Lurline (Inscribed To Madame Lucy Escott.)

As you glided and glided before us that time,
A mystical, magical maiden,
We fancied we looked on a face from the clime
Where the poets have builded their Aidenn!
And oh, the sweet shadows! And oh, the warm gleams
Which lay on the land of our beautiful dreams,
While we walked by the margins of musical streams
And heard your wild warbling around us!

We forgot what we were when we stood with the trees
Near the banks of those silvery waters;
As ever in fragments they came on the breeze,
The songs of old Rhine and his daughters!
And then you would pass with those radiant eyes
Which flashed like a light in the tropical skies —
And ah! the bright thoughts that would sparkle and rise
While we heard your wild warbling around us.

Will you ever fly back to this city of ours
With your harp and your voice and your beauty?
God knows we rejoice when we meet with such flowers
On the hard road of Life and of Duty!
Oh! come as you did, with that face and that tone,
For we wistfully look to the hours which have flown,
And long for a glimpse of the gladness that shone
When we heard your wild warbling around us.

Bellambi's Maid

Amongst the thunder-splintered caves
On Ocean's long and windy shore,
I catch the voice of dying waves
Below the ridges old and hoar;
The spray descends in silver showers,
And lovely whispers come and go,
Like echoes from the happy hours
I never more may hope to know!
The low mimosa droops with locks
Of yellow hair, in dewy glade,
While far above the caverned rocks
I hear the dark Bellambi's Maid!

The moonlight dreams upon the sail
That drives the restless ship to sea;
The clouds troop past the mountain vale,
And sink like spirits down the lee;
The foggy peak of Corrimal,
Uplifted, bears the pallid glow
That streams from yonder airy hall
And robes the sleeping hills below;
The wandering meteors of the sky
Beneath the distant waters wade,
While mystic music hurries by -
The songs of dark Bellambi's Maid!

Why comes your voice, you lonely One,
Along the wild harp's wailing strings?
Have not our hours of meeting gone,
Like fading dreams on phantom wings?
Are not the grasses round your grave
Yet springing green and fresh to view?
And does the gleam on Ocean's wave
Tide gladness now to me and you?
Oh! cold and cheerless falls the night
On withered hearts and hopes decayed:
And I have seen but little light
Since died the dark Bellambi's Maid!

The heart that once was rich with light,
And happy in your grace,
Now lieth cold beneath the scorn
That gathers on your face;
And every joy it knew before,
And every templed dream,
Is paler than the dying flash
On yonder mountain stream.
The soul, regretting foundered bliss
Amid the wreck of years,
Hath mourned it with intensity
Too deep for human tears!

The forest fadeth underneath
The blast that rushes by --
The dripping leaves are white with death,
But Love will never die!
We both have seen the starry moss
That clings where Ruin reigns,
And ~one~ must know ~his~ lonely breast
Affection still retains;
Through all the sweetest hopes of life,
That clustered round and round,
Are lying now, like withered things,
Forsaken -- on the ground.

'Tis hard to think of what we were,
And what we might have been,
Had not an evil spirit crept
Across the tranquil scene:
Had fervent feelings in your soul
Not failed nor ceased to shine
As pure as those existing on,
And burning still in mine.
Had every treasure at your feet
That I was wont to pour,
Been never thrown like worthless weeds
Upon a barren shore!

The bitter edge of grief has passed,
I would not now upbraid;
Or count to you the broken vows,
So often idly made!
I would not cross your path to chase
The falsehood from your brow --
I ~know~, with all that borrowed light,
You are not happy now:
Since those that once have trampled down
Affection's early claim,
Have lost a peace they need not hope
To find on earth again.

The Australian Emigrant

How dazzling the sunbeams awoke on the spray,
When Australia first rose in the distance away,
As welcome to us on the deck of the bark,
As the dove to the vision of those in the ark!
What fairylike fancies appear’d to the view
As nearer and nearer the haven we drew!
What castles were built and rebuilt in the brain,
To totter and crumble to nothing again!
We had roam’d o’er the ocean—had travers’d a path,
Where the tempest surrounded and shriek’d in its wrath:
Alike we had roll’d in the hurricane’s breath,
And slumber’d on waters as silent as death:
We had watch’d the Day breaking each morn on the main,
And had seen it sink down in the billows again;
For week after week, till dishearten’d we thought
An age would elapse ere we enter’d the port.

How often while ploughing the ‘watery waste’,
Our thoughts—from the Future have turn’d to the Past;
How often our bosoms have heav’d with regret;
For faces and scenes we could never forget:
For we’d seen as the shadows o’er-curtain’d our minds
The cliffs of old England receding behind;
And had turned in our tears from the view of the shore,
The land of our childhood, to see it no more.

But when that red morning awoke from its sleep,
To show us this land like a cloud on the deep;
And when the warm sunbeams imparted their glow,
To the heavens above and the ocean below;
The hearts had been aching then revell’d with joy,
And a pleasure was tasted exempt from alloy;
The souls had been heavy grew happy and light
And all was forgotten in present delight.

’Tis true—of the hopes that were verdant that day
There is more than the half of them withered away:
’Tis true that emotions of temper’d regret,
Still live for the country we’ll never forget;
But yet we are happy, since learning to love
The scenes that surround us—the skies are above,
We find ourselves bound, as it were by a spell,
In the clime we’ve adopted contented to dwell.

FIVE years ago! you cannot choose
But know the face of change,
Though July sleeps and Spring renews
The gloss in gorge and range.

Five years ago! I hardly know
How they have slipped away,
Since here we watched at ebb and flow
The waters of the Bay;

And saw, with eyes of little faith,
From cumbered summits fade
The rainbow and the rainbow wraith,
That shadow of a shade.

For Love and Youth were vext with doubt,
Like ships on driving seas,
And in those days the heart gave out
Unthankful similes.

But let it be! I’ve often said
His lot was hardly cast
Who never turned a happy head
To an unhappy Past—

Who never turned a face of light
To cares beyond recall:
He only fares in sorer plight
Who hath no Past at all!

So take my faith, and let it stand
Between us for a sign
That five bright years have known the land
Since yonder tumbled line

Of seacliff took our troubled talk—
The words at random thrown,
And Echo lived about this walk
Of gap and slimy stone.

Here first we learned the Love which leaves
No lack or loss behind,
The dark, sweet Love which woos the eves
And haunts the morning wind.

And roves with runnels in the dell,
And houses by the wave
What time the storm hath struck the fell
And Terror fills the cave—

A Love, you know, that lives and lies
For moments past control,
And mellows through the Poet’s eyes
And sweetens in his soul.

Here first we faced a briny breeze,
What time the middle gale
Went shrilling over whitened seas
With flying towers of sail.

And here we heard the plovers call
As shattered pauses came,
When Heaven showed a fiery wall
With sheets of wasted flame.

