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Title: "Stella Australis" - Poems, verses and prose fragments
Author: Coungeau, E.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Internet Archive)



                         “_Stella Australis_”

                             _POEMS VERSES
                                  and
                           PROSE FRAGMENTS_

                                 _by_

                             _E. COUNGEAU_

                    [Illustration: text decoration]

                GORDON AND GOTCH, QUEEN ST., BRISBANE,
                        Printers and Publishers

                                 1914.


 _To Miss F. Vida Lahey, of Brisbane, this small volume is dedicated._

                    [Illustration: text decoration]

    In East or West though I abide,
    By peaceful vale or mountain side,
    Thy crystal rills and sunlit sea--
    Dear land of beauty--calleth me.



Preface.


The _raison d’être_ of this small work was suggested to me at the time
of the lamented death of King Edward of happy memory. I essayed to mark
the date of his decease by writing a few lines in commemoration of the
event, and from that time forward I have felt a desire to express my
thoughts in verse, with the hope that Queenslanders, no less than
others, may see beauty in everything God has made. I am conscious there
are many defects, and ask the leniency of my readers.

I would here acknowledge the kindness and courtesy of “The Brisbane
Courier” for the production of my efforts in their valuable journal,
which encourages me to trust that some little pleasure may be derived
from their perusal. Such is the earnest wish of the Authoress.



Contents


                                                                    PAGE

Le Roi Est Mort                                                        1

To Australia                                                           2

Peace                                                                  4

Hope                                                                   6

To Selene                                                              8

If I Might Choose                                                      9

Queensland Pioneers                                                   10

Ibrahim Pasha at Scutari                                              11

Loss of the “Yongala”                                                 13

“The King”                                                            14

The Brotherhood of Man                                                16

Isodore                                                               17

Cleveland, Q.                                                         19

The Haunted Chair                                                     20

A Lonely Grave                                                        23

The Seven Ages of Woman                                               25

The Loss of the “Titanic”                                             27

A Song of Australia                                                   28

To a Child                                                            29

The Glasshouse Mountains, Queensland                                  30

Australia’s Destiny                                                   32

Evolution                                                             34

Love’s Reverie                                                        35

To the Rose                                                           36

In Memoriam: Captain Scott and his Comrades who
perished in Antarctica                                                37

Austral’s Heroes                                                      38

Life’s Duty                                                           40

The Temple of the Years                                               41

The Weavers                                                           42

The Jacaranda                                                         43

Where All is Understood                                               44

Remember                                                              45

The Quest                                                             46

The Muse                                                              47

In Memoriam: Bishop Webber                                            49

At Eventide                                                           50

Autumn                                                                51

To Sleep                                                              52

What is Man?                                                          53

The Blue Mountains, N.S.W.                                            55

The Poet Laureate: Alfred Austin                                      57

Mount Tambourine, Queensland                                          59

Dreams                                                                60

Australia to the Empire Mother                                        61

Youth and Age                                                         64

Imagination                                                           65

An Australian Reverie                                                 66

The Voice of Song                                                     68

Alienation                                                            69

At Night                                                              70

The Wattle                                                            72

Austral’s Song                                                        73

I Know Not                                                            74

Mobilite                                                              75

Music                                                                 76

The City of the “Violet Crown”                                        77

Aurelle                                                               79

The Tale of The Great White Plains                                    80

An Australian Hymn                                                    83

God’s Gift                                                            84

Because of Thee                                                       85

The Legend of Osyth’s Wood                                            87

Mount Gambier, South Australia                                        90

Scents and the Past--A Strong Connecting Link                         92

Malta--Just a Glimpse                                                 94

Smyrna                                                                97

The Ports of Palestine                                               103

The Ivory Temple--For Australian Women                               107

The Little Children--Making Good Citizens                            109

Music--Its Magnetic Charm                                            111

Man and His Dress                                                    114

So Long Ago                                                          116

                    [Illustration: text decoration]

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



LE ROI EST MORT.


    A nation’s soul had hung with bated breath
    Upon two fateful words: ’Twas Life or Death.
          The King is dead!

    Low lies that royal head; Death’s seal is pressed on
      that cold marble brow,
    Free from all sorrow now. He is at rest:
          The King is dead!

    And she, whom he adored, is stricken low;
    Nor tears, nor loving words, avail him now.
          The King is dead!

    Swifter than morning lights his soul hath
    Winged its flight beyond the stars.
          The King is dead!

    Earth’s nations bow the head in mutest grief
    For this: The Royal dead who sleeps beneath yon pall.
          The King is dead!

    Life’s pageantry is o’er; nor pomp, nor cavalcades disturb him more.
          The King is dead!

    Upon that stately bier reposeth now
    All that remains so dear, whom millions knew.
          The King is dead!

    O Angels, waft him home!
    O Lord of Life and Death,
    Thy will be done!
          The King is dead!

    And yet, he lives again! his son doth
    Him succeed!
          God bless his reign!



TO AUSTRALIA.


    Stella Australis! who with matchless grace
      Riseth like Aphrodité from the ocean’s foam,
    With dawn resplendent in thy smiling face
      And tresses flung to the wild breezes of thy home.

    Brilliant the gems thy bosom fair adorning,
      Rich run thy veins with golden treasure down;
    Thy girdle formed of pearls fair, as the morning,
      The starry Southern Cross thy peerless crown.

    The silver rills thy rocky slopes o’erflowing,
      The thunders of thy falls go rushing o’er
    To join the tree-fringed rivers in their going
      Down to the briny deep of Neptune’s floor.

    And Kosciusko towers in mighty solitude,
      Poising her regal head toward the sky,
    And ’mid the vast silence of her altitude
      Views undisturbed the storm clouds passing by.

    Thy subterranean rivers are unsounded,
      The golden corn is quivering on thy plain,
    Thy depths are stored with mineral wealth unbounded,
      The fame of which hath crossed the sounding main.

    And thou dost stand, thine arms outstretched with pleasure,
      To greet thy friends from that dear Motherland,
    To welcome them and give them of thy treasure,
      The wealth of ages which thou can’st command--

    Of ages when thy central seas became
      Haunts of primeval monsters of the deep;
    When thy volcanoes belched their sulphurous flame,
      And covered all with an eternal sleep,

    But thou art waking now, thou great Australia;
      Thou art an empire of thy very self,
    A trinity of oceans thee embraces,
      And crowns thee Empress of one Commonwealth.

    Oh, may our Empire-builders faithful be,
      Basing thy pillars’ vast foundations’ might
    Firm on the rock of justice, truth, and liberty,
      Leading thy people upward to the light.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            PEACE.


    Would that I had the muse’s lyre,
    The poet’s gift, and warm desire
    To cleave the heights to glory’s fame;
    From mountain pinnacles proclaim--
          Peace, universal peace.

    I’d string my lute, and make the chords
    Echo my heart’s deep burning words;
    And bid the nations contemplatively
    To vibrate to the grandest harmony--
          The song of peace.

    For nations rise, and nations fall;
    Battles are fought, and over all
    Death’s wings, their shadowy darkness spread
    With woe and terror, fraught with dread
          To all mankind.

    Where are the ruins of magnificence
    Which the grim demon war has overthrown?
    Where are the hanging gardens of Semiramis
    When Babylonian maids their glances threw
          Upon their bloom?

    Egypt and Carthage, Greece and Rome havepassed
    In long procession down the stream of Time;
    The sands of centuries o’er them are cast.
    Gone are those mighty cities at whose shrine
          Knelt luxury and vice.

    And in their train came war with cruel knife,
    Creating widows, pestilence and death;
    And man against his brother in the strife
    Fell ’neath the devastating monster’s breath,
          His blood the price.

    Then speed the day when the white dove of peace,
    With olive branch extended to the world,
    Shall all unite in brotherhood to man,
    With flag of universal love unfurled--
          And war shall cease.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            HOPE.


    I walked with joy: the path was smooth
    And rose-strewn, for all things to youth
    Seem beautiful; and in those childhood’s days
    Oft’ would I wander dreaming down the ways
    Which led into the grotto in the leafy wood,
    Where chestnut trees and tall laburnums stood,
    Waving their golden heads; and ’neath my feet
    Grew cowslips, anemones, and bluebells sweet;
    And past the statue of old “Time,” so scarred,
    Who, scythe in hand, in stony silence stared.
    And the green sward, like velvet carpet, spread,
    With the vast canopy of azure sky o’erhead.
    And down the slope where deer with lustrous eye
    And schools of rooks would weary homeward fly.
    Across the lake the swans would graceful glide,
    While we our daisy chain would weave, beside
    The bank where lay the water lilies white--
    Where in our childish fancy dwelt a sprite.
    Ah, me! Those days returning nevermore!
    But thoughts remain alone of those sweet days of yore.

    I walked with grief. The way was rough and long.
    The world was gray and gloomy, and the voice of song
    Was hushed. No longer did the silver tones of dear
    Home voices with their music greet mine ear;
    But sudden memory would sometimes ope a door,
    And forms and faces, long since gone before,
    Would force the poignant tears of grief to flow--
    For those dear vanished friends of long ago.

    I walked with Hope, who stretched a tender thread
    And led me on and upward, past the dead,
    Dark days. Then did my captive spirits find
    That disappointments and the years had sunk behind
    The grandeur and the majesty sublime
    Of higher thoughts, and hidden things divine.
    And sweet communion of kindred souls
    Without the mortal ban, as free as rolls
    The ocean when in placid mood;
    Or the pure air, pouring in joyous flood,
    Piercing the veil of flesh to see some noble spirit in its purity,
    With lofty and exalted mein in calm serenity,
    Making the common tasks a noble duty and a prayer,
    Ascending to the skies, and placing there
    A holy sacrifice--The altar place Heaven’s throne--
    Making our Earth an Eden of our own.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



TO SELENE.


    Pale queen of beauty, in thy cold abode
      Lonely thou art, lonely thou e’er wilt be;
    No sweet companion ever with thee rode
    Along that trackless waste of vast immensity.

