A Lay of the North by George Essex Evans

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Where the blue M'Kinlay Mountains stretch their wide majestic girth,   
Locking in their bosoms treasures time and progress shall unearth!
Far within their rocky fastness in a ravine wild and steep,
Breathing softly as an infant, lay a miner fast asleep.
He had travelled many a district searching for the precious ore.
Many a hardship, many a failure, had he braved and borne before;   
Now the fickle Goddess Fortune frowned no more upon her slave.
But, with fair and smiling features, what he long had sought forgave.
There within his grasp lay riches, wealth beyond his utmost hope;
There she placed no stern obstructions for his energy to cope;
In a few days he could gather what would bring him wealth and ease.
Then good-bye to Northern Queensland--hey for home across the seas!
So he slept: and in his dreaming he was home again once more.
Home again in Merry England, standing at his father's door.   
Now they cluster all around him--old friends grasp him by the hand,
Then the teardrops from his eyelids trickled fast upon the sand

. . . . . . .

Where the blue Mackinlay Mountains stand like sentinels alway,   
In a gorge within their fastness, still the murdered miner lay;   
In the search for wealth and treasure, after toilings, after strife.  
He had lost a gem far purer -- lost the precious stone of life.
Still he lay -- his fixed eyes staring upwards at the starry skies;
Blood for blood --- his blood appealing for the vengeance Heaven denies;
All around him stretch the mountains, and o'er head the azure height,
And for shroud kind Nature wrapped him in the mantle of the night.
At that home in Merry England, at the porch beside the door,
They are waiting, they are watching, but they ne'er will see him more;
Hope is buoyant, hope is stronger than the marshalled host of fears,
But hope deferred is agony and bitterness and tears.

First published in The Queenslander, 25 July 1885

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

See also

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 25, 2012 9:03 AM.

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