Here grebe and gull and heavy glede
Passed eastward far away,
The while the wind, with slackened speed,
Drooped with the dying Day.

And here our friendship, like a tree,
Perennial grew and grew,
Till you were glad to live for me,
And I to live for you.

On A Cattle Track

Where the strength of dry thunder splits hill-rocks asunder,
And the shouts of the desert-wind break,
By the gullies of deepness and ridges of steepness,
Lo, the cattle track twists like a snake!
Like a sea of dead embers, burnt white by Decembers,
A plain to the left of it lies;
And six fleeting horses dash down the creek courses
With the terror of thirst in their eyes.

The false strength of fever, that deadly deceiver,
Gives foot to each famishing beast;
And over lands rotten, by rain-winds forgotten,
The mirage gleams out in the east.
Ah! the waters are hidden from riders and ridden
In a stream where the cattle track dips;
And Death on their faces is scoring fierce traces,
And the drought is a fire on their lips.

It is far to the station, and gaunt Desolation
Is a spectre that glooms in the way;
Like a red smoke the air is, like a hell-light its glare is,
And as flame are the feet of the day.
The wastes are like metal that forges unsettle
When the heat of the furnace is white;
And the cool breeze that bloweth when an English sun goeth,
Is unknown to the wild desert night.

A cry of distress there! a horseman the less there!
The mock-waters shine like a moon!
It is 'Speed, and speed faster from this hole of disaster!
And hurrah for yon God-sent lagoon!'
Doth a devil deceive them? Ah, now let us leave them -
We are burdened in life with the sad;
Our portion is trouble, our joy is a bubble,
And the gladdest is never too glad.

From the pale tracts of peril, past mountain heads sterile,
To a sweet river shadowed with reeds,
Where Summer steps lightly, and Winter beams brightly,
The hoof-rutted cattle track leads.
There soft is the moonlight, and tender the noon-light;
There fiery things falter and fall;
And there may be seen, now, the gold and the green, now,
And the wings of a peace over all.

Hush, bittern and plover! Go, wind, to thy cover
Away by the snow-smitten Pole!
The rotten leaf falleth, the forest rain calleth;
And what is the end of the whole?
Some men are successful after seasons distressful
[Now, masters, the drift of my tale];
But the brink of salvation is a lair of damnation
For others who struggle, yet fail.

The Opossum-Hunters

Hear ye not the waters beating where the rapid rivers, meeting
With the winds above them fleeting, hurry to the distant seas,
And a smothered sound of singing from old Ocean upwards springing,
Sending hollow echoes ringing like a wailing on the breeze?
For the tempest round us brewing, cometh with the clouds pursuing,
And the bright Day, like a ruin, crumbles from the mournful trees.
When the thunder ceases pealing, and the stars up heaven are stealing,
And the Moon above us wheeling throws her pleasant glances round,
From our homes we boldly sally ‘neath the trysting tree to rally,
For a night-hunt up the valley, with our brothers and the hound!
Through a wild-eyed Forest, staring at the light above it glaring,
We will travel, little caring for the dangers where we bound.

Twisted boughs shall tremble o’er us, hollow woods shall moan before us,
And the torrents like a chorus down the gorges dark shall sing;
And the vines shall shake and shiver, and the startled grasses quiver,
Like the reeds beside a river in the gusty days of Spring;
While we forward haste delighted, through a region seldom lighted —
Souls impatient, hearts excited — like a wind upon the wing!

Oh! the solemn tones of Ocean, like the language of devotion,
Or a voice of deep emotion, wander round the evening scene.
Oh! the ragged shadows cluster where, my brothers, we must muster
Ere the warm moon lends her lustre to the cedars darkly green;
And the lights like flowers shall blossom, in high Heaven’s kindly bosom,
While we hunt the wild opossum, underneath its leafy screen;

Underneath the woven bowers, where the gloomy night-hawk cowers,
Through a lapse of dreamy hours, in a stirless solitude!
And the hound — that close beside us still will stay whate’er betide us —
Through a ‘wildering waste shall guide us —
through a maze where few intrude,
Till the game is chased to cover, till the stirring sport is over,
Till we bound, each happy rover, homeward down the laughing wood.

Oh, the joy in wandering thither, when fond friends are all together
And our souls are like the weather — cloudless, clear and fresh and free!
Let the sailor sing the story of the ancient ocean’s glory,
Forests golden, mountains hoary — can he look and love like we?
Sordid worldling, haunt thy city with that heart so hard and gritty!
There are those who turn with pity when they turn to think of thee!

Sitting By The Fire

Barren Age and withered World!
Oh! the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof -
Pattering on the pane!
Frosty Age and cold, cold World!
Ghosts of other days,
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze.
Now the wind goes soughing wild
O'er the whistling Earth;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth!
Sitting by the fire,
Watching in its glow,
Ghosts of other days
Trooping to and fro.

Oh, the nights - the nights we've spent,
Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow;
Twenty summers back -
Twenty years ago!
If the days were days of toil
Wherefore should we mourn;
There were shadows near the shine,
Flowers with the thorn?
And we still can recollect
Evenings spent in mirth -
Fragments of a broken life,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow,
Twenty summers back -
Twenty years ago.

Beauty stooped to bless us once,
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow;
Forty summers back -
Forty years ago.
Words of love were interchanged,
Maiden hearts we stole;
And the light affection throws
Slept on every soul.
Oh, the hours went flying past -
Hours of priceless worth;
But we took no note of Time,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow,
Forty summers back -
Forty years ago.

Gleesome children were we not?
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back -
Sixty years ago.
Laughing voices filled the room;
Oh, the songs we sung,
When the evenings hurried by -
When our hearts were young!
Pleasant faces watched the flame -
Eyes illumed with mirth -
And we told some merry tales,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back -
Sixty years ago.

Barren Age and withered World!
Oh, the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof -
Pattering on the pane!
Frosty Age and cold, cold World!
Ghosts of other days,
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze.
Now the wind goes soughing wild
O'er the whistling Earth;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth:
Sitting by the fire,
Watching, in its glow,
Ghosts of other days
Trooping to and fro!

Towards the hills of Jamberoo
Some few fantastic shadows haste,
Uplit with fires
Like castle spires
Outshining through a mirage waste.
Behold, a mournful glory sits
On feathered ferns and woven brakes,
Where sobbing wild like restless child
The gusty breeze of evening wakes!
Methinks I hear on every breath
A lofty tone go passing by,
That whispers -- "Weave,
Though wood winds grieve,
The fadeless blooms of Poesy!"

A spirit hand has been abroad --
An evil hand to pluck the flowers --
A world of wealth,
And blooming health
Has gone from fragrant seaside bowers.
The twilight waxeth dim and dark,
The sad waves mutter sounds of woe,
But the evergreen retains its sheen,
And happy hearts exist below;
But pleasure sparkles on the sward,
And voices utter words of bliss,
And while my bride
Sits by my side,
Oh, where's the scene surpassing this?

