September 2012 Archives

Woonoona: The Last of His Tribe by Henry Kendall

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He crouches, and buries his face on his knees,
   And hides in the dark of his hair;
For he cannot look up to the storm-smitten trees,  
   Or think of the loneliness there ---
      Of the loss and the loneliness there!

The wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass,
   And turn to their covers for fear,
But he sits in the ashes, and lets them pass
   Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear!
      With the nullah, the sling, and the spear!

Uluela, behold him! the thunder that breaks
   On the tops of the rocks, with the rain,
And the wind, which drives up with the salt of the lakes,  
   Have made him a hunter again --
      A hunter and fisher again!

For his eyes have been full with a smouldering thought,
   But he dreams of the hunts of yore;
And the foes that he sought, and the fights which he fought
   With these who will battle no more ---
      Who will go to the battle no more!

It is well that the water, which trembles and fills,
   Goes moaning and moaning along;
For an Echo rolls out from the sides of the hills;
   And he starts at a wonderful Song ---
      At the sounds of a wonderful Song!  

And he sees, through the rents of the scattering fogs,
   The corrobboree warlike and grim;
And the lubra, who sat by the fire, on the logs,
   To watch, like a mourner, for him!
      Like a mother and mourner, for him!

Will he go, in his sleep, from these desolate lands,
   Like a chief, to the rest of his race,
With the honey-voiced Woman, who beckons, and stands,
   And stares, like a Dream, in his face!
      Like a marvellous Dream, in his face!       

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 September 1864;
and later in
Leaves from Australian Forests by Henry Kendall, 1869;
Poems of Henry Clarence Kendall by Henry Kendall, 1903;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1913;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
The Bulletin (Christmas edition), 11 December 1957;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1957;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966;
This Land : An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M.M. Flynn and J. Groom, 1968;
Silence into Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse compiled by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry edited by Rodney Hall, 1981;
Poetry Speaks edited by Leone Peguero, 1982;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes and Brian McFarlane, 1984;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Mark O'Connor, 1988;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ken L. Goodwin and Alan Lawson, 1990;
A Treasury of Bush Verse edited by G.A. Wilkes, 1991;
Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence edited by Michael Ackland, 1993;
An Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ch'oe Chin-yong and Cynthia Van Den Driesen, 1995;
The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English edited by John Thieme, 1996;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
Sunlines : An Anthology of Poetry to Celebrate Australia's Harmony in Diversity edited by Anne Fairbairn, 2002;
Our Country : Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael cook, 2004; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

The Last Review by Henry Lawson

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Turn the light down, nurse, and leave me, while I hold my last review,
For the Bush is slipping from me, and the town is going too:
Draw the blinds, the streets are lighted, and I hear the tramp of feet--
And I'm weary, very weary, of the Faces in the Street.

In the dens of Grind and Heartbreak, in the streets of Never-Rest,
I have lost the scent and colour and the music of the West:
And I would recall old faces with the memories they bring ---
Where are Bill and Jim and Mary and the songs They used to Sing?

They are coming! They are coming! they are passing through the room
With the smell of gum leaves burning, and the scent of Wattle bloom!
And behind them in the timber, after dust and heat and toil,
Others sit beside the camp fire yarning While the Billies Boil.

In the gap above the ridges, there's a flash and there's a glow;
Swiftly down the scrub-clad siding come the Lights of Cobb and Co.;
Red face from the box-seat beaming --- Oh, how plain those faces come!
From his 'Golden-Hole' 'tis Peter M'Intosh who's going home.

Dusty patch in desolation, bare slab walls and earthen floor,
And a blinding drought is blazing from horizons unto door;
Milkless tea and ration sugar, damper, junk, and pumpkin mash ---
And a Day on Our Selection passes by me in a flash.

Rush of big wild-eyed store bullocks while the sheep crawl hopelessly,
And the loaded wool teams rolling, lurching on like ships at sea;
With his whip across his shoulder (and the wind just now abeam),
There goes Jimmy Nowlett, ploughing through the dust beside his team!

Sunrise on the diggings! (Oh! what Life and hearts and hopes are here)?
From a hundred pointing forges comes a "tinkle-tinkle" clear ---
Strings of drays with wash to puddle, clack of countless windlass boles,
Here and there the red flag flying, flying o'er golden holes.

Picturesque, unreal, romantic, chivalrous, and brave and free;
Clean in living, true in mateship --- reckless generosity;
Mates are buried here as comrades who on fields of battle fall;
And --- the dreams, the aching, hoping lover hearts beneath it all;

Rough-built theatres and stages where the world's best actors trod --
Singers bringing reckless rovers nearer boyhood, home and God;
Paid in laughter, tears and nuggets in the play that fortune plays --
'Tis the palmy days of Gulgong --- Gulgong in the Roaring Days.

Pass the same old scenes before me, and again my heart can ache:
There the Drover's Wife sits watching (not as Eve did) for a snake.
And I see the drear deserted goldfields when the night is late,
And the stony face of Mason watching by his Father's Mate.

And I see my Haggard Women plainly as they were in life,
'Tis the form of Mrs. Spicer and her friend, the Drover's Wife,
Sitting hand in hand "Past Carin'," not a sigh and not a frown,
Staring steadily before her, and the tears just trickle down.

It was No Place for a Woman, where the women worked like men ---
From the Bush and Jones' Alley come their haunting forms again.
And let this thing be remembered when I've answered to the roll,
That I pitied haggard women --- wrote for them with all my soul.

Narrow bedroom in the City in the hard days that are dead,
An alarm clock on the table, and a pale boy on the bed;
"Arvie Aspinall's Alarm Clock" with its harsh and startling call,
Never more shall break his slumbers --- I was Arvie Aspinall.

Maoriland and Steelman, cynic, spieler, stiff-lipped, battler-through
(Kept a wife and child in comfort, but of course they never knew.
Thought he was an honest bagman.) Well, old man, you needn't hug ---
Sentimental; you of all men! --- Steelman, Oh! I was a mug!

Ghostly lines of scrub at daybreak, dusty daybreak in the drought,
And a lonely swagman tramping on the track to Further Out;
Like a shade the form of Mitchell, nose-bag full and bluey up,
And between the swag and shoulders lolls his foolish cattle-pup.

