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4-084 (Original)

Item metadata
Speaker:
addressee author,female,Foott, Mary Hannay,39
ns1:discourse_type
Verse
Word Count :
4262
Plaint Text :
ns1:register
Public Written
ns1:texttype
Verse
ns1:localityName
http://dbpedia.org/resource/Victoria
Created:
1885
Identifier
4-084
Source
Foott, 1885
pages
5-23
Document metadata
Extent:
24056
Identifier
4-084.txt
Title
4-084#Original
Type
Original

4-084.txt — 23 KB

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<source><g=f><o=b><age=39><status=2><abode=32><p=vic><r=pcw><tt=ve><4-084>
POEMS
[5] Where the Pelican Builds. 
(The unexplored parts of Australia are sometimes spoken of by the bushmen of Western Queensland as the home of the pelican, a bird whose nesting place, so far as the writer knows, is seldom, if ever found.)
The horses were ready, the rails were down,
But the riders lingered still,-
One had a parting word to say,
And one had his pipe to fill.
Then they mounted, one with a granted prayer,
And one with a grief unguessed.
"We are going" they said, as they rode away-
"Where the pelican builds her nest!"
They had told us of pastures wide and green,
 To be sought past the sunset's glow;
 Of rifts in the ranges by opal lit ,
 And gold 'neath the river's flow.
And thirst and hunger were banished words
 When they spoke of that unknown West;
 No drought they dreaded, no flood they feared,
 Where the pelican builds her nest!
The creek at the ford was but fetlock deep
 When we watched them crossing there ;
 The rains have replenished it thrice since then
 And thrice has the rock lain bare.
But the waters of Hope have flowed and fled,
 And never from blue hill's breast
 Come back-by the sun and the sands devoured -
 Where the pelican builds her nest !
5th, March, 1881. 

[6] Up North 
Into Thy hands let me fall, O Lord,-
 Not into the hands of men,-
And she thinned the ranks of the savage horde
 Till they shrank to the mangrove fen.
In a rudderless boat, with a scanty store
 Of food for the fated three,-
With her babe and her stricken servitor
 She fled to the open sea.
Oh, days of dolor and nights of drouth,
 While she watched for a sail in vain,
Or the tawny tinge of a river mouth,
 Or the rush of the tropic rain.
The valiant woman! Her feeble oar
 Sufficed, and her fervent prayer
Was heard, though she reached but a barren shore,
 And died with her darling there.
For the demons of murder and foul disgrace
 On her hearthstone dared not light;
But the Angel of Womanhood held the place,
 And its site is a holy site. 
In The Land Of Dreams 
A bridle-path in the tangled mallee,
 With blossoms unnamed and unknown bespread,-
And two who ride through its leafy alley,-
 But never the sound of a horse's tread.
And one by one whilst the foremost rider
 Puts back the boughs which have grown apace,-
And side by side where the track is wider,-
 Together they come to the olden place. [7] 
To the leaf-dyed pool whence the mallards flattered,
 Or ever the horses had paused to drink ;
Where the word was said and the vow was uttered
 That brighten for ever its weedy brink.
And Memory closes her sad recital,-
 In Fate's cold eyes there are kindly gleams,-
While for one brief moment of blest requital,-
 The parted have met,-in the Land of Dreams.
13th June, 1882. 