Kiama slumbers, robed with mist,
All glittering in the dewy light
That, brooding o'er
The shingly shore,
Lies resting in the arms of Night;
And foam-flecked crags with surges chill,
And rocks embraced of cold-lipped spray,
Are moaning loud where billows crowd
In angry numbers up the bay.
The holy stars come looking down
On windy heights and swarthy strand,
And Life and Love --
The cliffs above --
Are sitting fondly hand in hand.

I hear a music inwardly,
That floods my soul with thoughts of joy;
Within my heart
Emotions start
That Time may still but ne'er destroy.
An ancient Spring revives itself,
And days which made the past divine;
And rich warm gleams from golden dreams,
All glorious in their summer shine;
And songs of half forgotten hours,
And many a sweet melodious strain,
Which still shall rise
Beneath the skies
When all things else have died again.

A white sail glimmers out at sea --
A vessel walking in her sleep;
Some Power goes past
That bends the mast,
While frighted waves to leeward leap.
The moonshine veils the naked sand
And ripples upward with the tide,
As underground there rolls a sound
From where the caverned waters glide.
A face that bears affection's glow,
The soul that speaks from gentle eyes,
And joy which slips
From loving lips
Have made this spot my Paradise!

Let me talk of years evanished, let me harp upon the time
When we trod these sands together, in our boyhood's golden prime;
Let me lift again the curtain, while I gaze upon the past,
As the sailor glances homewards, watching from the topmost mast.
Here we rested on the grasses, in the glorious summer hours,
When the waters hurried seaward, fringed with ferns and forest flowers;
When our youthful eyes, rejoicing, saw the sunlight round the spray
In a rainbow-wreath of splendour, glittering underneath the day;
Sunlight flashing past the billows, falling cliffs and crags among,
Clothing hopeful friendship basking on the shores of Wollongong.

Echoes of departed voices, whispers from forgotten dreams,
Come across my spirit, like the murmurs of melodious streams.
Here we both have wandered nightly, when the moonshine cold and pale
Shimmer'd on the cone of Keira, sloping down the sleeping vale;
When the mournful waves came sobbing, sobbing on the furrowed shore,
Like to lone hearts weeping over loved ones they shall see no more;
While the silver ripples, stealing past the shells and slimy stones,
Broke beneath the caverns, dying, one by one, in muffled moans;
As the fragrant wood-winds roaming, with a fitful cadence sung
'Mid the ghostly branches belting round the shores of Wollongong.

Lovely faces flit before us, friendly forms around us stand;
Gleams of well-remembered gladness trip along the yellow sand.
Here the gold-green waters glistened underneath our dreaming gaze,
As the lights of Heaven slanted down the pallid ether haze;
Here the mossy rock-pool, like to one that stirs himself in sleep,
Trembled every moment at the roaring of the restless deep;
While the stately vessels swooping to the breezes fair and free,
Passed away like sheeted spectres, fading down the distant sea;
And our wakened fancies sparkled, and our soul-born thoughts we strung
Into joyous lyrics, singing with the waves of Wollongong.

Low-breathed strains of sweetest music float about my raptured ears;
Angel-eyes are glancing at me hopeful smiles and happy tears.
Merry feet go scaling up the old and thunder-shattered steeps,
And the billows clamber after, and the surge to ocean leaps,
Scattered into fruitless showers, falling where the breakers roll,
Baffled like the aspirations of a proud ambitious soul.
Far off sounds of silvery laughter through the hollow caverns ring,
While my heart leaps up to catch reviving pleasure on the wing;
And the years come trooping backward, and we both again are young,
Walking side by side upon the lovely shores of Wollongong.

Fleeting dreams and idle fancies! Lo, the gloomy after Age
Creepeth, like an angry shadow, over life's eventful stage!
Joy is but a mocking phantom, throwing out its glitter brief -
Short-lived as the western sunbeam dying from the cedar leaf.
Here we linger, lonely-hearted, musing over visions fled,
While the sickly twilight withers from the arches overhead.
Semblance of a bliss delusive are those dull, receding rays;
Semblance of the faint reflection left to us of other days;
Days of vernal hope and gladness, hours when the blossoms sprung
Round the feet of blithesome ramblers by the shores of Wollongong.

The Voice In The Wild Oak

Twelve years ago, when I could face
High heaven’s dome with different eyes—
In days full-flowered with hours of grace,
And nights not sad with sighs—
I wrote a song in which I strove
To shadow forth thy strain of woe,
Dark widowed sister of the grove!—
Twelve wasted years ago.
But youth was then too young to find
Those high authentic syllables,
Whose voice is like the wintering wind
By sunless mountain fells;
Nor had I sinned and suffered then
To that superlative degree
That I would rather seek, than men,
Wild fellowship with thee!

But he who hears this autumn day
Thy more than deep autumnal rhyme,
Is one whose hair was shot with grey
By Grief instead of Time.
He has no need, like many a bard,
To sing imaginary pain,
Because he bears, and finds it hard,
The punishment of Cain.

No more he sees the affluence
Which makes the heart of Nature glad;
For he has lost the fine, first sense
Of Beauty that he had.
The old delight God’s happy breeze
Was wont to give, to Grief has grown;
And therefore, Niobe of trees,
His song is like thine own!

But I, who am that perished soul,
Have wasted so these powers of mine,
That I can never write that whole,
Pure, perfect speech of thine.
Some lord of words august, supreme,
The grave, grand melody demands;
The dark translation of thy theme
I leave to other hands.

Yet here, where plovers nightly call
Across dim, melancholy leas—
Where comes by whistling fen and fall
The moan of far-off seas—
A grey, old Fancy often sits
And fills thy strong, strange rhyme by fits
With awful utterings.

Then times there are when all the words
Are like the sentences of one
Shut in by Fate from wind and birds
And light of stars and sun,
No dazzling dryad, but a dark
Dream-haunted spirit doomed to be
Imprisoned, crampt in bands of bark,
For all eternity.

Yea, like the speech of one aghast
At Immortality in chains,
What time the lordly storm rides past
With flames and arrowy rains:
Some wan Tithonus of the wood,
White with immeasurable years—
An awful ghost in solitude
With moaning moors and meres.

And when high thunder smites the hill
And hunts the wild dog to his den,
Thy cries, like maledictions, shrill
And shriek from glen to glen,
As if a frightful memory whipped
Thy soul for some infernal crime
That left it blasted, blind, and stript—
A dread to Death and Time!

But when the fair-haired August dies,
And flowers wax strong and beautiful,
Thy songs are stately harmonies
By wood-lights green and cool—
Most like the voice of one who shows
Through sufferings fierce, in fine relief,
A noble patience and repose—
A dignity in grief.

