April 2011 Archives

Schoolgirls Hastening by John Shaw Neilson

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Fear it has faded and the night:
  The bells all peal the hour of nine:
The schoolgirls hastening through the light
  Touch the unknowable Divine.

What leavening in my heart would bide!
   Full dreams a thousand deep are there:
All luminants succumb beside
   The unbound melody of hair.

Joy the long timorous takes the flute:
   Valiant with colour songs are born:
Love the impatient absolute
   Lives as a Saviour in the mom.

Get thou behind me Shadow-Death!
   Oh ye Eternities delay!
Morning is with me and the breath
   Of schoolgirls hastening down the way.

First published in The Bookfellow, 30 April 1922;
and then later in
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson edited by R. H. Croll, 1934;
A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright, 1956;
Poems by John Shaw Neilson, 1964;
Australian Letters, 4 September 1964;
Australian Kaleidoscope edited by Barbara Ker Wilson, 1968;
The Vital Decade: Ten Years of Australian Art and Letters edited by Geoffrey Dutton, 1968;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Les Murray, 1986;
Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry edited by Les Murray, 1986;
Australian Poetry in the Twentieth Century edited by Robert Gray and Geoffrey Lehmann, 1991;
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991;
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
Hell and After: Four Early English-Language Poets of Australia edited by Les Murray, 2005; and
The Puncher & Wattman Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Perdita by James Hebblethwaite

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The sea-coast of Bohemia
   Is pleasant to the view
When singing larks spring from the grass
   To fade into the blue;
And all the hawthorn hedges break
   In wreaths of purest snow,
And yellow daffodils are out,
   And roses half in blow.

The sea-coast of Bohemia
   Is sad as sad can be,
The prince has ta'en our flower of maids    
   Across the violet sea;    
Our Perdita has gone with him,    
   No more we dance the round    
Upon the green in joyous play,
   Or wake the tabor's sound.    
The sea-coast of Bohemia   
   Has many wonders seen,   
The shepherd lass wed with a king,   
   The shepherd with a queen;
But such a wonder as my love   
   Was never seen before --   
It is my joy and sorrow now   
   To love her evermore.   
The sea-coast of Bohemia
   Is haunted by a light   
Of memory of lady's eyes,   
   And fame of gallant knight;   
The princes seek its charmèd strand,   
   But ah! it was our knell
When o'er the sea our Perdita   
   Went with young Florizel.   
The sea-coast of Bohemia   
   Is not my resting-place,   
For with her waned from out the day
   A beauty and a grace:   
O, had I kissed her on the lips   
   I would no longer weep,   
But live by that until the day   
   I fall to shade and sleep.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 April 1899;
and then later in
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918; and
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927.

Author: James Hebblethwaite (1857-1921) was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, and arrived in Australia in 1890 to recover from a bout of ill-health. He taught in various Tasmanian schools before entering the Anglican ministry. He died in Hobart in 1921.

Author reference sites:
Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Bibliography

See also.

A Song of Seasons by A. M. Bowyer-Rosman

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Green and gold on all the land, clouds that fly and follow;
A stray wind, a gay wind that sings in every tree;
Blossomed boughs on every hill, and fern in every hollow,
Sweet of all the Spring-tide, and love for you and me.

Sunny sheen and scent of rose and many a perfumed garland,
A new sky, a blue sky that stretches to the sea;
Deep adown the forest ways a bird calls from a far-land --
Summer's clasp on all the earth, and love for you and me.

Miles of yellow harvest, fruit a-ripe for falling;
A glad song, a mad song of vintagers in glee;
Autumn bringeth treasure trove -- a tiny voice a-calling,
Joy that nestles in your arms, and bliss for you and me.

Cloudy spectres on the hills, rain upon the heather,
A cold Wind, a bold Wind that moans at our roof-tree;
Heap the blazing logs, sweetheart, and laugh at stormy weather --
Winter bringeth nothing but content to you and me.

First published in The Bulletin, 28 April 1904

Alice Matilda Bowyer Rosman (1857-1931) was born in North Adelaide, South Australia, and lived at Kapunda in South Australia until she was 40. After a few years in Adelaide Alice Rosman moved to London where she lived until her death in 1931.

Author reference site:

New Country by Mary Hannay Foott

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Conde had come with us all the way --
   Eight hundred miles -- but the fortnight's rest
Made him fresh as a youngster, the sturdy bay!
   And Lurline was looking her very best.

Weary and footsore, the cattle strayed
   'Mid the silvery saltbush well content;
Where the creeks lay cool 'neath the gidya's shade
   The stock-horses clustered, travel-spent.

In the bright spring morning we left them all --
   Camp, and cattle, and white, and black --
And rode for the Range's westward fall,
   Where the dingo's trail was the only track.

Slow through the clay-pans, wet to the knee,
   With the cane-grass rustling overhead;
Swift o'er the plains with never a tree;
   Up the cliffs by a torrent's bed.

Bridle on arm for a mile or more
   We toiled, ere we reached Bindanna's verge
And saw -- as one sees a far-off shore --
   The blue hills bounding the forest surge.

An ocean of trees, by the west wind stirred,
   Rolled, ever rolled, to the great cliff's base;
And its sound like the noise of waves was heard
   'Mid the rocks and the caves of that lonely place.

     .    .    .    .    .

We recked not of wealth in stream or soil
   As we heard on the heights the breezes sing;
We felt no longer our travel-toil;
   We feared no more what the years might bring.

First published in The Bookfellow, 27 April 1899;
and later in
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

Australian Poets #16 - David McKee Wright

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David McKee Wright (1869-1928)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Man from Snowy River by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

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There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stockhorse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up -
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at least -
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry - just the sort that won't say die -
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, "That horse will never do
For a long a tiring gallop - lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you."
So he waited sad and wistful - only Clancy stood his friend -
"I think we ought to let him come," he said;
"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."