    Or asked thee what dark secrets thou dost hold
      In thy deep jagged craters, now so dead,
    Which once with Vulcan’s rage and mutterings bold,
      Were filled with Jovian darts and thunders dread.

    Thou art a soul-less beauty, yet thy form
      Reflects its softly glowing radiance!
    And unborn millions yielding to thy charm
      Will bask in blissful dreams of dalliance.

    How many vows, dear, cold and proud Selene,
      Hast thou seen plighted ’neath thy smiling face?
    How many broken hearts now rest serene
      In their last slumber ’neath thy dwelling place?

    We love thee for thy sweet insouciance,
      Nor would we care to dwell without thy light.
    Thy pallor doth thy loveliness enhance,
      Adored and stately Lady of the Night.



            IF I MIGHT CHOOSE.


    If I might choose the home where I would dwell,
    I’d choose to live where the long rolling swell
    And murmuring voices of the sun-lit sea
    Bring restful dreams and sweet tranquility.

    If I might choose the flowers that I love best,
    I’d choose the violet and the pansy, pressed
    Against my wounded heart to ease its pain,
    And stay the bitter tears which fall in vain.

    If I might choose the songs which I would sing,
    I’d choose the songs which breathe of gentle spring;
    With thoughts of love and life, and flowers that bloom,
    And scatter fragrance after winter’s gloom.

    If I might choose the books o’er which I’d pore,
    I’d choose the treasures rare of ancient lore
    Where sages told of kingdoms come and gone,
    And glorious heroes who had laurels won.

    If I might choose the friends whom I could love,
    I’d choose the friends who brave and true would prove
    In days of sadness and in days of mirth,
    Tried like fine tempered steel, strong in its worth.

    If I might choose the time when I could live
    In happiest mood, I’d choose the early eve
    Of life, when feet could rest, and thoughts could flow
    Like gentle wavelets, rippling to and fro.

    If I might choose the grave where I would lie,
    I’d choose the forest depth, where symphony
    Of winds would like Æolian harp-strings blend,
    And sweetest solace to my spirit send.



            QUEENSLAND PIONEERS.


    The pens of Austral’s sages shall in the misty future dim
    Write a grand record--Australia’s national hymn
    Of progress. And on the scroll of ages shall the rhyme
    Inscribed and treasured be upon the shelf of Time--
    Of pioneers’ illustrious names, who fought so brave
    Against barbaric nature, and who found a grave
    In the lone bush, and on the burning sand,
    Fighting the King of Terrors, with no loving hand
    To pillow soft their dying head, or wipe Death’s dew
    From their damp forehead ere the tortured spirit grew
    Fainter and weaker still, till all was o’er;
    And naught but their great names for evermore
    Remain. Such heroes hath Australia given to be
    The graven basic landmarks of her dynasty,
    When mighty cities on her verdant shore shall rise
    And teeming millions dwell beneath her skies,
    Her starry standard, ever white, unsoiled shall be,
    Urging her onward towards her glorious destiny.



            IBRAHIM PASHA AT SCUTARI.


    The voices of the Heralds, repeated by the echoes
    From the mountain-tops to the depths of the
    Valleys, are calling all good patriots to arms.
    Those heroes so proud and intrepid who will
    Never again see their native hearth until covered
    With glory, bearing their trophies of victory. They will return or die.

    Thus they will assemble around their chiefs;
    Their silver-mounted arms, their burnished
    Swords flashing resplendent in the sun.
    The gun, faithful companion of all Albanians,
    Must be placed in the hands of every youth who
    Has attained three times the age of five years.

    They must, like a furious torrent, rush precipitantly
    Towards the danger which menaces them.
    Our dear country is in peril. The enemy hides
    His designs, and sends ambassadors; but behind
    Them are the chains with which they will bind
    Us should they attain their desires;
    They will make us serfs, slaves, for such is their intention.

    And shall we calmly await such dishonor?
    What is Death to us? Does not the memory
    Of our forefathers rise and reproach us for our
    Indolence and lack of courage?
    Our dear country is the Mother who nourished
    Our children, and who inspires us to loyal and
    Pure sentiments, and filial love. Shall we not
    Then shed our blood for our country?

    Hark! bitter cries are borne on the wings of the
    North wind. The dust whirling in nebulous globes
    Announces the coming march of an army.
    It is the thirty-thousand Albanians of Scutari marching
       to meet the enemy.
    But see! Who is this mounted officer approaching,
    Bearing himself with such dignity and repose of
    Mien; yet who withal can inspire such terror?
    He of colossal stature, with eagle glance, who
    With uplifted sword leads on to battle.

    This is Ibrahim Pasha, most illustrous of
    Warriors, distinguished as much for his virtue as for his courage.
    Advance, then, ye Bosnians, ye Roumelians!
    Asiatics, all of ye. We fear you not, though
    Ye were thrice as numerous. We shall be victorious;
    Death to us is nought.

    The carnage is terrible, Amhed succumbs,
    And there with their great general lie the
    Brave dead of the Ottoman Army.
    The rage of the combatants ceases suddenly.
    A panic seems to have seized them. The
    Ottoman troops take flight. They are overcome by fear.

    Why do they depart? Rather they should remain
    And learn of the valour and prowess of the Albanians.
    Their brilliant standards are mingled with
    Those of the victors. They are trophies, spoils of
    The enemy, abandoned upon the field of battle.

    Return we now to the bosom of our families.
    Welcome us (youths and husbands) who desire
    To rest after the heat of the Battle. And, oh
    Faithful wives, we will teach our children to
    Follow in our footsteps and imitate our courage.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            LOSS OF THE “YONGALA.”


    Toll, ocean, toll thy melancholy dirge!
    Hard fought that gallant ship with foaming surge;
    Ere morning broke, scarce was there left a trace--
    Youth, beauty, all clasped in thy cold embrace.
    Gone like a dream! dear eyes and gleaming hair,
    And Queensland’s noble manhood with a prayer
    Laid on their lips, now cold and still, and dumb,
    All their last thoughts of God and home, sweet home.
    Oh, avalanche of grief! see Austral weep
    For those, her sacred dead, who calmly sleep
    Inside the Barrier Reef, on coral bed.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Mourn, Austral, mourn! our country’s heart stands still!
    E’en though rebellious, kneel we to His will.
    Mourn for the beautiful, who, in the bloom
    Of life and health, were destined for the tomb!
    Roll on, remorseless and resistless waves,
    Incline the mourner’s ear to Him who saves,
    And at the fiat “Time shall no more be,”
    May thou restore our dead to us, O Sea.



“THE KING”


    Australia’s flag floats on the breeze,
      On this the Coronation day.
    From torrid zones to zones that freeze,
      Old England still doth wield her sway.

    So to our King with loyal hearts
      We lift our loving cup and say
    “Be as thy sire--a man of parts--
      In the great drama thou must play.”

    He hath not asked to be a King;
      The destinies decreed it so.
    Then forth the royal mantle bring,
      And press the crown on regal brow!

    Australia with her pride of race;
      The younger Empire’s daughter fair--
    The sea-king’s child of gentle face--
      Noble and strong to do and dare.

    Whose ties of blood far stronger are
      Cementing freedom’s civil rights
    Than bands of steel or iron bar--
      A constitution strong in might--

    Swears her allegiance to thy throne,
      And sacred person by the sign
    Of her own virtue, fervent grown,
      In love of liberty divine.

    A race distinctive she hath bred,
      Offspring of high unsullied name;
    And down the centuries her tread
      Shall never bend to servile fame.

    Her sons, within her ramparts grim,
      Watch in her rocky coat of mail;
    Chivalrous, strong and lithe of limb--
      Ready, should foe their land assail.

    Well doth she know the hour must come,
      When boom of cannon, clash of spear,
    And martial music, sound of drum,
      Announce to all “the foe is near.”

    And in her hands she holds the keys;
      I hear her footsteps at the gate--
    The Eastern Gate--of Eastern Seas,
      O’er which shall ride her ships of state.

    When Western Empires disappear
      As lost Lemuria in the myths
    Of ages, Austral still will bear
      Her story in her Monoliths.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN.


    What, though thou be not rich, or great;
    What, if of thy deeds some men shall prate;
    What, though thy dearest friends should blame,
    Or scandal weave around thy name.
    Walk in the light of day; thy steps shall leave
    Some traces by the way. Nor do thou grieve
    O’er thy past deeds. If thou would’st drain the cup
    To its last dregs of happiness, look up
    And labour ’gainst despair and doubt
    And help thy fellow man. Look up! Look out!
    For every noble deed thy heart shall swell
    With joy; for thou thyself within the well
    Of thine own heart dost hold the keys of Heaven or Hell.
    Endowed with knowledge thou must see
    His ways; though sometimes veiled they be.
    Then do not murmur at thy weary load,
    But sow the seeds of patience on thy road,
    And in the harvest of the sun and sod
    Perchance thou’ll lead a brother up to God.
    Be true unto thyself, so that thou can
    Seal with love’s seal, the brotherhood of man.



            ISODORE.


    Once upon a night so dreary
      I was seated all alone
    In my sanctum sad and weary,
      All my heart was turned to stone.

    And the rain fell, never ceasing,
      While the wind with angry roar
    Howled against the leaden casements,
      As it n’er had done before.

    And my soul was filled with sorrow
      For my lost and lonely bride;
    I had gained her, but to lose her,
      Isodore, my joy and pride.

    Ah! I felt so sorely wounded,
      I should see her nevermore,
    For pale death had swiftly borne her
      To that misty, silent shore.

    In her bridal robe we laid her
      Clasped her gems o’er filmy lace
    With her golden tresses streaming
      Round about her saintly face.

    So my thoughts went ever trending
      To my darling’s lonely grave,
    While the firelight threw its shadows
      And the tears my cheeks did lave.

    Sudden, came a thrill of terror--
      As a long despairing moan
    Smote my ear, from out the casement,
      Where the elder tree had grown.

    Fearful, oped I wide the window,
      Where, with lantern gleaming red,
    Stood my dearest Isodora
      Or her spirit from the dead.

