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Bells and Hobbles (Text)

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Primary Fiction and Poetry Texts
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Brady, E. J. (Edwin James) (1869-1952)
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University of Sydney Library
Bells and Hobbles
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			 Bells and Hobbles 
		  E. J. Brady  
			 Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane 
			 George Robinson and Co. 

   For Your Birthday. 
   Buds of the Summer Roses , 
  Crimson, and gold, and white , 
  Bells of the splendid Lilies , 
  Freshened with dews of night ; 
  Blooms of old-fashioned gardens , 
  Blooms of the Open Way  
  Woven in perfumed garlands — 
  These—for your natal day!   
   Gold of the Sunlit Beaches , 
  Green of the hills divine , 
  Bushland, and all her glories — 
  Glamor of these be thine!  
  Yea, and the silver starshine , 
  Flashing the skies along , 
  Yea, and the mornings golden — 
  Be in your birthday song!   
   Blush of the maiden Morning , 
  Blood of the wounded Sun  
  Staining the West with carmine , 
  Dying when day is done;  
  Blue of the Sky unfathomed , 
  Sapphire of shining Sea;  
  Each in its turn shall color  
  Words of my wish, for thee .  
   Flashing with rose-red rubies , 
  Sparkling with brilliants rare , 
  Glinting with changing opal , 
  Glowing with topaz fair;  
  Turquoise and em'rald burning . 
  Sard and chalcedony — 
  Thus, in a shower of jewels , 
  Falleth my song to thee .  
   Filled with the meadow's kindness , 
  Filled with the orchard's bloom , 
  Sweetened with hay and clover — 
  So, from a golden loom  
  Falleth my woof of Fancy  
  Fashioned in fabric true , 
  Woven in wishes tender — 
  Out of my love, for you .  
   All that is rich in Nature , 
  All that in Art is fine;  
  All that the wide world offers , 
  Be, Oh Beloved, thine!  
  Sunlight and silver water , 
  Moonlight and dancing spray;  
  These, from a Poet's fancy , 
  Take, for your natal day!   
 The Author's acknowledgments are due to the “Bulletin,” “Sydney Mail,” “Lone Hand,” “Worker,” and “Sunday Times,” to which journals he is indebted for first publication of verses included in this volume.… 
  Bells And Hobbles. 
   Bells and Hobbles. 
  When our feet are in the stirrups, 
 And our hands are to the reins, 
 When the cities lie behind us 
 And before us spread the plains, 
 There's a song of night and morning 
 That in minor music swells, 
 'Tis the jangle of the hobbles 
 And the jingle of the bells— 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
  With a dull, metallic tinkle 
 Of the muffled hobble-chain; 
 And an echo, as we canter, 
 Of the horse-bells in refrain, 
 Weaves the wizard of the Westland 
 Round our willing hearts his spells; 
 Makes us helots of the hobbles; 
 Makes us vassals of the bells. 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
   Will you miss me, miss me, Mary , 
  In your suburb by the sea?  
  Will you kiss me, kiss me, Katie  
  When we meet at old Moree?  
 Sing the frail, unfaithful hobbles, 
 And with cynic voice outswells 
 From the Mitchell grass the answer 
 Of the frail and faithless bells, 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells:  
   Oh Love it is a funny thing;  
  It makes a man a fool  
  And teaches maids a lesson that  
  They never learnt at school . 
 Thus the brazen tongue in chorus 
 With the iron link dispels, 
 In a rhythm gay, the gossip 
 Of the hobbles and the bells, 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
  With a bush brunette awaiting 
 Who may fickle be, or fond, 
 And the picture yet before him 
 Of a plaintive city blonde, 
 In a cynic cachinnation, 
 So the sinful minor swells. 
 Of the optimistic hobbles 
 And the pessimistic bells, 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
  But the good tobacco burneth, 
 And a silver saltbush gleams, 
 And 'tis cool beneath the shadows 
 By the sluggish western streams; 
 And the sunlit ridges echo 
 From their stony citadels 
 To the jingle of the hobbles 
 And the tinkle of the bells, 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
  Let the farmer to his tillage 
 All his skill and effort bring; 
 Let the blacksmith in the village 
 Make his homely anvil ring; 
 Let the sounds of labor thunder 
 Where the city worker dwells, 
 But our songs are of the Bushland 
 And the hobbles and the bells, 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
  And our blankets shall be spreaded 
 Over grasses dry and brown, 
 By the yellow western waters 
 When the sun is going down; 
 By the lonely soaks and gilgas 
 And the clear artesian wells, 
 And we'll listen in the gloaming 
 To the hobbles and the bells. 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
  Oh, the Sun shall rouse us early, 
 As he swings into the blue; 
 And we'll boil the old black billy 
 While our world is wet with dew, 
 While the working world a-hurry 
 Seeks its stuffy office cells, 
 We'll be slipping off the hobbles, 
 And be strapping up the bells, 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
  And the breezy tracks we travel 
 From the sunrise to his set, 
 They will aid us to remember, 
 They will help us to forget; 
 For the song of Night and Morning 
 Shall be with us as it knells 
 In the message of the hobbles 
 And the answer of the bells. 
 Bells and hobbles, 
 Hobbles and bells.  
   Green Gravel. 
    Green gravel, green gravel, the grass is so green
  The fairest young lady that ever I've seen
   —Children's Rhyme.
  Oh Molly, when the grass was green, 
 When I was King and you were Queen; 
 When underneath the gumtree's shade, 
 As children of the Bush we played— 
 “ Green gravel, oh, the grass is green ,” 
 And I was King and you were Queen!  
  Oft, through the smoke of my cigar, 
 I see the schoolhouse stand afar; 
 And, through the mists of long-ago, 
 The hats and bonnets in a row, 
 While sits beside me on our stool 
 My sweetheart of the old bush-school.  
  The years, with all their burdens, seem 
 But mourning echoes of a dream; 
 The cares of life, its loss and pain, 
 Are yet unlearnt; again, again 
 On buoyant feet I tread the cool 
 Bush track that turns towards the school.  
  Though climbs the sun above the hill, 
 The grass is hung with jewels still; 
 And fresh as youth the morning glows 
 With clover and with briar rose; 
 While sweet as music falls the chime 
 Of all the birds of summertime.  
  High overhead, where branches meet, 
 Loud screams the busy parrakeet; 
 The bright rosellas onward pass, 
 With diving flight across the grass; 
 The scarlet lories, two by two, 
 Their rubies flash along the blue;  
  And Molly with her schoolbag stands 
 Awaiting at the fallow lands, 
 Where, seated on a log we'll share, 
 In “bite for bite,” the plundered pear; 
 And dare, as comrades should, again 
 For “coming late” the stinging cane.  
  “She loved me true!” “I loved her best.” 
 But one goes East and one goes West; 
 And nevermore, amid thy brown 
 And glossy hair, the bluebell crown 
 In azure stars I'll weave and twine 
 Beneath the sun, O sweetheart mine.  
  In after years, to manhood sprung, 
 With step still light and heart yet young 
 I came, unrecognised, alone, 
 To read her name upon a stone 
 That stood among the grasses green, 
 For … Molly died at seventeen!  
  And though the air was sweet in chime 
 Of all the bells of summertime; 
 And though the briar roses red 
 Their well-remembered fragrance shed, 
 I only saw, I only knew, 
 That at her feet the bluebells grew;  
  Like angels' eyes to me they shone, 
 With some kind knowledge of their own, 
 Of other lives, in other spheres, 
 That haply lie beyond the tears 
 And all the tragic grief and mirth 
 Of this fantasia of earth.  
  Their slender stems, as innocent 
 As childhood's love, above her bent; 
 And as the murmur of the school 
 Still drifted o'er the paddocks cool, 
 They swayed and shook from out their blue 
 Pathetic eyes the tears of dew.  
  All on a sudden rose the chime 
 Of all the bells of summertime; 
 And once again, upon my ear, 
 I heard a chorus rising clear: 
 “ Green gravel, oh, the grass is green,  
  The fairest lady that I've seen .”  
  Had I but dreamed? The years between 
 Seemed then as they had never been. 
 I, half-expectant, turned to see 
 If by the hills she waited me. 
 Alas, 'twas but, at morning play, 
 The children of another day.  
  Long, long ago her lampless Flame 
 Re-found the realm from whence it came; 
 And still my feeble light is whirled 
 And eddied with the living world. 
 Green gravel, oh, the grass  is  green. 
 But … Molly died at seventeen!  
  Beyond the noisy railway; outside the postal roads, 
 Where swing no swaying coaches, no coaster wharfs her loads; 
 Where brood dark-gullied ranges, where brown plains meet the sky— 
 In scrub and bush and jungle the lone bush Outposts lie.  
  The vanguard lags behind them; the rearguard rests at ease; 
 The city-fed battalion doth bivouac in peace; 
 But constant is  their  vigil, their duty long and keen 
 Who keep the distant Outposts through fatted years and lean.  
  They read no current cables; no inky herald brings 
 To them each morning early the news of men and things. 
 The policies of nations; the world, both grave and gay, 
 Is but a formless shadow—an echo far away.  
  They face the raging summer and pray a cooling change— 
 Dust-reddened in the desert; fire-haunted on the range: 
 They nurse the stock to water, fly-pestered through the haze 
 And heat and desolation of dry, drought-devilled days.  
  They toil through trying winters, foregoing present needs, 
 For misty future chances—for tools, or stock, or seeds. 
 They walk in homely raiment; coarse fare the cupboard fills 
 Of those who keep the Outposts along the plains and hills.  
  Blazed tracks through forests gloomy—steep, stony trails they know; 
 By flooded fords and marshes, and gullies white with snow, 
 The thunder on the hillside, the loud tornado's flight; 
 Bruised flesh and strong limbs shattered, and sickness in the night.  
  Aye, doubts and dreads uncertain, child-bearings, fevers, chills, 
 Long, sleepless nights of watching, all human griefs and ills, 
 Are theirs to bear and battle when hard the burdens press, 
 Of solitary trouble and pain in loneliness.  
  Their dead lie buried near them; the loved they might not save, 
 A panel and a paling to mark the quiet grave, 
 White stars their tapers burning, the wind among the trees 
 To sing above the sleepers its soft bush melodies.  
  The creaking of the saddles, the stockwhips sounding clear 
 And gaily in the morning, the gallant Outposts hear; 
 The bell-birds in the bloodwoods, or, from the pale lagoon, 
 Green frogs in rain-time croaking hoarse greetings to the moon.  
  Great pictures spread before them; the sky's unfathomed arch; 
 Dark clouds like feudal ramparts, white clouds upon the march, 
 Red mornings on the mountain, red sunsets o'er the plain, 
 The moonlit river windings, the paddocks wet with rain;  
  The Canvas of Creation, whose thousand tints and shades 
 On endless prairies linger and dwell in everglades, 
 With all its form and colour, its desert and its dew— 
 While pass the changing seasons—is ever theirs to view.  
  Bare, ring-barked patches standing like white bones far away; 
 Bark walls and roofs that mirage to castles 'neath the play 
 Of mocking suns down-pouring their heat-waves o'er the land; 
 The flats below the gullies, the sweet soaks in the sand— 
 These mark in turn the Outposts. By lonesome trail and track 
 Ye may, so suited, seek them by Far and Farthest Back. 
 Warm hearts will give ye greeting, strong hands will freely grasp 
 Your hands in hearty welcome with honest, friendly clasp.  
  Through sunshine and through starshine, through failure and success, 
 In fair and flowing seasons, in seasons of distress; 
 Beyond the touch of culture, without the ways of ease, 
 These soldiers of the Outposts their vigils never cease.  
  Lank heroes clothed in moleskin, brown heroines in print; 
 Although you gain no medals nor in the social mint 
 Are stamped with high approval, not all that silken crew 
 Of snobs and city loafers can boast the worth of you.  
  Ye have your faults and failings; the pressure of your need 
 Forbids angelic sweetness and bars the saintly breed; 
 But ye are  Men  and  Women  and fit and worthy peers 
 Of them who hold the Outposts through all the fighting years.  
  Its level lands are spread away 
 To meet the setting sun; 
 Fierce summers o'er them scorch and slay 
 The grass blades, one by one; 
 Long, wicked droughts have dried their breasts, 
 These virgin lands and clean; 
 But still a fertile promise rests 
 Upon the Riverine, 
 The fecund Riverine. 
 It rises, and its worth attests 
 The Phœnix Riverine.  
  It breeds no wasters on its lands— 
 The grim, defiant plains 
 Are held by strong Australian hands 
 That firmly grasp the reins; 
 Wild horsemen these, who race and wheel 
 The clustered gums between; 
 They keep the stirrup to the heel, 
 Way down in Riverine, 
 Far out in Riverine; 
 Undaunted souls and hearts of steel, 
 Are found in Riverine.  
  No green palms in the sunlight sway; 
 Nor doth the wild, red rose, 
 In dewy fragrance to the Day 
 Uncultured charms disclose: 
 But here and there a garden smiles; 
 And when the Spring falls green, 
 She puts her feet a thousand miles 
 Across the Riverine, 
 Along the Riverine. 
 She wooes, with Amazonian wiles, 
 Her Lord the Riverine!  
  Then glutted ewes beside their lambs 
 Know well the season's “good.” 
 To billabongs and creeks and dams 
 Flocks down a feathered brood; 
 Unto a rotund beast hath grown 
 The packhorse lank and lean; 
 The squatter comes unto his own 
 Along the Riverine, 
 Across the Riverine. 
 The stock are fat and sleek and blown 
 Throughout the Riverine.  
  A wool-barge, in her steamer's track, 
 Swings slowly round the bends; 
 Her hawser may not fitly slack 
 Until the journey ends. 
 The flood is over reef and sand, 
 The channel's wide and clean; 
 There's water in the rivers, and 
 There's joy in Riverine, 
 Hurrah for Riverine! 
 The shearer and the steamboat hand 
 Find work thro' Riverine.  
  White snows upon Monaro die 
 Beneath October suns; 
 Warm tropic rains in cowals lie 
 Along far Queensland runs; 
 The 'Bidgee and the Lachlan swell 
 Their crumbling banks between— 
 They'll have a record clip to tell 
 This year in Riverine, 
 For once in Riverine. 
 They're pulling round; they're doing well 
 At last, in Riverine.  
  I walk dull streets; and in mine ear 
 A city's tumult rings; 
 But through my heart a river clear 
 Beyond the ranges sings, 
 And visions of the plains come down 
 The by-ways drab, unclean. 
 I see the trackless prairies brown 
 Of dear old Riverine. 
 God bless the Riverine! 
 I would that I might shed the town 
 For you, old Riverine!  
  There's strength and effort in the West, 
 There's mateship staunch and true; 
 (And, sweetheart of my one-time quest, 
 'Twas there I courted you!) 
 A blight be on these city ways! 
 The wastrel and the quean 
 Can find no place where Manhood lays 
 Its grip on Riverine, 
 Its hand on Riverine. 
 No “pocket Venus” loud displays 
 Her charms in Riverine.  
  The chiming horse-bells clink and ring 
 From Bourke to Tocumwal! 
 Around their fires the drovers sing, 
 The old bush Voices call. 
 And I must rise and get me gone 
 To ease my longings keen; 
 I'll saddle up and journey on 
 Across the Riverine, 
 And down the Riverine. 
 I'm sure of welcome warm from One 
 Who waits in Riverine.  
   Coasts Of Dream. 
  The window of my sick room fronts 
 A screw-tormented bay, 
 Where porcine Commerce squeals and grunts, 
 And wallows day by day.  
  Fat, vulgar tramps, in moving cloud 
 Of smoke, encircled round, 
 With bull-voiced sirens bellow loud 
 For pilots—outward bound.  
  Gay liners, sleek with paint and brass, 
 Like youths in evening-dress, 
 Between the looming headlands pass 
 In patent haughtiness.  
  The lusts of travel, like a net, 
 My sick-bed fancies snare; 
 My thoughts on outward currents set 
 To glories otherwhere.  
  The liner's but a huge hotel; 
 She holds no charm for me; 
 My Soul demands the heave and swell 
 Of decks that lip the Sea.  
  I lie and muse a while, and so, 
 Like pictures in a dream, 
 Australian coasts I love and know 
 Through mist and sunburst gleam.  
  Palm-clad and fringed by sleepy hills, 
 With snuggled towns between, 
 Where aye the horn of Plenty fills, 
 The Illawarra green  
  Throws out her curving arms of sand; 
 From garden slopes, recline 
 She calls, a Queen of Fairyland, 
 A Bride of fern and vine.  
  'Twas here in Youth's deep-buried day, 
 With all the World a song, 
 Beside me on the headland lay 
 My maid of Gerringong.  