But, ah! conceptions fade away,
And still the life that lives in thee—
The soul of thy majestic lay—
Remains a mystery!
And he must speak the speech divine—
The language of the high-throned lords—
Who’d give that grand old theme of thine
Its sense in faultless words.

By hollow lands and sea-tracts harsh,
With ruin of the fourfold gale,
Where sighs the sedge and sobs the marsh,
Still wail thy lonely wail;
And, year by year, one step will break
The sleep of far hill-folded streams,
And seek, if only for thy sake
Thy home of many dreams.

SINGER of songs of the hills—
Dreamer, by waters unstirred,
Back in a valley of rills,
Home of the leaf and the bird!—
Read in this fall of the year
Just the compassionate phrase,
Faded with traces of tear,
Written in far-away days:
“Gone is the light of my lap
(Lord, at Thy bidding I bow),
Here is my little one’s cap,
He has no need of it now,
Give it to somebody’s boy—
Somebody’s darling”—she wrote.
Touching was Bob in his joy—
Bob without boots or a coat.

Only a cap; but it gave
Capless and comfortless one
Happiness, bright as the brave,
Beautiful light of the sun.
Soft may the sanctified sod
Rest on the father who led
Bob from the gutter, unshod—
Covered his cold little head!

Bob from the foot to the crown
Measured a yard, and no more—
Baby alone in the town,
Homeless, and hungry, and sore—
Child that was never a child,
Hiding away from the rain,
Draggled and dirty and wild,
Down in a pipe of the drain.

Poor little beggar was Bob—
Couldn’t afford to be sick,
Getting a penny a job,
Sometimes a curse and a kick.
Father was killed by the drink;
Mother was driven to shame;
Bob couldn’t manage to think—
He had forgotten their name.

God was in heaven above,
Flowers illumined the ground,
Women of infinite love
Lived in the palaces round—
Saints with the character sweet
Found in the fathers of old,
Laboured in alley and street—
Baby slept out in the cold.

Nobody noticed the child—
Nobody knew of the mite
Creeping about like a wild
Thing in the shadow of night.
Beaten by drunkards and cowed—
Frightened to speak or to sob—
How could he ask you aloud,
“Have you a penny for Bob?”

Few were the pennies he got—
Seldom could hide them away,
Watched by the ravenous sot
Ever at wait for his prey.
Poor little man! He would weep
Oft for a morsel of bread;
Coppers he wanted to keep
Went to the tavern instead.

This was his history, friend—
Ragged, unhoused, and alone;
How could the child comprehend
Love that he never had known?
Hunted about in the world,
Crouching in crevices dim,
Crust with a curse at him hurled
Stood for a kindness with him.

Little excited his joy—
Bun after doing a job;
Mother of bright-headed boy,
Think of the motherless Bob!
High in the heavens august
Providence saw him, and said—
“Out of the pits of the dust
Lift him, and cover his head.”

Ah, the ineffable grace,
Father of children, in Thee!
Boy in a radiant place,
Fanned by the breeze of the sea—
Child on a lullaby lap
Said, in the pause of his pain,
“Mother, don’t bury my cap—
Give it to Bob in the lane.”

Beautiful bidding of Death!
What could she do but obey,
Even when suffering Faith
Hadn’t the power to pray?
So, in the fall of the year,
Saint with the fatherly head
Hunted for somebody’s dear—
“Somebody’s darling,” he said.

Bob, who was nobody’s child,
Sitting on nobody’s lap,
Draggled and dirty and wild—
Bob got the little one’s cap.
Strange were compassionate words!
Waif of the alley and lane
Dreamed of the music of birds
Floating about in the rain.

White-headed father in God,
Over thy beautiful grave
Green is the grass of the sod,
Soft is the sound of the wave.
Down by the slopes of the sea
Often and often will sob
Boy who was fostered by thee—
This is the story of Bob.

Twelve years ago our Jack was lost. All night,
Twelve years ago, the Spirit of the Storm
Sobbed round our camp. A wind of northern hills
That hold a cold companionship with clouds
Came down, and wrestled like a giant with
The iron-featured woods; and fall and ford,
The night our Jack was lost, sent forth a cry
Of baffled waters, where the Murray sucked
The rain-replenished torrents at his source,
And gathered strength, and started for the sea.
We took our Jack from Melbourne just two weeks
Before this day twelve years ago. He left
A home where Love upon the threshold paused,
And wept across the shoulder of the lad,
And blest us when we said we’d take good care
To keep the idol of the house from harm.
We were a band of three. We started thence
To look for watered lands and pastures new,
With faces set towards the down beyond
Where cool Monaro’s topmost mountain breaks
The wings of many a seaward-going storm,
And shapes them into wreaths of subtle fire.
We were, I say, a band of three in all,
With brother Tom for leader. Bright-eyed Jack,
Who thought himself as big a man as Tom,
Was self-elected second in command,
And I was cook and groom. A week slipt by,
Brimful of life — of health, and happiness;
For though our progress northward had been slow,
Because the country on the track was rough,
No one amongst us let his spirits flag;
Moreover, being young, and at the stage
When all things novel wear a fine romance,
We found in ridge and glen, and wood and rock
And waterfall, and everything that dwells
Outside with nature, pleasure of that kind
Which only lives for those whose hearts are tired
Of noisy cities, and are fain to feel
The peace and power of the mighty hills.

The second week we crossed the upper fork
Where Murray meets a river from the east;
And there one evening dark with coming storm,
We camped a furlong from the bank. Our Jack,
The little man that used to sing and shout
And start the merry echoes of the cliffs,
And gravely help me to put up the tent,
And try a thousand tricks and offices,
That made me scold and laugh by turns — the pet
Of sisters, and the youngest hope of one
Who grew years older in a single night —
Our Jack, I say, strayed off into the dusk,
Lured by the noises of a waterfall;
And though we hunted, shouting right and left,
The whole night long, through wind and rain, and searched
For five days afterwards, we never saw
The lad again.

I turned to Tom and said,
That wild fifth evening, “Which of us has heart
Enough to put the saddle on our swiftest horse,
And post away to Melbourne, there to meet
And tell his mother we have lost her son?
Or which of us can bear to stand and see
The white affliction of a faded face,
Made old by you and me? O, Tom, my boy,
Her heart will break!” Tom moaned, but did not speak
A word. He saddled horse, and galloped off.
O, Jack! Jack! Jack! When bright-haired Benjamin
Was sent to Egypt with his father’s sons,
Those rough half-brothers took more care of him
Than we of you! But shall we never see
Your happy face, my brave lad, any more?
Nor hear you whistling in the fields at eve?
Nor catch you up to mischief with your knife
Amongst the apple trees? Nor find you out
A truant playing on the road to school?
Nor meet you, boy, in any other guise
You used to take? Is this worn cap I hold
The only thing you’ve left us of yourself?
Are we to sit from night to night deceived
Through rainy seasons by presentiments
That make us start at shadows on the pane,
And fancy that we hear you in the dark,
And wonder that your step has grown so slow,
And listen for your hand upon the door?