    Then she spoke in voice quite human,
      “’Tis your own, your Isodore;”
    Quickly I unbarred the portal
      As she prone sank to the floor.

    ’Twas no vision; she was mortal
      And her tale she slowly told;
    How the wicked sexton robbed her,
      As she lay in coffin cold.

    He had hacked her slender fingers
      To secure the rings so rare;
    She, from cataleptic slumber
      Woke, and saw his lantern there.

    Then the sexton ghastly gazing,
      Dropped his booty there and fled,
    Little thinking, he, in robbing,
      Gave me back my precious dead.

    Happy years have we together
      Spent, my Isodore and I;
    And no more I pensive ponder,
      Lonely when the night winds sigh.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            CLEVELAND, Q.


    She hath no strands of coral, rimmed with gold,
      Or mermaids, in green dells of ancient story;
    But rippling, laughing waves her feet enfold,
      And land and seascape gleam with glittering glory.

    Clad in her verdant raiment, in the crystal dawning
      While golden wings of beauty o’er her rest,
    Its passion, dimming the pale star of morning,
      The Sun god’s kiss upon her face is pressed.

    And ’neath the ti-tree’s shade, and spreading fig trees,
      The meek kine, lowing, wander at their will;
    While, borne upon the fragrant evening breeze,
      The mopoke’s notes are heard from “copse” and hill.

    And lo! When Luna’s orb in splendour lies
      O’er Stradbrooke’s purple hill, and gem-set isles,
    She gazes o’er the Point ’neath opal skies
      To Cotton’s mountain wreathed in vernal smiles.

    The red land waits for man to till the sod
      With plough-share and with courage, heart and will--
    To sow the seed where lies the barren clod,
      Turning the grist to gold, with Nature’s mill.



            THE HAUNTED CHAIR.


    One of a large house party, on a frosty Christmas Eve,
    The conversation led to ghosts in which some folks believe.
    “I wish this house were haunted,” cried a lady young and gay;
    “I’d shut myself within its gloom, and none should say me nay.”
    Our host informed us gravely that up the broad oak stair,
    Was a sealed and disused chamber, which owned a haunted chair.
    His grandfather long years before was missing from his bed;
    They searched and found him sitting within the arm-chair--dead.
    His wealth had been proverbial, but no one found a will;
    And though in manner sometimes strange, no one had wished him ill.
    “The secret never had been solved,” our host said, “nor a trace
    Of ought remained, except the land, and this ancestral place.”
    “’Tis done,” the lady said; “to-night I sleep in that arm-chair.
    “And if his ghost appears to me, I’ll never show my fear.”
    That night the lady went and sat within the chamber dim;
    She drew the curtain, chose a book, and read a Christmas hymn.
    And then a fear possessed her, she grasped the huge arm-chair,
    For in the shadows she could see a man with whitened hair.
    His hands were clasped above him in suppliant attitude.
    And tears were streaming down like rain, while words in torrent flowed:
    “I had a brother once, a boy. I loved him as my life,
    But he destroyed my happiness, he stole my promised wife.
    We parted, he to Austral’s land, I for long years to mourn,
    Until his widow sought me out to aid her infant son.
    We married, and I brought him up, but he my wealth desired;
    I hid it here, for of this youth with fear was I inspired.
    Who’er shall find this secret, as my will doth so declare,
    Shall take the half, and all the rest the poor shall have a share;
    And Christ reward the hand that finds, and does this Christian deed,
    For He hath said unto His flock, “See that my lambs ye feed.”
    She rose with awe, he beckoned her, the chair began to creak;
    He pressed two large brass nails which lay beneath the leather back.
    And there inside the haunted chair were heaps and heaps of gold.
    And papers tied with tapes, and strings, and dusty parchments old.
    Her dream she told that Christmas morn, the haunted chair was brought--
    A fearful weight it was to move, ’twas well and truly wrought--
    At length with pressure brought to bear the nails began to move.
    When there disclosed to light of day, lay the old man’s treasure-trove.
    The lady won’t believe in ghosts, but she believes in dreams,
    And also that this lovely world is better than it seems.
    To-day we are the owners of the ancient haunted chair--
    And clasping Christmas presents my wife is seated there.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            A LONELY GRAVE.


    Somewhere it lies near the gleaming bay,
    On the Redland road with its winding way
    Through the bush--where a fence in a lonely spot
    Surrounds a grave in its hallowed plot.

            List in nights so lonely
            Zephyrs sigh only
            A requiem.

    Through the scorching heat of the bush fire’s breath,
    Which hath spent its rage near this place of death,
    Unscathed it remains--with the tree which grows
    At the foot of this grave, which nobody knows--
            Where in night so lonely
            The winds breathe only
            A requiem.

    Somebody knew; but now nobody knows
    Of the poor lone corse which in deep repose
    Lies in earth’s embrace--till the sleeper awakes
    In the glorious dawn, when God’s morning breaks,
            And no more so lonely
            The winds sigh only
            A requiem.

    Is it the grave of a father old
    Who had toiled too hard for the red, red gold?
    Or a brother, a sister, a mother, or son
    Or a lover adored by a trusting one,
            Who, through long years,
            Shed bitter tears--
            Her requiem?

    Then peace to this grave, of whom nobody knows,
    Right close to the track, where the sunset glows
    Through the network and woof of the whispering leaves--
    One spirit at least for thy loneliness grieves--
            Where in nights so lonely,
            The winds chant only
            Thy requiem.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            THE SEVEN AGES OF WOMAN.


    A baby softly nestling
      ’Mid clouds of fluffy white,
    In nurse’s arms, with pinken charms
      Quite hidden out of sight.
    Or next, displayed on cushion fine,
      For visitors to see,
    This precious mite is brought to light
      For compliments--at tea.

    A lovely girl, with angel face,
      And hair like molten gold,
    Whose violet eyes, in sweet surprise,
      ’Neath ivory lids unfold
    Their meeting charm, with eyebrows arched
      And forehead broad and low;
    And scarlet lips, where Cupid sips
      The honey from its bow.

    Behold, her schooldays almost o’er,
      Slight, pretty and precise,
    A favourite at all the sports--
      And voted “very nice,”
    At tennis, and at golfing, or at swimming
      Quite _au fait_;
    And all the rage upon the stage
      Of amateurs at play.

    At length the happy day arrives;
      She at the altar stands,
    Declaring that she will obey
      Her dear liege lord’s commands.
    The vows are said, and she is wed,
      Queen of his heart she’ll reign,
    And never, never make him wish
      To be unwed again.

    A few years flown, a little dent
      Appears between her eyes;
    When vexed, she murmurs, “I’m not sure
      That I was very wise
    To marry young, with nerves unstrung;
      For me there is no mirth;
    Of course, I would not change my “hub”
      For anyone on earth.”

    At forty, she is young again,
      The children growing up,
    And, what with theatres, and trips
      To see the Melbourne Cup,
    Pandora-like, she clings to hope
      As long as it will last--
    If only Time will stay his hand,
      Nor sow crow’s feet so fast.

    At fifty-five, too tired to walk,
      And only taking drives,
    The doctor says she is too plump,
      Still, to look young she strives.
    And well she may; why should she not?
      She’s just the age she looks;
    And man is just the age he feels,
      Least, so it says in books.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            THE LOSS OF THE TITANIC.


    T The wild winds moan a requiem for the dead
    H Hard by Newfoundland. In an icy bed
    E England’s, America’s, illustrous men

    L Lie side by side, vanished from mortal ken.
    O Oh! Earth is plunged in grief: brothers are we;
    S Souls cry to souls across that cold grey sea.
    S So late she sped along that gleaming track,

    O Oh! could unnumbered tears but call her back.
    F Forth to her doom with twice seven hundred breasts

    T Throbbing with pulsing life, that floating palace rests.
    H Howl loud ye winds! Ye cruel ice-floes weep!
    E E’en though thy victims, yet they calmly sleep,

    T Thou canst not harm them more. The human tears
    I In memory’s casket down the future years
    T Their grief will take; recount the awful fate.
    A Alas! Those calls for aid which came too late
    N Nought could avail. The mammoth vessel dashed
    I In sudden thundering, while her timbers crashed.
    C Caught in the vortex ’neath the deafening boom;

    I Instant the shock which hurled her to her doom.
    N No fond adieu; gone beyond time and sense,

    M Mourn for the sudden call of those departed hence.
    E E’en though their burial place, the lonely deep,
    M Mutely we plead with Him their souls to keep.
    O On their dear forms no more, or their sweet eyes
    R Resting on beauty’s lines n’er may they rise.
    I In their dark home they lie while billows surge
    A Around that sunken ship, and chant a dirge
    M Mournful for they who sleep beneath the surge.



            A SONG OF AUSTRALIA.


    Sing, sing of Australia whose golden clime
    Hath the Eucalyptus and odorous Lime,
    The emblem of freedom for chaplet fair,
    And pearls and opals to bind her hair,
    Lo! softly Aurora her beams hath shed
    In crimson shafts o’er her ocean bed.
    Daughter of Helios, whose azure eyes
    Reflect the rays of the Southern skies.

    Sing the feathery Palm, her fan so gay,
    While jewell’d isles with her fingers play;
    Sing her flocks and herds of the glowing West,
    And the olives and vines of her hills’ green crest,
    Sing her silver rivers and yellow gold,
    And the glorious Wattle whose buds unfold
    A wealth of beauty ’neath sun and shower,
    Fit for a queen in royal bower.

    Sing her flashing falls, and her rillets flow,
    As in the ages long, long ago,
    When in embryo she stately lay
    Waiting the dawn of her natal day.
    Sing of her morn which hath come at last
    Though perchance she will shiver before the blast;
    But the storm must come and the clarion call
    Will resound from her Eastern to Western wall.

    Sing of her peerless youth so free
    As she beareth the lamp of Liberty
    With a proud high look, and a sensitive ear
    Fill’d with expectant hope and fear.
    Sing of her prestige exalted and pure
    In the hearts of her patriots ever secure,
    The Midas of Empires, resplendent and brave
    In magnificence reigns, the queen of the wave.