  So blue were then the seas and skies, 
 So red the heart of Spring, 
 So gay the painted butterflies, 
 And swallows all a-wing!  
  (Oh take, dear heart, the golden bowl, 
 And drink while yet you may. 
 Time's river will not backward roll, 
 Nor Youth nor Love delay!)  
  My Memory Ship is sailing slow— 
 A magic coast it seems, 
 Where I have idled to and fro, 
 And dreamed my idle dreams.…  
  Good, fighting, red fat schnapper strain 
 The dripping lines to-day 
 Where lately was the cow-whale slain 
 And towed to Twofold Bay.  
  On Mallacoota pipes the swan, 
 And calls the mating teal, 
 And black-finned mullet shoals dart on 
 Before the coming keel.  
  Come South'ard where the lobsters spawn 
 In green Cape Conran weed! 
 Come South and watch, on seas of Dawn, 
 The whale calf play and feed!  
  The Gippsland Lakes are deep and wide, 
 The Gippsland trees are tall; 
 And on the long, lone beach the tide 
 For ninety miles doth call.  
  But south of “Wilson's” rolls the swell 
 Of greyer, colder seas; 
 And fronting for'ard you may smell 
 A sharp Antarctic breeze.  
  I close my eyes, and lo! the room 
 Is heavy with the scent 
 Of lemon and magnolia bloom, 
 And odors orient.  
  Now sweet as lovers' words there falls— 
 And softly as the leaf, 
 A hymn of Capricorn that calls 
 The sunlight o'er the Reef.  
  Cape Byron lifts his drowsy head; 
 The Yamba lights burn low; 
 And gaily grows the morning red 
 Along Don Dorrigo.  
  With tropic dews are wet the tall, 
 Green fields of cane and corn; 
 The jack snipe and the ibis call 
 A welcome to the Morn.  
  From brush and scrub and wide lagoons, 
 From reed beds, swamps, and brakes, 
 On shoreward slopes and seaward dunes 
 The fertile North awakes.  
  This young sultana from her bed 
 Of sandal, pearl, and gold, 
 Steps forth to meet the Day with tread 
 Imperious and bold.  
  The mango and guava send 
 A fruity fragrance forth; 
 A hundred scents, commingled, blend 
 The attar of the North.  
  Who breathes its subtleness a time, 
 Shall walk divorced from peace; 
 And pine in ev'ry alien clime 
 Until his life days cease.…  
  Alas! a lotos-eater, I 
 Its opiate sweetness knew, 
 And to my sickroom, as I lie, 
 It steals the window through.  
  Aye! surely as all flesh is grass, 
 The far lands fairer seem, 
 So roving hearts for e'er must pass 
 Adown the Coasts of Dream.  
   Snowy River. 
  The proud hills' peerless daughter, 
 A-singing as she goes 
 The natal songs they taught her, 
 Old Kosciusko knows 
 She bears the Great Salt Water 
 His message from the snows.  
  Where, piled in high disorder, 
 Monaro's mountains rise, 
 She puts her house in order 
 And says her first good-byes; 
 Then, timid, to the Border 
 She turns expectant eyes.  
  By lichen-covered granite, 
 And boulders, waterworn 
 In ages when the Planet 
 By primal storms was torn, 
 When all the winds that fan it 
 In hurricanes were born;  
  Through gullies dark where, whitely, 
 The bones of lost men lie, 
 And evil voices nightly 
 Like tortured spirits cry, 
 This pilgrim River, lightly, 
 Slips, hushed and silent, by.  
  But when, anon, the plover 
 To haunts more open hies, 
 And to his loyal lover 
 The painted parrot flies— 
 An opal flashing over 
 Deep, turquoise picture-skies—  
  Along the sedgy reaches, 
 By myrtles overhung, 
 Where far the flood-made beaches 
 Their pebbled freight have flung, 
 To all the Bush she teaches 
 The songs Monaro's sung.  
  She takes, for her adorning, 
 All glories that she needs— 
 The jewels of the Morning 
 To deck her water meads; 
 The stars of Night suborning 
 To diamond her reeds.  
  Unwed by any Doria 
 Of rough Australian drought, 
 She sings her pagan Gloria; 
 And, sweeping gaily South, 
 She stoops to kiss Victoria 
 Upon awaiting mouth.  
  Wild Gippsland's forest altars, 
 Titanic, sombre, grand, 
 Re-echo to her psalters, 
 Poured out o'er rock and sand; 
 And no rude range that falters 
 The tribute of his hand.  
  Aye, creek and spring and fountain 
 Unto her leap and roll; 
 Each vassal hill or mountain 
 Pours down its liquid soul, 
 To swell the grand amount in 
 Her widely-gathered toll.  
  And, so with stories laden 
 Of Bushland, Day and Night, 
 She comes, a royal maiden 
 Hellenic, in delight, 
 To find her long-sought Aidenn 
 Below the Marlo light.  
  From Buchan's white cliffs sweeping 
 She treads her homeward way; 
 By lone selections sleeping 
 In stillness, far away; 
 By Orbost farm lands, keeping 
 Star-vigil for the day.  
  She hears afar the calling 
 Of her high lord the Sea; 
 She hears the strong surge falling, 
 World-old, unceasingly, 
 And all the Voice enthralling 
 Of Love and Mystery.  
  Then, with the quick, glad sobbing 
 Of some long-willing Bride— 
 Her Sea-Love rudely robbing 
 The last white robe of pride— 
 She throws her warm heart, throbbing, 
 On his triumphant tide.  
   The Black-Soil Teams. 
  For God hath made the Black-soil; and spread it near and far, 
 From down the sweeping Namoi bends, away to Talbragar: 
 Its richness no man questions, its wealth no man denies, 
 But Sheol 'tis in rain time; and Tophet when it dries.  
  The drought hath cracked and torn it; the rain hath lent it seams. 
 God help the Black-soil teamster! God help the Black-soil teams! 
 God grace the toiling teamster! God give him strength and hope! 
 Spare swingle-bars and traces, spare curses, chains and rope!  
  A-ploughing down the gilgas—the mud as close as glue— 
 A-plunging past the myall, the squatter's wool goes through! 
 A-plunging through the gilgas, a-ploughing up the track, 
 With four and twenty horses, the squatter's stores come back.  
  New saddles for the stockmen, new dresses for the girls— 
 And round the straining leader the wicked whipthong curls. 
 Their flanks are all a-lather, the black mud axle-high, 
 But trust the Black-soil teamster; he'll take her through or die.  
  Who sees the trace-chains snapping, who sees the harness fly, 
 May kneel and pray for weather; may kneel and ask it dry. 
 But when the starved team staggers across a sun-scorched plain, 
 He'll change his plea, mayhappen and kneel and pray for rain.  
  But rain or draught, whatever, all flood or dry reverse, 
 The teamster's duty's patent—Pull out, pull through and curse. 
 Ay, pull her down the rivers: drag through the clinging loam, 
 Then turn-about, my brother, curse hard, and crawl her home!  
  God grant him grace hereafter; of grace, aye hath he dearth,— 
 Though fearing no hereafter—whose Hell is all on Earth. 
 Sun-tanned, mud-caked and hairy; morose and most profane, 
 God grace the Lean Lost Legion who plod the Black-soil plain!  
   Rain In The West. 
  The “second class” is gay to-night, 
 As down the gleaming rail 
 She thunders by, a line of light, 
 The roaring Western Mail.  
  The “first” enjoys a fresh cigar,— 
 Contented by the glass, 
 He sees the rainwet plains afar 
 In misty shadows pass.  
  Within the cab two figures peer 
 A clouded night and black; 
 The shadow of the Engineer 
 Keeps dancing on the track.  
  But gladly do these worthies meet 
 The damp indriven wind; 
 They know its welcome glint is sweet 
 To those who ride behind.  
  The white steam hisses her delight. 
 The brake alone complains, 
 For extra work is his to-night 
 Along the Western plains.  
  A settler waves, in joy of heart, 
 His ancient, dripping hat, 
 His huddled stock in terror start 
 Across the darkened flat.  
   He's  done at last with starving sheep 
 And flies, and heat, and dust,— 
 To-night, a-weary, let him sleep, 
 The sound sleep of the just.  
  Now every publican to Bourke 
 And every sinner too, 
 To-morrow surely will not shirk 
 The strong potato brew.  
  The squatter in his pride and glee 
 Will shout all hands for joy, 
 And thro' the huts will echo free 
 “The Wild Colonial Boy.”  
  What cares the drover now where dim 
 And sodden fails his fire? 
 This steady downpour is to him 
 A boon of long desire.  
  By next week-end a dreary waste 
 Will all be green and lush; 
 His soul again will joyful taste 
 The manna of the Bush.  
  For grass and water make the bliss, 
 His fancy most regards. 
 And there's a waiting girl to kiss 
 Behind the trucking yards.  
  The operator like a horse 
 Must graft the morrow day, 
 To carry, in the tongue of Morse, 
 The rapid wires away.  
  The coming hours with toil are fraught; 
 There's lots of graft to do:— 
 He would not worry if he got 
 A yard of rain, or two.  
  Aye, no-one growls and no-one grieves, 
 Tho' tracks be seas of mud, 
 And one prophetic wight believes 
 “The thing will end in flood.”  
  There's joy on every flat and bend; 
 The blessed, timely rains, 
 To care and worry put an end, 
 Across the patient plains.  
  For now a stricken land a-curst, 
 Becomes an Eden blest; 
 They've done with hunger, heat, and thirst— 
  “ 'Tis raining in the West.”   
  No welcome smoke uprearing 
 Blue spirals in the sun, 
 No axes down the clearing 
 Announce a day begun. 
 The noontide shadows find it 
 In wearing silence still; 
 Dark fall at eve behind it 
 The shadows of the hill.  
  A rosebush, vainly seeking 
 Some presence evermore, 
 Has clambered round the creaking, 
 Half-opened, low front door: 
 And from the straggling creepers 
 The falling dew appears 
 To mourn departed keepers 
 With ever-constant tears.  
  Like fleshless bones unburied, 
 Grey sundered trunks lie low, 
 Their dead leaves swept and harried 
 By sere winds to and fro. 
 Its roof-bark slipped and rotten 
 'Mid weeds and fallow lands, 
 Unkempt, decayed, forgotten, 
 The lone selection stands.  
  Yet here were hopes, ambitions, 
 And efforts freely shed, 
 To win from harsh conditions 
 A household meed of bread. 
 Here love and labor mated; 
 Here children's laughter rang; 
 And in dead days undated 
 A Woman worked and sang.  
  Here winter firelight brightened 
 Rough walls and fixtures rude; 
 And cares increased, or lightened, 
 With summer's wayward mood; 
 Here Bushland charm and glory— 
 The wealth of wood and sky— 
 Brought pictures, song and story 
 To human ear and eye.  
  The Spring her bountry showered, 
 On paddocks fresh with rain; 
 The climbing rose-bush flowered 
 Across the window pane. 
 Glad days with wings extended 
 In blue procession sped; 
 Glad nights came clear and splendid 
 With cloudless stars o'erhead.  
  But here Misfortune tarried 
 Amid the ricks and sheaves, 
 Until their hopes were harried 
 And driven like the leaves;  
  They fought their fight ill-fated 
 In that heroic past, 
 With courage unabated 
 Unto the bitter last.  
  Grim Failure for their guerdon, 
 Who might have known success, 
 They bore the heavy burden 
 Of drought and red distress; 
 They fared as many others,— 
 The brave defeated band, 
 Of Southern sires and mothers 
 Who pioneered the land.  
  No more, by morn or noontime, 
 Here Joy and Sorrow walk. 
 No more a longed-for boontime 
 With ripe grain bends the stalk. 
 No more with songs of Labor 
 The lonely hills resound; 
 The winds with flute and tabor 
 Their forest marches sound.  
  When now the veil asunder 
 Of Night is loudly torn, 
 Amid a city's thunder 
 They meet a city morn. 
 In dreams they hear it calling, 
 Their Bushland fresh with dew; 
 They see cloud-shadows falling 
 Along the hills of blue.  
  And clear in recollection, 
 And fair in Fancy's eyes 
 Outstands the old selection 
 Beneath the morning skies; 
 While in their hearts, half-broken, 
 The restless mem'ries roam 
 In treasured thought and token 
 Of this deserted home.  
   Daly's Threshing. 
  It was “threshing” down at Daly's, and the bearded bushmen rode 
 Over mountain gorge and gully, where the creeks, clear-watered, flowed: 
 From the slopes, and through the ranges, past the broad'ning river bends, 
 Round the spurs and o'er the flat-lands came the host of Daly's friends; 
 Came to reap the yellow harvest, waving in the summer sun; 
 Came to dance with Daly's daughter 'neath the moon when day was done.  
  As the long day's labor ended, and the horses munched their feed, 
 Far was borne upon the breezes faint aroma of the “weed,” 
 Sound of song and year-old waltzes, new enough for rustic feet, 
 When the honest hearts above them with the joy of living beat. 
 On the hard earth floor together, youth and maiden, flushed and gay, 
 To the gasping concertina danced those charméd hours away.  
  'Mid the band of blushing beauty Mary Daly yet I see, 
 Brown, bewitching, soft, blithe-hearted, laughing roguishly. 
 There are girls on Northern moorlands, there are dark-browed angels where 
 Spain's blue heaven spans the radiance of a radiant land and fair. 
 There are houris in the harems of proud sultans in the East 
 On whose classic forms and features long the eye of Art might feast, 
 But they thought that Daly's daughter, straight, freshmoulded, strong and tall, 
 'Mid the world of wond'rous women, far the fairest of them all.  
  You may dwell among the shadows in the valley of the pen; 
 You may fight the Fight of Living in the pits with other men; 
 You may feel the Law's injustice, or the hatred of your kind; 
 You may rail at social errors or beliefs untrue and blind; 
 You may be a mighty genius or a man of common clay, 
 But for one dear, foolish woman you would sell your soul away.  
  So for Mary, roguish Mary, with her dazzling eyes and hair, 
 Was it strange to find  him  paying humble court among them there? 
 He, the son of Daly's neighbor, Raymond Phair, the bronzed and strong, 
 Pride of all the fearless horsemen, and the hero of my song. 
 Though the Phairs and Dalys quarrelled in the very early days, 
 Still the Spring had brought its moisture and the sun had lent his rays, 
 And their crops had grown and ripened, and their herds had multiplied 
 Till their rural reputation spread o'er all the countryside.  
  But if Phair and Daly hated with a hate as sternly set 
 As a Montague might cherish for a haughty Capulet, 
 There was still no human reason, as these contradictions go, 
 Why our Austral Julietta should not love her Romeo.  
  Nearly done was Daly's threshing, as the passing trav'ller saw 
 Bags of grain and heaps of huskings, stacks of new, sweet-smelling straw; 
 Saw the tired, slow, patient horses, at the mill since early morn, 
 In the dusk of evening treading out the last of Daly's corn.  
  Luck had smiled upon the harvest, higher grew the heaps of grain, 
 Till his barns were overflowing, and his store-rooms filled amain, 
 And the heart of William Daly filled and fluttered in his breast, 
 As he smiled towards the sunset that lay smiling in the west, 
 Then he though of pretty Mary, and a great round oath swore he, 
 That the child of his dead 'Liza should a rich-wed lady be.  
  So they “finished” down at Daly's, and they drank with right good will 
 “To the health of Daly's daughter and the wealth of bluff old Bill.” 
 And when o'er the frowning mountain rose the moon her silver light, 
 Once again the girls and fellows fell to dancing with delight. 
 Once again from out the shadows, Raymond Phair, the bronzed and strong, 
 Came to clasp the waist of Mary, and to lead her through the throng.  
  Hard the face of William Daly, stern the voice of “bluff old Bill”— 
 Some sharp tongue had done the mischief, some kind friend had whispered ill.— 
  “Get your horse and leave my place, sir, and remember as you do , 
  If you pay another visit I will put the dogs on you” . 
 Then to trembling, tearful Mary: “Go inside and dry your eyes, 
 Till I've seen him crossing safely over there beyond the rise.”  
  That was all they heard from Daly in the sudden silence there, 
 As he stood before his daughter and the son of Amos Phair. 
 “Don't be rude and cruel father.”—Raymond blessed her gentle voice, 
 And his heart leapt up and told him,  “Yes, she loves you, now rejoice!”  
 To her ear he bent and whispered, “Be at Leland's bridge by nine 
 If you love me, Mary Daly, if you dare, dear girl, be mine.”  
  Then to Daly bowed young Raymond, as some olden cavalier, 
 Whom those brown and bearded bushmen felt impelled, man-like, to cheer.  
  “Sir,” said he, “I beg your pardon, though you be my father's foe; 
 I'd forget the feud between us, will you shake, or must I go?” 