Happy Days 
A fringe of rushes,- one green line
 Upon a faded plain,-
A silver streak of water-shine,-
 Above, tree-watchers twain.
It was our resting-place awhile,
 And still, with backward gaze,
We say: "'Tis many a weary mile,-
 But there were happy days."
And shall no ripple break the sand
 Upon our farther way ?-
Or reedy ranks all knee-deep stand ?-
 Or leafy tree-tops sway ?-
The gold of dawn is surely met
 In sunset's lavish blaze;
And, -in horizons hidden yet,-
 There shall be happy days.
In The South Pacific 
A vision of a savage land,
 A glimpse of cloud-ringed seas;
A moonlit deck, a murderous hand;-
 No more, no more of these! [8] 
No more! how heals the tender flesh,
 Once torn by savage beast?
The wound, re-opening, bleeds afresh,
 Each season at the least!
O day, for dawn of thee how prayed
 The spirit, sore distressed;
Thy latest beams, upslanting, made
 A pathway for the blest.
And robes, new-donned, of the redeemed,
 Gleamed white past grief's dark pall:
So this, a day of death which seemed,
 A birthday let us call.
Remembering, such day as this,
 A soul from flesh was shriven,
By death, God's messenger of bliss;
 A spirit entered Heaven.
Thy dying head no loving breast
 Upheld, O early slain ;
But soon, mid welcoming saints, 'twas prest
 Where God's own Child has lain !
Though none at death broke Bread for thee,
 Or poured the Sacred Wine ;
Thou, nourished at His Board, dost see
 The Substance of the Sign.
We mourned thee! Heaven's new born, and rich
 Past all our prayers could claim,
Secure in blessedness, of which
 Wehave not learnt the name. 

In Time Of Drought 
"The river of God is full of water. "
-Psalm.
The rushes are black by the river bed,
 And the sheep and the cattle stand
Wistful-eyed,- where the waters were,
 In a waste of gravel and sand ;
Or pass o'er their dying and dead to slake
 Their thirst at the slimy pool.
[9] Shall they pine and perish in pangs of drought
 While Thy river, O God, is full.
The fields are furrowed, the seed is sown,
 But no dews from the heavens are shed;
And where shall the grain for the harvest be ?
 And how shall the poor be fed?
In waterless gullies they winnow the earth,
 New-turned by the miner's tool ;
And the way-farer faints 'neath his lightened load, -
 Yet the river of God is full.
For us, O Father, from tropic seas,
 Let the clouds be filled that shed
Rough rains upon Andes' eastward slope,-
 Soft snows on Himàleh's head.
Freight for us as for others thy dark-winged fleet,
 That soon by the waters cool,
We may say with gladness,-"Our need was great,
 But the river of God was full !" 

The Aurora Australis 
A radiance in the midnight sky
 No white moon gave, nor yellow star;
We thought its red glow mounted high
 Where fire and forest fought afar,
Half questioning if the township blazed,
 Perchance, beyond the boundary hill;
Then, finding what it was, we gazed
 And wondered till we shivered chill.
And Fancy showed the sister-glow
 Of our Aurora, sending lines
Of lustre forth to tint the snow
 That lodges in Norwegian pines. [10] 
And South and North alternate swept
 In vision past us, to and fro;
While stealthy winds of midnight crept
 About us, whispering fast and low.
The North, whose star burns steadily,
 High set in heaven long ago:
The South-new-risen on the sea-
 A tremulous horizon-glow.
We mused, "Shall there be gallant guests
 Within our polar hermitage,
As on the shore where Franklin rests,
 And others, named in Glory's page?
And, "Shall the light we look on blaze
 Above such battles as have been,
In other countries - other days -
 The giants and the gods between ?"
Till one declared, "We live to-night
 In what shall be the poet's world:
The lands 'neath our Aurora's light
 Are as the rocks the Titans hurled.
"From southern waters, ice-enthralled,
 Year after year the rays that glance
Shall see the Desert shrink appalled
 Before the City's swift advance.
"Shall see the precipice a stair,-
 The river as a road. And then
There shall be voices to declare
 'This work was wrought by manly men.'"
And so our South all stately swept
 In vision past us, to and fro;
While stealthy winds of midnight crept
 About us, whispering fast and low. 

