Recently in Love and Romance Category

The Secret Lover by Zora Cross

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Nunlike as lone Heloise,
Mid the summer hum of bees,
By Love's questing eyes unseen,
Lily read in linnet green.

All her book was brown with age;
White dreams bloomed on every page.
Fairy wine too sweet to sip
From the wild words seemed to drip.

Like the phantom of a wood
Sitting in a leafy hood,
Lost in holy loveliness,
Lily read, in her green dress:

"Ladye, ladye, laughter dwells,
Hushed as little blossom bells,
All along the leaves you turn;
Turn your eyes, lest mine should burn!"

But the nunlike Lily reads,
Nor her secret lover heeds,
Singing softly in her ear
Forest songs of a green fear.

Richer grows the tale and rare
Of a ladye wondrous fair --
She enchanted on a day
Lost a million years away --

"Barley bread he brought her in,
Set it in a wooden bin.
Wine they drank; and when they sang
Spring from winter slumber sprang."

So she read and turned the leaf --
"Ladye, ladye, bride of grief,
Look at me!" She only said
"Poetry is holy bread."

"Ladye, ladye, I am here."
From the book in elfin fear
Out her secret lover leapt.
Nunlike Lily sighed and wept.

From his lips she sipped the bliss
Of a red enchanted kiss.
Love, who sought her, sought in vain;
Lily dreamed away again.

Like a leafy dryad now
Underneath a rose-red bough --
Comely April, madcap May --
Lily reads the livelong day.

Bleating lambs the valley fill:
Black kids plunge along the hill.
Root, nor weed, nor herb nor flower
Charm her from her story bower.

Love, with many a longing look,
Sighs upon her open book.
"Ladye," wooes her wild book lover
Safe between each rosy cover.

Her he feeds on spicy things
To the murmurous lisp of wings
Floating in a stilly tune
Underneath an olden moon.

Flowery lanes of a lost day
Twenty thousand worlds away,
Stars above the balconies,
June joy under lilac-trees --

These she knows and something more,
Strolling by a fairy shore.
Leafy altars, sleepy kine
Glimmer through the woodland vine.

Dulcet songs of ladies fair.
Barons bold without a care.
Baskets of lush loveliness --
These are in each leaf's caress.

And for ever, skylark clear,
Through the laughter of the year,
"Ladye, ladye, ladye sweet!"
Sings that lover at her feet.

"Lily, turn and look at me,
Lily made for poesy!
Lily, in my eyes behold
That which never may grow old!"

"Ladye, ladye, ladye dear.
Do not heed him, do not hear!
What can mortal lover give
When immortal you may live?

"Spicy heights of autumn call;
Climb across my wizard wall.
Ladye, ladye, by my spell
In my secret garden dweII."

Lily listens like a maid
Under charm of faery laid;
Lily would give Love her hand
At his earnest, quick command;

But her phantom lover wooes.
"Ladye, ladye!". . . . Will she choose
Crying love with human eyes
Or her ghost of Paradise?

First published in The Bulletin, 5 November 1925

The Lost Kiss by Mabel Forrest

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So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
For I gave it to the Night:
And it flew as high as the furthest star.
And hung like a point of light,
Till an earth-bound soul leaned o'er Heaven's rim
With old memories made sad,
And it nestled close in the angel-hand --
The kiss that you should have had!

So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
Why, I gave it to the Night;
And it flitted out to a flower's face
On a moth-wing soft and white;
And a rocking bud with a broken stem,
By the day time drouth left sad,
Gathered it as dew to her wilted breast --
The kiss that you should have had!

So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
Oh! I gave it to the Wind;
And it brushed the tears from a maiden's eyes
Whom a false love had made blind;
And the slow smile grew on her trembling lip
With a trust renewed and glad.
'Twas like the touch of a magic wand --
The kiss that you should have had!

So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
Why, I gave it to the Wind;
And it went the way of the severed heart,
That never its mate can find...
But at eve, when the dusk is on the trees
And your heart beats low and sad,
'Twill come winging back through the dark to you --
The kiss that you should have had!

First published in The Lone Hand, 1 November 1909

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Secret by Mabel Forrest

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Did the wide world know you loved me would it seen the kinder for it?
   Did the wide world know you loved me -- loved me best --
Would the searching light of day In the yearning soul abhor it?
   Or would the glad winds cry abroad the rapture in my breast?

Ah, no! keep the knowledge hidden, for the secret love is sweeter --
   Sweet to know it when they pass me in the hurrying, busy mart,
For it makes the link diviner, and the dream itself completer,
   While I carry all my secret safely hidden in my heart.

First published in The Queenslander, 28 October 1899

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Poet's Vow by Zora Cross

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Beloved! O beloved one. 
   I write this this to tell you, dear, 
That earth and sky and sea and sun, 
   Are all of mine when you are near. 
My love for you is, as a fire 
   That burns with scented incense fine, 
A thing beyond all base desire, 
   Exquisite, holy, chaste, divine. 
Your eyes are humid pools of light, 
   There is a fragrance in your hair, 
And even in this silent night 
   I feel your presence everywhere. 
Adored of all, good-night, mine own, 
   The very stars your grace adore; 
      Believe me, 
         Ever thine alone... 
Alicia, Effie, Rose -- O Lor'! 
Whichever did I mean this for?

First published in The Bulletin, 26 October 1916

The Faded Posy by Mabel Forrest

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To-day I opened a book,
In which in the long ago, 
You and I used to read
You, whom I once loved so, 
But we had forgotten it all,
Till out of the book, there fell
A faded posy of flowers!

Oh! You whom I once loved well,
Loved with a love that became 
Faded, and lost, and dead:
How strange that those flowers keep, 
Their scent and their living red!  

First published in The Courier-Mail, 23 September 1933

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Quarrel by Mabel Forrest

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Is Day long enough for quarrelling, lad? 
There are only twelve of her burnished hours;  
   There is only one morning, fresh and fair,   
   Where the palm trees swing in the dew-washed air
O'er heads of the mauve hydrangea flowers,
   One dreamy evening, bloom-filled and sweet,   
Is Day long enough for quarrelling, lad? 

Is Night long enough for quarrelling, lad? 
The dwindled stars of the Milky Way 
   Show the path that our souls shall someday wing,    
   And the time between is a little thing. 
Ere Night sinks conquered by burning Day.      
   Does the Cosmea turn from the firefly's kiss?
   Oh! the dear blind dark is not meant for this! 
Is Night long enough for quarrelling, lad?   

Is Life long enough for quarrelling, lad?   
Ah! I know the sweep of a changing sea, 
   It is dotted with islands patterned green,    
   With the sand-spits stretching like arms between.  
They are always waiting for you and me, 
   (By the sun gem-circled, by storms lashed grey) 
   To divide To-morrow from Yesterday.
Is Life long enough for quarrelling, lad?   

Is Love great enough for quarrelling, lad?   
Will the gold not rust with the tear repressed?  
   Will the heart not shrink from the bitter word?
   Will the soul not tire of reproaches heard?  
The soul that has joyed in a love confessed,
   Will the long, warm clasp where the fingers fold,
   Not too surely slacken, grow pulseless, cold? 
Is Love great enough for quarrelling, lad?  

First published in The Sunday Times, 19 September 1909

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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If by Zora Cross

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What if the flower-like stars were angel lights
Guarding God's silence through eternal nights?
What if the purple film of those dark skies
Were fragrant curtains hiding form our eyes
The wall of jasper and the golden street
Made musical with white seraphic feet?
What of these were -- nay if all these were mine,
I still cling to earth and hold divine
Above all stars and purple clouds that float
The slender curves about your singing throat.

First published in The Lone Hand, 16 September 1919

North to South by Mabel Forrest

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She is a thing of fire, and I am a thing of snow;
And ever she hails me to her with a passionate call and low --
For she is a thing of fire, and I am a thing of snow!

The lights in the camps of savage men
Are deep in her mystic eyes;
Or in desert place under midnight skies
Gleam and glitter of wild beast eyes
Corpse lights flaring in some still glen
Where the ambushed wolf pack lies.

She draws me to her as fireflies draw
Their mates from the tree-trunks' gloom --
For the ice to the south is the polar law,
And the green bergs melt in the blue sea's maw,
And are lost in the wide salt room.

Red is her mouth as a coal, and rare as a jewel's glow;
When she beckons, I must arise and take my staff and go,
Though it be Love or Death, the call -- the call of fire to snow! 

First published in The Sydney Mail, 27 August 1919

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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To Editha by Mabel Forrest

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Editha! out by the sandy bar, 
   Out by the shining line of beach, 
Somewhere away in the south you are, 
   Mermaid and seashore, each to each.

Out on the rocks where the seashell lies 
   Editha dreams in the noonday rest, 
Where waves dance blue as a woman's eyes, 
   And foam lies white as a woman's breast. 

To his ears her voice, as a syren song,   
    Perhaps rings to-day in the sea-girt south; 
Perhaps he already has waited long 
   For an answering smile from her rose-leaf month. 

But the songs I heard in the past are here, 
   As tenderly true or as gaily bright; 
And I find the voice of my dreams as dear, 
   Though I hear it but in my heart to-night.

First published in The Queenslander, 24 July 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Lute Strings by Mabel Forrest

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He played his lute at drowsy noon
   In the shadows of the towers;
Some cried he brought the lilt of birds
   And wind among the flowers;
And every gaffer swore that he
Had strung the lute with witchery!

The children heard no note of grief
   They danced upon the cobbled way
And laughed the strings were woven by
   Bright fairies making holiday --
But old folk, heeding close and long,
Thought there was weeping in the song.

One vowed the strings a woman's hair
   Of unforgotten gold;
One whispered of a wer-wolf's thews
   Torn from the churchyard mould:
But one pale maid, who stood apart,
Knew them drawn from her breaking heart.

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 21 July 1925

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Forest Thing by Mabel Forrest

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I was a thing of the forest time,
   And you were a thing of the sea;
And out of the flood you tried to climb --
Out of the weed and sand and slime,
   And there shingled beach, to me.

I was a thing of leaf and bud,
   And the sap in the thrilling bole;
And you were an eyeless spawn of mud,
Bubble-breather and brine for blood,
   And a blind, impotent soul.

I swung on a branch on a clear, blue sky,
   You rolled in a seaweed snare;
I flirted a squib at a butterfly,
Mocked the wind as it rustled by,
   And drank of the sun-sweet air.

You sighed in the dark on your pouchy floor,
   You sobbed on the shell's sharp rim.
And every ebb from the light-steeped shore,
Would fling you back with a spiteful roar,
   To your caverns green and dim.

I drew my life from the grass and mould,
   Where the oak and bracken grew;
And you were but drift where the breakers rolled --
Now your hair is pale as the seaweed's fold,
   And your eyes still keep the blue.

My hair is ruddy as good red earth,
   And my eyes are warm and dark,
As the bracken cowl ere the frond has birth,
And the bee and the moth have weighed its worth,
   Or the musky cedar's bark.

Then keep to your tide. O wooer mine!
   While I cling to my natal tree,
For your lips have a tang of the cold, cold brine,
And my blood is red as the earth's red wine,
   And I cannot bide the sea!

First published in The Bulletin, 9 July 1914

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Holy Ground by Kathleen Dalziel

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There is a way, in the mist-veiled summer valleys,
   Where the voice of the trees intones a muted psalm,
Where the tired torrent takes breath awhile and dallies 
   In a haven of leafy calm.

Where the sky is a roof of cloudy opal over
   The columned hills, and the air is sharp as wine,  
And the coral fern and the crimson bramble cover
   The bird-pool under the pine.

Little disturbs the peace there, and there by inches
   The noonday sunlight follows the winding path,
Till all the way is sunlight, and the finches
   Scatter their silver bath.

Where the moulding log retrieves her green with mosses,
   And the mountain myrtle leans up to bluer air,
And the wavering spray in a drifting rainbow crosses 
   The rifts of maiden-hair.

And memory weaves a charm about the bracken,
   For its earth made holy with sweetness overpast,
With the sanctity of our first kiss shyly taken,
   And the sadness of our last.

First published in The Australasian, 6 July 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

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I Can Begin Again by Zora Cross

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I can begin again. Does not the night
After its weariness know day once more?
I can unlock another little door
And find new ways, new worlds for my delight.
There is a path I only know by sight.
Things I had never thought were here before
I can discover in a brighter flight.

Why, being feminine, should I declare
All things are finished? I have loved and lost.
I can begin again -- Joy's cymbals beat.
Earth is radiant, still rich and fair.
Heart, when the wine is spilled, why count the cost?
Sips of eternity make death taste sweet.

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 5 July 1927

Three Rosebuds by Mabel Forrest

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Three rosebuds did I bring thee, that thou my heart shouldst know,
And one was faith of childhood -- that shattered shall not grow,
Scented with breath of angels, and white as sifted snow,
Three rosebuds did I bring thee, that thou my heart shouldst know.

Three rosebuds did I bring thee, and one was like the morn,
Pink-flushed with tender fancies of gold days yet unborn,
And this was honest friendship, that can be bravely worn --
The butt for no man's laughter, and for no woman's scorn --
Three rosebuds did I bring thee, and one was fair as morn.

Three rosebuds did I bring thee ... for three thou wouldst have had;
The third is red with passion ... sun-kissed ... and sweet ... and sad ...
The first will stir remembrance ... the second make thee glad ...
The last ... is not for thee, nor me ... the rose we might have had.

First published in The Australasian, 4 July 1908 

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Book by Mabel Forrest

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Life keeps a library of Joy and Grief --
Gold-edge, illumined text, and the first leaf 
We turned together; and in time 
There were both tears and laughter in its rhyme,      
And blotted pages, and gay plates of flowers. 
A strange, rare book was this love-tale of ours!     
O! Fame or Fortune, can you recommend
Some other book? For Love has reached the End!

First published in The Australasian, 29 June 1918

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Lady Jean by Mabel Forrest

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Many a wooer had Lady Jean, 
   Knights and courtiers at beck and call; 
   But cold as the snow was she to all --
A lovely maid with a winsome mien.

One came armed with his money bags --
   "See, I can give you gold, proud Jean!"?  
   The lady laughed, with a sigh between --   
"The gold comes ready; the love tale lags." 

A handsome knight with a haughty face 
   Swaggering into the courtyard came -- 
   "I have the love of a Royal Dame;   
Give me thy maid's love in its place." 

Lady Jean curled a scornful lip --  
   "Go back to thy foolish light-o'-loves;
   What do I care for a heart that roves, 
Tossed on the waves, like a paper ship?"   

At length one spoke with a noble air -- 
   "I ask no guerdon for loving; still 
   My life is yours to make what you will: 
Stain it with evil or paint it fair. 

A peasant dares not to win a Queen."
   Soft answered she -- "You have reached the goal; 
   You have brought me your own immortal soul. 
Can a man do more?" quoth the Lady Jean.

First published in The Queenslander, 26 June 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Finis by Kathleen Dalziel

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Flags of the sunset flying
   Stormy signals of red,
Night winds rising and crying
   With a sad, uneasy dread.
Oh, love was a long time dying,
   But now it is very dead!

And now there is nothing to grieve me,
   Nothing to bind or keep;
Fortune may follow or leave me
   The cold fates smile or weep.
What matter, when what most mattered
   Lies buried so deep, so deep?

Now I am free as the wind is,
   Careless as is the wave,
And nothing left in my mind is
   Of my old dreams bright and brave.
However Autumn be grieving
   Over the Summer's grave ...
 
Loose leaves fallen and flying,
   A shrine whose worshippers fled,
Where a cap and bells is lying
   in a broken idol's stead ...
Oh, love was a long time dying,
   But now it is terribly dead!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 24 June 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

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Retreat by Zora Cross

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This secret, green retreat is mine alone; 
No other mortal knows it. No. Nor can. 
In a dream vale I found it and I plan
To build a castle there and rear a throne.
I'll clear away the tangled weeds o'ergrown. 
Nor ever call to maid or child or man 
Across the distance of that fairy span,
But live there lightly like a leaf, earth-blown.

And good folk, passing, sometimes may hear song 
And sometimes music, elfin strange and rare.
They'll say, "Who holds bright revel in that dell?" 
Then go their way with all the motley throng.
And Love, enthroned, with me the peace shall share,
For it takes two to keep a secret well. 

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 June 1935

"To-day" by Mabel Forrest

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A breezy day and a cloudless sky, 
   And the wide grass plains to the west; 
The willow boughs that are tossed on high 
   Are all in their spring garb dressed;
The grape vine clings to the station home, 
   Where the swallows are darting through,   
And the bay horse stamps, for he would roam 
   Thro' the sweet scrub tracks with you. 
But you linger still with a thoughtful eye, 
   A winsome shape--most fair, 
From the slender foot with its instep high 
   To the crown of your wind-blown hair. 

Come, girl of my heart, for the horses walk, 
   And the road to the south runs free; 
I have but to turn and unlatch the gate, 
   And I ask you to go with me. 
Tarry no longer; "to-day" is ours, 
   "To-morrow" the gods hold yet; 
We may seek in vain this morning's flowers 
   Ere to-day and its sun have set.   
Then leap to the saddle, and off! away! 
   How the grass from our hoof-beats springs! 
Let us know to-night we have had "to-day," 
   Whatever "to-morrow" brings!    

First published in The Queenslander, 29 May 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Silence-Song by Zora Cross

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Locked out of life the singing shadows creep,
Trailing old melodies of mournful sleep.
Slow bells of Rest they ring about the soul,
Ding-dong, ding-dong the muffled measures toll.

Love, I have heard them how they swing and sway
High in the turret-dreams of yesterday.
Oh, wind your arms about me closer still;
Hold me and fold me till the moonbeams thrill.

Heart, make no murmur as we kiss and cling.
Hush! hush! be still, and let our sad souls sing.
Perchance some shadow at the sound may yearn.
Yearn and remember and with tears return.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 May 1920

When You Sing by Mabel Forrest

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A thousand fancies come and go, 
White lilies mid the rushes grow, 
Clear voices ring across the snow, 
Or seas sob in their ebb and flow,
   When you sing. 

Blue mountains rear their crests on high, 
Kings sit alone 'midst revelry, 
Palms pierce the forest to the sky, 
Processions, torch-lit, pass me by, 
   When you sing. 

With throbbing heart I see again 
A shore white lashed in winter rain, 
The mist upon the window-pane, 
And all the grief we grieved in vain, 
   When you sing. 

I see a child in English lanes, 
A harvest moon that slowly wanes, 
Red cottage walls and churches' fanes,   
And violet lights thro' window stains,
   When you sing. 

I see brave soldiers marching on, 
A ship o'er gray horizons gone --
A woman on the shore alone, 
Pale smiling lips, and hearts that moan, 
   When you sing. 

Life's sordid cares of every day 
Are overpowered and shut away; 
All unrestrained the fancies play 
From glad to sad, from sad to gay, 
   When you sing.

First published in The Queenslander, 28 April 1900

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Pot Pourri by Mabel Forrest

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Between your ivory fingers fall
   The withered rose-leaves of the Spring;
The jar is delicately wrought --
   'Twas once the love-gift of a king.
Of royal blue the china is,
   Where scrolls of gold and silver cling.

And as the rose-leaves drift, your eyes
   Are deep and dark with coming tears;
Your unkissed mouth is tremulous
   From looking on the barren years,
As one who by a closing gate
   The distant, dying hoof-beats hears!

Oh, dry your eyes, Felise, and leave
   The withered petals, while you list
To tale of newly-budding flowers
   That break like dawning through the mist --
There are fresh lovers in the world
   And other kisses to be kist!

First published in The Bulletin, 21 April 1921

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Running Water by Kathleen Dalziel

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Over running water promises we made,  
Cross the trickling streamlet in the fern-flagged glade
Some might change, but -- we -- why we loved otherwise.
So 'twas fate we challenged with the glamour in our eyes,
Hand in hand, fast clasped, beneath the gold lights and the green,
Now the seas divide us the years have stepped between.
Still the mottled thrushes stag the long days through
Where the drooping fern trees are thick with rimey dew.
Still, like slender, silver girls, the white gums stand,
And the loveliness of old things lies across the land.
Only human hearts have changed, as human faith must fail,
And the tale of running water is an old wives' tale.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 20 April 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

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Love Homeless by Zora Cross

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Love has no home. He comes with bitter tears,
And taps upon the fast-barred window pane.
None answer him; none heed his sad refrain 
Of "Open open!" Maybe no one hears.
Have all forgotten him? I have strange fears.
He loves to listen to the summer rain
Splash the white roses and the pink again, 
As oft he listened in the long-stilled years.

O morning minstrel of young joy, take heart! 
Some flower-filled hour, when, bathed in fragrant bliss,
The garden glows, some maiden, once too shy, 
Leaning from out her casement bright will start,
Tremble and hear, and, hearing, drop a kiss
Lightly - like this! Why should it not be I?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 1930

"My Boy" by Mabel Forrest

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The boy went out in the early dawn, 
   Laughed as he turned again to call 
One "Goodbye" through the golden morn-- 
   "With me a godspeed"--that was all!

The gaunt greyhound that he left behind 
   Threw back its head in a long drawn wail;   
It was borne to the boy on the morning wind, 
   For he turned and waved from the red sliprail. 

Then we saw him go up the stony ridge 
   Where the brown mud winds to rising sun, 
Heard the hoof-beats fall on the wooden bridge 
   Where the railway goes through M'Kinley's run. 

The boy went out with his head held high, 
   And a happy faith for the years to be,   
He feared not to meet his mother's eye; 
   There was nothing a mother might not see. 

His father said, "Let him go to town," 
   Make a man of our darling boy;   
And I prayed for him when the sun went down, 
   And dreamed of a future of certain joy. 

   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   

A man came back in a sultry eve-- 
   A man world-weary and pale and worn; 
And a mother's foolish heart would grieve 
   For the lad who went with the rosy dawn.

First published in The Queenslander, 17 April 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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A Farewell by Mabel Forrest

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Oh, let it lie a moment in my own-- 
That dear, dear hand whose strength for me has flown, 
Never again to meet in friendliness. 
Oh! clinging hand, would I had loved you less!

Oh, let them lie a moment on my own-- 
Those dear, dear lips which now so cold have grown, 
That once seemed made alone for tenderness. 
Fond, faithless lips, would I had loved you less!   

Then turn and go for evermore from me, 
Hands, eyes, and lips I never more may see; 
Hands, eyes, lips, voice, I pray that God may bless, 
And for thy failings may not love thee less! 

First published in The Queenslander, 26 March 1898

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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"In Silence and Tears" by Mabel Forrest

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I.

As I watch how the slender white oars dip 
   In a line of light thro' the waters green, 
And along the blade how the clear drops slip 
As they cut a path to the waiting ship
   Through the ocean's changing sheen, 
I note well how every white sail fills, 
   How the sun hangs low on the shore behind, 
How the dawning's rose still enwraps the hills, 
And the distant gleam of the mountain rills, 
   And the scents in the summer wind. 

I note, too, the brown of your sunburnt cheek, 
   Of your restless eyes and your fretting hands, 
Of how you falter the words you speak, 
All your wavering purpose, your faith so weak -- 
   One who watches you understands. 
And yet I move not -- I hold no arms 
   Towards your silence to break the spell; 
I make no effort of conscious charms. 
No luring softness that Fancy warms; 
   And so - there is naught to tell! 
Only the beat of the long white oar, 
   And the jewelled drops on the slender blade; 
And the vessel shall speed to a far-off shore; 
And we who, once parted, can meet no more, 
   Of a life's joy can stand afraid! 

II.

There are others, they say, who have prayed full well 
   With white souls seared with some cruel fate, 
And that never a soul prayed yet and fell, 
   Though the answer came too late. 
Ah! but I have seen a white ship sail,
   And heard to my own heart a lost heart call; 
Tho' no earthly voice spoke the spirit's wail, 
And I knew that, at last there was no avail, 
   And the silence conquered all.   
Only a word to have broke the spell!
   The soul leapt up with a glad reply; 
Nothing in speech could have helped to quell 
The wild, fierce faith that had trusted well - 
   But the silence made it die.