            TO A CHILD.


    I will paint thee as thou art;
      Summers two have left their trace
    On thy features, and thy heart
      Hath its reflex in thy face.

    Hair of gold thy brow doth crown;
      Eyes like sparkling jewels two,
    For no evil yet hath thrown
      Shadows o’er those wells of blue.

    Little hands our face caress,
      Tiny pinken earshells two,
    Sweetest smiling lips that press
      Drops of limpid fairy dew.

    When in slumber thou dost lie,
      Even in thy baby dreams,
    Angels weave a lullaby
      To the murmur of the streams.

    I will paint thee as I muse
      On thy journey up Life’s hill;
    Courage for thy guerdon choose;
      Work with heart, and brain, and will.

    I would paint thee, if I might,
      Tender, patient, doing good,
    In thy coming years so bright--
      Patriot, Statesman, if I could.



            THE GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS, QUEENSLAND.


    T Thou mighty Monoliths of Nature’s mould,
    H Horologes of time and seasons which have rolled
    E Ere mortals’ drama on life’s stage begun.

    G Gray ocean hid thee in oblivion.
    L Lo! in the archaic rocks thy feet were laid,
    A And Saurian monsters once around thee played,
    S Sun, moon and stars alone thy forms had viewed,
    S Standing in weird mysterious solitude.
    H Heaving and shuddering with internal wrath
    O Out from thy vitals Jovian bolts came forth:
    U Unchained thy fury and malignant ire,
    S Spirits of Vulcan poured their liquid fire,
    E Epochs rolled on. The waves retreating fled.

    M Moribund thou, thy craters cold and dead,
    O O’er thy scarred summits lurid flames no more
    U Unsheathed their molten tongues--thy life was o’er.
    N Now, man upon thy rugged shoulders stands
    T Turning expectant eyes o’er dunes and strands;
    A Amethyst islands in enchanting beauty lie
    I In Moreton’s waters ’neath the sapphire sky.
    N Nature hath carved thy frames inscrutable:--
    S Stupendous mounds of God immutable.

    Q Quelled is thy passion! In the glowing dawn
    U Under a misty veil thy mitred heads forlorn,
    E Ever in solemn beauty mid the silence stand,
    E Eternal sentinels of Time’s stern hand.
    N ’Neath thy vast shadows browse the goat and steer,
    S Sphinx-like thy gaze thou canst not see or hear,
    L Lovely in death, though slow be thy decay,
    A All things created change and pass away.
    N Nor, though man would thy secret learn in vain,
    D Doth thou confess: Ye watch towers of the plain.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            AUSTRALIA’S DESTINY.


    I see Australia’s footprints marking out her destiny,
    No castles proud or battlements proclaim her ancestry:
    But the Empire Mother’s children are strong and lithe and free,
    And they bravely bear their starry flag; true knights of chivalry.
    Beneath the glittering Southern Cross where the red hibiscus’ flame,
    Where set in a sea of silver lie the thousand isles of fame,
    Is the Barrier Reef--the rampart--whence with hundred eyes of hate
    The shrapnel shell may sound the knell of the foe at the Eastern Gate.
    And the lineal sons of Norsemen with the lightning of their glance
    Will ready be for the enemy with rapier and with lance.
    Her ships may scour the ocean but the nation holds the key
    Of future power, who, with aerial fleet, can claim supremacy.
    The shadow of the hand is there which presages a power
    When, with alliance severed in some unguarded hour,
    Heedless of signs portentous we see no clouds of war,
    With pomp and pride through portals wide the alien hordes may pour.
    Then let us fill Australia with our kin, there’s room for all,
    For see the fingers writing still the message on the wall;
    And listen with our pride of race we children of the dawn,
    To the warning voice of nations while yet it is the morn.
    And like true soldier citizens, who armed, may keep the peace,
    ’Twill lead the way unto the day when the demon war shall cease.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            EVOLUTION.


    A child of the Sun I am ages old,
    I live on the past, and its wisdom unfold;
    A handmaid of nature my dwelling unseen,
    I’m integrally part of whatever has been.
    Like a meteor I sprang from the womb of the sky,
    For of sun dust and star dust an atom am I;
    Whatever my place in cosmogonic laws,
    I belong to the great and invisible cause.
    Incorporate yet with the corporate mind
    I resolve myself, evolve, and govern mankind.
    I was nursed in oblivion, with silence was reared,
    Controlling man’s destiny, ever unheard;
    I press through the centuries slowly, but sure,
    And I never may rest until time be no more.
    An atom of mighty centrifugal force,
    No power can destroy or can alter my course:
    Though earth and her satellite fall like a star,
    I still will rejoice on some planet afar.
    A mentor I am if man will but read,
    For cause and effect are God’s agents indeed.
    Though I ever despoil, yet I ever renew,
    And I silently work where no mortal may view:
    I move on the mountains, I move in the deep,
    I never am still, yet eternally sleep;
    Like the dew of the morning refreshing the ground
    I bless and am blended with all things around.
    From the steps of the past to the future I climb,
    For from Heaven I am sent with a message sublime:
    On the rocks--nature’s book--my traces I leave,
    That in me--Evolution--you all may believe.



            LOVE’S REVERIE.


    I sang a song one glorious eve
      Meant for your ears alone,
    I may not sing that song again
      For years since then have flown;
    But I remember that the dew
    Lay glistening in your eyes so blue.

    I sang to you one summer day
      All through the golden hours
    As down a mossy dell we strayed
      And plucked the scented flowers;
    And as I sang love’s sweet refrain
    Your eyes were dim with tears again.

    I sang when night in splendour fell
      Where southern stars look down
    And they and you alone could tell
      How deep my love had grown,
    And when I saw your eyes ashine
    It seemed to make my love divine.

    Dear heart, I sang to you alone
      My song with trembling voice,
    Which told how love could make our lives
      A holy sacrifice.
    Then tenderly, with quivering breath
    You gave yourself to me till death.



            TO THE ROSE.


    Goddess of beauty: at thy magic breath
    My spirit turneth from the gate of death,
    And in thy deep red heart would find repose
    And dreams of Arcady: thou queenly rose.

    This morn I deemed that happiness had flown,
    For all the world to me had colder grown.
    But lo! The angel of the flowers hath kissed
    Thy petals with the dew of morning mist.

    The fragrant violet, in its mossy shrine,
    Hath not the blushing loveliness of thine;
    And though within thy silky stem a dart
    Doth lurk, pray do not pierce my heart.

    In all my garden, in its beauty set,
    With waxen lilies and with mignonette,
    And pansies purple with sweet amber eyes--
    The charm of Flora’s glory with thee lies.



            IN MEMORIAM.

            CAPTAIN SCOTT AND COMRADES WHO PERISHED IN ANTARCTICA.


    Not in mausoleum built of carven stone
    Sleep Britain’s heroes, but they lie alone
    In temple grand as human heart could crave
    Scott and his comrades in their mighty grave.
    The ice their couch, with pure white snow for shroud.
    Oh! Avalanche of woe: earth weeps aloud:
    The star-fringed sky their pall. No mournful bell,
    Or loving voice to breathe farewell: farewell.
    No muffled drum, nor flag to drape their bier;
    No shot was heard, nor fell one human tear.
    But where dark Erebus her vigil lone doth keep,
    Our heroes sleep serene their long last sleep.
    Their names are written in the Terrene sod:
    Their spirits are immortal with their God.



            AUSTRAL’S HEROES.


    We praise the deeds of ancient heroes bred
    Beneath Olympus’ venerable head,
    Or proud Parnassus’ patriarchal crown
    And victors’ wreaths which sons of Hellas won.
    Of Solon, whose impassioned lips once poured
    From the great Pynx his eloquence of word;
    And mighty Hector, and Astyanax, his boy,
    At once the idol and the pride of Troy.
    These vanished heroes, and the temples of the plain
    Though voiceless, ever deathless will remain;
    For though her brilliant Sun has long since set
    The spell of Hellas lingers o’er us yet.
    But we, as thus we sing of Greece and Rome,
    Have heroes such as they, and nearer home;
    The sons of sires who through the ages fought
    Like Trojans, fired with all the deeds they wrought;
    Our pioneers who delved the virgin soil
    In this new land with patient endless toil;
    In the primeval forest with companions few
    The more they toiled, their minds the greater grew.
    For they through long and dreary, lonely hours
    Wrestled with all the dim remorseless powers
    Of doubt, distress, and solitude and fear,
    While grim despair stood ever hovering near.
    Yet they with ever glowing fierce desire
    Of a consuming, and a never dying fire,
    Which latent in the human breast doth ever lie,
    Potent in hidden power and vast immensity
    Pressed bravely onward while they hewed the track,
    From death and danger never turning back;
    But through the bush bizarre and gorge they strode
    Their watchword ringing “On and clear the road.”
    And lo! Upon the pathless waste of desert plain
    Stood hunger, thirst, disease, and all their train,
    Marshalled like hosts of old to smite and slay
    The unhappy victims as they fainting lay:

    But like the Greeks they fought, and would not yield
    Until their bones lay stretched upon the field.
    While Drought the King, as Agamemnon great,
    Stretched forth his Sceptre o’er his mighty State.
    Then Oh! Forget not, we who live in ease to-day,
    That great Australian heroes paved the way
    To present greatness; noble souls as these
    Of this reincarnated Greece of Southern seas:
    And Austral’s Sons, should swords they ever wield,
    Must die like heroes, or return with shield
    Emblazoned with the motto, “Macte Animo,”
    With ideals high, and breasts with love aglow
    For God and duty: thus each name a gem
    Shall gleam in Austral’s peerless diadem.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            LIFE’S DUTY.