[11] Wentworth 
'Tis a new thing for Australia that the waters to her bear
One who seeks not strength of sunshine, or the breath of healing air ;
One who reeks not of her riches, nor remembers she is fair
One who land and houses, henceforth, holdeth not,- for evermore;
Coming for such narrow dwelling as the dead need,- to the shore
Named aforetime by the spirit to receive the garb it wore.
'Tis a strange thing for Australia that her name should be the name
Breathed ere death by one who loved her,-claiming, with a patriot's claim,
Earth of her as chosen grave-place; rather than the lands of fame ;
Rather than the Sacred City where a sepulchre was sought
For the noblest hearts of Europe; rather than the Country fraught
With the incense of the altars whence our household gods were brought.
'Tis a proud thing for Australia, while the funeral-prayers are said,
To remember loving service, frankly rendered by the dead;
How he strove, amid the nations, evermore to raise her head.
How in youth he sang her glory, as it is, and is to be,
Called her "Empress,"- while they held her yet as base-born, over sea,
Owned her "Mother,"- when her children scarce were counted with the free!
How he claimed of King and Commons that his birthland should be used
As a daughter not an alien; till the boon, so oft refused,
Was withheld, at last, no longer; and the former bonds were loosed.
How the sears of serfdom faded. How he led within the light
Ofher fireside Earth's Immortals; chrism-touched from Olympus' height;
Whom gods loved; for whom the New Faith, too, has guest-rooms garnished bright.
[12] 'Tis a great thing for Australia; that her child of early years,
Shared her path of desert-travel,-bread of sorrow, drink of tears,-
Holding by her to these hill-tops, whence her Promised Place appears.
Titles were not hers to offer as the meed of service done;
Rank of peer or badge of knighthood, star or ribbon,-she had none;
But she breathes a mother's blessing o'er the ashes of her soil.
6th May, 1873. 

Nearing Port. 
A blue line to the westward that surely is not cloud
A green tinge in the waters; a clamorous bird-crowd; 
Then far-off foamy edges, and hill-tops timber fringed; 
And, perched aloft, a light-house, o'er grey cliffs golden-tinged.
O watchers leaning landward, know ye of nothing more ?- 
And hear ye but the sea-birds?- and see ye but the shore ? 
Nay,- look awhile,- and listen who bids you welcome there;-
The great seas kiss her sandals, the high stars gem her hair!
Behold her in the gateway! - high-held in either hand -
A blazing beacon,- lighted to lead you to the land.
"Now welcome, kindly welcome, who come to me for cheer!
My forts may frown on others, but ye have nought to fear.
The cannon's flash and thunder are all for joy to-day,- 
No murmurs meet your coming, - none wish to bar your way."
O, later called to labour, shall we who toiled at morn
Remember, as against you, the heat and burthen borne?
No, verity, we shall not !- We pray the labourer's Lord
May give you after-comers a full day's full reward.
Now fear not, fair-haired maiden, for gladness waits thee here,
As by thy father's fireside in bygone days and dear.
Thy troubled brow, O matron, beneath its silvering hair,
Shall gain no fresher furrows, shall lose its look of care; 
No longer for thy household the winter need'st thou dread,
Nor, fearing for to-morrow, shalt stint the children's bread.
[13] And thou, a "mother's darling," on those young locks of thine
What midnight rains shall batter,- what tropic suns shall shine!
Thy tender hands, toil-hardened, unwonted tools shall wield,-
Shall fell the columned forest,- shall till the furrowed field.
Yet, when at England's fireside her olden tales are told,
Perchance, 'mid tearful silence, one from the land of gold.
Shall tell a brave new story,- of want, and work, and care,-
Of trial and of triumph,- to touch the coldest there!
Now enter ye a haven your fathers have not known;
Now dwell ye in a country that once was not your own.
Part of the New World's army,-the pioneers,- are ye;
For whom there waits, ungathered, the wealth of earth and sea!
No need of "fiery baptisrn,"- no blood, no tears to flow,-
Ah, legions of the Caesars, had you but conquered so!
Ah, Vikings in Valhalla - our fathers dead and gone -
Could you have made such landing such golden shores upon! 

