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3-307 (Text)

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author,female,Heron, Emilie*,30 addressee
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Kramer, 1985
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3-307-plain.txt — 9 KB

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A winter morn. The blue Clyde river winds
'Mid sombre slopes, reflecting in clear depths
The tree-clad banks or grassy meadow flats
Now white with hoary frost, each jewell'd blade
With myriad crystals glistening in the sun.
Thus smiles the Vale of Clyde, as through the air
So keen and fresh three travellers upward ride
Toward the Braidwood heights. Quickly they pass
The rustic dwellings on the hamlet's verge,
Winding sometimes beside the glassy depths
Of Nelligen Creek, where with the murmuring bass
Of running water sounds the sighing wail
Of dark swamp-oaks, that shiver on each bank;
Then winding through a shady-bower'd lane,
With flickering streaks of sunlight beaming through
The feathery leaves and pendant tassels green
Of bright mimosa, whose wee furry balls
Promise to greet with golden glow of joy
The coming spring-tide.
Now a barren length
Of tall straight eucalyptus, till again
A babbling voice is heard, and through green banks
Of emerald fern and mossy boulder rocks,
The Currawong dances o'er a pebbly bed,
In rippling clearness, or with cresting foam
Splashes and leaps in snowy cascade steps.
Then every feature changes - up and down, 
O'er endless ranges like great waves of earth,
Each weary steed must climb, e'en like a ship
Now rising high upon some billowy ridge
But to plunge down to mount once more, again
And still again. 
Naught on the road to see
Save sullen trees, white arm'd, with naked trunks,
And hanging bark, like tatter'd clothes thrown off,
An undergrowth of glossy zamia palms
Bearing their winter store of coral fruit,
And here and there some early clematis,
Like starry jasmine, or a purple wreath
Of dark kennedea, blooming o'er their time,
As if in pity they would add one joy
Unto the barren landscape.
But at last
A clearer point is reach'd, and all around
The loftier ranges loom in contour blue,
With indigo shadows and light veiling mist
Rising from steaming valleys. Straight in front
Towers the Sugarloaf, pyramidal King
Of Braidwood peaks.
Impossible it seems
To scale that nature-rampart, but where man
Would go he must and will; so hewn from out
The mountain's side, in gradual ascent
Of league and half of engineering skill
There winds the Weber Pass.
A glorious ride!
Fresher and clearer grows the breezy air,
Lighter and freer beats the quickening pulse
As each fair height is gain'd. Stern, strong, above
Rises the wall of mountain; far beneath,
In sheer precipitancy, gullies deep
Gloom in dark shadow, on their shelter'd breast
Cherishing wealth of leaf age richly dight
With tropic hues of green.
No sound is heard
Save the deep soughing of the wind amid
The swaying leaves and harp-like stems, so like
A mighty breathing of great mother earth,
That half they seem to see her bosom heave
With each pulsation as she living sleeps.
And now and then to cadence of these throbs
There drops the bell-bird's knell, the coach-whip's crack, 
The wonga-pigeon's coo, or echoing notes 
Of lyre-tail'd pheasants in their own rich tones, 
Mocking the song of every forest bird. 
Higher the travellers rise - at every turn
Gaining through avenued vista some new glimpse
Of undulating hills, the Pigeon-house
Standing against the sky like eyrie nest
Of some great dove or eagle. On each side
Of rock-hewn road, the fern trees cluster green,
Now and then lighted by a silver star
Of white immortelle flower, or overhung
By crimson peals of bright epacris bells.
Another bend, a shelter'd deepening rift,
And in the mountain's very heart they plunge - 
So dark the shade, the sun is lost to view.
Great silver wattles tremble o'er the path,
Which overlooks a glen - one varying mass
Of exquisite foliage, full-green sassafras,
The bright-leaf'd myrtle, dark-hued Kurrajong
And lavender, musk-plant, scenting all the air,
Entwined with clematis or bignonia vines,
And raspberry tendrils hung with scarlet fruit.
The riders pause some moments, gazing down,
Then upward look. Far as the peeping sky
The dell-like gully yawns into the heights;
A tiny cascade drips o'er mossy rocks,
And through an aisle of over-arching trees,
Whose stems are dight with lichen, creeping vines,
A line of sunlight pierces, lighting up
A wealth of fern trees; filling every nook
With glorious circles of voluptuous green,
Such as, unview'd, once clothed the silent earth
Long milliards past in Carboniferous Age.
A mighty nature-rockery! Each spot
Of fertile ground is rich with endless joys
Of leaf and fern; now here a velvet moss,
And there a broad asplenium's shining frond
With red-black veinings or a hart's-tongue point,
Contrasting with a pale-hued tender brake
Or creeping lion's-foot. See where the hand
Of ruthless man hath cleft the rock each wound
Is hidden by thick verdure, leaving not
One unclothed spot, save on the yellow road.
Reluctant the travellers leave the luscious shade 
To mount once more. But now another joy - 
An open view is here! Before them spreads
A waving field of ranges, purple grey,
In haze of distance with black lines of shade
Marking the valleys, bounded by a line
Of ocean-blue, o'er whose horizon verge
The morning mist-cloud hangs.  The distant bay
Is clear defined. The headland's dark arms stretch
(Each finger-point white-lit with dashing foam)
In azure circlet, studded with rugged isles -
A picturesque trio, whose gold rock sides glow
In noonday sunlight, and round which the surf
Gleams like a silvery girdle.
The grand Pass
Is traversed now, the inland plateau reach'd,
The last sweet glimpse of violet peaks is lost,
An upland rocky stream is pass'd, and naught
But same same gum-trees vex the wearied eye
Till Braidwood plain is reach'd
A township like
All others, with its houses, church, and school - 
Bare, bald, prosaic - no quaint wild tower,
Nor ancient hall to add poetic touch,
As in the dear old land - no legend old
Adds softening beauty to the Buddawong Peak,
Or near-home ranges with too barbarous names.
But everything is cold, new, new, too new
To foster poesy; and famish'd thought
Looks back with longing to the mountain dream.

