him from slumber and worse;
When his feet graze the edge of the chasm --
Then, to waken the stiff protoplasm,
There is need for a Bard with a Spasm
   Of Dynamite-Verse!

In days when the hearts of the Chosen
   Were estranged from the worship of Thee;
When the faith of old Judah was frozen,
Didst Thou send them a score or a dozen
   Of Bishops in full panoply?
Nay, Thine hand from the earth mixed a Singer --
   Into dust didst Thou breathe forth Thy soul;
And the Bard who was fierce and a stinger --
He was sent as Thine own challenge-flinger,
   And he dragged stupid Man to Thy goal!
Wherefore, Lord, in a day that is cruder --
   Yea, when Man breathes his prayers to the Bourse;
As Thou blest then the Wakers of Judah,
Keep a crown for the Bards Who Are Ruder --
Who are Blasting an age that is cruder
   With Brimstone in Verse!

Keep, I pray, a fair saint-ship in Heaven
   For the Bards Who Explode With a Vim;
They have toiled and have called and have striven --
Unto each let a halo be given;
   Also, save them a harp and a hymn!
They are Thine -- 'tis Thy spirit volcanic
   Which inspires them to howl and to smite;
They are foes to creed aldermanic --
And in days when the earth quakes with panic
   There is need for the Saint Who can Fight.
For Thou knowest that he is a Preacher,
   Shoving hard at Inanity's hearse;
In the Day when each wakened beseecher
Calls aloud, Thou shalt say: "Bring the Teacher --
There is room 'mid the stars for the Preacher Who Blasted in Verse!"

First published in The Bulletin, 12 October 1911

Poem: A Ballad of Perfect Curse by Grant Hervey

A vision there is abides with me -- a vision of scorching verse,
Whose every line shall faithless be -- the essence of Perfect Curse!
An hour will come -- an hour sublime -- when I, with inkpot vast,
Shall fashion a grim and mordant rhyme, whose words shall rent and blast!
Red thoughts shall drip from the speeding pen -- they'll be written in god-like ink;
They shall reach the minds of careless men -- they shall force the world to think!
It haunts me aye, that vision of bliss -- O vision of joy perverse,
When I shall fashion with words that hiss the Ballad of Perfect Curse!

The looms of thought a song shall weave -- an anthem fierce and grand,
Whose flashing lines like swords shall cleave the shams that infest the land!
The roaring flails of rhyme shall beat, like hammers of massy steel,
When at last I fix in a song complete the thoughts that I sometimes feel!
The thoughts that come when the blatant world lies hushed in a cow-like sleep --
Like thunderbolts they shall be hurled, and the souls of men shall leap!
Aye, the earth shall start like a guilty thing -- shall drop like a toad its purse
When the shattering stanzas roll and ring of the Ballad of Perfect Curse!

The palsied creeds shall wither away -- shall pass from the sight of men;
And kings shall rush in a Judgment Dray, while he shall drive who can!
No more to cash the knee shall bend -- no more shall white men creep
Like prostrate worms to their journey's end -- yea, man shall be more than sheep!
The New Republic's flag shall fly -- new eras men shall see,
When my metred blast goes roaring by like the blast of artillery!
O song unsung! O god-like thought that my inmost soul doth nurse,
That by my pen may yet be wrought the Ballad of the Perfect Curse!

Volcanic thoughts sweep through the night -- red tides of lava gleam;
They pour their blaze of crimson light athwart my burning dream!
The pregnant lines take shining form, the long stern metres swing --
I hear thy voice, incarnate storm, for ever thundering!
Like vivid lightnings through my soul the jagged curses flash --
The blazing tides transmuted roll in rhymes, O God of Cash!
I see pale Cant -- it scuttles by, a dead thing in a Hearse,
And fetiches piled mountain high -- slain by my Perfect Curse!

A vision abides for eye with me -- 'tis a vision of burning verse,
Whose clarion lines shall perfect be -- the essence of Faultless Curse!
An Hour will come -- an Hour sublime when I, with an ink-pot vast,
Shall fashion a most infuriate rhyme whose words shall blight and blast!
Red thoughts shall drip from the speeding pen, and I'll boil down hell for ink --
I shall write an epistle to careless men that shall force the world to Think!
It haunts me, that dream of joy and light (O world where good dreams are scarce!),
That the gods have appointed me to write the Song of the Perfect Curse.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 June 1907

Poem: Books by Zora Cross

Oh bury me in books when I am dead,
   Fair quarto leaves of ivory and gold,
And silk octavos bound in brown and red,
   That tales of love and chivalry unfold.

Heap me in volumes of fine vellum wrought,
   Creamed with the close content of silent speech.
Wrap me in sapphire tapestries of thought
   From some old epic out of common reach.

I would my shroud were verse-embroidered too --
   Your verse for preference, in starry stitch,
And powdered o'er with rhymes that poets woo,
   Breathing dream-lyrics in moon-measures rich.

Night holds me with a horror of the grave
   That knows not poetry, nor song, nor you;
Nor leaves of love that down the ages wave
   Romance and fire in burnished cloths of blue.

Oh bury me in books, and I'll not mind
   The cold, slow worms that coil around my head;
Since my lone soul may turn the page and find
   The lines you wrote to me, when I am dead.

First published in The Bulletin, 1 March 1917

Poem: The Dreamers and the Doers by Grant Hervey

I stood upon a distant star, athwart the straits of misty space;
The Earth seemed like a mighty Car, dragged on and on with dogged pace.
The Dreamers lazed upon the world, and dreamed at ease of visions strange;
The Doers strained their yokes and drew the Car across the ruts of Change.

With shoulders bent the Team trudged on towards a far-off, shining star;
I heard yawns drift e'er and anon from some bored riders on the Car.
I saw one Dreamer rub his eye, and heard him grumble and complain
Because his slow globe did not fly to that bright star and back again!

What fools are they, I thought, who let these lazy fellows growl and whine
And beat them, tho' they groan and sweat, with whips of words on neck and spine?
And Some One on an asteroid called out across dim space to me:
"The Doers drag the earthly Car; the other chaps write Poetry!"

First published in The Bulletin, 18 April 1907

Poem: The Blue Pencil by Louis Esson

A fiendish man sits there to ban quaint yarns and soulful songs,
And hour by hour abuses power that unto him belongs.
His soul corrodes as he slays our odes; he makes each little less;
He's quite cocksure about Literature, and he knows not bashfulness.
Rose, woman, wine -- 'tis pearls to swine; he draws his guilty screw
By cuts and hacks with his blood-stained axe and his baleful Pencil Blue.

The golden spring, where the bell-birds sing, and the wavelets kiss the shore;
The murmuring stream where lovers dream -- he's heard 'em all before.
The sweet red rose that blooms and blows on top of the Drunkard's Grave
He rejects each time like the simple rhyme of the sunbeam on the wave.
The domestic life of the Gambler's Wife the basket hides from view,
And My Guiding Star "might make a par," says he with the Pencil Blue.

He has no mind for the whispering wind that sighs o'er the smiling scene,
He has no soul for the funeral roll of the Men That Might Have Been;
The Orbèd Night, the Heart's Delight, and Lost Loves two and three,
He treats as shams, which he loudly damns, with the Graveyard by the Sea.
At the Suicide's Doom and the Silent Tomb and the Angel-Girl we knew,
With ghoulish glare he shakes his hair and clutches his Pencil Blue.

He has no room for Wattle Bloom, nor the lights of Faerie Town;
The Dying Child but makes him wild, and he curses Eyes of Brown.
He swears amain at the sweetheart's pain for the Days of Long Ago,
And he wipes out Dick, the stockman sick, who dies in the Sunset Glow.
"There's Sweet Lucette, my fair brunette, now lost to Fancy's view!"
The brute doth leer, "not here, not here," and juggles his Pencil Blue.

First published in The Bulletin, 11 October 1906

Poem: The Tale of Mr Brown by C.J. Dennis

   There was a crafty editor -
   (Of course, you understand
   That this was long before the light
   Of reason lit the land.)
   There was a crafty editor
   Whose calculating mind
   Controlled a mighty daily
   Of the "influential" kind.
   It was the "Morning Megaphone";
   'Twas popularly said
   To ev'ry corner of the land
   Its circulation spread.
      For it was read
By Smith and Smythe, and Lane and Lee,
Murphy, Morphy and Magee,
Puddlefoot and Ponsonby;
Read with rare avidity
By quite nine hundred thousand folk of ev'ry walk in life.
Indeed, by all the populace, its sister, and its wife.

   Now this very crafty editor -
   (I wish to make it clear
   That this was ere men knew their minds
   Or spoke them, minus fear).
   This very crafty editor
   Conceived a crafty plan
   To boost the circulation
   Of the paper that he ran.
   In short, his scheme was to create,
   With journalistic zeal,
   A Popular Opinion.
   And produce a Public Squeal
      That would appeal
To Smith and Smythe, and Lane and Lee,
Murphy, Morphy and Magee,
Puddlefoot and Ponsonby -
Men whose perspicacity
Was not above the common, but the object was to swell
The ardor of the Public and its maiden aunt as well.

   Now at this time Josiah Brown -
   (I trust you grasp the fact
   'Twas long before men pleased themselves
   How they should think and act).
   Josiah Brown, plain citizen,
   Lay shug a-bed and dreamed,
   Nor thought, nor knew, nor ever heard
   Of that the pressmen schemed.
   Nor troubled to consider,
   Or suppose, or speculate
   That a Mighty Public Question cried
   For him to arbitrate
      And in like state
Slept Smith and Smythe, and Lane and Lee,
Murphy, Morphy and Magee,
Puddlefoot and Ponsonby -
Independent men and free -
And nine hundred thousand others, each and ev'ry one inclined
To congratulate himself upon his hardy strength of mind.

   At breakfast time Josiah Brown
   Was much surprised to find
   That a red-hot Public Question
   Exercised the Public Mind.
   And ev'ry man of any worth,
   Except himself, it seemed,
   Had been moved to clamor loudly
   While he slept and drowsed and dreamed.
   Then he waxed enthusiastic,
   And he banged the breakfast board,
   And vowed that all along he'd voiced
   The popular accord.
      In like vein roared
The Smiths and Smythes, and Lanes and Lees,
Murphys, Morphys and Magees,
Puddlefoots and Ponsonbys -
Each and ev'ry one of these.
In fact, the Great, Glad Public and its cousin twice removed
Vowed they'd inwardly digested this Great Question and approved.

   The very crafty editor
   Lay low and gently smiled,
   While the Public rent its shirt, and grew
   Hysterical and wild.
   And proudly did Josiah Brown
   Protrude his manly chest.
   He delivered public speeches which
   Were cheered like all the rest;
   And vaguely he suspected that,
   Before the fuss began,
   Within his inmost mind of minds
   He had conceived the plan.
      So, to a man,
Did Smith and Smythe, and Lane and Lee,
Murphy, Morphy and Magee,
Dash and Dingle, Prout and Pringle, Puddlefoot and Ponsonby,
And a million thinking units of the Great Democracy.
(But, of course, it must have happened when the world was very young,
And no one thought his private thoughts before he loosed his public tongue.)

First published in The Bulletin, 6 May 1909

Poem: The Paper Famine by Edward Dyson

The tradesman at the poet's door
   Was red with righteous ire,
A thumping sheaf of bills he bore.
Said he: "I've served it oft before.
   This sort of thing would tire
The patience of old Job.
Are we To bill you to eternity?"

The poet on the tradesman smiled.
   "Why should you mind?" said he.
"If I do not? I am not wild.
Indeed, I am quite reconciled.
   Send in your bills to me.
I find them excellent anon
To rough-cast little poems on."

First published in The Bulletin, 13 September 1917

Poem: The Poet's Truth by Edward Dyson

The poet wrote in measure fine
Of sonorous and honeyed line
His love for Joan, the small and sweet,
Who'd come on little golden feet,
And in her rose-leaf hands, he swore,
Imprisoned him for evermore.

He sang of Joan's brown eyes, whose fire
Gave warmth like wine. His vibrant lyre
Lent music to her hair and stress
Of measured grace and tunefulness
To ears and lips' deep corners where
Were nectared sweets and essence rare.

Joan's wee, brave, lilied breasts he sang,
And at his touch a pæan rang In honor of her waist so slim,
The fondling turn of every limb,
Her neck, like suave, old ivory,
Where 'neath his lip her life ran free.

He sang a land of bliss alone
Where he might bide with love and Joan.
All raptures dear she brought to him
Of devils and of seraphim.
This wondrous song he sold next day,
And bought a stole of furs for May!

First published in The Bulletin, 17 May 1917

Poem: The Business-Like Bard by Edward Dyson

Some scribes their tinkling verses string
   In sweating diligence;
To charm a maiden's ear they sing --
   I question not their sense,
Nor gibe I at the wanton waste,
   But let them still adore.
I serve no damsel fair and chaste,
But weave my rhymes to please the taste
Of some grim, goggled, hairy-faced,
   Prosaic editor.

Some poets in pursuit of fame
   Burn midnight kerosene,
Grow pale and famished at the game;
   But diligent and keen
Their tortued syllables they ile,
   And stanzas polish o'er,
That Glory may be theirs a while,
I care not on whom Glory smile
If with my verses I beguile
   The gloomy editor.

There is a bard who trims his line
   For sour Prosterity.
He eats to-morrow's bread, drinks wine
   Of Nineteen-twenty-three.
The mistress he pursues, poor boy,
   Is always on before --
Anticipation is his joy.
My whole endeavor I employ
To be accepted by some coy,
   Concurrent editor.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 November 1917

Poem: The Poet's Bride: Her Answer by Anonymous

The glory of a summer night
   Was in the sky above,
When by the moon's soft silvern light
   I told my sweet my love.
"Dear maid, a love for thee I bear
   Far deeper than the sea --
More boundless than the ambient air
   In its immensity.

"I prithee put me to the test --
   How may thy heart be won --
Send me on some knight-errant quest
   To stars, or moon, or sun.
I'll seek the lion in his den,
   The tiger in his lair,
And bring their skins as trophies then
   To robe thy figure fair.

"I'll plunge me in the ocean deep,
   Where sunbeams never shine;
Into the coral caves I'll creep,
   Where octopuses twine,
And wrest bright jewels from their care,
   The pearls that women prize,
To add their lustre to thy hair
   And pale before thine eyes.

"And Mother Earth's bright golden store
   I'll reave from her embrace,
And gladly all the Midas store
   I at thy feet will place.
By argosies with every breeze
   Thy wants shall be supplied.
And gold, and gem, and diadem
   Shall deck the Poet's Bride!"

I ceased my song. With unshed tears
   Her eyes of azure dimmed,
As though she saw the future years
   My loving fancy limned.
I marked her blush -- I almost heard
   Her heart's fond pit-a-pats.
Ye gods! How all my pulses strred
   To hear her murmur - "Rats!"

First published in Melbourne Punch, 10 December 1907

Poem: The Song of the Pen by Allan F. Wilson

Like my friend the Sword, I am fond of a drink,
   And am intimate with the bottle,
But the tipple is never red blood, but ink,
   Wherewith I moisten my throttle.
That the Sword is a mighty power I know,
   Yet methinks I am more than its match.
For that which requires from the Sword a blow
   I do with a quiet scratch.

That the Sword has travelled the wide world round
   I am quite prepared to own,
But let me ask has it ever found
   A spot where the Pen's unknown?
My faith! though the Sword in times past schooled
   The various breeds of men,
To-day the affairs of the world are ruled
   As much by the peaceful Pen.

Majestic indeed is the ship of steel
   As it ploughs the billowy seas,
But the sailor in charge of the steering wheel
   Can demolish it should he please.
Of the engine's strength we are often told
   With its ponderous driving gear,
But its giant forces are all controlled
   By the hand of the engineer.

I do not flash in the sun's bright ray,
   'Midst the shouting of armed men.
Yet none the less must the Sword give way
   To the mightier power of the Pen.
Yet which of us two has the greatest might
   Let men for themselves decide:
'Tis the role of the Sword to drive and smite,
   'Tis that of the Pen to guide.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 14 November 1907

Poem: The Scribbler to His Son by Allan F. Wilson

Heaven help you, little son of mine; you've not
   A prospect in this world. I'll not deceive you.
Your fond but stony father hasn't got
   A solitary copper coin to leave you.
You'll have to earn your meat before you chew it,
But darned if I know how you're going to do it.

I have no money -- not a maravedi,
   No high-toned friends or powerful influence;
Indeed, I'm so abominably needy
   That all I've got would scarce fetch eighteenpence.
And if I wanted half a crown to-morrow, it
Is a cold fact I'd have a job to borrow it.

You're full of brains as any egg of meat,
   But what's the good of that? You'd better lose 'em.
They'll never get you anything to eat,
   Since you will never have the chance to use 'em.
For, sonny, as already I have stated,
I can't afford to have 'em "eddicated."

You might become a baker man, you know,
   And make bread out of sawdust -- no bad plan,
Or you might be a fish purveyor, though
   I'd loathe to see my son a "sell-fish" man,
Or as a tailor you'd find opportunity
To "take the measure" of the whole community.

A carpenter, or else an auctioneer,
   At one of those trades you might be a gainer:
Either affords a promising career --
   One's a plain dealer, t'other a deal planer:
But, then, again, it must not be forgot
Carpenters always are "an ailing" lot.

Then as a poulterer you might succeed;
   Though, hark ye, son, and mark your father's words,
It takes a very clever man indeed
   To make a pile at dealing in "dead birds."
Brewing's good biz when summer's in the offing,
Yet often puts "an ale into one's coughing."

As undertaker you might roll in gold,
   That yellow dross that all men sweat and sin for,
Since undertakers, as a rule, I'm told,
   "Carry out" everything that they "go in" for,
Which is a principle that needs must win,
For those who act upon it, heaps of tin.

Then there's the publican; his is a game
   Not altogether destitute of merit.
For let who will his occupation blame,
   He's none the
less a man of "public spirit."
And though to be "in spirits" is a curse,
Yet to be out of them is surely worse.

Lastly, my son, you might become a bard,
   And scribble doggerel for the weekly papers;
I trust that you, however, will discard
   All such unholy and pernicious capers.
If you have never scribbled, don't begin it.
I can assure you there is nothing in it.

I cannot tell to what you are destined.
   There is no lack God wot of occupations:
But, then, in almost every case you'll find
   There's but one berth to fifty applications.
Well, well! since you can never be a royal King,
I'd recommend you to become an oil king.

A king of diamonds, rum, wool, iron, oil,
   It matters not a breeches button which.
That man alone, my son, is truly royal
   Who is in this world's goods surpassing rich,
Since there is little money cannot buy him;
And naught that man or woman will deny him.
Wherefore get money: honestly for choice,
   But get it somehow. Do not be afraid --
Your fellow-man will never raise his voice
   To ask rude questions as to how 'twas made,
For like sweet Charity, all hearts it wins,
And covers up a multitude of sins.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 10 December 1907

Poem: "D--N!" by W.T. Goodge

Mr. Archer: Withdraw the amendment!
Mr. J.C.L. Fitzpatrick: Perhaps the hon. member will do us the favor of withdrawing from the House.
Mr. Archer: I wish the hon. member would withdraw -- he is a damned nuisance, anyway! Mr. Speaker: I have repeatedly asked the hon. member for Burwood to discontinue interrupting, and he has not taken the slightest notice.
An Hon. Member: He said "Damn!" Mr. Speaker.
-N.S.W. Hansard

Oh, wasn't it a fearful thing
   When Archer murmured "D---!"?
I'm filled with pain and wondering --
   Indeed I really am!
And so (I'm nearly sure) are you;
It was a dreadful thing to do --
It thrills a person through and through
   When Archer murmurs "D---!"

Another tale I'll tell to you
   Of one who murmured "D---!"
There was a certain Bishop who
   Contrived to miss his tram;
And though he could not curse his fate
(For Bishops have to keep sedate)
A layman, who was also late,
   Ejaculated, "D---!"

That bishop shook that layman's hand!
   (The hand was like a ham.)
That bishop smiled with pleasure and
   His eyes with water swam!
"My friend, how kind that was of you
To say what I was thinking, too,
But could not say! It wouldn't do
   For ME to murmur 'D---!'"

So pressmen in the House at night
   (They must not call out "D---!")
Who have to write the blatherskite,
   As silent as a clam,
And listen to the dreary crew
Who want to talk till all is blue
Will bless the name of Archer who
   Breathed out that hearty "D---!"