 “Shure 'tis Christmas Eve, now, Daly, can't you let the matther end? 
 Take the hand that's held in friendship,” muttered some well-meaning friend. 
 But the fire of Celtic hatred glowed and flashed in Daly's eye, 
 “Let a Phair have Daly's daughter? And a Sassenach? Not I.”  
  One quick clasp of fervid fingers, one swift look that lit the skies, 
 One faint smile from Mary Daly, one glad glimpse of tear-wet eyes; 
 Then to mount with Centaur motion, full of strength, and life, and grace, 
 Pull the rein and straighten stirrup, dash away from Daly's place, 
 Round the bend by Brown's and Baker's, out across the mountain spur; 
 With a wild exultant feeling, born of Love, and Hope, and  her .  
  They were dancing still at Daly's, making love beneath the trees— 
 For the course of youth and pleasure runs in spite of things like these— 
 But the Queen of all the revel with the rest had ceased to glide,  
  And the girls and fellows whispered, “she will cry it out inside;” 
 So they heard no woman's footstep to the stockyard swiftly pass, 
 O'er the sleeping dandelions and the dewy, scented grass!  
  To her saddle vaulting lightly, underneath that melting sky, 
 Mary bade her father's homestead just one quiet, long, good-bye. 
 Aye, 'twas hard to disobey him, he the parent old and gray, 
 Like a thief of fond affection, thus to run by night away. 
 Then across her soul went singing, in a music half divine, 
 “ If you love me, Mary Daly, if you dare, dear girl, be mine” .  
  Down the road by Wilson's paddock, up again by Brown's big hill, 
 She has left the farm behind her, let them follow if they will; 
 They may saddle up at Daly's, they may rant and they may ride, 
 But before her father finds her she shall be bold Raymond's bride. 
 Round the bend by Brown's and Baker's, out across the mountain ridge, 
 Rides the brave Blue Mountain maiden to her tryst at Leland's bridge.  
  So it chanced that Daly's threshing, as such great events will do, 
 Brought romance among the mountains, and a taste of bliss for two; 
 And the house of Phair and Daly ceased their factions long ago; 
 And our Austral Julietta had her own dear Romeo.  
   When Watts Went Out To Yugilbar. 
  The summer days, through heat and haze, 
 Had browned the meadow lands, 
 And in its flow sang soft and and low 
 The river on its sands— 
 The river wide that once in pride 
 Poured out its high commands.  
  And so we went, on peace intent, 
 That golden Eastertide, 
 With ample store of “providore,” 
 And liquid stock beside; 
 And, trotting free, 'twas good to see 
 The pack-horse in his stride.  
  God gave us hills to cure our ills; 
 And where the river rolls 
 His splendid length of mountain strength 
 Along the pebbled shoals, 
 Long leagues from town, we sat us down 
 To rest our weary souls.  
  The dweller in the streets, whose thin, 
 White ghosts of pleasures pall— 
 He little deems what halcyon dreams, 
 What visions fair and tall, 
 From leaf and vine with songs divine, 
 In Bushland shadows call.  
  The spoil hard won by rod and gun, 
 Abroad in Nature's ways; 
 The kind surcease from toil, and peace 
 Beside the camp fire's blaze; 
 The Dawn's young rose, the Evening's close, 
 Made perfect all our days.  
  Then in the late, dim dusk my mate 
 (As Orpheus long ago) 
 The strings would sweep and clear and deep, 
 In joy—perchance in woe— 
 Love, Peace and War—all things that are 
 Fell out beneath the bow.  
  I've heard the grand massed fun'ral band 
 Behind a warrior's pall, 
 In weird notes roll through heart and soul 
 The slow “Dead March in Saul;” 
 In youth's wild days The Marseillaise 
 To arms all peoples call;  
  But when I dream by slope and stream, 
 Where upland glories are; 
 Or, if my feet tread alien street 
 In alien lands afar, 
 Still will I hold those hours of gold 
 'Way out on Yugilbar.  
  First night went by; but, bearded, shy, 
 Unskilled of tongue or pen; 
 Next night from camp, a starlit tramp, 
 They came, rough miner men. 
 The fiddler  knew , and slyly drew 
 The music of their ken.  
  My Bushland fair, let fools declare 
 Thee barren of sweet things; 
 Deep in thy heart there throbs apart 
 A harp of golden strings; 
 And to its chords, in wondrous words, 
 A wooing siren sings.  
  The dark range o'er, with wondrous store 
 Of silver from the moon 
 Was slowly filled, while ached and thrilled 
 Those kind bush hearts in tune 
 To Love and War—all things that are 
 Within the player's boon.  
  Of “Home, Sweet Home” ‘neath star-spread dome, 
 The dark hills heard the story; 
 “St. Patrick's Day” once more away 
 The wild Celt called to glory; 
 Or sweet and sad the raw Scots lad 
 Dreamed of his “Annie Laurie.”  
  Brave, simple souls; as backward rolls 
 Time's curtain, from afar 
 That scene I dream of hill and stream 
 'Neath cloudless moon and star; 
 In fancy hear the echoes clear— 
 'Way out on Yugilbar.  
  And, Watts, when you are passing through 
 That Vale the preachers tell, 
 Just lift your bow and  he  will know 
 The song-lord Israfel. 
 And loud and clear, “Musicians here!” 
 He'll cry—and 'twill be well.  
   Collar And Yoke. 
  “ 'Twas ‘bullicks' made the country,” 
 The man from Jindabayne, 
 Red-whiskered, lean and hairy, 
 Asserted once again.  
  The chap from Rocky River, 
 Squint-eyed and squat and strong— 
 One eye upon the ridge pole 
 ‘And one upon the throng;  
  Declaimed with frantic jestures 
 His views to reinforce— 
 “It wasn't blanky bullicks, 
 It  was  the blanky 'orse.”  
  The day was hot and dusty 
 The roads were tough and dry, 
 A brazen sun went blazing 
 Across a copper sky.  
  They'd met with friendly greeting 
 At noontide near the Bend, 
 But now the day unheeded 
 Was burning to an end.  
  While yet, within the shanty, 
 Those loyal drivers woke 
 Loud echoes with the merits 
 Of collar, or of yoke.  
  The argument from heated 
 Grew to a yell in course 
 Confused, of “bullicks, bullicks,” 
 And “ 'Orse, and 'orse, and 'orse.”  
  Now as of old Knights errant 
 Upon the highways met 
 Would throw the gage of combat, 
 And straight to business get,  
  To prove the charms of Isold 
 'Gainst those of Guinevere, 
 Those teamsters just at sunset 
 Abandoned each his beer,  
  And on the dusty roadway— 
 By partisans about 
 Ringed fairly and encouraged— 
 Began to fight it out.  
  The man from Rocky River 
 A Burns in sooth was he, 
 In all but skill and training 
 And build and hittery.  
  A Johnson—lacking color 
 Strength, stamina and brain 
 And scientific teaching— 
 The man from Jindabayne.  
  The betting on the combat 
 Was even; for of course 
 One crowd was laying “bullicks,” 
 The other backing “ 'orse.”  
  Oh, 'twas a famous battle: 
 Still, in their camps at night 
 They tell along the ranges 
 The story of that fight.  
  So even were they mated, 
 So blessed, with lack of skill, 
 They struck, and missed and stumbled 
 Through forty rounds until  
  The shanty keeper, acting 
 As arbiter of law 
 Relating to the combat, 
 Declared the fight a draw.  
  Each combatant exhausted 
 Prone lying, battered, hoarse, 
 Could only glare defiance 
 And whisper  “Bullicks!” — “ 'Orse!”   
  Nor could they come to corners, 
 But squatted vis-a-vis 
 Supine, but still unconquered 
 Before the referee.  
  And when—with inward wisdom 
 Born of the life he led— 
  He  saw from indications 
 That fight about to spread,  
  He cried, “This 'ere decision 
 Is fair an' just an' right, 
 You've 'eard the blanky barney 
 You've seen the blanky fight.  
  Now, some's for Rocky River, 
 An' some's for Jindabayne, 
 An' some's for 'oof an' 'orns 'ere, 
 An' some's for 'oof an' mane.  
  Since ever I remember, 
 This argument between 
 The Bullockys and Teamsters 
 On all the roads has been.  
  Now 'ere, I'm bound to settle 
 Disputes as Referee, 
 The fight 'as simply ended, 
 A draw, as you kin see.”  
  A light of inspiration 
 Flashed o'er his features coarse— 
 “ Which shows what makes the country is  
  The bullick, AND the 'orse! ”  
  Now this was sound in logic, 
 In judgment, and in law, 
 They called off all the wagers, 
 Declared the fight a draw;  
  And o'er replenished glasses, 
 The wreck from Jindabayne, 
 The ruin from the River, 
 Shook hands in peace again.  
   Settlers On The Rise. 
  The monarch hills above it 
 Are crowned by sombre trees, 
 That billow to the skyline 
 Like dark, Titanic seas.  
  At eventime, the shadow 
 Of one great giant lies 
 Across a pleasant homestead 
 That stands upon the rise.  
  Here came—to wage with Nature, 
 The old uncertain strife— 
 A stalwart, young selector 
 And his new-wedded wife.  
  That low-roofed, three-roomed shanty 
 Of slabs and bark and scrim, 
 Long years ago, she whispered, 
 A palace was—with  him .  
  Five miles from any neighbor, 
 Full forty from the town— 
 And so our lion-hearted 
 Bush exiles “settle down.”  
  With no applause to cheer them, 
 No banquets and no band, 
 Their days are yet heroic 
 With effort through the land.  
  They wear no tailored raiment, 
 These bush-folk hard and brown; 
 They know not city dainties, 
 Nor luxuries of town.  
  Hard beef and heavy damper, 
 And suet-strengthened dough, 
 And “spuds” boiled in their jackets 
 Full well and oft they know.  
  Miladi's sleeping soundly, 
 Milord in slumber lies, 
 When he and she are toiling 
 At sun-up on the rise.  
  Their acres, won in travail 
 For tilth, are trebly dear; 
 The laughter of their children 
 Is sweet and good to hear.  
  The palinged garden, bearing 
 Its kitchen growth in rows, 
 The earthen stoop, bark-shaded, 
 Whereon a creeper grows;  
  The dog-leg fences, marking 
 Each year, another field, 
 A hope of better seasons, 
 And still a greater yield—  
  The spring rains softly falling; 
 The stainless Southern skies, 
 Hold golden compensation 
 For dwellers on the rise.  
  Long years from now may find them 
 Still hoping, brave, and fond, 
 Still wooing fickle Fortune; 
 Still looking out—beyond.  
  Tall, stalwart sons beside them; 
 Strong daughters in their 'teens, 
 The simple household comforts 
 That come with ways and means.  
  No great, heroic ending, 
 No palace and no prize; 
 But rest and recollection 
 At sunset on the rise.  
  And courage on  his  face is, 
 And love is in  her  eyes— 
 Some city folks might envy 
 The dwellers on the rise.  
   Where The Saltbush Grows. 
  I am sitting in a garden, by a harbor prospect fair, 
 And a green world glows around me into distance ev'ry-where; 
 And the petals fall in showers 
 Like a snowstorm of dead flowers, 
 Where a young Spring trips the orchards with the south wind in her hair.  
  Here glad buttercups unfold burnished cups of floral gold; 
 To the nectars of the morning, and the pine trees, tall and old, 
 Lift their heads to greet September— 
 Like knights errant, who remember 
 Courts and tournaments of Nature, in the ancient years untold.  
  Now the florists' windows gleaming are bedecked with spoil of Spring, 
 Now the maiden waiteth blushing for a lover—and a ring. 
 Now the matron, laughing gaily, 
 Treads her path of pleasure daily, 
 While our city sparrows twitter, and our caged canaries sing.  
  But a rude, uncultured longing through my inward fancy flows; 
 I am restless and uneasy; far too well my spirit knows 
 That the wizard West is calling, 
 With a siren voice enthralling, 
 From her free, unpastured places, where the stunted salt-bush grows!  
  From her plains, outspreading lonely under cloudless skies away, 
 Comes a summons to my garden by the hill-surrounded bay: 
 “Come, oh come again, my rover; 
 Come, oh come again, my lover; 
 Come out and see the glory and the grandeur of the day.”  
  “Will your city give nepenthe?” cries the spirit of the West— 
 “Will its markets fill the chalice of the longings in your breast? 
 Is the traffic in its thunder 
 Like that still and quiet wonder 
 Of the moon above the mulga where the weary riders rest?”  
  Then my garden in the suburbs grows as narrow as a tomb, 
 Then the woof and warp of Commerce on its ever-whirling loom, 
 Like a web of evil fairies, 
 Like a garment of despair is, 
 Like a cerement swiftly woven by the cogs and wheels of Doom.  
  We can never rest in cities, as our wise Bush Mother knows; 
 Let the merchant to his markets where the golden current flows; 
 But the bushman's feet must wander 
 In the open over yonder, 
 Where old myall droops his branches and the silver salt-bush grows.  
  Not in crowded squares or highways; not in terraces in rows, 
 Not in tiled suburban cages shall our life days surely close, 
 When the old Bush voices woo us, 
 When the West-land whispers to us, 
 From her free and trackless places where the silver salt-bush grows.  
   The Call Of London. 
  I have heard the Call of London, 
 Yea, the savor rising sweet 
 Of its fleshpots, down in Fleet-street 
 When success is at your feet.  
  Now the mail hath brought a missive, 
 And its writer's pen of grace 
 Bids me hasten to the struggle 
 Ere I'm “distanced in the race.”  
  “There's a wider field in Britain, 
 Or in Boston or New York; 
 Better chances for your effort, 
 Better payment for your work.  
  “Sell your socks and sling Australia 
 There is nothing in the game. 
  I  am doing well in London, 
  You  can surely do the same.  
  “Look at other scribes and artists— 
 All the clever chaps we know, 
 Who have left their blithered country, 
 Where they never got a show!  
  “Raise the money for a passage, 
 Let Australia go to—Hay.” 
 So he puts the matter to me 
 From his fleshpot far away.  
  As I wrestle with temptation 
 On this clear October morn, 
 I can hear the bell-birds chiming 
 Through the bush, where I was born.  
  I can see the old gums waving 
 To the pressure of the wild, 
 Warm winds of golden summer 
 That I longed for as a child.  
  And the spirit of Australia— 
 They must suffer who would love— 
 In my heart has found a nesting; 
 Now she coos, a Cushat dove:—  
  “ For a mess of foreign pottage  
  Would you sell to feed your mouth , 
  All the golden dreams I bring you  
  From my Love-land in the South?   
  “Go! and hunger in a suburb 
 'Grimed with sooty London rain, 
 For the splashing of the showers 
 Through the clover and the cane!  
  “Though your years were richly gilded— 
 If by Chance your Fortune smiles, 
 You will languish for your Bushland 
 And her free, unfettered miles.  
  “Like dry mud upon her gilgas 
 Will your thirsty spirit gape, 
 For the haze along the mountain, 
 For the spindrift on the cape.  
  “You have watched the blue wave shoreward, 
 You have tramped the yellow sand, 
 You have wandered, you have gloried 
 By Australian Sea and Land.  
  “Will a passing Fame content you, 
 Or a little wealth repay 
 All this heritage of Freedom 
 That your hand would cast away?”  
  Now the Soul within me sickens 
 As old Illawarra green 
 And the meadows of Shoalhaven, 
 With her blue hills in between;  
  From their films of sunlit Fancy 
 On a screen of Mem'ry gleam; 
 And a train of glowing pictures 
 Lies before me in a dream:—  
  Lo! high Gippsland ranges greet me, 
 Where the young creeks at their play 
 Give the dripping ferns in passing 
 Saucy greeting and Good-day.  
  Lo! the level Plains unended 
 Of a wondrous Riverine 
 Roll before me to the sunset; 
 And by magic strange, unseen,  
  I behold a wide Monaro, 
 With her mountains in the snow; 
 And her shadow-haunted gorges, 
 Where the fearless riders go.  
  And the rivers! Oh, my rivers, 
 How ye call me from afar, 
 Where the sugar-cane is waving, 
 And the mammoth melons are!  
  I am back in sunny Queensland, 
 Where the custard-apples fruit; 
 I am driving down the Logan, 
 Where they grow the arrowroot.  
   All  my tracks of travel glamor, 
  All  my camp-fires fondly glow— 
 As Temptation waits an answer; 
 And my answer shall be, “No!”  
  So—I fling his missive fire-ward, 
 And I make reply in verse: 
 “I am married … to  Australia , 
 Friend, for better or for worse.  
  “Yea, the call of mine ain country 
 Is a louder call to me 
 Than the lure of any far-land 
 Where the flesh-pots smoking be.  