The Future Of Australia 
Sing us the Land of the Southern Sea,-
 The land we have called our own;
Tell us what harvest there shall be
 From the seed that we have sown.
We love the legends of olden days,
 The songs of the wind and wave;
And border ballads and minstrel lays,
 And the poems Shakespeare gave,-
The fireside carols and battle rhymes,
 And romaunt of the knightly ring;
And the chant with hint of cathedral chimes,-
 Of him "made blind to sing."
The tears they tell of our brethren wept,-
 Their praise is our fathers' fame ;
They sing of the seas our navies swept,-
 Of the shrines that lent us flame.
[14] But the Past is past - with all its pride,-
 And its ways are not our ways.
We watch the flow of a fresher tide
 And the dawn of newer days.
Sing us the Isle of the Southern Sea,-
 The land we have called our own;
Tell us what harvest there shall be
 From the seed that we have sown.
I see the Child we are tending now
 To a queenly stature, grown ;
The jewels of empire on her brow,
 And the purple round her thrown.
She feeds her household plenteously
 From the granaries we have filled;
Her vintage is gathered in with glee
 From the fields our toil has tilled.
The Old World's outcast starvelings feast,
 Ungrudged,- on her corn and wine;
The gleaners are welcome, from west and east,
 Where her autumn sickles shine.
She clothes her people in silk and wool,-
 Whose warp and whose woof we spun;
And sons and daughters are hers to rule;
 And of slaves,- she has not one!
There are herds of hers on a thousand hills!
 There are fleecy flocks untold ?
No foreign conquest her coffer fills,-
 She has streams whose sands are gold!
She shall not scramble for falling crowns,-
 No theft her soul shall soil,-
So rich in rivers, so dowered with downs,-
 She shall have no need of spoil !
But if,- wronged or menaced,- she shall stand
 Where the battle-surges swell,
Be a sword from Heaven in her swarthy hand
 Like the sword of La Pucelle !
[15] If there be ever so base a foe
 As to speak of a time-cleansed stain,-
To say, "She was cradled long ago,
 'Mid clank of the convict's chain."
Ask,- as the taunt in his teeth is hurled,-
 "What lineage sprang SHE from
Who was Empress, once, of the Pagan World
 And the Queen of Christendom?"
When the toilsome years of her youth are o'er,
 And her children round her throng ;
They shall learn from her of the sage's lore,
 And her lips shall teach them song.
Then of those in the dust who dwell,
 May there kindly mention be,
When the birds that build in the branches tell
 Of the planting of the tree. 

Sonnets I. CHRISTMAS DAY.
O happy day, with seven-fold blessings set 
Amid thy hallowed hours - the memories dear 
Of childhood's holidays - and household cheer, 
When friends and kin in loving circle met-
And youth's glad gatherings, where the sands were wet
By waves that hurt not, whilst the great cliffs near,
With storms erewhile acquaint, gave echo clear 
Of voices gay and laughter gayer yet. 
And graver thoughts and holier arise 
Of how, 'twixt that first eve and dawn of thine, 
The Star ascended which hath lit our skies 
More than the sun himself ; and 'mid the kine 
The Child was born whom shepherds, and the wise;
Who came from far, and angels, called Divine.

[16] II. THE NEW YEAR.
With supple boughs and new-born leaflets crowned,
Rejoicing in fresh verdure stands the tree, 
Though weather-scarred and scooped by fire may be
Its ancient trunk. So may our lives be found 
(God leaving still our roots within His ground.)
Where gaps of loss and waste show brokenly 
May each new year that comes to greet us see
Branches, and foliage, and flowers abound. 
Where Fortune, spoiling wayfarer, hath left
Unsightly rents, may garlands spring apace. 
And if, perchance, some pitiless wind hath reft 
Away what newer green shall ne'er replace, 
May heaven-light come the closer for the cleft 
O'er which no tender fronds shall interlace. 