First published in The Queenslander, 20 March 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

What Profit It? by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
What profit if through months that stretch to years 
   No morning wakens without thought of you, 
   That never night steals gently on the blue 
Without a haunting dread of lonely tears,

If, when the dawning steals across the grass, 
   The heart leaps up, "To-day he will return"? 
   Alas! poor lips that smile and cheeks that burn, 
Knowing full well how soon the smile will pass. 

What profit if through Pleasure's flying hours 
   The dull familiar pain is always there-- 
   Youth's would-be gladness shadowed by a care,   
And one sharp thorn amongst its fairest flowers, 

If I remember through all, loving yet 
   Trusting, in silence, faithful overmuch, 
   Feeling some day again our lives may touch-- 
What profit me, oh! love, if you forget?

First published in The Queenslander, 12 March 1898

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Fettered by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
Elma chides because she says
   That my love has faded;
And her bodice heaves with sighs
And she sadly pouts and cries,
Looks on me with tear-dimmed eyes
   By long lashes shaded.

Thinks that if she threatens thus
   I will grow the fonder
Of the lips that call for kisses,
Arms that offer all the blisses,
(What a wealth of true love this is
   For a man to squander!)

Elma vows I am foresworn
   Fondling her no longer;
Sweetheart, if you only knew
More than half your words are true,
For I do not think of you --
   Other loves are stronger.

But 'tis not for other faces
   That my love grows colder,
I am false for far grey skies,
Where blue peaks of mountains rise,
And forget the girl who lies
   Warm against my shoulder.

I forget her in the dreaming
   Of a man's life only,
Where no woman hands are clinging,
And no syren voices singing,
Hoofs upon a hard road ringing,
   And a bush track lonely!

Clear horizons clipped in morning,
   Mists about the valley;
Strike the event and up! away!
In the warm, delicious day,
Men together, strong and gay,
   Tracking through the mallee.

There's the rival if you will,
   Girl so full of scorning;
Not another woman's gaze,
Wandering in forbidden ways,
Just the dear, lost boyish days,
   And my life's lost morning.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 March 1904;
and later in
Alpha Centauri by Mabel Forrest, 1909.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Aftermath by Kathleen Dalziel

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I keep for you no wasteful grief,
   No withered memory; 
Only a little faded leaf
   From love's unfruitful tree.

For you no chilling season clouds
   The summer of my years.
So much my time joy overcrowds,
   I've little left for tears.

When wistful ghosts might rise and weep,
   And make, most bitter moan
Over the wounds that were so deep,
   Because you were my own.

All this I tell myself, but when
   Some lonely midnight bears
The very torch of truth, ah! then,
   Illusion disappears.

And, foolish to the last, it seems,
   Old kindness I'll renew,
Rebuilding all my broken dreams
   Into a shrine for you.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 2 March 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.  

To a Flirt by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
Yes! You have broken a heart; 
   Take it and throw it away, 
Do with it then as you may-- 
Yours will not suffer the smart.

Perhaps you have done it before-- 
   Trifled with one for awhile, 
   Thrown it aside for a smile, 
Stretching your hands out for more.   

Hearts are not found every day, 
   Counterfeits flourish indeed; 
   This in its passion can bleed; 
Genuine! so toss it away. 

But that was an honest man's heart, 
   Worthy some good woman's love, 
   Not to be worn like a glove, 
Petted, and riven apart. 

Deem you he counted the cost-- 
   He, who was wholly a man? 
   Make up to her if you can-- 
The woman who doubly has lost. 

Think of eyes tearful and dim, 
   Searching the mesh of your toils; 
   Think of the lives this sport spoils, 
And the woman who's waiting for him!

First published in The Queenslander, 12 February 1898

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Love by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Swift as the crumpled hood
   Of the young poppy is smoothed to sudden flame
In some brief hour, ecstasy in full bud,
   Unheralded, unknown, Love came.

Brief, brief as the short life
   Of the paper-petalled Himalayan rose,
Whirled into nothingness on winds of strife,
   Wept, prayed for, so Love goes.

The rose and the burning poppy's fold,
   The Summer and all bright madness must depart,
Yet even loss has left some pollen gold
   Of memory in my heart.

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 11 February 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.  

From the Past by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
Why should I grieve for you? Voice unavailing, 
Waking the past with its pitiful wailing;
Why should I grieve for you? Weakest of all, 
You, who have fallen as such only fall.

Life gave to you strength, to be wasted and played with;
Life gave you a Fate that you were not dismayed with;
Life treasured a woman's heart, warm for your sake;    
And now it is broken-as such only break.

You rise from the past, insistent, compelling;
Ah! for the tale that brings tears in the telling.
Do I care? Do I look for your home-coming yet?
You who have forgotten, as such men forget?

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 8 February 1905

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

A Song of Parting by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
The songs we used to sing, dear love,
      When stars were overhead,  
      Will live when we are dead,
Dear love,
Will live when we are dead.

The flame trees will put forth their red,
      The silky oaks their gold,
      When both our hearts are cold, 
Dear love,  
When both our hearts are cold.

The dreams we dreamed will be fulfilled
      Among the listening flowers 
      By happier fates than ours,
Dear love,
By happier fates than ours.

Forget the Future, still unread,
      To lie against my heart
      One moment ere we part, 
Dear love,
One moment ere we part.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 18 January 1905

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Egotist by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
I hate to think that it must be that, some or any day,
Spring will bring back her gift to me and find me far away.
That I should miss the birds' first note, the cloud of breaking blossom,
Or the downy trees half hidden in the leafy downs' deep bosom,
That spring came knocking at my door and found me not at home, 
But gone to that far region where no earthly spring may come.
Surely I then must think of her as one in grief that covers
Her face with her pale hands and weeps, and surely weeps,
Because no more an impatient and lovely tryst she keeps
With me, most passionate and faithful of her lovers.
What! spring once more, and I not there to welcome her again,
When the wind blows through the sycamores most sweetly after rain? 
Oh! sad conceit, as well expect the Milky Way, alas,
To miss the trodden glow worm that is missing in the grass.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 11 January 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.    

Love and Desire by Myra Morris

| No TrackBacks
Two women come nightly into my dreams.
   One twines her ghost-pale fingers in my hair
   And spills upon by breast -- soft breathing there --
Strange scents that have the tang of shrouded streams.
And she who in the blanching moonlight-beams
   Draws night and whispers me (Ah sweet! So fair
   Is she with rose-red mouth!), singe me the rare
Most charmed, illicit fragments of her themes.

But when I would of fettering dreams be free
   And spurn the cramping pillow, nothing loath
To clasp each close, and call her soft by name --
   Not witching Love, nor pale Desire I see! --
But on the wall the sinister shades of both
   Merged in the one hag-snap of blear-eyed Shame!

First published in The Triad, 10 January 1920 

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

"Marred" by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
I look across the lighted room, 
Across the glory and the bloom, 
      The ballroom's pride; 
Beyond, the garden slopes away,
Beyond the garden lies the bay 
      Where great ships ride. 

A mingled perfume comes to me, 
With scent of rotes, breath of sea --
      A woman's gown 
Swirls softly by me in the light -- 
It hardly seems as if the night 
      Had touched the town; 

Millions of lamps are sparkling out, 
The music sobs, a distant shout 
      Comes to the ear; 
The dark waves catch the city's gleam, 
And like the phantoms of a dream 
      The boats appear. 

And you, away on misty plains, 
Hear, instead of music's strains, 
      The cattle low; 
And, stretched at length by dying fires, 
Do you guess how my heart desires   
      The long ago?   

Or, dully tired, worn, and tried 
By the hot day's long dreary ride, 
      Seek only rest; 
Not pondering on an easier past, 
Nor of the time your head lay last 
      Upon my breast? 

Oh! thoughts that flee across the waste 
Of scrub and plain, why would you haste 
      To woo him back? 
The path it rough his feet must tread, 
For me the lilies bloom instead 
      Adown the track --

The lily buds of luxury --
The rough for him, the smooth for me. 
      Oh! broken troth;   
Oh! hands that used to touch my hair 
When life before seemed only fair, 
      Smooth for us both. 

And then--the gilding fell away. 
What use had I for common clay?   
      And so --" Good-bye!" 
The gold had gone, the love must go --
Have I not always learnt it so? 
      Can wisdom lie? 

"A girl must train her heart," they said, 
God help her! she were better dead 
      Than living so. 
I sold my lips to other lips 
Not fit to touch his fingertips. 
     I sank so low, 

I broke the only loyal heart; 
My friends, steel-banded, bade us part 
   For good of all --
Dear heaven! Hardly bought, such peace -- 
I bowed, and gave him his release, 
      Nor saw my fall. 

I thought that I had done full well, 
Condemning one proud soul to hell, 
   And hid my tears. 
Oh! had they known, advising me, 
My unborn powers of misery 
      Thro' coming years, 

They sorely would instead have taught 
That gilded chains are dearly bought, 
      That love must live, 
If not to good, to grief and shame. 
And yet I was the most to blame, 
      And I forgive. 

The slender band my band must hold 
Feels heavy, tho' it is of gold, 
      Placed fondly on; 
And I, so young to be a wife, 
May still live fifty years of life 
      While you are gone!

First published in The Queenslander, 2 January 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Euphemia Quade by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
The story is here as it came to my ear
   From the lips of old Danny McGee,
Who'd the strength and the will for his bullocking still
   When his years numbered seventy-three.
There's full many a man of the bullocky clan
   On whose word one might never rely;
But old Danny McGee was a hero to me,
   And I'd hate to believe he could lie.

Now, I knows all me facts, an' I torks of the acts
   As I've seen with me own pair of eyes;
An' I teats 'em with scorn - all of them fellers forlorn
   Who will fill up a stranger with lies.
In a sense, I allows that the punchin' of cows
   Ain't conducive to general truth;
But I allus live next to the copy-book text
   I was taught in me innercent youth.

Well, I'm tellin' you this - and I'd take it amiss
   if you thought I was pullin' your leg -
I've some yarns that would fair singe the roots of your hair,
   An' just leave you as bald as an egg:
But this plain little tale is designed for the frail,
   'Twouldn't ruffle the tenderest curl;
An' it's all about Bill, of McGorrorey's Hill;
   An' it's likewise concernin' his girl.

Now, this Bill's other name was Devine, and the same
   Didn't fit with his style or his trade,
Which was punchin' a team, and his language would seem
   To arrive at his lips ready-made.
He'd a fine vocal gift which was reckoned to lift
   Seven ton by its own strength alone;
He was good at his game, an' his name an' his fame
   From the Gap to the Gorge was well known.

You would say at first glance that the thing called Romance
   An' a bullock don't seem to agree.
Funny mixture it seems - cows an' lovers' fond dreams -
   But you listen a minute to me.
There is strange things, ses you, that young fellers will do
   When they're under the spell of a maid,
So it happened to Bill, of McGorrorey's Hill;
   An' her name was Euphemia Quade.

Euphemia Quade she was certainly made
   In a mould that they don't often use.
She was pretty an' coy, an' a dream an' a joy,
   Sich as any young feller might choose.
But the treasure's old man, with the front name of Dan,
   Was a tough proposition to hit.
For, ses he, "This here girl she's a match for an earl,
   An' for plain workin' coves she ain't fit."

But young Bill had a way with the women, they say.
   He was honest, an' clean, an' a man.
He was straight as an ash; an' without bein' flash,
   He made love as a lusty youth can.
As for Phemie, why she had her two eyes to see
   That young Bill was fit mate for a queen;
So they met on the sly, when the moon from the sky
   Turned to silver the forests' trees green.

But the dear little maid she was fearful afraid
   With the risks that she took for his sake,
And the terrible ire of her obstinate sire
   Was a thing that she dreaded to wake.
"O, dear Billy!" ses she, "but I never can be
   E'er your own darlin' wife, as you hope."
"There is one way," ses Bill.  If you're game!  If you will!
   Brave it out, Phemie, dear!  We'll elope!"

On M'Gorrorey's Hill Dan'el Quade's timber mill
   Stands alone in a wide forest land.
And the hills are that steep, and the gullies so deep
   There's scarce foothold for bullocks to stand.
As a matter of course, hair or hide of a horse
   Never comes within miles of the mill;
"But," ses Bill, "Phemie, dear, there's a way, never fear;
   An' I'll find it; for I have the will."

Twice every week across Milligan's Creek
   Came down Billy Devine from the mill;
And again up the track did he punch the beasts back,
   As they clung to the side of the hill.
When at night they unyoked, and the boys sat and smoked,
   Bill got foolin' around with a pair.
"Why, he's breakin' 'em in to the saddle!"  ses Jim;
   "'Tis a treat for to hark at him swear!"

Ses the boys, "What the dooce is the blitherin' use
   Of a bullock in saddle to Bill?"
"Leave him at it," ses Jim.   "It's a mad, harmless whim;
   An' they're scarce on M'Gorrorey's Hill."
So, far into the night, be it dark, be it light,
   Bill he battled and cursed at each beast.
And his language was sure, what the fellers call "pure,"
   And its "purity" daily increased.

Now, from Dan'el Quade's mill, on M'Gorrorey's Hill,
   To the township is thirty mile, good;
An' a parson lives there who's made many a pair
   Man an' missus, as clergymen should.
But the road in between is the worst ever seen;
   'Tis a cross twixt a cliff an' a bog;
An' there's Milligan's Creek for to cross, not to speak
   Of full many a pot-hole an' log.

But along that lone track, each a load on his back,
   When the moon shone out full in the sky,
There came down at a trot Bill's old Baldy and Spot -
   As I tell you without word of a lie,
An' on Spot sat the maid, as he wobbled and swayed
   'Neath the weight of the soon-to-be-bride;
An', with many looks back for pursuit up the track,
   Bill Devine rode on Baldy beside.

Then they came to the creek.  ('Tis with caution I speak,
   For I'd whisper no slander of Bill -
An' 'twas there the beasts baulked; tho' he coaxed an' he talked,
   On the bank they stoof stubborn and still.
Tho' the boy was fair wild, still his language was mild,
   An', in consequence, strange to the steers.
They expects him to swear, an' he cries in despair,
   "Phemie, dear, put your hands to your ears!"

Now, when old Dan'el Quade missed the run of his maid
   Why, he drops to their game in a tick;
An' his brow it was black as he makes down the track
   With the object of trumpin' their trick.
For he swore a loud oath he'd come up with them both,
   An' he'd deal with the man and the maid;
An', my word, you can take, 'twas no trifle to wake
   The hot anger of old Dan'el Quade.

He was wet, he was hot, an' perspirin' a lot
   When he drew near to Milligan's Creek,
An' his temper was raw when the lovers he saw,
   An' he opens his mouth for to speak.
Him young Bill never seen for the bushes between,
   An' that moment he starts to perform.
Like a log on the spot stands Dan Quade like he's shot;
   An' he bows his old head to the storm.

An' young Bill!  Did he curse?  As for chapter and verse
   I refer you to better than me.
It would parch me mouth dry if I ventured to try,
   So I leaves you to guess, fancy free.
But I know it was grand, for no man in the land
   Equalled Bill in addresses to steers.
Like a stone stood old Quade, stony still sat the maid,
   With her pretty hands to her ears.

Then, when Bill paused for breath in a silence like death,
   To the lovers strode old Dan'el Quade.
"We are lost!" mutters Bill.  Ses the boss of the mill,
   "Bill Devine, are you wantin' my maid?
If you do, she is yours, for while punchin' endures
   You're a credit to your native land!
Man alive, you can swear!  Bill Devine, put it there!"
   An' the old father holds out his hand.

With her hands to her ears, an' her mind full of fear,
   Sweet Euphemia sat on her steer;
But the smile on Dad's face spelled forebodin's of grace;
   An', ses Bill, "Take your hands down my dear.
Did you hear what I said?"  An' the maiden grows red;
   But there's fun in her eye, saucy wench,
As she ses, "I heard, here an' there, a strange word,
   Was you speakin' in German or French?"

So then, here is the tale.  Should credulity fail -
   Should your mind be invaded by doubt -
Well, you have it from me just as Daddy McGee
   From his truthful heart gave it out.
The next day, so he said, those true lovers were wed;
   And they owned old Quade's mill when he died.
So says Daddy McGee, aged seventy-three;
   And I'd hate to believe that he lied.

First published in The Weekly Times Annual, 7 November 1914

The Lovers by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
One idle hour she sought to see
   Whose image 'twas he cherished so
(All fondly certain whose 'twould be),
   And found -- a girl she did not know.

A trusty maiden's modest face,
   All innocence and purity.
"What nun is this that fills my place?
   Alas, he loves me not!" sighed she.

"Nay, daughter, let no foolish fears
   Your trust in his devotion mar,"
Her mother said.  "Come, dry your tears;
   That is the girl he thinks you are."

All fondly curious with love
   (Half guessing what he would lay bare)
He rifled her heart's treasure trove,
   And found -- a stranger's image there.

"This is the man she loves!" said he,
   And, searching in the noble face,
Read high resolve and constancy.
   "This saint," he cried, "usurps my place!"

"Nay," spake his friend.  "Your anger cool;
   Gaze on that God-like face once more:
Then be satisfied, O fool;
   That is the man she takes you for."

First published in The Bulletin, 17 May 1906;
and later in
Backblock Ballads and Other Verses by C.J. Dennis, 1913.

The Sentimental Bloke and the Siren by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
She sung a song; an' I sat silent there,
Wiv bofe 'ands grippin' 'ard on to me chair;
   Me 'eart, that yesterdee I thort wus broke
Wiv 'umpin' sich a 'eavy load o' care,
   Come swellin' in me throat like I would choke.
I felt 'ot blushes climbin' to me 'air.
 
'Twas like that feelin' when the Spring wind breaves
Sad music in the sof'ly rustlin' leaves.
   An' when a bloke sits down an' starts to chew
Crook thorts, wivout quite knowin' why 'e grieves
   Fer things 'e's done 'e didn't ort to do --
Fair winded wiv the 'eavy sighs 'e 'eaves.
 
She sung a song; an' orl at once I seen
The kind o' crool an' 'eartless broot I been.
   In ev'ry word I read it like a book --
The slanter game I'd played wiv my Doreen --
   I 'eard it in 'er song; an' in 'er look
I seen wot made me feel fair rotten mean.
 
Poor, 'urt Doreen! My tender bit o' fluff!
Ar, men don't understand; they're fur too rough;
   Their ways is fur too coarse wiv lovin' tarts;
They never gives 'em symperthy enough.
   They treats 'em 'arsh; they tramples on their 'earts,
Becos their own crool 'earts is leather-tough.
 
She sung a song; an' orl them bitter things
That chewin' over lovers' quarrils brings
   Guv place to thorts of sorrer an' remorse.
Like when some dilly punter goes an' slings
   'Is larst, lone deener on some stiffened 'orse,
An' learns them vain regrets wot 'urts an' stings.
 
'Twas at a beano where I lobs along
To drown them memories o' fancied wrong.
   I swears I never knoo that she'd be there.
But when I met 'er eye -- O, 'struth, 'twas strong!
   'Twas bitter strong, that jolt o' dull despair!
'Er look o' scorn! ... An' then, she sung a song.
 
The choon was one o' them sad, mournful things
That ketch yeh in the bellers 'ere, and brings
   Tears to yer eyes. The words was uv a tart
'Oo's trackin' wiv a silly coot 'oo slings
   'Er love aside, an' breaks 'er tender 'eart....
But 'twasn't that; it was the way she sings.
 
To 'ear 'er voice! ... A bloke 'ud be a log
'Oo key 'is block. Me mind wus in a fog
   Of sorrer for to think 'ow I wus wrong;
Ar, I 'ave been a fair ungrateful 'og!
   The feelin' that she put into that song
'Ud melt the 'eart-strings of a chiner dog.
 
I listens wiv me 'eart up in me throat;
I drunk in ev'ry word an' ev'ry note.
   Tears trembles in 'er voice when she tells 'ow
That tart snuffed out becos 'e never wrote.
   An' then I seen 'ow I wus like that cow.
Wiv suddin shame me guilty soul wus smote.
 
Doreen she never looked my way; but stood
'Arf turned away, an' beefed it out reel good,
   Until she sang that bit about the grave;
"Too late 'e learned 'e 'ad misunderstood!"
   An' then -- Gorstrooth! The pleadin' look she gave
Fair in me face 'ud melt a 'eart o' wood.
 
I dunno 'ow I seen that evenin' thro'.
They muster thort I was 'arf shick, I knoo.
   But I 'ad 'urt Doreen wivout no call;
I seen me dooty, wot I 'ad to do.
   O, strike! I could 'a' blubbed before 'em all!
But I sat tight, an' never cracked a boo.
 
An' when at larst the tarts they makes a rise,
A lop-eared coot wiv 'air down to 'is eyes
   'E 'ooks on to Doreen, an' starts to roam
Fer 'ome an' muvver. I lines up an' cries,
   "'An's orf! I'm seein' this 'ere cliner 'ome!"
An' there we left 'im, gapin' wiv surprise.
 
She never spoke; she never said no word;
But walked beside me like she never 'eard.
   I swallers 'ard, an' starts to coax an' plead,
I sez I'm dead ashamed o' wot's occurred.
   She don't reply; she never takes no 'eed;
Gist stares before 'er like a startled bird.
 
I tells 'er, never can no uvver tart
Be 'arf wot she is, if we 'ave to part.
   I tells 'er that me life will be a wreck.
I t ain't no go. But when I makes a start
  To walk away, 'er arms is roun' me neck.
"Ah, Kid!" she sobs. "Yeh nearly broke me 'eart!"
 
I dunno wot I done or wot I said.
But 'struth! I'll not forgit it till I'm dead --
  That night when 'ope back in me brisket lobs:
'Ow my Doreen she lays 'er little 'ead
  Down on me shoulder 'ere, an' sobs an' sobs;
An' orl the lights goes sorter blurred an' red.
 
Say, square an' all--It don't seem right, some'ow,
To say such things; but wot I'm feelin' now
   'As come at times, I s'pose, to uvver men --
When you 'ave 'ad a reel ole ding-dong row,
   Say, ain't it bonzer makin' up agen?
Straight wire, it's almost worth ... Ar, I'm a cow!
 
To think I'd ever seek to 'arm a 'air
Of 'er dear 'ead agen! My oath, I swear
   No more I'll roust on 'er in angry 'eat!
But still, she never seemed to me so fair;
   She never wus so tender or so sweet
As when she smooged beneath the lamplight there.
 
She's never been so lovin' wiv 'er gaze;
So gentle wiv 'er pretty wimmin's ways.
   I tells 'er she's me queen, me angel, too.
"Ah, no, I ain't no angel, Kid," she says.
   "I'm jist a woman, an' I loves yeh true!
An' so I'll love yeh all me mortal days!"
 
She sung a song.... 'Ere, in me barmy style,
I sets orl tarts; for in me hour o' trile
   Me soul was withered be a woman's frown,
An' broodin' care come roostin' on me dile.
   She sung a song.... Me 'eart, wiv woe carst down,
Wus raised to 'Eaven be a woman's smile.

First published in The Bulletin, 30 April 1914;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis, 1915.

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

The Lapse of the Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis

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She never magged; she never said no word; 
But sat an' looked at me an' never stirred. 
   I could 'a' bluffed it out if she 'ad been 
Fair narked, an' let me 'ave it wiv 'er tongue; 
It silence told me 'ow 'er 'eart wus wrung. 
      Poor 'urt Doreen!
Gorstruth! I'd sooner fight wiv fifty men
Than git one look like that frum 'er agen!
 
She never moved; she never spoke no word;
That 'urt look in 'er eyes, like some scared bird: 
   "'Ere is the man I loved," it seemed to say.
"'E's mine, this crawlin' thing, an' I'm 'is wife;
Tied up fer good; an' orl me joy in life
      Is chucked away!"
If she 'ad bashed me I'd 'a' felt no 'urt!
But 'ere she treats me like -- like I wus dirt.
 
'Ow is a man to guard agen that look?
Fer other wimmin, when the'r blokes go crook,
   An' lobs 'ome wiv the wages uv a jag,
They smashes things an' carries on a treat
An' 'owls an' scolds an' wakes the bloomin' street
      Wiv noisy mag.
But 'er -- she never speaks; she never stirs ...
I drops me bundle ... An' the game is 'ers.
 
