The Australian Sunrise

The Morning Star paled slowly, the Cross hung low to the sea,
And down the shadowy reaches the tide came swirling free,
The lustrous purple blackness of the soft Australian night,
Waned in the gray awakening that heralded the light;
Still in the dying darkness, still in the forest dim
The pearly dew of the dawning clung to each giant limb,
Till the sun came up from ocean, red with the cold sea mist,
And smote on the limestone ridges, and the shining tree-tops kissed;
Then the fiery Scorpion vanished, the magpie's note was heard,
And the wind in the she-oak wavered, and the honeysuckles stirred,
The airy golden vapour rose from the river breast,
The kingfisher came darting out of his crannied nest,
And the bulrushes and reed-beds put off their sallow gray
And burnt with cloudy crimson at dawning of the day.

Wattle And Myrtle

Gold of the tangled wilderness of wattle,
   Break in the lone green hollows of the hills,
Flame on the iron headlands of the ocean,
   Gleam on the margin of the hurrying rills.

Come with thy saffron diadem and scatter
   Odours of Araby that haunt the air,
Queen of our woodland, rival of the roses,
   Spring in the yellow tresses of thy hair.

Surely the old gods, dwellers on Olympus,
   Under thy shining loveliness have strayed,
Crowned with thy clusters, magical Apollo,
   Pan with his reedy music may have played.

Surely within thy fastness, Aphrodite,
   She of the sea-ways, fallen from above,
Wandered beneath thy canopy of blossom,
   Nothing disdainful of a mortal's love.

Aye, and Her sweet breath lingers on the wattle,
   Aye, and Her myrtle dominates the glade,
And with a deep and perilous enchantment
   Melts in the heart of lover and of maid.

OLD BILLY—battered, brown and black
With many days of camping,
Companion of the bulging sack,
And friend in all our tramping:
How often on the Friday night—
Your cubic measure testing—
With jam and tea we stuffed you tight
Before we started nesting!
How often, in the moonlight pale,
Through gums and gullies toiling,
We’ve been the first the hill to scale,
The first to watch you boiling;
When at the lane the tent was spread
The silver wattle under,
And early shafts of rosy red
Cleft sea-born mists asunder!

And so, old Billy, you recall
A host of sun-burnt faces,
And bring us back again to all
The best of camping places.
True flavour of the bush you bear,
Of camp and its surrounding,
Of freedom and of open air,
Of healthy life abounding.

You bring us more—with those we love
We watched you boil and bubble,
And in the sunny skies above
Forgot each schoolboy trouble
So not without a kindly glance
We eye you in the study,
Although you’ve met with some mischance,
Although you’re black and muddy!

Australian Federata

AUSTRALIA! land of lonely lake
And serpent-haunted fen;
Land of the torrent and the fire
And forest-sundered men:
Thou art not now as thou shalt be
When the stern invaders come,
In the hush before the hurricane,
The dread before the drum.
A louder thunder shall be heard
Than echoes on thy shore,
When o’er the blackened basalt cliffs
The foreign cannon roar—
When the stand is made in the sheoaks’ shade
When heroes fall for thee,
And the creeks in gloomy gullies run
Dark crimson to the sea:

When under honeysuckles gray,
And wattles’ swaying gold,
The stalwart arm may strike no more,
The valiant heart is cold—
When thou shalt know the agony,
The fever, and the strife
Of those who wrestle against odds
For liberty and life:

Then is the great Dominion born,
The seven sisters bound,
From Sydney’s greenly wooded port
To lone King George’s Sound—
Then shall the islands of the south,
The lands of bloom and snow,
Forth from their isolation come
To meet the common foe.

Then, only then—when after war
Is peace with honour born,
When from the bosom of the night
Comes golden-sandalled morn,
When laurelled victory is thine,
And the day of battle done,
Shall the heart of a mighty people stir,
And Australia be as one.

"Tandem venias precamur
   Nube candentes humeros amictus
   Augur Apollo."

   Lord of the golden lyre
   Fraught with the Dorian fire,
   Oh! fair-haired child of Leto, come again;
   And if no longer smile
   Delphi or Delos' isle,
   Come from the depth of thine Aetnean glen,
   Where in the black ravine
   Thunders the foaming green
   Of waters writhing far from mortals' ken;
   Come o'er the sparkling brine,
   And bring thy train divine --
The sweet-voiced and immortal violet-crowned Nine.

   For here are richer meads,
   And here are goodlier steeds
   Than ever graced the glorious land of Greece;
   Here waves the yellow corn,
   Here is the olive born --
   The gray-green gracious harbinger of peace;
   Here too hath taken root
   A tree with golden fruit,
   In purple clusters hangs the vine's increase,
   And all the earth doth wear
   The dry clear Attic air
That lifts the soul to liberty, and frees the heart from care.

   Or if thy wilder mood
   Incline to solitude,
   Eternal verdure girds the lonely hills,
   Through the green gloom of ferns
   Softly the sunset burns,
   Cold from the granite flow the mountain rills;
   And there are inner shrines
   Made by the slumberous pines,
   Where the rapt heart with contemplation fills,
   And from wave-stricken shores
   Deep wistful music pours
And floods the tempest-shaken forest corridors.

   Oh, give the gift of gold
   The human heart to hold
   With liquid glamour of the Lesbian line;
   With Pindar's lava glow,
   With Sophocles' calm flow,
   Or Aeschylean rapture airy fine;
   Or with thy music's close
   Thy last autumnal rose
   Theocritus of Sicily, divine;
   O Pythian Archer strong,
   Time cannot do thee wrong,
With thee they live for ever, thy nightingales of song.

   We too are island-born;
   Oh, leave us not in scorn --
   A songless people never yet was great.
   We, suppliants at thy feet,
   Await thy muses sweet
   Amid the laurels at thy temple gate,
   Crownless and voiceless yet,
   But on our brows is set
   The dim unwritten prophecy of fate,
   To mould from out of mud
   An empire with our blood,
To wage eternal warfare with the fire and flood.

   Lord of the minstrel choir,
   Oh, grant our hearts' desire,
   To sing of truth invincible in might,
   Of love surpassing death
   That fears no fiery breath,
   Of ancient inborn reverence for right,
   Of that sea-woven spell
   That from Trafalgar fell
   And keeps the star of duty in our sight:
   Oh, give the sacred fire,
   And our weak lips inspire
With laurels of thy song and lightnings of thy lyre.