Kindly cynic, sad comedian! Mitchell! when you've left the track,
And have shed your load of sorrow as we slipped our swags Out-Back,
We shall have a yarn together in the land of Rest Awhile ---
And across his ragged shoulder Mitchell smiles his quiet smile.

Shearing sheds and tracks and shanties--girls that wait at homestead gates--
Camps and stern-eyed Union leaders, and Joe Wilson and his Mates
True and straight, and to my fancy, each one as he passes through
Deftly down upon the table slips a dusty 'note' or two.
Listen, who are young, and let them --- if I, in late and bitter days,
Wrote some reckless lines --- forget them; there is little there to praise.
So at last the end has found me --- (end of all the human push) --
And again in silence round me come my Children of the Bush!

Shearing sheds and tracks and shanties -- girls that wait at homestead gates --
Camps and stern-eyes Union leaders, and Joe Wilson and his mates.
Tell the bushmen to Australia and each other to be true:
"Tell the boys to stick together!" -- I have held my Last Review.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 September 1904;
and later in
When I was King and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1905;
Selections from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982; and
A Fantasy of Man: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1901-1922 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

Hyde Park by Night by Dorothea Dowling

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'Tis surely here that Freedom comes to dream!
   The spacious grandeur of its lawns wide flung,
The slumb'rous beauty of its lights that gleam
(Like scattered mist-encircled moons they seem),
   And hallow'd shrine where Freedom's songs are sung.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 1935;
and later in
When I Am Free by Dorothea Dowling, 1940.

Author: Dorothea Helena Dowling was born in Sydney some time in the decade of the 1910s. She was a classic ballerina as well as a poet.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

The Death of Ben Hall by Will H. Ogilvie

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Ben Hall was out on Lachlan side
With a thousand pounds on his head;
A score of troopers were scattered wide
And a hundred more were ready to ride
Wherever a rumour led.

They had followed his track from the Weddin Heights
And north by the Weelong yards;
Through dazzling days and moonlit nights
They had sought him over their rifle-sights,
With their hands on their trigger guards.

The outlaw stole like a hunted fox
Through the scrub and stunted heath,
And peered like a hawk from his eyrie rocks
Through the waving boughs of the sapling box
On the troopers riding beneath.

His clothes were rent by the clutching thorn
And his blistered feet were bare;
Ragged and torn, with his beard unshorn,
He hid like a beast forlorn,
With a padded path to his lair.

But every night when the white stars rose
He crossed by the Gunning Plain
To a stockman's hut where the Gunning flows,
And struck on the door three swift light blows,
And a hand unhooked the chain --

And the outlaw followed the lone path back
With food for another day;
And the kindly darkness covered his track
And the shadows swallowed him deep and black
Where the starlight melted away.

But his friend had read of the big reward,
And his soul was stirred with greed;
He fastened his door and window board,
He saddled his horse and crossed the ford,
And spurred to the town at speed.

You may ride at a man's or maid's behest
When honour or true love call
And steel your heart to the worst or the best,
But the ride that is ta'en on a traitor's quest
Is the bitterest ride of all.

A hot wind blew from the Lachlan bank
And a curse on its shoulder came;
The pine-trees frowned at him, rank on rank,
The sun on a gathering storm-cloud sank
And flushed his cheek with shame.

He reigned at the Court; and the tale began
That the rifles alone should end;
Sergeant and trooper laid their plan
To draw the net on a hunted man
At the treacherous word of a friend.

False was the hand that raised the chain
And false was the whispered word:
'The troopers have turned to the south again,
You may dare to camp on the Gunning Plain.'
And the weary outlaw heard.

He walked from the hut but a quarter mile
Where a clump of saplings stood
In a sea of grass like a lonely isle;
And the moon came up in a little while
Like silver steeped in blood.

Ben Hall lay down on the dew-wet ground
By the side of his tiny fire;
And a night breeze woke, and he heard no sound
As the troopers drew their cordon round --
And the traitor earned his hire.

And nothing they saw in the dim grey light,
But the little glow in the trees;
And they crouched in the tall cold grass all night,
Each one ready to shoot at sight,
With his rifle cocked on his knees.

When the shadows broke and the dawn's white sword
Swung over the mountain wall,
And a little wind blew over the ford,
A sergeant sprang to his feet and roared:
'In the name of the Queen, Ben Hall!'

Haggard, the outlaw leapt from his bed
With his lean arms held on high,
'Fire!' And the word was scarcely said
When the mountains rang to rain of lead --
And the dawn went drifting by.

They kept their word and they paid his pay
Where a clean man's hand would shrink;
And that was the traitor's master day
As he stood by the bar on his homeward way
And called on the crowd to drink.

He banned no creed and he barred no class,
And he called to his friends by name;
But the worst would shake his head and pass
And none would drink from the bloodstained glass
And the goblet red with shame.

And I know when I hear the last grim call
And my mortal hour is spent,
When the light is hid and the curtains fall
I would rather sleep with the dead Ben Hall
Than go where that traitor went.

First published
in Smith's Weekly, 27 September 1924;
and later in
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Old Australian Ballads: An Anthology edited by W.N. Walker, 1967;
This Land : An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M.M. Flynn and J. Groom, 1968;
Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore edited by Bill Scott, 1976;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
On the Track with Bill Bowyang : With Australian Bush Recitations edited by Dawn Anderson, 1991-92;
Breaker's Mate : Will Ogilvie in Australia by Will H. Ogilvie, 1996;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007; and
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Two Sunsets by Victor J. Daley

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On the Shore

The day and its delights are done;
   So all delights and days expire:
Down in the dim, sad West the sun
Is dying like a dying fire.

The fiercest lances of his light
   Are spent; I watch him droop and die,
Like a great king who falls in fight;
   None dared the duel of his eye
Living, but, now his eye is dim,
The eyes of all may stare at him.

