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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

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Love of Liberty by Henry Parkes

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Earth's guardian minds in every age have hymn'd
Thy praise, O Liberty, in words of fire;
Enkindling, as thy genius will'd desire
Of thine immortal honours all ndimm'd
In their unroused compatriots. Death begrimm'd
By Bigotry's devices, -- living pyre,
Slow waste of life in dungeons, rackings dire,
May crush the goodly-form'd and lusty limb'd,
But touch not love of liberty. So well
Art thou beloved of all who once feel free!
What other cause had nerved the patriot Tell?
Made the three hundred of Thermopylae?
And oh, may love of thee for ever dwell
In the bold Briton's heart, though poorest he!

First published in The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts and General Literature, 29 July 1843;
and later in
The Empire, 12 April 1851; and
Murmurs of the Stream by Henry Parkes, 1857.

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

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The Price of Freedom by Robert Lowe

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They tell us that Freedom's a holiday dress,
Very gaudy and flaunting, they're free to confess,
But too thin for the storm, and too frail for the blast,
It is quite out of place when the sky's overcast;
And that those on whose shoulders 'tis worthy to fall,
Not to wear it to rags, will not wear it at all.

They tell us that Freedom's a suppliant that bends
To the insults of foes and the treason of friends;
They say 'tis unstatesmanlike even to dream
Of insisting on right, if the right be extreme;
And that people in power will always be lenient
To modest requests -- If they're not inconvenient.

They say that if Governors choose to be skittish,
To thwart them is Turkish, to bend to them British; ---
That Freedom's the only good under the sun,
For which nought's to be suffered, no risk to be run:
And that he who would venture his neck or his gains
For so abstract a cause, is a fool for his pains.

They tell us --- but one thing they tell us not --- where
Has a nation been freed by submission and prayer?
What tyrant was ever persuaded to break
The bonds or his slaves for humility's sake?
And by whom was e'er Freedom successfully sought,
Who shrunk from the price at which Freedom is bought?

First published in The Atlas, 4 January 1845;
and later in
Freedom on the Wallaby: Poems of the Australian People edited by Majorie Pizer, 1953; and
Poetry Australia, April 1970.

Author: Robert Lowe (1811-1892) was born in Birmingham, England, and arrived in Australia in 1842.  He had graduated from Oxford in 1829, and after landing in Sydney was immediately admitted to the bar in New South Wales.  He served as a Member of the Legislative Council during the 1840s and also helped found The Atlas magazine, which he may also have edited.  He left Australia in 1850 and returned to England where he again entered politics, serving as Home Secretary in Gladstone's first ministry.  He was elevated to the House of Lords as Viscount Sherbrooke in 1880.  He died in Surrey in 1892.

Author reference site: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Freedom category.

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