So he went - they found the horses by the big mimosa clump -
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders, "Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills."

So Clancy rode to wheel them - he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, "We may bid the mob good day,
No man can hold them down the other side."

When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat -
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around The Overflow the reed beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 April 1890, and in the same magazine on 1 February 1950 an 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson, 1895;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Banjo Paterson's Horses: The Man from Snowy Rover, Father Riley's Horse, Story of Mongrel Grey by A.B. Paterson, 1970;
The Penguin Book of Australian Poetry edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
Australia Poems in Perspective: A Collection of Poems and Critical Commentaries edited by P.K. Elkin, 1978;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
The Collected Verse of A.B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1982;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
Singer of the Bush, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson: Complete Works 1885-1900 compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1983;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes and Brian McFarlane, 1984;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
The Banjo's Best-Loved Poems edited by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1989;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1990;
A Treasury of Bush Verse edited by G. A. Wilkes, 1991;
A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson: Bush Ballads, Poems, Stories and Journalism edited by Clement Semmler, 1992;
Selected Poems: A. B. Paterson compiled by Les Murray, 1992;
The Advertiser, 27 January 1992;
The Collected Verse of Banjo Paterson edited by Clement Semmler, 1993;
Banjo Paterson: His Poetry and Prose compiled by Richard Hall, 1993;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993;
The Age, 16 October 1995;
The Australian, 17 October 1995;
An Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ch'oe Chin-yong and Cynthia Van Den Driessen, 1995;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1996;
The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English edited by John Thieme, 1996;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson  edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007;
The Bush Poems of A. B.(Banjo) Paterson by A.B.Paterson, 2008;
The Book of Australian Popular Rhymed Verse: A Classic Collection of Entertaining and Recitable Poems and Verse: From Henry Lawson to Barry Humphries edited by Jim Haynes, 2008;
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 2009; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

A Digger to His Son (Anzac 1938) by C. J. Dennis

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Yes, son; we march again in the old formation,   
   We queer old buffers, some grown grey and bent.
So strangely prone to solemn veneration,
   So wed to sentiment
For a past cause, and an old creed, now half hidden,
   And lost mates, long, long ago gone West,
And olden memories that rise, unbidden   
   And will not rest.

We march for memory, old dreams, untarnished   
   By time's march, or the tale of a changing earth ---     
A bitter tale, with many a strange herb garnished
   Since nationhood found birth.
For the years go, and times change, and the fashions   
   In thoughts of men and dreams they once held dear;
And other dawns make other hopes and passions   
   And a new-found fear.

And you, my son. You watch the old men marching,     
   Less briskly now to the blare of a martial band,
Thro' peaceful streets with a peaceful sky o'er-arching,
   And but half understand
The vague urge that comes, part hope, part warning,
   With a clamorous kinship not to be denied,   
That wakes in you upon this Anzac morning
   Vicarious pride.

I have watched you, son, as you grew and I have pondered ---   
   Flesh of my flesh, waxing in mind and thew ---
Too foolishly, mayhap, my hope has wandered
   To a happier day for you,
When man's mind in a new world, forsaking
   The crazy quest that Might may ne'er attain,
Seeks worthier gifts that earth holds for the taking.
   Have I hoped in vain?

And I have dreamed, as a foolish man falls dreaming ---     
   As a man must dream who knows the filth of war ---       
That all those horrors, born of envious scheming,     
   Might foul the earth no more.   
Oh, the brave young and the bright hope in their faces!   
   I would not have these know what I have known,           
Of harvests sprung from seeds of dread disgraces               
   Past men have sown.     

So had we dreamed who marched, in the days long vanished,     
   To wage a war that was to make an end   
To all earth's wars, that enmity be banished   
   And Man be all men's friend.   
Then peace came; but a strange peace, fearing, failing,   
   A savage peace, as ruthless as the gun,   
Till all they paid who fell seemed unavailing   
   For you, my son.     

I have watched you grow, hoping that life might shield you,   
   Seen your strength bloom, and prayed, as still I pray,   
That, even yet, some turn of fate might yield you   
   Peace unto your last day.     
But doubt grows, and the drums call. He who hearkens,   
   Out of a wisdom grimly gained of yore,   
Marks portents all too plain, as broad skies darken     
   With clouds of war.   

Yes, son; we march again; but our strength is going.   
   For the strongest tree grows old and soon must fall;   
But the brave young sapling, ever waxing, growing,   
   Preserves the forest wall.   
And a new hope, and a new pride, and a glory   
   Comes to uplift them who must soon be gone,   
Knowing that, while stout sons take up the story,       
   Anzac lives on.    

First published in The Herald,
The Courier-Mail, 25 April 1938;
and later in
Random Verse, edited by Margaret Herron, 1952.

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Anzac Eve by C. J. Dennis

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   For some, it was the last sun that should set,
      For many, their last glimpse of fecund day --
A splendid sun, dipping, reluctant yet,
      Into blue water west of Mudros Bay;
And they -- new burnished coin to squander free
   In "that red purchase" on Gallipoli.

   They guessed not; or, half guessing, did not reck
      That for the doomed no other sun should rise
   But to reveal the still forms that would fleck
      The Anzac Beach; staring with lifeless eyes
   Where carrier pigeons, white against the blue,
   Bore the dread tale for other skies they knew.

   They sang, they laughed; and laughing cursed again
      The long monotony of Mudros Bay.
Like hounds released, the eager shouting men
   Crowded the decks and whiled the time away
At cards; half fearing what they most desired
   Might be denied them yet; and no shot fired.

   And, as that sun set in the azure vast,
      Who counted one day more or one day less?
   How many deemed it was for them the last
      To light a world of blood and bitterness?
   Yet bitterness for many a heart lay there
   When next the sun blazed over Sari Bair.