How lovely in his strength at morn
He orbed along the burning blue!
The blown gold of his flying hair
Was tangled in green-tressèd trees,
And netted in the river sand
In gleaming links of amber clear.
But all his shining locks are shorn,
His brow of its bright crown is bare,
The golden sceptre leaves his hand,
And deeper, darker, grows the hue
Of the dim purple draperies
And cloudy banners round his bier.

O beautiful, rose-hearted dawn! ---
O splendid noon of gold and blue! ---
Is this wan glimmer all of you?
Where are the blush and bloom ye gave
To laughing land and smiling sea? ---
The swift lights that did flash and shiver
In diamond rain upon the river,
And set a star in each blue wave?
Where are the merry lights and shadows
That danced through wood and over lawn,
And flew across the dewy meadows
Like white nymphs chased by satyr lovers?
Faded and perished utterly.
All delicate and all rich colour
In flower and cloud, on lawn and lea,
On butterfly, and bird, and bee,
A little space and all are gone ---
And darkness, like a raven, hovers
Above the death-bed of the day.

So, when the long, last night draws on,
And all the world grows ghastly gray,
We see our beautiful and brave
Wither, and watch with heavy sighs
The life-light dying in their eyes,
The love-light slowly fading out,
Leaving no faint hope in their place,
But only on each dear wan face
The shadow of a weary doubt,
The ashen pallor of the grave.

O gracious morn and golden noon!
With what fair dreams did ye depart --
Beloved so well and lost so soon!
I could not fold you to my breast:
I could not hide you in my heart;
I saw the watchers in the West ---
Sad, shrouded shapes, with hands that wring
And phantom fingers beckoning!

On the River

Fade off the ridges, rosy light,
Fade slowly from the last gray height,
And leave no gloomy cloud to grieve
The heart of this enchanted eve!

All things beneath the still sky seem
Bound by the spell of a sweet dream;
In the dusk forest, dreamingly,
Droops slowly down each plumèd head;
The river flowing softly by
Dreams of the sea; the quiet sea
Dreams of the unseen stars; and I
Am dreaming of the dreamless dead.

The river has a silken sheen,
But red rays of the sunset stain
Its pictures, from the steep shore caught,
Till shades of rock, and fern, and tree
Glow like the figures on a pane
Of some old church by twilight seen,
Or like the rich devices wrought
In mediæval tapestry.

All lonely in a drifting boat
Through shine and shade I float and float,
Dreaming and dreaming, till I seem
Part of the picture and the dream.

There is no sound to break the spell,
No voice of bird or stir of bough;
Only the lisp of waters wreathing
In little ripples round the prow,
And a low air, like Silence breathing,
That hardly dusks the sleepy swell
Whereon I float to that strange deep
That sighs upon the shores of Sleep.

But in the silent heaven blooming
   Behold the wondrous sunset flower
   That blooms and fades within the hour ---
The flower of fantasy, perfuming
   With subtle melody of scent
   The blue aisles of the firmament!

For colour, music, scent, are one;
   From deeps of air to airless heights,
Lo! how he sweeps, the splendid sun,
   His burning lyre of many lights!

See the clear golden lily blowing!
   It shines as shone thy gentle soul,
   O my most sweet, when from the goal
   Of life, far-gazing, thou didst see ---
   While Death still feared to touch thine eyes,
Where such immortal light was glowing ---
   The vision of Eternity,
   The pearly gates of Paradise!

Now richer hues the skies illume:
The pale gold blushes into bloom,
Delicate as the flowering
Of first love in the tender spring
Of Life, when love is wizardry
   That over narrow days can throw
   A glamour and a glory! so
Did thine, my Beautiful, for me
   So long ago; so long ago.

So long ago! so long ago!
   Ah, who can Love and Grief estrange?
Or Memory and Sorrow part?
   Lo, in the West another change ---
   A deeper glow: a rose of fire:
   A rose of passionate desire
Long burning in a lonely heart.

A lonely heart; a lonely flood.
The wave that glassed her gleaming head
And smiling passed, it does not know
That gleaming head lies dark and low,
The myrtle tree that bends above;
I pray that it may early bud,
For under its green boughs sate we ---
We twain, we only, hand in hand,
When Love was lord of all the land ---
It does not know that she is dead
And all is over now with love,
Is over now with love and me.

Once more, once more, O shining years
Gone by; once more, O vanished days
Whose hours flew by on iris-wings,
Come back and bring my love to me!
My voice faints down the wooded ways
And dies along the darkling flood.
The past is past; I cry in vain,
For when did Death an answer deign
To Love's heart-broken questionings?
The dead are deaf; dust chokes their ears;
Only the rolling river hears
Far off the calling of the sea ---
A shiver strikes through all my blood,
My eyes are full of sudden tears.

The shadows gather over all,
   The valley, and the mountains old;
Shadow on shadow fast they fall
   On glooming green and waning gold;
And on my heart they gather drear,
Damp as with grave-damps, dark with fear.

O Sorrow, Sorrow, couldst thou leave me
   Not one brief hour to dream alone?
Hast thou not all my days to grieve me?
   My nights, are they not all thine own?
Thou hauntest me at morning light,
   Thou blackenest the white moonbeams --
A hollow voice at noon; at night
   A crowned ghost, sitting on a throne,
   Ruling the kingdom of my dreams.

Maker of men, Thou gavest breath,
Thou gavest love to all that live,
Thou rendest loves and lives apart;
Allwise art Thou; who questioneth
Thy will, or who can read Thy heart?
But couldst Thou not in mercy give
A sign to us --- one little spark
Of sure hope that the end of all
Is not concealed beneath the pall,
Or wound up with the winding-sheet?
Who heedeth aught the preacher saith
When eyes wax dim, and limbs grow stark,
And fear sits on the darkened bed?
The dying man turns to the wall.
What hope have we above our dead? ---
Tense fingers clutching at the dark,
And hopeless hands that vainly beat
Against the iron doors of Death!  

First published in The Bulletin, 26 September 1885;
and later in
A Golden Shanty: Australian Stories and Sketches in Prose and Verse, 1890; and
At Dawn and Dusk by Victor J Daley, 1902.

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

See also.

Mountain Nocturne by L.H. Allen

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Mock daylight, phantom blue, the window stains,
Thrown by the street-lamp with a chilly glare.
Star-powdered blue above, essential air,
Blends with the lamplight on the frosty panes.