  “ You  may hunt your golden guineas 
 In the gloom of London town … 
 I am staying in the sunlight, 
 And I turn temptation down.”  
  I wonder if the red blood dances through some young heart like wine 
 As, in the green Shoalhaven springtime it pulsed a-fire through mine? 
 I wonder if, when Morning marches his cohorts brave along 
 The purple hills of Cambewarra, they echo to the song 
 Of some gay lad whose “love lies dreaming” down there in Gerringong?  
  Oh, I have wandered o'er the borders, and many lands I've seen— 
 The valleys of New England shining, the Queensland canefields green, 
 The black-soil plains in brown leagues rolling, the plains of Riverine. 
 But though in visions, wide and splendid, Australian pictures throng, 
 The fairest star of all my dreaming still burns o'er Gerringong.  
  Yea, I have answered to the longing. It lured me far and wide, 
 Where dusty swagsmen plod the Distance, where bearded bushmen ride. 
 I've heard, along the Gippsland ranges, the magpie's morning song; 
 I've seen the sunset shadows lengthen through woods of Dandenong— 
 But ah, the dew upon the clover that shines by Gerringong!  
  And now in dreams I see the palm trees, high waving to the breeze, 
 And hear, on curved Shoalhaven beaches, a surf-song of the seas, 
 The creeks, from silver harps outpouring their constant symphonies; 
 And all the glory of the southland and all her fervid song 
 Of love and youth, in recollection, come back from Gerringong.  
  I wonder if some boy is yearning beneath the fig trees brown, 
 As Fancy paints in pictures tempting the pleasures of the town, 
 If in his soul the distant bugles with onward marches strong 
 Of Glory and Achievement call  him  to join the city throng, 
 While Love and Faith, alas, lie dreaming in drowsy Gerringong!  
  I wonder if a girl is waiting beneath the coral red, 
 That like a wounded heart is bleeding in flowers overhead; 
 While all the marvel of the morning, before her eyes outspread 
 The green delight of pastures gleaming, the picture and the song 
 Have grown to her but ghosts of Fancies—that died in Gerringong.  
  No more—though summer follow summer, and spring trip after spring, 
 Though clear among the scented lilies the joyous blue-caps sing, 
 Though from the little painted chapel a cynic shrill ding-dong 
 Of wedding bells at last may gladden the gossips in the throng— 
 That Coral Tree shall be their trysting in green, old Gerringong.  
  I wonder if, when Life's rich dishes pall one by one on him, 
 Among the aloes and the ashes, in day-dreams faint and dim, 
 That boy will watch the sun uprising across the water's rim; 
 And in the clear Shoalhaven morning, heart-wearied, hear the song 
 Of Youth that long ago lay buried for aye in Gerringong.  
   Northern Night. 
  The blistered roof, 'neath which we dwell, 
 Blazed out across the Bay 
 When Night in cooling quiet fell 
 With Sunset, gold and gay; 
 But now the breeze will freshen 'till 
 An hour before the Day.  
  Mimosa San in Chinatown, 
 Fresh-powdered, plump and tan, 
 Inveigles wooers—white or brown— 
 With eyes, and teeth, and fan; 
 Mimosa San of Chinatown, 
 But erstwhile of Japan.  
  Here British virtue takes a slight 
 Ly Asiatic hue; 
 In theory remaining white, 
 In practice turning blue. 
 A tinted state of things which might 
 Be somewhat weird to view,  
  Were not the click of chopsticks and 
 Strange odors drifting down 
 The streets from lanes on either hand 
 Of this Australian town, 
 Proclaiming, louder than the band, 
 “ 'Tis merely White-and-Brown.”  
  In “crash,” “Assam,” or “duck,” or “drill,” 
 The veteran and the cub 
 Come out beneath the stars to kill 
 Thirst longings  at  the club; 
 The shirt-and-trousered plebeians will 
 Foregather  in  the pub.  
  Harmonic is the Night with strange 
 New songs of old desire— 
 The Northern Life-notes surely range 
 An impulse octave higher 
 Within the heart, (the gods arrange 
 Fit music to each lyre).  
  On coral harps, with pearl inlaid, 
 And strings of Coen gold, 
 Beneath the palms is nightly played 
 A love-song warm and bold; 
 The song young Eros told the maid 
 In Paphian days of old.  
  A Queensland beach its silver wealth 
 Is holding to the Moon! 
 Anon, in Youth and Hope and Health— 
 That fade, alas, so soon— 
 Comes hopeful Romeo, in stealth, 
 To crave his Juliet's boon.  
  While frangipani scents divine 
 Across the coral flow, 
 While sundered paw-paws, soaked in wine, 
 Their fruity bouquet throw, 
 While white magnolias, moonlit, shine 
 And fire-flies flitting glow;  
  While Care is but a blunted sword 
 In silken scabbard laid, 
 And Death a mere remembered word 
 That makes no soul afraid, 
 Mimosa San shall find reward, 
 And Romeo his maid.  
  So walks the Night, all-topic, bare 
 And naked to the skies, 
 In pleasure's burning roseway where 
 The Land of Plenty lies, 
 So walks the Night with fragrant hair 
 And Asiatic eyes.  
   Northern Morning. 
  Cool dews lie on the lilies yet that ride in purple ranks, 
 Like galleys from the Isles of Sleep, along the river banks. 
 As lifted souls from Earth set free, pale swamp-mists slowly rise 
 To white-winged clouds of mystery, and vanish in the skies.  
  Their soft out-going stainless leaves those blue-robed skies to hold 
 A sun that lifts above the green his glowing disc of gold: 
 But ere his banner in the East proclaims this pleasant strife 
 Of tropic day begun anew, all Nature wakes to life.  
  Fat dusky coots swim through the reeds; the red-bills from the maize— 
 Crop-heavy debauches—stalk home. Now blithe a reed birds plays, 
 In notes like feathers by young winds on airy dances borne, 
 Mock matins to a stooping crane, phlegmatic and forlorn.  
  A spurwing patters through the grass, a sleek white ibis frees 
 His priestly wing in leisured flight, and from the ring barked trees 
 A magpie yodels forth his joy; while, weary from their night— 
 Long journey towards the pleasant south, migrating snipe alight.  
  Brown eyes alert, wing feathers preened, self-conscious as she feeds, 
 The black duck like a widow plump floats gaily through the weeds. 
 High-poised upon his bending rush, a bluecap warbles clear, 
 A song of corn and sugarcane and Summer all the year.  
  From farmyards near and farmyards far, in promise loud is plied, 
 The axe that heralds morning tea and later breakfast-tide. 
 Till standing in their paddocks green, or clustered in the town, 
 A pleasant smoke of promise waves from each tall chimney crown.  
  Loud milk carts rattle down the lanes; their sleepy drivers sway 
 With swollen eyelids blinking yet owl-fashion at the Day, 
 Till at the puffing creamery, with gleaming cans they stand, 
 To yield as tribute, each in turn, the Fatness of the Land.  
  With parted waters at her bow and curling waves astern, 
 A river steamboat, trailing smoke, comes churning round the turn; 
 Her wash breaks loudly on the banks. Slim reeds their tassels shake, 
 And nod in saucy petulance along her noisy wake.  
  Now glossy gleams the sunlit maize, and on the jointed cane 
 A Northern sun, rich profligate, pours down his golden rain; 
 Enrichens thus, the fruitful gourd with benefaction kind; 
 And reds the melon's ripening heart beneath its mottled rind.  
  In umbrage cool of tree and vine the rambling houses doze. 
 Magnolias at their porches bloom and by their gates the rose, 
 Guavas in their gardens grow; the smooth banana spreads 
 Its tropic shade and bunched delight above the milking-sheds.  
  The farmer in his hammock smokes a morning pipe at ease: 
 The farmer's son his stomach gluts beneath the mango trees; 
 The farmer's daughter, whitely frocked, with patience labors on 
 The wailing keys that mourn aghast the griefs of Mendelssohn.  
  So, through this land of wealth and tilth comes Morning like a bird 
 Of Paradise in plumage rare. From jungle depths, unstirred, 
 Night's ling'ring coolness flies at length, and o'er the maize and cane 
 The Sun, despotic overlord, triumphant reigns again.  
   Wild Cattle. 
  Wild cattle from the Wingen, 
 Two hundred head of stores, 
 On hills and ranges mustered, 
 And by the lone, salt shores;  
  Through sunlit forests stringing, 
 Along a Gippsland trail, 
 The mob is slowly headed 
 Towards Bruthen, on to Sale.  
  On far and open pasture 
 They lifted startled eyes, 
 To see strange horsemen waking 
 The morn with whips and cries.  
  Some, Nemesis accepted, 
 But one, with spirit free, 
 Charged hillward through the timber 
 For life and liberty.  
  Then cracked the stockwhips louder; 
 Then yapped the sharp-tongued dogs; 
 The rotten bark in powder 
 Flew from the fallen logs.  
  Bruised ferns and sword-grass trampled, 
 Torn boughs and saplings bent, 
 Marked plain across the ridges 
 What way the wild chase went.  
  With muzzle dripping freely 
 The frantic, long-horned steer 
 Left horse and rider striving 
 Three times upon his rear.  
  To blue hills of the Wingen 
 'Twas hard to bid good-bye; 
 In some red shambles driven 
 Far from their peace to die.  
  Now as the mob is nearing 
 The black lands of Orbost, 
 Perchance in bovine yearning 
 He pines for freedom lost.  
  He hears a night-tide pouring 
 Across the shallow bars, 
 When all the Bush is sleeping, 
 Dew-freshened, 'neath the stars.  
  He sees, in silver gleaming, 
 The lakes, lit by the moon, 
 Cape Everard, in shadow, 
 The marshes of Tamboon.  
  Long forelands, flower-emblazoned, 
 Deep gullies and dark streams 
 Through fern and dogwood gliding 
 Still linger in his dreams.  
  And all that coastland lonely 
 From Nadji to the Bemm, 
 Where grows a sweet bush herbage, 
 Calls softly unto him.  
  To-night along the Wingen 
 A warrigal bewails 
 Calf quarry—in perspective— 
 Gone south'ard to the sales.  
  The loved hills of the Wingen, 
 A long-horned steer desires, 
 Who sees his human captors 
 Out-stretched before their fires.  
  But all his pride lies humbled, 
 And all his hope is gone. 
 With lowered head, dejected, 
 Lean-flanked, he stumbles on.  
  He knows the wild, free forelands, 
 And open miles are lost 
 To him whose Fate is waiting, 
 Red-handed, by Orbost.  
   Night In The Bush. 
  Now, like a curtain through the trees, 
 By Nubian fingers drawn, 
 Dusk closes in. And by degrees, 
 On hillward slope and lawn, 
 The shadows lengthen, spread, and fade 
 In silent, phantom play, 
 Until a darkened cloth is laid 
 Upon the face of Day.  
  Their vesper songs, with folded wings, 
 The magpies cease to pour; 
 Above the cow'ring feathered things 
 The brown hawks poise no more; 
 And, as the last reflections die, 
 Night-conquered in the West— 
 All daylight Nature finds its high 
 Leaf-hidden place of Rest.  
  But prim-gowned Eve hath brought a bright, 
 A far, resplendent boon,— 
 The Bush is Elfland fair and white 
 A-glimmer in the moon! 
 In marble columns straight upstand 
 Its smooth trunks one by one, 
 To roof, o'er silver archways grand, 
 A forest Parthenon.  
  And first a furred phalanger screams; 
 Then shrill the 'possums squeal. 
 Deluded, in their avian dreams, 
 As cheating moonbeams steal, 
 In night groups, lifting tail and bill, 
 The kookaburras wake, 
 To laugh at intervals, until 
 The morn begins to break.  
  Nocturnal birds, with eerie sounds, 
 Pursue their hidden prey; 
 And far and wide the air abounds 
 With courtship, chase and play. 
 Marsupials bounding, thud the dark 
 Close undergrowth in flight; 
 On sloughing trunks the hanging bark 
 Is rustled by the Night.  
  Loud snorts a stock-horse scenting harm; 
 Pursued by formless fear 
 He gallops forward to alarm 
 A grazing equine peer; 
 Then wild hoofs clatter in his wake, 
 The swishing saplings fly, 
 And trodden sticks and branches break 
 As on the scared brutes hie.  
  Where o'er the clearing far away 
 A ground fog slowly floats, 
 Chained watchdogs, dreaming, wake to bay 
 All things with strident throats. 
 Disturbed by varied mongrel howls 
 And yelps and struggles vain, 
 The wakened settler rudely growls 
 Disgust, and sleeps again.  
  Daft morepokes swop across the ridge 
 Some everlasting joke; 
 Beneath the cranky homestead bridge 
 Fat frogs, persistent, croak, 
 Until the wild ducks, where the reeds 
 Their slim, dark shadows throw, 
 Forsake their night haunts by the weeds, 
 Protesting as they go.  
  As dusk to midnight softly trails 
 With slowly-certain pace, 
 Afar the prowling dingo wails 
 Of failure in the chase; 
 And sudden sounds, that alternate 
 With silence, still prevail,— 
 The coarse koala scolds his mate; 
 On green flats pipe the quail.  
  A lone, belated, horseman trolls 
 A catch for company; 
 And down the track an echo rolls, 
 In clear-toned mockery; 
 Then fur and feather, hushed, await 
 Until the clamour dies, 
 To slow resume an inchoate 
 Refrain of calls and cries.  
  My camp-fire, damped by falling dews, 
 Still lower burns, and low; 
 A puzzled paddymelon views 
 Its red, unwonted glow; 
 A bandicoot in quest of yams 
 Goes grunting sourly thence— 
 From habitat repelled, he damns 
 Such human impudence.  
  Now, greyly through the shadowed trees 
 A new light, wan and strange, 
 Falls faintly, with a herald breeze 
 That whispers from the range; 
 And o'er the cool and quiet Bush— 
 Grown wondrous still and free 
 From sounds of Life—there falls a hush 
 Of calm expectancy.  
  So pale the lower stars in turn 
 Have grown along the East; 
 The morning star alone doth burn 
 With radiance increased. 
 As tea-rose petals swiftly blown 
 Along a spacious lawn, 
 The fields of sky are freely sown 
 With blossoms of the Dawn.  
  And  now  the queenly Bush aside 
 Has thrown her garb of gloom; 
 The East is burning like a bride 
 With roses all in bloom. 
 Gay morning clouds, hibiscus red, 
 Adoring hearts unfold 
 Before a caliph sun whose head 
 Is diademed with gold.  
  The Land awakes in scent and song; 
 And far and near is heard 
 In concert from the creeks along, 
 The call of bird to bird. 
 With color, gladness, and delight 
 In all her bright array, 
 Refreshed by dews of cloudless Night, 
 The Bush salutes her Day!  
   The Day The Mailman Comes. 
  When Mabel puts her hair in trim, 
 And Sis her brooches wears; 
 When Emma, in the firelight dim, 
 The floury scone prepares; 
 And at the sliprails brother Jim 
 Across the gloaming stares—  
  These signs and portents knowledge bring 
 To all the Bush—and you, 
 That Expectation, bright of wing, 
 The farmhouse flutters through— 
 For—as the kettle seems to sing— 
 “To-night the mailman's due.”  
  In slop-made suit of dusty brown, 
 And greasy, wide-brimmed hat, 
 He comes, a welcome guest from town, 
 Each week to Reedy Flat, 
 And brings the latest cables down— 
 A fortnight old at that.  
  A cheerful, slow, bucolic wight, 
 Bowlegged and saddle-bred, 
 With lank, oiled hair an auburn bright, 
 And nose a blistered red, 
 He smokes and gossips thro' the night 
 Till long past “time for bed.”  
  The cables and the market news 
 The Old Man in his chair 
 Absorbs, and ventilates his views 
 On irresponsive air— 
 They have no precious time to lose 
 On Balkan troubles there;  
  When Sandy Scott, his local store 
 Of current scandal, chat, 
 In-gathered eighty bush miles o'er, 
 Unloads to glad the Flat, 
 And fills his briar pipe once more, 
 And spits across the cat.  
  His tale of marriage, death and birth, 
 The district happ'nings small; 
 Those things of tragedy or mirth 
 That tears or laughter call, 
 The human things from o'er the Earth, 
 Long Sandy stocks them all.  
  The pen-scrawled words of love and trade; 
 The missives honey-sweet, 
 In seal across his saddle laid, 
 He bears with air discreet; 
 Why should the pathway not be made 
 More pleasant to his feet?  
  Why should he not the best beds get; 
 His plate the tit-bits hold? 
 And by his knife a serviette 
 Be placed in careful fold, 
 With something special “for the wet,” 
 Or else to “cure his cold”?  