Jist two months wed! Eight weeks uv married bliss 
Wiv my Doreen, an' now it's come to this!
   Wot wus I thinkin' uv? Gawd! I ain't fit 
To kiss the place 'er little feet 'as been! 
'Er that I called me wife, me own Doreen! 
      Fond dreams 'as flit; 
Love's done a bunk, an' joy is up the pole; 
An' shame an' sorrer's roostin' in me soul.
 
'Twus orl becors uv Ginger Mick -- the cow! 
(I wish't I 'ad 'im 'ere to deal wiv now!
   I'd pass 'im one, I would! 'E ain't no man!) 
I meets 'im Choosdee ev'nin' up the town. 
"Wot O," 'e chips me. "Kin yeh keep one down?" 
      I sez I can. 
We 'as a couple; then meets three er four 
Flash coves I useter know, an' 'as some more.
 
"'Ow are yeh on a little gamble, Kid?" 
Sez Ginger Mick. "Lars' night I'm on four quid.
   Come 'round an' try yer luck at Steeny's school.
"No," sez me conscience. Then I thinks, 'Why not? 
An' buy 'er presents if I wins a pot? 
      A blazin' fool 
I wus. Fer 'arf a mo' I 'as a fight; 
Then conscience skies the wipe ... Sez I "Orright."
 
Ten minutes later I was back once more,
Kip in me 'and, on Steeny Isaac's floor,
   Me luck was in an' I wus 'eadin' good. 
Yes, back agen amongst the same old crew! 
An' orl the time down in me 'eart I knew 
      I never should ... 
Nex' thing I knows it's after two o'clock -- 
Two in the morning! An' I've done me block!
 
"Wot odds?" I thinks. "I'm in fer it orright." 
An' so I stops an' gambles orl the night;
   An' bribes me conscience wiv the gilt I wins. 
But when I comes out in the cold, 'ard dawn 
I know I've crooled me pitch; me soul's in pawn. 
      My flamin' sins
They 'its me in a 'eap right where I live; 
Fer I 'ave broke the solim vow I give.
 
She never magged; she never said no word. 
An' when I speaks, it seems she never 'eard.
   I could 'a' sung a nim, I feels so gay!
If she 'ad only roused I might 'a' smiled. 
She jist seems 'urt an' crushed; not even riled. 
      I turns away, 
An' yanks me carkis out into the yard, 
Like some whipped pup; an' kicks meself reel 'ard.
 
An' then, I sneaks to bed, an' feels dead crook.
Fer golden quids I couldn't face that look --
   That trouble in the eyes uv my Doreen.
Aw, strike! Wot made me go an' do this thing?
I feel jist like a chewed up bit of string,
      An' rotten mean!
Fer 'arf an hour I lies there feelin' cheap;
An' then I s'pose, I muster fell asleep....
 
" 'Ere, Kid, drink this" ... I wakes, an' lifts me 'ead, 
An' sees 'er standin' there beside the bed; 
   A basin in 'er 'ands; an' in 'er eyes -- 
(Eyes that wiv unshed tears is shinin' wet) -- 
The sorter look I never shall ferget, 
      Until I dies. 
" 'Ere, Kid, drink this," she sez, an' smiles at me. 
I looks -- an' spare me days! <i>It was beef tea!</i>
 
Beef tea! She treats me like a hinvaleed! 
Me! that 'as caused 'er lovin' 'eart to bleed.
   It 'urts me worse than maggin' fer a week! 
'Er! 'oo 'ad right to turn dead sour on me, 
Fergives like that, an' feeds me wiv beef tea ... 
      I tries to speak; 
An' then -- I ain't ashamed o' wot I did --
I 'ides me face ... an' blubbers like a kid.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1915;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis, 1915; and
Selected Works of C.J. Dennis, 1988.

Note: this poem is also known by the title Beef Tea.

The Stror 'At Coot by C. J. Dennis

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Ar, wimmin! Wot a blinded fool I've been!
   I arsts meself, wot else could I ixpeck?
I done me block complete on this Doreen,
   An' now me 'eart is broke, me life's a wreck!
The dreams I dreamed, the dilly thorts I thunk
Is up the pole, an' joy 'as done a bunk.
 
Wimmin! O strike! I orter known the game!
   Their tricks is crook, their arts is all dead snide.
The 'ole world over tarts is all the same;
   All soft an' smilin' wiv no 'eart inside.
But she fair doped me wiv 'er winnin' ways,
Then crooled me pitch fer all me mortal days.
 
They're all the same! A man 'as got to be
   Stric' master if 'e wants to snare 'em sure.
'E 'as to take a stand an' let 'em see
   That triflin' is a thing 'e won't indure.
'E wants to show 'em that 'e 'olds command,
So they will smooge an' feed out of 'is 'and.
 
'E needs to make 'em feel 'e is the boss,
   An' kid 'e's careless uv the joys they give.
'E 'as to make 'em think 'e'll feel no loss
   To part wiv any tart 'e's trackin' wiv.
That all their pretty ways is crook pretence
Is plain to any bloke wiv common-sense.
 
But when the birds is nestin' in the spring,
   An' when the soft green leaves is in the bud,
'E drops 'is bundle to some fluffy thing.
   'E pays 'er 'omage -- an' 'is name is Mud.
She plays wiv 'im an' kids 'im on a treat,
Until she 'as 'im crawlin' at 'er feet.
 
An' then, when 'e's fair orf 'is top wiv love,
   When she 'as got 'im good an' 'ad 'er fun,
She slings 'im over like a carst-orf glove,
   To let the other tarts see wot she's done.
All vanity, deceit an' 'eartless kid!
I orter known; an', spare me days, I did!
 
I knoo. But when I looked into 'er eyes --
   Them shinin' eyes o' blue all soft wiv love --
Wiv mimic love -- they seemed to 'ipnertize.
   I wus content to place 'er 'igh above.
I wus content to make of 'er a queen;
An' so she seemed them days ... O, 'struth! ... Doreen!
 
I knoo. But when I stroked 'er glossy 'air
   Wiv rev'rint 'ands, 'er cheek pressed close to mine,
Me lonely life seemed robbed of all its care;
   I dreams me dreams, an' 'ope begun to shine.
An' when she 'eld 'er lips fer me to kiss ...
Ar, wot's the use? I'm done wiv all o' this!
 
Wimmin! ... oh, I ain't jealous! Spare me days!
   Me? Jealous uv a knock-kneed coot like that!
'Im! Wiv 'is cute stror 'at an' pretty ways!
   I'd be a mug to squeal or whip the cat.
I'm glad, I am -- glad 'cos I know I'm free!
There ain't no call to tork o' jealousy.
 
I tells meself I'm well out o' the game;
   Fer look, I mighter married 'er -- an' then....
Ar strike! 'Er voice wus music when my name
   Wus on 'er lips on them glad ev'nin's when
We useter meet. An' then to think she'd go ...
No, I ain't jealous -- but -- Ar, I dunno!
 
I took a derry on this stror 'at coot
   First time I seen 'im dodgin' round Doreen.
'Im, wiv 'is giddy tie an' Yankee soot,
   Ferever yappin' like a tork-machine
About "The Hoffis" where 'e 'ad a grip....
The way 'e smiled at 'er give me the pip!
 
She sez I stoushed 'im, when I promised fair
   To chuck it, even to a friendly spar.
Stoushed 'im! I never roughed 'is pretty 'air!
   I only spanked 'im gentle, fer 'is mar.
If I'd 'a' jabbed 'im once, there would 'a' been
An inquest; an' I sez so to Doreen.
 
I mighter took an' cracked 'im in the street,
   When she was wiv 'im there lars' Fridee night.
But don't I keep me temper when we met?
   An' don't I raise me lid an' act perlite?
I only jerks me elbow in 'is ribs,
To give the gentle office to 'is nibs.
 
Stoushed 'im! I owns I met 'im on the quiet,
   An' worded 'im about a small affair;
An' when 'e won't put up 'is 'ands to fight --
   ('E sez, "Fer public brawls 'e didn't care") --
I lays 'im 'cross me knee, the mother's joy,
An' smacks 'im 'earty, like a naughty boy.
 
An' now Doreen she sez I've broke me vow,
   An' mags about this coot's pore, "wounded pride."
An' then, o' course, we 'as a ding-dong row,
   Wiv 'ot an' stormy words on either side.
She sez I done it outer jealousy,
An' so, we parts fer ever -- 'er an' me.
 
Me jealous? Jealous of that cross-eyed cow!
   I set 'im 'cos I couldn't sight 'is face.
'Is yappin' hair got on me nerves, some'ow.
   I couldn't stand 'im 'angin' round 'er place.
A coot like that! ... But it don't matter much,
She's welkim to 'im if she fancies such.
 
I swear I'll never track wiv 'er no more;
   I'll never look on 'er side o' the street --
Unless she comes an' begs me pardin for
   Them things she said to me in angry 'eat.
She can't ixpeck fer me to smooge an' crawl.
I ain't at any woman's beck an' call.
 
Wimmin! I've took a tumble to their game.
   I've got the 'ole bang tribe o' cliners set!
The 'ole world over they are all the same:
   Crook to the core the bunch of 'em -- an' yet
We could 'a' been that 'appy, 'er an' me ...
But, wot's it matter? Ain't I glad I'm free?
 
A bloke wiv commin-sense 'as got to own
   There's little 'appiness in married life.
The smoogin' game is better left alone,
   Fer tarts is few that makes the ideel wife.
An' them's the sort that loves wivout disguise,
An' thinks the sun shines in their 'usban's' eyes.
 
But when the birds is matin' in the spring,
   An' when the tender leaves begin to bud,
A feelin' comes -- a dilly sorter thing --
  That seems to sorter swamp 'im like a flood.
An' when the fever 'ere inside 'im burns,
Then freedom ain't the thing fer wot 'e yearns.
 
But I 'ave chucked it all. An' yet - I own
   I dreams me dreams when soft Spring breezes stirs;
An' often, when I'm moonin' 'ere alone,
   A lispin' maid, wiv 'air an' eyes like 'ers,
'Oo calls me "dad," she climbs upon me knee,
An' yaps 'er pretty baby tork to me.
 
I sorter we a little 'out, it seems,
   Wiv someone waitin' for me at the gate . . .
Ar, where's the gang in dreamin' barmy dreams,
   I've dreamed before, and nearly woke too late.
Sich 'appiness could never last fer long,
We're strangers -- 'less she owns that she was wrong.
 
To call 'er back I'll never lift a 'and;
   She'll never 'ear frum me by word or sign.
Per'aps, some day, she'll come to understand
   The mess she's made o' this 'ere life o' mine.
Oh, I ain't much to look at, I admit.
But 'im! The knock-kneed, swivel-eyed misfit? ...

First published in The Bulletin, 12 February 1914; 
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis, 1915.

Farewell Romance by C. J. Dennis

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[Dr. Grinker, a specialist on nervous and mental ailments, of the Chicago Medical School, says that we should abolish indiscriminate marriages, forget that hallucination called love, and choose our life partners as a cattleman chooses his stock. - News item]

Help us, Hymen!  Cupid! Venus!
   Can this awful news be true?
Has this monster come between us
   All your teaching to undo?

Grinker!  Gods defend us!  Grinker!
   Venus!  What is this all about?
A professor?  Scholar?  Thinker?
   Pah!  Come, Cupid, knock him out.

Grinker!  Oh, Olympia's dwellers!
   What a name, and what a creed!
No more love; but, buyers, sellers.
   Picking out the "stock" we need.

What of sighs and tender glances?
   What of blush and downcast eye?
What of fragrant, sweet romances?
   What of kisses on the sly?

What of, "George, this is so sudden!"
   What of, "Darling, answer 'Yes'!"
Such things are enough to madden --
   (Shocking rhyme, I must confess).

Gone, all gone, because of Grinker,
   Gone the wooing, gone the sigh;
Never more "dear girl" we'll think her,
   But a head of "stock" to buy.

Cupid, lay aside your quiver,
  Hang a sign and drop a tear.
(Ugh!  The prospect makes us shiver).
   "Mr. Cupid, Auctioneer!"

First published in The Gadfly, 2 January 1907

In Mulga Town - A Song by Will H. Ogilvie

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We played at love in Mulga Town,
   And oh, her eyes were blue,
We played at love in Mulga Town,
   And love's a game for two.
If three should play, alack-a-day!
   There's one of them will rue,
         Dear Heart,
   There's one of them will rue.

Three played at love in Mulga Town,
   True love they could not hide;
Three played at love in Mulga Town,
   Two laughed: the other sighed;
Though two may woo the wide world through,
   But one may kiss the bride,
         Dear Heart,
   But one may kiss the bride.

Three played at love in Mulga Town,
   And one's too sad to weep;
Three played at love in Mulga Town,
   The creek runs dark and deep;
So warm she flows no mortal knows
   How cold her dead may sleep,
         Dear Heart,
   How cold her dead may sleep.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 November 1895;
and later in
Fair Girls and Grey Horses: With Other Verses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

To the Lions by Furnley Maurice

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   Come not again, dear sun,
   Unless you bring
   Ardor less weary a little.
   Sweet hope not so brittle,
   And quiet from the groves
   My heart so loves --
The quiet where, with spread and spotted wing,
   The brown quail run.

   Hang there awhile, low moon;
   I fear the day,
   Roads and the panniered asses,
   The silly wayside lasses.
   The laugh of the fool that gapes
   Trampling his tub of grapes;
Hang there a little while. Here I will pray
   For quiet soon.

   I have loved girls and lost -
   Loved God and lose.
   Have not the foaming horses
   Raging the chariot courses,
   Panthers and dungeoned apes
   Twisted the shapes
Of passion? There is nothing left to choose
   At nothing's cost!

   Some singing, some o'er-cast,
   Some without lamps,
   Around the seventh column,
   Turbaned and solemn,
   Full-burdened. black and brown,
   The slaves go down;
So the procession of my prophets tramps
   Endlessly past.

   What's night to me or day?
   Storm or soft airs?
   The gleam of ponded fishes?
   The wells of wishes?
   'Tis peace, dear peace, I need
   And a heart freed;
For love, vain love. tortures in gold-spun snares
   My spirit away.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 November 1923;
and later in
The Gully and Other Verses by Furnley Maurice, 1937.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Box Tree's Love by Barcroft Boake

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Long time beside the squatter's gate
A great, grey box-tree, early, late,
Or shine or rain, in silence there
Had stood and watched the seasons fare.
Had seen the wind upon the plain
Caress the amber ears of grain,
The river burst its banks and come
Far past its belt of mighty gum:
Had seen the scarlet months of drought
Scourging the land with fiery knout.
And seasons ill and seasons good
Had alternated as they would;
The years were born, had grown and gone,
While suns had set and suns had shone,
Fierce flames had swept, chill waters drenched,
That sturdy yeoman never blenched.

The tree had watched the station grow,
The buildings rising row on row,
And from that point of vantage green,
Peering athwart its leafy screen,
The wondering soldier-birds had seen
The lumbering bullock-dray draw near,
Led by that swarthy pioneer,
Who, gazing at the pleasant shade,
Was tempted, dropped his whip and stayed,
Brought there his wanderings to a close,
Unloosed the polished yokes and bows;
The bullocks, thankful for the boon,
Rang on their bells a merry tune.
The hobbles clinked, the horses grazed,
The snowy calico was raised;
The fire was lit, the fragrant tea
Drunk to a sunset melody
Timed by the day before it died,
To waken on earth's other side.
There 'twas beneath that box-tree's shade
Fortune's foundation-stone was laid;
Cemented fast with toil and thrift
Stone upon stone was laid to lift
A mighty arch, commemorate
Of one who reached the goal too late.
That white-haired pioneer, with pride,
Fitted the keystone; then he died:
His toil, his thrift, all to what boot?
He gave his life for Dead Sea fruit:
What did it boot his wide domain
Of feathered pine and sweeping plain,
Sand-ridge and turf? for he lay dead,
Another reigning in his stead.

His sons forgot him; but that tree
Mourned for him long and silently,
And o'er the old man's lonely bier
Would, if he could, have dropped a tear;
One other being only shared
His grief, one other only cared.
And she was but a six years' maid --
His grandchild, who had watched him fade
In childish ignorance, and wept
Because the poor old grandad slept
So long a sleep and never came
To smile upon her at her game,
Or tell her stories of the fays
And giants of the olden days.
She cared, and as the seasons sped,
Linked by the memory of the dead,
They two, the box-tree and the child,
Grew old in friendship, and she smiled,
Clapping her chubby hands with glee,
When for her pleasure that old tree
Would shake his limbs, and let the light
Glance, in a million sparkles bright,
From off his polished olive cloak;
Then would the infant gently stroke
His massive bole, and laughing try
To count the patches of blue sky,
Betwixt his leaves, or in the shades
That trembled on the grassy blades
Trace curious faces, till her head
Of gold grew heavy, then he'd spread
His leaves to shield her, while he droned
A lullaby, so softly toned
It seemed but as the gentle sigh
Of Summer, as she floated by;
While bird and beast grew humble-voiced,
Seeing those golden ringlets moist
With dew of sleep. With one small hand
Grasping a grass-stem for a wand,
Titania slept; Nature nor spoke,
Nor dared to breathe, until she woke.

The years passed onward, and perchance
The tree had shot his tufted lance
Up to the sky a few slow feet,
But one great limb grew down to greet
His mistress, who had ne'er declined
In love for him, though far behind
Her child-life lay, and now she stood
Waiting to welcome womanhood;
She loved him always as of old;
Yet would his great roots grasp the mould,
And knotted branches grind and groan
To see her seek him not alone;
For lovers came and 'neath those boughs
With suave conversing sought to rouse
The slumbering passion in a breast
Whose coldness gave an added zest
To the pursuit, but all in vain
They spoke the once, nor came again
Save one alone who pressed his suit
(Man-like, he loved forbidden fruit)
And strove to change her nay to yea
Until it fell upon a day
Once more he put his fate to proof
Standing beneath that olive roof,
And though her answer still was "no"
He, half-incensed, refused to go,
Asking her, had she heart for none
Because there was some other one
Who claimed it all, whereon the maid
Slipped off her ring and laughing said:
"Look you, my friend, here now I prove
The truth of it, and pledge my love,"
And poised on tiptoe, touched a limb
That bent to gratify her whim;
She slipped the golden circle on
A tiny branchlet, whence it shone
Mocking the suitor with its gleam,
A quaint dispersal of his dream.
She left the trinket there, but when
She came to take it back again,
She found it not; nor though she knelt
Upon the scented grass, and felt
Among its roots, or parted sheaves
Could it be found, the box-tree held
Her troth for aye: his great form swelled
Until the bitter sap swept through
His veins and gave him youth anew.

With busy fingers, Lank and thin,
The fatal Sisters sit and spin
Life's web, in gloomy musings wrapt,
Caring not when a thread is snapped,
What harm its severance may do --
Whether it strangleth one or two.

Alas, there came an awful space
Of time, wherein that sweet, young face
Grew pale, its sharpened outline pressed
Deep in the pillow, for a guest,
Unsought, unbidden, forced his way
Into the chamber where she lay.
'Twas Death! -- outside the box-tree kept
Sad vigil, and at times he swept
His branches softly, as a thrill
Shot through his framework, boding ill
To her he loved, and so he bade
A bird fly ask her why she stayed.
The messenger, with glistening eye,
Returned, and said, "The maid doth lie
Asleep. I tapped upon the pane,
She stirred not, so I tapped again.
She rests so silent on her bed --
Tired, that I fear the maid is dead;
For they have cut great sprays of bloom
And laid them all about the room.
The scent of roses fills the air,
They nestle in her breast and hair,
Like snowy mourners, scented, sweet,
Around her pillow and her feet."
"Ah, me!" the box-tree, sighing, said;
"My love is dead, my love is dead!"
And shook his branches till each leaf
Chorused his agony of grief.

They bore the maiden forth and laid
Her down to rest, where she had played
Amid her piles of forest spoil
In childhood; now the sun-caked soil
Closed over her. "Ah!" sighed the tree,
"Mark how my love doth come to me."
He pushed brown rootlets down and slid
Between the casket and its lid,
And bade them very gently creep,
And wake the maiden from her sleep.
The tiny filaments slipped down
And plucked the lace upon her gown;
She stirred not when they ventured near,
And softly whispered in her ear.
The silken fibres gently press
Upon her lips a chill caress;
They wreathe her waist, they brush her hair
Under her pallid eyelids stare.
Yet all in vain; she will not wake --
Not even for her lover's sake.
The box-tree groaned aloud and cried:
"Ah, me! grim Death hath stole my bride.
Where is she hidden? Where hath flown
Her soul? I cannot bide alone;
But fain would follow." Then he called
And whispered to an ant that crawled
Upon a bough, and bade it seek
The white-ant colony, and speak
A message, where, beneath a dome
Of earth, the white queen hath her home.
She sent a mighty army forth
That fall upon the tree in wrath,
And, entering by a tiny hole,
Fill all the hollow of his bole;
Through all its pipes and crannies pour,
Sharp at his aching heart-strings tore;
Along his branches built a maze
Of sinuous, earthen-covered ways,
His smooth leaves shrunk, his sap ran dry,
The sunbeams laughing from the sky
Helped the ant workers at their toil,
Sucking all moisture from the soil.

Then on a night the wind swept down
And rustled 'mid the foliage brown.
The mighty framework creaked and groaned
In giant agony, and moaned,
Its wind-swept branches growing numb,
"I come, my love! my love, I come!"
A gust more furious than the rest
Struck the great box tree's shivering crest
The great bole snapped across its girth,
The forest monarch fell to earth
With such a mighty rush of sound
The settlers heard it miles around,
While upward through the windy night
That faithful lover's soul took flight.

The squatter smiled to see it fall,
He sent his men with wedge and maul
Who split the tree, but found it good
For nothing more than kindling-wood.
They marvelled much to find a ring
Asking themselves what chanced to bring
The golden circlet which they found
Clasping a branchlet firmly round.
Foolish and blind! they could not see
The faithfulness of that dead tree.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 November 1892;
and later in
Where the Dead Men Lie and Other Poems by Barcroft Boake, 1897; and
Barcroft Boake: Collected Works, Edited, With a Life edited by W. F. Refshauge, 2007.

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

See also.

The Power of Science by J. Brunton Stephens

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"All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
   Whatever stirs this mortal frame,"
Are but the legacies of apes,
            With interest on the same.
 
How oft in studious hours do I
   Recall those moments, gone too soon,
When midway in the hall I stood,
            Beside the Dichobune.
 
Through the Museum-windows played
   The light on fossil, cast, and chart;
And she was there, my Gwendoline,
            The mammal of my heart.
 
She leaned against the Glyptodon,
   The monster of the sculptured tooth;
She looked a fossil specimen
            Herself, to tell the truth.

She leaned against the Glyptodon;
   She fixed her glasses on her nose;
One Pallas-foot drawn back displayed
            The azure of her hose.
 
Few virtues had she of her own--
   She borrowed them from time and space;
Her age was eocene, although
            Post-tertiary her place.
 
The Irish Elk that near us stood,
   (Megaceros Hibernicus),
Scarce dwarfed her; while I bowed beneath
            Her stately overplus.
 
I prized her pre-diluvian height,
   Her palaeozoic date of birth,
For these to scientific eye
            Had scientific worth.
 
She had some crotchets of her own,
   My sweet viviparous Gwendoline;
She loved me best when I would sing
            Her ape-descent and mine.
 
I railed a wild pansophic lay ;
   (The public fled the diurnal tones); --
I struck a chord that suited well
            That entourage of bones.
 
I sang the very dawn of life,
   Cleared at a bound the infinite chasm
That sunders inorganic dust
            From sly-born protoplasm.
 
I smote the stiffest chords of song,
   I showed her in a glorious burst
How universal unity
            Was dual from the first.
 
How primal germs contained in one
   The beau-ideal and the belle ;
And how the "mystery of life"
            Is just a perfect cell.
 
I showed how sense itself began
   In senseless gropings after sense; --  
(She seemed to find it so herself,
            Her gaze was so intense).
 