A swathe of mist obscures the minarets
Of winter poplars somnolent and slim,
Shells of the summer, stripped and ghostly dim,
Potential emerald caught in silver nets.

Red lights along the ridges of the hills
Wink warning to the eagles of the night
Reverberant-rumbling through the steeps of space    

Above the cottage smoke that streams and spills
In foaming jets and curls of moonlit white  
That with the fainter silver interlace.      

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September 1954

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

To the Austere by Mary Corringham

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Let us not raze the barrier,
   Though souls be rigidly confined;
I would not know what secrets stir
   Within the precincts of your mind.
(How profiteth the trespasser,
   Since love is fleeting as the wind?)

Let us not clasp impatient hands
   For the brief sweetness of the flesh,
They who are free of passion-bands
   Find other nectar to refresh.

The spirit walks a secret way;
   No tended veil, no shattered wall
Shall yield where her strange footpaths stray,
   Nor how, for answer, one must call.

Albeit unguarded your defence,
   All is most sacred unto me,
That dwelleth in the white, immense
   Realm of your soul ... thus are we free.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 1932

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Muse-Haunted by Hugh McCrae

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He heard (and dreamed AEolus, on
   The moon's gold horn, was blowing)
The music of far Helicon
   A-down Parnassus flowing.

And, with that strange sad ecstasy
   Of men, who, slowly sailing,
Behold a mermaid in the sea,
   Below their lantern-railing.

Spark like a star within the wave --
   So he, with yearning, listened,
while high above his shad'wy cave
   The eye of Venus glistened.

The hawk, entowered in the sky
   The lonely lord of Heaven,
At day-break saw him solit'ry;
   And yet again at even.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 September 1909;
and later in
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Disillusion by Kathleen Dalziel

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I built myself a splendid dwelling-place,
   An airy castle proud;
Its lights the stars the green eaves interlace,
   Its bastions of cloud.

I wove myself a wondrous cloak of dreams
   All Jacaranda-blue
And crimson of the waratah, and gleams
   Of moon-fire threaded through.

I made me dear companions of the winds
   That smudge the placid pool;
The creamy flowering woodbine that entwines
   The rose-hung arbours cool.

The unnamed blossoms growing starry-eyed
   In ferny bushland aisles;
The storm-wind, shouting in untrammelled pride
   Down the long forest miles.

You lost the keys of mine own castled steep,
   Trampled my dreams, and made a mock of them;
The magic cloak I always thought to keep
   You tore from hem to hem.

I seek for comfort where the red leaves burn
   In old, familiar ways of flower and tree;
My old companions know me not, and turn
   Their faces far from me.

Shivering and homeless, my soul seeks in grief
   For shelter while the storms of life go by;
If this be done in days of the green leaf.
   What of the sere and dry?

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 22 September 1928

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.    

Tar and Feathers by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

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      Oh! the circus swooped down
      On the Narrabri town,
For the Narrabri populace moneyed are;
      And the showman he smiled
      At the folk he beguiled
To come all the distance from Gunnedah.

      But a juvenile smart,
      Who objected to "part",
Went in "on the nod", and to do it he
      Crawled in through a crack
      In the tent at the back,
For the boy had no slight ingenuity.

      And says he with a grin,
      "That's the way to get in;
But I reckon I'd better be quiet or
      They'll spiflicate me,"
      And he chuckled, for he
Had the loan of the circus proprietor.

      But the showman astute
      On that wily galoot
Soon dropped, and you'll say that he leathered him --
      Not he; with a grim
      Sort of humorous whim,
He took him and tarred him and feathered him.

      Says he, "You can go
      Round the world with a show,
And knock every Injun and Arab wry;
      With your name and your trade,
      On the posters displayed,
The feathered what-is-it from Narrabri."

      Next day for his freak,
      By a Narrabri beak,
He was jawed with a deal of verbosity;
      For his only appeal
      Was "professional zeal" --
He wanted another monstrosity.

      Said his worship, "Begob!
      You are fined forty bob,
And six shillin's costs to the clurk!" he says.
      And the Narrabri joy,
      Half bird and half boy,
Has a "down" on himself and on circuses.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 September 1889;
and later in
Rio Grande's Last Race and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson, 1902;
The Collected Verse of A.B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1982;
Singer of the Bush, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson: Complete Works 1885-1900 compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1983; and
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1990;

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

See also.

The Tree of Liberty by Charles Harpur

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(A Song for the Future.)

We'll plant the Tree of Liberty
   In the navel of the Land,
And round it ranged as Guardians be,
   A vowed and trusty band;
And Sages bold and mighty-souled
   Shall dress it day by day ---
But woe unto the Traitor who
   Would break one branch away!

Then sing the Tree of Liberty,
   For the Vow that we have made!
May it so flourish, that when we
   Are buried in its shade,
Fair Womanhood, and Love and Good,
   All pilgrims pure, shall go
Its growth to bless for Happiness ---
   Oh, may it flourish so.

Till felled by Gold, as Bards have told,
   In the Old World once it grew;
But then we know its fruits were sold,
   And only to the Few!
But here at last, whate'er his caste,
   Each Man at Nature's call,
Shall pluck as well what none may sell ---
   The fruit that blooms for All.

Then sing the Tree of Liberty,
  And the Men who shall defend
Its glorious Futurity
   Of Godlike Hope and End!
Till Happiness a World to bless
   Out with its growth shall grow ---
This Tree -- the Tree of Liberty
   Shall flourish even so.

First published in The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts and General Literature, 20 September 1845;
and later in
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 4 November 1846;
The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator, 1 December 1849;
The Bushrangers, a Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems by Charles Harpur, 1853;
Freedom on the Wallaby:Poems of the Australian People edited by Marjorie Pizer, 1953; and
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984.

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

See also.

Love's Humility by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
I am not fit to enter. I can lie
Across God's doorstep, seeing you go by
In all your dainty holy loveliness;
And, if you pass me, can I love you less?

I am not fit to enter. I can stand
And touch the portal with my sinful hand,
While you who have no sinning to confess
May scorn me; but I shall not love you less!