Watch-Night. 
Midnight,- musical and splendid,-
 And the Old Year's life is ended,-
And the New, "born in the purple," babe yet crowned, among us dwells ;
 While Creation's welcome swells,-
 Starlight all the heavens pervading,
 And the whole world serenading
 Him, at birth, with all its bells!
Round the cradle of the tender 
 Flows the music, shines the splendor;
It is early yet for counsel, -but bethink how Hermes gave,-
 (While the Myths were bright and brave),-
 Thwarted Phoebus no small battle, 
 Seeking back his lifted cattle,-
 Hour-old Hermes, in his cave!
[17] New Year, if thy youth should blind us
 Thy swift feet, perchance, may find us
Sleeping in the dark,- unguarded,- as the sun-god's herds were found !
 Lest, unready, on his round 
 We be hurried,- World, take warning 
 That already it is morning
 And a giant is unbound!
Idle-handed yet, but willing,-
 Let us ponder ere the filling
Of his empty eager fingers with our heedless hot behest.
 Be our failures frank-confessed,-
 'Mid the gush of gladsome greeting
 Requiem in our hearts repeating
 For the years that died unblest.
How they came to us,- so precious!-
 How abode with us,- so gracious!-
Blindly doing all our bidding ; stronger, swifter than we thought.
 Like the sprites by magic brought
 Shaping dream to action for us; 
 Till we stood,- beset with sorrows,-
 Wondering what ourselves had wrought!
Ere the tightening of the tether
 Bind THIS YEAR and us together,
Let us pause awhile and ponder,-"Whither tend we side by side,-
 He who gallops,- we who guide?- 
 Once we start,- like lost LENORE, 
 Sung in Bürger's ballad-story,
 Fast as ODIN'S Hunt,- we ride! 

[18] The Belated Swallow. 
"And the birds of the air have nests."
Belated swallow, whither flying? 
The day is dead, the light is dying, 
 The night draws near: 
Where is thy nest, slow put together,
Soft-lined with moss and downy feather,
For shelter-place in stress of weather
 And darkness drear?
Past, past, above the lighted city, 
Unknowing of my wondering pity, 
 Seaward she flies. 
Alas, poor bird! what rude awaking 
Has driven thee forth, when storms are breaking,
And frightened gulls the waves forsaking 
 With warning cries?
Alas, my soul! while leaves are greenest
Thy heedless head thou fondly screenest
 Beneath thy wing. 
How bravely thou thy plumage wearest,-
How lightly thou life's burthen bearest,-
How happily thy home preparest,-
 In careless spring!
Yet Destiny the hour may bring thee 
When none of all that sing can sing thee 
 To joy or rest! 
When all the winds that blow shall blow thee;
And, ere the floods shall overflow thee, 
The sunlight linger but to show thee 
 Thy shattered nest! 

[19] No Message. 
She heard the story of the end,
 Each message, too, she heard,-
And there was one for every friend,-
 For her alone - no word.
And shall she bear a heavier heart,
 And deem his love was fled ;
Because his soul from earth could part
 Leaving her name unsaid ?
No,-no!-Though neither sign or sound
 A parting thought expressed,-
Not heedless passed the Homeward-Bound
 Of her he loved the best.
Of vovage-perils, bravely borne,
 He would not tell the tale;
Of shattered planks and canvas torn,
 And war with wind and gale.
He waited,-till the light-house star
 Should rise against the sky ;
And from the mainland looming far,
 The forest scents blow by.
He hoped to tell - assurance sweet!-
 That pain and grief were o'er,-
What blessings haste the soul to meet,
 Ere yet within the door.
Then one farewell he thought to speak
 When all the rest were past,-
As in the parting-hour we seek
 The dearest hand the last.
And while for this delaying but
 To see Heaven's opening Gate,-
Lo,- it received him,- and was shut,
 Ere he could say "I wait."

[20] For Charles Dickens 1870
Above our dear Romancer's dust
 Grief takes the place of praise,
Because of sudden cypress thrust
 Amid the old-earned bays.
Ah! when shall such another friend
 By England's fireside sit.
To tell her of her faults, yet blend
 Sage words with kindly wit?
He brings no pageants of the past
 To wile our hearts away;
But wins our love for those who cast
 Their lot with ours to-day.
He gives us laughter glad and long;
 He gives us tears as pure;
He shames as with the published wrong
 We meted to the poor.
Through webs and dust and weather-stains,
 His sunlike genius paints,
On life's transfigured chancel-panes,
 The angels and the saints.
He bade us to a lordly feast,
 And gave us of his best;
And vanished, while the mirth increased,
 To be Another's guest.
For Death had summoned him, in haste,
 Where hands of the Divine
Pour out, for him who toiled to taste,
 The Paradisal wine.
Well, God be thanked, we did not wait
 His greatness to discern
By funeral lights,- in that Too- Late
 When ashes fill the urn. 