First Published in The Bulletin, 3 September 1903

Poem: Australian Impulsive Eloquence! by W.T. Goodge

The new Premier, the Right Honorable George Houston Reid, P.C., is 59 years of age, and is still full of the vigor and fire for which he is noted, and which is essential to a fighting politician. Scotch by birth, but Australian by education and adoption, Mr. Reid combines the caution and shrewdness of the Northerner with the impulsive eloquence and caustic wit of the native Australian. - Sydney Morning Herald

I've seen but little evidence
   Of "caustic native wit,"
But of "impulsive eloquence"
   I understand a bit!
There's eloquence and impulse too,
   I have been charmed by both,
From Dubbo out to Dandaloo --
   My Red Australian Oath!

"Impulsive eloquence!" indeed!
   The thought is hard to bear.
I don't believe that G.H. Reid
   Was ever taught to swear!
But find a bullocky whose team
   Is bogged against a fence,
And then you'll hear a lovely stream
   Of "Native Eloquence!"

First published in The Bulletin, 25 August 1904

Poem: McNulty by W.T. Goodge

What McNulty? Strike me purple! He was champion of the West,
Where the gentle art of cursing has achieved its very best.
You can talk about Maginnis and O'Hara and the rest --
   But they couldn't hold a candle to McNulty!

Now THE BULLETIN may have a hide as tough as e'er a mule's,
But it couldn't print his language 'cause it wouldn't have the tools;
It would use up all the brackets, "startlers", stars and metal-rules
   For to punctuate the language of McNulty!

When McNulty came up country he went out to Seven-wire
Where he got a job at hauling logs from hungry McIntyre
(Him as wouldn't work on Sunday if his homestead was a-fire!).
   He could drive a team of bullocks, could McNulty.

But McIntyre's old bullocks they were hungry as was he;
Like them lean and lanky cattle in the Bible yarn, may be.
Anyway, they wouldn't pull a log and 'twas a sight to see
   How they shivered at the language of McNulty?

"Why the (blank dashed parenthesis) and (starred ellipsis) hell
Don't you pull? You sons of (asterisks)!" and here his accents fell.
"Call yerselves a team of bullocks? Workin' bullocks, do yer? Well,
   You're a mob of (blanky) cows!" exclaimed McNulty.

At this gross and brutal insult every bullock gave a heave,
And they hauled that blessed log out just as Mac. had turned to leave.
"I'm a champion ox-persuader, with some notions up my sleeve,
   And I knows the power o' language!" said McNulty.

But M'Nulty went to Sydney, where he drove a parcels van,
And the suburbs got to know just like Coonabarabran.
Took a load of apples over to a North Shore grocer man:
   'Twas the only time that language failed M'Nulty!

You must know "the Shore,' how steep it is; you've climbed the hills, no doubt?
Well, M'Nulty led his horse up; there were plenty folks about;
And the blessed tail-board came unfixed, and let them apples out --
   A catastrophe unnoticed by M'Nulty!

But a crowd was there a-waiting on the summit of the hill
In the hope of hearing language that would make 'em fairly thrill.
When McNulty found what happened for a second he stood still:
   "Please excuse me, gents and ladies," said McNulty,

"I'm the famed McNulty, of the Castlereagh, no less,
And I am a champion swearer -- but I candidly confess
That I can find NO language was would properly express
   What my feelin's is this minute!" said McNulty.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 September 1899

Poem: The Bishop and the Bagman by W.T. Goodge

It was at the Sydney station. It was Platform Number Four,
Where the porters always try to jam your fingers in the door!
And the Western Mail was drawing out when through the platform gate
Rushed the Bishop and the Bagman, both of them a minute late!

"D and B!" exclaimed the Bagman. "D and B!" he cried again!
But from faithfully recording all he said I must refrain;
For the papers wouldn't print it, and I very strongly fear
It was not the sort of language we would lie our wives to hear!

Yet it seemed to soothe the Bishop, for he seized the Bagman's hand
And he said in polished accents, with a smile extremely bland:
"Thank you very much indeed, dear sir! Your language I confess
My own feeling at this moment does not properly express!

"Your remarks were quite in season and I should be nothing loth
To express myself as you did, but one can't forget The Cloth!"
"No, my Lord," replied the other, "and no Bishop, I'll be bound,
Ever needs to do the swearing while a Bagman is around!"

First published in The Bulletin, 12 November 1908

Poem: Edward Dyson by Bellerive (Joseph Tishler)

After a lingering illness
   They lowered down
Mr. Edward Dyson,
   Of literary renown.
Rhymes and tales of
   The mines from he's pen,
And humorous prose,
   Appealed to men.
The magic of he's art
   Its influence shed,
Till advancing years
   O'er the writer sped.
He's task was done,
   He's busy life did close.
In he's sixties he sank
   Into death's repose.
A charm to the young,
   And the grey and old,
Is he's Roaring Fifties
   Of the days of gold.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 September 1931

Poem: Our Job by M. Forrest

Like crinkled cream with raspberries flushed
Be food for me, bright rose, upthrust
   Against my lintel. I will sing
Your loveliness when you are dust,
And when the wind forgets your
breath Rhyme shall recall it out of death.

Oh, shaven grasses, let me lie
   Where your bruised blades hold Morning fast,
And the long shadow of the pine
   Is like a plume across you cast!
When you in sallow hayricks lean
I shall make glory of your green.

Oh, orange lily, bend your head
   And scorn me not as I go by.
Between the covers of a book
   Your majesty some day shall lie!
Even the bee that thrums by me
Brings harvest to my granary.

Rose-petals that have lost their scent,
   Green grass-blades clipt in summer sheaf,
The grey bibliophile some day
   May take my book and turn a leaf
From dusty shelves to set you free,
Gold lily and adventurous bee!

So, though I wear a shabby coat,
   And strum a lyre with rusty strings,
A thought makes flowers out of words,
   And other things than bees have wings.
The green of bannered grass that dies,
Mere poets may immortalise.

First published in The Bulletin, 24 December 1925

Poem: His Book by D.L.

("I always take a book with me to the beach," writes an ultra-delicate correspondent of the daily Press, "and when I see ladies bathing, I begin to read. I know dozens of fellows who would not, but I always do." He always does. Of course.)

When he walks along the beaches, and a score of dainty peaches
   Emerge in bathing costume from a sheltered, shady nook,
To avoid undue surprises, the direction of his eyes is
   Immediately and always to the pages of his book.

And he couldn't tell the copper if their costumes were improper --
   He was very busy reading, and he never had a look.
They might have been Canadian, and they might have been Arcadian,
   His attention was diverted to an interesting book.

Didn't know if they were skimpy or would reach from here to Gympie,
   Fitted tight or floated limply like a lily on a brook;
They were over his horizon, for he kept his earnest eyes on
   The safe, monastic refuge that was offered by his book.

Strolling Tom and Dick and Harry no literature carry,
   For they'd miss a lot of learning if a glance they never took.
Twenty pairs of white feet dancing, twenty sun-kissed throats entrancing
   Lend a greater store of knowledge than the very wisest book.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 15 February 1912

Poem: Unwritten by M. Forrest

The handle of my tardy pen is made of the wood of trees,
And I know the way that their boughs will rock in the lap of the lazy breeze,
Till blossom and leaf are half-asleep and the sceptre is the Sun's,
And every river and every road to the Land of the Dreamer runs.

The nib of my pen is made of steel, and out of the jealous earth
The ore was freed by the miner's pick, to make for a later birth;
And I think of the brown and naked arms and the strong stroke cleanly sent
Across the vein of an ironstone rock in the heart of a continent.

And the thought of the freed, the potent, things must bring ever an ache for you,
As the gleam of a stretch of shadowy grass with a sun-splash breaking through
Will beat at the door of my restless mind, and carry my will away
From all that I somehow fail to write, to all that I fain would say.

If you brought me a quill of a dottrel's wing, a sheet of the ti-tree bark,
A vine leaf filled with the brimming juice where the vines hang stripped and stark,
The things would cry of the green wood gods that are yet unspoiled by men,
I might tell you all that you wait to hear, in the dip of that fairy pen!

First published in The Bulletin, 7 March 1918

Poem: At the Typewriter by M. Forrest

Just outside my office window the dust lies on the leaves,
      And the great shadows sway and pass
      Dark splashes on the wind-swept grass,
And tall and slim a date palm flings its green crest to the eaves.

My fingers pick the black notes and clatter on the white;
      The purple ribbon slides along --
      Ting! goes the sharp voice of the gong.
Click! from the carriage handle jerking upwards on the right.

I rest my fingers on the keys and pause awhile, to dream
      Of polished leaves in forest dells,
      Of far-off clang of teamsters' bells.
Gold afternoons, and still lagoons where water lilies gleam;

Of a bird voice, clear and joyous, out beyond the timber line;
      Of sawdust drifting from the mill;
      Of grass trees climbing up the hill;
Of scent of almond from the scrub and resin from the pine.

But, there! I'm wasting time to-day; this typing must be done.
      'Twas just those shadows brought it back
      Like swinging vines across the track
In days when everything was hope, and everywhere was sun!

First published in The Bulletin, 20 September 1906

Poem: A Regret by The Raven

The restless rover has left the track
Of "dust and flies" in the far "out-back";
He has dumped his swag by the Maori sea,
And we're lonely here in the old Gum-tree.

For the green leaves quivered to hear his song
Of the right of Right and the wrong of Wrong,
And the dead leaves turned from their misery
To hear that hymn in the old Gum-tree.

Will he find new themes in the Maori land --
A league of sea for a league of land?
Then his pent-up notes will be all too free,
Till he come back and sing in the old Gum-tree.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 July 1897

[Written on the occasion of Henry Lawson settling in Kaikouri, New Zealand, as a schoolmaster.]

Poem: Dreams by V.J.D (Victor Daley)

I have been dreaming all a summer day
Of rare and dainty poems I would write;
Love-lyrics delicate as lilac-scent,
Soft idylls wov'n of wind, and flow'r, and stream,
And songs and sonnets carven in fine gold.

The day is fading, and the dusk is cold;
Out of the skies has gone the opal gleam,
Out of my heart has passed the high intent
Into the shadow of the failing night --
Must all my dreams in darkness pass away?

I have been dreaming all a summer day"
Shall I go dreaming so until Life's light
Fades in Death's dusk, and all my days are spent?
Ah, what am I the dreamer but a dream!
The day is fading, and the dusk is cold.

My songs and sonnets carven in fine gold
Have faded from me with the last day-beam
That purple lustre to the sea-line lent,
And flushed the clouds with rose and chrysolite;
So days and dreams in darkness pass away.

I have been dreaming all a summer day
Of songs and sonnets carven in fine gold;
But all my dreams in darkness pass away;
The day is fading, and the dusk is cold.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 December 1883

Poem: The Pint-Pot Poet by W.T. Goodge

"Laugh and the world laughs with you;
   Weep, and you weep alone!"
That is the poet's watchword
   Murmured in monotone.
Sadly he drains his pewter,
   Grimly you hear him groan
"Laugh and the world laughs with you;
   Weep, and you weep alone!"

Ask if he'll "try another";
   How will the bard respond!
Watch the replenished pewter
   Meet with a gaze as fond,
Tender, and true and yearning,
   Gentle and sweet and mild,
E'en as a lovong mother
   Beams on a lovely child!

Aye, he will tell his troubles,
   And, with a soulful tear,
Bury his face in his pewter --
   Drink down his pint of beer.
Ah, how the world neglects him;
   He of the teeming brain! He --
"What was that? Well, thank you.
   Give me the same again!"

Ah, 'tis a dreary story:
   Always the same old tale
Told by the Pint-Pot Poet,
   Thirsting for quarts of ale!
Always the world is cruel --
   That is the dismal drone:
"Laugh and the world laughs with you;
   Weep, and you weep alone!"

"Laugh and the world laughs
with you;    Weep, and you weep alone!
Ask them for bread," he tells you.
   "What will they give? A stone!"
Ask them for bread? O, Poet!
   Make not the scornful jeer!
Never for bread he asks them;
   Only he asks for beer!

Hath not the world its troubles?
   Hath not the world its throes?
Why must the world still listen
   Unto the writer's woes?
Oh, but the world grows weary,
   Aye, and its heart grows hard;
Tired of the Pint Pot Poet;
   Sick of the Beery Bard!

First published in The Bulletin, 28 June 1906

Poem: Limerickitis by W.T. Goodge

On the tram and the train, on the 'bus and the boat,
   You will hear it, both going and coming;
In the pub and the club and ashore and afloat --
   A perpetual humming and strumming!
From the ponderous personage, proud in his prime,
To the little kids grouped in the gutter,
They are muttering over a doggerel rhyme,
   And this is the matter they mutter:
      "There was a young man of Junee,
       Who went, in a basin, to sea;
         The basin was broken,
         And, by the same token...."
      Ta-rumtiddy, dumtiddy, dee!

First published in The Bulletin, 26 December 1907

Poem: The Tree of ANZAC by C.J. Dennis

I sing not the glory of war, this day of all days;
I hymn dead or living no more with inadequate praise;
Nor of valor nor sorrow I sing, not of pride - let it be
I uphold a more radiant thing          I sing of a Tree!

Brown soldiers, like blown autumn leaves, are gathered again,
In sight of a city that grieves, remembering pain,
In sight of a nation denied forgetfulness yet
Proud soldiers, who know in their pride
         We can not forget.

Brown leaves that yet cleave to the Tree -- grave soldiers that march,
Yet living -- are these what you see 'neath heaven's grey arch?
Grey soldiers see you, yet alive, where veterans tread?
Yet, walking by one man in five,
         I vision the dead.

Grey phantoms that march by their side -- grey row upon row,
Proud ghosts that exultantly stride, and sing as they go
A song that is never of earth, for mortal man's breath --
Of a Tree, and a wonderful birth
         Comprehended in death.

"Brown soldiers, like blown autumn leaves, fall, drift, and are gone.
Yet over a land that still grieves, the Tree burgeons on.
The Tree, that shall never repine, from seed that we set,
Has grown to an earnest, a sign
         You can not forget.

"You cannot forget, tho' the years shall soften their grief;
Tho' coming of wintertime sears each yellowing leaf
You cannot forget; tho' the pain shall pass with the debt.
Exultantly rings our refrain:
         'You can not forget!'

"Speak not of a vain sacrifice. We went, nothing loth,
To pay but a trivial price that this might have growth
No tale of material things may set forth its worth;
Deep-rooted, for ever it clings
         In our holy earth.

"Eternally this is our dower and splendid reward
Who died in one turbulent hour by shot and by sword,
Who fell but to nurture the Tree, and rendered each soul
Contented for ever to see
         A nation made whole.

"We sing of the Tree that has grown to glorious gain
From see we have willingly sown in travail and pain
For us be not ever afraid for living, still fret;
For they who will bask in its shade
         They shall not forget."

When we that yet linger are dust blown hence from the scene,
Still, surely the God of the just shall keep the Tree green
When they that come after, grown old -- vast myriads yet
The green tree of Anzac behold,
         They shall not forget.

First published in The Herald, 25 April 1930

[Today is ANZAC Day.]

Poem: A Poetaster's Dirge by W.T. Goodge

      I can't be a poet;
      I haven't the time.
      And few papers pay for
      A serious rhyme.
      But, were I a poet
      To labor at night
      On gloomy forebodings,
      'Tis this I would write:--

The sunlight grew fainter behind the dark ranges,
   The cry of the curlew came clear through the trees;
The jackass was sounding his sunset exchanges,
   And soft sounds of nightfall were born on the breeze.

And I at the camp-fire was gazing, and dreaming
   Of days in the future still hid from view;
In doubt if success in the embers were gleaming,
   Or failure were writ in the sparks as they flew.

The up-curling smoke of the camp-fire grew whiter;
   There came forth a vision that whispered,
"O, friend! Why fret if the future be darker or brighter;
   If bright or if dark, 'tis the same in the end!

"Be poor or wealthy; be sick or be healthy;
   Be sad or be merry; to what does it tend?
The grim hand of Fate is as certain as stealthy!
   Poor Mortal! 'Tis ever the same in the end!

"Is happiness found in the glory or splendor
   That Favor and Fortune to mortals may send?
Does Misery dwell in the creatures who lend her
   Their tears? It is ever the same in the end!"

The coo-ee rang sharp, and the vision vanished,
   I answered the call of my mate from the bend;
But never the thought has been utterly banished:
   The lot of us all is the same in the end!

      I can't be a poet
      I told you before.
      I have to be keeping
      The wolf from the door.
      But were I a poet,
      And gave you my best,
      I'd fill you with sadness
      And gloom like the rest!

First published in The Bulletin, 3 August 1905

Poem: Americant by Dido (Edward Dyson)

Australians, a stern appeal,
   A cry of anguish thrown to you:
To native weaknesses be leal,
   Assuming you must have a few.
In any circumstance at all,
   When trouble takes you by the throat,
Don't, don't remark with basal drawl:
   "It gets my goat!"
And never wail in accents dree:
   "Oh, gee!"

In asking questions at a pinch
   Don't say: "You get me?" and so on,
Nor speak of something as a "cinch,"
   Nor swear "By Hee!" nor say "Dog-gone!"
If, meaning woman, you say "dame,"
   I'll hate you all till kingdom come,
To say "some girl's" a thing of shame,
   And "on the bum"
Is worse; while loathly is the cry
   "Wise guy!"

You say "Poor simp" more than enough;
   Too often murmur "He's a mutt,"
And talk of "jays" and "bug-house stuff,"
   And dub a lunatic a "nut."
Don't speak of "boobs" -- it makes you one --
   Nor "Can that stuff!" with foolish grins.
Sin if you must, but don't my son,
   Sin others' sins.
Let all the vices be home-grown --
   Your own.

First published in The Bulletin, 11 September 1919

Poem: His Careless Rapture by E.D. (Edward Dyson)

With fine bravado sounds the poet's claim:
   "I care not when my poem's fairly writ,
Who snatches up and carries off the same,
   Once made I am for ever done with it.

"I spill my silver words upon the grass,"
   He cried, "because my burdened heart distills
Their scent and beauty. Then I let them pass,
   The property of anyone who wills.

"I write when hot afflatus urges on
   My leaping Pegasus. My soul abhors
The task of selling, like some common Jack,
   Who hawks his wares among the editors."

There's ramping in the kitchen, ugly swears
   Along the passage, and the roarings run
About the drawing-room, and up the stairs --
   "The boss has lost a sonnet what he done!"

First published in The Bulletin, 25 January 1923

Poem: The Shrew by E. Dyson

I've taken one into my home,
   And have enthroned her there.
She faithful is, and will not roam:
   She holds me in her care.
She holds me with a tyrant hand,
   I yield unto her will;
And soft the grass grows on the strand,
   The light sits on the hill,
And swift the cloud rides o'er the lea;
But I may not go forth to see.

She's tall and strong, her brow is white,
   And cruel her grey eye;
She holds me down by day and night,
   And swift my fingers ply.
But should I venture to the door
   To look upon the sun,
She fiercely calls me back once more
   To work what's never done,
And bitter is her tongue alway
If I should pause to dream to play.

One time her hands aside I flung,
   And lay where rivers drowse,
And saw the crimson birds that hung
   Like jewels in the boughs,
Where lithe girl children leapt along
   The sward in tuneful game;
But came she searching in the throng
   To fill my heart with shame,
With dog and whip to nag and scold,
And once more herd me in the fold.

At length I am her ironed slave,
   And in the pool of ink
My soul subservient I lave,
   And in the gas-lamp's blink
I sun myself, for ever she
   Is brooding at the door,
And turns to gibe and spit at me
   Should I respite implore.
The fiercest of the tribe of shrews
He has who's mated with a Muse.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1920

Poem: The Ballade of the Stumped by Eddyson (Edward Dyson)

I've sung of ladies dark and fair,
   Of blue, and black and hazel eyes;
Of golden, brown and raven hair;
   Of maidens simple, maidens wise;
   Of small, slim dames, and dames who rise
To manly heights: the thin and stout.
   Now, Muse, what more can you devise --
What is there left to rhyme about?

I've rhymed of happy lovers where
   The wind-blown, golden blossom flies;
I've told of fierce-eyed loves who share
   A passion for some wild emprise;
   I've sung of love that shrewdly lies
And love that has no kind of doubt;
   Of love that blights or sanctifies --
What is there left to rhyme about?

Too oft in writing here and there
   A tender song did I devise
Of lovers in a rosy lair,
   Where vengeance came in grimmest guise.
   Of loves who weep and agonise,
Of loves who jubilantly shout
   Their joyance to the smiling skies --
What is there left to rhyme about?


Erato, give thy slave a prize --
   New views of love a bard may spout:
Of love that lives or love that dies --
   What is there left to rhyme about?