And how the very need of light
   Conceived, and visual organs bore;
Until an optic want evolved
            The spectacles she wore.
 
How headless molluscs making head
   Against the fashions of their line,
On pulpy maxims turned their backs,
            And specialised a spine.
 
How landward longings seized on fish,
   Fretted the type within their eggs,
And in amphibian issue differ-
            entiated legs.
           
I hopped the quaint marsupials,
   And into mammal races ran,
And in a daring fugue I rushed
            From Lemurs up to Man.
 
How tails were lost--but when I reached
   This saddest part of all my lay,
She dropped the corners of her mouth,
            And turned her face away.
 
And proud to see my lofty love  
   So sweetly, wince, so coyly shrink,
I woke a moving threnody--
            I sang the missing link.
 
And when I spake of vanished kin,
   Of Simian races dead and gone,
The wave of sorrow from her eyes
            Half-drowned the Glyptodon.
 
I turned to other, brighter themes,
   And glancing at our different scales,
I showed how lady beetles are
            Robuster than the males.
 
I sang the Hymenoptera;
   How insect-brides are sought and got;
How stridulation of the male
            First hinted what was what.
 
And when--perchance too fervently--
   I smote upon the chord of sex,
I saw the tardy spark of love
            Blaze up behind her specs.
 
She listened with a heightened grace,
   She blushed a blush like ruby wine,
Then bent her stately head, and clinked
            Her spectacles on mine.
 
A mighty impulse rattled through
   Her well-articulated frame;
And into one delighted ear
            She breathed my Christian name.
 
And whispered that my song had given
   Her secret thought substantial shape,
For she had long considered me
            The offshoot of an ape.
 
She raised me from the enchanted floor,
   And, as my lips her shoulder met,
Between two asthmas of embrace
            She called me marmosette.
 
I strove to calm her down; she grew
   Owner and serener;
And so I won my Gwendoline,
            My vertebrate congener.
 
First published in The Queenslander, 30 October 1875;
and later in
Convict Once and Other Poems by J. Brunton Stephens, 1885; and
The Poetical Works of Brunton Stephens by J. Brunton Stephens, 1902.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyAustralian Poetry LibraryOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Her True Lover: A Stock Rider's Song by Alice Ham

| No TrackBacks
We were mates, sir, Bob and I, and we loved each other true;
But I found we liked the same lassie, and what could I do?

Milly's hair was brown and curly, her eyes were like the sea,
If her face was burned like the berries, what was that to me?

She was pretty to see o' mornings a-helping on the farm,
Her voice as blithe as a skylark's, and her thoughts as free from harm;

Or out in the rosy evenings, stripping maize with the rest,
The hat pushed back from her merry face, and flowers on her breast!
  
Bob was a quiet chap, never merry and frank like me;
I saw that something was wrong, so silent and sad was he.

And one day he spoke out, all trembling, and very white,
"Why do you go to the farm, Jack, almost every night?"

"Why, to see old Pollard and Milly, and have a chat with them all,"
He groaned, "Don't say more about it--I can't stand it; that's all."

"But which does Milly like best?" I thought, but I could not see,
She was kind to us both and smiled as much for Bob as for me.

So things just took their course, as they always have to do,
When a day brought the end about--swift, and cruel, and true.

We were drafting near the road; the cattle were wild that day,
When Pollard and Milly came riding home by the market way.

They checked their horses then, by the bend at the willow tree,
And watched the drafting awhile; 'twas a lively sight to see.

Lord Loftus was mad with rage--the wildest bull in the place;
Bob was on foot, when he broke the rail, and gave him bellowing chase!
    
Then Milly shrieked aloud, "Oh! save him! Oh! Bob, my dear!"
That was enough. I dashed forward--"I'll save him, never fear!"

I sprang in the creature's path, I faced him, I can't tell how;
For then came a flash and a darkness. That's why I'm a cripple now.

So I potter about the run. Unhappy? No, Sir, no fear!
I'm a cheerful fellow, you see--and Milly has married her dear!    

First published in The Queenslander, 29 October 1892

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Remorse by Henry Parkes

| No TrackBacks
Oh! teach me to forget the home,
   The blessed home that once was mine;
Ere thou, vain trifler! bid'st me come,
   A slave, the worst of slaves, to thine.

Nor this as guilt's perverseness blame;
   Although my bitter choice be still
To reap the harvest of my shame,
   A self abandoned thing of ill!

To live in sin, untasked to smile
   On all its hateful misery,
Is better sure than contract vile
   To serve a heartless wretch like thee.

I would not it should seem that one,
   So low, so lost as I am now,
Could rest mid ruin's dark work done,
   Nor feel the serpent on my brow!

Go, breathe thy words in empty air:
   Believe not woman's shuddering soul,
Still goaded on by crime's despair,
   E'er sought in vice a happy goal!

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 28 October 1841;
and later in
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842.

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

See also.

Love Outlasteth All by Harry "Breaker" Morant

| No TrackBacks
Could I borrow the laverock's lilting note,
Of the silvery song from the blackbird's throat,
Then would I warble the whole day long,
Telling, in floods of passionate song,
How worlds might tremble, or skies might fall,
But Love, true Love, outlasteth all.

Or, with picturesque words, in phrases neat,
With ringing rhymes, and in sonnets sweet,
Had I the skill of the schoolman's craft
My song the murmurous breeze should waft,
And tell to her whom my heart loves best,
How Love outlasteth all the rest.

First published in The Bulletin, 24 October 1891, and again in the same magazine on 29 April 1931;
and later in
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.

Something Wrong by Ruth M. Bedford

| No TrackBacks
Morning sparkle on sea and shore,
   Skies that wait for the rising moon,
Park-lights glowing, and how much more --
   All are set to a plaintive tune.
Something whispers "She is not here;"
   Something sighs "She is still away;"   
And I am missing my dearest dear
               Night and day.

Sea we gloried in, blue and gold,
   Lonely cliffs that we wandered on,  
All lie now like a story told --
   Where's the soul of their beauty gone?
Something's wrong with the world, I fear,
   One thing only can set it right;
And I am missing my dearest dear  
               Day and night.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 1927

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Disillusion by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
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.    

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Wooing by David McKee Wright

| No TrackBacks
'Twas the Spring in the air
  And a laughter that ran
Over Moina's black hair
   To the heart of a man;
With the thorn-bush in leaf
   And the wet clover green --
Och, April, you thief,
  Is it love that you mean?

'Twas her mother's white goat
   On the side of the hill
And the rain on my coat
   With the sun laughing still,
And the thought of her eyes --
   Sure, my heart is a gift,
In the black of surprise,
   When her eyelashes lift!

'Twas the word that I spoke
   With the wind blowing clear
And the small sob that broke
   In my throat full of fear.
"Och, Danny," she said,
   "There's the white cream to set
And the pigs to be fed
   And you're plaguing me yet?"

Would she slide past the door?
   Och, her tongue was too wise;
But I listened far more
   To the look in her eyes --
"Sure, stay and be kist."
   But she turned by the wall
With a fine-lady twist
   Of her head and her shawl.

'Twas the Spring in the air
   And the green of the world,
And the black of her hair
   Set me mad where it curled.
"Och, Moina, come out,
   Girl of dreams, and be kist" --
But she hit me a clout
   with the white of her fist.

Would she slide past the door?
   Sure, her mouth was too red.
With the cheek of me sore
   And those eyes in her head.
Troth, I kist her too well --
   Twenty times at the least.
"Now, Danny, we'll tell
   A small word to the priest."

First published in The Bulletin, 30 August 1917 and again in the same magazine on 30 October 1929;
and later in
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Lover's Song by Cecil Mann

| No TrackBacks
To a bird upon a tree,
   Singing, singing, sweetly singing,
"Sure," I said, "a sprite like thee
Knows what's in the heart of me,  
   Singing, sweetly singing."  

"True," he said, "and that I know,
   Lover, lover, foolish lover:
She has hands as white as snow,
And a heart as cold as woe,
   Lover, foolish lover.  

"Keep your, song within its deeps,
   Lover, lover, wiser lover;
Kiss each pretty eye that peeps,
Kiss her till, of Joy she weeps,
   Lover, wiser lover."

But because my heart was shy,
   Shy and lonely, shy and lonely,
All his wisdom passed me by ---
Yet I won her with a sigh,   
   Lonely, shy and lonely.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August 1925

Author: Cecil Mann (1896-1967) was born in Cudgen, New South Wales, and worked for The Bulletin between 1925 and 1960.  He was, for a time, the editor of the Red Page in the magazine.  He died in Concord, New South Wales in 1967.

Author reference sites: Austlit

The Unattainable by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Many and many's the brand of Love sold by the huckster Life,
   Crying his wares in the market place and the wide crossways;  
The love like a rose and the love that grows with the thorns of passion rife,
   But the love that was made in fairyland in the land of fairy stays.

Some of the brands are brought with gold and some with prayer and fasting;
   Some (and the sweetest) for nothing at all, and some dear got with pain;  
Most of them fair to first sight, and few of them made to lasting,
   But the loves that were wrought in fairyland in fairyland remain.

We choose each prize with blindfold eyes, a strange method, surely;
   All of us seeking and few to find, that aught is what it seems;
The gold turns brass and the keenest pass where a jewel gleams purely.
   But the rarest, fairest love of all we only find in dreams.

The first love and the false love, lad's love gathered with rue;
   Old loves laid in rosemary that buyers pass by these days;
And Time alone is the harvester and winnows the false from true,   
   But the love that belongs to fairyland in the land of fairy stays.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 17 August 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also

The Answer by M. Burkinshaw (Mabel Forrest)

| No TrackBacks
I called her once, heart-proud with youth's hot wine,
Deeming that but to call must make her mine,
Seeing responsive eyes in Fancy shine --
            I called her once.

But never answer gave she, sad or gay;
Only a silence o'er the untrod way,
Only a distance widening day by day.

I called her once, angry with Life's defeat,
Feeling forgiving eyes would be so sweet,
Ready to lay my failures at her feet ---   
            I called her once.

But only chiding gave she scornfully,
"Arise! and make the world take heed of thee,
And when triumphant then return to me."

I called her once; a whisper and a sigh,
"A prayer she must not hear" --- so faltered I;
"Yet my fond heart will call her ere I die!"   

            I called her once,
And what an answer gave she back to me!   
Ah! there was glory on the earth and sea,
And hands and lips that hovered tenderly!  

First published in The Queenslander, 13 August 1898

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

A-Shelling Peas by Harry "Breaker" Morant

| No TrackBacks
Now, all the world is green and bright
   Outside the latticed pane;
The fields are decked with gold and white,
   And Spring has come again.
But though the world be fair without,
   With flow'rs and waving trees,
'Tis pleasanter to be about
   Where Nell's a-shelling peas.

Her eyes are blue as cloudless skies,
   And dimples deck her cheeks;
Whilst soft lights loiter in her eyes
   Whene'er she smiles or speaks.
So all the sunlit morning-tide
   I dally at mine ease,
To loaf at slender Nelly's side
   When Nell's a-shelling peas.

This bard, who sits a-watching Nell,
   With fingers white and slim,
Owns up that, as she breaks each shell,
   She also "breaks up" him;
And could devoutly drop upon
   Submissive, bended knees
To worship Nell with apron on -
   A saint a-shelling peas.

The tucked-up muslin sleeves disclose
   Her round arms white and bare -
'Tis only "shelling peas" that shows
   Those dainty dimples there.
Old earth owns many sights to see
   That captivate and please; -
The most bewitching sight for me
   Is Nell a-shelling peas.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 August 1902;
and later in
The Poetry of "Breaker" Morant: from The Bulletin 1891-903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant; and
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice,1991.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

To Lucasta, Going to the Warres by Furnley Maurice

| No TrackBacks
Better the end of a thing
   Than the beginning thereof;
Farewell, you and caresses,
   Lavendered manners of love!
I'm for the burdens and stresses:
   Farewell, languid delays,
Pressed mouths pasturing,
   Poems of wondrous praise!

There's no mystery brooding
   Now on your excellent ways:
sunlight has gone from your hair,
   Stars have recalled your gaze.
You, though eternally fair,
   Lie at my heart like a stone,
All your ardor and mooding
   Ranged, exploited and known.

Better the end of a thing
   Than the beginning, my friend.
Better be patient than proud.
   Patience! Accept the end:
Scorn what your passion avowed.
   That was mere clamor and wail:
Pain is our stanchioning.
   Only irresolutes fail.

Not by a God-given light,
   Flaring on fates concealed --
Trial's the magic whereby
   Heights of our fate are revealed.
Stifle your heart should it cry,
   Hold your resentment at bay;
What is the word for to-night?
   Hate, hate and away.

Turn to lost things and forget
   When this spectre of wrong
Storms through a shattered defence,
   Lashes your flesh with a thong.
Moan your lost innocence --
   Love with ambition contending,
Love in its dying set,
   Stars at the highway's ending.

All that is sacred is named,
   Unknown regions are best,
Useless things I adore
   Trouble me, being possessed.
Taunt me with peace no more,
   Weary of home-fires tended,
These have left me ashamed,
   Yearning for ways unwended.

You have become too real,
   Love I so heavily rue.
All that has blossomed must die;
   Only illusion is true.
Uttered thought is a lie,
   Love, acknowledged, a snare;
In this dusk I will steal
   Out to I know not where.

Better the placid sea-love
   Than the cities of haste.
Better revolt than retract.
   Better be blasted than waste;
Better the dream than the fact,
   Illusions can seldom change.
Dreamers in strangeness move
   Knowing nothing is strange.

First published in The Bulletin, 31 July 1924

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Heritage by Ella McFadyen

| No TrackBacks
Kenneth, the blue of your bright eyes,
Azure as new-winged butterflies
Or sea-lochs on a summer day,
Tell-ages gone and far away --
Of long ships ploughing furrowed seas
To seek the lonely Hebrides.

Those silk-fringed founts of tears and smiles
Tell stories of the Western Isles,
And tales of friendship or fray
Won by the sons of Norroway;
Tell of our Gaelic chieftains wed
To daughters of bold Somerled;

Aye, and in what Lochaber glen  
Bide not the bonnie, blue-eyed men,
Whose foredame's pledge lang syne was ta'en
To tryst the summer-roving Dane?

Your little life, so new begun
Beneath the kind Australian sun,
Where Warning pricks the matin's blue
(Not brighter than the eyes of you!)
Sings through a babe's dear witcheries
Old sagas of the northern seas.
Viking and Gael -- their history lies --
Old wars, old loves -- in those blue eyes.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 1933

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Dreamland by William Main

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Thinking of thee, my love, always of thee,
   Sweet are my dreams as the last sunbeam dies,
The morning reveals the far-severing sea,
   The gloaming brings glances from thy loving eyes.

Through vanishing distance each glance swiftly flies,
   Bringing its marvellous message to me;
Whispering softly, when lately it lies
   At home in my heart,"I am thinking of thee."

Thinking of thee, my love, loving hearts blend,
   Thought answers thought o'er the wide seas that sever;
In that wonderful land of dreams lover and friend
   May meet, and may linger for ever and ever.

Then welcome, dear dreamland, that comes with the gloaming,
   Till seas no more sever, till grief cannot rend
Fond hearts now far sundered, the wide world roaming,
   Till Love, all triumphant, unites in the end!

First published in The Queenslander, 18 June 1898

Author: William Main (1860-1946) was born in Glasgow and arrived in Queensland in 1887.  He worked in the agricultural industry and contributed to a number of Queensland and Sydney publications.  He died in Goodna, Queensland, in 1946.

Author reference site:
Austlit

See also.

"By the Gum Trees" by R. M. Laurance

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In the moonlight, by the gum trees,
   Whispered he a tale of love,
And with weariless endeavour
   Strove his passioned words to prove;
But she laughed and jested lightly ---
   She would not believe it so ---
Then her laughter changed to anger,
   Haughtily she bade him go.     

So he went --- her words were bitter;
   So he went --- she told him to;
Through the moonlight, from the gum trees,
   So he went, nor said adieu.
While the moonlight on the gum trees
  „ Floods them with a silver light,
Still the heart of him who loves her
   Lives in one long moonless night.  

First published in The Queenslander, 13 June 1896

Author:
nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference site: Austlit

Oh! golden are the dreams of youth
   By ardent fancy brightly painted;
But broken dreams they prove, forsooth,
   As we with life grow more acquainted.
And thou, staid Benedict and meek,
   Who now at home by night must tarry,
Upon one theme thou durst not speak--
   "The girls we loved --- but didn't many."

O long array of peerless forms!
   O faultless faces, bold or tender!
O days of ardour, sighs in storms,   
   And unconditional surrender!
Surely their eyes were every hue;
   Their thrilling glances none could parry;
O fools! -- we loved, and thought them true ---
   The girls we loved --- but didn't marry.

Amelia swore, with brimming eyes,
   To love for ever and for ever;
And Agnes murmured thro' her sighs
   That Death alone our hearts could sever.
Where is the faithless Fanny gone?
   And where the captivating Carry!   
O bane deceivers --- false --- forsworn!
   The girls we loved --- but didn't marry.

How oft Georgina gave the hand
   A lingering pressure ere we parted!   
Sweet were the moments when we fanned
   False Bess, who left us broken-hearted.
Georgina now is Mrs. Pott,
   And Bess has wedded old Glengarry.
Alas! They found out what was what ---
   Those girls we loved --- but didn't marry.

Ah well! The plaited braid of hair,
   The faded scrawl on tinted paper,
The trinkets that we kept with care,
   The tiny glove, once white and taper.
Alas! 'tis all we have to show
   Romantic notions will miscarry.
They loved and left us --- Let them go ---
   The girls we loved -- but didn't marry!   

Come, fill your glasses to the brim,
   And thank the stars that shine above us
We could not gratify each whim,
   Nor wed with all who swore to love us.   
True freedom dies with single bliss,
   And wedlock's chains are hard to carry.
One toast I pledge you --- Drink to this:
   The girls we loved --- but didn't marry!

First published in The Queenslander, 9 June 1888;
and later in
The Boomerang, 2 April 1892.

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

See also.

Dora by Charles Harpur

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   It was, I well remember,
      The merry Springtime, when
   Young Dora in the eventide
      Came singing up the Glen:  
   Came singing up the Glen,
      Till I felt her tuneful art,
Like a subtle stream of vocal fire
   Run glowing through my heart.

   A fond resolve, long cherished,
      Till then I might control;     
   Till then-but oh! that witching strain,
      It drew it from my soul:
   It drew it from my soul,
      And she did not say me nay,  
And the world of Love was all the world
   To us that happy day.

   I'm happy now in thinking
      How happy I was then,  
   When tow'rds the glowing west, my love
      Went homeward down the Glen:
   Went homoward down the Glen,
      While my comfort surer grew,
Till methought the old-faced hills all looked  
   As they were happy too.      

First published in The Empire, 2 June 1856;
and later in
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982; 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.

Rondel by Christopher Brennan

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Was it the sun that broke my dream
or was't the dazzle of thy hair
caught where our olden meadows seem
themselves again and yet more fair?

Ah, sun that woke me, limpid stream,
then in the spring-mornings' rapture of air!
Was it the sun that broke my dream
of was't the dazzle of thy hair?

And dist not thou beside me gleam,
brought hither by a tender care
at least my slumbering grief to share?
Are only the cold seas supreme?
Was it the sun that broke my dream?

First published in The Australian Magazine, 30 May 1899;
and later in
The Verse of Christopher Brennan edited by A.R. Chisholm and John Joseph Quinn, 1960;
Poems [1913] by Christopher Brennan, 1972;
Selected Poems edited by G.A. Wilkes, 1973; and
Christopher Brennan edited by Terry Strum, 1984.

Note
: this poem is also known by the title Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 21.

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

See also.

Castles in the Air by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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We met: it was but to part; yet we had one month of gladness --
   Real gladness, sympathetic, ecstatic, voluptuous;
A prelude, it may be, to years of a regretful sadness --
   Such sadness as is possible to light-of-hearts like us.

Not that we loved as lovers do, for both of us were wedded;
   You to an absent husband, and I to a darling wife,
Whom I hardly leave an instant, so deeply is she imbedded
   'Mid my heart roots, and inseparably bound up with my life.

But you are my affinity, my female alter ego;
   You feel the same delights and woes and impulses as I;  
Beneath the same stars you were born as I -- sic astra lego --
   And love, as I, whate'er is fair and goodly 'neath the sky.  

How happy had we both been had your lot been cast to linger
   Among the canes and orange trees of your own sunny land;
Lounging on April afternoons, and reading some sweet singer,        
   Or talking half-tender banter when we had no book at hand.

How happy both of us might be if, with no long delaying,  
   'Twere mine to seek the great old land from which I drew my birth;
And with you in the English lanes take both our children maying,
   Or wander amid keeps and fanes half-hidden in the earth.      

We might live like model neighbours in a straggling Kentish village,
   In quaint old gabled houses perched on some commanding ridge,
And for our landscape have just hops and orchard trees and tillage,
   And a bluff Norman church-tow'r, and a narrow steep-arched bridge.

We might go up every June to see the million-peopled city;
   To see the best theatres, the Academy and Row:
For both of us delight in what is costly, grand, or pretty,
   And one's taste for the artistic wants a snack each year or so.

For my books we'd choose a room, with the morning sun to kiss it,
   And full of capabilities for adding fresh bookshelves
For swarms that would accumulate on every London visit;
   And, if we could contrive it, a bay-window for ourselves.

Lined with deep-cushioned lounges. We'd have sunny garden-closes,
   Where we could grow some hardy trees from our soft southern home,
And eke the puny summer out among the trees and roses,
   And cheat ourselves with the belief that winter'd never come.      

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 May 1883

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Aspiration by Marjorie Quinn

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If, for some fault committed here,
You are condemned, who are my dear;
Or, for a word you could not say
All hope of Heaven were cast away --
   I should pray to be wherever you be, my dear,
   Without blame and without fear.

Love is not love that cannot share
The fine lot with the commoner;
Nor, having known perfected joy,
Disdains that, mingled with alloy --
   I should pray to be wherever you be, my dear,
   Without blame, and without fear.

If perfect bliss were offered me
To keep for all eternity
Nor any memory of you
To give me hurt, to bring me true --
   I should pray to be wherever you be, my dear,
   Without blame, and without fear.

The deepest hell could not affright
My heart, that knew a pure delight,
And it would be my splendid pride
To stay forever by your side --
   I should pray to be wherever you be, my dear,
   Without blame, and without fear.

And should you, freed from taint of sin,
Go heavenward, might I enter in.
A loving soul? No power can slay
The soul of love; it lasts alway! --
   I should pray to be wherever you be my dear,
   Without blame, and without fear.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 1934

Author reference site: Austlit

See also

Love's Coming by John Shaw Neilson

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Quietly as rosebuds
   Talk to thin air,
Love came so lightly
   I knew not he was there.

Quietly as lovers
   Creep at the middle noon,
Softly as players tremble
   In the tears of a tune;

Quietly as lilies
   Their faint vows declare,
Came the shy pilgrim:
   I knew not he was there.

Quietly as tears fall
   On a warm sin,
Softly as griefs call
   In a violin;

Without hail or tempest,
   Blue sword or flame,
Love came so lightly
   I knew not that he came.

First published in The Sun [Sydney], 14 May 1911;
and later in
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1948;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by John Thompson, Kenneth Slessor and R.G. Howarth, 1958;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Makar, May 1965;
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes, 1984;
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;
Love Came So Lightly: Australian Love Sonnets and Such, 1990;
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991;
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love Letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice, 1991;
The Oxford Book of Australian Love Poems edited by Jennifer Strauss, 1993;
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993;
Hell and After: Four Early English Language Poets of Australia edited by Les Murray, 2005;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007;
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009; and
100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss edited by Jamie Grant, 2011.

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

See also.

Life's Song by Emily Coungeau

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My love is the rosy-fingered dawn,
Which heralds the birth of the fragrant morn,
And beareth a chalice which sheddeth showers
Of crystal dew o'er the dreaming flowers.    

My love is the king with the torch of gold,
Whose flambent rays doth dear earth enfold,
Who kissed the amorous, waiting west,
And gildeth a path o'er the ocean's breast.  

