To the Daughter of Australia by Henry Halloran

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Bright are thine eyes, star-scorning,
   Fair daughter of the South, 
The roseate hues of morning
   Are on thy cheek and mouth,
And thoughts of Paradise repose 
About thy bosom's snows.

A dream of beauty wandering o'er
   Some poet's raptured brain,
Thy form of grace might well restore,
   Never to part again :-
A form which sculptors might behold, 
Then scorn their art as cold.

Daughter! profusely dower'd,--
   Rise high o'er Beauty's dower,
And, tho' midst roses bower'd,  
   Assume thy righteous power; 
Shape with triumphant hand 
The glories of thy land.  

For, in thy power of Beauty,  
   Thou has a vast control,--
To guard the path of Duty,  
   And to exalt the soul,-- 
To bid our youth aspire,
And glow with patriot fire.

Old Greece, old Rome, and Britain,
   Have annals which relate,--
Brave men have truly written,--
What glorifies a State; 
Be it thy pride to raise
Our youth to Glory's ways.

The sordid heart can never 
   A patriot breast inflame;  
Fear stays each high endeavour,
And slopes the path to shame :-- 
Injustice -- leprous taint--
Makes the heart foul and faint.  

Let not the mean of spirit
   Approach thy virgin hand, 
Altho' he may inherit  
The riches of the land,-- 
Nor let thy bright eyes smile 
On cruelty or guile.  

Nor beeves nor treasures hoarded,
   Should shield from woman's scorn 
The base, the false, the sordid,--
   Altho' of princes born;
Yet should her smile make glad, 
The high-souled peasant lad.

Teach thy young smiling brother,
   True -- chivalrous to be,--
And, when thou art a mother,
   Teach those around thy knee,
How great their country's claim, 
How high a patriot's fame.

First published in The Empire, 2 December 1851

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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