First published in The Bulletin, 17 February 1921

Poem: The Lost Chord by Eddyson (Edward Dyson)

Half-waking and half-dreaming
   I sat me down to write.
The full thoughts flowing, gleaming,
   I wove them with delight.
With bardic rules empiric
   I wrought at fever heat
To make that lovely lyric
   The world must find so sweet.

The small typewriter clicking
   The tropes that softly rise,
A clock above me ticking,
   And dusk before my eyes;
The deft hands score my rhyming,
   I whisper: "This excels!
'Tis like the distant chiming
   Of seven holy bells."

So sped the lovely proem:
   The ringing lines flew fast.
I finished straight my poem,
   And inspiraton passed.
I dreamed a little o'er it;
   Adoring it I smiled,
The parent I who bore it,
   And it my passion-child.

Alas! in the typewriter
   No sunlit verses shone,
And now, a mooning blighter,
   I mourn a pearl that's gone.
Past hope, like morning vapor,
   That never more is seen --
I'd run no paper
   Into the curst machine!

First published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1920

Poem: "Poor John Farrell" by V.J.D. (Victor Daley)

"I knew all now and reckoned that 'nothing mattered much' in this world, as poor John Farrell used to say." - SUNDAY TIMES

You may live all your life half-drunk
   You may live hard and fast,
You may be sober as a monk --
   It comes to this at last.

It comes to this that when you die
   One fact you can't escape --
Above your grave will mope or cry
   Some living owl or ape.

He sang full many a rousing stave,
   And brewed full many a barrel
Of humming ale; yet in his grave
   They call him "poor John Farrell!"

His means were small, his spirit fine
   And generous and grand;
His heart it was a ruby mine,
   Johannesburg his hand.

His sympathies ran round the globe,
   He scorned your fine apparel --
He wore the radiant singing-robe,
   Our dear old "poor John Farrell."

Is it because his soul has fled
   From earth, they call him poor?
Why Homer's dead, and Shakespeare's dead,
   And so is Thomas Moore.

If being dead -- or gone, at least --
   Means indigence so sore,
Jay Gould has been some time deceased,
   And Midas is no more.

This always was the way with men;
   One dies, and his compeers
Crow o'er their immortality,
   Of ten more months, or years.

I know them well, the foolish band,
   Who mournfully remark --
"Poor Adam Lindsay Gordon" and
   "Poor dear old Marcus Clarke."

I know, too, that beyond our dry,
   Small shrunken periods,
Farrell is brewing in the sky
   Ambrosia for the gods.

How he would laugh if he could know
   That still his name is craped
By brother scribes in weeds of woe --
   Because he has Escaped!

No mournful string for him I strike,
   But lilt a careless carol,
And drink his health -- as he would like --
   Good luck to you, John Farrell!

First published in The Bulletin, 7 July 1904

Note: John Farrell was born at Buenos Aires in 1851, and his family arrived in Melbourne in 1852, attracted by the goldfields. Farrell's verse was first published in the Albury local press and his first "Bulletin" contribution appeared in 1882. His first significant book of verse, How He Died, appeared in 1887 and another collection, My Sundowner and Other Poems, edited by Bertram Stevens, appeared in 1904. He died in Sydney in 1904.

Poem: Logan's Place by George R. Hambidge

If you follow the track from Delannit
   You will come to a fork in the way,
And the path to the right will unfold to your sight
All the glory of sand-dunes and granite,
   Set out at the foot of a bay.

But if you are tired of the splendor
   Of shimmering waters a-race,
Let your feet wander back to the fork in the track,
And along the left path that is slender
   And rough, you will find Logan's place.

The fields are still harrowed and waiting
   The wheat that will never be sown,
While last season's hay has long since turned to grey.
The ground-larks are building and mating
   In grass that will never be mown.

In the background a little, rough, shanty,
   Unfinished and most up to date,
Stands sad and alone in its plaster and stone,
And this, in his spare time, most scanty,
   Young Logan was building for Kate.

Having just read the top verses over,
   I'll admit they're not up to much.
I intended to shunt Logan off to the Front,
To be drowned in a troopship near Dover,
   And end with a sad sort of touch.

And Kate was to stand at a sliprail
   Each night, with a tear in her eye,
And gaze to the west with a sob in her breast;
Or convulsively clutch an old milk-pail,
   And murmur: "Oh, how could you die!"

But it seems, after fresh recollection,
   It ends in a much brighter way.
Logan's aunt, it appears, whom he'd not seen for years,
Pegged out, just to show her affection --
   Left Logan a hundred a day.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 June 1917

Poem: Poesy by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop

"Who ne'er his bread in sorrow ate,
   Who ne'er the mournful midnight hours
Weeping upon his bed hath sate,
   He knows you not, ye Heavenly Powers."

Since morning stars first sang in prayerful praise,
Since Adam's hymns resounded over space,
Or Sinai's hill trembled in glory's blaze;
Immortal song hath had acknowledged place.

Essence inherent of the sentient mind,
Mystic, yet co-existent with out breath,
A balm within the living brain enshrined
Which mitigates and soothes our ills of earth.

Impassive -- while the gloss on world looks bright,
A flitting shadow through our labour hours,
But ever near lone watchers of the night
A spirit-music from Elysian bowers.

Proud Poesy! thy genius leads secure
The golden vein along Time's turgid stream,
A sparkling star, whose light is ever pure
Winning the heart, a love-illuminated dream.

"The harp of sorrow" knows thy gentle hand,
Its trembling chords awaking at thy call;
And sweetest melody by thy command
In tender tones floats forth "in dying fall."

Guardian and guide of every wandering thought;
To thee no clime is strange, no land unknown;
Medicine of mind, ever in sorrow sought,
Blest be the heart which claims thee as its own

First published in Australian Town and Country Journal 5 October 1872

Poem: Inspiration by Nemo (Mabel Emily Besant-Scott)

O that I had the gift to write with rhythm of machinery
And Inspiration came at call, to point me out the way,
I'd spread the canvas straightaway for bits of glowing scenery,
For rippling streams and fern-clad glens, in brightest spring array.

And love songs I would warble, warm, melodious and Byron-like,
The bill-oak's harp would wail aloud from land of black dismay.
The mad mirage would lure me on with beck'ning finger, siren-like,
O'er sun-baked, God-forsaken lands, till close of fainting day.

The crime, the vice and poverty that live within the city gates
Would stand exposed in dread array in words of living fire;
The burning thirst the topers know, and but a long beer mitigates,
Bohemian nights, regretful days, and times of wild desire.

With gall-steeped, freely-flowing pen I scathingly would satirise
Life's follies, pomps and vanities, hypocrisy, and such,
Luxurious extravagance, where gilded homes of Fat arise --
These but a sample of the themes my fertile pen would touch.

Spring poems, wreathed in wattle bloom, I'd cleverly manipulate,
The swagman with Matilda, round the camp-fire burning bright,
And such the rush of publishers, 'twere mine the task to stipulate
For terms that famous singers get for carolling each night.

Then poesy would tingle in each vein of my anatomy,
Ooze ever from my finger-tips, my only form of speech,
My name be hailed in distant lands, the world would lift its hat to me,
If only Inspiration were within convenient reach.

First published in The Bulletin, 10 May 1906

Poem: A Doggerel Bard's Difficulties by Allan F. Wilson

Before his writing table sits the bard with pen in hand,
Striving to get his scattered thoughts well under his command;
But this herculean efforts are of very little use,
For the children, oh, the children, are like bedlamites let loose.
From teatime until bedtime there is ne'er an interlude
Till the gentle poet almost feels homicidal in mood,
And he longs with fervent longings for the backblock's solitude.
The room wherein he strives to write, with childish glee resounds,
He might as well be sitting in a kennel full of hounds;
There's a child upon the sofa, there is one on every chair --
In fact, to him it seems that there are children everywhere;
The din that swells and rises in the half-dismantled room
Is like the roar of breakers, or the dreadful crack of doom.
His stern command for "order" does not seem to signify,
His voice remains unheeded, for the pack is in full cry.
When sometimes there occurs a lull, his wife will gently say --
"My dear, they are but children, let the little darlings
play. 'Tis very well for you to talk, now you are on the shelf;
But don't forget, my love, that you were once a child yourself.
So let the little dears rejoice and make a joyful noise,
For girls, you know, will still be girls, and boys be always boys.
Forbear that foolish scribbling that brings you no returns.
You'll never be a Byron, dear, nor yet a Bobbie Burns.
Come, gather up your writing things, and put them all away;
Come off your Pegasus a while, and with your offspring play."

The port in the mirror looks to see if he's gone grey;
He gazes at his helpmeet in a mild, reproachful way,
Then smiles a pale and wintry smile, and answers -- "Yes, I know
That I was formerly a boy, but that was long ago.
I know that my admirers are but far between and few,
But yet I did expect a little sympathy from you,
And you, of all the world, should strive my comforter to be,
For are you not aware that you're the other half of me?
I know my remuneration's quite inadequate --
That as a port I shall never rank among the great:
I know I'll not be recognised while I'm down here below,
And, oh, confound it! that's not half, alas! of what I know.
I know I'm neither Bobbie Burns nor Byron, as you say,
But, by my halidome! I know I'll very soon be Grey."
On this the wife her usual role of comforter resumes,
And Soon contrives -- as women can -- to smooth the ruffled plumes.
But, oh! 'tis hard upon a bard who sits him down to write,
To have his playful fancies thus disturbed and put to flight.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 8 December 1908

Poem: The Bush Poet Speaks by Tom Collins (Joseph Furphy)

Tell me not in future numbers
   That our thought becomes inane,
That our metre halts and lumbers,
   When the Wattle blooms again.

Time may change this loyal jernal
   From religious to profane;
But a rhythmic law eternal
   Makes the Wattle bloom again.

Trust no Flossie, howe'er pleasant;
   Sweeps are treacherous; totes are vain;
Banks and scrip are evanescent --
   But the Wattle blooms again.

Cultivate no fair ideal;
   Own no country seat in Spain;
All these things must go to Sheol,
   Whilst the Wattle blooms again.

This, you see, austere and lonely,
   Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
One great fact is certain only --
   That the Wattle blooms again.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 August 1898

Poem: The Other Gum by Henry Lawson

Well, Boory, I have read your "grin",
   And listened to your whine;
I only wish you'd sent it in
   Before I printed mine.
You see, I never meant to hit
   The new-chum Jackaroo;
I only tried to write a skit
   On poets -- such as you.
We're sinners all -- the world knows that,
   But damned mean sinners some --
(The 'possum you are barking at
   Is up the other gum).

But sneer in safety if you choose
   I've no hand in the game;
I will not fight the crawler who's
   Afraid to sign his name.
I never strike without a mark --
   'Tis safer in the end;
For he who hits back in the dark
   Might chance to hurt a "friend"!

The game is stale, your jokes are flat,
   You might as well be dumb --
(The 'possum you are howling at
   Is up another gum).

First published in Truth, 1893

Poem: Just Like Home by Henry Lawson

I got a letter the other day from a scribbling, sketching pal of mine,
In a foreign country, far away -- somewhere out in the firing line.
It seems the censor won't let them say where they are bearing the battle's brunt,
So he dates, in the good Australian way, from "Some Old Place at the Blanky Front".

He says it stinks, and he says it's Hell, and there seems no hope of earthly release:
But somehow the scream of a passing shell carries him back to the Days of Peace.
Where the soldiers howl in the camp at night, and the groaning and cursing wounded come,
He says "it's no use trying to write -- it's just like trying to work at home!"

I wanted to go to the Front myself to write a book on the war of wars,
To stand on many a learned shelf, and be translated in Helsingfors;
But I've funked it now, though you need not tell (you never know how the news might roam),
For I'm perfectly sure that it must be Hell if "it's just like trying to work at home".

God help the woman! She does not know the glorious heights that our minds can scale --
The Inspirations that come and go while her life is dead and her home is gaol.
The Poet and Artist booze and swear, and wander at will 'neath the sunlit dome;
She must struggle and pinch and be worried there -- and no man ever should "work at home".

First published in The Bulletin, 2 September 1915

Poem: The Poet's Wife by Billy T. (Edward Dyson)

The poet's wife is very good;
   She loves his verse, and tells him so;
She says that when he's understood
   He to the very top will go
And earn a mint of money, too,
   Then, while he seeks with ardor fine
The splendid word, she bustles through:
"I'm looking everywhere for you!
   Do come and fasten up the line!"

She wants her jack to make his mark,
   And let "those other wretches see"
He has a semblance of the spark
   Of inspiration. In comes she,
"Oh, put that horrid pen away,
   And come out shopping with me, Jack!
I've got to hurry, cannot stay.
A ton of things I need today,
   Much more than I can carry back."

He is a literary star
   She says. His lightest rhymes enfold
A boon to all mankind that far
   Exceeds the worth of pearls and gold.
And when at last he's in the swing,
   And feels that with a chance he could
Wake all the world, she'll sharply sing:
"Oh, I say, Jack, you dear old thing,
   Do come and split a bit of wood!"

First published in The Bulletin, 21 March 1918

Poem: The New Light in Literature by Eddyson (Edward Dyson)

"The London publishers, in response to an extraordinary demand, are busy producing new cookery books. All the newspapers are making a feature of recipes for meatless dishes, and the more enterprising dailies are vying with each other in this new department of daily journalism. Cookery experts have joined the staffs of the big morning and evening papers, and are paid salaries commensurate with the importance of their mission."

The splendid bard has had his day.
For long he held a regal sway
   O'er studious humanity.
We read his verses by the fire,
Enthralling was his muse's ire,
Its sweetness failed not to inspire
   A suitable urbanity.

The leader-writer, man of worth,
Who still pretends to run the earth
   With eloquence sophisticated,
Is presently to be ignored,
Too long the reader has been bored
With his statistics, and abhorred
   Presumption egotistical.

The storytellers, and the nuts
Who write about potato gluts
   And vegetable particles
Will have no particular regard,
The paragrapher will be barred,
As will the other solemn card
   Who writes the special articles.

In short, the gentle reader now
His vulgar taste will disavow
   For ordinary bookery,
And give his leisure after toil
To burning up the midnight oil,
Perusing Grubb on "How to Broil"
   And "Variegated Cookery".

The elocuter will recite
Of tarts and hash, and Melba might
   Devote her great ability
To songs of how to boil and roast,
That scribe the world will honor most,
Who writes of puddings, stews and toast
   With knowledge and subtility.

First published in The Bulletin, 11 July 1918

Poem: My Heroes by Anonymous

In grand and stately phalanx
   My glorious heroes stand;
They wear no glittering helmet,
   They wield no flashing brand;
No shield nor coat of armour
   Have they to make them brave;
Their chosen only weapon
   A barn-yard inmate gave.

When common men have perished,
   No earthly trace we find;
The souls of these my heroes
   Rose and remained behind.
To lowly dust and ashes
   Though mortal flesh hath gone,
No grave shall ever hide them --
   Their very lives live on.

Each chose a noble mistress,
   And low before her throne
Vowed service and devotion
   To her, and her alone.
These bowed them down to Letters,
   Those chose the Poet's part;
Each took his vows upon him
   With stout and eager heart.

Ah! he that chose religion
   Wore oft a martyr's crown,
And he who bowed to Science
   In blood hath laid him down.
But ours the shining fabric
   Their patient toil hath wrought;
We have it for our birthright
   The Heritage of thought.

What hath the sword accomplished,
   Or lance by warrior hurled?
The weapon of my heroes
   Hath changed the whole wide world.
By faith they learned to labour
   Through dust and toil and tears,
And now they live for ever
   Through all the tide of years.

And I -- I live among them:
   I have on yonder shelves
The spirits of my heroes,
   Their very souls and selves.
Sometimes a dainty fairy
   Within my study looks;
To her that stately phalanx
   Are only "Papa's books."

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 17 July 1880

Poem: A Song of Southern Writers by Henry Lawson (Part 2)

Southern men of letters, seeking kinder fields across the waves,
Tell a shameful tale entitled "Deniehy's Forgotten Grave".
Ask the South of Charles Harpur! Seek the bitter truth, and tell
Of the life of Henry Kendall, in the land he loved so well!
Sing the songs he wrote in vain! Touch the South with bitter things;
Take the harp he touched so gently; show the blood upon the strings!

It was kind of Southern critics; it was very brave to mouth
At the volume of his boyhood, that was published in the South.
Kendall knew it all -- he knew it; and the tears were very near
When he spoke about the sorrows of "the man of letters here".
(And his wail of "O, My Brother!" came again to one who went
To his grave before "his brothers" mocked him with a monument.)

Banish envy, Southern writer! Strike with no uncertain hand,
For the sound of Gordon's rifle still is ringing through the land!
Ah! the niggard recognition! Ah! the "fame" that came in vain
To the poor dead poet lying with a bullet though his brain!
"Gone, my friends!" (he thought it better to be gone away from here),
Gone, my friends, with "last year's dead leaves ... at the falling of the year".

Pleasant land for one who proses, pleasant land for one who rhymes
With the terrible advantage of a knowledge of hard times:
To be patronised, "encouraged", praised for his contempt of "pelf",
To be told of greater writers who were paupers, like himself;
To be buried as a pauper; to be shoved beneath the sod --
While the brainless man of muscle has the burial of a god.

We have learned the rights of labour. Let the Southern writers start
Agitating, too, for letters and for music and for art,
Till Australian scenes on canvas shall repay the artist's hand,
And the songs of Southern poets shall be ringing thro' the land,
Till the galleries of Europe have a place for Southern scenes,
And our journals crawl no longer to the Northern magazines.

First published in The Bulletin, 28 May 1892
[The first part of this poem was published last week.]

Poem: A Song of Southern Writers by Henry Lawson (Part 1)

Southern men of letters, vainly seeking recognition here --
Southern men of letters, driven to the Northern Hemisphere!
It is time your wrongs were known; it is time you claimed redress --
Time that you were independent of the mighty Northern press.
Sing a song of Southern writers, sing a song of Southern fame,
Of the dawn of art and letters and your native country's shame.

Talent goes for little here. To be aided, to be known,
You must fly to Northern critics who are juster than our own.
Oh! the critics of your country will be very proud of you,
When you're recognised in London by an editor or two.
You may write above the standard, but your work is seldom seen
Till it's noticed and reprinted in an English magazine.

In the land where sport is sacred, where the lab'rer is a god,
You must pander to the people, make a hero of a clod!
What avail the sacrifices of the battle you begin
For the literary honour of the land we're living in?
Print a masterpiece in Melbourne, and it will be lost, I ween,
But your weakest stuff is clever in a London magazine.

Write a story of the South, write it true and make it clear,
Put your soul in ever sentence, have the volume published here,
And 'twill only be accepted by our critics in the mist
As a "worthy imitation" of a Northern novelist.
For the volume needs the mighty Paternister Row machine,
With a patronising notice in an English magazine.

What of literary merit, while the Southern reader glories
In "American exchanges", with their childish nigger-stories;
In the jokes that ancient Romans chuckled over after lunch;
In the dull and starchy humour of the dreary London Punch?
Here they'll laugh at Southern humour -- laugh till they are out of breath --
When it's stolen from the papers that Australia starves to death!

Do we ask why native talent -- art and music cannot stay?
Why Australian men of letters emigrate and keep away?
Do we ask why genius often vanishes beyond recall?
From the wrecks of honest journals comes the answer to it all.
Over Southern journalism let the epitaph be seen:

First published in The Bulletin, 28 May 1892
[The second part of this poem will be published next week.]

Poem: Armistice Day, 1933 by C.J. Dennis

This we have said: "We shall remember them."
   And deep our sorrow while the deed was young.
Even as David mourned for Absolem
   Mourned we, with aching heart and grievous tongue.
Yet, what man grieves for long? Time hastens by
   And ageing memory, clutching at its hem,
Harks back, as silence falls, to gaze and sigh;
   For we have said, "We shall remember them."

"Age shall not wither. . ." So the world runs on.
   We grieve, and sleep, and wake to laugh again;
And babes, untouched by pain of days long gone,
   Untaught by sacrifice, grow into men.
What should these know of darkness and despair,
   Of glory, now seen dimly, like a gem
Glowing thro' dust, that we let gather there? --
   We who have said, "We shall remember them."

Grey men go marching down this street today:
   Grave men, whose ranks grow pitifully spare.
Into the West each year they drift away
   From silence into silence over there.
Unsung, unnoticed, quietly they go,
   Mayhap to rest; mayhap a diadem
To claim, that was denied them here below
   By those who vowed, "We shall remember them."