  A golden link he makes between 
 The world and Reedy Flat. 
 In dusty suit, and necktie green, 
 And greasy, soft, felt hat— 
 But Emma, turning seventeen, 
 Could tell you more of that.  
  No wonder Mabel curls her hair, 
 And Sis a ditty hums, 
 And Bill, with neither ear nor air, 
 The old piano strums— 
 Romance is in the clear bush air 
 The day the mailman comes.  
   The Book. 
  Before me gleams a Volume, rare, 
 And radiant to behold; 
 With picture-poems painted, fair, 
 In lines of green and gold.  
  That Great Raphael, who moulds the flower, 
 And stains the sunset skies 
 Its Author is. No critic dour 
 His workmanship decries.  
  Homeric is his theme, and this 
 No halting rhythm mars— 
 What bard-song ever soared like His 
 Whose harp-strings reach the stars?  
  With Art sublime the Great Book glows; 
 And magic minstrelsies; 
 And Music from its pages flows, 
 In chords that never cease.  
  On each fresh page this endless tome 
 Some new delight doth hold; 
 Its readers may for ever roam 
 By wonder-ways untold.  
  Aye, he who cares, may turn at will 
 Rare treasure-leaves, to learn 
 Of cool cloud shadows o'er the hill 
 Or sunlight on the fern.  
  Slow may he follow—all his soul 
 A-thrill with long delight— 
 The changing Seasons, as they roll; 
 The path of Day and Night.  
  His eye may wander in the Spring 
 O'er dewy lands, a-sheen; 
 Where fairy martins sweeping wing 
 Across the paddocks green;  
  Or scarlet lories, in their flight 
 Among the wattles, fold 
 Their turquoise wings; to drop like bright, 
 Red rubies flung on gold.  
  Oh! he may gloat the hillsides clear, 
 That em'rald with the vine; 
 The waving wheatfields just in ear, 
 The silken-coated kine;  
  When from her green the briar breaks, 
 A sweet rose-sister shy, 
 Or proud, the lordly gymea shakes 
 His crimson banners high.  
  A serial of the seasons, he 
 Who loves the Book may read— 
 The tale of summer, joyous see 
 Imprinted on the mead  
  In yellow heads of ripened wheat, 
 Or purple clusters, hung; 
 In orchards, breathing forth the sweet 
 Of ripened fruit downflung.  
  Beneath the ti-tree down the creeks 
 Is writ a chapter cool, 
 Wherein the tongue of Nature speaks 
 From shaded reach and pool.  
  Brown Autumn, like a dairy lass 
 With rain-wet cheeks of health, 
 A rosy gleaner, too, will pass— 
 Her apron full of wealth.  
  When sloughed, curled bark, the silver trees, 
 From shining trunks unswathe, 
 Like nymphs by singing, summer seas 
 Disrobing ere they bathe.  
  When lines the dasyure lean his lair; 
 When moults the wild black swan; 
 And shifting snipe are otherwhere; 
 And covey quail are gone.  
  When wine and must, and yellow gourd; 
 Fat sacks of spilling grain, 
 In rick and loft and cellar stored, 
 Bespeak the garnered gain.  
  So Winter steals, with soft warm rains, 
 To soak the canefields all; 
 So Southern snow, knee-deep remains 
 Along the ranges tall.  
  So Winter in her fur-lined gown 
 And hood and muff of grey, 
 Goes tripping o'er the farmlands brown, 
 Frost-jewelled on her way.  
  Aye, from this Book the Bards-to-be, 
 The Painters yet unborn, 
 Their songs will glean in ecstasy: 
 Their pictures clothe with Morn.  
  The shades of those, in Austral rhyme 
 Who wrote, as pioneers, 
 Will surely hail that full, sublime, 
 Rich culture of the years.  
  When I have turned the Puzzle Key, 
 That opes the Low Black Door; 
 And from this human entity 
 Go forth, to sing no more.  
  On some Australian hill, that greens 
 With bourgeonage of grass; 
 Where down the Morning's cool demesnes 
 The glowing day-winds pass;  
  Low lay me down. Nor wet in grief 
 The Old Earth-Book with tears; 
 Remembering that line and leaf 
 Were mine through many years.  
   Red River. 
  Here wave and rock their conflict fine 
 For ever loudly wage: 
 Here writes the Ocean, line by line 
 Along a plastic page, 
 His lyric of a mood divine, 
 Then blots it out in rage.  
  Here young suns, rising in the clear, 
 Cool mornings, deftly gild 
 With leaf-of-gold the ti-tree near; 
 And, with fresh vigor filled, 
 From restful darkness re-appear 
 The ranges many-hilled.  
  Here, from a dying sun at eve, 
 The red blood freely flows 
 In westward wounds. Rich doth he leave 
 Endowered as he goes, 
 A widowed Bush, to briefly grieve 
 In weeds of pink and rose.  
  Here spreads the Night a slumber sheet, 
 With jewels thickly strewed, 
 And lays soft carpets for the feet 
 Of Rest and Quietude; 
 Nor at her door shall Fashion beat 
 Or flaunting Vice intrude.  
  Here from a silver lamp of light, 
 And from a golden bowl, 
 The Moon outpours her bounty white; 
 Until her lunar soul, 
 A-waning, turns in fading flight 
 Unto another goal.  
  Here tramp patrolling seasons four: 
 In floral chevrons gay, 
 Spring lords the conquered coastlands o'er, 
 And laughing, goes his way. 
 His sleepless tramp along the shore, 
 In capote long and grey,  
  Stern Winter keeps. Red River sees 
 Imperial Summer throw 
 His fiery banners to the breeze; 
 And—treading soft below 
 The shadows of the sloughing trees— 
 Regretful Autumn go.  
  In matted scrubs along its edge 
 The prowling dingo hides; 
 The snake around the granite ledge, 
 Fork-tongued and cautious glides; 
 And in the shallows by the sedge 
 The preening black-duck bides.  
  Like wind among the reeds by shores 
 Where ancient cities shone, 
 Where once, with royal sweep of oars, 
 Tall galleys thundered on, 
 A pæan of regret outpours 
 At dusk the sable swan.  
  As those old masters of the quaint 
 East, lost in Aryan night, 
 Once outlined on rice-paper faint 
 His slow and drooping flight— 
 The blue crane, shrilling harsh complaint, 
 Lifts upward in affright.  
  On silent horses, Night and Day, 
 Along Red River ride. 
 December suns and moons of May 
 Above it softly glide; 
 And rare intruders, passing, stray 
 An hour its stream beside.  
  Strong stallion springtides caracole 
 In white-maned Arab bands 
 Full-chested on the forward roll; 
 And, o'er the banking sands, 
 Unto Red River bear the scroll 
 Of Ocean's high commands;  
  But when, in turn, a yearning neap 
 Grieves by the naked shore, 
 The seaward sands their cordon keep 
 From point to point once more; 
 And drifted weed and kelp in heap 
 A noisome protest pour.  
  Like bleached, unburied bones among 
 The rank grass, rotting lie 
 The spars of some great vessel, flung 
 On this hard coast to die, 
 While wind and storm her death-knell rung 
 In that dark night gone by.  
  Since when these broken remnants, trailed 
 In token drear, were found, 
 No man hath learned from whence she hailed, 
 Nor whither was she bound; 
 What company with her outsailed, 
 What luckless crew was drowned.  
  How drove she on the rocks, that sealed 
 Her dread fate long ago; 
 What waiting hearts at length were healed 
 Or broken in their woe, 
 Shall ne'er be riddled or revealed 
 While live ships come and go.  
  For these, and all its secrets lone, 
 Of Tempest, Tide and Sea— 
 Remote, afar, and aye alone 
 Through all the years that be— 
 Red River keepeth in its own 
 Deep heart of mystery.  
   O'meara's Well. 
  Twenty miles from any township, twenty miles on either track, 
 Lay the holding of O'Meara, in the myall, 'way out back; 
 Five and fifty hundred acres “dogleg” fenced and partly rung, 
 With a blazing sun above it in it's cloudless Heaven hung.  
  Fighting Fate lived Con O'Meara, fighting drought and pests, and so 
 Cursed his luck; and ofttimes threatened that he'd “shling it up and go.” 
 Gave the place another trial; tried to mortgage, tried to sell; 
 Laid his blessings on the country, cursed the Government as well.  
  Ye who know but pleasant places where the winding waters be, 
 Know not ye their pining stintage when the earth gapes thirstily. 
 Year on year the lean selector saw his shallow dams go dry, 
 Saw his stock fall poor and perish, saw his ewes and wethers die.  
  Long he puzzled, prayed, and reasoned—Con was thoughtful and devout— 
 And at last from seas of problems fished one firm conclusion out:— 
 “God,” he cried, “is full of mercy; ne'er He sint a curse on earth 
 But he sint a cure beside it, since the world of Man had birth.  
  “Rain enough of Hivin's mercy falls to wet the Western land, 
 “Wor it not for waste and soakage, waste and soakage in the sand.” 
 In his hut of pine and shingle Con O'Meara reasoned so; 
 Thumped his knee with this conundrum, “Where the dickins does it go?”  
  Thinking deep, and thinking deeper, drew analogy from sheath, 
 Waved the sword of Sense and Logic, found it  must  go underneath! 
 “I will dig!” cried then O'Meara; “I will start and sink a shaft, 
 “And I'll thrack and find that wather if I thrack till I am daft!”  
  Took he straightway pick and shovel, bucket, windlass, length of rope; 
 Found a spot of pleasing promise, dug with courage, strength and hope. 
 And when failure faced him leering, he'd re-elevate his pick, 
 Swear to find the hidden water if he burrowed to Old Nick.  
  “There's a ‘rayseevoyer' for sartin,” he would mumble, delving deep, 
 “I must strike the same this winther, if I mane to save me sheep. 
 “Sick am I of shallow sinking, 'tis a fact beyant a doubt 
 “That this ‘rayseevoyer' lies deeper, and I've got to find it out.”  
  Down he went in treble figures, dug and picked and wound away, 
 Till his back was bent from labor, till his beard was streaked with grey. 
 Then, his spirit all but broken, then, his last dam all but done, 
 Con O'Meara came to water one hot eve at setting sun!  
  Up it flowed in joyous bubbles, warm and sparkling, white and clear; 
 And O'Meara, at the bottom, rose a hoarse and thankful cheer; 
 Bade young Con to man the windlass, filled his billy to the brim— 
 He had struck the rock like Moses, and the rock had answered him.  
  Oh! the red head of O'Meara rose the excavation o'er; 
 And, in pride, his brimming billy towards the hut aloft he bore 
 “From the ‘rayseevoyer!' he shouted, “and 'tis risin' fresh and free— 
 Glory to the Western Country; Judy darlint, come and see!”  
  Faithful Judy, patient partner, mother of O'Meara's boys, 
 Sharer of his toil and sorrow, shure she rushed to share his joys; 
 And the sprigs of Con O'Meara mustered up in eager haste 
 Round their sire, the law announcing, “She must be the first to taste!”  
  Hither now Australian painters, students of the wondrous bush, 
 Here is light and color fitting, here is subject for the brush; 
 See the sunset in the distance; see the spreading plain and sere; 
 Group your figures in the foreground, with the windlass standing near!  
  “Drink deep health to Ballyvannan,” proud O'Meara filled the lid, 
 And with hand that shook and trembled shure the cray-thur tuk and did!——— 
 (Here some dashes, kind Sir Printer, for the Muse in sorrow halts.) 
 “Howly Saints!” poor Judy spluttered, “Howly Saints,  it's Ipsom salts!”   
  Fell the head of Con O'Meara, and the sprigs in grief withdrew, 
 As they sampled each the water, as they sampled, spat, and knew; 
 And that night on Ballyvannan rose no laugh or joyous sound, 
 Rose no song of Celtic triumph the exultant welkin round.  
  Grief lay heavy on O'Meara, stern and set his furrowed face, 
 Nor a-seeking ‘rayseevoyers' sank he shafts about the place. 
 One by one the ribbed stock perished; ten by ten the ewes went down; 
 Day by day the hot sun glinted on the dried-up grass and brown.  
  Autumn fell, and with it biding came a kinsman overseas, 
 Full of Dublin wit and larnin'; full of wisdom and degrees, 
 He had sped a-seeking knowledge, and mayhap to gather gold, 
 Wooing wealth in foreign places, as our fathers did of old.  
  Blood it thicker is than water, though the water West away 
 It was thick as glue that summer, as unwritten records say; 
 So he sought his Irish kinsfolk, found them, yea, in evil case, 
 Where the hand of Drought had written  DESOLATION  on the place.  
  “Welcome to my sisther's first-born,” spake O'Meara at the rails. 
 “Welcome, welcome, Dinny darlint, to the land of New South Wales. 
 Poor the fare we have to offer, poor the cover, poor the bed, 
 But the Irish heart is open, and the Irish blood is red.”  
  They foregathered, they foregathered, in their eyes were smiles and tears, 
 As they spake beneath the rafters, as they talked beyant the years, 
 This and that one, Pat and Mary, stream and mountain, bog and hill; 
 Rest the dead! Their sowls to glory. God be wid ould Ireland still.  
  In the morn they walked together, and O'Meara told his grief, 
 How his faith had turned to ashes, how his fortune proved a thief. 
 By the fatal shaft they lingered, where the rotting rope was wound, 
 Where the earth hard-heaved and lifted lay in mullock heaps around.  
  By the shaft was still the billy—long discarded, red with rust— 
 Where the grieved selector hurled it, with his curses, in the dust, 
 On the hook O'Meara hung it, careless, listless, let it drop, 
 Wound it up to prove his statements, leaking slowly, to the top.  
  “Taste it for yerself, alannah, ye have thravelled here an' there, 
 But ye niver dhrank say wather up the counthry, that I'll swear.” 
 Dinny took and Dinny tasted, he had journeyed near and far, 
 As my Lord of Cashel's tutor he had onetime been to Spa.  
  “By my sowl! my honest uncle!” cried this youth of books and wit, 
 “ 'Tis a first-class min'ral water—there should be a call for it, 
 Salts, magnesia, yes, and iron. Why I should not be surprised, 
 But the Faculty would boom it if you had it analysed!”  
  Loud and hearty laughed O'Meara: “Shure 'tis larning drives ye mad, 
 Ye are but a new chum, Dinny, that ye are my honest lad. 
 Ye are welcome to the wather, take an dhrink it if ye can, 
 An' I wish ye joy an' pleasure of your physic, Nephew Dan.”  
  “Done!” said Dan. “We'll strike a bargain. Bring the bottle. Patrick's Day 
 Shall not pass without rejoicing in Australia far away.” 
 It was good potheen my brothers. Where it came from know not I, 
 But I know no Celtic homestead on this day of days goes dry.  
  And I swear that Irish whisky and Australian Spa—(with Dan) 
 Taken—well, in moderation, never hurt an Irishman. 
 E'en O'Meara scorning, tasted, and he turned and said, “Bedad, 
 When ye thrate it with the liquor, be me sowl it  isn't  bad.”  
  They signed a pledge, a contract pledge, and deeply washed it down, 
 That they should stand in equal shares. Next day into the town, 
 Some samples at his saddle bow, the hopeful Daniel went 
 To see the Chemist of the place, with business-like intent.  
  The Chemist and the Doctor both considered and agreed, 
 Dan's specimens of min'ral wealth were very rich indeed. 
 Then Daniel (who had two degrees), he tipped the Doc. the wink, 
 And took the “paper man” across to Cleary's for a drink.  
  They made him try the waters too. Enlisted his support 
 (The Press is mighty, and 'tis wise to have a friend at Court). 
 A month went by, young Dan worked hard, a man of parts was he, 
 And with the Doctor and the Priest, he formed a Company.  
  They asked the local magnates out. And with a case or two, 
 A barrel, and O'Meara's well, they made a special brew, 
 The picnic proved a huge success. The district to a man 
 Soon swore by Con O'Meara's Well, and by his nephew Dan.  
  And, by the post! before a year from when the “Co.” was floated 
 The shares in Con. O'Meara's Well were at a premium quoted. 
 Ere eighteen month, two stories high, beside the Min'ral Well, 
 All in its painted glory stood “O'Meara's Grand Hotel.”  
  Now at the door stands honest Con, whilst Judy minds the bar, 
 Aud custom comes in buggy loads to drink the Famous Spa. 
 Promoting appetite and health, enriching Con and Dan; 
 The first is now a live Jay Pee, the last an Alderman!  
  And waggons piled with bottled Spa go to the Railway down, 
 Promoting appetite and health as far as Sydney town. 
 But when St. Patrick's Day comes round O'Meara from the shelf 
 A rusty billy taketh down and fills the same himself.  