First published in The Herald, 24 April 1930

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Mulligan's Shanty by W. T. Goodge

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   Things is just the same as ever
   On the outer Never-Never,
And you look to find the stock of liquor scanty,
   But we found things worse than ordin'ry,
   And in fact a bit extraordin'ry,
When myself and Bill the Pinker struck the shanty.
      "Shanty,"  says you. "What shanty?"
      Why, Mulligan's shanty!

   I says "Whisky"; Bill says "Brandy";
   But there wasn't either handy,
For the boss was out of liquor in that line.
   "Well, I'll try a rum," says Billy.
   "Got no rum," he answers, chilly,
"But I'll recommend a decent drop o' tine."
      "Tine?" says Bill; "what tine?"
      "Why, turpentine!"

   "Blow me blue!" says Bill the Pinker,
   "Can't yer give us a deep-sinker?
Ain't yer got a cask o' beer behind the screen?"
   Bill was getting pretty cranky,
   But there wasn't any swankey.
Says the landlord, "Why not try a drop o' sene?"
      "Sene?" says Bill; "what sene?"
      "Why, kerosene!"

   Well, we wouldn't spend a tanner,
   But the boss's pleasant manner
All our cursing couldn't easily demolish.
   Says he, "Strike me perpendic'lar
   But you beggars are partic'lar,
Why, the squatter in the parlor's drinking polish!"
      "Polish?" says Bill, "what polish?"
      "Why, furniture-polish!"

First published in The Bulletin, 23 April 1898 , and then in the same magazine on 17 May 1933, and 29 January 1980;
and later in
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987; and
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002.

Author: William Thomas Goodge (1862-1909) was born in Middlesex, England and arrived in Australia in 1882: he had jumped ship after serving as a ship-steward.  He spent the next decade in outback New South Wales working as a journalist and writer of verse before becoming editor and then part-owner of the Orange Leader. He eventually moved to Sydney where he wrote a weekly column for the Sydney Truth.  He died in North Sydney in 1909.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

The Bush Tracks of Australia by Jean F. Gillespie

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The bush tracks of Australia
   Run, dusty, through the day,
And whisper to the gum trees
   That guard their sun-kissed way.
They chatter with the breezes,
   And dance among the flowers;
And send their love songs ringing
   Through perfume-laden hours.

The bush tracks of Australia
   Run westward from the sea;
For they love the unbound bushland,
   That stretches wide and free.
They clamber to the hilltops,
   And wave at skies of blue;
And where the kookaburras laugh,
   You'll hear them laughing, too.

Oh, the bush tracks of Australia
   Go rambling through my heart;
They wave across the ocean,
   And smile when moonbeams dart.
They beckon in my dreaming,
   And no matter where I roam;
Their voices ever follow me.
   And call, "Come home, come home."

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 1933

Author: nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Beyond the Barrier by Will H. Ogilvie

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Are you tired of the South Land, comrade
   The smoke and the city's din,
And the roar of the chiding ocean
   When the sobbing tide comes in?
Would you ride to the northward, rather,
   To the skirmish-posts of earth,
Where the darkest dust-storms gather
   And the wildest floods have birth?
Are you tired of the revel, comrade,
   The life of folly and wine
With its one half lived in the shadow
   And one half lived in shine?
Are you tired of the poison glasses,
   The lawless love and the kiss,
Out East where the brown range passes
   Do you hope for dearer than this --
Where the sweetest maid that ever knew
   Love's bliss and parting's pain
Is waiting open-armed for you
   Beyond the Barrier Chain?
Let us steer to the northward, comrade,
   To the Bush, with her witching spells,
The sun-bright days and the camp-fire blaze
   And the chime of the bullock-bell--
Down the long, long leagues behind us
   The rain shall cover our track,
And the dust of the North shall blind us
   Or ever we follow it back,
Away from the old friends, comrade,
   The grasp of the strong, brown hand,
The love and the life and the laughter
   That brighten the brave North Land --
So long as the sunlight fills it,
   So long as the red stars shine,
So long as the Master wills it
   The North is your home and mine.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 April 1894;
and later in
Fair Girls and Gray Horses: With Other Verses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958; and
Breaker's Mate: Will Ogilvie in Australia edited by John Meredith, 1996.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Coachman's Yarn by E. J. Brady

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This is a tale that the coachman told,
As he flicked the flies from Marigold
And flattered and fondled Pharaoh.
The sun swung low in the western skies;
Out on a plain, just over a rise,
   Stood Nimitybell, on Monaro;
Cold as charity, cold as Hell,
Bleak, bare, barren Nimitybell --
   Nimitybell on Monaro.

"Now this 'ere 'appened in eighty-three,
The coldest winter ever we see;
Strewth, it was cold, as cold as could be
   Out 'ere on Monaro:
It froze the blankets, it froze the fleas,
It froze the sap in the blinkin' trees.
I made a grindstone out of cheese,
   Right 'ere in Monaro!

"Freezin' an' snowin' -- ask the old hands
They seen, they knows, an' they understand
The ploughs was froze, and the cattle brands,
   Down 'ere in Monaro:
It froze our fingers and froze our toes:
I seen a passenger's breath so froze
Icicles 'ung from 'is bloomin' nose
   Long as the tail on Pharaoh!

"I ketched a curlew down by the creek;
His feet was froze to his blessed beak;
'E stayed like that for over a week --
   That's cold on Monaro.
Why, even the air got froze that tight
You'd 'ear the awfullest sounds at night,
When things was put to a fire or light,
   Out 'ere on Monaro.

"For the sounds was froze. At Haydon's Bog
A cove 'e crosscut a big back-log,
An' carted 'er 'ome ('e wants to jog --
   Stiddy, go stiddy there, Pharaoh!).
As soon as his log begins to thaw
They 'ears the sound of the crosscut saw
A-thawin' out. Yes, his name was Law.
   Old hands, them Laws, on Monaro.