"We shall remember them." This have we said.
   Nor sighs, nor silences devoutly planned
Alone shall satisfy the proud young dead;
   But all things that we do to this their land --
Aye, theirs; not ours; of this be very sure;
   Theirs, too, the right to credit or condemn.
And, if the soul they gave it shall endure,
   Well may we say, "We have remembered them."

First published in The Herald, 11 November 1933

Poem: An Anticipatory Picture by C.J. Dennis

The scene upon the frock-flecked lawn
   Is, as you please, a picture fair,
Or just a hunk of human brawn,
   With blobs of faces here and there.
Stilled are the clamors of the Ring;
   The famous race is on at last;
All eyes are on the lengthening string
   Of brilliant jackets moving fast.

Torn, trampled tickets mark the birth
   Of broken hopes all now would men,
As quickening hoof-beats spurn the earth,
   And the field thunders to the bend.
All men are equal for the nonce,
   Bound by an urgency intense,
And eager questionings win response
   From strangers tip-toe with suspense.

"What's that in front?" All faces yearn
   Toward the track in serried rows.
The field comes round the homeward turn,
   As, wave on wave, the murmuring grows,
Waxes and swells from out that host
   Till pandemonium begins,
And flecks of color pass the post
   To mighty cries of _____* wins.

[* N.B. - Write your own ticket. - D.]

First published in the Herald, 2 November 1931
[Note: today is Melbourne Cup Day]

Poem: Australian Bards and Bush Reviewers by Henry Lawson

While you use your best endeavour to immortalise in verse
The gambling and the drink which are your country's greatest curse,
While you glorify the bully and take the spieler's part --
You're a clever southern writer, scarce inferior to Bret Harte.

If you sing of waving grasses when the plains are dry as bricks,
And discover shining rivers where there's only mud and sticks;
If you picture "mighty forests" where the mulga spoils the view --
You're superior to Kendall, and ahead of Gordon too.

If you swear there's not a country like the land that gave you birth,
And its sons are just the noblest and most glorious chaps on earth;
If in every girl a Venus your poetic eye discerns,
You are gracefully referred to as the "young Australian Burns".

But if you should find that bushmen -- spite of all the poets say --
Are just common brother-sinners, and you're quite as good as they --
You're a drunkard, and a liar, and a cynic, and a sneak,
Your grammar's simply awful and your intellect is weak.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 August 1894

Poem: My Friends by Anonymous

Most sympathising of my friends
Is he who to my frailties lends
A cloak of charity, or sends
   To me some kindly word;
Nor, when supinely I might yield,
To some mean foe an unfought field,
Would he, if I to him appealed,
   Chide me, his friend, unheard.

Another friend I often find,
If I go wrong, who seems unkind,
Yet leaves me comforted, resigned,
   After the pain is past.
He tells of the unequal fight
'Twixt my own weakness and the might
Of those all armored for the right;
   How I might fail at last.

Some of my friends speak to me now
From 'neath the mounds where daisies grow,
They were friends who loved me so --
   Methinks they love me yet.
Each tells of virtue where was rife
All evil, and, amid the strife,
Each gave a noble, sacred life
   To win a coronet.

And there are friends I always knew,
Yet dearer to me daily grew,
As, erst and ever, I'd pursue
   My studies by their speech.
On shelves, in tomes, they stand and lie;
As we commune I smile or sigh;
Err deshabille I am not shy
   Of these, within my reach.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 20 August 1898

Poem: Edward Dyson by T. the R. (Charles Hayward)

What memories cluster round his name and cling!
   What scenes he lit and limned to grip you fast,
Artist whose words could on a canvas fling
With cunning strokes and vivid coloring
   Those pictures of the past!

How oft with him through that familiar ground,
   With trench and pothole seamed and scarred, we strayed;
Followed the "Old Whim Horse" upon his round,
Or heard (in chapel) the tempestuous sound
   "When Brother Petree Played"!

The old-time diggings, with their glory gone,
   He conjured up once more for all to see.
And when those fields in splendor blazed and shone,
Say, was there any found or worked thereon
   A richer vein than he?

'Mid crumbling shacks, where batteries are dumb,
   Still in our minds "The Golden Shanty" stands;
Still in the silences we catch the hum,
Rich with the argot of the street and slum,
   Of Spats's "Fact'ry 'Ands."

No keener and no kindlier eyes were bent
   Upon the tides of life that past him rolled;
Toll of the moving show that came and went,
He took, for wit and mirth and merriment,
   And touched the dross with gold.

He gave us tales that dance and rhymes that ring.
   His was the sunshine that the clouds dispelled,
The shaft that wounds and tears he scorned to wing.
A satarist, perhaps. And yet no sting
   His gentle satire held.

Out of the gloom he lit with many a gleam,
   Out of the day whereon the shadows close,
Out of the realm where once he reigned supreme,
Into the sleep that knows nor stir nor dream
   The Master Craftsman goes.

First published in The Bulletin, 2 September 1931

Poem: Old Poets by E. D. (Edward Dyson)

Where are the pleasing bards I knew,
   Whose songs so glorified my youth,
And rippled all keen day through
   With warp of beauty and of truth?
They wear no robes of purple sheen
   Nor wreaths (unless they be of rue),
But honest was their work, I ween,
   Where are the singing men I knew?

Where do my early poets bide?
   I hear at times a far-off strain,
But in no chariot do they ride,
   Their homes glow never on the plain.
I see them not in gardens fair
   Where good old men sit side by side,
Cut off from need, absolved of care.
   Where do my early poets bide?

Where rest the poets in their age,
   Whose melody was part of life,
Whose splendid violence did wage
   With liars all inspiring strife?
I see the faded doctor there,
   Bent low, and picking at the page;
His greying life no troubles wear.
   Where rest the poets in their age?

To what kind haven have they gone
   Now fire sparkles in the ash?
The lawyer sits his life to con
   In soft contentment when the clash
Of argument is done, and he
   Steps down to let the world go on.
Where are the bards once dear to me;
   To what kind haven have they gone?

Where are the poets once I knew?
   The tradesmen crowned with snow hath ease,
The broker drives the city through,
   His age hath everything to please.
All other men have gentle end
   To mark new life with placid view,
In pillowed peace their souls to mend --
   Where are the poets once I knew?

First published in The Bulletin, 16 May 1918

Poem: The Readerless Legion by Harrison O. (Robert John Owen)

They stand in rows upon my shelves,
   The books I have not read;
For up to now no time I've found.
But still, they're rather nicely bound,
   And even seem to spread
An influence about my den
That serves to speed a lagging pen.

At divers times I purchased them --
   The Lord, perhaps, knows why!
Yet this untasted mental meal
Somehow contrives to make me feel
   My Aim in Life is High,
And that I own a fearful lot
Of knowledge that I haven't got.

The girls who sometimes grace my room
A weighty tome will touch,
And guilessly express surprise
That one so young should be so wise,
   And should have read so much!
They purr, while backs of books they scan,
"It's nice to know a brainy man."

I smile and blush, and strive to look
   As modest as I can,
But do not feel a fraud, for now
I have convinced myself somehow
   That I'm a Well-Read Man,
And thus have made a stepping-stone
Of unread books to Learning's throne.

Still, there are volumes on my shelves
   Whose aspect makes it plain
That constant usage they have seen,
And in my eager hands have been
Again and yet again.
   They've furnished me with quite a store
Of most profound and varied lore.

Someone's encyclopaedia,
   A Greek mythology,
The charming book that Bartlett wrote
For writers who desire to quote,
   A rhyming diction'ry,
Thumbed like a Baptist's book of hymns,
Smith's "Synonyms and Antonym";

Roghet's Thesaurus, Whitaker,
   A somewhat ancient Burke --
There are the volumes that I love.
But one I place the rest above --
   A most delightful work,
Of infinite variety --
The late N. Webster's gift to me!

First published in The Bulletin, 8 July 1915

Poem: A Tribute to the Memory of C.J. Dennis by J.M.D.

He came in the Spring when the whole world was stirred
With new life, and new beauty and power;
At his coming they drew their mantle o'er him,
Made him heir to their richness and dower.
The secret things he learned from the spring
Gave him powers he could use at his will,
Which all through the years -- from boyhood to age --
Surged like tides that never were still,
In the arms of Nature he found a repose,
When weary its voice made him whole,
The song of the bird and the sigh of the wind
Were music that strengthened his soul.

A man -- yet bound by mysterious chains
To all primitive things of the earth,
Which gave him the key and the entrance at will
To the secrets of men and their worth.
He was strangely akin to the coster and King,
To the soldier and girl at the mill,
He spoke to them all in their own native tongue
For his language was that of goodwill.
Through many dark days he invaded their gloom
With his lamps of laughter and cheer
And every sad heart forgot for a time
The demon that dwelt in their fear.

His Pen was a baton that wielded a charm
Over choirs in hamlet and hill.
We watched as he swayed it, and ever anon
We sang -- or we wept -- at his will.
The Conductor steps down and we in our turn
Are mute with deep sorrow and pain;
But we silently vow as in silence we stand
We will practise his life's sweet refrain.
The Pen is now rusted -- The Inkwell is dry,
But the score that he wrote we still play,
As we toast his memory a vision comes
For in spirit he is with us today.

First published in Philosopher's Scrap Book edited by Monty Blandford, 1951

Poem: My Testimonials by Harrison O. (Albert John Owen)

They lie in piles about my den,
   The volumes which of old
Upon stout shelves were wont to stand,
Full oft their titles have been scanned
   By visitors, who told
Me how they "loved" to read, but were,
Alas! without the time to spare.

I felt for these the lofty scorn
   Which true booklovers know
Whenever mental weaklings blab!
And now my volumes to some drab,
   Dull auction-room must go,
I can declare quite honestly
They've been as trusty friends to me.

At all times they were ready to
   Pay tribute to my worth;
For years have they the rumour spread
That I'm remarkably "well read";
   And I have known no dearth
Of admiration since the tip
They passed anent my scholarship.

They were indeed my dearest friends --
   Those books I did not know
Sufficiently for then to e'er
Become a bore, and yet were there
   To made a goodly show
And testify to all that I
Was full of aspirations high.

Though tomes with uncut pages are
   Included in each pile,
I grieve not that they are unscanned;
I'm wise enough to understand
   That for the classics I'll
Till death a vast respect retain
Which close acquaintance might have slain!

First published in The Bulletin, 6 May 1920

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.

Poem: A Vision Splendid by Victor Daley (Part 1)

Half waking and half dreaming,
   While starry lamps hung low
I saw a vision splendid
   Upon the darkness glow.

The Capital Australian,
   With waving banners plumed --
A shining flower of marble --
   Magnificently bloomed.

Beside a snow-fed river
   'Twas built in fashion rare --
Upon a lofty mountain,
   All in a valley fair.

The stately ships were sailing,
   Like brides with flowing trains,
To seek its secret harbor
   Amidst Australian plains.

And all around it flourished
   Luxuriantly free,
The giant gum and mangrove,
   The crimson desert-pea.

And I beheld a building
   That made a stately show --
The National Australian
   Head Poetry Bureau.

I gazed upon that Building
   With trembling joy aghast;
The long-felt want of ages
   Was filled (I thought) at last.

No more the Native Poet
   Need wildly beat his head
For lofty lyric measures
   To buy him beer and bed.

Now he would lodge right nobly
   And sleep serene, secure,
All in a chamber filled with
   Adhesive furniture.

For never foot of Bailiff
   Should pass his threshold o'er,
And never knock of landlord
   Sound direful on his door.

The State should also aid him
   To build his lofty rhyme
On lordly eggs-and-bacon,
   And sausages sublime.

And he should drink no longer
   Cheap beer at common bar,
But royal wine of Wunghnu
   At two-and-nine the jar.

It was a vision splendid,
   And brighter still did grow
When I was made the Chief of
   The Poetry Bureau.

They clad me all in purple,
   They hung me with festoons,
My singing-robes were spangled
   With aluminium moons.

And, as a sign of genius
   Above the common kind,
A wreath of gilded laurel
   Around my hat they twined.

They also gave me power to
   The grain sift from the chaff,
And choose at my large pleasure
   My own poetic staff.

First published in The Bulletin, 1 September 1904
The second part of this poem will be reprinted next week.

Poem: Do Poets Eat? by C.J. Dennis

A poet in London, it is cabled, declares that true poets should never work. They should await inspiration in order to fit the mind for the reception of the Muse.

Perhaps true poets never toil --
I do not know.
Their minds are rich and virgin soil    Where flowers grow --
Rare everlastings born to smile    In Time's great rooms -- That
come once every long, long while,    As cactus blooms. But how, I
always want to know,    Do poets eat, If now and then they do not
grow    A crop of wheat -- Some marketable product which
   The people buy? Even if they do not wax rich,
   What need to die? Should one wait for a tardy Muse,
   Patient and dumb? But then, suppose she should refuse
   Ever to come? Or, coming, find the bard's wan cheek
   Awry with pain; The host with hunger far too weak
   To entertain. Mere rhymsters weaving little rhymes,
   Unstable stuff To please the crowd and suit the times,
   Find pain enough. So they must toil to serve gross needs
   Till some glad day, When men will turn aside from weeds,
   And flowers pay.

Perhaps true poets never toil --
   I do not know.
Their minds are rich and virgin soil
   Where flowers grow --
Rare everlastings born to smile
   In Time's great rooms --
That come once every long, long while,
   As cactus blooms.

But how, I always want to know,
   Do poets eat,
If now and then they do not grow
   A crop of wheat --
Some marketable product which
   The people buy?
Even if they do not wax rich,
   What need to die?

Should one wait for a tardy Muse,
   Patient and dumb?
But then, suppose she should refuse
   Ever to come?
Or, coming, find the bard's wan cheek
   Awry with pain;
The host with hunger far too weak
   To entertain.

Mere rhymsters weaving little rhymes,
   Unstable stuff
To please the crowd and suit the times,
   Find pain enough.
So they must toil to serve gross needs
   Till some glad day,
When men will turn aside from weeds,
   And flowers pay.

First published in The Herald, 6 May 1930

Poem: The Great Australian Adjective by W.T. Goodge

The sunburnt ---- stockman stood
And, in a dismal ---- mood,
   Apostrophized his ---- cuddy;
"The ---- nag's no ---- good,
He couldn't earn his ---- food --
   A regular ---- brumby,

He jumped across the ---- horse
And cantered off, of ---- course!
   The roads were bad and ---- muddy;
Said he, "Well, spare me ---- days
The ---- Government's ---- ways
   Are screamin' ---- funny,

He rode up hill, down ---- dale,
The wind it blew a ---- gale,
   The creek was high and ---- floody.
Said he, "The ---- horse must swim,
The same for ---- me and him,
   Is something ---- sickenin',

He plunged into the ---- creek,
The ---- horse was ---- weak,
   The stockman's face a ---- study!
And though the ---- horse was drowned
The ---- rider reached the ground
   Ejaculating, "----!"

First published in The Bulletin, 11 December 1898

This poem was originally published under the title "----!" (The Great Australian Adjective).

Poem: Mansfield, Poet and Man by C.J. Dennis

Mr John Masefield, the Poet Laurate, has accepted an invitation to visit Melbourne for the Centenary celebrations.

He comes as a man who has lived 'mid men
   With the gloss and the polish off;
And truth flows free from his ready pen
For he looked on life with a keen eye then,
   And he found small cause to scoff.
And he loved the sea and its ships of sail
And a sailor's way and a sailor's tale;
   And he looked on the world at an epoch's close
   And found what none but the venturer knows.

He comes as a poet that the gods adopt
   With songs of the wild and the free
Shorn of the snivelling cadence dropped
From the lips of the sophist snugly propped
   On the throne of a pink settee.
And he loves the land and the flowering wealds,
The west wind's song and the daffodil fields
   As he loves the song of a howling gale
   Caught in the cup of a bellying sail.

And what shall he say of us who comes here --
   This man who has lived as a man?
He shall follow the way of the pioneer
And our own high venturers, blind to fear,
   Who strove when the race began;
And the digger's way and the drover's way
And the rough, rude life of an olden day
   And the track of the lonely Overland --
He shall follow them all -- and understand.

And his keen mind's eye shall pierce the gilt
   That would cover the old, rough life:
He shall sense the soul of a young land built
In the days when life had a strong, rude lilt
   And a rhythm tuned to strife.
He shall trace again in the Anzac's soul
The spirit that made this young land whole.
   And so, as he sees, shall he blame or praise
   By a standard won in the world's highways.

First published in The Herald, 11 April 1934

Poem: Simple Song by Grant Hervey

"The chief fault of recent Australian verse lies in its extreme simplicity; it does not go deep enough." - Chorus of British rags.

They have scoffed at us in England, where the poet's hair is long,
And have crawled a dread "too simple" through the stanzas of our song;
They have said that we are shallow, that we sink no deep song-mines --
There's a sorry lack of culchaw in our easy-flowing lines!
And we do not boost Britannia with our poems and our pens,
Hence come these deep reproaches from the land of beef and fens.
We're a Simple (shout it!) People, and we want no gaudy song,
So we write our verse to suit us, and, says Hingland, it is wrong.

We should learn a style didactic; we should Chadbandise our verse;
Till it ambled past the eyesight like a smug, corpse-laden hearse.
We should yell for Blood and Boodle; we should howl for Grab and Gore;
Then those papers all would praise us and would say we "simped" no more!
If we screeched for Brass and Battle we would be more popular
In the land where Judas reigneth and the fogs and paupers are.
If we lauded King and Courtier -- if we crawled like worms along,
There'd be tears of joy in Fleet-street and a boom in Austral song.

Every bard would get the order of the Clothes Prop or the Bath;
They would knight friend Victor Daley with a paling or a lath.
They would chase each wayback rhymer with a starry C.M.G.,
And THE TIMES would print our poems if we praised Bull constantlee!
But we cannot yell for Hempire and we cannot howl for Blood --
We object to Kings, and Courtiers like Batrachians in the mud.
Even though the mud be Royal, we object to crawling through,
To the throne of august Edward and the kiss-goal of his shoe.
We object to Judas Joseph, and till Daley's hair grows long,
We shall raise grey grief in Fleet-street with our beastly Simple Song!

First published in The Bulletin, 20 August 1903

Poem: The Australian Slanguage by W.T. Goodge

'Tis the everyday Australian
   Has a language of his own,
Has a language, or a slanguage,
   Which can simply stand alone.
And a "dickon pitch to kid us"
   Is a synonym for "lie",
And to "nark it" means to stop it,
   And to "nit it" means to fly.

And a bosom friend's a "cobber,"
   And a horse a "prad" or "moke,"
While a casual acquaintance
   Is a "joker" or a "bloke."
And his lady-love's his "donah"
   Or his "clinah" or his "tart"
Or his "little bit o' muslin,"
   As it used to be his "bart."

And his naming of the coinage
   Is a mystery to some,
With his "quid" and "half-a-caser"
   And his "deener" and his "scrum".
And a "tin-back" is a party
   Who's remarkable for luck,
And his food is called his "tucker"
   Or his "panem" or his "chuck".

A policeman is a "johnny"
   Or a "copman" or a "trap",
And a thing obtained on credit
   Is invariably "strap".
A conviction's known as "trouble",
   And a gaol is called a "jug",
And a sharper is a "spieler"
   And a simpleton's a "tug".

If he hits a man in fighting
   That is what he calls a "plug",
If he borrows money from you
   He will say he "bit your lug."
And to "shake it" is to steal it,
   And to "strike it" is to beg;
And a jest is "poking borac",
   And a jester "pulls your leg".

Things are "cronk" when they go wrongly
   In the language of the "push",
But when things go as he wants 'em
   He declares it is "all cush".
When he's bright he's got a "napper",
   And he's "ratty" when he's daft,
And when looking for employment
   He is "out o' blooming graft".

And his clothes he calls his "clobber"
   Or his "togs", but what of that
When a "castor" or a "kady"
   Is the name he gives his hat!
And our undiluted English
   Is a fad to which we cling,
But the great Australian slanguage
   Is a truly awful thing!

From The Bulletin, 4 June 1898.

Note:This poem was originally published in the Orange Leader (though I am uncertain as to when), and was subsequently also printed with the title "Larrikin Language".

Poem: Four Friends by Mousquetaire (Gordon Tidy)

When the work is done and the people are gone and the voice and the nuisance end
I find it most pleasant to banish the Present with a smoke and a minstrel friend.

Those friends the first of the volumes versed, those keen-eyed, quick-eyed men
Who can do so much with that one right touch which is proof of a poet's pen.

