Monody on the Foundering of the Quetta by Arthur A. D. Bayldon

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Gone! gone! gone! and the land is plunged in gloom:
      A hidden rock, a rending shock;
      A sudden cry that thrilled the sky;
      One fond last look --- then suddenly
         Weltering in their watery tomb.
      How hard it seemed to die
      With the moonlit shore close by,
         Where the waves disowned their boom,
      And wooed the bare beach silently;
         A scene to mock them in their doom.
      It is a thought to make one pray;
      Friends and strangers, wives and mothers,
      Widows, fathers, sisters, brothers,
      In three minutes swept away ---
               Oh, where are they?

Ye trembling winds, struck dumb with awe;
   Thou ashen moon, that hidst thy trembling head,
      At the dreadful scene ye saw!     
And thou, oh proud, sad, stern, relentless sea --
But thy great language is unknown to me ---
               Whither whither have they fled?

Ye answer not, for ye are not eternal:
   Now Science, with her meting line and rod,         
Speaks grimly: " Death is the end of life; lo! they are drowned;"
But through my soul, that throbs with thoughts supernal,
Thrills a still small voice without sound:
              "How are they dead?
   When death is life, and life is truth, and truth is God!
               Thither they have fled."

First published in The Queenslander, 22 March 1890

Author: Arthur Albert Dawson Bayldon (1865-1958) was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, and arrived in Australia in 1889.  He had already traveled widely in Europe and America by this time and had also published two volumes of verse. He began his working life in Australia as a journalist but took on a number of occupations as he moved from Brisbane to Orange, New South Wales, and then to Sydney.  He died there in 1958.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Old Qld Poetry

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 22, 2011 8:41 AM.

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