"The second week of this 'ere cold snap
I'm drivin' the coach. A Sydney chap,
'E strikes this part o' the bloomin' map,
   A new hand 'ere on Monaro:
'Is name or game I never heard tell,
But 'e gets of at Nimitybell;
Blowin' like Bluey, freezin' like 'ell,
   At Nimitybell on Monaro.

"The drinks was froze, o' course, in the bar:
They breaks a bottle of old Three Star,
An' the barman sezs, 'Now, there y' are,
   You can't beat that for Monaro!'
The stranger bloke, 'e was tall an' thin,
Sez 'Strike me blue, but I think you win;
We'll 'ave another an' I'll turn in --
   It's blitherin' cold on Monaro.'

"'E borrowed a book an' went to bed
To read awhile, so the missus said,
By the candle-light. 'E must ha' read
   (These nights is long on Monaro)
Past closin' time. Then 'e starts an' blows
The candle out: but the wick 'ad froze!
Leastways, that's what folks round 'ere suppose
   Old hands as lived on Monaro.

"So bein' tired, an' a stranger, new
To these mountain ways, they think he threw
'Is coat on the wick; an' maybe, too,
   Any odd clothes 'e'd to spare. Oh,
This ain't no fairy, an' don't you fret!
Next day came warmer, an' set in wet --
There's some out 'ere as can mind it yet,
   The real old 'ands on Monaro.

"The wick must ha' thawed. The fire began
At breakfast time. The neighbors all ran
To save the pub`.....an' forgot the man
   (Stiddy, go stiddy there, mare-oh).
The pub was burned to the blanky ground;
'Is buttons was all they ever found.
The blinkin' cow, 'e owed me a pound --
   From Cooma his blinkin' fare, oh!

"That ain't no fairy, not what I've told;
l'm gettin' shaky an' growin' old,
An' I hope I never again see cold,
   Like that down 'ere 'on Monaro!"

He drives his horses, he drives them well,
And this is the tale he loves to tell
Nearing the town of Nimitybell,
   Nimitybell on Monaro.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 April 1922;
and later in
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Illustrated History of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007; and
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Australian Poets #15 - Douglas B. W. Sladen

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Douglas B. W. Sladen (1856-1947)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.
In prison cell I sadly sit,
   A d__d crest-fallen chappie!
And own to you I feel a bit --
   A little bit -- unhappy!

It really ain't the place nor time
   To reel off rhyming diction -
But yet we'll write a final rhyme
   Whilst waiting cru-ci-fixion!

No matter what "end" they decide --
   Quick-lime or "b'iling ile," sir?
We'll do our best when crucified
   To finish off in style, sir!

But we bequeath a parting tip
   For sound advice of such men,
Who come across in transport ship
   To polish off the Dutchmen!

If you encounter any Boers
   You really must not loot 'em!
And if you wish to leave these shores,
   For pity's sake, DON'T SHOOT 'EM!!

And if you'd earn a D.S.O.,
   Why every British sinner
Should know the proper way to go

Let's toss a bumper down our throat, -
   Before we pass to Heaven,
And toast: "The trim-set petticoat
   We leave behind in Devon."

First published in The Bulletin, 19 April 1902, and again in the same magazine on 9 June 1973;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant : His 'Ventures and Verses edited by Frank Renar, 1902;
Breaker Morant: A Play in Two Acts by Kenneth Ross, 1979;
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980;
Clubbing of the Gunfire: 101 Australian War Poems edited by Chris Wallace-Crabb and peter Pierce, 1984;
Fighting Words: Australian War Writing edited by Carl Harrison-Ford, 1986;
The Penguin Book of Australian Satirical Verse edited by Philip Neilsen, 1986;
The Sting in the Wattle: Australian Satirical Verse edited by Philip Neilsen, 1993;
Sunlines: An Anthology of Poetry to Celebrate Australia's Harmony in Diversity edited by Anne Fairbarin, 2002; and
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004.

Note: At its end the manuscript is described - The Last Rhyme and Testament of Tony Lumpkin

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Centennial. "Sydney Morning Herald", 1831-1931 by Lance Fallaw

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Tamed the shy son and builded many a street:
Comes now a fuller life -- the printed sheet.

   What news, what news in Sydney town?
      What shipping in Port Jackson lies?
   Staid topics must the pen set down
      For its young enterprise.
         Yet in such day-spun stuff
         The searcher finds enough
To garb again the 'thirties and their mode:
         The days of Goulburn's birth,
         The springing out of earth
Of towns along Macquarie's westward road.
         But most through Sydney Heads
         Draw traffic's stretching threads;
What brig from Hobart comes? What hopes attend
         Port Phillip's village growth?
         Are Hunter's valleys loth
To crown the settler's care with fruitful end?
         Passing the southern bounds,
         A Governor rides the rounds,
Sir Richard counts the flocks of Twofold Bay.
         While under Flagstaff Hill,
         The infant capital still
Nestles and grows -- 'tis writ from day to day.
Read and remark; hear the old Brickfield's din,
And see the coaches post to Richmond's Black Horse Inn.

Gold in the Austral soil! Her hidden veins
Reflect the golden wonder of her plains.

   How the crowded columns told the tidings then!
   Where gold grows the world goes -- the world of zestful men
   Through the range of ramparts passed the trudging train
   Bee-like swarm of "rushes" o'er the Bathurst plain.
   Townsmen left the counter, sailors left the ship,
   Many a crewless vessel missed its outward trip.
   Turon and the Ophir -- see the names in print,
   All the vanished diggings, each a season's mint.
   Still the main stream gathers, now at Lambing Flat,
   Now across the Murray, bound for Ballarat.
   Combing countless gullies goes adventure's band;
   Canvastown for vanguards, then the cities stand.
   Gold with guards for escort making for the port,
   Shout and shot in lonely spot, the coach a running fort,
   Who shall get and squander? Who shall grasp and hold
   Turn the page and con the age, the age that's writ in gold.
Shrills the far trump whose breath the war-lords blow.
Again and yet again the sons shall go.