Fate leads their feet to here and there, by many a bourne they bide,
But their own true selves on my old book-shelves stand firm at an old friend's side.

And when I feel the yester-winds blow fresh as of yore they blew,
When we swing through Life to the drum and fife and the tune that we once marched to.

Then Gordon strong has signed the song brings back my boyhood blithe,
For I take him down when I'd forget that mower's ceaseless scythe.

I take him down and the striding brown goes sailing and sailing along,
And the grey cheeks flush at the rattle and rush of his "sitting loosely" song.

The cup he pours makes the blood run hot, nor gave those grapes but wine,
For so fierce he stamped the fruit to juice that many a bunch bled brine.

But sorrow -- where is not sorrow? It's shadow escapes, what rhyme?
E'en Ogilvie, the Troubadour, he laughs not all the time.

He's off to the Bush to the air so rare that's clinked from snaffles and spurs,
To the Bush that Ogilvie's lover is as sure as Ogilvie's hers.

He seems a careless caroller, with his lilt of the lover's lute,
A Gipsy free who shall flourish a Glee forthwith from his generous flute.

How he sings of the joy of the girl and the boy, how the bridle-touch thrills through his hands!
-- And yet how plain is the dusky vein in Will's well-woven strands.

But would you change for Hell-gate glare this room's soft-shaded light,
Would you tread the West's arena-sand where the gladiators fight;

Would you hear a stave of great gifts that gave the old world's wider ways,
When the camp-fires burned o'er the Fifties turned to our narrower Nowadays.

Would you learn their lot in the God-forgot, where they're besting it, God knows how,
-- Then read the lays that brought the bays to Lawson's sweating brow.

But here are Banjo's bits of blood, -- "They're off!" and "Here they come!"
-- How bright the clustered silks shine out as they slip by the river-gum.

Horse! horse! yes, of course it is horse , -- a curse on your canting cry,
Some books are bought for what's called "thought," and let who wants them buy.

Let some hold out their sieves for rain, let some teams plough sea-sand,
Be I, when "Banjo" drops the flag, at the top of the staring Stand.

First published inThe Bulletin, 14 June 1902

Poem: The Bloke's Lament by O.K. (Edmund Fisher)

Admirers of his brilliant and typical Australian work will learn with pleasure that Mr. C. J. Dennis, famous as the creator of "The Sentimental Bloke", has been specially engaged to conduct a daily column for the Melbourne HERALD.

'Struth! me faith in me creator, 'im as also made Doreen,
Has dissolved an' left me weepin', like the snows I never seen --
Them virgin snows of yester-year, whereof the poets tell:
There's nothin' I believe in now unless it's blimy 'ell!
For Dennis -- strike me, Dennis! -- 'im wot dreamed me into life,
Ordained me, as yer may say, to a clean and tidy life,
Wif a treasure of a wife,

Has sold hisself for lucre (for a gilty lump, I guess)
Into bitter, blanky bondage wif the gory evenin' press.
Melbourne 'ERALD, wot goes barmy w'en the latest murder's on,
'As signed a legal contrack wif the bloke wot calls me "son,"
Which will keep 'im workin', workin', like a weary galley-slave,
While he envies poor old Ginger, as lies dossin' in the grave,
An' will want to 'ave 'is froat cut w'en he goes to get a shave.

Cripes! the orful daily vampire will be boozin' on 'is blud
Till his airy fancy sickens, and the Muse's name is Mud;
There'll be suicides an' murders for the topics of his verse:
Comic songs abowt the motor wot collided wif an 'earse;
Tricky r'ymes to make yer shudder 'e will orfen 'ave to spin
On the kid that lived a fortnight ere its muvver done it in;
An' w'en of luv an' wedlock Den is itchin' to discourse,
He'll be preachin' spicy lessons on an actress's divorce.
Gawd! 'e'll perish in 'is prime of wot the parson calls Remorse.

I can picture dear old Dennis drinkin' bitterness's cup,
W'en the golden sun is sinkin', and 'is number's goin' up;
W'en he feels hisself collapsin' 'neath the burden of 'is cross,
Just because he sold 'is birfright to the journalistic joss.
I can picture 'im a-askin' for the Bloke as made 'is name,
The Bloke wit 'ad the honor of conductin' 'im to Fame:

I can almost 'ear 'im sayin' "Bill, I 'aven't long ter live -
This job 'as corspsed me proper, so I beg yer to forgive."
An' I shall answer "Ryebuck: though you've got it in the neck,
You're the aufor of me bein', an' I owes yer deep respeck."
An' I'll squeeze 'is clammy fingers wot no more carn't 'old a pen,
In a way wot's meant to tell 'im "Ginger's waitin' for yer, Den."
Then Den will smile an' peter out, all quiet an' serene --
An' the closin' of 'is eyelids -- I -- shall -- leave -- it -- to -- Dor-e-en.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 May 1922

Poem: In Brighton Cemetery by J.M. Marsh

Once more earth's fairest season hastens
With first fruits of her quest and fastens
   A chaplet for the quiet hill:
Where Adam Gordon little recking
Heaven's white or crimson flecking;
Winter's chill or summer's decking,
   Gently laid, is dreaming still.

And all in vain our high enthronement
Awaits him, and too late atonement,
   Like phoenix, rises from the pyre;
For, mist-like, through some broken rafter
Flits the soul into the hereafter,
Who shall say when grief or laughter
   Wakes again that silent lyre?

Each year with drowsy sibillation,
Chaunt breeze and locust iteration
   Of summer and her bursting pods;
And man, long marvelling at existence,
Saddening at their strange insistance,
Heavenward looks and in its distance
   Seeks the secrets that are God's.

In vain; the seed-time and the harvest
Have failed not since the farthest
   Of times that wrote on earth their scroll;
But who of women born in weeping,
Watching while a word was sleeping,
Learning their secret for his keeping,
   Stayed the garner of his soul?

Beneath yon broken column, coping
Well fitted, neither doubt nor hoping
   There cometh to the quiet breast;
And never more shall love or scorning
Sweeten eve, embitter morning,
Times destroying or adorning
   Shall not wake him from his rest.

And we who dream not, whose endeavour
Sere mainlands bound and who forever
   Praise sea and sky, yet shoreward creep
For those things won by his devotion,
Glimpse of heaven, refrain of ocean,
Every phase of man's emotion,
   Thank him and his memory keep.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 May 1889

Note: the Adam Gordon here is, of course, Adam Lindsay Gordon, the only Australian writer with a memorial in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey in London.

Poem: The Kid by C.J. Dennis

Now, this ain't a loocid story, but it 'as a 'igh-class moral.
   I can mop up all the praises hurled at me by them it soots.
An' with them it don't appeal to I don't seek to pick a quarrel;
   But I pause to say, in passin', that I hold 'em brainless coots.

Well, it mighter been a nightmare or it mighter been a vision.
   Why or 'ow or where it 'appened, or 'ow long or short ago --
These are items I am shy of; but I've come to this decision:
   It all 'appened some'ow somewhere, an' I'm tellin' all I know.

With this lengthy introduction -- which I'm trustin', inter-arlier,
   Will be paid for, cash, at space rates, to assist a bard in need --
(For the lot of jingle-writers in our own sun-kissed Australier
   Ain't so sunny as it might be, on the 'ole) -- I'll now proceed.

There was me -- who's most important, bein' here to tell the story --
   There was Kodak's gloomy lodger, an' a 'Enry Lawson bloke,
Also E.J. Brady's pirate, full of husky oaths and gory,
   An' a plump and pleasin' female from an Ambrose Dyson joke.

Likewise with us at the gath'rin' was Grant 'Ervey's Strong Australian,
   An' a curly Souter peach; it was a treat the way she dressed;
An' a Louis Esson dryad, sparsely gowned an' somewot alien
   (For which rhyme I point to many precedents amongst the best).

Also there were many others, far too noomerous to mention;
   Bron men, somewot out of drorin', but exceedin' terse an' keen;
Yeller pups, George Reids an' dry dogs -- but it is not my intention
   To innoomerate the items in a Chris'mas BULLYTEEN.

Where we were I 'ave no notion, tho' it mighter been Parnassus.
   Any'ow -- but I'm forgettin' one small guest that came unbid;
Standin' in a corner sulkin', seldom speakin', 'cept to sass us,
   Rubbin' 'is thin calves together, stood a Norman Lindsay kid.

But the main point of this story is that all of us was stony;
   An' we needed money badly for to give ourselves a treat.
An' we wanted to present the editor with somethin' toney
   In the shape of clubs or rest cures, just to try an' get 'im sweet.

"Mates, alas, there's nothin' left us," ses the gloomy Lawson native.
   "We can only look for other castaways from other wrecks."
When the Wild Cat, on 'is windlass, scratched 'is left ear contemplative
   An' remarked, "I think I've gotter scheme to land the fatted cheques.

"We are valuable assets," 'e went on, in tones finanshul.
   "We are also reproductive, an' I think I see a chance
To relieve the present tension, an' secure a sum substanshul,
   Which all comes of my acquaintance with low schemes an' 'igh finance.

"If we borrer twenty thousand on our natcheral resourses --
   On all BULLEYTEEN creations -- it will purchase many beers.
We can maffick, an' pay int'rest -- which is a triflin' thing of course is --
   With a sinkin' fund extendin' over ninety-seven years."

Well! To say we was elated is to put the matter mildly.
   I can still 'ear Brady's pirate yellin', "Bite mates, let us bite!"
I can still see Kodak's lodger kick 'is slippered feet, and wildly
   Try to borrer two-an'-sixpence on the spot....But oh, that night!

"Where do I come in?" a squeaky voice arose above our shoutin',
   Rose an' squeaked, shrill an' insistent, over all our joyous din.
'Twas the kid, the Lindsay youngster, standin' in 'is corner poutin'.
   "Take a pull, yer bloomin' wasters! Blime, where do I come in?

"Nice lot, ain't yer? Garn, yer loafers! Let the comin' generation
   Suck their thumbs an' watch yer jag, an' 'ump the bill when it comes due;
Slave an' work when you 'ave snuffed it. An' you look for veneration
   From us kids! Why, blime, who could venerate the likes of you?

"As THE BULLYTEEN been preachin' years an' years an' years for nuffin'
   On the vice of floatin' loans an' gettin' in the 'ands of Yids?
Playin' up yer borrered money! Eatin' drinkin', swillin', stuffin'!
   Then, when you 'ave chucked a seven, what a picnic for the kids!"

Spare me! You could 'ear a pin drop when that little kid 'ad finished.
   We just 'ung our 'eads in silence, till the Strong Australian spoke.
(Brady's pirate tore 'is whiskers, with 'is lust for jags diminished;
   An' the Souter peach was sobbin' on the breast of Lawson's bloke.)

"Comrades," ses the Strong Australian, "see our star all glory litten!
   Heed the ancient, beer-stained story! Heed the warning of the kid!
Lo, the way of ink's before us! Ringing verses shall be written
   In which I shall figure largely. Yes, I shall." An', 'struth, 'e did!

Ses the pirate, with the remnants of 'is whiskers fiercely bristlin'.
   "In the war of life together we must take each wound and sear."
"Now, we care not where we're bound for," ses the Lawson native, whistlin'
   For 'is dawg. "It's up Matilda." As for me, I ses, "'Ear, 'ear."

As I sed, this yarn ain't loocid, but its moral should not fail yer.
   I shall ne'er fergit that ev'nin' or the voice above the din.
It's the cry of all the kiddies, born an' unborn, in Australyer,
   When we flash our borrered millyuns: "Blime, where do we come in?"

First published in The Bulletin, 20 May 1909

Poem: The Poet's Son by Edward Dyson

The day on which the boy was born
   The poet whispered: "See,
This is my son! Here is the morn!
   A new day breaks for me!

"He shall be one to boldly cry
   A message to all men;
He shall succeed for ruth where I
   Drove but a halting pen.

"My boy shall speak with such a voice
   Of mastery that they
Who hear at noon shall have no choice
   But swiftly to obey.

"The careless men shall hear his call
   Above the clangor made
By whirring loom, and mill, and all
   The tumult that is trade.

It was a prophet spake. To-day
   One in the street I heard,
And old and young from work and play
   Were heedful to his word.

His tongue was forceful as the gale;
   His bell moved every one.
He called the people to a sale.
   He was the poet's son!

First published in The Bulletin, 10 April 1919

Poem: Two Friends by C.J. Dennis

In Memory Of Will Dyson and W.T.B. McCormack

Two treasured friends have slipped away,
   Mayhap to peace veiled from our eyes;
And one was simple as the day,
   And one complex and keenly wise,
And both of them I sorely miss.
   These mates, now passed beyond our ken,
For both of them were one in this:
   They practised friendship as true men.

A friendship, not for me alone,
   But for that variant world each knew,
As variant worlds must e'er be known
   To men unlike, as were these two.
Yet both were like in that each fought
   His fight 'gainst poverty and pain;
And both gained laurels, dearly bought
   These friends I may not see again.

And each wrought well that he might give
   His whole life to his chosen plan;
Each lived as worthy men e'er live:
   In service of his fellow-man.
And one he served by splendid deeds
   That thro' long years shall live again;
And one strove for his fellows' needs
   With keen shafts from a brilliant brain.

Each had his meed of human praise
   Such as sincerity must win;
One was a torch to light far ways,
   The other was a javelin,
And each served well as he knew how
   To ease man's burden of distress,
These vanished friends I grieve for now
   Because I have found loneliness.

The count of years may ne'er condemn
   Such friends or their stout constancy,
And part of me has gone with them,
   Yet they leave one great gift with me;
Such gift as few men come to prize --
   So feckless is man's heart and mind --
Till friend, but never friendship, dies:
   A faith upheld in humankind.

Two treasured friends have slipped away,
   Men as diverse as men can be;
Yet are they one to me today,
   These friends I may again ne'er see.
One in fine service, one in faith,
   One in a friendship, richly rare,
So seem they, till I, too, a wraith,
   Seek for them, haply, otherwhere.

First published in the Herald, 28 January 1938

Will Dyson was a writer
and artist (a brother of Edward Dyson and brother-in-law of Norman Lindsay), W.T.B. McCormack was a civil servant, civil engineer, and soldier.

"Seasons bloom and seasons wither; dark or bright, they cannot last;"
I suppose, my noble Brereton, you think that patter "fast;"
But it's stale as hash-house "resurrection" remnants of the past.

Let the seasons slide? Of course, sir; 'cos you've got to and they will!
Not the seasons are the matter, but the chances that they kill;
He's a fool who dreams past chances are the present chances still!

Go it, merry, Brerry gallant, go it rattling while you're young,
Tell the girls their kisses bellows-up the love-songs on your tongue,
Tell your mates, and fool yourself, too, that "we never can go bung."

Look around you, Brerry songster, where the friends are of your past;
Men whose gifts of brilliant promise limned a future ne'er outclassed;
Read that future in their present. Don't it make you stand aghast?

Dux, who should have been a Potentate, by future then read clear,
Lurks at corners on the roadway of the daily path you steer,
Tugs your elbow softly, humbly, as he tries to "bite your ear."

Same with Vox and Jus and others, who were leaders in their prime,
And who held, like you, my Brerry, that the present is a chime,
That the flow'rs and girls and rainbows are a merry pantomime.

'Cos their hearts are light and open, opened they their purses, too,
'Cos they whooped the whoop of "Now's-the-time," they paid the reck'ning due,
Let us hope, my Brerry buster, such a fate won't happen you.

"Seasons bloom and season wither!" Yes, but Man has only one
Set of seasons in his lifetime -- Spring and Summer -- then he's done;
Then comes harvesting and winter! Where's his chance of future fun?

If he's grabbed his pile and kept it, shut his ears to woes of peasant;
Made his joys from others' sorrows, shut his eyes to things unpleasant;
Then he may (if glut permit it in the bloated!) "sing the present."

Men don't bloom again when once they start to wither; Winter's blast
Never starts the Spring's soft zephyr in a life once overcast --
And the wrecks -- that's all the Poets -- thus can only "sing the past."

Blood is ichor! marrow's callous! present outlooks make us freeze --
Sing us wine and sing us Women -- time has always room for these;
Let our sinned joys boil to thrill us. Sing the Past; its Memories!

First published in The Bulletin, 15 February 1896

Note: This poem refers to the poem
from last week. "The Dipsomaniac" was a pen-name for Henry C. Cargill.

Poem: A Reflection on Lawson's Poems by J. Le Gay Brereton

Seasons bloom and seasons wither; dark or bright, they cannot last.
Must we try with floods of bitter teas to vivify the past?
Vainly chase the brown and broken blossoms blown along the blast?

Shall we scorn the flowers around us -- red, or blue, or white as snow --
Flowers giving loads of fragrance unto all the winds that blow
Must we hide our eyes and falter: "O, the days of long ago!"

Never stop to look behind you, if the blaze of glory there
Blinds you to the splendour stretching round about and everywhere.
True, the past was pleasant, Lawson, but the present is as fair.

I, too, love the days when heroes, seeking treasure, seaward sped;
Days of Drake, when English sailors followed where their leaders led;
Days when Marlowe trod the glowing clouds, that thundered to his tread.

Even then, though, there were cowards, traitors, swindler, "business men,"
Plot and murder, slave and master, secret sneer, and wounding pen;
And the poets thought the present vile and barren even then.

And their comrades were no better than some modern mates we meet --
Even though they don't go wearing tights and feathers in the street;
And the girls are dear as ever, and their kisses just as sweet.

Sing the present; drop the drivel of the "days evanished," please!
Though you pray until your pants are burst or baggy at the knees,
You can't bid the sun go backward -- no, not even ten degrees.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 January 1896

Poem: The Dennis Omelette by James Hackston (Hal Gye)

At the foot of Mt. St. Leonard where in spring the wattles glow,
Where the mountain-ash and messmate 'midst the densest bracken grow,
There's a mountain creek that wanders 'neath the green boughs hanging low,
Where I finished with my mate Dennis in the days of long ago.

With an angler's calm precision "Den" picked out a likely pool,
Where we fed a host of yabbies of a most pugnacious school,
And I soon discovered thereby that the yabbie is no fool
When it comes to robbing fishes in a manner calm and cool.

Down between the lors and shadows we could see the blackfish sweet,
Oh, so juicy and so succulent "Den" said they were to eat,
With some breadcrumbs rolled around them in a manner nice and neat,
Fried in butter (not with dripping) they would be a perfect treat.

All this talk while we were beaten in a cunning sort of style,
Outmanoeuvred and outgeneralled by the strategy and guile
Of the calm Toolangi yabbies who consumed our bait the while
Blackfish couldn't get a look-in though queued up in single file.

So we dined that night more simply on a Dennis omelette,
And the poet swore, by crikey, they were his best as yet,
And I did not mention yabbies lest he'd break out in a sweat,
Nor the blackfish, nor the butter, nor the breadcrumbs, don't forget.

First published in The Bulletin, 7 October 1953

Poem: To Henry Lawson -- Farewell by Roderick Quinn

As to an artist who revealed our land,
Making this sordid life therein aglow,
But nowise hiding truth, we hold a hand,
A hand heart-warmed to clasp yours ere you go.

So many years did you did your work of love
That one goes nowhere but he hears your name;
Where camp-fires burn and smoke-plumes drift above
They tell your stories and they spread your fame.

You leave behind more friends than one can state,
Your words have made them live, you gave them life;
The lovers standing at the sliprail gate,
Mitchell and Smith, the lone selector's wife,

The two old miners in the twilight haze
Of years, 'twixt smoke-puffs, telling o'er and o'er
Quaint stories of the vanished digger days
That passed away -- alas! to come no more.

And many others, grave, or grim, or kind,
Who stumble on with burdened heart and back;
Some fiercely cursing fate, and some resigned
To trudge for ever on the Outside Track.

These make a link between you and our land:
So, Lawson, though you go wide seas away,
We'll meet your face in them, and hold your hand,
And hear your voice in what your visions say.

All luck to you! but, if by chance you meet
With less than your deserts or our desire,
Come back again -- your old accustomed seat
Will wait you always by the good heart-fire.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 April 1900
[This poem was written around the time Lawson left for England to try his luck in the
literary scene there. It didn't work out.]

Poem: The Poet by Max A.

I went to see a poet, who's a cherished friend of mine;
His Muse is sometimes tickled to a fancy half-divine.
You cannot always catch him on an unappointed day,
So 'twas not at all surprising that the poet was away;
But the things which struck my vision as I opened wide the door
Were a cobweb on the inkstand and a bottle on the floor.