    Go thou, when sorrow’s night thy soul hath torn,
    And turn thine eyes expectant to the dawn,
    And view the sunlight o’er the distant hills
    Until its rays with peace thy spirit fills;
    Then brave thyself unto the daily strife--
    The world demands thou make the best of life.
    Go forth to duty, girt with golden chain
    Of courage, born of weakness, not in vain.
    Tho’ weak, thou’lt find thy greatest strength will lie
    In steadfast purpose with unfaltering eye
    Fixed on thy goal. Oh! Be thou valiant men,
    And point the higher path, for little do we ken
    Of they who labour in Life’s noonday sun.
    Go thou, when heat of toil hath left thy brow,
    Commune with Nature, and thy soul shall know
    The why and wherefore of the chastening rod
    Imposed on thy sad spirit by thy God,
    Hear how the breakers of the ocean moan,
    The thousand voices of the forest lone.
    The trees and flowers, the sigh of whispering winds--
    All speak of beauty, and the power that binds
    Man to his Maker. Then take heart of grace,
    And meet the world with ever-smiling face.
    It hath enough of grief; go hide thy care,
    And scatter joy, tho’ blent with tears thy share.



            THE TEMPLE OF THE YEARS.


    I opened wide the Portal of the Temple of the Years,
    And passed adown the vista of the aisle of buried tears,
    Which once my feet had trodden in their deeply furrowed way,
    The _via dolorosa_ of all we of earthly clay.
    I sought the aisle of Memories, where in niches finely wrought
    Were long, long rolls of archives of good and evil thought;
    I took a scroll, and while I read, the scalding tears would flow,
    When I saw inscribed the errors of the days of long ago.
    And then I saw my mother as in the years of old,
    And all the beauty of her mind she did to me unfold,
    And spoke to me as erstwhile in her sweet, glowing voice,
    And told me that each good deed made Angels in Heaven rejoice.
    Oh, she above, long, long has lived, but still I feel quite sure
    Her spirit watches over me just as in the days of yore,
    And when I leave Earth’s twilight, and part from all I love,
    From the Temple of the Years I’ll go to join her there above.



            THE WEAVERS.


    Each day we weave, unseen, the web of Fate
    With threads of tenderest love or threads of hate;
    The strands are slender when they are unfurled,
    Yet strong to reach some soul across the world.

    With Beauty’s shuttle weave we dews which prism sweet
    The morning air before the noonday heat,
    Or web of roses’ attar redolent,
    Bedewed with silver mist of memories blent.

    Oh! Fragrant memory, with its vibrant power,
    Weaving in daylight, or in evening hour
    Some poet’s lay to touch the human heart
    With golden music of the minstrel’s art.

    The Past and Gone are woven, and the Present now
    Is in the web, with cruel, thorny bough,
    For some frail mortals; but the Angel Sleep
    Weaves ever future joys for those who weep.

    The wind within the trees doth weave a melody,
    The bright-winged birds weave dulcet harmony
    With their alluring notes, and wood nymphs hear
    And weave a sonnet for their lover’s ear.

    Whether we in seclusion weave where none intrude
    On mountain steep or in deep solitude
    Of the dense bush, or mossy fen, or glade,
    We weave our bed with web which we have made.

    Then let us dream, and weave that no remorse
    With silent shadow clouds our future course,
    With love to guide, whose eyes wax never dim,
    While weaving make some lives one long sweet hymn.



            THE JACARANDA.


    Once in a garden, Oh! So fair!
    Was a leafy path, and I tell not where,
    But it led to an arbor beneath the shade
    Of a jacaranda, where sunlight played
    And flickered and flashed through the tasselled leaves
    In the crimson flush of long summer eves,
    And in web and woof of the trellised roof
    From sweet birds’ throats fell golden notes.

    Once lovers murmured within that bower
    Where grew the gracefullest purple flower,
    And a trembling maiden’s soft answer stole
    Through somebody’s ear and thrilled his soul,
    And then with her dark eyes growing dim
    She solemnly plighted her troth with him,
    In the hush of night while the pale moonlight
    Shed a silver shower o’er this lovers’ bower.

    Once it fell on a summer day
    This handsome lover sailed away,
    And he had vowed he would faithful be
    To the maiden he loved when o’er the sea,
    So each day in the leafy arbor dim
    The maiden waited and dreamed of him,
    But no missive came, and she breathed his name
    In stress and tears for three long years.

    Once, in the witching gloaming hour,
    Soft murmurs were heard within that bower,
    For the lover, a knight, had come to take
    The lady who waited for his dear sake,
    And he told his tale, while her starry eyes
    Tenderly glowed with sweet surprise,
    And these lovers twain, reunited again,
    Loved each other more than in days of yore.

    And now, in that beautiful garden old,
    Where the jacaranda its buds unfold,
    They wander adown the paths so green,
    Where once as lovers they talked unseen,
    And the gracefullest flower that bloometh there
    Is somebody’s darling with golden hair,
    And still in the woof of the trellised roof,
    From sweet birds’ throats fall liquid notes.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            WHERE ALL IS UNDERSTOOD.


    Divinity of heavenly breath which we call life;
    Which makes us sentient beings ’mid the strife
    Of earthly years: Oh! make us wise and good,
    E’en tho’ misunderstood; misunderstood.

    Divinity of fate; at thy cold, stern decree,
    Potent in power, cradled in mystery,
    Dauntless in courage, and with spirit set,
    We will not fret; we will not fret.

    Divinity of faith; there is one creed,
    To suffer and be strong; ’tis all we need,
    Then strengthen us to cling to thee, though should
    We be misunderstood; misunderstood.

    Divinity of love; oh! may we ever be
    All that thou art in angel purity,
    And make our lives--forgive the unbidden tear--
    The endless song which only thou canst hear.

    Divinity of death; though cold, thou press
    The heavy eyelids with thy damp caress,
    Thy pinions bear us to the golden flood
    Of perfect life, where all is understood.



            REMEMBER.


    Remember when the velvet robe of night
    Falls softly, or when Luna’s mystic light
    Earth veils in dim, delusive beauty cold,
    And all her myriad secrets doth unfold.

    Remember when in rosy dawn or dewy eve
    Some vagrant thought a tender trace may leave
    Upon thy chastened spirit of a golden hour
    Which cast its spell with all its magic power.

    Remember when the vows so fondly made
    ’Neath oleanders in the web of sun and shade,
    That to our throbbing souls with love’s eyes clear
    It seemed that Paradise to us was near.

    Remember when in noontide’s languid heat,
    ’Mid haunts of men, or mart, or busy street,
    Or in sweet sleep’s embrace when dreams are bright,
    My spirit watches in the solemn hush of night.

    Remember when ’neath cypress tree I rest
    With calmly folded hands across my breast,
    And nought but sacred dust at last remain,
    It may be that I had not lived in vain.



            THE QUEST.


    Lo! I have sought thee, Happiness,
      Beneath the sun,
    Whose golden core doth Earth caress
      Till day is done.
    Where scintillating stars appear,
      Breathing of thee,
    As quivering in the vault of air
      They seem to see.
    And where pearl-girdled proud Selene,
      With queenly grace,
    Climbeth the stairs of Heaven, serene
      With smiling face.
    And where in grove and woodland dell,
      So sweetly meek,
    Shy, drooping dew-crowned violets dwell
      Did I seek.
    There at length I thee have found
      In solitude,
    Where but echoes soft resound,
      Zephyr wooed.
    And with books of hero lore
      There thou art,
    And the chaplets which they bore,
      And my heart.
    Happiness, I would not lose
      Thee so dear;
    All may find thee if they choose,
      Ever near.



            THE MUSE.


    When great Apollon woke his lyre
    With breath of the celestial fire,
    To mortals he bequeathed the skill
    To invoke the goddess at their will,
    That when with melancholy bound
    Sweet solace with the Muse was found.
    Oh! soft the melting strains sublime
    Which echoed once in Grecia’s clime
    When pæans of the Homeric bard
    In marble palaces were heard.
    And love-lorn Lesbia’s Sappho sung
    The while her heart with grief was wrung,
    Who vainly sought with burning words
    And sweet seductive trembling chords
    Her Phidias’ love to win, nor more
    She tuned her lyre on Egea’s shore,
    Or bent with futile tears to weep,
    But threw herself from Leucan steep,
    And still ’tis said from ocean cave
    At eve is heard beneath the wave
    Her lute by unseen spirits played
    Where died the glorious lyric maid,
    And since, in every sacred shrine,
    Music’s sweet symphonies divine,
    On golden wings in darkest hour
    Float with a deep and vibrant power.
    The Muse but lifts her magic wand--
    We view empyreal heights beyond--
    Seraphic sounds caress the ear
    The Poet Wind breathes on the air.
    Imagination! List! ’tis thine--
    A pastoral scene. The meek-eyed kine
    Knee-deep in herbage gently low,
    As loitering to their haunts they go;
    The velvet turf, the silver stream,
    The tranquil beauty of the theme;
    The dark-haired Rosalind in white,
    Like Neptune’s nymph, sweet Amphytrite.
    Then sudden stillness; over all
    The rustling leaves the raindrops fall;
    Darkness, with thunder pealing loud;
    The golden light behind the cloud;
    The storm is o’er, birds trill their lays,
    Soft-throated rhapsodies of praise--
    Thus doth the Muse o’er mortals vain
    Cast her sweet spell in hours of pain,
    Exalting souls to high desire,
    Apollon of the Golden Lyre.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            IN MEMORIAM.

            BISHOP WEBBER.


    In dreams he saw that stately pile appear
    In matchless beauty of proportion clear
    On rocky eminence, the city ’neath its feet
    And winding river, and the vision sweet
    Which his soul cherished was not all in vain.
    Behold the vast Cathedral with its lofty fane!
    For which he toiled and prayed, but Heaven decreed
    He should not see fruition of the seed.
    And now within those hallowed walls at rest
    He lies with meek hands folded o’er his breast
    Beneath the altar fair he is assigned
    A fitting resting place for his great mind.
    Though he be dead, his works will follow him
    And stones shall speak in that great minster dim,
    Of strength and majesty so truly wrought--
    A temple beautiful for heavenly thought;
    Each arch in its magnificence alone
    Reveals a poem writ with pen of stone.
    Perchance when the sweet sound of vesper bell
    And trembling notes of the grand organ swell,
    Reverberating, or with cadence soft and clear,
    His listening spirit may be hovering near.
    When holy chant floats down that stately aisle
    And angel voice of choristers beguile
    The soul in rapturous awe from mundane things
    Will soar aloft on Adoration’s wings!
    And may each human pillar moulded be
    By master minds of eloquence and oratory;
    And down the centuries the founder’s name shall shine
    With his successors in God’s House Divine,
    While “Glorio in Excelsis Deo” rise
    In grandest anthem to the lofty skies.