First published in The Queenslander, 19 September 1896

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

World-Voices by F. Bennett

| No TrackBacks
"What art thou, swift drought-breaking flood,
That wreckest river farms with mud?"
"A life where good and evil vie
In long and doubtful war am I."

I asked each fallen, withered flow'r
Destroyed by worm or frost or show'r,
Each answered with a stifled sigh:
"A pale, neglected maid was I."

I hailed each aged, giant rock
Slow-weathered by the tempest shock,
Sepulchral came the deep reply;
"A crumbling dynasty am I."

I questioned every sere, red leaf
The import of its season brief.
It murmured as it drifted by:
"A blighted human hope was I."

I taxed each restless, battling blast
That stormed aloud, or wailing passed.
One constant dirge they sang to me:
"Wild, discontented souls were we."

I questioned ev'ry baffled wave
That fretted through its ocean cave,
The answer came --- a wailing sigh:
"A wasted human life am I."

I asked each gaunt and dying tree
That stretched gray arms imploringly.
It creaked in every storm-wind high:
"A prayer as yet unanswered I."

I hailed each mellow, clear-eyed star
Above Earth's dust and turmoil far.
The answer filled Earth, Sea, and Sky:
"A pure, consistent life was I."  

First published in The Queenslander, 18 September 1897

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Volunteer Rhymes by Henry Halloran

| No TrackBacks
Come, boys! come, -- let us fairly use the present,
And plant for our children the gallant oak tree;
The pride in old Britain, of peer and of peasant;
The king of the forest, the ark of the free!

Come, boys! come, -- let us put away the distaff,
And take for the future, the rifle or sword;
Let every man, here, say, that one of those is his staff,
Let him fairly pledge his fellows, and be true to his word.

Are we of Britain the true sons, or bastards?
Shall we look to others our homes to defend?
Have we no scorn for palterers and dastards?   
Can we not be faithful and manly to the end!  

Hear we not the murmur of peoples now arming?
Read we not the storm in the sky mute and calm?
Tho' signs such as these be to dastards alarming;
They bid every true man to gather and arm.     

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 September 1860

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Rosebud by Emily Coungeau

| No TrackBacks
From out the fragrant basket of the blushing morn
   I took a golden rose,
A bud of hope 'mid leaves of promise borne,
   Would its pure heart unclose?  

From out noon's bowl of molten radiance bright
   I stole one jewelled hour,
Its facets flamed with pulsing, quivering light,
   Charged with enchantment's power.

From out the lap of eve a guerdon sweet  
   I e'er so softly drew.  
How the pale moments fled on dewy feet
   Only one spirit knew.

From out night's arch, which half her charm conceals,
   Swept as the flash of oars
Those golden steeds which move the whirring wheels
   Of her resplendent cars.

From out the arms of rapturous repose
   The answer came to me,
Love smiling held my full-blown golden rose
   Its glowing heart to see.

From out that garden with the wondrous maze
   Which mortals know as Time
There sounds a luring note where parts the ways,
   And we can hear the chime.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 16 September 1914;
and later in
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

To-morrow by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks
Why are we here? For what do we strive
   In this world of sin and sorrow?
We work to-day; oh, ever to-day;
   With never a sign of the morrow!
Like comrades all, we seek some end,
   Aim at some golden star,
But To-morrow, like a blackening cloud,
   Trembles still afar.
Did we but know -- oh, could we guess --
   The secrets she doth hold --
All that big sea above our heads,
   The mysteries of old.
Life and Death, and even men
Were merely nothing then.

Ah! What is Death, or what is Life?
In all this din of strife
Do we strive for nought,
Do we die for nought,
And is it all a dream?
This joy we feel, this hourly bliss,
These lips we love to kiss --
Why do they go?
Where do they go?
Oh, is it all a dream?

Ah, voice in the sea! Oh, soul in the wind!
Is it all one noble mind?
This spirit in man,
This God in man.
Oh, say is it all a dream?

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 15 September 1909

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Love's Shadow by Dulcie Deamer

| No TrackBacks
Fear is the shadow cast by Love
(Oh, why should Love a shadow cast?)
Blue-crystal is the sky above,
And sweet the mate-call of the dove,
And yet my heart beats hard and fast --
Seeing that little shadow there
The man who waved me his good-bye,
And rode where ring-barked trees stand bare --
I strain my eyes against the glare,
And shudder at a black crow's cry.
What if an empty-saddled horse
Should canter back with swinging rein?
My heart, leaps at imagined loss,
My blood runs backward to its source,
And night, at noon-day, darks the plain.
But when the sunset brings the sound
Of ringing hoofs, and his clear call,
Joy's flaming gold ring clips me round,
As though, indeed, the lost were found,
And Love by fear crowned Lord of All.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 September 1935

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

In Time of Drought by George Essex Evans

| No TrackBacks
Drought and ruin hold the land:
   Round our homes their hosts have met;
On our hearths their thrones are builded;
   On our hearts their seals are set,
But with steadfast heart and hand
   Witness of our race we bear
That hath never bowed its manhood
   To the Sceptre of Despair.

Lo, within the souls of men
   Bitterness has written deep,
Want is with them in their labour,
   Care is with them in their sleep.
O, the gallant hearts and true
   Toiling on without a sign!
O the weary woman faces
   Fighting in the battle-line!

And my heart grows hot within
   For the scattered ranks and pres't,
For the legions of the army
   That is fighting in the West --
For the star that still endures
   Through the blackness of the night,
For the will that does not falter,
   And the splendour of the fight.

'Twas not ease and smooth-won gain
   Made the mighty men of old.
Iron-seared, the souls of Nations
   Learnt to suffer and to hold,
In the surfeit of abundance
   Lurks the canker of decay :
From the discipline of hardship
   Grows the power to mould and sway.


With threads of pain and bitterness
   God Weaves upon the loom of Fate:
In furnace-fires of suffering
   He makes a nation great.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 13 September 1902;
and later in
The Queenslander, 4 October 1902.