  And round the grand piano stands O'Meara's household all, 
 While Con for “Soilence in the coort!” in legal voice doth call. 
 They stand and toast O'Meara's Well, an Irish cheer between, 
 While little Judy thumps and bangs “The Wearing of the Green.”  
   Far And Wide. 
   I'll call you to the Beaches , 
  And you shall bide with me , 
  Along the river reaches  
  And by the open Sea .  
  Far and wide I have to wander, 
 Far and wide and to and fro; 
 'Cross the Seas and o'er and under 
 Everywhere the Rovers go.  
  “Rolling stones no mosses gather,” 
 Let the careful critic moan; 
 In my heart I know, I'd rather 
 Be a restless rolling stone.  
  When I feel the soul-relieving 
 Comfort of the cradling sea, 
 When the giant hills upheaving 
 Into God's blue sky I see;  
  When the brown plains spread before me, 
 And I slacken out the rein, 
 With a noon sun burning o'er me, 
 Then I  know  my loss is gain.  
  Let me watch the sea-rain falling, 
 Smell the salt, deck-driven spray; 
 Let me hear the bush-birds calling 
 At the dawning of the day.  
  Let me see the sun-bars streaming 
 Down the valleys, ere the night 
 Fills the world with pleasant dreaming, 
 Love and coolness and delight.  
  Inland creeks and shoreward rivers, 
 How they beckon and they croon; 
 Ah, the long dry grass that quivers 
 Ere the grey clouds cast their boon.  
  E'er the forests tall and splendid 
 Lure me with their light and shade, 
 And the rolling downs unended 
 Like a bridal carpet laid.  
  Gypsy come! The golden beaches 
 Hold their arms to you and me. 
 Gypsy come! The water reaches 
 Call us to them lovingly!  
  In the North green palm glades keep their 
 Vigils 'neath the cloudless moon; 
 Glutted pigeons safely sleep there, 
 Freely filled with fruited boon.  
  In the South a cold wind, singing, 
 Sways the high limbs to and fro, 
 And the Magpie homeward winging 
 Carols of the coming snow.  
  Gypsy come! the wide bush waits us 
 Gypsy come! the wide seas call, 
 Near and far the world awaits us, 
 We are wild hearts after all.  
  Far and wide we twain will wander, 
 All the world, the world to know, 
 Far and wide and o'er and under, 
 By the roads the Rovers go.  
   Ringy Ringy Rosy. 
  “ Ringy ringy rosy ,” the morning skies are blue, 
 And yonder by the slip-rails your sweetheart waits for you. 
 The lizards on the fences are basking in the sun, 
 The Wintertime is over, the Summertime's begun. 
 “ Ringy ringy rosy ,” round and round they go, 
 The glad and happy children of thirty years ago.  
  Those cool and frosty mornings, oh, I remember well 
 The wattles by the wayside, the warnings of the bell, 
 The manna 'neath the gumtrees that showered overnight 
 From Nature's secret sources, to make a child's delight; 
 The yams for which we rooted, the quinces hard and tart 
 We swapped for tops and marbles, a fallen log our mart!  
  “ Ringy ringy rosy ”—across the years I hear 
 The voices from the schoolyard uprising strong and clear; 
 And all the proud achievement, the failure and the strife, 
 That make the sordid total of this our mortal life; 
 The pomp and human splendor, the Future and the Past, 
 When weighed within the balance seem little things at last.  
  To be a World's Immortal, to be a world's unknown, 
 Win monument of marble, or simple slab of stone— 
 How little matters either, when every foe and friend 
 Must come to lie together in quiet at the end! 
 When pays each generation, of high or humble birth, 
 Its tribute unto Caesar, its dust unto the Earth!  
  “ Ringy ringy rosy ”—beyond the lands and seas 
 We carry our delusions, we bear our memories. 
 The world is full of pleasure, the world is full of pain— 
 Alas, the golden morning that never comes again! 
 “ Ringy ringy rosy ,” round and round they go, 
 The blithe and merry children of thirty years ago.  
  “ Ringy ringy rosy ,” a requiem it seems, 
 In saddened notes recalling my boyhood hopes and dreams. 
 The silver song of Childhood! Who would not give to be 
 A child again, the harvest of all the land and sea? 
 “ Ringy ringy rosy! ” I hear the sweet refrain 
 Re-echoed in the morning across the years again.  
  “ Ringy ringy rosy ,” the fields are wet with dew, 
 And yonder by the slip-rails your sweetheart waits for you; 
 The briar by the wayside is turning to the sun, 
 The Wintertime is over, the Summertime's begun. 
 “ Ringy ringy rosy ,” round and round we'll sing, 
 Our simple songs of Childhood, the children of the Spring.  
   Same As You. 
  If your luck is out with women; if you've looked too long on wine, 
 Do not sit and nurse the anger of your anguish, brother mine, 
 For the sun will rise to-morrow, and the skies be just as blue, 
 And you'll find that other fellows have their troubles—same as you.  
  There's a gun for you to carry; there's an oar for you to pull; 
 There's a saddle and a stockwhip, and the earth is bountiful; 
 There's a corner for you somewhere; there's another girl to woo; 
 And you'll meet a mate out yonder, who has suffered, same as you.  
  Though your aching heart be empty, and your pockets much the same, 
 Though the dice of Fate ARE loaded, be a man and play the game! 
 There is something left to live for—to your own strong soul be true. 
 And we'll take your hand and grip it, who have battled, same as you.  
  You may never back the winner, you may never win the maid; 
 You may never find a nugget, make a fortune out of trade; 
 But you'll always find your manhood, if you keep the fact in view, 
 That some other chaps are trying to be honest—same as you.  
  When they come to add up figures, and to total you and me, 
 When the Game of Life is over, and all things as nothing be, 
 It may chance—who knoweth brother—that the old beliefs were true? 
 And His voice across the Shadow, shall re-echo through and through— 
 “Peace be with ye, Sons of Sorrow! I have suffered—same as you!”  
   The Flame Tree. 
  Drab-feathered birds of sorrow 
 Droop no dull wings of Care; 
 Nor doth a sere To-morrow, 
 Red droughts, malign, prepare 
 When Spring with Illawarra 
 Makes compact green and fair.  
  The sun, in harness splendid, 
 His chariot of gold 
 Through azure fields unended, 
 Drives forth; a hero bold, 
 As when o'er Hellas bended 
 Idyllic skies of old.  
  Its ringed, round, column Doric 
 The slender palm tree sways, 
 Though no wild wood-nymphs choric 
 A-down green shaded ways 
 Of tree-fern unhistoric, 
 Give Dionysius praise.  
  With shoreward sapphires laden, 
 And landward leaf and vine, 
 The vestal South arrayed in 
 Bejewelled raiment fine, 
 Burns forth a fire-eyed maiden 
 Of Roses, Love and Wine.  
  And, where her mountains yearning, 
 Turn eastward towards the seas— 
 Their coal-seams darkly urning 
 Dead forest mysteries— 
 Out-stands in vesture burning 
 This Cardinal of Trees.  
  Flame-capped, in scarlet glory; 
 With fiery plumes, upflung, 
 Like some Rose Knight of story 
 By courtly minstrels sung, 
 A proud Conquistadore 
 He shines his peers among.  
  Where sounds his clear reveille 
 The whip-bird in the morn; 
 Where cradled by the valley 
 Triumphant day is born, 
 And on the hillsides rally 
 The clouds of Night forlorn;  
  'Mid green-robed rivals, claiming 
 The rapt beholder's view, 
 In scarlet pride outflaming 
 Against the skyline blue, 
 Afar he stands, proclaiming 
 The royal Richelieu.  
  With parasitic clinging, 
 To him no servile vine— 
 Its trailing minions bringing— 
 Be-mirks his royal line, 
 In leafless pride upspringing, 
 A king by right divine.  
  But loyal ferns, unflowered, 
 That kiss his feet of state, 
 With benisons are dowered 
 From his o'er-rich estate, 
 In red abundance showered 
 From high pontificate.  
  Nor do they homage falter 
 Bird choristers a-wing, 
 But high a fluted psalter 
 O'er festooned transepts sing, 
 When red before her altar 
 He lights the Torch of Spring.  
  The glory of Australia, 
 This floral hierarch cries. 
 In sunlit rose regalia 
 Beneath her summer skies, 
 The Genius of Australia, 
 Full-bloomed, he typifies.  
  The haze along the hillsides, the sparkle on the Bay 
 Marconi forth the message of Spring's advance to-day. 
 Now all the fields are blazoned with epaulettes of gold; 
 Now all the trees their standards of Victory uphold. 
 In gallant cohorts riding, white gloves upon their hands, 
 The soldier seas are marshalled along Port Phillip's sands. 
 So dream we here together of all sweet things that be, 
 By drowsy Mordialloc, a-facing to the sea.  
  To-day no red-robed Angel of Discontent shall mar 
 Our peace with drums of discord or clash of social war; 
 To-day this land Aegean of roses, love and wine, 
 In all its lotus splendor is wholly yours and mine, 
 While Commerce, coarsely strident, plays out her vulgar part, 
 Romance shall be our handmaid, with Poesy and Art. 
 We left the mart behind us, in Flinders-street, that we 
 Might find at Mordialloc a temple by the sea.  
  Your hair hath meshed the sunbeams; your voice is low and sweet 
 (French heels enhance, 'tis certain, the play of pretty feet). 
 This Southern land that gave you your roses and your pearl 
 Is maiden yet to conquest; like you—a careless girl. 
 These meadows all around us, to me they but enfold 
  Your  daintiness—a ruby, set in Australian gold: 
 The spirit of my own land, vivacious, young and free, 
 To-day at Mordialloc, expression finds in thee.  
  So falls your voice in rhythm; so beats my heart in tune; 
 While by a velvet stairway creeps down the Afternoon, 
 Till lo! at Evening's doorway she standeth soft and shy 
 To wave in sunset blushes duenna Day good-bye.… 
 Now creeps the slow sail shoreward across the darkening Bay; 
 Now close in silent thousands, the blossoms of the Day; 
 The haze hath left the foreland, the light hath left the sea; 
 White stars, by Mordialloc, burn over you and me.  
  But when the wheels of Action once more around me whirl, 
 I'll think of Mordialloc, a sunset and a girl; 
 And where upon his service—the red-robed Angel—I 
 Go forth his will proclaiming, all days, until I die, 
 Though Duties stern command me, though proud ambitions call 
 The waves by Mordialloc shall sing beyond them all! 
 And, golden as thy tresses, with inward sight I'll see 
 The sun on Mordialloc go down—in memory.  
  Let lean Ambition seek its goal; fat Wealth its hoard increase, 
 Sour Vanity achieve its gauds, and social triumphs please 
 Dyspeptic dames and feline fops;—beneath the aching sky 
 The living hosts, all graveward bound, with groan and laugh go by.  
  I do not enter for the prize. The gold for which men stint, 
 Cheat, lie and perjure, rob and kill, fresh sovereigned from the Mint, 
 Is not more precious in itself, more perfect in the scale 
 Supreme of earthly loveliness than any simple, frail,  
  Sweet, yellow buttercup that lifts for any ploughman's eye, 
 Its burnished coin of floral gold from Earth's unerring die. 
 Nor doth the stamped, white silver seem a fairer thing to me 
 Than scales upon the salmon's side or moonlight on the sea.  
  Write not my name upon the lists! Will any glory save— 
 Though I grow great as Buonaparte—my body from the grave? 
 For where is Artaxerxes now? He shareth with the hound 
 That licked his royal feet in fear, a common couch of ground.  
  The flesh of fossil beasts and birds; the mouse and mastodon, 
 The flesh that quivered under-claw in primal forests gone; 
 The hearts that gloried with the gods, or cowered 'mid the swine, 
 A heritage of sure decay at birth received—like mine.  
  Let others to the Strident Way! The proud inventor feeds 
 With each discordant, new machine but new-created needs; 
 Each fresh philosophy in turn the last entire disproves, 
 And further from the searcher's grasp Life's hidden truth removes.  
  All such is waste and emptiness. My son, but small per cent. 
 Of what men strive and sicken for repays the effort spent. 
 This spiral whorl that man calls “Life,” this hurry that we boast 
 As “Modern Progress” in our pride, is tinsel at the most.  
  I will not caper in the dance; too well the tune I know; 
 'Twas old when Nineveh was young; amid pre-glacial snow 
 They played it on the boulevards; millennia ago 
 When Paris yet a village was of hungry Eskimo.  
  I will not stumble in the race, with ever-failing feet, 
 When conquest ends in slavery, and triumph spells defeat. 
 My house is on the hilltops reared; the paths that glamor me 
 Lie out across the level land and by the level sea.  
  As Esau have I sold my place; but yet, a millionaire, 
 I draw entail my heritage of life and love and air; 
 Red health at riot in the veins, the flesh-pot on the fire, 
 Full larder and a covering—what more shall man desire?  
  Green Nature's coffers, spilling wealth, red draperies of Morn 
 That richen o'er the east when Day, another prince, is born; 
 The noontide shadows falling cool through forests darkly fair, 
 The star tiaras that the Night sets in her raven hair,  
  These dower rich my pleasured eyes; and in my ears the strong, 
 Majestic music of the winds that dog white flocks along 
 Blue parks celestial, till the rain, their shepherd grey and old, 
 In spreading mantle comes again, to gather them in fold;  
  The arias of running streams, the thunder's Marseillaise, 
 The aves and the glorias a vagrant night breeze plays 
 On choric harps of forest oak; wild marches of the seas, 
 And insects droll and singing birds—these make my melodies.  
  The Garden of my Choice distils rare scents from flowers unseen, 
 Though never meddling gard'ner delved among its arbors green; 
 And, save by fickle winds, unswept, its shaded walks and ways 
 Still bloom in constant fruitfulness, unsown thro' winter days.  
  The Temple of my Worship knows nor heresies nor creeds, 
 No pontiff walks its lofty aisles; no kneeling prelate reads 
 His liturgies of human wants; but all its shrines untrod 
 Are loud with adoration, and the Nearer Voice of God.  
  So would I that my days shall pass: and if this hand record, 
 From all the Beauties of the World, but one eternal word: 
 I know my days will not be vain; nor shall I weigh the cost 
 Of earthly riches unattained or human glories lost.  
   Dreamers too. 
  We have lived long years for a white-robed dream— 
 The dream of Australia fair, 
 With the vine and corn by her hill and stream, 
 And the sunshine in her hair; 
 And the plain and strand of our native land, 
 They were ever calling there.  
  We have toiled and won from the forest's maze 
 The boon of a white man's home; 
 We have reared our sons to their manhood days, 
 And seen them settle, or roam. 
 And the young brood, too, as they spread and grew, 
 Has dreamed 'neath the sapphire dome.  
  Shall we cease to dream? Not so, my son, 
 Blue-eyed and Australian-born, 
 We will dream our dream till the signal gun 
 Proclaimeth the battle morn, 
 Till the war cry thrills through the woods and hills, 
 And the women wait forlorn.  
  We will dream our dream; but a waking dream 
 Of the White Man, strong and free, 
 Full armed to meet with a strength supreme, 
 The foes of his liberty, 
 If the loud shells sing and the rifles ring 
 In the storm of the days to be.  
   Daughter Of The North. 
  'Tis pleasant where the Harbor meets 
 These Southern waters blue; 
 There's joy of life in Melbourne streets, 
 From Carlton unto Kew.  
  Fair Adelaide, beneath her hills, 
 In gracious splendor gleams; 
 And Perth with younger vigor fills 
 The morning of her dreams.  
  True hearts Australian unto each 
 Beat loyally and fond; 
 Their rival claims as cities reach 
 Out, over, and beyond.  
  But, Daughter of the North, whose eyes 
 Of trustful, tender brown, 
 Are aching for the cloudless skies 
 Above your native town,  
  Full well I know that, far away, 
 In day-dreams once again, 
 You see the tall maize nod and sway, 
 And hear the rustling cane.  
  The “silky oaks” are crowned with gold; 
 All purple lies the pave, 
 In Northern springtime where the bold, 
 Bare jacarandas wave;  
  And o'er the river flats the bees, 
 From out the lucerne flow'rs 
 Are freighting on winged argosies 
 Sweet plunder thro' the hours.  
  The dairy herds above their knees 
 In long, swamp grasses laze; 
 Or chew a clover cud at ease 
 Through warm September days.  
  From Copmanhurst to Yamba bar, 
 Through all the tilth between; 
 From Chatsworth out to Yugilbar 
 The Earth is garden green.  
  Beloved of the North, once more 
 That symphony I hear— 
 The sunlit rollers to the shore 
 Sang in the morning clear.  
  Your crow-black hair was wet with spray, 
 As fresh from far Japan 
 A young Nor'-Easter called the Day 
 On all the pipes of Pan.  