         First to Sudan
The legion sped, the tale of arms began.
         Hint of a day
When round Pretoria closed the larger fray.
         O distant fields,
How faint an echo now their memory yields!
         Yet once they stood
Starred on our maps with dire solicitude,
         And wounding came
The record of their dead in letters of flame.
         Not then was seen
The opening edge of Europe's red ravine,
         Nor guessed the time
Of earth and wave on fire for Prussia's crime.
         Ah! scant their need--
Who saw the apocalyptic years -- to read
         On visible leaf
The story of the grandeur and the grief.
         Is it not stamped
Along the trench-line where the Anzacs camped,
         And blown o'er sea
By winds that croon on grey Gallipoli?

Yet, by no tumults shook, secure of aim
The States are joined-a Nation finds its name.

   Speak, chronicles of those who wrought--
      Those who foresaw, past hesitant eyes,
      The federated fabric rise,
         A chiselled thought.
   Up-looking brows! What if the feet
      Stumbled at many a wayside stone?
      Shall not the pillared pile atone
         With arch complete?
   Mark the great names, the elder race:
      A Wentworth's earlier dreams fulfilled,
      A Parkes -- let those who lived to build
         Keep these a place.
   Who falters now? Shall factions rude
      Dissolve the woven bonds of peace,
      A people's shining saga cease
         In tribal feud?
   Bid the clear creed find trumpet's throat,
      Write the large texts constraining doom,
      And let to-morrow's theme resume
         The epic note.

Still pours the Press its page, and still men say.
"What news, what news in Sydney town to-day?"

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 1931

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Mountain Moonlight by S. Elliott Napier

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The weary sun stoops westward to a bed
Made glorious for his coming; and the clouds,
All flush'd with pride, close-curtain him around.
There comes a sigh, as from a giant's breast--
A whispered parting to the dying day--
And all the world is waiting breathlessly.
High up above the sudden tree-clad gorge,
Half-hidden, now, beneath a veil of haze,
I watch the shadow of the coming Night
Sweep o'er the crowded maze of mountain tops,
Which crouch beneath it like a cluster'd brood
Stiffen'd in terror of a passing hawk.
The darkness deepens, and a few first stars
Who boldly note the absence of their lord
Shine out the message to a mighty host
Who follow shyly, till the whole vast vault
Is litter'd with their bright battalions.
And now the moon, holding her gleaming lamp,
Climbs up the azure steeps and puts to rout
The nearer and the lesser lights, who hide
Before the searching splendour of her beams.
O, witchery and wonder of the Night!
O, majesty and magic of the Moon,
The trees put on a livery of gold,
The silent hills are eloquent with light
And all the Earth is robed with grammarye.
This is the faery hour; and this the place
Where all the webs of mystery are spun,
Where Romance walks abroad and dreams come true.
I hear the horns of Oberon, and watch
The coming of Titania and her train;
Bacchantes, purple-mouth'd, with loose-flung hair,
Chase old Silenus and his panting crew,
While Goat-Foot passes, piping to his fauns.
Swift Paculet and Puck go leering by,
And Proserpine -- her lilies all restored--
Takes hand with Perdlta; and there I see
The Little People dancing in the fern.
All these and all their radiant kin are here
And walk with me to-night beneath the moon;
And as the perfum'd hours wend on their way
Their soft, mysterious, myriad voices blend
In sighs not sad, in laughter link'd with tears,
In whisper'd shy confessions, and in song.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 April 1926

Author: Sydney Elliott Napier (1870-1940) was born in Sydney, New South Wales, and was educated at Sydney University where he trained as a solicitor.  He served with the AIF during World War I and began work as a freelance journalist on his return to Australia. He died in Chatswood, New South Wales, in 1940.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Absence by M. Burkinshaw (Mabel Forrest)

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I think I had forgotten you, sweetheart,
   Forgotten half my life a little while,
   Forgotten all the treasure of your smile,
Remembering only that we were apart,

That here my life thread idly runs along
   While yours is being woven over there
   Alone --- each has the daily load to bear,
And teach the faltering spirit to be strong.

But, in a moment, all came back again ---
   I seemed to see the day when last we met,
The range where rosy lights were lingering yet,
And all the wind-swept width of grassy plain.

What was it brought it back to me, sweetheart?
   The sadden sad remembering of your smile.
   I had forgotten you a little while;
The world is wide, and we so far apart!

First published in The Queenslander, 16 April 1898

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Stars in the Sea by Roderic Quinn

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I took a boat on a starry night
   And went for a row on the water,
And she danced like a child on her wake of light,
   And bowed where the ripples caught her.

I vowed as I rowed on the velvet blue
   Through the night and the starry splendour;
To woo and sue a maiden I knew
   Till she bent to my pleadings tender.

My painted boat she was light and glad,
   And gladder my heart with wishing,
And I came in time to a little lad
   Who stood on the rocks a-fishing.

I said "Ahoy!" and he said "Ahoy!"
   And I asked how the fish were biting --
"And what are you trying to catch, my boy,
   Bream, silver and red -- or whiting?"

"Neither," he answered; "the seaweed mars
   My line, and the sharp shells under --
I am trying my luck with those great, big stars
   Down there in the round skies under."