            AT EVENTIDE.


    With trembling limbs and side by side
    Two old folks walk at eventide,
    Two dear old wrinkled faces bow,
    Two pairs of feet are weary now,
            At eventide.

    Hush! Now they reach the old house door,
    Where, more than fifty years before,
    The bride came on her wedding morn,
    And true love waited for his dawn,
            Ere eventide.

    They gaze with tender age-dimmed eyes
    Around the hearth while memories
    Surge backward down the vanished years,
    Fraught with their sweetness, blent with tears,
            This eventide.

    They talk of loved ones long since gone,
    And one whom they in silence mourn,
    The erring one, and thus they stay
    With bended heads for him to pray,
            At eventide.

    And he, with sudden, deep remorse
    Resolves to change his evil course,
    And plead forgiveness ere too late,
    So softly opes the old green gate,
            One eventide.

    The cottage door is open wide,
    He sweeps a vagrant tear aside,
    Sees empty dear familiar chairs,
    Then gently mounts the oaken stairs
            At eventide.

    Ah! Yes! it is their eventide,
    For see! He finds them side by side,
    Wrapped in magnificent repose,
    Beyond the golden light that glows
            At eventide.



            AUTUMN.


    Lo! Sad-eyed Autumn walks o’er all the land,
    Tenderly touching with caressing hand,
    Each quivering leaflet, hung from parent stem,
    Bearing a radiant dew-kissed diadem;
    And tasselled ruddy gold and variant shade
    Droop o’er Psyche as in Arcadian glade
    She doth recline, and Autumn’s lover--Wind--
    Chants solemn dirge for Summer, left behind
    To music of dead leaves, with tears of rain,
    While whispering, “Summer cometh yet again,
    And Autumn lingereth but a little while,
    With glance compassionate on flowers that smile
    In winsome beauty ere their blooms decay
    And change when Winter cometh cold and grey.”
    See! Satin-winged sweet butterflies have flown
    Like fairy sprites, to choose a graceful throne
    On crimson rose or soft hydrangea blue,
    Emblems of the transition we must view.
    These tender spirits through the fleeting hours
    Cull the sweet essence from the glorious flowers,
    And the short seasons pass and may not stay--
    Ephemeral pleasures, too, must pass away.
    So, did not Autumn Winter meet, and Winter Spring,
    Dear Summer’s charms would vanish nor hope bring
    Then melancholy Autumn with her Wind may sigh,
    For Spring, her smiling sister, cometh by-and-bye.



            TO SLEEP.


    Sweet seraph! Borne upon the wings of love,
    Softly thou cometh from the realms above,
    With kiss as light as air, and gentler breath,
    More beauteous thou than thy pale brother Death,
    Yet not so calm as he, though both bestow
    A wondrous loveliness o’er cheek and brow;
    He with a regal majesty so marble cold
    In immobility of matchless grace doth mould
    Each feature with the waxen beauty of the tomb,
    While thou dost lend the blush of living bloom,
    And the soft dew of Heaven doth linger there,
    And lovely Peace imprints her image fair.
    When eve in crimson splendour of delight
    Falleth, thou Spirit of the starry night,
    And they, all million-eyed in radiance shine,
    Like scattered silver seeds o’er fields divine,
    Thou to dear children giveth dreamless rest,
    Softly embraced upon thy tender breast,
    While care-worn sufferers on the tideless sea
    Of blissful dreams forget their misery,
    And bask in visions of the verdurous hills
    Of some enchanted isle where flashing rills,
    Gushing sweet music, to the green vales flow,
    Where cool, slim palms their graceful shadows throw--
    Angel of love, by dear Compassion led,
    To fold in deep repose each weary head.
    Nature’s sweet nurse, oh ever near us stay
    Till, life’s dreams o’er, “the shadows flee away.”



            WHAT IS MAN?


    Monarch of all the animals is man, but what his goal?
    Being material, yet endowed with an immortal soul,
    Whence comes he? Hath he lived before? He knoweth not,
    But if he be immortal, must be Heaven-begot.
    To live for naught in the great cosmic plan
    Would prove him lesser than his claim as man.
    Alone he stands amid his empire, clothed with speech,
    And attributes of reason and intelligence to reach
    The heights sublime, for he alone surveys
    The skies or lifts his eyes to mark the boundless ways
    Of the vast galaxy of the celestial star-strewn plains,
    He of the mighty animal kingdom o’er which he reigns,
    He who is but the veriest echo of the Almighty sound,
    A faint reflection of his Maker, but who yet is bound
    By ties unbreakable, for doth he not receive
    The realm of thought from Him, the air to breathe?
    The glorious constellations move in their appointed place
    To the deep throbbing heart-beats of the universe.
    The planets, trembling arteries of the spacious whole,
    With each frail mortal the molecule called soul,
    And he in turn respondeth to the Almighty thought,
    Each entity distinct, yet like the other wrought;
    Creature of elements mysterious, half divine!
    Emotional, fearful, yet vibrating to the electric line
    Of the invisible, which holds him startled at the flight
    And magnitude of thought soaring beyond the night
    Of mundane things; then asks himself--as thousands more--
    If death the end of all created beings is, wherefore
    All the ennobling longings in the human mind innate
    And love of nature and which all things beautiful elate,
    This spark of immortality flaming with fitful gleams
    Of vague remembrance of a pre-existence, seems
    To shape itself into a dream which comes and goes.
    And when the influence of the Almighty over spirit throws
    The searching rays of the great Omnipresent power
    In Whom we live, to Whom we kneel in sorrow’s hour,
    Who bids the ministers of all the Heavenly Argosies
    Of Faith, and Hope, and Mercy, on the ethereal spheres
    Enthroned with Justice, Truth and Liberty,
    To teach man that, though mortal, immortality
    Is his, Oh not, for nought, the powers of death and life,
    Oh not, for nought, it is the everlasting strife
    ’Twixt mind and matter, if we be--as some would deem--
    Nought but the moving shadows of a melting dream,
    Why live, why love, why breathe the unconscious prayer?
    Because, deep down in the human heart, we feel God there;
    And dare the shadow of his Maker,--man--profess
    That he can build this empire without him to bless.

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            THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, NEW SOUTH WALES.


    Imperial battlements, whose frowning brows
      Look ever into space and watch the dawn
    In roseate loveliness above the snows
      Of feathery cloudlets which thy breasts adorn.

    Ye regal forms! Whose jagged chasms bear
      The scars of ages, scored by tempests’ rage
    When cataclysms thundering rent the air--
      Thou mammoth ruins of a bygone age.

    And hoary Kosciusko in dim distance gleams,
      So not alone in thy most awful pride
    Art thou great Austral Alps, whose purling streams
      Gush from the fissures in thy wounded side.

    What buried secrets doth thy caverns hold
      Of aeons marked by time’s unerring hand?
    What mystic rites were held by warriors bold,
      The dusky children of an almost vanished band?

    Perchance they crept within thy strongholds grim,
      Hiding, as erst cave dwellers once had done
    In old Europa--fearful lest limb from limb
      They should be torn by some great mastodon.

    Mayhap from giddy height they gazed with awe
      Upon thy ever-changing billowy cloud,
    Deeming the “Eagle Rock” and “Bear” they saw
      Gods to which they in adoration bowed.

    Oh! lo we bend to Him who fashioned thee
      From chaos at His own almighty word--
    Creation’s wonderland of moving mystery,
      When seas and winds alone His voice had heard.

    So wildly beautiful art thou, the spirit fails
      To utterly describe thy variant mood.
    The mantled velvet of thy mossy, vernal vales
      And magic falls, which flash in foaming flood;

    Ye tree-crowned hills! With leafy branches spread,
      Ye scented pines! Whose odorous breath is flung,
    Wafted from “Govett’s Leap” and fen and glade,
      From aerial censer by wood-spirits swung.

    And when the orb of day in splendour dies,
      And trailing flambent clouds thy peaks enlace,
    The opalescent tints of western skies
      Reveal the enchantments of thy dwelling-place.

    Or when our lady of the night, so fair,
      Silvers thy forests in translucent showers,
    Deftly the sylvan poet thrills the air
      With murmuring symphony from wind-wooed bowers.

    Gorges and canyon, clefts and ravines deep,
      And fairy grotts with starry flowerets set,
    Where water-lilies pale on green pool sleep;
      Lo! Nature’s masterpiece, her grand magnificat.

    Ye massive pillars! Which have viewed the spray
      Far, far away upon the impulsive tide
    For countless years--ye too must pass away.
      For at His fiat who shall then abide?

    And He who changeth not, He who hath made
      All things of earth we love to change and die,
    Hath made thee beautiful, that ’neath thy shade
      Vain man may muse upon his immortality.



            THE POET LAUREATE.

            ALFRED AUSTIN.


    The lyre is mute, the strings unstrung,
    The muse hath left the song unsung;
    He weareth on his poet’s brow
    A fairer wreath than men bestow
          Or fame may give.
    As leaves are scattered o’er the mould,
    Unheeded by the world so cold,
    Yet, traced indelibly on stone,
    Their shapes remain through ages flown,
          So sweet words live.

    His pleasure was a healthy mind,
    Teaching man’s duty to mankind;
    No thought of glory or of gain
    Centred within that brilliant brain
          But love to men.
    Oh, life! Oh, death! Thou hast no sting!
    Swiftly upon thy glorious wing,
    Trembling, within the golden maze,
    He passed to pour his sweetest lays
          Beyond our ken.

    His ivory casket lies at rest
    In that dear island of the west;
    His song hath ceased, his rest is won,
    And peace is his at set of sun,
          For he hath led
    Some weary mortals to the spheres
    Of fancy, far from pensive tears,
    Where, in imagination’s bliss,
    They hung upon a poet’s kiss.
          Oh, happy dead!