Now, that poet often grumbles at the poor rewards for Art,
And that Lit'rature is slighted by a world without a heart.
He growls because a grocer, selling soap, and eggs, and tea,
Gets more hard coin and bullion than the poets ever see;
But I tell you that his grievances seemed less instead of more
When I saw the cobwebbed inkstand and the bottle on the floor.

For the grocer goes to labour every day at eight o'clock,
And he spends his doleful evenings weighing tea or taking stock.
When he finds the sun is shining, then he doesn't shout, "Hooray,
I shall lie and want for fancies in the sunshine all the day;"
He cannot let the world go hang, and cause his friends to pore
On a cobweb on the inkstand and a bottle on the floor.

So, on the whole, the poet doesn't have too bad a life;
He earns enough to keep himself, and needn't keep a wife;
For Art will be his mistress, and the Muse will be his friend,
And for less exalted wooing, there are damsels without end;
And the witness of his comfort is the signs his study bore --
The cobweb on the inkstand and a bottle on the floor.

First published in Punch, 3 November 1910

Poem: "Den" - A Memory by James Hackston (Hal Gye)

There's a bloke gone up the road just now
   With the sunbeams on his back;
And there's never a line or care on his brow
   As he plods by fern and track.

He's wearing leggings, his arms are brown,
   His blue shirt's free at the neck;
He's been to the mail where the Mount looks down,
   And has a Micawber cheque.

He fills his pipe and the blue smoke climbs
   And drifts to the forest wide.
By the look in his eyes he's making rhymes
   As he walks where the red roads ride.

He enters his place by the sawdust-heap
   (That Toolangi shack of grey),
Past the wombat's hole, where the wattles sweep
   And the parrots are making play.

And now to the creek for a blackfish, too,
   For a succulent, simple tea,
Then a log on the fire, as bush-blokes do;
   For a fire's good company;

And a pad on the knee and a pencil sharp,
   And his dog at his feet by the fire -
So "Den" the poet now strings his harp,
   And writes to his heart's desire.

Oh, the night is sweet and thoughts run long
   And the peace is wide and deep;
And the mountain creek now makes its song
   While the dog and the poet sleep.

The Bloke goes down to the post next day,
   Fresh fame and a cheque to win:
The coachdriver takes more verses away,
   Addressed to "The Bulletin."

First published in The Bulletin, 29 October 1952

Poem: To a Dead Mate by C.J. Dennis

Henry Lawson died in Sydney on Saturday.

There's many a man who rides today
   In the lonely, far out-back;
There's many a man who makes his way
   On a dusty bushland track;
There's many a man in bush and town
   Who mourns for a good mate gone;
There are eyes grown sad and heads cast down
   Since Henry has passed on.

A mate he was, and a mate to love,
   For mateship was his creed:
With a strong, true heart and a soul above
   This sad world's sordid greed.
He lived as a mate, and wrote as a mate
   Of the things which he believed.
Now many a good man mourns his fate,
   And he leaves a nation grieved.

True champion he of the lame and halt:
   True knight of the poor was he,
Who could e'er excuse a brother's fault
   With a ready sympathy.
He suffered much, and much he toiled,
   With his hand e'er for the right:
And he dreamed and planned while the billy boiled
   In the bushland camp at night.

Joe Wilson and his mates are sad,
   And the tears of bushwives fall,
For the kindly heart that Henry had
   Had made him loved of all.
There's many a man who rides today,
   Cast down and sore oppressed;
And thro' the land I hear them say:
   "Pass, Henry, to your rest."

First published in The Herald, 5 September 1922

Poem: In the Height of Fashion by Henry Lawson

So at last a toll they'll levy
   For the passing fool who sings --
Take the harp grown dull and heavy
   (With the dried blood on the strings)
Let us sing, and sing right gaily,
   For the wreath is on our brow --
Are you hearin', Victor Daley?
   We are fashionable now!

Once the greatest earl could flout us,
   And the nearest scribe could sneer --
Nought too bad to say about us,
   Nought too hard for us to hear.
Slaves to journal-owning Neroes,
   And we died -- no matter how --
We're sweet singers now and heroes,
   We are fashionable now.

Once we suffered all save gaol, if
   We'd no rich admirers near;
And our sole guest was the bailiff
   And our only comfort beer.
Now we'll dine with toffs and "ladies",
   Who shall clasp our hands and bow.
Let the pale muse go to Hades
   We are fashionable now.

Once we had to be contented
   With the "Palace of the Mind",
While our coats were washed and mended,
   And our pants were patched behind;
Now by goose-knights we are measured,
   While the lordly tailors bow;
And our worn-out pants are treasured --
   We are fashionable now!

Once, when stony-broke and mournful,
   We put our petition clear,
Then our country, cold and scornful,
   Answered, "Go and get a beer!"
And it threw the tray bit at us
   Just to stop our "silly row",
Now it's champagne spreads and -- satis!
   We are fashionable now.

Once our grandest lines were drivel,
   And our wisest words were rot,
All our teachings false and evil,
   To be sneered at and forgot;
Now our silliest clack delights 'em,
   Doggerel their feelings plow,
And our shallow bluff affrights 'em --
   We are fashionable now!

"I adore the Swagman -- Drover --
   'When the World Was Round!' -- But ah!
'While the Billy's Boiling Over
   Is too awfully hurrah!"
This the maiden trills and gushes
   While her johnnie knots his brow,
And the fair young maiden blushes --
   We are fashionable now!

"I like your book, Mr Lawson,
   'Clancy of the Overflow',
Better far than Mr Banjo's --
   'When Your Pants Begin to Go'."
No! I am no longer snarling,
   Long ago we had our row --
Don't be angry, Banjo, darling,
   Though I'm fashionable now.

I am feeling young and restive --
   Skittish more than I can tell,
Skipping with a skip that's festive,
   Singing with a gladsome yell.
I will let my hair grow longer,
   Storm-tossed from my stormy brow,
I am going strong and stronger --
   For I'm fashionable now.

We shall write lines to their poodles --
   Darlings of Society --
Praise the blatant cad who boodles,
   Write odes to the Divorcee.
Let, at last Australia know its
   Brilliant circles anyhow,
We're the Doo-dah, Doo-dah! Poets --
   We are fashionable now.

This poem was written in 1906.

Bulletin debate poem #9

While not, strictly speaking, part of the Bulletin debate between Lawson, Paterson and others, this poem does reference the "silly row", so I've included it. This is the last of the poems in this sequence.

Poem: ANZAC by C.J. Dennis

Anzac! And war's grim storm . . .
   The scream of a pass'ng shell
Torn earth, and -- a quiet form . . .
   "Pass, comrades. All is well."

Nay, but his spirit lives; be very sure.
   Year follows year, and earthly things depart;
But what he dying gave us shall endure
   Now and for ever in the nation's heart.
Now and for ever; tho' the flesh be gone,
Still shall that Spirit bid us, "Carry on!"

Anzac! The mounds increase;
   Marking where soldiers fell . . . .
Earth's healing scars; and peace.
   "Sleep, comrades. All is well."

And be full certain that they do but sleep,
   Who, falling, yet were well content to find
Fit sanctuary in the hearts that keep
   That spirit and that memory enshrined.
High on Gallipoli, lights that once shone,
Again flame o'er the ocean: "Carry on!"

Anzac! The tramp of marching feet . . . .
   The toll of a passing-bell.
Bowed heads along a city street . . . .
   "Pass, soldier. All is well."

Pass, soldier. When your dwindling ranks grow small;
   When, one by one, old comrades you shall greet;
When the last, lonely veteran's footfall
   Goes echoing adown this city street,
Still may that Spirit, tho' all else be gone,
Cry to our sons: "Australia! Carry on!"

First published in The Herald, 25 April 1927

[Today is ANZAC Day.]

Poem: In Defence of the Bush by Banjo Paterson

In Answer to Various Bards

Well, I've waited mighty patient while they all came rolling in,
Mister Lawson, Mister Dyson, and the others of their kin,
With their dreadful, dismal stories of the Overlander's camp,
How his fire is always smoky, and his boots are always damp;
And they paint it so terrific it would fill one's soul with gloom,
But you know they're fond of writing about "corpses" and "the tomb."
So, before they curse the bushland they should let their fancy range,
And take something for their livers, and be cheerful for a change.

Now, for instance, Mister Lawson -- well, of course, we almost cried
At the sorrowful description how his "little 'Arvie" died.
And we wept in silent sorrow when "His Father's Mate" was slain;
Then he went and killed the father, and we had to weep again.
Ben Duggan and Jack Denver, too, he caused them to expire,
And he went and cooked the gander of Jack Dunn, of Nevertire;
And he spoke in terms prophetic of a revolution's beat,
When the world should hear the clamour of those people in the street;
But the shearer chaps who start it -- why, he rounds on them in blame,
And he calls 'em "agitators" who are living on the game.
So, no doubt, the bush is wretched if you judge it by the groan
Of the sad and soulful poet with a graveyard of his own.

But I "over-write" the bushmen! Well, I own without a doubt
That I always see a hero in the "man from furthest out."
I could never contemplate him through an atmosphere of gloom,
And a bushman never struck me as a subject for "the tomb."
If it ain't all "golden sunshine" where the "wattle branches wave,"
Well, it ain't all damp and dismal, and it ain't all "lonely grave."
And, of course, there's no denying that the bushman's life is rough,
But a man can easy stand it if he's built of sterling stuff;
Tho' it's seldom that the drover gets a bed of eider-down,
Yet the man who's born a bushman, he gets mighty sick of town,
For he's jotting down the figures, and he's adding up the bills
While his heart is simply aching for a sight of Southern hills.
Then he hears a wool-team passing with a rumble and a lurch,
And although the work is pressing yet it brings him off his perch.
For it stirs him like a message from his station friends afar
And he seems to sniff the ranges in the scent of wool and tar;
And it takes him back in fancy, half in laughter, half in tears,
To a sound of other voices and a thought of other years,
When the woolshed rang with bustle from the dawning of the day,
And the shear-blades were a-clicking to the cry of "wool away!"
When his face was somewhat browner and his frame was firmer set,
And he feels his flabby muscles with a feeling of regret.
Then the wool-team slowly passes and his eyes go sadly back
To the dusty little table and the papers in the rack,
And his thoughts go to the terrace where his sickly children squall,
And he thinks there's something healthy in the bushlife after all.

But we'll go no more a-droving in the wind or in the sun,
For our fathers' hearts have failed us and the droving days are done.
There's a nasty dash of danger where the long-horned bullock wheels,
And we like to live in comfort and to get our reg'lar meals.
And to hang about the townships suits us better, you'll agree,
For a job at washing bottles is the job for such as we.
Let us herd into the cities, let us crush and crowd and push
Till we lose the love of roving and we learn to hate the bush;
And we'll turn our aspirations to a city life and beer,
And we'll sneak across to England -- it's a nicer place than here;
For there's not much risk of hardship where all comforts are in store,
And the theatres are plenty and the pubs are more and more.

But that ends it, Mr Lawson, and it's time to say good-bye,
We must agree to differ in all friendship, you and I;
And our personal opinions -- well, they're scarcely worth a rush,
For there's some that like the city and some that like the bush;
And there's no one quite contented, as I've always heard it said,
Except one favoured person, and he turned out to be dead.
So we'll work our own salvation with the stoutest hearts we may,
And if fortune only favours we will take the road some day,
And go droving down the river 'neath the sunshine and the stars,
And then we'll come to Sydney and vermilionize the bars.

First published in The Bulletin, 1 October 1892
Bulletin debate poem #8

Poem: An Unorthodox Wail by M.T.

Oh! I want to go back to the city,
   Away from this desolate place
With its acres of "solitudes awesome"
   And the horror of "infinite space."
I am tired of "the wail of the plover,"
   I am sick of "the magpie's sweet song;"
I loathe "the complaint of the curlew,"
   I've heard it too oft and too long.

"Long tramps thro' the forests" are failures,
   "Summer strolls by swift streams" apt to pall;
I am weary of "freash air and freedom,"
   Since a surfeit I've had of them all.
The sight of "a drover" is deadly,
   The "crack of his whip" drives me mad,
The low of wild cattle's depressing,
   And "the bleat of the sheep" quite as bad.

"Misty mountains may tow'r in the distance,"
   And soulful ones rave of their height;
I wonder how far they're from Sydney
   If from them the city's in sight.
The soil "may be rich" and the cattle
   Exactly "the thing" in their breed;
I wish they were mine and I'd sell them
   And make for that city with speed.

A telegraph-wire and a sparrow
   Furnish plenty of Nature for me,
And a walk to save 'bus-fare sufficeth
   To give me a relish for tea.
A sirloin on Sundays, or saddle
   Of mutton's enough of their kind
To prime me in "good points in cattle"
   And such, once I've left these behind.

I yearn for the roar of street traffic,
   For the howl of the newspaper-boy,
While the yell of the man with bananas
   Is a dream of delirious joy.
The bell-birds may chime for the poets,
   I pine for the shriek of a tram;
And "the rustle of leaves in the autumn"
   May be music -- to me it's all sham.

Brickfield Hill or, say, William-street (Upper)
   Are "mountains" enough to please me,
And for "soil" give me wood-blocks and pavements,
   "Rural streams" the green bay near the Quay.

For oh! there are hearts in the city!
   There are souls! there are welcoming eyes!
And I long for a sight of my fellows,
   For a word from the friends that I prize.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 September 1892

Bulletin debate poem #7

Poem: Banjo, of the Overflow by K. (Francis Kenna)

I had written him a letter, which I had for want of better
   Knowledge given to a partner by the name of "Greenhide Jack" --
He was shearing when I met him, and I thought perhaps I'd let him
   Know that I was "stiff," and, maybe, he would send a trifle back.

My request was not requited, for an answer came indited
   On a sheet of scented paper, in an ink of fancy blue;
And the envelope, I fancy, had an "Esquire" to the Clancy,
   And it simply read, "I'm busy; but I'll see what I can do!"

To the vision land I can go, and I often think of the "Banjo" --
   Of the boy I used to shepherd in the not so long ago,
He was not the bushman's kidney, and among the crowd of Sydney
   He'll be more at home than mooning on the dreary Overflow.

He has clients now to fee him, and has friends to come and see him,
   He can ride from morn to evening in the padded hansom cars,
And he sees the beauties blending where the throngs are never ending,
   And at night the wond'rous women in the everlasting bars.

I am tired of reading prattle of the sweetly-lowing cattle
   Stringing out across the open with the bushmen riding free;
I am sick at heart of roving up and down the country droving,
   And of alternating damper with the salt-junk and the tea.

And from sleeping in the water on the droving trips I've caught a
   Lively dose of rheumatism in my back and in my knee,
And in spite of verse it's certain that the sky's a leaky curtain --
   It may suit the "Banjo" nicely, but it never suited me.

And the bush is very pretty when you view it from the city,
   But it loses all its beauty when you face it "on the pad;"
And the wildernesses haunt you, and the plains extended daunt you,
   Till at times you come to fancy life will drive you mad.

But I somehow often fancy that I'd rather not be Clancy,
   That I'd like to be the "Banjo" where the people come and go
When instead of framing curses I'd be writing charming verses --
   Tho' I scarcely think he'd swap me, "Banjo, of the Overflow."

First published in The Bulletin, 27 August 1892

Bulletin debate poem #6

Poem: The Overflow of Clancy by H.H.C.C.

(On reading the Banjo's "Clancy of the Overflow")

I've read "The Banjo's" letter, and I'm glad he's found a better
   Billet than he had upon the station where I met him years ago;
He was "slushy" then for Scotty, but the "bushland" sent him "dotty,"
   So he "rose up, William Riley," and departed down below.

He "rolled up" very gladly, for he had bush-fever badly
   When he left "the smoke" to wander "where the wattle-blossoms wave,"
But a course of "stag and brownie" seems to make the bush-struck towny
   Kinder weaken on the wattle and the bushman's lonely grave.

Safe in town, he spins romances of the bush until one fancies
   That it's all top-boots and chorus, kegs of rum and "whips" of grass,
And the sheep off camp go stringing when the "boss-in-charge" is singing,
   Whilst we "blow the cool tobacco-smoke and watch the white wreaths pass."

Yet, I guess "The B." feels fitter in a b'iled shirt and "hard-hitter"
   Than he would "way down the Cooper" in a flannel smock and "moles,"
For the city cove has leisure to indulge in stocks of pleasure,
   But the drover's only pastime's cooking "What's this! on the coals."

And the pub. hath friends to meet him, and between the acts they treat him
   While he's swapping "fairy twisters" with the "girls behind their bars,"
And he sees a vista splendid when the ballet is extended,
   And at night he's in his glory with the comic-op'ra stars.

I am sitting, very weary, on a log before a dreary
   Little fire that's feebly hissing 'neath a heavy fall of rain,
And the wind is cold and nipping, and I curse the ceaseless dripping
   As I slosh around for wood to start the embers up again.

And, in place of beauty's greeting, I can hear the dismal bleating
   Of a ewe that's sneaking out among the marshes for her lamb;
And for all the poet's skitin' that a new-chum takes delight in,
   The drover's share of pleasure isn't worth a tinker's d--n.

Does he sneer at bricks and mortar when he's squatting in the water
   After riding fourteen hours beneath a sullen, weeping sky?
Does he look aloft and thank it, as he spreads his sodden blanket?
   For the drover has no time to spare, he has no time to dry.

If "The Banjo's" game to fill it, he is welcome to my billet;
   He can "take a turn at droving" -- wages three-and-six a-day --
And his throat'll get more gritty than mine will in the city
   Where with Mister Lawson's squashes I can wash the dust away.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 August 1892

Bulletin debate poem #5

[Note: no-one knows the identity of "H.H.C.C." for sure, but one commentator believes it was Henry Lawson.]

Poem: In Answer to "Banjo," and Otherwise by Henry Lawson - Part 2

Would you like to change with Clancy -- go a-droving? tell us true,
For we rather think that Clancy would be glad to change with you,
And be something in the city; but 'twould give your muse a shock
To be losing time and money thro' the foot-rot in the flock,
And you wouldn't mind the beauties underneath the starry dome
If you had a wife and children and a lot of bills at home.

Did you ever guard the cattle when the night was inky-black,
And it rained, and icy water trickled gently down your back
Till your saddle-weary backbone fell a-aching to the roots
And you almost felt the croaking of the bull-frog in your boots --
Sit and shiver in the saddle, curse the restless stock and cough
Till a squatter's irate dummy cantered up to warn you off?
Did you fight the drought and "pleuro" when the "seasons" were asleep --
Falling she-oaks all the morning for a flock of starving sheep;
Drinking mud instead of water -- climbing trees and lopping boughs
For the broken-hearted bullocks and the dry and dusty cows?

Do you think the bush was better in the "good old droving days,"
When the squatter ruled supremely as the king of western ways,
When you got a slip of paper for the little you could earn,
But were forced to take provisions from the station in return --
When you couldn't keep a chicken at your humpy on the run,
For the squatter wouldn't let you -- and your work was never done:
When you had to leave the missus in a lonely hut forlorn
While you "rose up Willy Riley," in the days ere you were born?

Ah! we read about the drovers and the shearers and the like
Till we wonder why such happy and romantic fellows "strike."
Don't you fancy that the poets better give the bush a rest
Ere they raise a just rebellion in the over-written West?
Where the simple-minded bushman get a meal and bed and rum
Just by riding round reporting phantom flocks that never come;
Where the scalper -- never troubled by the "war-whoop of the push" --
Has a quiet little billet -- breeding rabbits in the bush;
Where the idle shanty-keeper never fails to make a "draw,"
And the dummy gets his tucker thro' provisions in the law;
Where the labour-agitator -- when the shearers rise in might
Makes his money sacrificing all his substance for the right;
Where the squatter makes his fortune, and the seasons "rise" and "fall,"
And the poor and honest bushman has to suffer for it all,
Where the drovers and the shearers and the bushmen and the rest
Never reach the Eldorado of the poets of the West.

And you think the bush is purer and that life is better there,
But it doesn't seem to pay you like the "squalid street and square,"
Pray inform us, "Mr. Banjo," where you read, in prose or verse,
Of the awful "city urchin" who would greet you with a curse.
There are golden hearts in gutters, tho' their owners lack the fat,
And we'll back a teamster's offspring to outswear a city brat;
Do you think we're never jolly where the trams and 'busses rage?
Did you hear the "gods" in chorus when "Ri-tooral" held the stage?
Did you catch a ring of sorrow in the city urchin's voice
When he yelled for "Billy Elton," when he thumped the floor for Royce?
Do the bushmen, down on pleasure, miss the everlasting stars
When they drink and flirt and so on in the glow of private bars?
What care you if fallen women "flaunt?" God help 'em -- let 'em fluant,
And the seamstress seems to haunt you -- to what purpose does she haunt?
You've a down on "trams and busses," or the "roar" of 'em, you said,
And the "filthy, dirty attic," where you never toiled for bread.
(And about that self-same attic, tell us, Banjo, where you've been?
For the struggling needlewoman mostly keeps her attic clean.)
But you'll find it very jolly with the cuff-and-collar push,
And the city seems to suit you, while you rave about the bush.