Good-bye from him, and good-bye from me.
   And never a laugh came after;
So many go fishing for stars in the sea
   That it's hardly a subject for laughter.

  b18990415-p10-Stars in the Sea-illo-amended.jpg

First published in The Bulletin, 15 April 1899;
and later in
Aussie: The Australian Soldiers Magazine, 4 April 1918;
The Bulletin, 1 February 1950;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Note: the poem was originally published with the accompanying illustration.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Spring in Autumn by Zora Cross

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Brown autumn turned to spring to-day;
   The little leaves went wild with play;
And, in and out, an August air
Between the March winds shook its hair
   And stole my heart away.

I left my quiet pansy bed,
   And, nodding to each frail, green head,
"I must go far and far from you,
To purple lakes and mountains blue,
   With young, white spring," I said.

I heard her carol merrily,
   "Ah, come with me to some charmed sea!
I know where richer lands than this
Flush sweeter 'neath the sun's red kiss.
   Come, follow, follow me!"

I ran no further than the creek,
   For there I paused, afraid to speak.
The autumn stillness everywhere
Won back my wild heart unaware
   And made me very meek.
I turned and sought my plants again,
   My autumn seedlings drenched with rain,
And sang to drown the voice of spring
That whispered in remembering
   Of other lands in vain.

Brown autumn turned to spring to-day,
   And tried to lure my heart away;
But down among the great, green trees
I heard a rush of memories,
   And could not choose but stay.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 14 April 1920

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

The Forest Fighter by Henry O'Donnell

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The clear, crisp air of morning like a silver tocsin rang
   A note that told of fierce but bloodless fight,
And stirred me to a melody that laggard never sang
   When a stripling slew a giant in his might.

Crash! came the monster, but his fall woke no applauding cheers,
   For, silently, the mighty deed was done,
But "Laborare est orare" echoed down the years,
   And spurred the stripling to the task begun.

For, fronting him, an army of a thousand giants stood,
   And tossed their thousand plumes against the sky,
But he swore a vow to wife and child that, all alone he would
   Lay low that horde of forest kings or die.

And morn by morn, with whetted axe, he faced the shrinking foe
   With steady eye, and fearless, measured tread,
And day by day the battle raged, but crushing was his blow,
   For every night a forest king lay dead.

The clear, crisp air of morning like a silver tocsin rang,
   When all the shattered giants lay up-piled,
But, louder than a tocsin, all the rescued meadows sang
   The vict'ry won for home and wife and child.

The God that lent to honest toil its ever peerless charm,
   Who loves the dauntless heart and reeking brow,
Saw a heap of forest giants vanquished by a stripling's arm,
   And marked as "done" a Heav'n-recorded vow.

Thrice noble is a noble deed when done in solitude,
   And Fame the secret never need reveal,
When Heaven sits in judgment on our actions in the nude,
   And stamps them with her everlasting seal.

Pale! gleaming star of Austerlitz; fade! guerdon of the Nile,
   And all the toys that gilded warfare brings.
Beside that crown of victory, wreathed of a wifely smile,
   That decked the man who slew a race of kings.

I'm weary of the paeans, to the glory of the sword,
   That round the woe-struck universe now ring,
But as long as Muse or manhood shall arouse a slumb'ring chord,
   The triumphs of the axe I'll ever sing.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 13 April 1905

Author: nothing is known about the author of this poem

Author reference site: Austlit.

See also.

Australian Poets #14 - Edward Dyson

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Edward Dyson

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Young Peddlars by P. L. Travers

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Stolen songs in knapsacks, songs of joy and pain,
We've been over all the world, there and back again,\
   Piping down the windy ways,
   Dancing, singing through the days,
We, the ragged rhymers, gypsies out of Spain.

Feathers red within our caps, shod with purple shoon,
Jingling silver in our hands stolen from the moon.
   Gold have we a-plenty -- see
   Splashes of the sun! Ah, we --
We are rich in wonder, ask of us a boon!

Ask of Pam for laughter, pay her with a kiss,
Buy of love from Rose-at-ear, she's the wench for bliss,
   Give us all your saddened years,
   We'll make beauty from your tears
So you've love and laughter nothing is amiss.

Hector knows a story to charm you should you weep,
And Jock can twang a ballad upon his fiddle deep.
   Or  Pirouette, to still your sights
   Will brush her lips across your eyes
And set your feet to music, till, wearied you will sleep.

Would you know our secret? Youth with Hope empearled
Is woven into garments and round our bodies curled;
   Sorrow, Laughter, Love and Tears,
   Skipping with us down the years,
We, the ragged rhymers, singing to the world!

First published in The Bulletin, 12 April 1923

Author: Pamela Lyndon Travers (1899-1996) was born Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough, Queensland.  Best known for her series of children's novels featuring the English nanny, Mary Poppins, Travers began her working life as a cashier before the stage beckoned.  She then moved to journalism while living in New Zealand.  She traveled to Ireland and then to England, where she settled, in 1924.  The first of her Mary Poppins story collections was published in 1934, which made her a literary success in both the US and UK.  She died in London in 1996.

Author reference sites: Austlit

When the Postman Brings the Cheques by Edward Dyson

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Lovers thrill with rapture fine
   When the lady fair to see
Drops the customary line
   Swearing life-long constancy,
But romantic ravings tend
   Worldly commonsense to vex,
Since delights that far transcend
Cooling foolishness attend
   When the postman brings the cheques.

Base I'm held, and sordid too,
   Worthy of the lofty scorn
Of the sentimental crew
   Watching out at eve and morn,
But I snigger at the flock,
   Knowing well that either sex
Still enjoys a keener shock
Summoned by his double knock
   When the postman brings the cheques.
Missives that a friend indites
   Oft invite a little loan,
Dainty screeds that Sophie writes
   When she says she's all our own
Copies are, perchance, no more;
   Other fellows may annex
All their treasures o'er and o'er;
No such apprehensions bore
   When the postman brings the cheques.