    And Britain mourns him not alone,
    And not because of sculptured stone,
    Or tributes great, or elegy,
    Will her laureate remembered be,
          But in her heart.
    Though rugged be the path to fame,
    Yet history hath writ his name
    A star of magnitude that shines;
    For fame, whose lustre few entwines,
          Hath crowned his art.

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            MOUNT TAMBOURINE, QUEENSLAND.


    How shall I paint in words thine image fair,
      Set in a background of red-winged light,
    Glinting through portieres of soft foliage there,
      Gold-flecked ere fading into deepening night?
    List to the music of cascades which pour
      Their liquid silver tribute down the steep
    To moss-clad boulders, where it bubbles o’er,
      And fronded ferns in verdurous beauty peep.
    Breathless--I wait near thy pellucid stream
      To view some woodland nymph with flashing feet
    And brow, flower-bound for this alluring dream--
      A witching Flora in this cool retreat.
    Pensive I grow until the bell-bird’s note--
      Organ-like, pealing in its grand solemnity--
    Brings haunting memories, as the deep tones float,
      Of vanished hours--lost chords of melody.
    Crowned in magnificence is thy majestic head,
      Queenly thy royal robe of purple grace,
    With tender nuances o’er dewy verdure spread,
      Where the Pacific’s jasper waves embrace.
    Whether in winnowed raiment of the crystal dawn,
      Or golden mantle of the sun’s rich ore,
    Or jewelled scarf star studded round thee worn,
      Thy smiles or tears but charm me more and more.
    Farewell, thy stately beauty! Stay--a thought
      Hath touched the deep recesses of my soul--
    Thou standest, thou Colossus, tempest-wrought,
      A Beacon on Time’s sea to mark a shoal!



            DREAMS.


    I dream of thee when morn is nigh
      And Eos, incense laden,
    Through rosy portals of the sky,
      Chaseth the white mist maiden.

    I dream when falls the tender night,
      And walks the pale queen moon,
    And peeping stars with eyes so bright
      Whisper “She cometh soon.”

    I watch them in the fragrant gloom
      Hanging so pure and high,
    For they are woven in my dream,
      And gleam all silently.

    Beloved! As a budding rose
      With petals just unfolding,
    My passion would thy heart unclose
      A flower of love’s own moulding.

    And oft in slumber wrapped profound
      I see thy lashes wet,
    And know thy thoughts with mine are bound,
      And thou dost not forget.

    My dreams I cherish, and thou must
      By this, my only token,
    Know that my love, till I am dust,
      Shall e’er remain unbroken.

    And when that “Light that never was”
      On earth or sky or sea
    Shall break o’er me, ’twill be because
      God led me up through thee.



            AUSTRALIA TO THE EMPIRE MOTHER.


    Peace to thee, Mother of Empires: Austral, thy younger child
    Far removed from thy steadfast hand across the ocean wild,
    Sees not thy mighty cities, nor the pleasurance of thy mead,
    Nor the glory of thy landscapes where tender flocklets feed.
    Nor the ancient feudal castles flanked with turrets and with moats,
    The fane of great Westminster, nor hath heard Big Ben’s deep notes.
    Thy palaces and heirlooms with proud earls and ladies fair,
    Of noble blood and long descent, and costly jewels rare.
    Thy wondrous wealth and poverty with streets one shining blaze,
    Where tiny children clad in rags are driven within the maze
    Or labyrinth of alleys, just to sell God’s gift--the flowers,
    With little bodies blue with cold to pass the mid-night hours.
    Oh, Britain! Thy great heart doth swell with passionate regret
    That thou hast so many mouths to fill; then thou must not forget
    That far away ’neath Southern Cross thy child doth bless thy name,
    For she hath written in her heart the story of thy fame.
    Thy battles fought, thy hopes for peace on that expectant day
    When the crimson tides of human blood for aye shall fade away.
    And see! Thy royal daughter waits to plead with Britain’s race,
    To send her vessels filled with kin, to choose a dwelling-place
    Beneath the soft and balmy skies where giant forests gleam,
    And the yellow ribboned wattle grows beside the silver stream;
    Where golden sands of islets float beyond the purple rim
    Of sapphire seas, and lofty palms wave languourously and slim
    Where the vine and fig tree flourish within the rich, red soil,
    And poverty is never known save to those who will not toil.
    Oh, not with tones of other climes thy daughter Austral sings;
    Not as the birds of other lands their note’s wild echo rings,
    The cadence of the bell-bird’s call, the curlew’s haunting cry,
    The green and scarlet plumage gay which sweep across the sky,
    The ’possum and the mopoke, and the soft-eyed kangaroo,
    Nature in all her curious shapes, with flowers of gorgeous hue.
    In solitary splendour Austral waits within her walls
    Of rocky sea-girt armoury and for population calls;
    Her empty Northern Territory hath smiling emerald plains,
    Her pasture land is waiting for the men who have the brains.
    Oh! Mother of ours, thy children in thine island of the west
    Will find a home through Britain’s shore in where their hearts may rest.
    We know the name of Austral shines upon thy royal crown
    And that with thine own glorious seal her deeds are written down;
    And that Austral’s heart is loyal and is ever beating true,
    And the women of her nation are not dreamers, but they do.
    And their ever-marching army with intelligence will prove
    That Australia is advancing in her work of peace and love.
    Oh! Empire Mother, whom we love, we know thy greatest need
    Is to teach thy sons to follow--where a little child may lead--

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            YOUTH AND AGE.


    Though lovely youth seems far apart to lie
      It treadeth ever on the heels of age;
    A few delicious years of transient joy
      Then turns the fly-leaf of life’s solemn page.

    Some duties stern blent with the lessons meet
      From nature’s wondrous garden of delight;
    Fair meadows, where the gold-eyed marguerite
      ’Opes to the sun and prays, as we, at night.

    Then comes a page of slowly dawning thought,
      The alley-ways where wrong in painted guise
    Rose-coloured, glows in filmy beauty wrought,
      “’Tis then that calm reflection makes us wise.”

    Again a leaf, and then life’s real intent,
      Forceful with all its earnestness and pain,
    Presents itself--but useless to lament
      Past idle hours--Oh! waste them not again.

    Youth and old age, twin destinies which sway
      The human leaves; youth feeleth not the blast
    But age though withered knoweth well that May
      Must pass December’s threshold at the last.

    We turn the leaf of this the longer page
      By some as yet unfinished--let it stand
    A volume of our hearts, while hoping age
      Will lead us gently to the shadow land.

    And when at length our page is nearly closed
      With all our faults and virtues there impressed,
    Let age, its mortal garment--quit composed
      By the sweet thought: “Who made us knowest best.”



            IMAGINATION.


    Swifter than light imagination springs
      Unfettered by its tenement of clay;
    One moment here, the next on joyous wings
      Poised o’er the stars which pave the “Milky Way.”

    Oh boundless space! Oh mighty concaved dome!
      Graven with tessallated groups of stars;
    Imagination hears God’s vibrant loom
      As the frail spirit soars beyond its bars.

    There jewelled in the blue empyreal height
      Gleam glittering Sirius, Deneb and Altair;
    Lo, clustering gems of scintillating light,
      The brilliant retinue of Crucis fair.

    Lost in infinitude, it views with awe
      The majesty of rolling spheres around,
    Where golden argosies are speeding o’er
      The vast celestial seas without a bound.

    It is enough! We may not lift the veil
      Which shrouds the altar of the Eternal Throne;
    The thought doth the imagination quail
      As meek it kneels before the Gate alone.

    Alone a space, within that vastitude--
      Beyond all mundane things of time and sense,
    And change and swift vicissitude,
      To worship Him for his beneficence--

    Imagination’s bounds are limitless,
      No star of eve trembling above the sea
    Hath wider path, or sheddeth sweeter bliss,
      For it, of all God’s gifts, to man is free.



            AN AUSTRALIAN REVERIE.


    I stood in the Temple of Silence
      Where in crimson splendour shone,
    The rich light through stained windows
      O’er a matchless crystal throne.
    And a vista of stately pillars
      Stretched far ’neath a dome of gold,
    And sculptured recumbent figures
      Of mortals of kingly mould.
    Yet with all its surpassing beauty
      I could feel the icy breath
    Of the wings of some brooding phantom
      In this gilded house of death.
    Here no sound ever broke the stillness,
      Here solitude ever abode,
    I stayed till the moonbeams quivered,
      Then left Silence alone with God.

    I stood in the Palace of Pleasure,
      The revels were wild and gay,
    And mocking laughter rose and fell
      As the swift hours sped away.
    The lights waxed dim, and the flowers
      Drooped dead in the gorgeous bowls,
    And the painted faces anon grew sad,
      And mirthless their empty souls.
    The long night waned, and the dancers,
      Their beauty all faded and worn,
    Looked pallid, and listless, and weary,
      In the rays of the glorious morn.
    Ever seeking ephemeral pleasure,
      Which leads to the path of pain,
    And down to the Valley of Never,
      Whence none may return again.

    I stood in life’s Garden of Beauty,
      And, lo! in a floral shrine
    Of roses and lilies entwining
      Lay a chalice of dew divine.
    And a throng of mortals stood waiting
      For the Angel of Love to pour
    This holy dew of libation,
      Which falleth for evermore.
    And children were weaving garlands
      As they walked o’er the verdant sward
    With the flowers of Truth and Perfection
      In sunlight which ever poured.
    And here, in this new earthly Eden,
      With its gleaming wings of white,
    Was Peace, for all men were Brothers--
      I awoke from my dream: “’Twas night!”

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            THE VOICE OF SONG.


