Queen of the North by George Essex Evans

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Stand forth, O Daughter of the Sun,   
   Of all thy kin the fairest one,   
It is thine hour of Jubilee.  
   Behold, the work our hands have done
Our hearts now offer unto thee.
   Thy children call thee; O come forth,
         Queen of the North!  

Brow-bound with pearls and burnished gold
   The East hath Queens of royal mould,
Sultanas, peerless in their pride,
   Who rule wide realms of wealth untold,
But they wax wan and weary-eyed:
   Thine eyes, O Northern Queen, are bright
         With morning light.

Fear not thy Youth: it is thy crown --
   The careless years before Renown
Shall load its tines with jewelled deeds
   And press thy golden circlet down
With vaster toils and greater needs.
   Fear not thy Youth: its splendid power
         Awaits the hour.  

Stand forth, O Daughter of the Sun,
   Whose fires through all thine arteries run,
Whose kiss hath touched thy gleaming hair --
   Come like a goddess, Radiant One,  
Reign in our hearts who crown thee there,
   With laughter like thy seas, and eyes
         Blue as thy skies.  

Ah, not in vain, O Pioneers,
   The toil that breaks, the grief that sears,
The hands that forced back Nature's bars
   To prove the blood of ancient years
And make a home 'neath alien stars!
   O Victors over stress and pain
         'Twas not in vain !  

Jungle and plain and pathless wood --
   Depths of primeval solitude --
Gaunt wilderness and mountain stern --
   Their secrets lay all unsubdued.
Life was the price: who dared might learn.
   Ye read them all, Bold Pioneers,
         In fifty years.  

O True Romance, whose splendour gleams
   Across the shadowy realm of dreams,
Whose starry wings can touch with light
   The dull grey paths, the common themes:  
Hast thou not thrilled with sovereign might
   Our story, until Duty's name
      Is one with Fame!  

Queen of the North, thy heroes sleep
   On sun-burnt plain and rocky steep.
Their work is done: their high emprise
   Hath crowned thee, and the great stars keep
The secrets of their histories.
   We reap the harvest they have sown
         Who died unknown.

The seed they sowed with weary hands
   Now bursts in bloom through all thy lands;  
Dark hills their glitt'ring secrets yield;  
   And for the camps of wand'ring bands --
The snowy flock, the fertile field.  
   Back, ever back, new conquests press  
         The wilderness.  

Below thy coast line's rugged height
   Wide caneflelds glisten in the light,  
And towns arise on hill and lea,
   And one fair city where the bright
Broad winding river sweeps to sea.
   Ah! could the hearts that cleared the way
         Be here to-day!  

A handful: yet they took their stand
   Lost in the silence of the land.
They went their lonely ways unknown
   And left their bones upon the sand.  
E'en though we call this land our own
   'Tis but a handful holds it still
         For good or ill.  

What though thy sons be strong and tall,
   Fearless of mood at danger's call;
And these, thy daughters, fair of face,
   With hearts to dare whate'er befall --
Tall goddesses and queens of grace --
   Fill up thy frontiers: man the gate
         Before too late!  

Sit thou no more inert of fame,
   But let the wide world hear thy name.
See where thy realms spread line on line --
   Thy empty realms that cry in shame
For hands to make them doubly thine!
   Fill up thy frontiers: man the gate
         Before too late!    

Prepare, ere falls the hour of Fate
   When death-shells rain their iron hate,
And all in vain thy blood is poured --
   For dark aslant the Northern Gate
I see the Shadow of the Sword:
   I hear the storm-clouds break in wrath --
         Queen of the North!

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 7 August 1909;
and later in
The Times (London), 7 August 1909;
The Queenslander, 14 August 1909; and
Queen of the North: A Jubilee Ode by George Essex Evans, 1909.

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

See also.

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