So the lank, lean bards may reel
   Tiresome rhymes about the post,
Singing of his "winged heel"
   Dragging in a classic host.
Hermes' staff nor Cupid's toy
   My prosaic poem decks,
But I know the little boy
Born of Venus shrieks with joy
   When the postman brings the cheques.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 11 April 1907

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Bushman's Track by Will M. Fleming

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There is a track, away "out back,"
   Which opens up when bushmen fall,
And there, they say, you hear alway
   The lonely curlew's wandering call.

And many a soul has reached its goal
   By passing down that misty hall;
And many an ear devoid of fear
   Has heard the lonely curlew's call.

What need of shroud? Enough of cloud
   Is there to form an endless pall.
What need of psalm? For nought can harm
   Those souls who hear the curlew's call.

Though when alone the track is shown,
   What need to dread which waits for all
Who gather near to save from fear
   Those who have heard the curlew's call?

There is a track away out back
   Which opens up when bushmen fall,
And there, they say, you hear alway
   The lonely curlew's wandering call.

First published in The Queenslander, 10 April 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Old Sundial by Emily Coungeau

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Enclosed within a Roman wall
   An old-world garden hidden lies,
Where gorgeous tulips, slim and tall,
   Tilt fragile cups with laughing eyes.   
Upon the green, close shaven lawn,
   Where graceful pampas grasses sway,
And beauty long ago was born,
Sunlight and shadow ever play.

An antique dial long since grey,
   With moss-rimmed pedestal for throne,
Dreams 'mid these lovely colours gay
   Of all the changes it has known.
For here once walked in pensive mood
   An Abbot with his breviary,
Who murmured oft beneath his hood
   A "Miserere Dominie."

Yonder, long bearded, stonily
   Time's statue, with his scythe, looks o'er
This place of hallowed memory,
   Haunted in spirit evermore.
Only one brush with magic power
   Could paint the buds enlaced with dew,   
Day, golden-winged, the lilac hour,
   Soft thisteldowns beneath the blue.

The gilded hands have backward sped,
   And with the old, enchanting spell
The cloak of years has gently fled,
  While chords of sweet, lost music swell.
Across the grass comes smiling youth,
   I ask of Time, "Can this be Me ?"
"Ah, yet, it once was you in truth,"
   And then he breathed "Eternity."

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 9 April 1927

Author: Emily Coungeau (1860-1936) was born in Essex, England, and migrated to Australia in 1887, following three of her brothers.  She married in 1889 in Richmond, Melbourne and moved to Brisbane where she and her husband ran a very successful wine saloon. She began publishing poetry in 1913 and produced four collections of her verse during her lifetime.  She died in Brisbane in 1936.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Station Bell by Ethel Mills

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Clang, clang, goes the station bell;
   Six o'clock, and the work is done.
Lily buds in the bathing pool
   All aglow from the setting sun,
Slanting rays thro' the willow boughs,
   Woolshed windows a blaze of gold,
While afar in the myall scrub
   Sweet night flowers to the dark unfold.

"Home! home!" says the station bell,     
   Silhouetted against the sky;
Tired horses and weary men
   Pass the gate of the stockyard by.
Thro' the trees by the winding creek   
   Cottage windows are all aglow;
Across the door of one firelit room
   A woman's figure flits to and fro.

"Night comes," says the station bell,
   Ringing out on the scented air;
Far away in the forest's heart
   A dingo howls in his secret lair;
Over the trees and the clustered roofs
   A white bird flies with a mournful cry,   
That mingies sweet with the crooning song
   A mother sings as a lullaby.

"Rest, rest," says the station bell;   
   It echoes even across the hill,
Where the graves of the station dead
   Are green with grass --- Is their sleep so still
That they are not stirred by the music sweet
   Of children's voices in mirthful play,     
Or the well-known clang as the station bell
   Rings "Angelus" for the workers' day?  

First published in The Queenslander, 8 April 1899

Author: Ethel Mills (1878? - ??) was the sister of Mabel Forrest.  Other than that little is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference sites: Austlit

Ode on the Australian Centennary by George Essex Evans

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      Girt with the wreathing mists
         And shadows of the night,
      Dark-robed, Australia lay
         And waited for the light;
And heard the night wind whisper soft and clear,
"Land of the Southern Cross, the Dawn is near!
      The Dawn is near!"

      Soft in the Eastern skies,
         Flushing the summer sea,
      She saw her morning rise --
         The morn of Liberty.
Then sang the wind across the ocean's foam,
"Land of the Southern Cross, the Dawn has come,
      The Dawn has come!"

      Blest with God's grace divine,
         Queen of the Southern Sea!
      Bright shall thy glory shine,
         Great shall thy future be.
Our hope, our faith, our love, on Him we cast.
"Land of the Southern Cross, the Dawn is past,
      The Dawn is past!"

      Past with its quivering rays ---
         Forecasts of things to be!
      But to the riper days
         Of larger Liberty!
Then sing, ye summer seas that guard our home:   
"Behold! The Dawn is past! The Day has come,   
      The Day has come!"  

First published in The Queenslander, 7 April 1888

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

On the Plains by Arthur H. Adams

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Alone with the silence, the sun and sky,
Alone on the tussocky plain I lie.
An ocean of yellow from East to West
Still rolling and sweeping, far crest on crest;
And billow on billow the tussocks bend
Until in one shimmering haze they blend;
Where, under the distance, the heat and noon,
The plains, in an ecstasy thrilling, swoon
And melt in the yellow-tinged sombre air,
Like perfume from roses on evenings rare!
Where the sky and the misty horizon meet
The flax-bushes float like a far-of fleet.
And slowly they swim with no spray nor splash,
While swell their green sails and their brown oars flash!
So, lost in two oceans --- of plain and sky --
Full-length on the tussocks alone I lie!

