In Time of Drought by George Essex Evans

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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

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 13, 2012 8:42 AM.

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