Bill The Bullock-Driver

The Leaders of millions, the lords of the lands,
Who sway the wide world with their will
And shake the great globe with the strength of their hands,
Flash past us—unnoticed by Bill.
The elders of science who measure the spheres
And weigh the vast bulk of the sun—
Who see the grand lights beyond aeons of years,
Are less than a bullock to one.

The singers that sweeten all time with their song—
Pure voices that make us forget
Humanity’s drama of marvellous wrong—
To Bill are as mysteries yet.

By thunders of battle and nations uphurled,
Bill’s sympathies never were stirred:
The helmsmen who stand at the wheel of the world
By him are unknown and unheard.

What trouble has Bill for the ruin of lands,
Or the quarrels of temple and throne,
So long as the whip that he holds in his hands
And the team that he drives are his own?

As straight and as sound as a slab without crack,
Our Bill is a king in his way;
Though he camps by the side of a shingle track,
And sleeps on the bed of his dray.

A whip-lash to him is as dear as a rose
Would be to a delicate maid;
He carries his darlings wherever he goes,
In a pocket-book tattered and frayed.

The joy of a bard when he happens to write
A song like the song of his dream
Is nothing at all to our hero’s delight
In the pluck and the strength of his team.

For the kings of the earth, for the faces august
Of princes, the millions may shout;
To Bill, as he lumbers along in the dust,
A bullock’s the grandest thing out.

His four-footed friends are the friends of his choice—
No lover is Bill of your dames;
But the cattle that turn at the sound of his voice
Have the sweetest of features and names.

A father’s chief joy is a favourite son,
When he reaches some eminent goal,
But the pride of Bill’s heart is the hairy-legged one
That pulls with a will at the pole.

His dray is no living, responsible thing,
But he gives it the gender of life;
And, seeing his fancy is free in the wing,
It suits him as well as a wife.

He thrives like an Arab. Between the two wheels
Is his bedroom, where, lying up-curled,
He thinks for himself, like a sultan, and feels
That his home is the best in the world.

For, even though cattle, like subjects, will break
At times from the yoke and the band,
Bill knows how to act when his rule is at stake,
And is therefore a lord of the land.

Of course he must dream; but be sure that his dreams,
If happy, must compass, alas!
Fat bullocks at feed by improbable streams,
Knee-deep in improbable grass.

No poet is Bill, for the visions of night
To him are as visions of day;
And the pipe that in sleep he endeavours to light
Is the pipe that he smokes on the dray.

To the mighty, magnificent temples of God,
In the hearts of the dominant hills,
Bill’s eyes are as blind as the fire-blackened clod
That burns far away from the rills.

Through beautiful, bountiful forests that screen
A marvel of blossoms from heat—
Whose lights are the mellow and golden and green—
Bill walks with irreverent feet.

The manifold splendours of mountain and wood
By Bill like nonentities slip;
He loves the black myrtle because it is good
As a handle to lash to his whip.

And thus through the world, with a swing in his tread,
Our hero self-satisfied goes;
With his cabbage-tree hat on the back of his head,
And the string of it under his nose.

Poor bullocky Bill! In the circles select
Of the scholars he hasn’t a place;
But he walks like a man, with his forehead erect,
And he looks at God’s day in the face.

For, rough as he seems, he would shudder to wrong
A dog with the loss of a hair;
And the angels of shine and superlative song
See his heart and the deity there.

Few know him, indeed; but the beauty that glows
In the forest is loveliness still;
And Providence helping the life of the rose
Is a Friend and a Father to Bill.

Rifted mountains, clad with forests, girded round by gleaming pines,
Where the morning, like an angel, robed in golden splendour shines;
Shimmering mountains, throwing downward on the slopes a mazy glare
Where the noonday glory sails through gulfs of calm and glittering air;
Stately mountains, high and hoary, piled with blocks of amber cloud,
Where the fading twilight lingers, when the winds are wailing loud;
Grand old mountains, overbeetling brawling brooks and deep ravines,
Where the moonshine, pale and mournful, flows on rocks and evergreens.

Underneath these regal ridges - underneath the gnarly trees,
I am sitting, lonely-hearted, listening to a lonely breeze!
Sitting by an ancient casement, casting many a longing look
Out across the hazy gloaming - out beyond the brawling brook!
Over pathways leading skyward - over crag and swelling cone,
Past long hillocks looking like to waves of ocean turned to stone;
Yearning for a bliss unworldly, yearning for a brighter change,
Yearning for the mystic Aidenn, built beyond this mountain range.

Happy years, amongst these valleys, happy years have come and gone,
And my youthful hopes and friendships withered with them one by one;
Days and moments bearing onward many a bright and beauteous dream,
All have passed me like to sunstreaks flying down a distant stream.
Oh, the love returned by loved ones! Oh, the faces that I knew!
Oh, the wrecks of fond affection! Oh, the hearts so warm and true!
But their voices I remember, and a something lingers still,
Like a dying echo roaming sadly round a far off hill.

I would sojourn here contented, tranquil as I was of yore,
And would never wish to clamber, seeking for an unknown shore;
I have dwelt within this cottage twenty summers, and mine eyes
Never wandered erewhile round in search of undiscovered skies;
But a spirit sits beside me, veiled in robes of dazzling white,
And a dear one's whisper wakens with the symphonies of night;
And a low sad music cometh, borne along on windy wings,
Like a strain familiar rising from a maze of slumbering springs.

And the Spirit, by my window, speaketh to my restless soul,
Telling of the clime she came from, where the silent moments roll;
Telling of the bourne mysterious, where the sunny summers flee
Cliffs and coasts, by man untrodden, ridging round a shipless sea.
There the years of yore are blooming - there departed life-dreams dwell,
There the faces beam with gladness that I loved in youth so well;
There the songs of childhood travel, over wave-worn steep and strand -
Over dale and upland stretching out behind this mountain land.

'Lovely Being, can a mortal, weary of this changeless scene,
Cross these cloudy summits to the land where man hath never been?
Can he find a pathway leading through that wildering mass of pines,
So that he shall reach the country where ethereal glory shines;
So that he may glance at waters never dark with coming ships;
Hearing round him gentle language floating from angelic lips;
Casting off his earthly fetters, living there for evermore;
All the blooms of Beauty near him, gleaming on that quiet shore?