My love is that queenly vision meek,
With pale fires quenched, and a paler cheek,
Who walketh so softly and regal, yet sad,
But who wreathed in such beauty doth make me glad.

My love is that temple with dome so blue,
Where those gleaming jewels the stars peep through,
With the swinging earth a cushion where we
May behold the celestial pageantry.

My love is life's music-the deep rich chords
Hath the soul for a reed, though it breathe no words,
Like a string of gems in a holy shrine,
And each gem a pure note on a lute divine.  

Oh, love! Life's song which is sweetest flows
To the stately measure the dreamer knows,
With a thrilling cadenza in mortal ears.
Where life's song endeth there are no tears.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 13 May 1914;
and later in
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Barrier by Charles Henry Souter

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For I have been no near -- so near
   That I could hear your heart's sweet rhyme
Singing its song of Love and Fear
   And joy of Youth and scorn of Time!
So near! The fragrance of your breast
   Beset me, bidding me forget
Name, fame and birthright and the rest --
   All things that bound me e'er we met!
So close I needs must hold my breath
   Lest it should shatter in a trice
The web 'twixt you and me and Death,
   Brittle as Love and cold as ice!
And I must school my eager hand
   To meet your hand and tell it nought!
Ah! Resolutions writ in sand!
   Ah! Selfish honor, dearly bought!
I know the soft sound of your tread,
   The sweetness of your loving lip,
And every curve from heel to head,
   From finger-tip to finger-tip!
And yet ---- . . .
   . . . The little space between
(Scarce a hand's breath, a tiny span!)
   Might all the world as well have been,
To part a woman and a man.

First published in The Bulletin, 28 April 1904;
and later in
Many Ladies (And Others) by Charles Souter, 1917.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Turn of the Tide by Roderic Quinn

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A long time waiting with little to show,
   We sat in our boat, at either side,
While the listless weeds washed to and fro.
   And here and there, at the will of the tide.

The bay was still. and the trees and flowers
   That nodded at noon were all asleep;
Yet never a silver-bream was ours.
   And never a crimson lord of the deep.

With little to say and much to think,
   We watched, while the velvet hours went by;
The ripples arise and the ripples sink,
   Alone on the water -- Rose and I.

I said to her then: "The good time flies.
   Let us get hence for the bay is wide."
Rose lifted her dark blue, laughing eys.
   And "Wait," she said, "till the turn of the tide."

The bay was azure from east to west --
   All still and azure from north to south;
The rose that reddened on Rose's breast
   Was red as the rose of Rose's mouth.

"'Tis weary waiting." I said to Rose.
   (Was ever a rose as fair as she?)
"The love-hour comes, and the love-hour goes.
   And when will the bright 'Yes° spoken be?."

Then Rose grew red -- do you wonder why? --
   And, somehow or other, I said or sighed:
"The line is set, but the prey is shy --
   I'll wait, dear Rose, till the turn of the tide."

First published in The Bulletin, 22 April 1915

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

See also.

Good-bye by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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God be with you, whose golden hair
Has been to me a beacon-glare
Of bright and virtuous womanhood.
Graceful and arch no less than good!
You who have had your hearty share
In every pleasure, every care,
That fell to me, while living there,
At home or in the summer air,
   God be with you!

And, while I whisper kindling hopes
Of true love-freighted envelopes
From one well worthy of your choice
To make your gentle heart rojoice,
My heart still echoes, as it droops,
   God be with you!

First published
in The Queenslander, 21 April 1883;
and later in
A Poetry of Exiles and Other Poems by Douglas B. W. Sladen, 1884

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Sliprails and the Spur by Henry Lawson

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The colours of the setting sun
Withdrew across the Western land ---
He raised the sliprails, one by one,
And shot them home with trembling hand;
Her brown hands clung --- her face grew pale ---
Ah! quivering chin and eyes that brim! ---
One quick, fierce kiss across the rail,
And, "Good-bye, Mary!" "Good-bye, Jim!"

      Oh! he rides hard to race the pain
      Who rides from love, who rides from home;
      But he rides slowly home again
      Whose heart has learnt to love and roam.


A hand upon the horse's mane,
And one foot in the stirrups set,
And, stooping back to kiss again,
With "Good-bye, Mary! don't you fret!
When I come back" --- he laughed for her ---
"We do not know how soon 'twill be;
I'll whistle as I round the 'spur' ---
You let the sliprails down for me."

She gasped for sudden loss of hope,
As, with a backward wave to her,
He cantered down the grassy slope
And swiftly round the dark'ning spur.
Black-pencilled panels standing high,
And darkness fading into stars,
And blurring fast against the sky,
A faint white form beside the bars.

And often at the set of sun,
In winter bleak and summer brown,
She'd steal across the little run,
And shyly let the sliprails down.
And listen there when darkness shut
The nearer spur in silence deep;
And when they called her from the hut
Steal home and cry herself to sleep.

A great white gate where sliprails were,
A brick house 'neath the mountain brow,
The "mad girl" buried by the spur
So long ago, forgotten now.

      And he rides hard to dull the pain
      Who rides from one that loves him best;
      And he rides slowly back again,
      Whose restless heart must rove for rest.


First published in The Bulletin, 1 April 1899;
and later in
In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1900;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
Winnowed Verse by Henry Lawson, 1924;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1924;
Selections from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
The Australian Women's Mirror, 5 January 1926;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1943;
Out Back and Other Poems by Henry Lawson, 1943;
Spoils of Time: Some Poems of the English Speaking Peoples edited by Rex Ingamells, 1948;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Poems of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1973;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes, 1984;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love Letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice, 1991;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

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

See also.

The Free-Selector's Daughter by Henry Lawson

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I met her on the Lachlan Side --
   A darling girl I thought her,
And ere I left I swore I'd win
   The free-selector's daughter.

I milked her father's cows a month,
   I brought the wood and water,
I mended all the broken fence,
   Before I won the daughter.

I listened to her father's yarns,
   I did just what I 'oughter',
And what you'll have to do to win
   A free-selector's daughter.

I broke my pipe and burnt my twist,
   And washed my mouth with water;
I had a shave before I kissed
   The free-selector's daughter.

Then, rising in the frosty morn,
   I brought the cows for Mary,
And when I'd milked a bucketful
   I took it to the dairy.

I poured the milk into the dish
   While Mary held the strainer,
I summoned heart to speak my wish,
   And, oh! her blush grew plainer.

I told her I must leave the place,
   I said that I would miss her;
At first she turned away her face,
   And then she let me kiss her.

I put the bucket on the ground,
   And in my arms I caught her:
I'd give the world to hold again
   That free-selector's daughter!

First published in The Boomerang, 28 March 1891;
and later in
In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1900;
The Australian Town and Country Journal, 18 January 1905;
Humorous Verses by Henry Lawson, 1941;
Henry Lawson: Collected Verse: Vol 1 1885-1900 edited by Colin Roderick, 1967;
Along the Western Road: Bush Stories and Ballads, 1981;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
Henry Lawson: An Illustrated Treasury compiled by Glenys Smith, 1985;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989; and
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002.

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

See also.

The Empty Bowl by Emily Coungeau

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Lo, once thy loveliness a radiance shed,
   The lustre of the stars was in thine eye,   
An aureole of beauty o'er thy head,  
   Marked thee too beautiful a thing to die.

Silent and stiff, no breath of fragrance now
   Wafteth its balm to lead me to my goal,   
The silken hair that traileth o'er thy brow
   A girdle was which bound me to thy soul.

Or so I dreamed -- thy voice so softly low;
   The deepest fibres of my being stirred,
Falling in silver quivers from the bow
   Of thy curved lips as a sweet harpsichord.

And when thy slender fingers touched the strings
   In cadence sad or passionate lament,
In spirit I could feel the mystic wings  
   Of love which sanctified our sacrament.   

The golden bowl is empty, and in vain
   My burning tears on thy frail heart have shone;   
Living, yet dead, thou art another's gain,  
   Thou whom it breaks my heart to look upon.     

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 24 March 1915;
and later in
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Song of the Bachelor Bold by P.Luftig (Peter Airey)

| No TrackBacks
Winnie was winsome and sunny and fair,
   Golden her tresses, her sweet eyes of blue;
(Dora's dark eyes are divine, I declare:
   Off with the old love and on with the new!)

Winnie was winsome --- and witty was she;
   Winnie would yield in her beauty to few;
(Dora's so dainty, so frank, and so free:
   Off with the old love and on with the new!)

Winnie I loved with an ardour divine;
   Swore to be faithful --- and tried to be, too;   
(Dora has promised at last to be mine:
   Off with the old love and on with the new!)

Sweet 'tis to flutter on butterfly wing,
   Visit each flower for its sweet honey-dew;
Sip at each cup as we find it and sing:
   "Off with the old love and on with the new!"   

If a youth love a dear damsel to-day,
   Shall he not give her fair sisters their due?
If the maid pout in a petulant way,
   Shall he not change the old love for the new?
   
'Way with your tales of the lovers of old,
   Constant and crazy --- a pitiful crew:
This be the song of the Bachelor Bold:
   "Linger not long if the maiden wax cold ---
Off with the old love and on with the new!"

First published
in The Queenslander, 11 March 1893

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Hitching of the Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis

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An'--wilt--yeh--take--this--woman--fer--to--be
   Yer--wedded--wife?-- .. . O, strike me!  Will I wot?
Take 'er?  Doreen?  'E stan's there arstin' me!
   As if 'e thort per'aps I'd rather not!
   Take 'er? 'E seemed to think 'er kind was got
Like cigarette-cards, fer the arstin'. Still,
   I does me stunt in this 'ere hitchin' rot,
An' speaks me piece: "Righto!" I sez, "I will."
 
"I will," I sez. An' tho' a joyful shout
   Come from me bustin' 'eart--I know it did--
Me voice got sorter mangled comin' out,
   An' makes me whisper like a frightened kid.
   "I will," I squeaks. An' I'd 'a' give a quid
To 'ad it on the quite, wivout this fuss,
   An' orl the starin' crowd that Mar 'ad bid
To see this solim hitchin' up of us.
 
"Fer--rich-er--er--fer--poorer." So 'e bleats.
   "In--sick-ness--an'--in--'ealth," ... An' there I stands,
An' dunno 'arf the chatter I repeats,
   Nor wot the 'ell to do wiv my two 'ands.
   But 'e don't 'urry puttin' on our brands --
This white-'aired pilot-bloke -- but gives it lip,
   Dressed in 'is little shirt, wiv frills an' bands.
"In sick-ness--an'--in--" Ar! I got the pip!
 
An' once I missed me turn; an' Ginger Mick,
   'Oo's my best-man, 'e ups an' beefs it out.
"I will!" 'e 'owls; an' fetches me a kick.
   "Your turn to chin!" 'e tips wiv a shout.
   An' there I'm standin' like a gawky lout.
(Aw, spare me! But I seemed to be all 'ands!)
   An' wonders wot 'e's goin' crook about,
Wiv 'arf a mind to crack 'im where 'e stands.
 
O, lumme! But ole Ginger was a trick!
   Got up regardless fer the solim rite.
('E 'awks the bunnies when 'e toils, does Mick)
   An' twice I saw 'im feelin' fer a light
   To start a fag; an' trembles lest 'e might,
Thro' force o' habit like. 'E's nervis too;
   That's plain, fer orl 'is air o' bluff an' skite;
An' jist as keen as me to see it thro'.
 
But, 'struth, the wimmnin! 'Ow they love this frill!
   Fer Auntie Liz, an' Mar, o' course, wus there;
An' Mar's two uncles' wives, an' Cousin Lil,
   An' 'arf a dozen more to grin and stare.
   I couldn't make me 'ands fit anywhere!
I felt like I wus up afore the Beak!
   But my Doreen she never turns a 'air,
Nor misses once when it's 'er turn to speak.
 
Ar, strike! No more swell marridges fer me!
   It seems a blinded year afore 'e's done.
We could 'a' fixed it in the registree
   Twice over 'fore this cove 'ad 'arf begun.
   I s'pose the wimmin git some sorter fun
Wiv all this guyver, an 'is nibs's shirt.
   But, seems to me, it takes the bloomin' bun,
This stylish splicin' uv a bloke an' skirt.
 
"To--be--yer--weddid--wife--" Aw, take a pull!
   Wot in the 'ell's 'e think I come there for?
An' so 'e drawls an' drones until I'm full,
   An' wants to do a duck clean out the door.
An' yet, fer orl 'is 'igh-falutin' jor,
   Ole Snowy wus a reel good-meanin' bloke.
   If 'twasn't fer the 'oly look 'e wore
Yeh'd think 'e piled it on jist fer a joke.
 
An', when at last 'e shuts 'is little book,
   I 'eaves a sigh that nearly bust me vest.
But 'Eavens! Now 'ere's muvver goin' crook!
   An' sobbin' awful on me manly chest!
   (I wish she'd give them water-works a rest.)
"My little girl!" she 'owls. "O, treat 'er well!
   She's young -- too young to leave 'er muvver's nest!"
"Orright, ole chook," I nearly sez. Oh, 'ell!
 
An' then we 'as a beano up at Mar's --
   A slap-up feed, wiv wine an' two big geese.
Doreen sits next ter me, 'er eyes like stars.
   O, 'ow I wished their blessed yap would cease!
   The Parson-bloke 'e speaks a little piece,
That makes me blush an' 'ang me silly 'ead.
   'E sez 'e 'opes our lovin' will increase --
I likes that pilot fer the things 'e said.
 
'E sez Doreen an' me is in a boat,
   An' sailin' on the matrimonial sea.
'E sez as 'ow 'e hopes we'll allus float
   In peace an' joy, from storm an' danger free.
   Then muvver gits to weepin' in 'er tea;
An' Auntie Liz sobs like a winded colt;
   An' Cousin Lil comes 'round an' kisses me;
Until I feel I'll 'ave to do a bolt.
 
Then Ginger gits end-up an' makes a speech --
   ('E'd 'ad a couple, but 'e wasn't shick.)
"My cobber 'ere," 'e sez, "'as copped a peach!
   Of orl the barrer-load she is the pick!
   I 'opes 'e won't fergit 'is pals too quick
As wus 'is frien's in olden days, becors,
   I'm trusting later on," sez Ginger Mick,
"To celebrate the chris'nin'." ... 'Oly wars!
 
At last Doreen an' me we gits away,
   An' leaves 'em doin' nothin' to the scram
(We're honey-moonin' down beside the Bay.)
   I gives a 'arf a dollar to the man
   Wot drives the cab; an' like two kids we ran
To ketch the train -- Ah, strike! I could 'a' flown!
   We gets the carridge right agen the van.
She whistles, jolts, an' starts ... An' we're alone!
 
Doreen an' me! My precious bit o' fluff!
   Me own true weddid wife! ... An' we're alone!
She seems so frail, an' me so big an' rough --
   I dunno wot this feelin' is that's grown
   Inside me 'ere that makes me feel I own
A thing so tender like I fear to squeeze
   Too 'ard fer fear she'll break ... Then, wiv a groan
I starts to 'ear a coot call, "Tickets, please!"
 
You could 'a' outed me right on the spot!
   I wus so rattled when that porter spoke.
Fer, 'struth! Them tickets I 'ad fair forgot!
   But 'e fist laughs, an' takes it fer a joke.
   "We must ixcuse," 'e sez, "new-married folk."
An' I pays up, an' grins, an' blushes red....
  It shows 'ow married life improves a bloke:
If I'd bin single I'd 'a' punched 'is head!

First published in The Bulletin, 4 March 1915;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis, 1915;
Selected Works of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1988; and
Favourite Poems of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1989.

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

See also.

Lassiandra by Ella McFadyen

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Blue loveliness the Lassiandra flings
   Across the lawn and down the stone-flagged path --
A scattered host of broken, violet wings.
   The frail, drenched harvest of the storm wind's wrath;

Like songs some sweet, uncertain poet sings
   Amid life's storm - his heart's imaginings,
Lovely in hope, in young ambition's flings,
   But loveliest of all in aftermath.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February 1928

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

He Knew by Victor J. Daley

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he knew2.jpg


She was the Ball-room Belle, said all --
   And there were many there to see --
At that Vice-Regal festival
   Of grace and chivalry.

The men admired her, young and old,
   And wide and foolish, fresh and take;
But she was an iceberg cold,
   And as an iceberg pale.

With scornful glance and queenly air,
   She gazed upon the glowing scene,
As if a queen indeed she were
   And men her subjects mean.

One man alone of all the throng
   Kept far aloof from her awhile;
And, as she proudly swept away,
   Surveyed her with a smile.

Had he with hopeless love gone mad?
   Or was his cynicism forced?
Not so -- not nearly so; they had
   Been married -- and divorced.

And so, while conquests marked her track,
   He merely smiled to think that she
Had two large warts upon her back
   And was bandy in one knee.

First published in The Bulletin, 24 February 1900

Note: this poem was originally published with the illustration shown here.

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

See also.

The Orange Tree by John Shaw Neilson

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The young girl stood beside me.  I
   Saw not what her young eyes could see:
- A light, she said, not of the sky
   Lives somewhere in the Orange Tree.

- Is it, I said, of east or west?
   The heartbeat of a luminous boy
Who with his faltering flute confessed
   Only the edges of his joy?

Was he, I said, borne to the blue
   In a mad escapade of Spring
Ere he could make a fond adieu
   To his love in the blossoming?

- Listen! the young girl said.  There calls
   No voice, no music beats on me;
But it is almost sound: it falls
  This evening on the Orange Tree.

- Does he, I said, so fear the Spring
   Ere the white sap too far can climb?
See in the full gold evening
   All happenings of the olden time?

Is he so goaded by the green?
   Does the compulsion of the dew
Make him unknowable but keen
   Asking with beauty of the blue?

- Listen! the young girl said.  For all
   Your hapless talk you fail to see
There is a light, a step, a call
   This evening on the Orange Tree.

- Is it, I said, a waste of love
   Imperishably old in pain,
Moving as an affrighted dove
   Under the sunlight or the rain?

Is it a fluttering heart that gave
   Too willingly and was reviled?
Is it the stammering at a grave,
   The last word of a little child?

- Silence! the young girl said.  Oh, why,
   Why will you talk to weary me?
Plague me no longer now, for I
   Am listening like the Orange Tree.

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 February 1921;
and later in
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson by John Shaw Neilson, 1934;
A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright, 1956;
The Boomerang Book of Australian Poetry edited by Enid Moodie Heddle, 1956;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by John Thompson, Kenneth Slessor and R.G. Howarth, 1958;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
Australian Poems in Perspective: A Collecton of Poems and Critical Commentaries edited by P.K. Elkin, 1978;
Golden Apples of the Sun: Twentieth Century Australian Poetry edited by Chris Wallace-Crabb, 1980;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
The World's Contracted Thus edited by J.A. McKenzie and J.K. McKenzie, 1983;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes, 1984;
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;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Mark O'Connor, 1988;
The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ken L. Goodwin and Alan Lawson, 1990;
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991;
The Faber Book of Modern Australian Verse edited by Vincent Buckley, 1991;
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard 1998;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Hell and After: Four Early English Language Poets of Australia edited by Les Murray, 2005;
80 Great Poems From Chaucer to Now edited by Geoff Page, 2006;
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008;
Sixty Classic Australian Poems edited by Geoff Page, 2009;
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009;
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 2009; 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.

Castles in the Air by Louisa Lawson

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They leant upon the old sliprail,
   And she was mute, while he
Sent fairy ships away to sail
   Upon a rosy sea.
She listened, but no word she said,
   She knew it could not be.

He pictured what fate had in store
   When they came back from sea --
Great galleons from golden shore
   With treasure trove; but she
Just smiled and softly shook her head.
   She knew it could not be.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 9 February 1910;
and later in
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.

Ballad of Mabel Clare by Henry Lawson

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An Australian story to be read and sung hereafter.

Ye children of the Land of Gold
   I sing a song to you,
And if the jokes are somewhat old,
   The main idea is new.
So, be it sung, by hut and tent,
   Where tall the native grows;
And understand, the song is meant
   For singing through the nose.

There dwelt a hard old cockatoo
   On western hills far out --
Where ev'rything is green and blue,
   Except, of course, in drought --
A crimson Anarchist was he,
   Held other men in scorn,
Yet preach'd that ev'ry man was free,
   And also "ekal born."

He lived in his ancestral hut ---
   His missus wasn't there ---
And there was no one with him but
   His daughter, Mabel Clare.
Her eyes and hair were like the sun;
   Her foot was like a mat;
Her cheeks a trifle overdone;
   She was a democrat.

A manly independence, born
   Among the trees, she had,
She treated womankind with scorn,
   And often cursed her dad.
She hated swells and shining lights,
   For she had seen a few,
And she believed in "women's rights"
   (She mostly got'em, too).

A stranger at the neighb'ring run
   Sojourned, the squatter's guest,
He was unknown to anyone,
   But like a swell was dress'd;
He had an eyeglass to his eye,
   A collar to his ears,
His feet were made to tread the sky,
   His mouth was formed for sneers.

He wore the latest toggery,
   The loudest thing in ties ---
'Twas generally reckoned he
   Was something in disguise.
But who he was, or whence he came,
   Was long unknown, except,
Unto the squatter, who the name
   And noble secret kept.

And strolling in the noontide heat,
   Beneath the "blinding glare,"
This noble stranger chanced to meet
   The radiant Mabel Clare.
She saw at once he was a swell ---
   According to her lights ---
But, ah! 'tis very sad to tell,
   She met him oft of nights.

And, strolling through a moonlit gorge,
   She chatted all the while
Of Ingersoll, and Henry George,
   And Bradlaugh and Carlyle --
In short, he learned to love the girl,
   And things went on like this,
Until he said he was an Earl,
   And asked her to be his.

"Oh, say no more, Lord Kawlinee,
   Oh, say no more!" she said;
"Oh, say no more, Lord Kawlinee,
   I wish that I was dead:
My head is in a hawful whirl,
   The truth I dare not tell ---
I am a democratic girl,
   And cannot wed a swell!"

"Oh love!" he cried, "but you forget
   That you are most unjust;
'Twas not my fault that I was set
   Within the uppercrust.
Heed not the yarns the poets tell ---
   Oh, darling, do not doubt
A simple lord can love as well
   As any rouseabout!

"For you I'll give my fortune up ---
   I'd go to work for you!
I'll put the money in the cup
   And drop the title, too.
Oh, fly with me! Oh, fly with me
   Across the mountains blue!
Hoh, fly with me! Hoh, fly with me! ---"
    That very night she flew.

They took the train and journeyed down ---
   Across the range they sped ---
Until they came to Sydney town,
   Where shortly they were wed.
And still upon the western wild
   Admiring teamsters tell
How Mabel's father cursed his child
   For clearing with a swell.

"What ails my bird this bridal night,"
   Exclaimed Lord Kawlinee;
"What ails my own this bridal night ---
   Oh love, confide in me!"
"Oh now," she said, "that I am yaws
   You'll let me weep --- I must ---
I did desert the people's cause
   To join the upper crust."

O proudly smiled his lordship then ---
   His chimney-pot he floor'd ---
"Look up, my love, and smile again,
   For I am not a lord!"
His eye glass from his eye he tore,
   The dickey from his breast,
And turned and stood his bride before
   A rouseabout --- confess'd!

"Unknown I've loved you long," he said,
   "And I have loved you true ---
A-shearing in your guv'ner's shed
   I learned to worship you.
I do not care for place or pelf,
   For now, my love, I'm sure
That you will love me for myself
   And not because I'm poor.

"To prove your love I spent my cheque
   To buy this swell rig-out;
So fling your arms about my neck
   For I'm a rouseabout!"
At first she gave a startled cry,
   Then, safe from care's alarms,
She sigh'd a soul-subduing sigh
   And sank into his arms.

He pawned the togs, and home he took
   His bride in all her charms;
The proud old cockatoo received
   The pair with open arms.
And long they lived, the faithful bride,
   The noble rouseabout ---
And if she wasn't satisfied
   She never let it out.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 January 1892;
and later in
Humorous Verses by Henry Lawson, 1941;
Freedom on the Wallaby: Poems of the Australian People edited by Marjorie Pizer, 1953;
Along the Western Road: Bush Stories and Ballads, 1981;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
The Penguin Book of Australian Satirical Verse edited by Philip Neilsen, 1986;
The Sting in the Wattle: Australian Satirical Verse edited by Philip Neilsen, 1993; and
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993.