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

See also 

Blighted Love by Henry Parkes

| No TrackBacks
Like sunbeams of an angry day,
Which seem to weep their warmth away;
Like waves which winds at midnight make,
Chasing the moonbeams o'er the lake;
Waves of a breath, which tremble forth,
   In hidden beauty, but to die
The moment they would cling to earth,
   Are your hearts doom'd to love and sigh.
A flower of hope -- and hope so brief!
Which, shaken, sheds the seeds of grief;
A beam of peace, which passes by
Before the mourner's cheek is dry;
A beauteous dream of sweet distress
Is all the happiest here possess!
Then, think ye, if so fleet and vain
The most which Fortune's favourites gain --
Oh! think ye, what must be the fate
Of the despised and desolate,
O'er whom the blight of love is hurl'd,
Left withering in a smiling world.

First published in Australasian Chronicle, 12 September 1840;
and later in
Launceston Advertiser, 8 October 1840; and
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842.

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

See also.

Nay! by Robert Adams

| No TrackBacks
Shall the light of our life end in darkness?
   Yea, die out in darkness and space,
Like the fugitive gleam of a meteor,
   When ending its vanishing race;

Which fades into darkness for over,
   As it crumbles to dust on the earth
In ashes, whose coldness may never
   Re-kindle again with bright birth.

Were we aimlessly given existence
   To suffer far more than enjoy?
Were we carelessly brought into being,
   Which Fate with a breath may destroy?   

If so, then the bright worlds of Heaven
   Are Goliaths of sorrow and death,
And in cruelty only was given
   To mortal the boon of his breath!

For we enter this life with sad crying,
   And leave it with suffering moan,
And its troubles are echoed with sighing,
   And its agony's voice ie a groan!   

And but few are its moments of laughter,
   And its happiness shadowed with dread   
Of a hidden and awful hereafter
   When our dust goeth down to the dead.     

Yea, were we but brought into being
   To perish for over with time,
Man might doubt in his God as "all-seeing"  
   And eternal in purpose sublime!        

For, whatever earth's trial or sorrow,
   Some innermost consciousness saith
"Some happy 'hereafter' to-morrow
   Shall justify fully all faith

"That earth's pilgrimage leads up to Heaven  
   Through darkness -- if reverent trod --
And to infinite happiness given
   By the measureless mercy of God."        

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 11 September 1880

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Light and Shade by Henry O'Donnell

| No TrackBacks
There's a little something lying in a dainty, cozy cot,
A something great in miniature, a hero or what not?
While a sunbeam on the threshold seems to brighten up the home,
There is merriment and welcome for the little something come.

He is mottled, he is dimpled, and, though all he says is "gou,"
You think him such a wonder, for he's strikingly like you;
And, though he wakes the echoes with a midnight dance and song,
It's very clear that, in your eyes, "the King can do no wrong."

There's a little something lying in a casket, satin lined,
As if a cherub had been there and left its face behind:
While a shadow on the threshold steals, to fill the home with dread,
There is sighing, there is sobbing, for a little something fled.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 10 September 1903

Author reference site: Austlit.

See also.

McNulty by W.T. Goodge

| No TrackBacks
What McNulty? Strike me purple! He was champion of the West,
Where the gentle art of cursing has achieved its very best.
You can talk about Maginnis and O'Hara and the rest --
   But they couldn't hold a candle to McNulty!

Now THE BULLETIN may have a hide as tough as e'er a mule's,
But it couldn't print his language 'cause it wouldn't have the tools;
It would use up all the brackets, "startlers", stars and metal-rules
   For to punctuate the language of McNulty!

When McNulty came up country he went out to Seven-wire
Where he got a job at hauling logs from hungry McIntyre
(Him as wouldn't work on Sunday if his homestead was a-fire!).
   He could drive a team of bullocks, could McNulty.

But McIntyre's old bullocks they were hungry as was he;
Like them lean and lanky cattle in the Bible yarn, may be.
Anyway, they wouldn't pull a log and 'twas a sight to see
   How they shivered at the language of McNulty?

"Why the (blank dashed parenthesis) and (starred ellipsis) hell
Don't you pull? You sons of (asterisks)!" and here his accents fell.
"Call yerselves a team of bullocks? Workin' bullocks, do yer? Well,
   You're a mob of (blanky) cows!" exclaimed McNulty.

At this gross and brutal insult every bullock gave a heave,
And they hauled that blessed log out just as Mac. had turned to leave.
"I'm a champion ox-persuader, with some notions up my sleeve,
   And I knows the power o' language!" said McNulty.

But M'Nulty went to Sydney, where he drove a parcels van,
And the suburbs got to know just like Coonabarabran.
Took a load of apples over to a North Shore grocer man:
   'Twas the only time that language failed M'Nulty!

You must know "the Shore,' how steep it is; you've climbed the hills, no doubt?
Well, M'Nulty led his horse up; there were plenty folks about;
And the blessed tail-board came unfixed, and let them apples out --
   A catastrophe unnoticed by M'Nulty!

But a crowd was there a-waiting on the summit of the hill
In the hope of hearing language that would make 'em fairly thrill.
When McNulty found what happened for a second he stood still:
   "Please excuse me, gents and ladies," said McNulty,

"I'm the famed McNulty, of the Castlereagh, no less,
And I am a champion swearer -- but I candidly confess
That I can find NO language was would properly express
   What my feelin's is this minute!" said McNulty.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 September 1899

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Purple Violets by Ivy Moore

| No TrackBacks
Imperial Roman Caesar never wore
   More lovely robe of royal, purple hue,
Than glows to-day amidst the fragrant store    
   Of violets, sparkling 'neath the pearly dew!      

From amethystine tint to darkest shade    
   Of lapis lazuli the violets shine,
Weaving a subtle, magic spell, all made  
   Of beauty woven from the years divine!  

A cloud of perfumed sweetness rises fair,
   With scented memories of bygone days,
From crystal bowl, and fills the cool June air,  
   Old Friends; long-dead Romance; and half sung lays!  

Hail! Purple violets in Imperial state!  
   You come to bring the past to life again.
Sweet-scented floral messengers of Fate,
   You whisper low that Love shall conquer pain!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 1934;
and later in
Australian Violets by Ivy Moore, 1937.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Spring by Will M. Fleming

| No TrackBacks
In blue and gold she comes again,
   And all the world must sing
A thousand new-found melodies,
   To welcome joyous spring.