'Ere you quit this ancient casement, tell me, is it well to yearn
For the evanescent visions, vanished never to return?
Is it well that I should with to leave this dreary world behind,
Seeking for your fair Utopia, which perchance I may not find?
Passing through a gloomy forest, scaling steeps like prison walls,
Where the scanty sunshine wavers and the moonlight seldom falls?
Oh, the feelings re-awakened! Oh, the hopes of loftier range!
Is it well, thou friendly Being, well to wish for such a change?'

But the Spirit answers nothing! and the dazzling mantle fades;
And a wailing whisper wanders out from dismal seaside shades!
'Lo, the trees are moaning loudly, underneath their hood-like shrouds,
And the arch above us darkens, scarred with ragged thunder clouds!'
But the spirit answers nothing, and I linger all alone,
Gazing through the moony vapours where the lovely Dream has flown;
And my heart is beating sadly, and the music waxeth faint,
Sailing up to holy Heaven, like the anthems of a Saint.

The Maid Of Gerringong

Rolling through the gloomy gorges, comes the roaring southern blast,
With a sound of torrents flying, like a routed army, past,
And, beneath the shaggy forelands, strange fantastic forms of surf
Fly, like wild hounds, at the darkness, crouching over sea and earth;
Swooping round the sunken caverns, with an aggravated roar;
Falling where the waters tumble foaming on a screaming shore!
In a night like this we parted. Eyes were wet though speech was low,
And our thoughts were all in mourning for the dear, dead Long Ago!
In a night like this we parted. Hearts were sad though they were young,
And you left me very lonely, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.
Said my darling, looking at me, through the radiance of her tears:
“Many changes, O my loved One, we will meet in after years;
Changes like to sudden sunbursts flashing down a rainy steep —
Changes like to swift-winged shadows falling on a moony deep!
And they are so cheerless sometimes, leaving, when they pass us by,
Deepening dolours on the sweet, sad face of our Humanity.
But you’ll hope, and fail and faint not, with that heart so warm and true,
Watching for the coming Morning, that will flood the World for you;
Listening through a thirsty silence, till the low winds bear along
Eager footfalls — pleasant voices,” said the Maid of Gerringong.

Said my darling, when the wind came sobbing wildly round the eaves:
“Oh, the Purpose scattered from me, like the withered autumn leaves!
Oh, the wreck of Love’s ambition! Oh, the fond and full belief
That I yet should hear them hail you in your land a God-made chief!
In the loud day they may slumber, but my thoughts will not be still
When the weary world is sleeping, and the moon is on the hill;
Then your form will bend above me, then your voice will rise and fall,
Though I turn and hide in darkness, with my face against the wall,
And my Soul must rise and listen while those homeless memories throng
Moaning in the night for shelter,” said the Maid of Gerringong.

Ay, she passed away and left me! Rising through the dusk of tears,
Came a vision of that parting every day for many years!
Every day, though she had told me not to court the strange sweet pain,
Something whispered — something led me to our olden haunts again:
And I used to wander nightly, by the surges and the ships,
Harping on those last fond accents that had trembled from her lips:
Till a vessel crossed the waters, and I heard a stranger say,
“One you loved has died in silence with her dear face turned away.”
Oh! the eyes that flash upon me, and the voice that comes along —
Oh! my light, my life, my darling dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

Some one saith, “Oh, you that mock at Passion with a worldly whine,
Would you change the face of Nature — would you limit God’s design?
Hide for shame from well-raised clamour, moderate fools who would be wise;
Hide for shame — the World will hoot you! Love is Love, and never dies”
And another asketh, doubting that my brother speaks the truth,
“Can we love in age as fondly as we did in days of youth?
Will dead faces always haunt us, in the time of faltering breath?
Shall we yearn, and we so feeble?” Ay, for Love is Love in Death.
Oh! the Faith with sure foundation! — let the Ages roll along,
You are mine, and mine for ever, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

Last night, dear, I dreamt about you, and I thought that far from men
We were walking, both together, in a fragrant seaside glen;
Down where we could hear the surges wailing round the castled cliffs,
Down where we could see the sunset reddening on the distant skiffs;
There a fall of mountain waters tumbled through the knotted bowers
Bright with rainbow colours reeling on the purple forest flowers.
And we rested on the benches of a cavern old and hoar;
And I whispered, “this is surely her I loved in days of yore!
False he was who brought sad tidings! Why were you away so long,
When you knew who waited for you, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong?

“Did the strangers come around you, in the far-off foreign land?
Did they lead you out of sorrow, with kind face and loving hand?
Had they pleasant ways to court you — had they silver words to bind?
Had they souls more fond and loyal than the soul you left behind?
Do not think I blame you, dear one! Ah! my heart is gushing o’er
With the sudden joy and wonder, thus to see your face once more.
Happy is the chance which joins us after long, long years of pain:
And, oh, blessed was whatever sent you back to me again!
Now our pleasure will be real — now our hopes again are young:
Now we’ll climb Life’s brightest summits, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong.

“In the sound of many footfalls, did you falter with regret
For a step which used to gladden in the time so vivid yet?
When they left you in the night-hours, did you lie awake like me,
With the thoughts of what we had been — what we never more could be?
Ah! you look but do not answer while I halt and question here,
Wondering why I am so happy, doubting that you are so near.
Sure these eyes with love are blinded, for your form is waxing faint;
And a dreamy splendour crowns it, like the halo round a saint!
When I talk of what we will be, and new aspirations throng,
Why are you so sadly silent, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong?”

But she faded into sunset, and the sunset passed from sight;
And I followed madly after, through the misty, moony night,
Crying, “do not leave me lonely! Life has been so cold and drear,
You are all that God has left me, and I want you to be near!
Do not leave me in the darkness! I have walked a weary way,
Listening for your truant footsteps — turn and stay, my darling, stay!”
But she came not though I waited, watching through a splendid haze,
Where the lovely Phantom halted ere she vanished from my gaze.
Then I thought that rain was falling, for there rose a stormy song,
And I woke in gloom and tempest, dark-haired Maid of Gerringong!

SING, mountain-wind, thy strong, superior song—
Thy haughty alpine anthem, over tracts
Whose passes and whose swift, rock-straitened streams
Catch mighty life and voice from thee, and make
A lordly harmony on sea-chafed heights.
Sing, mountain-wind, and take thine ancient tone,
The grand, austere, imperial utterance.
Which drives my soul before it back to days
In one dark hour of which, when Storm rode high
Past broken hills, and when the polar gale
Roared round the Otway with the bitter breath
That speaks for ever of the White South Land
Alone with God and Silence in the cold,
I heard the touching tale of Basil Moss,
A story shining with a woman’s love!
And who that knows that love can ever doubt
How dear, divine, sublime a thing it is;
For while the tale of Basil Moss was one
Not blackened with those stark, satanic sins
Which call for superhuman sacrifice,
Still, from the records of the world’s sad life,
This great, sweet, gladdening fact at length we’ve learned,
There’s not a depth to which a man can fall,
No slough of crime in which such one can lie
Stoned with the scorn and curses of his kind,
But that some tender woman can be found
To love and shield him still.