  Impassioned, by a summer sea 
 That wooed a tropic strand, 
 We drained our cup of ecstasy— 
 Your hand within my hand.  
  Yes, pleasant is this Harbor fair— 
 But oh, dear heart of mine 
 What glory where the jungles wear 
 Their virgin robes of vine!  
  What glamor o'er each islet green, 
 The river, rich with farms, 
 Is holding, like a conquered queen, 
 Within her lover's arms.  
  What hyacinthine hours we shared 
 Beside the Clarence clear, 
 Whose water-lilies only heard 
 The olden story, dear.  
  Some night mayhap, when Fortune's boon 
 Has lent a golden ray, 
 We'll meet in jest beneath the moon 
 And walk the lovers' way.  
  The wind will whisper in the maize; 
 And at our trysting tree, 
 To bring us back remembered days, 
 You'll wait again for me.  
  Long, anxious years have sped between, 
 Since first our trysts began; 
 But you are still my Northern Queen, 
 And I your Southern man.  
  Nor toil, nor care, nor age can dim 
 The sunlight of the Past, 
 When he with her, and she with him, 
 Keeps covenant at last.  
  Aye, all the fruits first passion bore 
 Shall from that Past come forth, 
 And we will lovers be, once more 
 Enraptured in the North.  
   The Dead Tree. 
  It knew a life of leaf and bough 
 That sapless stands, laid naked now 
 To Time's cold scorning. 
 Once, in its deep, ambrosial shade, 
 The Wind, a wizard Harper, played 
 By night and morning.  
  Once, from its branches, skyward flung, 
 In green and gold the parrots hung 
 A spoil de-flowering 
 From snow-white blossoms honey-sweet; 
 While overnight, about its feet, 
 Fell manna showering.  
  Red sap—that at the touch unseen 
 Of Spring slow-dripped—bestained the green 
 Grass growing under, 
 As if by some sharp inward thorn 
 Its forest heart were pierced and torn 
 In grief asunder.  
  Then, too, the young spring leaves became, 
 Like woodland virgins, red with shame 
 Of Love's undoing, 
 And blushed in high retreat to see, 
 With dance of drunken ecstacy, 
 A world gone wooing.  
  When Winter walked with prim July, 
 As wolf winds harried o'er the sky 
 Cloud fleeces airy, 
 Its boughs, like penitents ashamed 
 Of Summer's wantoning, proclaimed 
 Loud miserere.  
  When moonlit saplings threw their length 
 Of shadow 'neath its buttressed strength, 
 And bush-land, gleaming 
 In midnight splendor, mocked the day 
 With silver replica, 'twould sway, 
 A tired knight, dreaming,  
  In frosted mail, until the East 
 At last the Maid of Dawn released 
 From night's dominion; 
 And home the night birds 'plaining drew 
 And forth the song birds gaily flew— 
 On burnished pinion.  
  Though o'er the teeming lands and seas 
 The sky with its infinities 
 Still bluely aches; 
 Though yet in golden casque and helm 
 The Sovran sun a daily realm 
 Of azure marches;  
  Though round his fiery throne be whirled 
 This wondrous atom of a world 
 Through years unending; 
 No more a wizard wind shall play 
 Aeolian songs by night or day 
 On green boughs bending.  
  Now from its fertile height the meed 
 Of honeyed flower and wrinkled seed 
 Fall earthward never. 
 This edifice that some Great Hand 
 For its brief tenant, nobly planned, 
 Lies prone for ever.  
   So reads the law! Birds, bards, and bees , 
  Fair ladies, lions, toads and trees  
  In turn must perish …… 
  Of all the living host that pains  
  To live, not  ONE  the life retains  
  That all lives cherish!   
  When Youth, a callow Knight untried, 
 With golden spurs to win, 
 Rode bright in armor at his side, 
 And, all his Soul within, 
 Love sang him on a harp apart 
 A song of young desire— 
 He, careless, threw another heart 
 On Life's red altar fire.  
  On Keira rose the sun that day, 
 By Illawarra green; 
 On grand old Keira, far away 
 Beyond the Might-Have-Been. 
 The sun on Keira, like an earl, 
 Still flaunts his banners brave; 
 But at his feet the dews impearl 
 The grass above a grave.  
  Oh, whiter than the surf was she 
 That breaks those coasts along; 
 And redder than the coral tree 
 That grows by Gerringong; 
 And graceful as the springing palm 
 On Illawarra hills; 
 And sweeter than the meadow balm 
 By cool Shoalhaven rills.  
  A maiden of old fairyland, 
 With dove eyes, shy and brown; 
 A youth with Happiness in hand, 
 Who flung the rare gift down! 
 For he was tall and true and strong, 
 In her adoring eyes; 
 Nor could he harbor thought of wrong, 
 Be perjured or unwise.  
  To her he came, Love's Avatar, 
 Resistless, from the West; 
 Upon his forehead shone the star 
 Of Morning for his crest. 
 World-old her dream, as songs aver 
 By primal poets sung; 
 But new and ever sweet to her 
 Who trusted and who clung.  
  He scorned the guerdon he had won, 
 And went his youthful ways; 
 So fame bewitched him, and anon 
 He drank the cup of Praise. 
 Then Gold and Women snared his thought, 
 And drew him to his fall; 
 He strove, he conquered, won and sought 
 And lived—to curse it all.  
  Grey hairs lie on him, and his brow 
 Is ploughed by Time. The goad 
 Is ever; but he would that now 
 He took the  other  road; 
 For, often as his mem'ry brings 
 Its echoes from Beyond, 
 One voice through all the distance rings, 
 Despairing, lost and fond.  
  He hears it in the crowded towns; 
 He hears it on the seas; 
 He hears it where the star-dome crowns 
 The bush infinities. 
 “ Come back to grand old Keira;  
  I wait, dear heart, for thee;  
  Come back again to Keira , 
  And Love, and Youth, and Me .”  
  The sun on Keira, sinking yet, 
 Doth furl his banners brave; 
 And at his feet the night-dews wet 
 The grass above her grave. 
 Its wreath of joy, its cross of pain 
 Each generation bears; 
 But Time shall surely reap the grain 
 And sift it from the tares.  
  And  this  is true; all else is vain 
 And idle at the last:— 
 No foot shall ever find again 
 The cross roads of the Past. 
 Unto the Dark and Narrow Place 
 Each man must bring his load; 
 And woe to him who turned his face 
 From his appointed road!  
   The Quest Of No Avail. 
  It was starlight on Euphrates, o'er a thousand years ago, 
 And a Dreamer by the River watched its silken, silver flow. 
 “Give,” he cried, “my Idol to me, from thy voiceless Night, O Death: 
 I would hold again her sweetness; breathe the perfume of her breath!” 
  Naught the Solemn River answered, and the Silent Stars shone on .  
  Now 'tis starlight on a River in the new Australian night, 
 And the countless flow'rs of Heaven bloom in endless fields of light. 
 “Give me back,” a Dreamer crieth to the silken silver stream— 
 “Give me back my shattered Idol; give me back my vanished Dream!” 
  Naught the Solemn River answers, and the Silent Stars shine on .  
   White Rose. 
  Once in a garden wondrous fair— 
 Do  you  remember yet?— 
 We drank the sweet, seductive air 
 Of musk and mignonette.  
  For you and me the flowers and 
 The leaves their glories shed, 
 And all the world was Wonderland 
 Wherever we might tread.  
  The drooping lilacs and the stocks, 
 The pansies, tender-eyed, 
 The foolish, flaunting hollyhocks, 
 The maiden daisies pied,  
  The peony with painted face, 
 The star-like cornflower blue, 
 And blooms of tender tropic grace, 
 Their soft reflections threw.  
  The brave hibiscus burned and bled, 
 The gladioli flared— 
 Like lamps of love, to guide, you said, 
 Our footsteps as we fared.  
  Have you forgotten how we stood 
 Beneath an aspen tree, 
 To see the sun beyond the wood 
 Go down in royalty?  
  One tall white rose beside us paid 
 Her homage to the sun; 
 Till on her virgin mouth he laid 
 Red tribute meekly won.  
  Then your dear mouth I claimed in fee— 
 White Rose, can  you  forget— 
 Thou Flower of All-the-World to me 
 Who art forever yet—  
  That fragrance falling in the dusk, 
 Those trembling aspen leaves, 
 The subtle languor, born of musk 
 And scented-lily sheaves?  
  The stars above us deeply grew 
 In numbers, one by one, 
 Your hair was jewelled with the dew … 
 And all the world went on!  
  Ah not again, again, again, 
 That Garden of Delight 
 Shall hear the footsteps of us twain 
 Fall gently in the night.  
  The desert of our stony fate 
 No fair love-fragrance knows; 
 We turned us from our Eden's gate… 
 God keep us both—White Rose.  
  High Northern suns their brazen shields, 
 Like warriors, hang above the fields 
 Where Sultan Summer frankly yields 
 His plenteous boon; 
 Like nautch girls dance the naked days 
 Down avenues of cane and maize, 
 While on his pipes the North-Wind plays 
 A careless tune.  
  From ranges walled, through gates ajar 
 At Copmanhurst and Yugilbar, 
 Pours down the Clarence from afar 
 His noble tide; 
 And, spreading forth in creek and arm, 
 Enrichens with his waters warm 
 A fertile land of field and farm 
 In deltas wide.  
  But, when this vassal task is done, 
 With all his winding courses run, 
 He seeks reward for service won; 
 And to his queen, 
 The shining Sea, whose silver shores 
 Are musical with rhythmic oars, 
 At last his singing soul outpours 
 By Yamba green!  
  The depths of noon are rarely stirred 
 By restless foot or roving bird; 
 But in the topaz morn are heard— 
 Like lutes afar, 
 Of suitors calling from the green 
 Recess of gardens Florentine— 
 The reed birds in their nests unseen 
 By Yamba bar.  
  As tuneful heralds of a feast, 
 When Morning flaunts the conquered East, 
 With scarlet regiments released 
 From Night's duress, 
 Beyond the lawns, where fall in showers 
 Of snow the great magnolia flowers, 
 The magpies from their leafy towers 
 Their joys express.  
  By rolling marsh and rainbowed stream 
 The opal-tinted dewdrops gleam 
 And cluster in a rajah's dream; 
 First spoils of Day 
 From hyacinth and lily swept, 
 They pearl the couches where they slept, 
 As purple princes who bewept 
 The Night's delay.  
  Oh, Land of drowsy days sublime 
 Where dwelled my Heart, in rest and rhyme, 
 Through all a golden summertime! 
 In dreams again 
 I see thy sunlit splendors blaze; 
 And, walking in a moonlit maze, 
 I hear the night wind where it plays 
 Among the cane.  
  I see, untrammelled of the town, 
 Young Chloris in her skirt of brown, 
 Uplifted coyly, urging down 
 The spotted kine. 
 White petticoats, like homing sails, 
 Come flutt'ring o'er the stockyard rails, 
 And, by the polished milking pails, 
 Bring up aline.  
  Where netted jungles green the blue 
 Distractions of the hillward view, 
 The crested pigeons call and coo 
 With ruffled throats; 
 And Chloris, is it right or wrong 
 That all the burden of their song 
 Is “I—love—you” the whole day long 
 In pleading notes?  
  His floral torch in upward blaze 
 To light the darkened jungle ways, 
 In Spring the Northern flame-tree lays; 
 And Chloris, fain 
 I'd play, as in sweet hours agone, 
 That quiet woodland stage upon 
 A warm, impassioned, Corydon 
 To you again.  
  Alas, the dramas that have been! 
 The ravished musk and myrtle green 
 That crowned a comely country queen 
 Are dead and sere: 
 But Mem'ry, folded like a rose 
 Long pressed between book pages, throws 
 A fragrance from the Past that shows 
 Our hearts how dear  
  Were those enraptured hours agone, 
 When through the woodlands, on and on, 
 Sweet Chloris strayed with Corydon 
 Love's pathway far; 
 When by the pen of seeming chance, 
 Was written in the Book “Romance,” 
 A line that flashes like a lance 
 By Yamba bar.  
  A gallant, fed with swift desire, 
 Uplifted then his crest of fire 
 And smote upon a burning lyre 
 The Northern sun; 
 A lady in her laces white 
 To be the bridesmaid of delight 
 Came forth the ivory-bosomed Night, 
 Besought and won.  
  By silver sea and golden sand 
 We twain have wandered hand in hand, 
 When all the world was lovers' land, 
 My Chloris dear; 
 Nor shall the years our mem'ries cheat 
 Of love that triumphs in defeat, 
 Though long the musk and myrtle sweet 
 Be dead and sere.  
   South Of Gabo. 
  The young gales hatch below the Snares; 
 As fledglings wild, uncouth, 
 A fierce Antarctic dam prepares 
 Their flight of fear and ruth.  
  From icy nests on crags forlorn, 
 And bergs and glaciers bold, 
 They flutter forth, for aye to mourn 
 Their birthplace lorn and cold.  
  Full-pinioned, at the Tasman Sea, 
 They leave along the crests, 
 In shrieking, loud, witch revelry, 
 White feathers from their breasts.  
  They scream around the lonely isles 
 Like sad-voiced restless things 
 That sweep perforce the darkened miles 
 With strong, far-spreading wings.  
  From Wilson's up to cloud-capped Howe 
 Their giant playground lies, 
 When on each spray-drenched harbor brow 
 The “Stand-off” signal flies.  
  Then South of Gabo watch and ware 
 The shipmen as they go; 
 For o'er the hummocks, whitely bare, 
 The cutting sand-drifts blow;  
  And cruel rock-knives, hidden, wait 
 With edges sharp as steel, 
 Along a coast of Evil Fate, 
 Each doomed shore-driven keel.  
  Here lie the dead ships one by one; 
 Out here the surges croon 
 The  Federal  to her rest-place gone, 
 The sunken  Ly-ee-moon .  
  Long kelp and seaweed, through the curl 
 Of combers all agleam, 
 The floating hair of some drowned girl 
 In waving tresses seem.  
  Here, graved beneath the golden sands 
 And iridescent shell, 
 Lost sailors out of distant lands, 
 Unsought, are sleeping well.  
  But South of Gabo, when those strong 
 And wayward winds are done, 
 'Tis all a deep, harmonious song 
 Of Sea and Land and Sun.  
  The little cutters spread their wings, 
 From Eden to Cape Schanck. 
 The coaster's rusty framework rings 
 The hymn of rod and crank.  
  The ketches, leaving in their wake 
 An odor of benzine, 
 With quick explosions noisy take 
 Their way across the green.  
  With wattle-bark and fish and maize, 
 From five to twenty tons, 
 The midget fleet goes down the bays, 
 And seaward, daring, runs.  
  With seasoned crews, of twos and threes, 
 To handle wheel and sheet, 
 Steal up and down the changing seas, 
 The fathers of our fleet.  
  Hard-fisted, lean Australians these 
 Who know the fickle bars, 
 The soundings and the mysteries 
 Of clouds and tides and stars.  
  When South of Gabo roars the brood 
 Of all the gales of Hell, 
 They—long before—for shelter stood 
 And anchored safe and well.  
  But here and there along the coast, 
 Sea-worn and salt with foam, 
 Old wreckage gives the brood to boast 
 Of ships that came not home.  
  Oh, South of Gabo—where the Heel 
 Of All Australia stands, 
 Their hearts are like the tested steel, 
 And iron are their hands.  
  And South of Gabo—where no ease 
 Of Capricorn they ken, 
 Is bred by rougher shores and seas, 
 A stronger race of men.  
  From South of Gabo yet may track 
 By sea-trail sternly forth, 
 The men who'll hurl Invasion back, 
 Defeated, from the North  
   The Beach. 
  Like Cleopatra's neck incurved, 
 Or Phryne's arms of snow, 
 From Bastion Rock to Gabo swerved 
 And bended as a bow; 
 It offers to the Austral sun 
 It's miles of silvern sand, 
 In virgin beauty, yet unwon 
 By any spoiler's hand.  
  At night I hear the ancient seas— 
 White-headed seers, along 
 These darkened shores their memories 
 Pour forth in epics long 
 Of years primeval. And in strange, 
 Soft, minor chords reply 
 Old pilgrim winds that reef and range, 
 Unrested, wander by.  
  Deep secrets theirs—of æons gone, 
 When suns and systems, worn 
 By endless forces, fiercely shone 
 In nascent strength newborn; 
 When gave the seventh Pleiad out, 
 Unshamed, her starry boon; 
 And glowed, o'er jungles north and south, 
 A tropic polar moon.  
  Time's burdens and the yoke of years 
 Have tamed their early might; 
 No more the cow'ring caveman hears 
 The storm gods in the night; 
 No more do chartless shallops hie 
 A furtive course from shore; 
 And in their quiet havens lie 
 The dead ships evermore.  