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

See also.

Love's Interpreter by Clarinda Parkes

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In silence I had loved her long:
   In silence for my words were weak,
   And any prayer that I might speak
Had only done my passion wrong.

Till, as it chanced upon a day,
   Under the spreading garden limes,
   I read to her the burning rhymes
Of Love's own poet past away.

And, lo! the might of my desire
   Made his high minstrelsy my own,
   And breathed in every word and tone
The lover's not the poet's fire.

His eloquence grew mine -- nay, more,
   Taught by his pure imagining,
   My love became an altered thing,   
Holier and deeper than before.      

Then, as I laid the volume by  
   And turned to meet her eyes with mine,   
   I caught the long unhoped-for shine
Of love's light dawning in their sky.

So won I that sweet prize of her;
   The voice of the immortal dead
   Had pleaded for me as I read,
And been my love's interpreter.

First published
in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 28 December 1895

Author: Clarinda Sarah Parkes (1839-1915) was the eldest child of Henry Parkes and his wife Clarinda. She started writing poetry in her teens and also completed 6 novels during her writing career.  She had some success with her writing during her lifetime but little is known of it now.  She died in Ashfield, New South Wales, in 1915.

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Girl with the Black Hair by John Shaw Neilson

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Her lips were a red peril
   To set men quivering
And in her feet there lived the ache
   And the green lilt of Spring.

'Twas on a night of red blossoms,
   Oh, she was a wild wine!
The colour of all the hours
   Lie in this heart of mine.

I was impelled by the white moon
   And the deep eyes of the Spring,
And the voices of purple flutes
   Waltzing and wavering.

Of all the bloom most delicate
   Sipping the gold air
Was a round girl with round arms,
   The Girl with the Black Hair.

Her breath was the breath of roses,
   White roses clean and clear,
Her eyes were blue as the high heavens
   Where God is always near.

Her lips were a red peril
   To set men quivering
And in her feet there lived the ache
   And the green lilt of Spring.

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 December 1913;
and later in
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;
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991;
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993; and
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 2009.

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

See also.

I Am Shut Out of Mine Own Heart by Christopher Brennan

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I am shut out of mine own heart
because my Love is far from me
nor in the wonder have I part
that fills its hidden empery:

the wildwood of adventurous thought
and lands of dawn my dream had won,
the riches out of Faerie brought
are buried with our bridal sun;

and I am in a narrow place
and all its little streets are cold
because the absence of her face
hath reft the sullen air of gold.

My home is in a broader day
-- sometimes I catch it glistening
thro' the dull gate, a flower'd play
and odour of undying spring;

the long days that I lived alone,
sweet madness of the springs I miss'd,
are shed beyond, and thro' them blown
clear laughter, and my lips are kiss'd

-- and here from mine own joy apart
I wait the turning of the key:
I am shut out of mine own heart
because my Love is far from me.

First published in The Bulletin, 10 December 1898, and again in the same magazine on 1 February 1950, and 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Bookfellow, 15 March 1915;
Poetry in Australia 1923;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
The Verse of Christopher Brennan edited by A. R. Chisholm and John Joseph Quinn, 1960;
Poems [1913] by Christopher Brennan,1972;
Selected Poems by Christopher Brennan, 1973;
Christopher Brennan edited by Terry Sturm, 1984;
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;
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love Letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice, 1991;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

When Horses are Saddled for Love by Will H. Ogilvie

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The saddle-slaves of Love are we
   Who mount by sun and moon,
No matter what the season be
   So long as it be soon!
The golden and the gray light
   Have seen the girth-straps drawn
For Love that rules the daylight,
   The dark and dusk and dawn.

What hoof beat on the gravel!
   What haste with Love to be!
What snatching at the snaffle!
   What reefing, head to knee!
Now faster still and faster --
   The white Moon laughs above --
She knows we have no master
   Except the Lord of Love.

The low road keeps the river,
   The high road skirts the hill ---
No road so short but ever
   We find a shorter still;
And if the floods run blindly
   Where Love, not Life, 's the loss,
Dame Fortune treats us kindly
   And holds our hands across.

The bush-Wind blows to meet us
   As though she understands,
The hop-bush holds to greet us
   A hundred clasping hands;
There's not a bird but sings us
   A welcome in the grove,
They know 'tis Love that brings us ---
   And all the world loves Love!

Be skies alight or leaden
   Long miles bring no regret,
And if the white spurs redden
   Our horses soon forget:
So toss the bars, my beauty,
   And cream the reins with foam ;
It's ten moon-miles to duty,
   And ten more dawn-miles home!

Gleam lights in the verandah,
   Flash lamps across the lawn;
But soft the shadows yonder
   Where reins are tightly drawn.
Out there the dews are glistening;
   The leaves are scarcely stirred,
So close the Night-Wind's listening
   To every whispered word!

The moon she dips to morning,
   The lamps are burning low,
Our love belated scorning --
   "One kiss before I go!"
Now slowly through the starlight,
   Slow, slow, in dreams away,
Till eastward gleams the far light
   That leads the breaking Day.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 November 1897;
and later in
Fair Girls and Gray Horses: With Other Verses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Emigrant to His Wife by Henry Parkes

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I remember days all glowing, love,
   With sunshine and delight,  
When the tide of life was flowing, love,
   With many a sail in sight.
I remember evermore, love,   
   That long-ago of ours,      
When the sands along the shore, love,  
   Were strewed with shells and flowers.

What a nest of flowers that cottage was,
   The Severn's flow beside,
Where, to see my rose, I used to pass
   At morn and eventide:
Oh ! thou little then didst dream, love,
   That other loving eyes
Than thy white-hair'd sire's did beam, love,
   On all thy reveries.

And I could have watched for ever, love,
   Methinks, in secret so,
If the spoiler's hand had never, love,
   There scattered death and woe!   
And I think I see thee yet, love,
   As 'midst thy garden flowers,
When the sun seemed loth to set, love,
   And leave thy happy bowers.

I remember, I remember, love,
   One later Autumn eve,
When the leaves of chill September, love,
   Had changed like things that grieve,
How I saw thee sit and mourn, love,
   Where sat thy sire before,
With the crape about thee worn, love,
   Which told he was no more.

And my heart found voice in sorrow, then,
  Thy comforter to be;  
And it sought no garb to borrow, then,
   For true love's sympathy.
Soon unfeeling strangers came, love,
   Who bade thee thence begone;
And thy beauty and fair name, love,
   Were left to thee alone.

Then I woo'd and won thee for my bride,
   Nor did more fondly vow,
When we left the winding Severn's side,
   To love, than I do now.
In the city's depths we dwelt, love,  
   Till half life's sands were run;
And fair children round us knelt, love,
  'Twas joy to gaze upon.

Still the memory of those early days
   Came fresh, and at all hours,  
How I used to steal unknown to gaze  
   On thee among thy flowers!
And misfortunes came at last, love,  
   Which fell like tempest rain:
But the sunlight of the past, love,
   Broke through the clouds again.

Thou didst cling to me the fonder, love,    
   Alone on ruin's brink,
When the storm had burst asunder, love,
   Poor Friendship's frailer link.
I remembered 'mid the blast, love,
   Which rushed o'erwhelming on,
Other days of light long passed, love!  
   And blest thee, faithful one!

When I rose up from affliction's bed,
   Hope beckoned o'er the sea,
And how cheerfully the word was said --
   That thou would'st go with me.
As we watched the levelling shore, love,
   From 'mid the waves' unrest,
To behold it never more, love,
   No murmur 'scaped thy breast.

I remembered, on the billow rude,
   The happy Severn's side,
By our little daughter's pillow rude,
   Even in the night she died:
As they lowered her dust unurned, love,
   Down in the restless sea,
To my brain that light returned, love,
   That blessed memory.

I remember days all glowing, love,
   With sunshine and delight;  
Now the sea is round us flowing, love,
   Nor land nor sail in sight.
I'll remember evermore, love,
   Beneath a milder sun,
All those happy days of yore, love,
   Mine own beloved one!  

First published in The Empire, 22 November 1853;
and later in
Murmurs of the Stream by Henry Parkes, 1857.

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

See also.

Song be Delicate by John Shaw Neilson

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Let your song be delicate.
   The skies declare
No war --- the eyes of lovers
   Wake everywhere.

Let your voice be delicate.
   How faint a thing
Is Love, little Love crying
   Under the Spring.

Let your song be delicate.
   The flowers can hear:
Too well they know the tremble,
   Of the hollow year.

Let your voice be delicate.
   The bees are home:
All their day's love is sunken
   Safe in the comb.

Let your song be delicate.
   Sing no loud hymn:
Death is abroad ... oh, the black season!
   The deep --- the dim!

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 November 1913;
and later in
Poetry in Australia 1923;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson by John Shaw Neilson, 1934;
A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright, 1956;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
The Golden Apples of the Sun: Twentieth Century Australian Poetry edited by Chris Wallace-Crabb, 1980;
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes, 1984;
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;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Mark O'Connor, 1988;
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;
A Return to Poetry 2000, edited by Michael Duffy, 2000;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Hell and After: Four Early English Language Poets of Australia edited by Les Murray, 2005;
Southerly, Vol. 68, No.3, 2008; and
100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss edited by Jamie Grant, 2011.

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

See also.

The Evening Scene by Charles Harpur

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Here, by the brook, at eve to meet
   Idalia promised me --
But even, with her zephyrs sweet,
   Is here, and where is she!
And naught are sweetest airs that fall
Around me, if beyond my call
Be my sweet love -- my all in all.

The flowers beneath -- the clouds above --
   Imbibe a deeper glow;
The shadows of each ancient grove
   To giant phantoms grow:
But nature's blushes charm not, thine,
Idalia, absent -- nor seem fine
Her shadows while thus lone is mine.

A thousand songsters 'tune their throats
   Along the gleaming brook;
In every air their music floats,
   From every bough is shook:
But if her happy voice I hear
Not mingled, to my anxious ear
No song is sweet, no music dear.

The sun sinks - and, in pairs or lone,
   All birds that far must go,
The crane and eagle, voyage on,
   The plover and the crow:
So, love, upon thy wonted wing,
To her wild bower beside the spring
The lingering Idalia bring.

Now first from heaven's dim dome, one star
   Looks down with eye of gold;
First o'er the eastern clouds afar
   The lady moon behold:
And, kindred sight! enwreathed with blooms,
Snatched, passing, from the fragrant brooms,
My bright, my chaste Idalia comes.

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 10 November 1842;
and later in
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984.

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

See also.

Truth by Mabel Forrest

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Beloved! And if this bitter thing must be,
Look up to God --- then turn in faith to me,
And let there be bare truth twixt me and thee.
Let there be truth; the lie has ceased to be ---
The lie of love, that was so sweet to me,
The gracious mask that hid reality.

Beloved! Remember all it might have been   
Had both hearts meant what only one can mean --
Had we both known what only one has seen.
Let there be truth --- unvarnished, curt, and keen.
Skies are but blue, and meadows only green ---
Ah God! That still the lie had been!

First published in The Queenslander, 6 November 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.  

Grey-Eye: A Bleating by Will Lawson

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(Overheard in Rose Bay Tram.)

Grey-eye fritters love away
   To hapless ones who woo her;
Grey-eye smiles at what they say,
   Content that they pursue her.
Grey eyes smile -- that is all:
Yet could Love wish a sweeter pall?

Grey-eye smiles when each has said
   Whats ense forbade him tell her;
Grey-eye smiles when love is dead,
   And pique and hate repel her.
Grey eyes smiles -- and yet grow old
While the same old tale is told!

Grey-eye, will you come and play
   On shining sands with me-ee?
Grey-eye, smile not when I say
   What I so long to be-ee!
Grey-eye in the moonlight stroll
Near the languid waters' roll...
         Will yer?  Ah -- do!

First published in The Bulletin, 29 October 1898

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Dying Wife by Mabel Forrest

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I did not want that you should tire of me,
   That I should each day see the shadow grow,
   That all I used to be I still might know,
Feeling I was not as of yore to thee.

I did not want to see your eyes meet mine
   And then pass quickly, caring not to rest
   One moment on me, just to catch the best
Of Love's replying, that would answer thine.

I did not want to live to sea you fall
   Into indifference of my smile or frown;
   I did not want pale Pity bending down
In place of Love, that once was over all.

'Twere not enough of comfort, knowing this,
   No other was before me in your heart,
   No other life could thrust our lives apart,
No other lips would quiver to your kiss.

And because all you strove for is your own,
   The worth must leave the prize for which you strove,
   "'Tis only foolishness"; what once was Love,   
It was not worth the winning, now 'tis won,

Yet unwise I to blame, unwise to cry
   To-day a secret that the world has known.
   Forgive me, dear; when you are left alone
Think not of what I said -- not bitterly.

But ah! prophetic heart! and so I die,
   Not much regretting, while you are unchanged;  
   'Twere harder to have lived with Love estranged,
To feel that custom held you, and not I.

And I shall go while yet your eager hand
   Is stretched to hold me, longs to keep me there,
   Loves still to smooth with trembling touch my hair,
And all my feebleness can understand.

Ah! weep not ! Do you think that I could bear
   Never to hear one note of unasked praise,
   Never to feel, as in the dear dead days,
That I was something greater by your care?

No, let me go. Man-like, you cannot see
   Beyond, as I can see, the passion pale;
   See how I strive to tell, and how you fail
To understand, what once was life to thee!

What profit then to think "I had my day;
   He lay there gladly, even at my feet"?
   The bitter in that knowledge kills the sweet,
Feeling how very much has passed away.

How long abides the truth of heart to heart?
   Good-bye, dear. This is not the hardest thing;
   Fresh hope to you unfettered years will bring,
And you will love me, now, until we part!

First published in The Queenslander, 17 October 1896

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

"The Little More...The Little Less... by Mary Corringham

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"The Little More..."

Powerless we are when love will come;
   Powerless, when love will go.
The tender voice, how soon grown dumb!
   The racing pulse, how slow!

'Twere better then, while love is strong--
   At the high heat of bliss--
To seize the passions that belong
   To each impetuous kiss;

And, undivided in our will,
   Join hands, and lips, and eyes;
Even though morning holds no thrill
   Of wakening surprise. . . .

Life is a road that I have trod;
   Is a known, charted sea.
What I have had, not even God
   Can take away from me.

"The Little Less..."

You are more distant from me than that star!
   I scarce believe that we have ever met --
   So sweet, so brief, with no time to regret --
And now you trace your orbit aeons afar.
So soon grown inaccessible you are,
   As if you were a planet that had set
   Beyond my outer universe; and yet
What leagues of space to dreams were ever bar?

There was a moment when you drew as near
   As does the sun to ocean at nightfall,
On some still evening when no clouds appear.
   And nothing stirs the peace but a birdcall ....
Yea! Close as sun and ocean have we been --
Why should I weep if worlds now roll between?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 October 1937

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Doreen by C. J. Dennis

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"I wish't yeh meant it, Bill." Oh, 'ow me 'eart
   Went out to 'er that ev'nin' on the beach.
I knoo she weren't no ordinary tart,
      My little peach!
I tell yeh, square an' all, me 'eart stood still
To 'ear 'er say, "I wish't yeh meant it, Bill."
 
To 'ear 'er voice! Its gentle sorter tone,
   Like soft dream-music of some Dago band.
An' me all out; an' 'oldin' in me own
      'Er little 'and.
An' 'ow she blushed! O, strike! it was divine
The way she raised 'er shinin' eyes to mine.
 
'Er eyes! Soft in the moon; such boshter eyes!
   An' when they sight a bloke ... O, spare me days!
'E goes all loose inside; such glamour lies
       In 'er sweet gaze.
It makes 'im all ashamed uv wot 'e's been
To look inter the eyes of my Doreen.
 
The wet sands glistened, an' the gleamin' moon
   Shone yeller on the sea, all streakin' down.
A band was playin' some soft, dreamy choon;
       An' up the town
We 'eard the distant tram-cars whir an' clash.
An' there I told 'er 'ow I'd done me dash.
 
"I wish't yeh meant it." 'Struth! And did I, fair?
   A bloke 'ud be a dawg to kid a skirt
Like 'er. An' me well knowin' she was square.
      It 'ud be dirt!
'E'd be no man to point wiv 'er, an' kid.
I meant it honest; an' she knoo I did.
 
She knoo. I've done me block in on 'er, straight.
   A cove 'as got to think some time in life
An' get some decent tart, ere it's too late,
      To be 'is wife.
But, Gawd! 'Oo would 'a' thort it could 'a' been
My luck to strike the likes of 'er? ... Doreen!
 
Aw, I can stand their chuckin' off, I can.
   It's 'ard; an' I'd delight to take 'em on.
The dawgs! But it gets that way wiv a man
      When 'e's fair gone.
She'll sight no stoush; an' so I 'ave to take
Their mag, an' do a duck fer 'er sweet sake.
 
Fer 'er sweet sake I've gone and chucked it clean:
   The pubs an' schools an' all that leery game.
Fer when a bloke 'as come to know Doreen,
      It ain't the same.
There's 'igher things, she sez, for blokes to do.
An' I am 'arf believin' that it's true.
 
Yes, 'igher things -- that wus the way she spoke;
   An' when she looked at me I sorter felt
That bosker feelin' that comes offer a bloke,
      An' makes 'im melt;
Makes 'im all 'ot to maul 'er, an' to shove
'Is arms about 'er ... Bli'me? But it's love!
 
That's wot it is. An' when a man 'as grown
   Like that 'e gets a sorter yearn inside
To be a little 'ero on 'is own;
      An' see the pride
Glow in the eyes of 'er 'e calls 'is queen;
An' 'ear 'er say 'e is a shine champeen.
 
"I wish't yeh meant it," I can 'ear 'er yet,
   My bit o' fluff! The moon was shinin' bright,
Turnin' the waves all yeller where it set --
      A bonzer night!
The sparklin' sea all sorter gold an' green;
An' on the pier the band -- O, 'Ell! ... Doreen!

First published in The Bulletin, 30 September 1909;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis, 1915.

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

See also.

Lady O' Mine by Will Lawson

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"You must not pause in Life's bye-ways and listen,
         Dear, to Love's songs --
Your way lies up where the glory-stars glisten
         Far from the throngs.
You may not wait till to-day is to-morrow,
         Lest you repine.
You must forget me" -- (Life's studded with sorrow,
         Lady o' mine!)

So wrote you on to the end of your letter,
         Once came the thought.
"Does she but fret at the gall of the fetter
         We two have wrought?"
Dream how the moon shone that night in her glory
         Through forests of pine;
When the night winds came whispering story on story,
         Lady o' mine!

I will not turn from the things I am doing,
         Striving for you.
Nor will I cool from the heat of my wooing,
         Knowing you true.
I will win up where, in every weather,
         Glory-stars shine --
"You must forget!" -- Nay, we'll go there together,
         Lady o' mine!

First published in Melbourne Punch, 29 September 1904

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Boronia by Mary Fortune

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Welcome, sweet Spring, but not for wealth
   Of wattle bloom, or daffodil,
Or violets, or lilies fair,
   Or perfumed, pale jonquil;
We love them all, but willingly
   We would them all delete,
Rather than lose thy heavenly breath,
   Boronia, brown and sweet.

Thou fair, fair West, what wealth is then,
   Thy kauri forests grand,
Thy happy homesteads, and thy stretch
   Of green, productive land;
Thy streamlets margined rich with flowers,
   Thy rivers deep and wide,
Where the graceful black swans thou hast limned
   For thy insignia glide.

Thou hast thy "Gold of Ophir," too,
   Where in the deep, dark mine,
With hidden wealth for workers' hands
   The wine-red rubies shine;
We envy not thee one or all,
   But gladly turn to greet
Thy spring-sent messages of love,
   In brown Boronia sweet.

The lover lays thee on his lips,
   And sighs for kisses fled,
The mother lays thee on her breast,
   And weeps her baby dead;
I place thy by my weakling pen,
   And Heaven-sent tidings greet,
For well I know thou hast been there,
   Boronia, brown and sweet.

First published in The Australasian, 23 September 1907

Author: Mary Helena Fortune (nee Wilson) (1833?-1910?) was born in Belfast and emigrated to Canada as a child.  While there she married Joseph Fortune in 1851.  When her father emigrated to Australia in 1855 Fortune followed him with her child, probably leaving her husband behind.  For the rest of her life she supported her family by her writing, mainly in The Australian Journal.  She is best known for her detective stories and other works, including poetry, under the pseudonym "Waif Wander".  She died in Melbourne sometime around 1910.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Devil-May-Care! by Will H. Ogilvie

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(AN AUSTRALIAN BALLAD.)

Well-known on the border, strong, handsome and straight,
A reckless, wild liver, but true-hearted mate --
What his name was I'm not in position to swear,
But we called him --- it suited him--- Devil-may-care!

Drink! He drank Bullocky Jim out of breath!
Dance! He could dance the red stars to their death!
Ride! There was nothing in hide or in hair
Too rough to be ridden by Devil-may-care!

Where did he come from? Well! where are they bred
With those laughing blue eyes, that proud lift of the head?
Oh! it's England, and England, and only up there
Where they breed 'em light-hearted, like Devil-may-care!

He was fond of the women! Ay, that you might think;
Love 'o women goes mostly with dancing and drink;
He had eyes for the dark ones and lips for the fair,
And a careless, gay gallant was Devil-may-care!

But there came to our hero, as mostly to those
Who expect to go scatheless, a wound of love's woes,
And an armful of roses and ruddy-gold hair
Set the love-stars a-reeling for Devil-may-care!

It was merely in touch with the fitness of things
And the maxim of "true love" --- which somebody sings
That the gallant went droving all day in the sun,
And the maid was the heiress of Merrida run.

But love laughs at locksmiths, so, somewhere, they say,
And true love tastes sweeter for bars in the way;
And bars must be big ones to part a fond pair
When the one is a rebel like Devil-may-care!

So it chanced that on camp where the tired cattle lay
And the drovers kept double night-watch till the day,
The boss took the road on his ambling bay mare
And a girl in the dim light met Devil-may-care.

When he reined the bay mare at the love-chosen place
It was pure love that shone on his wild, haggard face,
And the men that had drunk with this reckless Lothair
Would hardly have known him as Devil-may-care!

So they met -- so they parted --- a kiss for a troth!
And the earth seemed a fairy land built for them both;
But some late laggard passing caught sight of the mare,
And --- True Heart no longer met Devil-may-care!

And they took her away --- for her good --- to the South
With a rebel's wild kiss on her rosy child-mouth;
And ah! for her good were they right to beware
That she sent no word Northward to Devil-may-care!

And he curses her mem'ry on Merrida Run
Since she cared to make light of the love that she won --
Yet he broods all alone o'er one lock of her hair
Who had wakened a pure love in Devil-may-care!

When the long trip is done, and the cattle safe down,
Then he drinks --- how he drinks! down in Albury Town;
And "Why should I sorrow, it's only my share
Who believed in a woman!" says Devil-may-care!

First published in The Bulletin, 30 August 1902;
and later in
The Overlander Songbook edited by Ronald George Edwards, 1971;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987; and
ReCollecting Albury Writing: Poetry and Prose from Albury and District 1859 to 2000 edited by Jane Downing and Dirk H. R. Spenneman, 2000.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

After Johnson's Dance by Charles Souter

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After Johnson's dance --
   Don't you recollects?
I says, "Goin' 'ome?"
   You says, "I expect!"
I says, "So am I!"
   You says, "Not with me!"
I says, "An' for w'y?"
   Blowed if I could see!
      You says, "Go to France!"
      After Johnson's dance.

After Johnson's dance --
   I says, "Em, you might!"
"Might I, tho'!" says you.
   "Garn, you silly fright!"
Then I kissed you, fair!
   (How you did object!)
Towsled all your hair!
   Don't you recollect?
      Took my bloomin' chance --
      After Johnson's dance!