What was the fate
Of Basil Moss who, thirty years ago,
A brave, high-minded, but impetuous youth,
Left happy homesteads in the sweetest isle
That wears the sober light of Northern suns?
What happened him, the man who crossed far, fierce
Sea-circles of the hoarse Atlantic—who,
Without a friend to help him in the world,
Commenced his battle in this fair young land,
A Levite in the Temple Beautiful
Of Art, who struggled hard, but found that here
Both Bard and Painter learn, by bitter ways,
That they are aliens in the working world,
And that all Heaven’s templed clouds at morn
And sunset do not weigh one loaf of bread!
This was his tale. For years he kept himself
Erect, and looked his troubles in the face
And grappled them; and, being helped at last
By one who found she loved him, who became
The patient sharer of his lot austere,
He beat them bravely back; but like the heads
Of Lerna’s fabled hydra, they returned
From day to day in numbers multiplied;
And so it came to pass that Basil Moss
(Who was, though brave, no mental Hercules,
Who hid beneath a calmness forced, the keen
Heart-breaking sensibility—which is
The awful, wild, specific curse that clings
Forever to the Poet’s twofold life)
Gave way at last; but not before the hand
Of sickness fell upon him—not before
The drooping form and sad averted eyes
Of hectic Hope, that figure far and faint,
Had given all his later thoughts a tongue—
“It is too late—too late!”

There is no need
To tell the elders of the English world
What followed this. From step to step, the man—
Now fairly gripped by fierce Intemperance—
Descended in the social scale; and though
He struggled hard at times to break away,
And take the old free, dauntless stand again,
He came to be as helpless as a child,
And Darkness settled on the face of things,
And Hope fell dead, and Will was paralysed.
Yet sometimes, in the gloomy breaks between
Each fit of madness issuing from his sin,
He used to wander through familiar woods
With God’s glad breezes blowing in his face,
And try to feel as he was wont to feel
In other years; but never could he find
Again his old enthusiastic sense
Of Beauty; never could he exorcize
The evil spell which seemed to shackle down
The fine, keen, subtle faculty that used
To see into the heart of loveliness;
And therefore Basil learned to shun the haunts
Where Nature holds her chiefest courts, because
They forced upon him in the saddest light
The fact of what he was, and once had been.

So fared the drunkard for five awful years—
The last of which, while lighting singing dells,
With many a flame of flowers, found Basil Moss
Cooped with his wife in one small wretched room;
And there, one night, the man, when ill and weak—
A sufferer from his latest bout of sin—
Moaned, stricken sorely with a fourfold sense
Of all the degradation he had brought
Upon himself, and on his patient wife;
And while he wrestled with his strong remorse
He looked upon a sweet but pallid face,
And cried, “My God! is this the trusting girl
I swore to love, to shield, to cherish so
But ten years back? O, what a liar I am!”
She, shivering in a thin and faded dress
Beside a handful of pale, smouldering fire,
On hearing Basil’s words, moved on her chair,
And turning to him blue, beseeching eyes,
And pinched, pathetic features, faintly said—
“O, Basil, love! now that you seem to feel
And understand how much I’ve suffered since
You first gave way—now that you comprehend
The bitter heart-wear, darling, that has brought
The swift, sad silver to this hair of mine
Which should have come with Age—which came with Pain,
Do make one more attempt to free yourself
From what is slowly killing both of us;
And if you do the thing I ask of you,
If you but try this once, we may indeed—
We may be happy yet.”

Then Basil Moss,
Remembering in his marvellous agony
How often he had found her in the dead
Of icy nights with uncomplaining eyes,
A watcher in a cheerless room for him;
And thinking, too, that often, while he threw
His scanty earnings over reeking bars,
The darling that he really loved through all
Was left without enough to eat—then Moss,
I say, sprang to his feet with sinews set
And knotted brows, and throat that gasped for air,
And cried aloud—“My poor, poor girl, I will.”
And so he did; and fought this time the fight
Out to the bitter end; and with the help
Of prayers and unremitting tenderness
He gained the victory at last; but not—
No, not before the agony and sweat
Of fierce Gethsemanes had come to him;
And not before the awful nightly trials,
When, set in mental furnaces of flame,
With eyes that ached and wooed in vain for sleep,
He had to fight the devil holding out
The cup of Lethe to his fevered lips.
But still he conquered; and the end was this,
That though he often had to face the eyes
Of that bleak Virtue which is not of Christ
(Because the gracious Lord of Love was one with Him
Who blessed the dying thief upon the cross),
He held his way with no unfaltering steps,
And gathered hope and light, and never missed
To do a thing for the sake of good.
And every day that glided through the world
Saw some fine instance of his bright reform,
And some assurance he would never fall
Into the pits and traps of hell again.
And thus it came to pass that Basil’s name
Grew sweet with men; and, when he died, his end
Was calm—was evening-like, and beautiful.

Here ends the tale of Basil Moss. To wives
Who suffer as the Painter’s darling did,
I dedicate these lines; and hope they’ll bear
In mind those efforts of her lovely life,
Which saved her husband’s soul; and proved that while
A man who sins can entertain remorse,
He is not wholly lost. If such as they
But follow her, they may be sure of this,
That Love, that sweet authentic messenger
From God, can never fail while there is left
Within the fallen one a single pulse
Of what the angels call humanity.

Euterpe: A Cantanta

Hail to thee, Sound!—The power of Euterpe in all the scenes of life—
in religion; in works of charity; in soothing troubles by means of music;
in all humane and high purposes; in war; in grief; in the social circle;
the children’s lullaby; the dance; the ballad; in conviviality;
when far from home; at evening—the whole ending with an allegorical chorus,
rejoicing at the building of a mighty hall erected for the recreation
of a nation destined to take no inconsiderable part in the future history
of the world.


No. 1 Chorus

All hail to thee, Sound! Since the time
Calliope’s son took the lyre,
And lulled in the heart of their clime
The demons of darkness and fire;
Since Eurydice’s lover brought tears
To the eyes of the Princes of Night,
Thou hast been, through the world’s weary years,
A marvellous source of delight—
Yea, a marvellous source of delight!

In the wind, in the wave, in the fall
Of the water, each note of thine dwells;
But Euterpe hath gathered from all
The sweetest to weave into spells.
She makes a miraculous power
Of thee with her magical skill;
And gives us, for bounty or dower,
The accents that soothe us or thrill!
Yea, the accents that soothe us or thrill!

All hail to thee, Sound! Let us thank
The great Giver of light and of life
For the music divine that we’ve drank,
In seasons of peace and of strife,
Let us gratefully think of the balm
That falls on humanity tired,
At the tones of the song or the psalm
From lips and from fingers inspired—
Yea, from lips and from fingers inspired.