A glimpse of England amid Australian hills
Amid the range that nears the southern coast
Bodalla lies - a smiling valley green;
So green, that to home-loving eyes it seems
E'en like a quiet dream of England hid
And nestled in the wild Australian hills.
There gleam the still blue lake and winding stream,
The golden corn-fields and the sunny slope;
While here and there are cottage homes and farms,
With browsing herds in clover pastures fed;
And furrow'd land o'er which the plough has pass'd,
In winter readiness for English seed,
That here, unconscious of an alien soil,
With old-world freshness still will spring and grow. 
The very air of all this peaceful land
Is soft and still, for sheltering mountains rise,
And, glooming blue and dark with varying shade,
Shut out the blighting winds, that restless blow
Yet cannot pass the tree-clad ramparts high;
While all the moisture steaming from the earth,
Held in, though rising, turns to dewy mist
And veils th' enclosing hills in sweet revenge;
Thus softly soothing all their rugged lines,
Deep'ning their shadows - adding richer glow.
And through alluvial flats the Tuross winds;
At first a serpentining silver stream,
But widening with blue waters to the sea
And overhung by blossoming wattles green;
Or like a liquid pathway glancing broad
Between a solemn avenue of oaks - 
Swamp-oaks, with fibrous fir-like leaves, that droop
Till dark reflections quiver in the deeps,
And thro' whose chords the gentlest wind will sigh
With soft Aeolian sounds, that lull the soul,
Yet stir its depths with longings vague and sweet.
A happy vale! that any man might love
To call his own and cherish to his heart!
See, in the midst, upon a rising slope
Beneath the shelter of the Bumbo Mount,
There gleams the homestead - gabled cottage white,
With creeping vines and garden flowers bright;
While on one side stand gold-brown stacks of hay,
The dairy and surroundings of the farm,
The clustering village of the workers' homes,
The quick steam-engine and the blacksmith's forge, 
Then in the front, o'er mignonetted beds,
The eye looks on a meadow rich and broad,
Its glistening tints in double greenness shown
And thrown out by the fringing ranges dark;
While round the fields the bending river flows
And almost makes an island of the spot,
Which seems so English-like, that we could look
And half believe ourselves again at home,
Or think this were a memory, taking form,
A reminiscence sweet, or waking dream!
Ah, Comerang! shall I picture thee at morn,
While still the valley sleeps in robe of mist.
And lowing cows of varied hue and form
Thro' frosty fields are driven to the sheds,
Where childish milkmaids, rosy-faced and bright,
With skilful hands press out the creamy milk? 
Or shall I paint thee in the golden hues
Of evening light - which, e'er the sun has set,
Floods all the fields with tinted radiance soft
And glances bright through lengthening shadows deep;
While in the west the purpling mountains glow,
Or faintly redden with a parting blush,
As day's king, ling'ring o'er his last good night,
Illumes the heights o'er which his glory sinks?
Nay, there is still a sweeter, holier time!
The sacred stillness of the Sunday morn,
When all the sounds of industry have ceased,
And labour's garments for a while put off,
The people answer to the echoing bell
That calls them to the work of prayer and praise.
Now, like a family gather'd in the hall - 
The homestead hall with church-like hangings deck'd,
They listen to the words, and pray the prayers
That thousand brethren e'en are lifting up
In distant churches at the self-same hour;
And music sweet and joyous hymns resound,
In men's deep bass and children's voices high,
Rising, thro' country air so pure and still,
To the Great Father of the fruitful earth.