First published in The Bulletin, 6 April 1895

Author: Arthur Henry Adams (1872-1936) was born in Lawrence, New Zealand, and arrived in Australia in 1898.  He studied law at the University of Otago but gave it up for journalism.  He arrived in Sydney to stage an opera, but left in 1900 to cover the Boxer Rebellion in China for the Sydney Morning Herald.  He returned to New Zealand where he started as an associate editor of the New Zealand Times before returning to Sydney and taking over the "Red Page" of The Bulletin. He was later editor of the Lone Hand and the Sydney Sun.  He died of pneumonia in Sydney in 1936.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Australian Poets #13 - Barcroft Boake

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Barcroft Boake (1866-1892)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Castlemaine Pub by Max A.

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(It was stated at a recent deputation to Mr. Bent that in Castlemaine there was estimated to
be one hotel for every 32 persons-after making allowance for total abstainers.)

We come with a thirst from our labour,
   And townwards we hurry abreast,
Each leans on his bibulous neighbour,
   And orders a quart of the best;
The bar where the landlord stands stolid
   Is our playground, our home and our club;
You've got to drink steady and solid,
   With thirty-two men to a pub.

Each night in the worship of Bacchus
   We twist the vine leaves in our hair;
Teetotallers taunt and attack us --
   So we drink the teetotallers' share.
We hear not the Rechabites' chidings,
   The Good Templar a dullard we dub;
There's no time for disputes and deridings,
   With thirty-two men to the pub.

Oh, the beer, in its bubbling, brown beauty!
   Oh, the gin, in the jolly jug pent!
Should one of us fail in his duty,
   Then our host would be short in his rent.
Should one of us turn to sobriety,
   His children would starve -- there's the rub,
It's a duty we owe to society,
   We thirty-two men in the pub.

So we cling to the counter unceasing
   (Save on days when we stand in the courts),
And our power to absorb is increasing,
   We drink gallons where once we drank quarts.
We are thirty-two heroes, and we all
   Are braver than when we began;
For we struggle towards the ideal
   Of thirty-two pubs to a man.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 5 April 1906

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

In the Street by John Shaw Neilson

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The night, the rain, who could forget? --
The grey streets glimmering in the wet:
Wreckers and ruined wreckage met:
   There was no dearth
Of all the unlovely things that yet
   Must plague the earth.

Gloom, and the street's unhallowed joys:
The sly-eyed girls, the jeering boys:
Faint-carolling amid the noise
   A woman worn --
A broken life: a heart, a voice,
   Trembling and torn.

She did not sing of hillside steep,
Of reapers stooping low to reap;
No love-lorn shepherd with his sheep
   Made moan or call:
A mother kissed her child asleep,
   And that was all.

Slowly into our hearts there crept
I know not what: it flamed! it leapt!
Was it God's love that in us slept?
   I saw the mark
Of tears upon her, as she stept
   Into the dark.

First published in The Bookfellow, 4 April 1907, and again in the same magazine August 1914;
and later in
Poems by John Shaw Neilson, 1964;
Australian Letters, 4 September 1964;
The Vital Decade: Ten Years of Australian Art and Letters edited by Geoffrey Dutton, 1968;
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991; and
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Men We Might Have Been by Henry Lawson

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When God's wrath-cloud is o'er me,
   Affrighting heart and mind;
When days seem dark before me,
   And days seem black behind;
Those friends who think they know me --
   Who deem their insight keen --
They ne'er forget to show me
  The man I might have been.

He's rich and independent,
   Or rising fast to fame;
His bright star is ascendant,
   The country knows his name;
His houses and his gardens
   Are splendid to be seen;
His fault the wise world pardons --
   The man I might have been.

His fame and fortune haunt me;
   His virtues wave me back:
His name and prestige daunt me
   When I would take the track;
But you, my friend true-hearted --
   God, keep our friendship green! --
You know how I was parted
   From all I might have been.

But what avails the ache of
   Remorse or weak regret?
We'll battle for the sake of
   The men we might be yet!
We'll strive to keep in sight of
   The brave, the true and clean
And triumph yet in spite of
   The men we might have been.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 April 1897;
and later in
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

April by A. J. Rolfe

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The night is past; the morn with flooding light
   Tinges the cloudlets in the cast with gold;
Nature, the minister of God, is bright
   With gladness, as the morning mists unfold.
O Nature, ere Night's shadows blot our view,
   Show us the fulness of thy purity,
That we thy loving footsteps may pursue,
   And bear the burden of humanity;
That when the summit of our life is near,
   And from the mountain brow we see the gloom
Along the downward road, we may not fear
   The darkening path that leads us to our home,
And when at last we cross Death's shadowy sea,
   We shall unravel Life's great mystery.

First published in The Queenslander, 2 April 1892;
and later in:
A Sheaf of Sonnets by A. J. Rolfe, 1892

Note: this poem in the fourth in a sequence of poems that the author wrote about each month of the year.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Mementoes by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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   O cool South-wind,
Blowing from icebergs and the world of sea!
   Yet you remind
Me of my northern home, and wing to me,
   With your crisp breath,   
Whiffs of the breezy spring, and the wind-flower
   That blossometh
In Kentish woods in March's budding hour.

   And you, ye Waves,   
You too hail from the ice and Southern Pole:
   The tide, that laves
My home, knows of you but as soul knows soul,
   Alike in kind
But moving in its own and distinct sphere:
   Yet, as the wind,
You waft me memories of North lands dear.

   O threatening Sky,
You are not beautiful; but when there be
   Dark clouds on high,
They conjure up remembrances for me
   Of my old home,
And dear ones drawing-in to the hall fire;
   And with them come
Mists of regret and rain-drops of desire.

   I love the sun,
Blue heavens, soft still air, and sea in calm:
   When summer's gone
I feel as, in a northern clime, a palm
   Transplanted from
The South. And yet, when clouds or cold appear,
   Or chill sea-foam,
I welcome them as if old friends drew near.

First published in The Queenslander, 1 April 1882

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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