No. 2 Quartette and Chorus

When, in her sacred fanes
God’s daughter, sweet Religion, prays,
Euterpe’s holier strains
Her thoughts from earth to heaven raise.
The organ notes sublime
Put every worldly dream to flight;
They sanctify the time,
And fill the place with hallowed light.

No. 3 Soprano Solo

Yea, and when that meek-eyed maiden
Men call Charity, comes fain
To raise up spirits, laden
With bleak poverty and pain:
Often, in her cause enlisted,
Music softens hearts like stones;
And the fallen are assisted
Through Euterpe’s wondrous tones.

No. 4 Orchestral Intermezzo

No. 5 Chorus

Beautiful is Sound devoted
To all ends humane and high;
And its sweetness never floated
Like a thing unheeded by.
Power it has on souls encrusted
With the selfishness of years;
Yea, and thousands Mammon-rusted,
Hear it, feel it, leave in tears.

No. 6 Choral Recitative
(Men’s voices only)

When on the battlefield, and in the sight
Of tens of thousands bent to smite and slay
Their human brothers, how the soldier’s heart
Must leap at sounds of martial music, fired
With all that spirit that the patriot loves
Who seeks to win, or nobly fall, for home!

No. 7 Triumphal March

No. 8 Funeral Chorus

Slowly and mournfully moves a procession,
Wearing the signs
Of sorrow, through loss, and it halts like a shadow
Of death in the pines.
Come from the fane that is filled with God’s presence,
Sad sounds and deep;
Holy Euterpe, she sings of our brother,
We listen and weep.
Death, like the Angel that passed over Egypt,
Struck at us sore;
Never again shall we turn at our loved one’s
Step at the door.

No. 9 Chorus
(Soprano voices only)

But, passing from sorrow, the spirit
Of Music, a glory, doth rove
Where it lightens the features of beauty,
And burns through the accents of love—
The passionate accents of love.

No. 10 Lullaby Song—Contralto

The night-shades gather, and the sea
Sends up a sound, sonorous, deep;
The plover’s wail comes down the lea;
By slope and vale the vapours weep,
And dew is on the tree;
And now where homesteads be,
The children fall asleep,

A low-voiced wind amongst the leaves,
The sighing leaves that mourn the Spring,
Like some lone spirit, flits and grieves,
And grieves and flits on fitful wing.
But where Song is a guest,
A lulling dreamy thing,
The children fall to rest,
To rest.

No. 11 Waltz Chorus

When the summer moon is beaming
On the stirless waters dreaming,
And the keen grey summits gleaming,
Through a silver starry haze;
In our homes to strains entrancing
To the steps, the quickly glancing
Steps of youths and maidens dancing,
Maidens light of foot as fays.

Then the waltz, whose rhythmic paces
Make melodious happy places,
Brings a brightness to young faces,
Brings a sweetness to the eyes.
Sounds that move us like enthralling
Accents, where the runnel falling,
Sends out flute-like voices calling,
Where the sweet wild moss-bed lies.

No. 12 Ballad—Tenor

When twilight glides with ghostly tread
Across the western heights,
And in the east the hills are red
With sunset’s fading lights;
Then music floats from cot and hall
Where social circles met,
By sweet Euterpe held in thrall—
Their daily cares forget.

What joy it is to watch the shine
That hallows beauty’s face
When woman sings the strains divine,
Whose passion floods the place!
Then how the thoughts and feelings rove
At song’s inspiring breath,
In homes made beautiful by love,
Or sanctified by death.

What visions come, what dreams arise,
What Edens youth will limn,
When leaning over her whose eyes
Have sweetened life for him!
For while she sings and while she plays,
And while her voice is low,
His fancy paints diviner days
Than any we can know.

No. 13 Drinking Song
(Men’s voices only)

But, hurrah! for the table that heavily groans
With the good things that keep in the life:
When we sing and we dance, and we drink to the tones
That are masculine, thorough and blithe.

Good luck to us all! Over walnuts and wine
We hear the rare songs that we know
Are as brimful of mirth as the spring is of shine,
And as healthy and hearty, we trow.

Then our glasses we charge to the ring of the stave
That the flush to our faces doth send;
For though life is a thing that winds up with the grave,
We’ll be jolly, my boys, to the end.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
Yes, jolly, my boys, to the end!

No. 14 Recitative—Bass

When far from friends, and home, and all the things
That bind a man to life, how dear to him
Is any old familiar sound that takes
Him back to spots where Love and Hope
In past days used to wander hand in hand
Across high-flowered meadows, and the paths
Whose borders shared the beauty of the spring,
And borrowed splendour from autumnal suns.

No. 15 Chorus
(The voices accompanied only by the
violins playing “Home, Sweet Home”.)

Then at sea, or in wild wood,
Then ashore or afloat,
All the scenes of his childhood
Come back at a note;
At the turn of a ballad,
At the tones of a song,
Cometh Memory, pallid
And speechless so long;
And she points with her finger
To phantom-like years,
And loveth to linger
In silence, in tears.

No. 16 Solo—Bass

In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go,
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow;
In the yellow flame of evening, at the setting of the day,
Sounds that lighten, fall, and lighten, flicker, faint, and fade away;
What they are, behold, we know not, but their honey slakes and slays
Half the want which whitens manhood in the stress of alien days.
Even as a wondrous woman, struck with love and great desire,
Hast thou been to us, EUTERPE, half of tears and half of fire;
But thy joy is swift and fitful, and a subtle sense of pain
Sighs through thy melodious breathings, takes the rapture from thy strain.
In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go.
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow.

No. 17 Recitative—Soprano

And thus it is that Music manifold,
In fanes, in Passion’s sanctuaries, or where
The social feast is held, is still the power
That bindeth heart to heart; and whether Grief,
Or Love, or Pleasure form the link, we know
’Tis still a bond that makes Humanity,
That wearied entity, a single whole,
And soothes the trouble of the heart bereaved,
And lulls the beatings in the breast that yearns,
And gives more gladness to the gladdest things.

No. 18 Finale—Chorus

Now a vision comes, O brothers, blended
With supremest sounds of harmony—
Comes, and shows a temple, stately, splendid,
In a radiant city by the sea.
Founders, fathers of a mighty nation,
Raised the walls, and built the royal dome,
Gleaming now from lofty, lordly station,
Like a dream of Athens, or of Rome!
And a splendour of sound,
A thunder of song,
Rolls sea-like around,
Comes sea-like along.

The ringing, and ringing, and ringing,
Of voices of choristers singing,
Inspired by a national joy,
Strike through the marvellous hall,
Fly by the aisle and the wall,
While the organ notes roam
From basement to dome—
Now low as a wail,
Now loud as a gale,
And as grand as the music that builded old Troy.