From hill and vale, from earth and sky
   A shout of praise goes forth,
The horsemen whistle as they ride
   By south and west and north.

For dull indeed is he who fails
   To face his life anew,
With heightened hopes and eager eyes,
   To see the story through.

While all the woes the world can show,
   May come and disappear,
Our heads are high, because we know
   That spring comes every year.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 September 1929

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Highly Desirable by Edward Dyson

| No TrackBacks
The boarder in the bar-room rose,
   A pale gaunt man who lodged with Hann,
"I bear," he said, "the worst of woes,
And suffer torments no one knows,
   For do my best I never can
   Have sleep like any other man.

"I have insomnia," said he.
   "At times it drives me mad outright.
Whate'er I do, where'er I be,
Its just the same - so sleep for me.
   You won't believe for three years quite
   I haven't slept two hours a night."

Boss-cocky Billson softly swore,
   And turning from his chestnut cob.
"What's that?" he questioned from the door.
"You say that you don't sleep no more
   Than two hours?  I pay thirty bob.
   Now, mister, do you want a job?"

First published in The Bulletin, 6 September 1917

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

See also.

Faithful to the End by Clarinda Parkes

| No TrackBacks
He watches at the sick man's side,
   Still constant at the latest breath;
With love that will not be denied    
To follow, and unterrified,
   His footstep down the ways of death.    

And we behold and question not;
   So common is the wonder grown;
How man such miracle has wrought
That to a brute's dull spirit is taught
   A faith more faithful than his own.     

Nor in some brute of gentle mood:   
   Not so; or were the marvel less;
But in the grey breast of the wood,
Athirst for rapine and for blood,  
   Is risen this soul of tenderness.

Man, if thou wilt explore the cause,
   Ask of the deep and of the height,
And question of eternal laws
The power that all creation draws
   Through darkness to the Infinite.          

In sight nor word the answer lies:
   Yet, humbly listening to thine ears,
Faint as from far, may murmurs rise
Of Love's majestic harmonies,
   That rule the concord of all spheres.        

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 September 1896

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

You, and Yellow Air by John Shaw Neilson

| No TrackBacks
I dream of an old kissing-time
   And the flowered follies there;
In the dim place of cherry-trees,
   Of you, and yellow air.

It was an age of babbling,
   When the players would play
Mad with the wine and miracles
   Of a charmed holiday.

Bewildered was the warm earth
   With whistling and sighs,
And a young foal spoke all his heart
   With diamonds for eyes.

You were of Love's own colour
   In eyes and heart and hair;
In the dim place of cherry-trees
   Ridden by yellow air.

It was the time when red lovers
   With the red fevers burn;
A time of bells and silver seeds
   And cherries on the turn.

Children looked into tall trees
   And old eyes looked behind;
God in His glad October
   No sullen man could find.

Out of your eyes a magic
   Fell lazily as dew,
And every lad with lad's eyes
   Made summer love to you.

It was a reign of roses,
   Of blue flowers for the eye,
And the rustling of green girls
   Under a white sky.

I dream of an old kissing-time
   And the flowered follies there,
In the dim place of cherry-trees,
   Of you, and yellow air.

First published in The Sun [Sydney], 4 September 1910;
and later in
The Bookfellow, October 1912;
The Worker, 31 July 1919;
Poetry in Australia 1923;
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson by John Shaw Neilson, 1934;
Poems by John Shaw Neilson, 1964;
Australian Letters, 4 September 1964;
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981;
This Australia, Spring 1985;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Australian Poetry in the Twentieth Century edited by Robert Gray and Geoffrey Lehmann, 1991;
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991;
The Oxford Book of Australian Love Poems edited by Jennifer Strauss, 1993;
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993;
The Australian, 5 January 1994;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard 1998;
Hell and After: Four Early English Language Poets of Australia edited by Les Murray, 2005; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry
edited by John Leonard, 2009.

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

See also.

Where Willow-Trees Fringe a Fairyland by Harry "Breaker" Morant

| No TrackBacks
When the sky was the softest shade of grays,
   Save eastward --- where glowered one fire-edged cloud --
I watched in the dawning the brown hills raise
   Their wood-clad crests from a misty shroud;
         And I waiting stood
         At the skirt of the wood,
Where the river has wound through its waste of sand,
         And its broad tide slips
         By the thirsty tips
Of the willow-trees fringing Fairyland!

And You came! -- as the morning sunbeams came --
   And the whole of this fair world waxed more bright;
Whilst the sunlight shone upon fields aflame,
   Till the valley was flooded with yellow light.
         We dallied that day
         Till the skies grew gray,
And the gloaming yielded to dusky night;
         For the short hours fled
         With a hasty tread,
As though Night were jealous of Day's delight.

Years come, and go! but they cannot efface
   What are memories now --- of Fairyland!
Your innocent eyes and your girlish grace
   And the soft, warm clasp of your little hand.
         Now I stand alone
         Where the sunlight's thrown
On the willow boughs, ere the day is done --
         When their drooping fringe
         Just borrows a tinge
Of fiery light from the fading sun.

And a quiet broods o'er the rugged hill,
   And the birds which sang in the morn are dumb;
Whilst here by the willows I wait until
   That other -- and longer --- night shall come.
         There's a faint, faint plash
         And a silvery flash
Where the waters swirl round the willow stems,
         And the darkling sky
         Unrolls on high
Its banner spangled with starry gems.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 September 1898;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant : His 'Ventures and Verses edited by Frank Renar, 1902; and
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980.
Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Ginger Mick's Straight Griffen by C. J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
"'Eroes? Orright. You 'ave it 'ow yeh like.
   Throw up yer little 'at an' come the glad;
But not too much 'Three-'Earty-Cheers' fer Mike;
   There's other things that 'e'll be wantin' bad.
The boys won't 'ave them kid-stakes on their mind
Wivout there's somethin' solider be'ind."

