The Dominion by J. Brunton Stephens

| No TrackBacks
   She is not yet; but he whose ear
   Thrills to that finer atmosphere
      Where footfalls of appointed things,
         Reverberant of days to be,
      Are heard in forecast echoings,
         Like wave-beats from a viewless sea ---
Hears in the voiceful tremors of the sky
Auroral heralds whispering, "She is nigh."

   She is not yet; but he whose sight
   Foreknows the advent of the light,
      Whose soul to morning radiance turns
         Ere night her curtain hath withdrawn,
      And in its quivering folds discerns
         The mute monitions of the dawn,
With urgent sense strained onward to descry
Her distant tokens, starts to find Her nigh.

   Not yet her day. How long "not yet"! . .
   There comes the flush of violet!
      And heavenward faces, all aflame
         With sanguine imminence of morn,
      Wait but the sun-kiss to proclaim
         The Day of The Dominion born.
Prelusive baptism! --- ere the natal hour
Named with the name and prophecy of power.

   Already here to hearts intense,
   A spirit-force, transcending sense,
      In heights unsealed, in deeps unstirred,
         Beneath the calm, above the storm,
      She waits the incorporating word
         To bid her tremble into form.
Already, like divining-rods, men's souls
Bend down to where the unseen river rolls;--

   For even as, from sight concealed,
   By never flush of dawn revealed,
      Nor e'er illumed by golden noon,
         Nor sunset-streaked with crimson bar,
      Nor silver-spanned by wake of moon,
         Nor visited of any star,
Beneath these lands a river waits to bless
(So men divine) our utmost wilderness, ---

   Rolls dark, but yet shall know our skies,
   Soon as the wisdom of the wise
      Conspires with nature to disclose
         The blessing prisoned and unseen,
      Till round our lessening wastes there glows
         A perfect cone of broadening green, ---
Till all our land Australia Felix called,
Become one Continent-Isle of Emerald; ---

   So flows beneath our good and ill
   A viewless stream of Common Will,
      A gathering force, a present might,
         That from its silent depths of gloom
      At Wisdom's voice shall leap to light,
         And hide our barren feuds in bloom,
Till, all our sundering lines with love o'ergrown,
Our bounds shall be the seas alone.

First published in The Queenslander, 4 August 1877, and in the same magazine on 21 December 1878;
and later in
Convict Once and Other Poems by J. Brunton Stephens, 1885;
The Boomerang, 11 February 1888;
The Australian Town and Country Journal, 25 February 1888;
Tasmanian Mail, 8 July 1899;
The Brisbane Courier, 8 August 1899;
The North Queensland Register, 29 August 1899;
The Poetical Works of Brunton Stephens by J. Brunton Stephens, 1902;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse by Walter Murdoch, 1924;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964; and
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982.

Note: this poem is also known by the titles The Dominion of Australia and The Dominoion of Australia: A Forecast: 1877.

Author: James Brunton Stephens (1835-1902) was born in Scotland and attended the University of Edinburgh, though he did not complete a degree, before working as a tutor for an English military family in Europe. He migrated to Australia in 1866 where he continued work as a tutor in various locations in Queensland.  After teaching at a number of schools he joined the public service where he remained for the rest of his working life.  At one time, after the death of Henry Kendall, he was considered Australia's best living poet, though his reputation has declined considerably over time.  He died in Brisbane in 1902.

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

See also.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 4, 2011 7:16 AM.

The Intro by C. J. Dennis was the previous entry in this blog.

Westward Ho! by Harry "Breaker" Morant is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en