  But they who nursed the germ of life, 
 The new amœboid cell, 
 From which, or Science errs, the strife 
 Of all that follows fell. 
 What marvels have they locked within 
 Their ocean hearts? What dreams 
 Of empire and of effort in 
 Their world-encircling streams?  
  Betimes, a-dreaming, when my camp 
 Fire reds the foreland, I 
 Can dimly hear with Titan tramp 
 The Ages marching by; 
 And, scroll by scroll, the Eras, rolled 
 On mighty parchments, pearled 
 With priceless truths, to me unfold 
 The Story of the World.  
  Then deep-sea voices faint recall, 
 And deep-sea echoes bring 
 The roar of monsters and the fall 
 Of preying foot and wing; 
 These pass and perish at a breath, 
 Their weaker types remain— 
 Slow evolution armed with death 
 From bulk, reduces brain!  
  I hear wild winds primeval fan 
 Volcanic mountains steep, 
 Where, in the quiet future, Man 
 His fertile tilth will reap. 
 I see an Everlasting Force 
 Re-mould, destroy, re-shape; 
 Give firmer foothold to the horse 
 And forehead to the ape.  
  Anon these songs of effort cease 
 And kinder themes outpour, 
 In turn, the diva-throated seas 
 Unto a listening shore. 
 Aye, then methinks, I hear retold 
 Old stories ever new, 
 Of Jason and the heroes bold 
 Red-hearted, proud, and true.  
  Old galleys dip their carven beaks 
 Into the azure brine, 
 That in their Delphic feasts fair Greeks 
 May pour the Samian wine. 
 In rose gondolas, silken-sailed 
 The royal Doges go, 
 And young Crusaders silver-mailed, 
 With bannerets of snow.  
  Rome's daring eagles, flaunting high 
 Their wings of blood, go on. 
 Fair burn across a sunset sky 
 Brave banners of St. John. 
 Columbus, peering through the dusk, 
 I see fare forth amain— 
 A glory harvest from the husk 
 Of Littleness to gain.  
  I glimpse John Cabot with his white 
 Hair rimed by northern spray; 
 And grandly through the awful night 
 I hear his courage say: 
 “As near to Heaven, friends, by sea— 
 Though Death wait either hand— 
 As near to Heaven now we be 
 As e'er we'll be on land.”  
  I hear Magellan dauntless cry, 
 “Not if we eat the hides 
 From off this vessels's yards shall I 
 Turn back, whate'er betides, 
 Till these new seas are conquered!” Drake, 
 A-roaring down the main, 
 With gallant ruffians in his wake 
 I see go out again.  
  Aye, out again and home again, 
 Along historic years, 
 For either glory, love, or gain, 
 Go forth these buccaneers; 
 The pirate brood, with laden chests, 
 Outspilling plundered toll; 
 The black sea eagles in their nests, 
 Blood-stained, but brave of soul.  
  The saucy sloop, the frigate gay, 
 The fighting forty-four; 
 The oaken hulls of Nelson's day, 
 The ships of trade and war — 
 Night long the roving waters bring 
 Their ghostly memories; 
 Night long the ancient surges sing 
 High human histories.  
  But when the east, attendant, waits 
 Her mansions to adorn, 
 And with skilled magic decorates 
 The bridal couch of Morn; 
 With royal purple drapes each plinth 
 Of frowning rock, and fills 
 With topaz and with hyacinth 
 The hollows of the hills.  
  When low the inlet and its isles, 
 In Asiatic guise, 
 Salaam with soft and pliant smiles 
 The Sultan of the Skies; 
 As from the lakes a silver veil 
 Of mist is deftly drawn, 
 An Amazon in golden mail 
 The Beach salutes the Dawn.  
  White lace of foam around her knees, 
 She flutters like a girl; 
 And threads her blue embroideries 
 With seaweed and with pearl. 
 The spotted cowrie and the fair, 
 Frail nautilus are hers, 
 Rose spirals and the shining, rare 
 Sea shells and mariners.  
  The jewel caskets of the deeps 
 Lie ready to her hand, 
 In ev'ry tropic wave that leaps 
 Foam-freighted to the sand. 
 And, now, in cadence, measured, slow, 
 From minstrels submarine 
 Sweet rhymes and rondels gaily flow 
 Across this sunlit scene.  
  Of Life and  Now  these minstrels chant— 
 A pagan song of old, 
 The song dark lovers of Levant 
 Outsang in hours of gold.… 
 A radiance now, a rare delight, 
 A dream of love and wine, 
 She lieth in the morning light 
 This Austral beach of mine.  
   Maid Of Gerringong. 
  She was riper than a cherry on the far New England slopes; 
 She was brighter than the vision of a poet's virgin hopes, 
 And the days were all a picture, and the nights were all a song, 
 While I tarried and I married with the maid of Gerringong.  
  And the sun came up to greet us from the waters blue and wide, 
 And the Western hills were crimson with his glory when he died; 
 And the moon she queened above us 'mid her white, adoring throng, 
 While I drank my cup of pleasure with the maid of Gerringong.  
  Yea, the moon she lent her silver and the sun he lent his gold, 
 In the years before our sorrows and our sins had made us old— 
 But I'll drain another beaker, and I'll sing another song 
 To the love and youth that left me—like my maid of Gerringong.  
  Oh, my days of earth are numbered, as the days of men must be, 
 For our life is like the shadow of a sail upon the sea; 
 And 'tis idle now to wonder if that love was right or wrong, 
 But it haunts and haunts me ever, oh, my maid of Gerringong.  
   The Bushland Call. 
  To-night, dear heart, I hear the Call, 
 The Call that never leaves me. 
 The old Bush lullabies and all 
 The song that glads, yet grieves me.  
  In bitter joy, in pleasant woe, 
 The wanderlust doth find me. 
 To stay I dare not, still to go— 
 With all thy charms to bind me!  
  Last night, beneath the silent stars, 
  Your  voice compelled, enthralled me; 
 To-night a Voice across the bars 
 From seaward places called me.  
  Low in my ears the Deep Seas croon: 
 “Away! ere Fate defy thee! 
 The Waters silver with the moon 
 Shall golden tresses tie thee?  
  “Shall witching lips and throat of white 
 For evermore proclaim you 
 A recreant to old delight, 
 Of open ways that claim you?”  
  Dear Love of mine, your breath is sweet 
 As wild red briar roses— 
 But, oh! the sward beneath the feet, 
 When Night in Bushland closes!  
  Dear Heart of mine, if it should be 
 That your fond charms prove stronger, 
 What will the Voices say to me 
 As Summer days grow longer?  
  Were it not best while Love is young 
 To break the chain enthralling? 
 For, oh! the Song the Waters sung! 
 And, oh! my Bushland calling!  
   On Sand. 
  An ebb-tide, falling, bared the white, 
 Hard beach; where, in the sun, 
 I walked betimes, in mood to write 
 Of all my knowledge won, 
 From life and death,  one  song which might 
 At least be finely done.  
  The sun, resplendent, in its sky, 
 O'er-arching burned. Ablaze 
 With gold the hours went by, 
 As, witched within their silken maze— 
 By life's mid fountains dreaming—I 
 Drank deep that day of days.  
  This pageant of creation seemed 
 More vivid on the scroll 
 Of Being writ. Like watch fires gleamed 
 Great thoughts. With Amazonian roll, 
 Clear floods of higher vision streamed, 
 Deep-watered, through my soul.  
  Rare words on rhythm—like to spheres 
 Pearl-clustered at the springs 
 Of space—re-echoed in my ears; 
 Or homing birds that fold their wings 
 When each in downward passage nears 
 Its garden of glad things.  
  Rare thoughts befel, as moths that low 
 O'er star-lit petals poise; 
 Or fireflies in the night which glow 
 The message of their joys 
 In quiet groves beyond this show 
 Of empty strife and noise.  
  Thus, to and fro on buoyant feet 
 I paced to make a song 
 Triumphant, that for aye might beat 
 On eagle wings along; 
 The hearts of men, in couplets sweet 
 And resonant and strong.  
  The day—one day from all the tale 
 Of days that come and go— 
 Was ended. Now, amort, with pale, 
 Spent majesty aglow; 
 And blood upon his golden mail, 
 The kingly sun lay low.  
  I turned, and lo! along the laced 
 Sands, creeping slow, with spite 
 Of seeming purpose; all my traced 
 Proud steps of effort bright 
 The flood, incoming, had erased, 
 And left me—with the night.  
   The Doers. 
  They gathered on the strand, with a hatchet in the hand— 
 And the same was made of stone— 
 They pointed mammoth spears at the Puzzle of the Years 
 In the primal dusk alone.  
  They took the hollowed bole and they nosed it to the roll 
 In a neolithic dawn; 
 And sang a cave-man's song as they crept the shores along— 
 Going westward with the morn.  
  Each new-found land they trod did they dedicate to god— 
 Who was fashioned out of wood; 
 They looted and they lied, and they devilled and they died, 
 And the whole result was good:  
  For the traders of the clan followed slowly on the van 
 Of the Doers who had done; 
 Till the merchant service grew from a single bark canoe 
 To a fleet of forty-one!  
  They bartered bone and hide for the goods of t'otherside, 
 And they cheated in the trade 
 That the daughter of a thief might be wedded to a chief— 
 So the hairy gossips said  
  When the Punic days were done and Hellenic days begun, 
 They were beating down the wind, 
 With their doers in the lead, and the crafty merchant breed 
 Rowing closely on behind.  
  And they cut, with classic oaths, many feeble foreign throats 
 For the benefit of Trade; 
 Ere they bore the wine and corn from the gateways of the morn, 
 That their fortunes might be made.  
  Then the Roman had his day, for his Doer led the way 
 With unfailing sword in hand; 
 He was valiant, and he knew that his gods would see him through 
 For his Roman Fatherland.  
  The Genoese out went, when the Pinta's sails were bent, 
 On his great Immortal Quest, 
 And he pointed out the road for the trader and his load 
 To a newer world out west.  
  Old Magellan and his crew found another highway through; 
 They were doers in their day, 
 And their work on Earth was set, as the tasks appointed yet 
 Of the men who lead the way.  
  They have left a royal name which is called in song books, “fame;” 
 But their mighty hands are still, 
 They are resting near and far, where the quiet legions are 
 In the “havens by the hill.”  
  Till the coming of the years, when the aerial cannoneers 
 Sight their Krupps along the blue, 
 There will ever be a need for the grim and active breed 
 Of the Doers—who can do.  
  Let the trader to his stool! Let the teacher to the school! 
 Let the artist to his art! 
 It was ever then as now with the farmer at his plough, 
 And the merchant in the mart.  
  But, a grim, undaunted band they will strive by sea and land; 
 They will battle round and through: 
 And this rolling planet still shall be subject to the will 
 Of the Doers who can do.  
  And the further seas shall hold and the desert sands enfold 
 Their unconquered souls anew; 
 And the world shall know the sons and the galleys and the guns 
 Of the Doers who can do.  
  Comrade mine, beyond the Shadow, 
 Lies our Land of Eldorado, 
 Lies our Aidenn fair and free; 
 All the wide Australia's glory, 
 All her nature-song and story, 
 Shall belong to you and me.  
  Gypsy twain, across the Ranges 
 We shall see the silent changes 
 Of the sunshine and the shade; 
 We shall hear the songs, enthralling, 
 Of the bush-birds softly calling 
 From the leafy ever-glade.  
  With the roads, the roads, before us, 
 With our blue skies burning o'er us, 
 When the clover's wet with dew, 
 We will share unending pleasure 
 Of the Morning, and her treasure 
 Shall be free to me and you.  
  Oh, the plains, the plains, are ours, lad, 
 All their herbage bright with flow'rs, lad, 
 Waving in the sunlit West, 
 As our camp-fire's smoke, uplifted 
 In the gloaming cool, is drifted. 
 Over lazy lands of Rest.  
  And our troubled souls, and saddened, 
 Shall be upward borne and gladdened 
 By a music of the sea, 
 Where—on moonlit beaches gleaming 
 Under restless tides instreaming— 
 Gypsy twain we wander free.  
  Ours the Northern jungle's greenness, 
 Ours a cool Monaro's keenness, 
 Ours a rolling Riverine; 
 And the golden wheat-lands glowing, 
 And the hill creeks seaward flowing 
 From their Gippsland ranges green.  
  Gypsy twain, the World uncaring, 
 Ours the World shall be for sharing; 
 And the Bushland wide and free, 
 From Cape York unto the Leeuwin, 
 Shall be ours to dare and do in, 
 Shall belong to you and me.  
   The Western Road. 
  My camp was by the Western Road—so new and yet so old— 
 The track the bearded diggers trod in roaring days of old; 
 The road Macquarie and his wife, a hundred years ago, 
 With warlike guard and retinue, went down in regal show.  
  The moon had silvered all the Bush; now, like an arc light high, 
 She flickered in a scattered scud that dimmed the lower sky; 
 And, dreaming by my dying fire, whose embers fainter glowed, 
 I saw their shadows flitting by— the People of the Road.  
  I heard the clank of iron chains, and, as an evil blast 
 From some tormented nether world, the convict gangs went past 
 With sneering lips and leering eyes— gray ghosts of buried crime, 
 Who built a way for honest feet to tread in later time.  
  I heard the cruel click of steel; the trained and measured tread 
 Of soldiers of King George the Third, in coats of British red; 
 The moon upon their muskets gleamed, as, marching two by two, 
 They might have marched in better case the eve of Waterloo.  
  But, dreaming by my camp-fire still, uprose the merry horn; 
 A heavy stage came lumb'ring up from Penrith in the morn: 
 In beaver hats, the gentlemen their driver sat beside, 
 The ladies in hooped petticoats and quaint chignons inside.  
  Ta-ran-ta-ra! Blue Mountains hills reechoed as they sung 
 A lilt of love and long ago—when all the world was young. 
 Ta-ran-ta-ra! Their shades went by, the bravest and the best, 
 The first Australian pioneers—whose graves are in the West.  
  A night wind whispered in the gums; afar out went the cry 
 Of mourning curlews on the flats, as madly galloped by 
 A fugitive with pallid face and pistol butt to hand: 
 Came, hard behind with ringing hoofs, a close pursuing band.  
  Then—well-remembered in my dream—a picture came to me 
 Of bitter fruit that ripened once upon a roadside tree; 
 How trav'llers shunned the haunted spot and evermore forbode 
 To camp beside the hangman's tree along the Western Road…  
  White-tilted in the moonlight went rough waggons, one by one, 
 Piled high with household goods and stores of settlers dead and gone— 
 Blithe British yeomen and their wives, and sons of younger sons, 
 Who took tradition to the West, and axes, ploughs and guns.  
  These new-chum settlers tramped beside their dusty, creaking teams, 
 Their minds were filled with marvels new and olden hopes and dreams; 
 Their sons' tall sons still yeomen be, but mostly in the West 
 They ride their silken thoroughbreds, and ruffle with the best.  
  A motley crowd of eager folk, with tools and tents in fold, 
 Came on Adventure's early quest to Gulgong, grief, or gold; 
 They passed me in a jostling host, with anger or with mirth, 
 The fortune-seekers gathered from the ends of all the earth.  
  Yea, sailormen and tailormen, and prostitutes and peers, 
 Some honest and of good intent, some rogues and buc-caneers. 
 Their camp-fires lit the darkened range, where, by the creeks, they lay 
 And dreamed of nuggets in their sleep—impatient for the day.  
  Came down the road a swaying coach, with troopers 'hind and fore— 
 The mounted escort thundered on by Lapstone Hill once more, 
 Their rifles at the shoulder slung, their scabbards long and bright; 
 They swung around the mountain side and rumbled out of sight.  
  Came up the road a swaying coach: his ribbons holding free, 
 The perfect driver tilted back his cherished cabbage-tree. 
 His girl will meet him at the rails to-night in Hartley Vale— 
 So, clear the track, and let her pass, the mid-Victorian mail!  
  Long shadows fell across the road; the morepoke in the still 
 And solemn midnight voiced aloud his warnings on the hill. 
 Yet, tramping slow and riding fast along that winding track, 
 The People of the Road went West, and coached and footed back.  
  My camp-fire died in ashes gray, as through my dream there went 
 That strange procession of the Past, on pay or plunder bent; 
 The teamsters, drovers, swagsmen, “lags;” the lovers and the thieves— 
 Until the East was red with Dawn, the dew upon the leaves.  
  They vanished with the haunted Night; their hope and high desire, 
 As ashen as the grey, cold heap that erstwhile made my fire: 
 Across the tree tops in the morn the golden sunlight showed; 
 And clearly rose another day—along the Western Road.