[21] Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutant. 1870
The coup d'etat is blotted out
 With fresher blood, with blacker crime,-
As midnight horrors put to rout
 The vaguer ghosts of twilight-time.
"Greeting from those who are to die!--
 Hail Caesar!"- Draw the curtains round.
In vain !- That mournful mocking cry
 Pierces the purple with its sound.
And they who raise it enter too,-
 With spectral looks and noiseless tread,-
Unbidden, hold their dread review,
 Beside the Emperor's very bed.
They sought in his deserted tent;
 They found him in the German camp.
They tarry till the oil be spent
 That feeds his life's poor flickering lamp.
The hope of France,-the "gilded youth,"-
 So answering the trumpet's peal
As if revealing how, in sooth,
 The gilding oft o'erlies the steel.
Soldiers Algeria's sun has spared ;
 Heroes from Russia's fire and frost;
Grey veterans,-scarred and scanty-haired,-
 Who wept at word of eagles lost.
Workmen, who leave the rattling looms
 To ply, perforce, a deadlier trade;
Students, who quit their cloudy rooms
 To step within a heavier shade.
Slow-breaking hearts that suffer long,-
 Blinded and chilled 'neath love's eclipse;
Singing no more the happy song
 By horror frozen on their lips.
[22] From castled cities battle-proof,
 They press to the accusing ranks,-
From cottage walls,-from canvas roof,-
 Ere passing to the Stygian banks.
The thousands famine yet shall waste,-
 The holocaust disease will claim,-
As to God's Judgment-Bar they haste,
 They gaze on him who is to blame.
"Hail Caesar!"-While Napoleon's star
 From yon horizon beams "Farewell!"
Setting in exile,-where, afar,
 The children of St. Louis dwell.
Come from the past,-once-dreaded ghosts,
 Whose number and whose names he knew!-
The future plants,-at countless posts,-
 Sentries more terrible than you! 

Napoleon III. 
9th JANUARY, 1873.
His silent spirit from the place
 Slid forth unseen ; amid the throng
Of those whose love outlived disgrace,-
 Whose fealty to the last was strong.
'Midst homage, 'neath Fate's adverse reign,
 Paid to the star shorn of its rays,-
How passed the Exile ?- Lingering fain,-
 As never once in prouder days?
The Mother and the Child were there,-
 Discrowned and disinherited !-
No hand henceforth to right the heir:
 New griefs to bow the golden head.
How passed Napoleon ?- Prizing more,
 Old fame in camp and council won -
Or fearless England's aegis, o'er
 The future of her ally's son?
[23] Gate of that World we know not yet,-
 What thou beheld'st who may proclaim!-
Were spirit-ranks, in order set,
 Haunting thy portals,- as he came,-
With voices murmuring,-"Our life torch,-
 Unspent,-was quenched at his behest"?-
Did bygone princes fill the porch,-
 Bourbon, and Valois, and the rest?
How passed the soldier?- Cold and stern,-
 'Mid weaponless reproachful ghosts,-
As when he led them forth to learn
 How fight the hardy German hosts?
How passed the Emperor where THEY gazed,-
 Once wearers of the ancient crown?
As one who knew its lustre blazed
 The brighter ere he laid it down ?
How passed he?- brighter grows the dreand
 Past yon accusing spirit-band,-
Beyond the scornful Old Regime,-
 Another group of watchers stand!-
Those hands are stretched to greet him now
 That once Charlemagne's proud sceptre won;
While hastes Hortense with beaming brow,-
 No longer banished from her son! 
<\4-084><\g=f><\o=b><\age=39><\status=2><\abode=32><\p=vic><\r=pcw><\tt=ve>

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