Leichhardt's Grave by Robert Lynd

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Ye who prepare with pilgrim feet
   Your long and doubtful path to wend,
If -- whitening on the waste -- ye meet
   The relics of my murder'd friend --
His bones with rev'rence ye shall bear
   To where some mountain streamlet flows;   
There, by its mossy bank, prepare
   The pillow of his long repose.

It shall be by a stream, whose tides
   Are drank by birds of ev'ry wing;   
Where ev'ry lovelier flower abides
   The earliest wak'ning touch of spring!     
O meet that he -- (who so carest
   All beauteous Nature's varied charms) --
That he -- her martyr'd son -- should rest
   Within his mother's fondest arms!   

When ye have made his narrow bed,
   And laid the good man's ashes there,
Ye shall kneel down around the dead,    
   And wait upon your God in prayer.
What though no reverend man be near --  
   No anthem pour its solemn breath --
No holy walls invest his bier
   With all the hallow'd pomp of death!   

Yet humble minds shall find the grace,
   Devoutly bow'd upon the sod,    
To call that blessing round the place
   Which consecrates the soil to God.
And ye the wilderness shall tell
   How faithful to the hope's of men --
The Mighty Power, he served so well,  
   Shall breathe upon his bones again!  

When ye your gracious task have done,
   Heap not the rock above his dust!   
The Angel of the Lord alone
   Shall guard the ashes of the just!   
But ye shall heed, with pious care,  
   The mem'ry of that spot to keep;
And note the marks that guide me where
   My virtuous friend is laid to sleep!   

For oh, bethink -- in other times,
   (And be those happier times at hand,)   
When science, like the smile of God --
   Comes bright'ning o'er that weary land --
How will her pilgrims hail the power,  
   Beneath the drooping myall's gloom,
To sit at eve, and mourn an hour,
   And pluck a leaf on Liechhardt's tomb!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 1845

Author: Robert Lynd (1800-1851) was barrack-master of the 63rd Regiment and a friend of the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt.  He wrote this poem in July 1845 when Leichhardt was presumed dead.  However the explorer returned to Sydney, alive, in March 1846. Lynd died in Auckland, New Zealand.

Author reference site: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 3, 2012 8:47 AM.

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