After Johnson's dance --
   Smacked my face, you did!
Then I caught you -- so! --
   Like you was a kid.
"Just do it again --
   Just you do," you says.
You says, "do it!" plain:
   An' of course, I does!
      Who made that advance --
      After Johnson's dance?

First published
in The Bulletin, 19 August 1899;
and later in
To Many Ladies (And Others) by Charles Henry Souter, 1917;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964; and
Along the Western Road: Bush Stories and Ballads, 1981.

Author: Charles Henry Souter (1864-1944) was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and emigrated to Australia in 1879.  He returned to Scotland to study medicine before settling in South Australia, where he lived in a number of locations around the state.  Mainly known as a "Bulletin" poet, he published four collections of his poetry during his lifetime.  He died in Adelaide in 1944.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Rosebud by Peter Airey

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I asked her for a rosebud,
   She quickly answered "No!"
Swept gaily laughing by me,
   And left me grieving so;
Around me sweet are blooming
   A thousand flowers and more,
But not one hath the beauty
   Of the blossom that she bore.

Tho' deeply thou hast wronged me,
   Yet mayst thou never rue,
May joy's dear fount ne'er fail thee,
   Nor soft affection's dew;
And though thy love hath left me
   I may not angry be,
For, deep within my bosom,
   Remembrance pleads for thee.

First published in The Queenslander, 17 August 1895

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Intro by C. J. Dennis

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'Er name's Doreen ...Well, spare me bloomin' days!
You could er knocked me down wiv 'arf a brick!
   Yes, me, that kids meself I know their ways,
   An' 'as a name for smoogin' in our click!
I just lines up 'an tips the saucy wink.
But strike! The way she piled on dawg! Yer'd think
   A bloke was givin' back-chat to the Queen....
      'Er name's Doreen.
 
I seen 'er in the markit first uv all,
Inspectin' brums at Steeny Isaacs' stall.
   I backs me barrer in -- the same ole way --
   An' sez, "Wot O!  It's been a bonzer day.
'Ow is it fer a walk?" ... Oh, 'oly wars!
The sorta look she gimme! Jest becors
   I tried to chat 'er, like you'd make a start
      Wiv any tart.
 
An' I kin take me oaf I wus perlite.
An' never said no word that wasn't right,
   An' never tried to maul 'er, or to do
   A thing yeh might call croook.  Ter tell yeh true,
I didn't seem to 'ave the nerve -- wiv 'er.
I felt as if I couldn't go that fur,
   An' start to sling of chiack like I used...
      Not intrajuiced!
 
Nex' time I sighted 'er in Little Bourke,
Where she was in a job.  I found 'er lurk
   Wus pastin' labels in a pickle joint,
   A game that -- any'ow, that ain't the point.
Once more I tried to chat 'er in the street,
But, bli'me!  Did she turn me down a treat!
   The way she tossed 'er head an' swished 'er skirt!
      Oh, it wus dirt!
 
A squarer tom, I swear, I never seen,
In all me natchril, than this 'ere Doreen.
   It wer'n't no guyver neither; fer I knoo
   That any other bloke 'ad Buckley's 'oo
Tried fer to pick 'er up.  Yes, she was square.
She jest sailed by an' lef me standin' there
   Like any mug.  Thinks I, "I'm out er luck,"
      And done a duck.
 
Well, I dunno.  It's that way wiv a bloke.
If she'd ha' breasted up ter me an' spoke.
   I'd thort 'er jist a common bit er fluff,
   An' then fergot about 'er, like enough.
It's jest like this.  The tarts that's 'ard ter get
Makes you all 'ot to chase 'em, an' to let
   The cove called Cupid get a 'ammer-lock;
      An' lose yer block.
 
I know a bloke 'oo knows a bloke 'oo toils
In that same pickle found-ery.  ('E boils
   The cabbitch storks or somethink.)  Anyway,
   I gives me pal the orfis fer to say
'E 'as a sister in the trade 'oo's been
Out uv a jorb, an' wants ter meet Doreen;
   Then we kin get an into, if we've luck.
      'E sez, "Ribuck."
 
O' course we worked the oricle; you bet!
But, 'struth, I ain't recovered frum it yet!
   'Twas on a Saturdee, in Colluns Street,
   An' - quite by accident, o' course -- we meet.
Me pal 'e trots 'er up an' does the toff --
'E allus wus a bloke fer showin' off.
   "This ere's Doreen," 'e sez.  "This 'ere's the Kid."
      I dips me lid.
 
"This 'ere's Doreen," 'e sez.  I sez "Good day."
An' bli'me, I 'ad nothin' more ter say!
   I couldn't speak a word, or meet 'er eye.
   Clean done me block!  I never been so shy,
Not since I was a tiny little cub,
An' run the rabbit to the corner pub --
   Wot time the Summer days wus dry and 'ot --
      Fer me ole pot.
 
Me! that 'as barracked tarts, an' torked an' larft,
An' chucked orf at 'em like a phonergraft!
   Gorstrooth!  I seemed to lose me pow'r o' speech.
   But 'er!  Oh, strike me pink!  She is a peach!
The sweetest in the barrer!  Spare me days,
I carn't describe that cliner's winnin' ways.
   The way she torks!  'Er lips!  'Er eyes!  'Er hair! ...
      Oh, gimme air!
 
I dunno 'ow I done it in the end.
I reckerlect I arst ter be 'er friend;
   An' tried to play at 'andies in the park,
   A thing she wouldn't sight.  Aw, it's a nark!
I gotter swear when I think wot a mug
I must 'a' seemed to 'er.  But still I 'ug
   That promise she give me fer the beach.
      The bonzer peach!
 
Now, as the poit sez, the days drag by
On ledding feet.  I wish't they'd do a guy.
   I dunno 'ow I 'ad the nerve ter speak,
   An' make that meet wiv 'er fer Sundee week!
But strike!  It's funny wot a bloke'll do
When 'e's all out ... She's gorn, when I come-to.
   I'm yappin' to me cobber uv me mash....
      I've done me dash!
 
'Er name's Doreen....An' me -- that thort I knoo
   The ways uv tarts, an' all that smoogin' game!
An' so I ort; fer ain't I known a few?
   Yet some'ow ... I dunno.  It ain't the same.
I carn't tell wot it is; but all I know,
I've dropped me bundle -- an' I'm glad it's so.
   Fer when I come ter think uv wot I been....
      'Er name's Doreen.

First published
in The Bulletin, 3 August 1911;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis, 1916;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
Selected Works of C.J. Dennis by C.J. Dennis, 1988; and
Favourite Poems of C.J. Dennis by C.J. Dennis, 1989.

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

See also.

Sweethearts and Wives by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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Who will not drink the toast of wives and sweet hearts?
   Who will not pledge "Our sweethearts and our wives?"
What greater boon is deigned us than to greet hearts
   Destined to sway the current of our lives
With influence, like a good star, benignant,
   With magnet-power drawing men to home;
And counter-spells to break the spell malignant,
   The curse of Cain, that tempts us all to roam?

Your healths, great-hearted, staunch, devoted women,
   Ready, for sake of home, to live the life
Of serfs, in duty fearless as are few men,
   Who if Death stood amidst the path of wife
Would swerve not to the left side or the right side,
   But walk straight on into his cold embrace;
Who carry your life-exile from life's bright side
   Branded indelibly upon your face.

Your healths, stout-hearted, cheery, little women,
   With little homes, small means, and little spheres,
Who manage with your small lights to illumine
   Lives not too full of this world's gifts and cheers;
Who smiling share the struggle for subsistence,
   And laughing lighten many a hard day;
And all without one glimmer in the distance
   To give you hope that clouds will clear away.

Your healths, brave sufferers in the early trials
   Of genius in uncongenial straits,
Who feel that, when ill-fate has drained her vials,
   Veiled in the future somewhere glory waits:
Wives of Carlyles and sisters loved of Wordsworths,
   Who fight the good fight spite of toils and strains,
Confident that your hero has whole herds worths
   Of ordinary mortals' aims and brains.

Your healths, refined, appreciative, women,
   Graceful and bright, easy in circumstance,   
Who make it yours to cheer all good and true men
   Upon their high emprize with kindly glance;
Women with yearnings noble and poetic,
   Women with worship for heroic deeds,
Longing to make oblation sympathetic
   Or all your witchery for great men's meeds.

Your health, O much revered and Royal Woman
   Sitting aloft on empire's dazzling heights,
Crowned with a halo almost superhuman,
   And thrown into relief with such strong lights;
And yours, Princess, whose days have ever found you
   Offering some fresh word or act of grace
To the poor folk who love to throng around you
   To gaze upon the fairness of your face,

Who will not drink the toast of wives and sweet hearts?
   Who will not pledge "Our sweethearts and our wives?"
Bright hearts and brave hearts, gentle hearts and great hearts,
   Deigned to be stars or flowers of our lives;
Beautiful, graceful, love-inspiring lovers,
   Dutiful, dauntless, uncomplaining mates?
Each woman that I meet to me discovers
   Some new gift to alleviate our fates.

First published in The Queenslander, 21 July 1883

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Play by C. J. Dennis

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Wot's in a name? -- she sez . . . An' then she sighs,
An' clasps 'er little 'ands, an' rolls 'er eyes.
"A rose," she sez, "be any other name
Would smell the same.
Oh, w'erefore art you Romeo, young sir?
Chuck yer ole pot, an' change yer moniker!"
 
Doreen an' me, we bin to see a show --
The swell two-dollar touch. Bong tong, yeh know.
A chair apiece wiv velvit on the seat;
A slap-up treat.
The drarmer's writ be Shakespeare, years ago,
About a barmy goat called Romeo.
 
"Lady, be yonder moon I swear!" sez 'e.
An' then 'e climbs up on the balkiney;
An' there they smooge a treat, wiv pretty words
Like two love-birds.
I nudge Doreen. She whispers, "Ain't it grand!"
'Er eyes is shining an' I squeeze 'er 'and.
 
'Wot's in a name?" she sez. 'Struth, I dunno.
Billo is just as good as Romeo.
She may be Juli-er or Juli-et --
'E loves 'er yet.
If she's the tart 'e wants, then she's 'is queen,
Names never count ... But ar, I like "Doreen!"
 
A sweeter, dearer sound I never 'eard;
Ther's music 'angs around that little word,
Doreen! ... But wot was this I starts to say
About the play?
I'm off me beat. But when a bloke's in love
'Is thorts turns 'er way, like a 'omin' dove.
 
This Romeo 'e's lurkin' wiv a crew --
A dead tough crowd o' crooks -- called Montague.
'Is cliner's push -- wot's nicknamed Capulet --
They 'as 'em set.
Fair narks they are, jist like them back-street clicks,
Ixcep' they fights wiv skewers 'stid o' bricks.
 
Wot's in a name? Wot's in a string o' words?
They scraps in ole Verona wiv the'r swords,
An' never give a bloke a stray dog's chance,
An' that's Romance.
But when they deals it out wiv bricks an' boots
In Little Lon., they're low, degraded broots.
 
Wot's jist plain stoush wiv us, right 'ere to-day,
Is "valler" if yer fur enough away.
Some time, some writer bloke will do the trick
Wiv Ginger Mick,
Of Spadger's Lane.
'E'll be a Romeo,
When 'e's bin dead five 'undred years or so.
 
Fair Juli-et, she gives 'er boy the tip.
Sez she: "Don't sling that crowd o' mine no lip;
An' if you run agin a Capulet,
Jist do a get."
'E swears 'e's done wiv lash; 'e'll chuck it clean.
(Same as I done when I first met Doreen.)
 
They smooge some more at that. Ar, strike me blue!
It gimme Joes to sit an' watch them two! '
E'd break away an' start to say good-bye,
An' then she'd sigh
"Ow, Ro-me-o!" an' git a strangle-holt,
An' 'ang around 'im like she feared 'e'd bolt.
 
Nex' day 'e words a gorspil cove about
A secret weddin'; an' they plan it out.
'E spouts a piece about 'ow 'e's bewitched:
Then they git 'itched ...
Now, 'ere's the place where I fair git the pip!
She's 'is for keeps, an' yet 'e lets 'er slip!
 
Ar! but 'e makes me sick! A fair gazob!
E's jist the glarsey on the soulful sob,
'E'll sigh and spruik, a' 'owl a love-sick vow --
(The silly cow!)
But when 'e's got 'er, spliced an' on the straight
'E crools the pitch, an' tries to kid it's Fate.
 
Aw! Fate me foot! Instid of slopin' soon
As 'e was wed, off on 'is 'oneymoon,
'Im an' 'is cobber, called Mick Curio,
They 'ave to go
An' mix it wiv that push o' Capulets.
They look fer trouble; an' it's wot they gets.
 
A tug named Tyball (cousin to the skirt)
Sprags 'em an' makes a start to sling off dirt.
Nex' minnit there's a reel ole ding-dong go ---
'Arf round or so.
Mick Curio, 'e gets it in the neck,
"Ar rats!" 'e sez, an' passes in 'is check.
 
Quite natchril, Romeo gits wet as 'ell.
"It's me or you!" 'e 'owls, an' wiv a yell,
Plunks Tyball through the gizzard wiv 'is sword,
'Ow I ongcored!
"Put in the boot!" I sez. "Put in the boot!"
"'Ush!" sez Doreen ... "Shame!" sez some silly coot.
 
Then Romeo, 'e dunno wot to do.
The cops gits busy, like they allwiz do,
An' nose around until 'e gits blue funk
An' does a bunk.
They wants 'is tart to wed some other guy.
"Ah, strike!" she sez. "I wish that I could die!"
 
Now, this 'ere gorspil bloke's a fair shrewd 'ead.
Sez 'e "I'll dope yeh, so they'll think yer dead."
(I tips 'e was a cunnin' sort, wot knoo
A thing or two.)
She takes 'is knock-out drops, up in 'er room:
They think she's snuffed, an' plant 'er in 'er tomb.
 
Then things gits mixed a treat an' starts to whirl.
'Ere's Romeo comes back an' finds 'is girl
Tucked in 'er little coffing, cold an' stiff,
An' in a jiff,
'E swallows lysol, throws a fancy fit,
'Ead over turkey, an' 'is soul 'as flit.
 
Then Juli-et wakes up an' sees 'im there,
Turns on the water-works an' tears 'er 'air,
"Dear love," she sez, "I cannot live alone!"
An' wiv a moan,
She grabs 'is pockit knife, an' ends 'er cares ...
"Peanuts or lollies!" sez a boy upstairs.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 July 1914, and again in the same magazine on 1 February 1950 and 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis, 1915;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Australian Kaleidoscope edited by Barbara Ker Wilson, 1968;
Selected Works of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1988;
Favourite Poems of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1989;
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love Letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice, 1991;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1996;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007;
Sixty Classic Australian Poems edited by Geoff Page, 2009;
The Puncher & Wattman Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009;
The Sentimental Bloke: The Poems of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 2010; and
100 Australian poems of Love and Loss edited by Jamie Grant, 2011.

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

See also.

Living Dream by Zora Cross

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That day was the last of realities.
Life now is but a living dream. These trees,
These flowers, these grasses that I used to know
Seem but some memory of long ago.

That day I doubted that your love was true;
And, doubting, lost you as poor mortals do
Lose the Bright gleam of Ideality.
You were the link between my God and me.

This morning I was glad for all of this.
Death's fears like a far flower are all dispelled.
In my eternal dream e'en in a kiss
For ever and for ever you are held.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 15 July 1925

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Three Years Ago by George Essex Evans

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Not many years have passed away
   Since last I saw that gentle face;
         Not many years!
To those whose hearts are light and gay
   The time of such a little space
        Swift disappears.
But those few years have been to me
A weary blank eternity.

Three years ago! I knew you then,
   You were the fairest of the fair
         Three years ago!
Your beauty stirred the hearts of men;
   They said none could with your's compare.
         I loved you so,
I felt with pride my bosom swell
To hear her praised I loved so well.

Where beauties grew like comely flowers,
   Your stately grace outshone them all,
         Like some sweet rose
Which from the sheltering leafy bowers
   Has climbed the garden wall,
         And lovelier grows;
Blooms Queen amongst the roses there,
Sweet like her sisters, but more fair.

You thought it was a boyish dream
   That future years would drive away;
         Three years have past.
That years like centuries can seem,
   That weeks seem years, an hour a day,
         I know at last;
But still my "boyish dream" remains,
And in my heart thine image reigns.

"Come what come may!" I know that now
   For ever thou art lost to me,
         In three short years.
To Fate's relentless law I bow.
   And wish all happiness to thee,
         Till death appears
With lightning stride or footstep slow;
I love you as "Three Years Ago."

First published
in The Queenslander, 12 July 1884

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

See also.

My Queen of Dreams by Philip J. Holdsworth

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In the warm flushed heart of the rose-red West,
   When the great sun quivered and died to-day,
You pulsed, O star, by yon pine-clad crest --
   And throbbed till the bright eve ashened grey --
         Then I saw you swim
         By the shadowy rim
Where the grey gum dips to the western plain,
         And you rayed delight
         As you winged your flight
To the mystic spheres where your kinsmen reign!

O star, did you see her? My queen of dreams!
   Was it you that glimmered the night we strayed
A month ago by these scented streams?
   Half-checked by the litter the musk-buds made?
         Did you sleep or wake? --
         Ah, for Love's sweet sake
(Though the world should fail and the soft stars wane!)
         I shall dream delight
         Till our souls take flight
To the mystic spheres where your kinsmen reign!

First published in The Bulletin, 11 July 1885, and again in the same magazine on 13 June 1896 and 1 February 1902;
and later in
Australian Ballads and Rhymes: Poems Inspired by Life and Scenery in Australia and New Zealand edited by Douglas Sladen, 1888;
A Century of Australian Song edited by Douglas Sladen, 1888;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907; and
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909.

Author: Philip Joseph Holdsworth (1851-1902) was born and educated in Sydney.  He joined the State Treasury office in 1871, and continued in public service until 1893 when the Forestry Department, of which he was secretary, was abolished.  He was associated with Sydney literary circles for most of his adult life and was editor of the Illustrated Sydney News in the 1880s.  He died suddenly in Sydney in 1902.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

"She Pined in Thought" by Henry Halloran

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She has around her sunshine and sweet flowers,
And music which might lull her heart to rest;
But peace has fled for ever from her breast,
And hope can gild no more her joyless hours.

Ah! ye who gaze upon that girlish brow,
So radiant still with beauty's beams unshorn,
Can little guess the anguish it has home,
Or deem what misery wrings it even now.

Look on those eyes where love has reared a throne,
Filling the gazer's soul with tender dread;
Alas! what tears of sorrow have they shed,
How many a sleepless vigil have they known.

That mouth, a paradise of rosy bloom,
Has never uttered one fond word of woe;
Her voiceless sorrow "passes outward show,"
And only hopes for peace within the tomb.

And yet fond bud of beauty, as thou art,
Will not the false, tho' still adored, return!
He will, to mourn above the insensate urn,
Which holds the ashes of a broken heart.

First published in The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts and General Literature, 5 July 1845

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Her Eyes by John Shaw Neilson

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Dark eyes are hers; but in their darkness
   lies all the white holiness of Paradise;
A tender violet within them shows
   and the unsullied beauty of the rose;
         Dark eyes are hers.

Dark eyes are hers --- that move my heart to sing.
They have consumed the Summer! caught the Spring!
Stolen the star-light, and exultingly
   lifted the moon-beams' old embroidery:
         Dark eyes are hers.

First published in The Sun [Sydney], 25 June 1911;
and later in
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; and
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991.

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

See also.

The Evening Star by Charles Harpur

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The stars were lit in heaven, and we did rove,
   Rosa and I, in the cool shadowless haze
   Of early night, at those wild lights to gaze,
Ere yet the moon, whose rim was now above
An eastern hill, should dim them. Soon did move
   In both strange sympathies, as though their rays
   Were memories of bright eyes, that in the days
Of the still past look'd heavenward in love.
Distinguishingly then our thoughts begun
   To single for regard such as were rare;
To fix at length, by mute consent, on one
   That burns in the deep west beyond compare --
And fixing, deem, that when the day was done,
   The spirit of our love resided there.

First published in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 22 June 1844

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

See also.

The Drover's Sweetheart by Henry Lawson

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An hour before the sun goes down
   Behind the ragged boughs,
I go across the little run
   And bring the dusty cows;
And once I used to sit and rest
   Beneath the fading dome,
For there was one that I loved best
   Who'd bring the cattle home.

Our yard is fixed with double bails,
   Round one the grass is green,
The bush is growing through the rails,
   The spike is rusted in;
And 'twas from there his freckled face
   Would turn and smile at me --
He'd milk a dozen in the race
   While I was milking three.

I milk eleven cows myself
   Where once I milked but four;
I set the dishes on the shelf
   And close the dairy door;
And when the glaring sunlight fails
   And the fire shines through the cracks,
I climb the broken stockyard rails
   And watch the bridle-tracks.

He kissed me twice and once again
   And rode across the hill,
The pint-pots and the hobble-chain
   I hear them jingling still;
He'll come at night or not at all --
   He left in dust and heat,
And when the soft, cool shadows fall
   Is the best time to meet.

And he is coming back again,
   He wrote to let me know,
The floods were in the Darling then --
   It seems so long ago;
He'd come through miles of slush and mud,
   And it was weary work,
The creeks were bankers, and the flood
   Was forty miles round Bourke.

He said the floods had formed a block,
   The plains could not be crossed,
And there was foot-rot in the flock
   And hundreds had been lost;
The sheep were falling thick and fast
   A hundred miles from town,
And when he reached the line at last
   He trucked the remnant down.

And so he'll have to stand the cost;
   His luck was always bad,
Instead of making more, he lost
   The money that he had;
And how he'll manage, heaven knows
   (My eyes are getting dim),
He says -- he says -- he don't -- suppose
   I'll want -- to -- marry -- him.

As if I wouldn't take his hand
   Without a golden glove --
Oh! Jack, you men won't understand
   How much a girl can love.
I long to see his face once more --
   Jack's dog! thank God, it's Jack! --
(I never thought I'd faint before)
   He's coming -- up -- the track.

First published in The Boomerang, 20 June 1891;
and later in
The Bulletin, 22 February 1896;
In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1900;
The Water Lily by Henry Lawson, 1977;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love Letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice, 1991; and
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001.

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

See also.

Over the Stockyard Rails by Edward S. Sorenson

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Hard by the bells are jingling,
   The nags are feeding near,
The quaint bush sounds come mingling
   With memories that are dear;
The warm night-wind caresses
   As o'er the grass it sails,
Like Nelly's soft brown treeses
   Across the stockyard rails.

She was a "free selector,"
   Her beau a station swell,
And "Dad" was the objector
   When I went courting Nell;
But Nelly met me slyly,
   Though he was hard as nails --
And, oh! she kissed me shyly
   Across the stockyard rails!

Now, many years have vanished,
   And many girls I've kissed;
Some long from memory banished,
   Some dear ones sadly missed;
And these come gaily trooping
   From 'yond the yester veils,
And once again I'm stooping
   Across the stockyard rails.

Ah, girls will love a rover --
   And pretty lips are met,
On every track a drover
   Has ever wandered yet.
So Love must wait and languish
   Where wand'ring life entails
A parting kiss of anguish
   Across the stockyard rails.

Now in the autumn mellow
   Sweet faces come in train,
All smiling round a fellow
   Who may not kiss again!
But, oh! the fire burns brightly,
   And Memory gladly hails
The kisses Nell kissed nightly
   Across the stockyard rails.

First published in The Bulletin, 31 May 1902

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

I Met Her on the Railway by Henry Halloran

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I met her on the Railway, in the joyous month of May,
And of her beauty did I think throughout the livelong day; --
That beauty which all hearts subdues, majestic and yet mild --
The dignity of Woman, with the sweetness of the Child.      

I know not what some people think of this bright world of ours
To me it seems a paradise, and Woman first of flowers;
Whose love makes sweet the Summer air, and cheers the Winter sky;
Our safety when we spring to life -- our solace when we die!