P.S. --

You'll admit that "up-the-country," more especially in drought,
Isn't quite the Eldorado that the poets rave about,
Yet at times we long to gallop where the reckless bushman rides
In the wake of startled brumbies that are flying for their hides;
Long to feel the saddle tremble once again between our knees
And to hear the stockwhips rattle just like rifles in the trees!
Long to feel the bridle-leather tugging strongly in the hand
And to feel once more a little like a "native of the land."
And the ring of bitter feeling in the jingling of our rhymes
Isn't suited to the country nor the spirit of the times.
Let's us go together droving and returning, if we live,
Try to understand each other while we liquor up the "div."

First published in The Bulletin, 6 August 1892
Bulletin debate poem #4

Poem: In Answer to "Banjo," and Otherwise by Henry Lawson - Part 1

It was pleasant up the country, Mr. Banjo, where you went,
For you sought the greener patches and you travelled like a gent.,
And you curse the trams and 'busses and the turmoil and the "push,"
Tho' you know the "squalid city" needn't keep you from the bush;
But we lately heard you singing of the "plains where shade is not,"
And you mentioned it was dusty - "all is dry and all is hot."

True, the bush "hath moods and changes," and the bushman hath 'em, too --
For he's not a poet's dummy -- he's a man, the same as you;
But his back is growing rounder -- slaving for the "absentee" --
And his toiling wife is thinner than a country wife should be,
For we noticed that the faces of the folks we chanced to meet
Should have made a stronger contrast to the faces in the street;
And, in short, we think the bushman's being driven to the wall,
But it's doubtful if his spirit will be "loyal thro' it all."

Tho' the bush has been romantic and it's nice to sing about,
There's a lot of patriotism that the land could do without --
Sort of BRITSH WORKMAN nonsense that shall perish in the scorn
Of the drover who is driven and the shearer who is shorn --
Of the struggling western farmers who have little time for rest,
And are ruin'd on selections in the squatter-ridden west --
Droving songs are very pretty, but they merit little thanks
From the people of country which is ridden by the Banks.

And the "rise and fall of seasons" suits the rise and fall of rhyme,
But we know that western seasons do not run on "schedule time;"
For the drought will go on drying while there's anything to dry,
Then it rains until you'd fancy it would bleach the "sunny sky" --
Then it pelters out of reason, for the downpour day and night
Nearly sweeps the population to the Great Australian Bight,
It is up in Northern Queensland that the "seasons" do their best,
But its doubtful if you ever saw a season in the west,
There are years without an autumn or a winter or a spring,
There are broiling Junes -- and summers when it rains like anything.

In the bush my ears were opened to the singing of the bird,
But the "carol of the magpie" was a thing I never heard.
Once the beggar roused my slumbers in a shanty, it is true,
But I only heard him asking, "Who the blanky blank are you?"
And the bell-bird in the ranges -- but his "silver chime" is harsh
When it's heard beside the solo of the curlew in the marsh.

Yes, I heard the shearers singing "William Riley" out of tune
(Saw 'em fighting round a shanty on a Sunday afternoon),
But the bushman isn't always "trapping bunnies in the night,"
Nor is he ever riding when "the morn is fresh and bright,"
And he isn't always singing in the humpies on the run --
And the camp-fire's "cheery blazes" are a trifle overdone;
We have grumbled with the bushmen round the fire on rainy days,
When the smoke would blind a bullock and there wasn't any blaze,
Save the blazes of our language, for we cursed the fire in turn
Till the atmosphere was heated and the wood began to burn.
Then we had to wring our blueys which were rotting in the swags,
And we saw the sugar leaking thro' the bottoms of the bags,
And we couldn't raise a "chorus," for the toothache and the cramp,
While we spent the hours of darkness draining puddles round the camp.

First published in The Bulletin, 6 August 1892
Bulletin debate poem #4
(The second part of this poem will be published next week.)

Poem: The Fact of the Matter by Edward Dyson

I'm wonderin' why those fellers who go buildin' chipper ditties,
'Bout the rosy times out drovin', an' the dust an' death of cities,
Don't sling the bloomin' office, strike some drover for a billet
And soak up all the glory that comes handy while they fill it.

P'r'aps it's fun to travel cattle or to picnic with merinos,
But the drover don't catch on, sir, not much high-class rapture he knows.
As for sleepin' on the plains there in the shadder of the spear-grass,
That's liked best by the Juggins with a spring-bed an' a pier-glass.

An' the camp fire, an' the freedom, and the blanky constellations,
The 'possum-rug an' billy, an' the togs an' stale ole rations --
It's strange they're only raved about by coves that dress up pretty.
An' sport a wife, an' live on slap-up tucker in the city.

I've tickled beef in my time clear from Clarke to Riverina,
An' shifted sheep all round the shop, but blow me if I've seen a
Single blanky hand who didn't buck at pleasures of this kidney,
And wouldn't trade his blisses for a flutter down in Sydney.

Night-watches are delightful when the stars are really splendid
To the chap who's fresh upon the job, but, you bet, his rapture's ended
When the rain comes down in sluice-heads, or the cuttin' hailstones pelter,
An' the sheep drift off before the wind, an' the horses strike for shelter.

Don't take me for a howler, but I find it come annoyin'
To hear these fellers rave about the pleasures we're enjoyin',
When p'r'aps we've nothin' better than some fluky water handy,
An' they're right on all the lickers -- rum, an' plenty beer an' brandy.

The town is dusty, may be, but it isn't worth the curses
'Side the dust a feller swallers an' the blinded thirst he nurses
When he's on the hard macadam, where the jumbucks cannot browse, an'
The wind is in his whiskers, an' he follers twenty thousan'.

This drovin' on the plain, too, it's all O.K. when the weather
Isn't hot enough to curl the soles right off your upper leather,
Or so cold that when the mornin' wind comes hissin' through the grasses
You can feel it cut your eyelids like a whip-lash as it passes.

Then there's bull-ants in the blankets, an' a lame horse, an' muskeeters,
An' a D.T. boss like Halligan, or one like Humpy Peters
Who is mean about the tucker, an' can curse from start to sundown,
An' can fight like fifty devils, an' whose growler's never run down.

Yes, I wonder why the fellers what go buildin' chipper ditties
'Bout the rosy times out drovin' an' th' dust an' death of cities,
Don't sling the bloomin' office, strike ole Peters for a billet,
An' soak up all the glory that comes handy while they fill it.

First published in The Bulletin, 30 July 1892
Bulletin debate poem #3.

Poem: In Defence of the Bush by Banjo Paterson

(On reading Henry Lawson's "Borderland")

So you're back from up the country, Mister Lawson, where you went,
And you're cursing all the business in a bitter discontent;
Well, we grieve to disappoint you, and it makes us sad to hear
That it wasn't cool and shady -- and there wasn't plenty beer.
And the loony bullock snorted when you first came into view;
Well, you know, it's not so often that he sees a swell like you;
And the roads were hot and dusty, and the plains were burnt and brown,
And no doubt you're better suited drinking lemon-squash in town.

Yet, perchance, if you should journey down the very track you went
In a month or two at furthest you would wonder what it meant,
Where the sunbaked earth was gasping like a creature in its pain
You would find the grasses waving like a field of summer grain,
And the miles of thirsty gutters blocked with sand and choked with mud,
You would find them mighty rivers with a turbid, sweeping flood;
For the rain and drought and sunshine make no changes in the street,
In the sullen line of buildings and the ceaseless tramp of feet;
But the bush hath moods and changes, as the seasons rise and fall,
And the men who know the bush land -- they are loyal through it all.

But you found the bush was dismal and a land of no delight,
Did you chance to hear a chorus in the shearers' huts at night?
Did they "rise up, William Riley" by the campfire's cheery blaze?
Did they rise him as we rose him in the good old droving days?
And the women of the homesteads and the men you chanced to meet --
Were their faces sour and saddened like your "faces in the street,"
And the "shy selector children" -- were they better now or worse
Than the little city urchins who would greet you with a curse?
Is not such a life much better than the squalid street and square
Where the fallen women fluant it in the fierce electric glare,
Wehere the sempstress plies her sewing till her eyes are sore and red
In a filthy, dirty attic toiling on for daily bread?
Did you hear no sweeter voices in the music of the bush
Than the roar of trams and 'busses and the war-whoop of "the push"?
Did the magpies rouse your slumbers with their carol sweet and strange?
Did you hear the silver chimng of the bell-birds on the range?
But, perchance, the wild birds' music by your senses was despised,
For you say you'll stay in townships till the bush is civilised.
Would you make it a tea-garden and on Sundays have a band
Where the "blokes" might take their "dionahs" with a "public" close at hand?
You had better stick to Sydney and make merry with "the push,"
For the bush will never suit you, and you'll never suit the bush.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 July 1892

Bulletin debate poem #2.

Poem: Borderland by Henry Lawson

I am back from up the country -- very sorry that I went --
Seeking for the Southern poets' land whereon to pitch my tent;
I have lost a lot of idols, which were broken on the track --
Burnt a lot of fancy verses, and I'm glad that I am back.
Further out may be the pleasant scenes of which our poets boast,
But I think the country's rather more inviting round the coast --
Anyway, I'll stay at present at a boarding-house in town
Drinking beer and lemon squashes, taking baths and cooling down.

Sunny plains! Great Scot! -- those burning wastes of barren soil and sand
With their everlasting fences strecthing out across the land!
Desolation where the crow is! Desert! where the eagle flies,
Paddocks where the luny bullock starts and stares with redden'd eyes;
Where, in clouds of dust enveloped, roasted bullock-drivers creep
Slowly past the sun-dried shepherd dragged behind his crawling sheep.
Stunted "peak" of granite gleaming, glaring! like a molten mass
Turned, from some infernal furnace, on a plain devoid of grass.

Miles and miles of thirsty gutters -- strings of muddy waterholes
In the place of "shining rivers" (walled by cliffs and forest boles).
"Range!" of ridges, gullies, ridges, barren! where the madden'ed flies --
Fiercer than the plagues of Egypt -- swarm about your blighted eyes!
Bush! where there is no horizon! where the buried bushman sees
Nothing. Nothing! but the madding sameness of the stunted trees!
Lonely hut where drought's eternal -- suffocating atmosphere --
Where the God forgotten hatter dreams of citylife and beer.

Treacherous tracks that trap the stranger, endless roads that gleam and glare,
Dark and evil-looking gullies -- hiding secrets here and there!
Dull, dumb flats and stony "rises," where the bullocks sweat and bake,
And the sinister "gohanna," and the lizard, and the snake.
Land of day and night -- no morning freshness, and no afternoon,
For the great, white sun in rising brings with him the heat of noon.
Dismal country for the exile, when the shades begin to fall
From the sad, heart-breaking sunset, to the new-chum, worst of all.

Dreary land in rainy weather, with the endless clouds that drift
O'er the busman like a blanket that the Lord will never lift --
Dismal land when it is raining -- growl of floods and oh! the "woosh"
Of the rain and wind together on the dark bed of the bush --
Ghastly fires in lonely humpies where the granite rocks are pil'd
In the rain-swept windernesses that are wildest of the wild.

Land where gaunt and haggard women live alone and work like men,
Till their husbands, gone a-droving, will return to them again --
Homes of men! if homes had ever such a God-forgotten place,
Where the wild selector's children fly before a stranger's face.
Home of tragedy applauded by the dingoes' dismal yell,
Heaven of the shanty-keeper -- fitting fiend for such a hell --
And the wallaroos and wombats, and, of course, the "curlew's call" --
And the lone sundowner tramping ever onward thro' it all!

I am back from up the country -- up the country where I went
Seeking for the Southern poets' land whereon to pitch my tent;
I have left a lot of broken idols out along the track,
Burnt a lot of fancy verses -- and I'm glad that I am back --
I believe the Southern poet's dream will not be realised
Till the plains are irrigated and the land is humanised.
I intend to stay at present -- as I said before -- in town
Drinking beer and lemon-squashes -- taking baths and cooling down.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 July 1892

Bulletin debate poem #1.
This poem was later re-titled Up the Country.

Poem: A Bad Influence by T. the R. (Charles Hayward)

"The Commonwealth Government has decided to ban the importation of sensational crime literature from the U.S." [Note: this poem is from 1934.]

These tales of Yankee crime and grim duellos
   'Twixt crooks and cops corrupt the growing kid.
Duval and Turpin, one suspects, were fellows
   Of whom the world was mercifully rid,
But time obliterates and legend mellows
   The more objectionable things they did.
De mortuis, you know, speak nothing wrong;
And they've been dead so long, so very long!

To dip into a Deadwood Dick or thriller
   Is something boyhood naturally likes;
But they who limn (say) the Chicago spiller
   Of blood ignore the note that Dickens strikes.
It's rarely you will find them make a killer
   End up as Fagin did, or hunted Sikes,
Or that arch-villian Jonas Chuzzlewit;
They'd sooner let him "get away with it."

When we were lads what glamor and what glory
   On R.L.S.'s "Treasure Island" shone!
But you'll recall in that enthralling story
   The highly proper end was dies non
For all the buccaneers whose hands were gory
   With slaughter, barring elongated John
Silver -- and a hereafter dark and grim,
'Twas prophesied, awaited even him.

Bandits we, too, have known whom local Shallows
   Have sought with hero touches to invest,
Whose squalid crimes perverse tradition hallows
   Gilbert and Dunn, the Kellys and the rest;
But, since they mostly finished on the gallows
   Unless a trooper's bullet sent them west,
It can't be said that their example sways
Impressionable youth to evil ways.

But these Big Shots we read about, whose function
   Is bidding bullets o'er the sidewalks spray.
Who break God's laws and men's with equal unction,
   Bribe, blackmail, periodically slay
Each other with no atom of compunction,
   Kidnap and rob and loot -- and make it pay
We must preserve our children from the touch
If only in the printed word, of such.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 July 1934

Poem: The Two Poets by Henry Lawson

Two poets were born where the skies were fair,
   To live in the land hereafter;
And one was a singer of sorrow and care,
   And one was a bard of laughter.

With simple measure and simple word,
   The feelings of mankind voicing --
And light hearts listened and sad hearts heard,
   And they went on their way rejoicing.

The glad rejoiced that the world was gay --
   Who took no thought of the morrow --
And it ever has lightened the sad hearts' way
   To hear of another's sorrow.

The poets died while none were aware,
   (For no one could see the token),
That light of heart was the bard of care,
   But the heart of the other was broken.

First published in Lone Hand, 1 September 1913

Poem: The Literary Hero by Ironbark (G. Herbert Gibson) - Part 2

He never drinks, but often "quaffs" ambrosial kinds of brews,
Which stimulate his mighty brain and brace his "giant thews";
He "sinks upon" an Eastern lounge, and elevates his shoes,
And "dashes off" a leader for the lcoal EVEN NOOSE.
He has some giddy orgies, but he never knocks about
With ordinary journalists who swallow pints of stout;
You always find him moving in the very highest sets,
The joyous, jim-jam journalist of lying novelettes.
The misleading novelette! Its perusal doth beget
In my bosom grave suspicions of the specious novelette.

He's got a "marble brow", of course, upon a life-long lease;
He's mostly half a London dude and half a god of Greece --
To read about his "thews of steel," all gathered in a lump,
It gives an unsuccessful scribe the biggest kind of hump.
He always grabs the girl that's got most beauty, brains and "rocks";
He takes her to the theatres in very low-cut frocks;
He has a truly gaudy time among the girls, you bet,
The petted, pampered pressman of the giddy novelette.
Oh! the giddy novelette with our virtue doth coquette --
It's really hardly proper to peruse the novelette.

He's always got a wondrous work -- a book! -- upon the stocks;
He reads each thrilling passage to the girl that's got the "rocks".
She prophesies his deathless fame and flops upon his heart --
Though brainy, she's quite usually a giddy kind of "tart".
And when his "book" at last comes out -- oh, then -- well, I should smile! --
The way they advertise his stuff it makes me green with bile.
They drag it from the linotype and sell it dripping wet --
A million copies! Rights reserved! -- Oh, d__n the novelette!
Oh, the ghastly novelette! Jumping wild, I own, I get
With the weird, abnormal genius of the awful novelette.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 July, 1906.

Note: The first part of this poem was published last week.

Poem: The Literary Hero by Ironbark (G. Herbert Gibson) - Part 1

 cannot write in "flowing style" or wield a "mobile pen" --
To use the cant of books that rant of literary men --
I cannot "dash off" poetry, and often have regrets
That I'm not like the writers they describe in novelettes.
They always have ideas of the most attractive brand,
And flinty-hearted editors just taken 'em by the hand,
And load 'em up with whisky and Egyptian cigarettes,
While they write their way to glory -- that's the way in novelettes.
Oh! the shilling novelette! I must own I've got a "set"
On the preternatural pressman of the shilling novelette.

The literary hero's pen runs like an auto-car,
In quickest time he "jerks" a rhyme or "fakes" a comic par;
Collectors prize his signature -- he laughs a scornful laugh
As with his auto-mobile pen he pens his autograph.
It doesn't matter what he writes, or how he slings it out,
Or whether it's in prose or verse, or what it's all about;
It always knocks the public, and with shekels fills the net
Of the Admirable Crichton of the silly novelette.
Oh! the silly novelette! Just the greatest fraud I've met
Is that quill-propelling person in the silly novelette.

He writes an ode at six years old that takes the town by storm;
At twelve attains the highest planes of literary form,
And editors of magazines crawl half across the town
To beg a page of priceless "screed," and plank their guineas down,
He climbs Fame's ladder at a bound or two, the novels say,
(Of course, for he's a "bounder" too -- but that is by the way).
But how the public eulogise, and how the critics pet,
The literary flier of the spicy novelette!
Oh! the spicy novelette! I've a very heavy debt
Which I mean to settle some day with the spicy novelette.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 July, 1906.

[This poem will be concluded next week.]

Poem: Song of the Pen by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson

Not for the love of women toil we, we of the craft,
   Not for the people's praise;
Only because our goddess made us her own and laughed,
   Claiming us all our days,

Claiming our best endeavour -- body and heart and brain
   Given with no reserve --
Niggard is she towards us, granting us little gain:
   Still, we are proud to serve.

Not unto us is given choice of the tasks we try,
   Gathering grain or chaff;
One of her favoured servants toils at an epic high,
   One, that a child may laugh.

Yet if we serve her truly in our appointed place,
   Freely she doth accord
Unto her faithful servants always this saving grace,
   Work is its own reward!

From Saltbush Bill, J.P., and Other Verses, 1917

Poem: To the Editor by Garry

Who are these mystic blighters,
These weird, fantastic writers,
Who decorate your pages every week?
We know each nom de plume
From Cooktown round to Broome,
But it's inside information that we seek.

So will you kindly tell
Who "KODAK" is and "SNELL,"
And who the deuce "PHILANDER F." may be?
Who grills the morning chop
For "SATAN" and for "HOP."
Who brews "RELIGIOUS EDITOR" his tea?

You might mention, by the way,
If "O.K." is just "O.K.,"
Some anecdotes of "WANG" and "BILLY B."
And tell us if "MACHETE"
Is one of the elite,
And give us "CURSE O' MOSES" pedigree.

Of straight names there are plenty,
And a dozen more or so,
But it's little more we know
Of them than what we know about the others.

We should like to know what manner
Of a woman is "JOHANNA";
And is she of the brand that's known as "new"?
And if the poet BRADY
Is a man or just a lady,
And lastly, who and what and how are YOU?

First published in The Bulletin, 26 September 1912

Poem: The Wantaritencant by Henry Lawson

It watched me in the cradle laid, and from my boyhood's home
It glared above my shoulder-blade when I wrote my first "pome";
It's sidled by me ever since, with greeny eyes aslant --
It is the thing (O, Priest and Prince!) that wants to write, but can't.

It yells and slobbers, mows and whines, It follows everywhere;
'Tis gloating on these very lines with red and baleful glare.
It murders friendship, love and truth (It makes the "reader" pant),
It ruins editorial youth, the Wantaritencant.

Its slime is ever on my work, and ever on my name;
No toil nor trouble does It shirk -- for It will write, all the same!
It tantalized when great thoughts burned, in trouble and in want;
It makes it hell for all concerned, the Wantaritencant.