Now that's the dinkum oil frum Ginger Mick,
   In 'orspital, somew'ere be'ind the front;
Plugged in the neck, an' lately pretty sick,
   But now right on the converlescent stunt.
"I'm on the mend," 'e writes, "an' nearly doo
To come the 'ero act agen - Scene two."

I'd sent some papers, knowin' 'ow time drags
   Wiv blokes in blankits, waitin' fer a cure.
"An' 'Struth!" Mick writes, "the way they et them rags
   Yeh'd think that they'd bin weaned on litrachure.
They wrestled thro' frum 'Births' to 'Lost and Found';
They even give the Leaders 'arf a round."

Mick spent a bonzer day propped up in bed,
   Soothin' 'is soul wiv ev'ry sportin' page;
But in the football noos the things 'e read
   Near sent 'im orf 'is top wiv 'oly rage;
The way 'is team 'as mucked it earned 'is curse;
But 'e jist swallered it - becos uv nurse.

An' then this 'eadline 'it 'im wiv bokays;
   "Australian Heroes!" is the song it makes.
Mick reads the boys them ringin' words o' praise;
   But they jist grins a bit an' sez "Kid stakes!"
Sez Mick to nurse, "You tumble wot I am?
A bloomin' little 'ero.  Pass the jam!"

Mick don't say much uv nurse; but 'tween the lines -
   ('Im bein' not too strong on gushin' speech) -
I seem to see some tell-tale sort o' signs.
   Sez 'e, "Me nurse-girl is a bonzer peach,"
An' then 'e 'as a line: "'Er sad, sweet look."
'Struth!  Ginger must 'a' got it frum a book.

Say, I can see ole Ginger, plain as plain,
   Purrin' to feel the touch u'v 'er cool 'and,
Grinnin' a bit to kid 'is wound don't pain,
   An' yappin' tork she don't 'arf understand,
That makes 'er wonder if, back where she lives,
They're all reel men be'ind them ugly chivs.

But that's orright.  Ole Ginger ain't no flirt.
   "You tell my Rose," 'e writes, "she's still the sweet.
An' if Long Jim gits rnessin' round that skirt,
   When I come back I'll do 'im up a treat.
Tell 'im, if all me arms an' legs is lame
I'll bite the blighter if 'e comes that game!"

There's jealousy!  But Ginger needn't fret.
   Rose is fer 'im, an' Jim ain't on 'er card;
An' since she spragged 'im last time that they met -
   Jim ain't inlisted - but 'e's thinkin' 'ard.
Mick wus 'er 'ero long before the war,
An' now 'e's sort o' chalked a double score.

That's all Sir Garneo.  But Mick, 'e's vowed
   This "'Ail the 'Ero" stunt gits on 'is nerves,
An' makes 'im peevish; tho' 'e owns 'is crowd
   Can mop up all the praises they deserves.
"But don't yeh spread the 'ero on too thick
If it's exhaustin' yeh," sez Ginger Mick.

"We ain't got no objections to the cheers;
   We're good an' tough, an' we can stand the noise,
But three 'oorays and five or six long beers
   An' loud remarks about 'Our Gallant Boys'
Sounds kind o' weak - if you'll ixcuse the word
Beside the fightin' sounds we've lately 'eard.

"If you'll fergive our blushes, we can stand
   The 'earty cheerin' an' the songs o' praise.
The loud 'Osannas uv our native land
   Makes us feel good an' glad in many ways.
An' later, when we land back in a mob,
Per'aps we might be arstin' fer a job.

"I'd 'ate," sez Mick, "to 'ave you think us rude,
   Or take these few remarks as reel bad taste;
'Twould 'urt to 'ave it seem ingratichude,
   Wiv all them 'earty praises gone to waste.
We'll take yer word fer it, an' jist remark
This 'ero racket is a reel good lark.

"Once, when they caught me toppin' off a John,
   The Bench wus stern, an' torked uv dirty work;
But, 'Struth! it's bonzer 'ow me fame's come on
   Since when I took to toppin' off the Turk.
So, if it pleases, shout yer loud 'Bravoes,'
An' later - don't fergit there's me, an' Rose."

So Ginger writes.  I gives it word fer word;
   An' if it ain't the nice perlite reply
That nice, perlite old gents would like to've 'eard
   '0o've been 'ip-'ippin' 'im up to the sky -
Well, I dunno, I s'pose 'e's gotter learn
It's rude fer 'im to speak out uv 'is turn.

'Eroes. It sounds a bit uv reel orl-right -
   "Our Gallant 'Eroes uv Gallipoli."
But Ginger, when 'e's thinkin' there at night,
   Uv Rose, an' wot their luck is like to bbe
After the echo dies uv all this praise,
Well - 'e ain't dazzled wiv three loud 'oorays.

First published in The Bulletin, 2 September 1915;
and later in
The Moods of Ginger Mick by C. J. Dennis, 1916.

Note: this poem is also known by the title The Straight Griffin.

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

A Dream by Louisa Lawson

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Just as the grey dawning could faintly be seen,
   One still summer's morning I dreamt a fair dream,
I thought that my body was tenantless clay,
   And friends were preparing to lay it away,
They stood at my bedside, one weeping aloud,
   While two with deft finger's placed on me a shroud,
And she who had loved me and knew all my care,
   Placed flowers about me and braided my hair.

And murmured, "poor creature, her troubles are o'er,
   And they who have vexed her can vex her no more,"
Then tenderly crossing my hands on my breast,
   She kissed me and blessed me, and left me to rest,
The kindest words only about me were said
   And restfully thought I, 'tis well to be dead.
I sighed with contentment, so safe did I seem,
   But alas for the sigh, for it banished my dream.

First published in The Dawn, 1 September 1891;
and later in
The Lonely Crossing and Other Poems by Louisa Lawson, 1905;
The Poet's Discovery: Nineteenth Century Australia in Verse edited by Richard Douglas Jordan and Peter Pierce, 1990;
The First Voice of Australian Feminism: Excerpts from Louisa Lawson's The Dawn 1888-1895 edited by Olive Lawson, 1990; and
Louisa Lawson: Collected Poems with Selected Critical Commentaries edited by L.M. Rutherford, M.E. Roughley and Nigel Spence, 1996.

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

See also.

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