Pass on thy way, fair innocence! enough that I have had
One smile from those bright eyes of thine to make my bosom glad.  
We may not meet again, perchance, but to my heart I fold  
That sunbeam smile, and prize it more, than miser can his gold.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 May 1856

Author: Henry Halloran (1811-93) was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and arrived in Australia in1822, after spending his childhood in England.  He traveled to Australia with his family to join his father who had been transported for forgery.  Halloran worked mainly in the New South Wales civil service, attaining the position of chief clerk.  He was active in the literary community of Sydney and was friendly with Henry Parkes and Henry Kendall. He died in Ashfield, New South Wales, in 1893.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

"Love's Young Dream" by George Essex Evans

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There is no love like "love's young dream,"
   The purest first, and best;
No other love so sweet can seem --
   To strangely stir the breast
When Cupid's dart first strikes the heart,
And we awake with sudden start
   To find the boy our guest.

Deep in the chambers of the soul
   This buried treasure lies,
Our spirits brook its sweet control,
   Its influence never dies;
         And in the strife
         Of after life
   Its memory strength supplies.

For many a worn storm-beaten man
   Teased on Life's troubled sea,
Who strives to do the best he can,
   Yet bows to destiny,
Hath, graven on his heart of hearts,
An image which fresh hope imparts,
         Cheering his way
         From day to day;
The influence of that love, far from the loved one's sight,
Shall like a guardian-angel guide his steps aright.

Oh! scoff not, then, at "love's young dream,"
   Though love may unrequited be;
For to have loved has changed a stream
   Of meanness to nobility.
You may have done so at a cost
   Which grieves you. --- Hear the poet's call!
"'Tis better to have loved and lost,
   Than never to have loved at all."

First published in The Queenslander, 24 May 1884;
and later in
The Queanbeyan Age, 24 October 1884.

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

See also.

Moon-Mirth by Zora Cross

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Dip me a gallon of golden mirth
   Out of your well, my maiden moon,
Bubbling, doubling over the earth --
   Dimpled joy of a starry noon.

Ladle me laughing bowls of light
   Giddily glad from pools of bliss,
Winking, blinking beads of delight --
   Weal and wine of a woman's kiss.

Dear little moon, when the world goes wrong
   I and my love look up to you,
Flowering, showering laughter and song
   Over the land the long night though.

Oh, for a glass of your gaiety,
   Fair little moon, to spill o'er men,
Pearling, whirling all of them free,
   Making them lovers like us again.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 May 1917

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

"Yesterdays" by M. Burkinshaw (Mabel Forrest)

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Sweetheart, clasp close your loving arms,
   And let us dream of yesterdays,
Of winter's snows and summer's balms,
   And all the unforgotten ways.

Sweetheart, let dusky love-locks play
   Unheeded o'er your forehead's white;
Let love re-dawn that bygone day,
   And flash a glory through the night.

Sweatheart, before we twain must part,
   Let fancy touch the golden lyre
That trembled through each passionate heart
   And fanned the ever holy fire.

And just because we two must go
   Alone, upon diverging ways,
Forget "tomorrows" draped in woe,
   And let us dream of "yesterdays."

First published in The Queenslander, 8 May 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Perdita by James Hebblethwaite

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The sea-coast of Bohemia
   Is pleasant to the view
When singing larks spring from the grass
   To fade into the blue;
And all the hawthorn hedges break
   In wreaths of purest snow,
And yellow daffodils are out,
   And roses half in blow.

The sea-coast of Bohemia
   Is sad as sad can be,
The prince has ta'en our flower of maids    
   Across the violet sea;    
Our Perdita has gone with him,    
   No more we dance the round    
Upon the green in joyous play,
   Or wake the tabor's sound.    
 
The sea-coast of Bohemia   
   Has many wonders seen,   
The shepherd lass wed with a king,   
   The shepherd with a queen;
But such a wonder as my love   
   Was never seen before --   
It is my joy and sorrow now   
   To love her evermore.   
 
The sea-coast of Bohemia
   Is haunted by a light   
Of memory of lady's eyes,   
   And fame of gallant knight;   
The princes seek its charmèd strand,   
   But ah! it was our knell
When o'er the sea our Perdita   
   Went with young Florizel.   
 
The sea-coast of Bohemia   
   Is not my resting-place,   
For with her waned from out the day
   A beauty and a grace:   
O, had I kissed her on the lips   
   I would no longer weep,   
But live by that until the day   
   I fall to shade and sleep.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 April 1899;
and then later in
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918; and
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927.

Author: James Hebblethwaite (1857-1921) was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, and arrived in Australia in 1890 to recover from a bout of ill-health. He taught in various Tasmanian schools before entering the Anglican ministry. He died in Hobart in 1921.

Author reference sites:
Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Bibliography

See also.

Beyond the Barrier by Will H. Ogilvie

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Are you tired of the South Land, comrade
   The smoke and the city's din,
And the roar of the chiding ocean
   When the sobbing tide comes in?
Would you ride to the northward, rather,
   To the skirmish-posts of earth,
Where the darkest dust-storms gather
   And the wildest floods have birth?
Are you tired of the revel, comrade,
   The life of folly and wine
With its one half lived in the shadow
   And one half lived in shine?
Are you tired of the poison glasses,
   The lawless love and the kiss,
Out East where the brown range passes
   Do you hope for dearer than this --
Where the sweetest maid that ever knew
   Love's bliss and parting's pain
Is waiting open-armed for you
   Beyond the Barrier Chain?
Let us steer to the northward, comrade,
   To the Bush, with her witching spells,
The sun-bright days and the camp-fire blaze
   And the chime of the bullock-bell--
Down the long, long leagues behind us
   The rain shall cover our track,
And the dust of the North shall blind us
   Or ever we follow it back,
Away from the old friends, comrade,
   The grasp of the strong, brown hand,
The love and the life and the laughter
   That brighten the brave North Land --
So long as the sunlight fills it,
   So long as the red stars shine,
So long as the Master wills it
   The North is your home and mine.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 April 1894;
and later in
Fair Girls and Gray Horses: With Other Verses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958; and
Breaker's Mate: Will Ogilvie in Australia edited by John Meredith, 1996.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Absence by M. Burkinshaw (Mabel Forrest)

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I think I had forgotten you, sweetheart,
   Forgotten half my life a little while,
   Forgotten all the treasure of your smile,
Remembering only that we were apart,

That here my life thread idly runs along
   While yours is being woven over there
   Alone --- each has the daily load to bear,
And teach the faltering spirit to be strong.

But, in a moment, all came back again ---
   I seemed to see the day when last we met,
The range where rosy lights were lingering yet,
And all the wind-swept width of grassy plain.

What was it brought it back to me, sweetheart?
   The sadden sad remembering of your smile.
   I had forgotten you a little while;
The world is wide, and we so far apart!

First published in The Queenslander, 16 April 1898

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

When the Postman Brings the Cheques by Edward Dyson

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Lovers thrill with rapture fine
   When the lady fair to see
Drops the customary line
   Swearing life-long constancy,
But romantic ravings tend
   Worldly commonsense to vex,
Since delights that far transcend
Cooling foolishness attend
   When the postman brings the cheques.

Base I'm held, and sordid too,
   Worthy of the lofty scorn
Of the sentimental crew
   Watching out at eve and morn,
But I snigger at the flock,
   Knowing well that either sex
Still enjoys a keener shock
Summoned by his double knock
   When the postman brings the cheques.
 
Missives that a friend indites
   Oft invite a little loan,
Dainty screeds that Sophie writes
   When she says she's all our own
Copies are, perchance, no more;
   Other fellows may annex
All their treasures o'er and o'er;
No such apprehensions bore
   When the postman brings the cheques.

So the lank, lean bards may reel
   Tiresome rhymes about the post,
Singing of his "winged heel"
   Dragging in a classic host.
Hermes' staff nor Cupid's toy
   My prosaic poem decks,
But I know the little boy
Born of Venus shrieks with joy
   When the postman brings the cheques.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 11 April 1907

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

See also.

Jim's Whip by Barcroft Boake

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Yes, there it hangs upon the wall
And never gives a sound,
The hand that trimmed its greenhide fall
Is hidden underground,
There, in that patch of sally shade,
Beneath that grassy mound.

I never take it from the wall,
That whip belonged to him,
The man I singled from them all,
He was my husband, Jim;
I see him now, so straight and tall,
So long and lithe of limb.

That whip was with him night and day
When he was on the track;
I've often heard him laugh. and say
That when they heard its crack,
After the breaking of the drought,
The cattle all came back.

And all the time that Jim was here
A-working on the run
I'd hear that whip ring sharp and clear
Just about set of sun
To let me know that he was near
And that his work was done.

I was away that afternoon,
Penning the calves, when, bang!
I heard his whip, 'twas rather soon -
A thousand echoes rang
And died away among the hills,
As toward the hut I sprang.

I made the tea and waited, but,
Seized by a sudden whim,
I went and sat outside the hut
Watching the light grow dim -
I waited there till after dark,
But not a sign of Jim.

The evening air was damp with dew;
Just as the clock struck ten
His horse came riderless - I knew
What was the matter then.
Why should the Lord have singled out
My Jim from other men?

I took the horse and found him where
He lay beneath the sky
With blood all clotted on his hair;
I felt too dazed to cry -
I held him to me as I prayed
To God that I might die.

But sometimes now I seem to hear -
Just when the air grows chill -
A single whip-crack, sharp and clear,
Re-echo from the hill.
That's Jim, to let me know he's near
And thinking of me still.

First published in The Bulletin, 19 March 1892;
and later in
Where the Dead Men Lie and Other Poems by Barcroft Boake, 1897;
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
Australian Bush Poems, 1991;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
Barcroft Henry Boake edited by Hugh Capel, 2002;
Where the Dead Men Lie: The Story of Barcroft Boake, Bush Poet of the Monaro: 1866-1892  by Hugh Capel, 2002;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson  edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007; and
Barcroft Boake: Collected Works, Edited, with a Life edited by W. F. Refshauge, 2007.

Author: Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake (1866-1892)  was born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1866. He received a better than usual education but turned his back on the city in favour of bush life, believing it to be 'the only life worth living.' He worked as assistant to a surveyor in the Snowy River country and later as a drover and boundary-rider in the Monaro and Western Queensland. He returned to Sydney in 1891 for family reasons but disappeared in May 1892. His body was found eight days later, hanging by the neck from a stockwhip, in scrub at Middle Harbour in Sydney.

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

See also.

At the Church Picnic by Edward Dyson

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'Neath the saplings straight and slender,
   'Mid the heather full of bloom,
Sat I by a lady tender,
   Whispering in the grateful gloom;
Fitful breezes slyly stealing
   Shook the blossom-burdened shrub
Our enchanted haunt concealing
   From the crowd beneath the scrub.

Fair was she and plump and pleasing,
   With the brightest, bluest eyes,
Soft, small hands for covert squeezing;
   P'r'aps the action was not wise,
But I ventured soon to press them -
   We were strangers ere that day -
'Twas no harm though to caress them,
   Picnics now are run this way.

Was her waist not trim and taper -
   Tempting to a supple arm?
Doubtless this looks bold on paper,
   But I yielded to its charm.
There and then I did enfold its
   Dainty shape.  I here avow
Frowned she not nor sought to scold - it's
   Quite the thing at picnics now.

Glanced her dancing eyes demurely,
   And her lips were ripe and red,
'Twas the proper sequence surely,
   First to kiss her cheek instead.
Kissed I it, and tasted Heaven;
   Sure the dame did not demur -
Kisses stolen six or seven
   Do not count at picnics, sir.

Thirty summer suns had glimmered
   O'er her shapely golden head,
Where the wavy meshes simmered,
   She'd been married once, she said.
Then I kissed her full lips flushing,
   And an answ'ring pressure got -
Where's the reason there for blushing?
    Picnics sanctify a lot.

Sate we long amongst the heather,
   'Till they rang the bell for tea,
Hearts and faces close together,
   Talking sweetest poetry.
Ten with parting pressure hearty -
   Soft regrets shone in her face -
Both rejoined the picnic party
   Just in time to join in grace.

Soon again I saw her quaintly
   Superintendent o'er an urn
With an aspect sweet but saintly;
   Hungered I her name to learn.
"Who is she, so plump, with panik-
   Ins of Congou by her side?"
"Parson's wife!" a grim, laconic
   Party on my right replied.

So she was - the Reverend Mrs.
   Abram Ebenezer Bunce -
Yes, she told me 'tween the kisses
   That she had been married once.
Caesar, though! she didn't say that
   Abram still was at the plough;
Well, it's Kismet!  'Tis a way that
   They have got at picnics now.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 March 1890

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

See also.

Spring Song of a Bloke by C. J. Dennis

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The world 'as got me snouted jist a treat;
   Crool Forchin's dirty left 'as smote me soul;
An' all them joys o' life I 'eld so sweet
   Is up the pole.
Fer, as the poit sez, me 'eart 'as got
The pip wiv yearnin' fer -- I dunno wot.
 
I'm crook; me name is Mud; I've done me dash;
   Me flamin' spirit's got the flamin' 'ump!
I'm longin' to let loose on somethin' rash....
   Aw, I'm a chump!
I know it; but this blimed ole Springtime craze
Fair outs me, on these dilly, silly days.
 
The young green leaves is shootin' on the trees,
   The air is like a long, cool swig o' beer,
The bonzer smell o' flow'rs is on the breeze
   An 'ere's me, 'ere,
Jist mooching around like some pore, barmy coot,
Of 'ope, an' joy, an' forchin destichoot.
 
I've lorst me former joy in gettin' shick,
   Or 'eadin' browns; I 'aven't got the 'eart
To word a tom; an' square an' all, I'm sick
   Of that cheap tart
'Oo chucks 'er carcis at a feller's 'head
An' mauls 'im ... Ar! I wish't that I wus dead!...
 
Ther's little breezes stirrin' in the leaves,
   An sparrers chirpin' 'igh the 'ole day long;
An 'on the air a sad, sweet music breaves
   A bonzer song --
A mournful sorter choon thet gits a bloke
Fair in the brisket 'ere, an' makes 'im choke...
 
What is the matter wiv me? ... I dunno.
   I got a sorter yearning 'ere inside,
A dead-crook sorter thing that won't let go
   Or be denied --
A feelin' I want to do a break,
An' stoush creation for some woman's sake.
 
The little birds is chirpin' in the nest,
   The parks an' gardings is a bosker sight,
Where smilin' tarts walks up an' down, all dressed
   In clobber white.
An', as their snowy forms goes steppin' by,
It seems I'm seekin' something on the sly.
 
Somethin' or someone -- I don't rightly know;
   But, seems to me, I'm kind er lookin' for
A tart I knoo a 'undred years ago,
   Or, maybe, more.
Wot's this I've 'eard them call that thing? ... Geewhizz!
Me ideel bit o' skirt!  That's wot it is!
 
Me ideel tart! ... An, bli'me, look at me!
   Jist take a squiz at this, an' tell me can
Some square an' honist tom take this to be
   'Er own true man?
Aw, Gawd!  I'd be as true to 'er, I would --
As straight an' stiddy as ... Ar, wot's the good?
 
Me, that 'as done me stretch fer stoushin' Johns,
   An' spen's me leisure getting on the shick,
An' 'arf me nights down there in Little Lon.,
   Wiv Ginger Mick,
Jist 'eading 'em, an' doing in me gilt.
Tough luck!  I s'pose it's 'ow a man is built.
 
It's 'ow Gawd builds a bloke; but don't it 'urt
   When 'e gits yearnin's fer this 'igher life,
On these Spring mornin's, watchin' some sweet skirt --
   Some fucher wife --
Go sailin' by, an' turnin' on his phiz
The glarssy eye -- fere bein' wot 'e is.
 
I've watched 'em walkin' in the gardings 'ere --
   Cliners from orfices an' shops an' such;
The sorter skirts I dursn't come too near,
   Or dare to touch.
An, when I see the kind er looks they carst ...
Gorstooth!  Wot is the use o' me, I arst?
 
Wot wus I slung 'ere for?  An' wot's the good
   Of yearnin' after any ideel tart?
Ar, if a bloke wus only understood!
   'E's got a 'eart:
'E's got a soul inside 'im, poor or rich.
But wot's the use, when 'Eaven's crool'd 'is pitch?
 
I tells meself some day I'll take a pull
   An' look around fer some good, stiddy job,
An' cut the push fer good an' all; I'm full
   Of that crook mob!
An', in some Spring the fucher 'olds in store,
I'll cop me prize an' long in vain no more.
 
The little winds is stirrin' in the trees,
   Where little birds is chantin' lovers' lays;
The music of the sorft an' barmy breeze ...
   Aw, spare me days!
If this 'ere dilly feelin' doesn't stop
I'll lose me block an' stoush some flamin' cop!

First published in The Bulletin, 13 March 1913, and then again in the same magazine on 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis, 1915 [titled changed to "A Spring Song"];
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Selected Works of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1988;
Favourite Poems of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1989; and
The Oxford Book of Australian Love Poems edited by Jennifer Strauss, 1993.

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

See also.

O Lady of the Dazzling Flowers by John Shaw Neilson

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O, lady of the dazzling flowers
And the frock so white and fine,
How hopeless is thy prettiness
And that cool heart of thine!

Thou has not been to the rude field
Where men and women war;
Thou hast not found what a woman's mouth
And a man's full heart are for.

Thy speech is all of a thin calm,
Of sleep and slow sunshine:
Oh, hopeless is thy happiness
And that pale heart of mine!

Through the love-feud and the love-thirst
Thou hast not fought and smiled;
Thou hast not heard the strings that speak
In the crying of a child.

Thou has not seen where tears lie hot
And words can only run,
Thou has not cried to the bare night
Nor prayed for the white sun.

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 February 1914;
and later in
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981; and
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993.

Author: John Shaw Neilson (1872-1942) was born in Penola, South Australia.  His father, John Neilson was also a published poet who earned his living on the land, mostly as an itinerant labourer after his farm in Victoria failed.  Shaw Neilson had little schooling but did have a flair for poetry and began publishing in the early 1870s in local papers such as the Nhill Mail.  He graduated to appearing in major periodicals such as The Bulletin and Bookfellow, and published 6 collections of his work during his lifetime.  Since his death his reputation has only continued to grow. He died in Melbourne in 1942.

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

See also.

At Morn, At Noon, At Eve by F. C. Urquhart

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I said to my love at the dawning:
      "Arise, love, and come with me
   To gather the flowers of morning
      That are fresh and fair like thee."
And the lark was carolling far above
His song of happiness, joy, and love;
And the music fell from the vault on high
As a welcome to her from the morning sky.

   I said to my love at the noonday:
      "O stay, love, and rest thee here
   In this fair green glade by Nature made
      For the child she holds most dear."
And the sunlight glinted beneath the shade   
As she rested with head on her nosegays laid,
And the bright beams played with her golden hair
As if they had found their sisters there.

   I cried to my love at evening:
      "O, love, leave me not alone!
   O plead for me to be joined with thee
      In bliss near the Great White Throne!"
And the cypress is waving to and fro
O'er the grave where my hopes are lying low,
And an angel is echoing far away
The song of the skylark at break of day.  

First published in The Queenslander, 11 February 1888

Author: Frederic Charles Urquhart (1858-1935) was born at St-Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England, and migrated to Australia in 1875.  He worked in the sugar and cattle industries, and as a telegraph linesman, before joining the Queensland Native Mounted Police Force in 1882.  He rose to the rank of police commissioner in Queensland (1917-21) before taking on the role of administrator of the Northern Territory.  He died in Brisbane in 1935.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

A Contrast by M. Burkinshaw (Mabel Forrest)

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Across the road I see the rain
Against my neighbour's window pane,
And weary-eyed she looks in vain
      Adown the street.
And I, who have found what I seek,
Lean my hot cheek against your cheek,
So happy that I dare not speak ---   
      Silence is sweet!      

First published in The Queenslander, 5 February 1898

Author: Mabel Forrest (1872-1935) was born on the Darling Downs in Queensland.  She was, in the main, home-schooled by her mother as the family moved from station to station, following the father's managerial work.  She married John Frederick Burkinshaw in 1893 but the marriage was an unhappy one - with Burkinshaw moving to Perth in 1896, and the couple being divorced in 1902; she married John Forrest a few months later.  She had begun writing during her first marriage and her prolific output was maintained up till her death in Brisbane in 1935.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Loneliness of Heart by Charles Harpur

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(Composed while wandering over a beautiful scene on the Banks of the Hunter.)

Oh, who would bear a lonely heart
   'Mid nature's summer mirth?
Oh, who would walk from Love apart,
   On this so lovely earth?
Though Fate should signalise our lot
   With Glory's trumpet tone,
Yet, if some sweet soul mirror'd not
   The sweetness of our own,
Even joy to madness were but kin,
   And hope too like despair;
A weary, weary load within --   
   The burthen that I bear.

The hills are green, the stream is bright,
   The azure heavens above
Bend ready to distil delight,
   Where'er they bend o'er love:
But where its effluence may not flow
   From woman's eyes the while,
To give all brightest shapes to glow
   The brighter for her smile,         
Even poesy is but a din,
   And taste itself a care:
A weary, weary load within --
   The burthen that I bear.   

Yet love I crave not for the zest   
   It lends to passion's gust,   
But that I might on nature's breast
   Repose with blander trust;
That I might gaze with homlier mind
   On all beneath the sun,   
And love the whole of human kind
   The more in loving One.     
Then say not that it tastes of sin,   
   This fond -- this clinging care
To east the weary load within --
   The burthen that I bear.  

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 4 February 1843

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Bannerman of Dandenong: An Australian Ballad by Alice Werner

| No TrackBacks
I rode through the Bush in the burning noon,
   Over the hills to my bride, --
The track was rough and the way was long,
And Bannerman of the Dandenong,
   He rode along by my side.

A day's march off my Beautiful dwelt,
   By the Murray streams in the West; --
Lightly lilting a gay love-song
Rode Bannerman of the Dandenong,
   With a blood-red rose on his breast.

"Red, red rose of the Western streams"
   Was the song he sang that day --
Truest comrade in hour of need, --
Bay Mathinna his peerless steed --
   I had my own good grey.

There fell a spark on the upland grass --
   The dry Bush leapt into flame; --
And I felt my heart go cold as death,
And Bannerman smiled and caught his breath, --
   But I heard him name Her name.

Down the hill-side the fire-floods rushed,
   On the roaring eastern wind; --
Neck and neck was the reckless race, --
Ever the bay mare kept her pace,
   But the grey horse dropped behind.

He turned in the saddle -- "Let's change, I say!"
   And his bridle rein he drew.
He sprang to the ground, -- "Look sharp!" he said
With a backward toss of his curly head --
   "I ride lighter than you!"

Down and up -- it was quickly done --
   No words to waste that day! --
Swift as a swallow she sped along,
The good bay mare from Dandenong, --
   And Bannerman rode the grey.

The hot air scorched like a furnace blast
   From the very mouth of Hell: --
The blue gums caught and blazed on high
Like flaming pillars into the sky; . . .
   The grey horse staggered and fell.

"Ride, ride, lad, -- ride for her sake!" he cried; --
   Into the gulf of flame
Were swept, in less than a breathing space
The laughing eyes, and the comely face,
   And the lips that named HER name.

She bore me bravely, the good bay mare; --
   Stunned, and dizzy and blind,
I heard the sound of a mingling roar --
'Twas the Lachlan River that rushed before,
   And the flames that rolled behind.

Safe -- safe, at Nammoora gate,
   I fell, and lay like a stone.
O love! thine arms were about me then,
Thy warm tears called me to life again, --
   But -- O God! that I came alone! --

We dwell in peace, my beautiful one
   And I, by the streams in the West, --
But oft through the mist of my dreams along
Rides Bannerman of the Dandenong,
   With the blood-red rose on his breast.

First published in The Bulletin, 10 January 1891,
and later in :
The Bulletin, 24 March 1900;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stephens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stepehens, 1909
School Paper: Grades V and VI, March 1926;
The North Queensland Register, 16 July 1928;
On the Track with Bill Bowyang: With Australian Bush Recitations edited by Dawn Anderson, 1991-92; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Author: Alice Werner (1859-1935) was born in Trieste, Italy in 1859 and moved with her family to Dunedin, New Zealand the same year.  She later became an expert in African Languages and dialects, teaching at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Author reference sites: Austlit

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