A Few Rhymes in Praise of Gold by Henry Halloran

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Thou beautiful metal! tho' some may abuse,
Who heed not thy mission, -- who mark not thy use,--
To me thou appearest with purposes great:
Thou friend of the friendless! thou softener of hate!
Thou queller of pride! thou subduer of scorn!
Thou robe to life's desolate children forlorn!
To the hearts of exclusives thou magical key!  
Though others decry, I have blessings for thee.   
"Thou root of all evil!" thou agent of good!   
For many a day the pale artist had stood,
With a picture, whose tints e'en a Guido might own,
Whose lines, e'en an Etty, with pride might have shewn,
But Academies found that the Artist was poor,  
And drove the scorn'd youth from each pitiless door;
But an uncle through some breathless ventures in trade,  
The beautiful gold for his nephew had made;
The gold made the bars of Academies fly,
And Royalty smiled as the Artist drew nigh;
Oh! Gold! mighty gold! altho' Virtue may fade,
What envy or scorn can keep thee in the shade?

Thou type of our youth -- thou bright type of our love!
The sweet golden age -- the bless'd dream from above;
Tho' found in the earth in some wandering seam,
Thou wert sent from above with the Sun-god's first beam;  
Thou wert sent the rapt poet to save and defend,
Thou wert sent the starved orphan to feed and befriend,
Thou wert sent the brave heart in its honour to save --
To stand, like a god, 'twixt the tyrant and slave,
Thou wert sent the great powers of man to call forth,
To link the sweel south with the chivalrous North,--
The Orient to bring to the West, and to bind
The powers of Time and of Space, tho' combined     
Tho' others may rail, I have blessings for thee,
Flashing up thro' the quartz with a cry to be free!   

The Palaces of Crystal rose up at thy nod,
And sculpture displayed there the form of its God;
The loom sent its fabrics, the easel its pride,
And the engine with man seem'd the palm to divide:
All that Art could accomplish, or mind could devise,
The dream of the heart and the spoil of the eyes,     
All that labour minute, or skill half divine,
Could catch at the instant, or slowly combine,
Evoked by thy power in beauty arose;  
And nation with nation,-once bitterest foes,--
Came together, to bend in deep reverence the knee,
To the Glory of Intellect, quickened by thee!
All, save the poor savage, who knew not thy power,   
And shared not the glory, and joy of the hour.

And by thee, even here, shall the labourer now,
Find to clothe his wan limbs, and to shade his hot brow,
To build his own cot on his own rood of land;
To place his brave son where a freeman may stand,
With eyes that to pride give an instant reproof,
With hands that dare guard his inviolate roof.  

First published in The Empire, 16 March 1854

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 16, 2012 7:33 AM.

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