And now that I would gladly die, or rest my weary mind,
I cannot rest to think that I must leave the Thing behind.
Its green rot damns the dead, for sure -- that greatest curse extant,
'Twill kill Australian literature, the Wantaritencant!

You cannot kill or keep It still, or ease It off a bit;
It talks about Itself until the world believes in It.
It is a Scare, a Fright, a Ghast, a Gibber, and a Rant,
A future Horror and a Past, the Wantaritencant!

First published in The Bulletin, 3 January 1907

Poem: A Curse by Madde

There's a special nook in the utmost Pit
   Where Satan simmers the screaming souls,
With sharpened forks and a patent spit
   And first-class devils and first-grade coals --
A cosy corner replete with pomp.
It's all reserved for that cow, the comp.

I write of "Envy, morose and dark,"
   He makes it "'Enry," my heart to break;
I pen an "Ode to the Life-grief Stark" --
   He types it "Hide of a Live Beef-steak,"
I sing "gay ruin in Circe's cup" --
"Bay rum" is the way that he sets it up!

Ho, brother-bards, who have writhed and chafed
   'Neath the heavy hand of the Beast, mark well,
In beer-glad hours there hath been vouchsafed
   To me sweet vision of seething Hell
With one addition to Dante's plan --
A special grid. for the lino. man!

First published in The Bulletin, 5 September 1912

Poem: The Proud Genius by The Fugitive Scribbler

There is a splendid genius to whom I bow the knee;
His name upon the scroll of Fame is writ for all to see;
I nodded in a nervous way to him the other morn,
            But --
He crushed me to the pavement with a look of sober scorn!

That proud and splendid genius I do not care to meet
When, chin in air and shoulders braced, he marches down the street;
Nor does it greatly cheer me in deep dejection sunk
            That --
He sometimes condescends to borrow thrippence when he's drunk!

First published in The Bulletin, 8 August 1912

Poem: The Passionate Poet by Frank Morton

I dearly long -- perhaps you've learned
   The process, and will let me know it --
To stop a fierce and curdling wail
   And muzzle a forsaken poet.

There was a girl who loved him once,
   The one girl that his whimsy needed;
But she was very wicked, for
   She tired some several months ere he did.

So now his tears wet all my street,
   A nuisance, whatsoe'er the weather;
And much I long to bury him
   And his confounded dreams together.

There never was a girl, I know,
   Was worth such loud, incessant bleating;
But he is deaf when I deride,
   And adamant to my entreating.

He tells me that her eyes were blue
   (Blue eyes are cheap enough, I'm thinking),
Her heart was made of ice. And so
   (Between ourselves) he took to drinking.

And now he whimpers night and day,
   Of faith forsworn and dear hopes stricken.
I offer sympathy; but when
   He keeps it up, I have to sicken.

He says her feet were very small,
   (Small-footed every neat cocotte is)
He weeps, and then I ache to grip
   Him hard about the epiglottis.

I'm no anatomist. Maybe,
   That's not just where a fellow's throat is.
I only know a man who pines
   For such a jade a sorry goat is.

So much I yarn (if you've the trick
   Of doing this, pray let me know it)
To stop his howling once for all,
   And muzzle this despairing poet.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 June 1912

Poem: A Guide for Poits by C.J. Dennis

I ain't no verse-'og. When I busts in song
   An' fills the air wiv choonful melerdy,
I likes fer uvver coves to come along
   An' biff the lyre in company wiv me.

So, when I sees some peb beguile an hour
   Be joinin' in the chorus o' me song,
I never sees no use in turnin' sour;
   Fer singin' days wiv no one larsts too long.

I'd like to see the Rocks an' Little Lon
   Grow centres for the art uv weavin' rhyme,
Wiv dinky 'arps fer blokes to plunk upon,
   An' spruiking poits workin' overtime.

I'd love to listen to each choonful lay
   Uv soulful coots who scorn to write fer gain;
To see True Art bloom down in Chowder Bay,
   An' Culcher jump the joint in Spadger's Lane.

Gawstruth! fer us life's got no joy to spare,
   We're short uv bird songs, "soarin' clean an' pure."
A bloke is 'ardly orf the bottle there
   Before 'e's in the jug - a bird fer sure.

So 'oo am I to say no blokes shall sing
   Jist 'ow an' where an' when sich blokes may choose?
She's got no lines to show, nor yet no ring.
   Lor' blim'me! I ain't married to me Muse!

An', square an' all, to show there's no offence,
   To show that in me 'eart true friendship lies,
I gives free gratis, an wivout ixpense,
   A few igzamples, just to put 'em wise.

First, choose some swingin' metre, sich as this,
   That Omar used - per Fitz - to boost the wine.
An' 'ere's a point true artists shouldn't miss:
   Sling in a bit o' slang to ev'ry line.

An' when yer full o' them alternate rhymes -
As all the true push poits is at times -
Jist ring the changes, as I'm doin' now;
An' find ixcuse to say: "The bloomin' cow!"

Or, comin' back to Omar's style again,
It's easy fer to pen a sweet refrain
   Wiv this 'ere kist a dead-'ead sort o' line,
An' this one rhymin' wiv the former twain.

An' though this style me soul 'as often vext,
   Wiv care an' pains the knack is easy cort;
This line's rhymed wiv the first, an' then the next
   Is cut orf short.
An' if yeh want to round it orf orl neat
Just add a couplet 'ere of equil feet.

An' 'ere's a style I've very often done:
   You swing orf 'ere, an' find a second rhyme,
Then hitch the third line to the leadin' one.
   An' make the fourth lap wiv the second chime,
   An' then you sort o' come another time,
An' jist end up the same as you begin.

It's orl dead easy when yeh know the way,
An' 'ave the time to practise it - But, say,
   Although it sort o' takes the eye, no doubt
(An', mind yeh, I'm not sayin' but it may) -
   Wivout a stock uv rhymes to see you out
This style o' rhymin's like to turn yeh grey.

The triplets comes much 'arder than the twins;
But I 'ave 'ad to bear 'em fer me sins.
   'Ere, fer a single line, yeh change the style,
Switch orf an' rhyme the same as you begins;
   An' then yeh comes back at it wiv a smile,
   Pertendin' it's dead easy orl the while.

Them sawed-orf lines 'as often stood me friends;
Fer you kin cut 'em upto serve yer ends.
   An' frequent I 'ave slung the dotin' throng
            This sort o' song.
To ring su'prises on the eye an' ear
Is 'arf the game. It seems to be kind o' queer
   The dull monotony. Yeh make a miss,
            An' then do this.

Aw, 'Struth! it's pretty; but you take my tip,
It gives a bloke the everlastin' pip
   'Oo tries to live upon the game and gets. . . .
   Corns on 'is brain an' melancholy debts!

Wiv sweat an' tears, wiv misery an' sighs,
   Yeh wring yer soul-case fer one drop of bliss
To give the cold, 'ard world; an' it replies,
   "Prompt payment will erblige. Please settle this."

The rarest treasures of yer 'eart yeh spend
On callous, thankless coots; an' in the end
It comes to this: if you can't find a muse
'Oo takes in washin', wot's the flamin' use?

First Published in The Bulletin, 18 March 1915

Poem: My Books by Zora Cross

My books are like a lovely land
Where Life and Death walk hand in hand,
Where I may pluck in happy ease
A branch of faëry fantasies;
Or take the little skiff of dreams
And sail enchanted summer streams
To reach a blessed isle of light
Where there is never fear of night.

My books are as a magic world
Within this dull one wisely curled --
A realm of immortality
Where I am queen of land of sea,
And all the subjects of the soul
That wander there in Love's control
Through my serene imagining.

Hector in anguish fights for me,
Ulysses sails a stormy sea;
Queen Guinevere and Lancelot ride
Between the elm-trees side by side,
And many a man and many a maid
In leafy lane and glad, green glade
To faëry cymbals lightly dance
From out the leaves of old Romance.

Ah, mighty kingdom of the mind,
That rules the hearts of all mankind,
When I remember that for me,
For my undreamed mortality,
My little soul, unthought, unborn,
Great poets sang in some far morn,
I am unhumble than the air
Lingering here on Song's first stair.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 May 1920

Poem: The Lost Chord by Eddyson (Edward Dyson)

Half-waking and half-dreaming
   I sat me down to write.
The full thoughts flowing, gleaming,
   I wove them with delight.
With bardic runes empiric
   I wrought at fever heat
To make that lovely lyric
   The world must find so sweet.

The small typewriter clicking
   The tropes that softly rise,
A clock above me ticking,
   And dusk before my eyes;
The deft hands score my rhyming,
   I whisper: "This excels!
'Tis like the distant chiming
   Of seven holy bells."

So sped the lovely proem:
   The ringing lines flew fast.
I finished fast my poem,
   And inspiration passed.
I dreamed a little o'er it;
   Adoring it I smiled,
The parent I who bore it,
   And it my passion-child.

Alas! in my typewriter
   No sunlit verses shone,
And now, a mooning blighter,
   I mourn a pearl that's gone.
Past hope, like morning vapor,
   That never more is seen --
I'd run no sheet of paper
   Into the curst machine!

First published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1920

Poem: War's End by C.J. Dennis

Greyer and older, still they stand
   Wearier, quieter, still they pray;
Men who had offered their all to a land.
   And their thoughts run back to an olden day
When Youth sailed gallantly, gaily forth --
   Romance for King, and faith to the fore --
To the older, bitterer lands of the north,
   To battle, that men might end all war.

Ageing Diggers, grown wiser now,
   Again they are dreaming before their shrine
Of the long-gone day when they made the vow
   With hearts uplifted, and eyes a-shine.
And thro' their dreaming there drifts to-day
   A newer note and a sad refrain,
As their thoughts return to that bitter fray:
   "Was it all in vain? Was it all in vain?"

Soberer, sterner, still they hear
   Endless thunder of vengeful guns
Echoing out of a long dead year.
   And, "God," they pray, "must these our sons
Learn over again all we'd fain forget?
   Buy over again their need of peace
Live over again worse madness yet?
   Is earth's grim agony never to cease?"

Ageing Diggers before their shrine:
   "Is there never a respite, no release?
We who have suffered look for a sign.
   Is there never a hope for a lasting peace?
We who have known it all before:
   The madness, agony, needless pain --
We who once battled to end all war --
   Was it all in vain? Was it all in vain?"

First published in The Herald, 11 November 1935

[Today is Remembrance Day.]

Poem: Flirtation by Gilrooney (R.J. Cassidy)

So you'd rather take your book
To some peaceful, shady nook,
   Hapless churl!
O, but I would rather be
In the joyful company
   Of a girl.

I have crammed my aching head
With an occult language dead;
   Studied hard
All the star-worlds up above,
Careless of a woman's love
   Or regard.

I have studied -- and for what?
Ah, for nothing worth a jot,
   Save to find
That I drifted on and out
To the realms of Dread and Doubt,
   From mankind.

So, put your books away,
Aye, for ever from to-day,
   Classic churl;
And bide a while with me
In the sweet society
   Of a girl.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 July 1904

Poem: Galloping Horses by C.J. Dennis

Oh, this is the week when no rhymster may rhyme
On the joy of the bush or the ills of the time,
   Nor pour out his soul in delectable rhythm
   Of women and wine and the lure they have with 'em,
Nor pen philosophic if foolish discourses,
Because of the fury of galloping horses.

Galloping, galloping thro' the refrain --
The lure and the lilt of it beat on the brain.
   Strive as you may for Arcadian Themes,
   The silks and the saddles will weave thro' your dreams.
Surging, and urging the visions aside
For a lyrical lay of equestrian pride,
   For the roar of the race and the call of the courses,
   And galloping, galloping, galloping horses.

This is the week for the apotheosis
Of Horse in his glory, from tail to proboscis.
   That curious quadrupled, proud and aloof,
   That holds all the land under thrall of his hoof.
All creeds and conditions, all factions and forces,
All, all must give way to the galloping horses.

Galloping, galloping -- sinner and saint
March to the metre, releasing restraint.
   If it isn't the Cup it's the Oaks or the Steeple
   That wraps in its magic the minds of the people.
Whether they seek it for profit or pleasure,
They all, willy-nilly, must dance to the measure.
   The mood of the moment in all men endorses
   The glamorous game and the galloping horses --
Galloping horses -- jockeys and courses --
They gallop, we gallop with galloping horses.

Originally published in The Herald, 5 November 1932
[Today is Melbourne Cup Day.]

Poem: How to Write an Australian Novel by Ironbark (Part 2)

   Very aggravating features
   Have these brain-created creatures,
And it's hard to make 'em do the things they ought;
   And to keep 'em in their places,
   And to make 'em show their paces,
Takes a (blanky) lot of patience and of thought.

   Every novelist discovers
   That the management of lovers
Is as hard as breaking milkers to the bail;
   And it's worse than tailin' "weaners,"
   And controlling their demeanors,
To conduct a pair of lovers through a tale.

   When you've made each lover spoony
   On the other, and as loony
As a self-respectin' lover ought to be,
   Why, as author, your vocation
   Is to force a declaration
Of their feelin's for each other -- do you see?

   You can do this at your leisure,
   At your sovereign will and pleasure,
And by any sort of methods you may know;
   Make him ill, and let her nurse him --
   Make her fat old father curse him,
Till the maiden ups and gives away the show.

   Better still, and much more thrilling,
   Set the gallant hero killing,
In her presence, twenty foot of carpet snake;
   Let the "light of battle" glitter
   While he's jabbing at the critter
In a most convincing manner with a stake.

   While the hero's eyes are gleaming
   With the "battle-light," and beaming,
While his raiment with the slaughtered serpent reeks,
   In hysterics growing bolder,
   She should flop upon his shoulder,
In an ecstasy of gratitude and squeaks.

   After that it's easy sailing
   For your goose-quill -- not entailing
Any struggle of an energetic sort;
   While the maiden's mood is melting,
   And while Cupid's drafts are pelting,
You can drag your post-hole digger into port.

   When his luck is just beginning,
   And while Fortune's wheel is spinning,
You can give it half a dozen extra twirls;
   Though despised and under-rated,
   You can prove the bloke's related
To a barrow-load or marquises and earls.

   In the few concluding pages
   Of the novel's later stages
Get the squatter in the clutches of the Bank;
   Have him rescued in the sequel
   By the man who's now his equal --
That's the bloke who sunk his post-holes and his tank.

   Rope the man and maid together,
   And come in out of the weather;
Take a rest, and light your pipe, and ring the bell;
   Give your readers love and passion,
   And, as moral ain't the fashion,
Why, the less you preach, the more your book will sell.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 October 1906

Poem: How to Write an Australian Novel by Ironbark (Part 1)

You must have a squatter's daughter,
   And a hero who has caught her
In the clutches of his passion like a vice;
   You must have a fat old squatter,
   And must make him make things hotter
For the hero than the hero thinks is nice.

   And the maiden must be lovely,
   And the hero pick-and-shovelly --
Just at present -- but a cultured kind of bloke,
   With a college education,
   Who has hoofed it to the station,
And is sinking tanks and post-holes for a joke.

   You must bring the two together
   With remarks about the weather;
Let her watch him while he shovels out the dirt,
   'Till she thinks the post-hole digger
   A romantic kind of figger --
Bar the patches on his moleskins and his shirt.

   You may call the maiden Dora,
   And must work the native flora
And the fauna in your tale for all they're worth;
   And a suitable location
   For her fat old father's station
May be anywhere 'twixt Narrabri and Perth.

   You must intersperse the wattle,
   And the tree they call the "bottle" --
You must weave 'em in the fabric of your tale --
   Better have the "tall yapunyah,"
   And some salt-bush, and a "gunyah,"
And a cove called Dick to drive the local mail.

   As the story waxes duller,
   Introduce some "local color,"
Which is usually understood to be
   Almost anything Australian,
   From a bleary-eyed Baccanalian
In a "shanty" to a parrot on a tree.

   Have some shearers playin' "ante" --
   That is poker -- in a shanty,
And some pictures, if they burst you with expense:
   Hire a drawin' of the station,
   And another illustration
Of a carcase, with a crow upon a fence.

   For -- to be a bit digressive --
   There is nothing so expressive
Of the sadness of our solitudes immense,
   Or so tenderly appealing
   To our sympathy and feeling
As a carcase, and a crow upon a fence.

   There's a stage in novel making
   ('Spite of all the care you're taking),
When you get your story tangled in a knot,
   And you lack the inspiration
   To create a situation
For the clear elucidation of your plot.

   Then your characters get cranky,
   And to stop their hanky-panky
Takes the patience of a literary Job;
   And to analyse their notions,
   And their feelin's and emotions,
You must pick their souls to pieces with a probe.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 October 1906

[The second half of this poem will be published next week.]

Poem: The Bushman's Book by Will Ogilvie

All roughly bound together
   The red-brown pages lie
In red sirroco leather
   With scored lines to the sky:
The Western suns have burned them,
   The desert winds dog's-eared,
And winter rains have turned them
   With wanton hands and weird!

They flutter, torn and lonely,
   Far out, like lost brown birds;
The Western stockmen only
   Can spell their wondrous words;
And gifted souls and sages
   May gather round and look,
They cannot read the pages
   That fill the Bushman's Book!

But open, night and day-time,
   It spreads with witching art
A picture-book of playtime
   To hold the Bushman's heart,
And learnèd in the lore of it,
   And lessoned in its signs,
He reads the scroll, and more of it,
   That lies between the lines.

He sees the well-filled purses,
   From Abbot-tracks like wires,
And hears the deep-drawn curses
   That dog the four-inch tyres!
He knows the busy super
   By worn hoofs flat as plates,
And tracks the mounted tooper
   By shod hoofs at the gates!

He knows the tracks unsteady,
   Of riders "on the bust,"
Of nags "knocked up already"
   By toes that drag the dust;
The "split" hoofs and the "quartered,"
   He'll show you on the spot,
And brumbies that have watered,
   And brumbies that have not!

So, North and West o' westward,
   Nor'-West and North again,
The Bush Book is the best word
   Among the Western men;
They find her lines and hail them,
   And read with trusting eyes:
They know if old mates fail them.
   The Bush Book never lies!

First published in The Bulletin, 14 December 1905

Poem: On a Wet Night by L.M.D. (Dugald McLaghlan)

Crouched by the fire in the grate,
   Cooped in the prison of Home to-night,
Everything ordered with air sedate,
   Chair and books and a shaded light.

Dreaming, reflectively, chin in hand,
   Swirling of wind and of rain outside,
Back I am swagging it, out to the land
   Where the sky is clear and the plains are wide.

Long grey slopes to the purple rise,
   Winding tracks through the mulga scrub,
Station roofs gleaming their long good-byes,
   Welcoming light in a wayside pub.

My lamp I'd give for the rushlight dip
   That shook like a drunk just off the bend;
My home for the chance of a westward trip
   With the drunken mate who called me friend.

The books I read for the books I made
   (In fancy only) I'd freely give,
The cosy room for the boulder shade,
   The Government "screw" for the gambling "div."

Freedom to do as you d--n well please,
   Go to the dogs with a fizz and a hiss,
Drink up the flagon of life to the lees --
   That is the star on a night like this.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 March 1904

Poem: Monday Morning by C.J. Dennis

I often pause to contemplate
The sadly barren mental state
Of persons whom it is my fate
   To meet on Monday morning.
They should be, after Sunday's rest,
Alert, clear-minded, full of zest;
But everywhere they are oppressed,
   Bad-tempered, dull and yawning.

But I? I'm always strangely bright,
Primed with ideas and full of fight,
With brain alert and eye alight
   With rare exhilaration:
All due, no doubt to my wise bent
To do no thing I should repent,
And to a Sunday wisely spent
   In pious contemplation.

I do not wish to set myself
Upon some loft moral shelf
And treat my brother man, poor elf,
   To haughty patronising.
And yet I feel I have to say
That I regard the laggard way
That men approach their work this day
   As utterly surprising.

Oh, I could write, this gladsome morn,
With vigor of a man new-born
Rare verses, full of lilting scorn
   About my fellow's failings;
Or I could write on politics
And heave a hundred verbal bricks,
Using the rhymster's thousand tricks
   In homilies and railings.

But I resist; for, being kind
I know that human nature's blind
And weak and frail; I have no mind
   To call down envious curses.
And, tho' I tremble on the verge,
I manfully resist the urge,
And sing, where I might shout and splurge,
   These rather halting verses.

First published in The Herald, 28 April 1930

Poem: In a Book-Shop by Zora Cross