    Come, oh song, and charm my sadness,
      For I fain would weep,
    With melodious notes of gladness
      Wooing balmy sleep.
    While the troops of stars are smiling
      Calm my fevered brow,
    All my soul with sound beguiling,
      Charm, oh! charm me now.
    Golden daylight hath its laughter,
      Moonlight hath its tears;
    Songs are dreams which follow after
      Thought along the years.
    Waves of joy, and waves of sorrow,
      Placid, turbulent,
    Darkest days have bright to-morrows,
      Each a message sent.
    Love and life on wings are flying,
      Dreams of yesterday,
    Like the precious hours, are lying
      Far from us to-day.
    Sing, then, sing your sweetest number
      Softer than a sigh,
    That it bring me dreamless slumber
      For my weary eye.
    And thy song shall be for dreamers
      Tender, soft, and low,
    And the tune that Boreas murmurs,
      Which none others know.
    Waft, oh voice of song, thy measure
      O’er the air of even,
    Till the soul, consumed with pleasure,
      Wakes to thoughts of Heaven.



            ALIENATION.


    What gulf so deep, what arid desert plain,
    Or dreary vastitude of ocean main,
    So deep as the divide of hearts once stirred
    To sweet response, which only winds had heard?
    The dead who live but love us now no more,
    Gone are the echoes of the tones of yore;
    The faces of our sighs and tears and dreams
    Are cold as gleaming ice on frozen streams.
    The days that were may ne’er return again,
    Though each perchance has felt the aching pain;
    Yet pride forbade thy wounded heart to let
    Me plead; but, oh! thou never can’st forget.
    ’Tis destiny’s decree, and ’twere not meet
    That when I see thy cold eyes I should greet
    Thee more--thy burning heart ’neath snow
    Can never flame again with tender glow.

    And yet how strange that it should thus befall,
    Since love is dead, that fain we would recall
    Each note that trembled on the golden lyre,
    Ere it lay silent on the funeral pyre.
    So be it: Destiny for all sad mortals leaves
    Some little grains of comfort from life’s sheaves;
    So, though my love be lost to me for aye,
    The flowers of memory ne’er will fade away.



            AT NIGHT.


    When sinks the sun a globe of gold
      Across the ocean’s breast,
    And night doth all the world enfold,
      My spirit will not rest.

    And forth it speeds without a sound,
      For nought can bind my will.
    The moonbeams cast a halo round,
      And everything is still.

    Once more I tread the flowery field
      As in the days of yore,
    My beating heart doth almost yield
      When near the garden door.

    There stand the stately old elm trees
      Which once my childhood knew,
    The tulips bend unto the breeze,
      The fountain plashes, too.

    I hear the silvery laughter float
      From out the cool, dim hall,
    I hear my brothers’ merry shout
      As they each other call.

    I stand within the ancient room
      I see the books so rare,
    And smell the olden rich perfume
      Of roses clustering there.

    And I become a child again,
      And listen to the prayer
    My father breathes, like a refrain,
      Which all our beings stir.

    And from the stairs, so black with age
      The mullioned windows view,
    Through which once gazed some vanished sage
      The while he pensive grew.

    Its leaden panes with vitreous eyes
      Look over o’er the sea,
    Which there in rolling grandeur lies,
      God’s moving mystery.

    And as I through each chamber tread
      With footsteps light as air,
    I feel that sorrow’s years have fled
      And left me young and fair.

    And then the old clock in the tower,
      With solemn voice and deep,
    Booms out the ne’er returning hour,
      And wakes me from my sleep.

    Lo! from all sadness springs a joy
      The world may never give,
    And in these realms of memory
      My soul at night doth live.

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            THE WATTLE.


    A maze of gorgeous golden bloom
      The yellow wattle gleams,
    A glorious wealth of sweet perfume,
      It dwells beside the streams.

    And deep in bush and forest glade
      On verdurous velvet lawn,
    Or avenues of waving shade,
      This empress--Austral born.

    With leaves of frosted silver chased,
      Their myriad tiny heads
    By trembling drops of dew enlaced
      A glittering radiance sheds.

    And Auster’s beauteous witching flower
      Hath e’er a jealous hue,
    For Helios breathed his passion there,
      And flamed it through and through.

    The dawn with heavy scent is sweet,
      The petals shower their gold
    In soft abandon at its feet
      New glory to unfold.

    ’Tis seen in Afric’s torrid clime,
      Yet, though it bloometh there,
    Its spirit dreameth of the time
      It drank of Austral’s air.

    Dear national flower, an emblem thou
      Of what our children need;
    To train with love their hands to do
      Each day some golden deed.



            AUSTRAL’S SONG.


    Lo! from her long sleep of ages
      Austral now awakes;
    Hear the glorious strains ye sages,
      Her glad morning breaks.
    Borne afar across the water
      Trembling to the sky,
    List! For Britain’s royal daughter
      Chants her song of joy.

    ’Mid terrestrial constellations
      May her statesmen shine;
    Weld, O Lord, her vast foundations
      With the link divine.
    Righteousness be her attendant,
      Majesty her throne,
    Liberty her shield resplendent,
      Equity her crown.

    Guard her army and her navy,
      Citadel and fleet,
    Vanquish all her foes, we pray thee,
      Lord, if it be meet.
    May she ever be sustained
      In her darkest hour;
    Grant that peace be e’er maintained
      By Thy grace and power.

    Hark! the grand refrain is swelling,
      Thrilling every ear;
    Lord of hosts, within Thy dwelling
      Holy Spirit, hear.
    Though earth’s empires all must crumble,
      Suns and systems wane,
    In magnificence, yet humble,
      Long may Austral reign.



            I KNOW NOT.


    I know not if my future years will be
      With sorrow crowned,
    Or if in solitude unknown to thee
      I may be bound.

    I know not, if, as down life’s stream I float
      With look divine,
    Some other hand will guide my fragile boat
      Better than mine.

    I know not, when right out of sight of port,
      High on the crest,
    Of raging billows which I vainly fought
      I shall find rest.

    I know not if dear spirit friends of yore
      Will hear my voice,
    And when they meet me safe upon yon shore
      They will rejoice.

    But this I know that He, my Lord, will stand
      With glance of love
    And hand stretched out to lead me o’er the strand
      To Heaven above.



            MOBILITE.


    I sought the fragrance of the roses’ breath,
      Bending beneath their burden of sweet dew;
    How could I reconcile the thought of death
      With blooms, which in such matchless beauty grew?

    I sought the lily, pure as a pale bride,
      So stately with its waxen petals wet,
    Green-stemmed and slender, and it gently sighed
      “Yet a few days and all my sun is set.”

    I sought the woods wherein the whispering wind
      Chanted a lullaby into my listening ear,
    And faintly came an echoing voice behind,
      “E’en as the leaves I change and disappear.”

    I sought old ocean with its ceaseless moan,
      Flinging white clinging arms of spumy spray
    To grasp the shore, then in a solemn tone
      It made reply, “I too must pass away.”

    I sought the stars which in their orbits sway,
      And just as day obscures their brilliant light,
    The star of faith, though doubt may cloud the way,
      Illumes with fervent glow the mists of night.

    Oh! earth. Oh! heaven. Oh! death, which is but life.
      That still small voice within doth ever say,
    Here for a season set amid the strife,
      Live thou thy best--for all must pass away.

    Passing away where crowns and sceptred right,
      Kings, lowly, meekly lay before the Throne,
    And saints with creeds, and sinners, in the light
      Of God’s great dawn, will worship Him alone.



            MUSIC.


    Let the sound of sweet music my spirit fill,
    Come like the fall of a sparkling rill
    Which murmureth ever a golden hymn
    Of enchanting melody, or the dim
    Low symphony, soft as the zephyrs make,
    When they ruffle the face of the silver lake.
    Then pouring beauty, and grace, and light
    In voluptuous sounds of majestic might;
    Nearer the beat of the mystic wings,
    Sweet strains which only an angel sings,
    While stars as the dew seems to fall around,
    Then melt again at the heavenly sound.

    Breathing, ravishing, tender notes,
    A billow of chords which for ever floats
    O’er shimmering seas of exalted bliss,
    Touching the waves with a soft caress,
    Sighing through forests where pale moon flowers
    Glimmer and thirst for thy limpid showers,
    Or pulsing and thrilling the heart and brain,
    Oh! loosen the clouds of thy golden rain,
    And steep my soul in its precious dower
    Till it panteth overwhelmed ’neath thy magic power.



            THE CITY OF THE “VIOLET CROWN.”


    Stately upon Egea stands
      The city of the “Violet Crown,”
    Where gods and men in fancy met
      And oratory attained renown;
    Where sculptured beauty art disclosed
      In all its matchless symmetry,
    Brilliant as first when Phœbus glowed
      Upon its dazzling purity.

    There for all time the Prophylæ,
      The glorious Acropolis,
    And Nike Apteron doth speak
      Of Marathon and Salamis.
    Still looks the Areopagos o’er
      Where Socrates was once arraigned,
    His sentence heard--the hemlock drank,
      And died, but his great words remained.

    Here was the lap of literature
      With elegance and wisdom blent,
    With the majestic Parthenon
      Its overwhelming monument.
    In spirit once again we hear
      The voices borne upon the wind,
    High in the Temple of great Zeus,
      On Mount Olympus far behind.

    Oh! gods and heroes, ye no more
      In solemn conclave since have met,
    Thy gods were myths, but thy great deeds
      Burneth within our memory yet.
    And Corinth, Athens’ sister, lies
      Straight, straight along the sacred road
    Where gray Hymettus proudly swells
      ’Mid purple plain by heroes trode.

    Lo! Arcady and Argoli
      Unfold before our ravished sight,
    And still the magic influence grows
      And time moves backward in its flight.
    There lies the ancient Argive plain
      Where chiefs in angry council met,
    When Paris took the Spartan frail,
      The insult they did n’er forget.

    Then fled in haste with her to Troy,
      And Nemesis the pair pursued,
    For calling all their braves to arms
      Greece vengeance vowed to Priam’s brood.
    And n’er will a magician weave
      Their tales of prowess and of skill
    As Homer--none so deft as he
      Could thus the imagination thrill.

    Lo! Delphi, where in darkness sat
      The sacred priestess, while in wrath
    ’Mid clouds of incense serpent wound
      The Oracle would issue forth.
    Oh! Athena, the “violet crowned,”
      Thy crystal founts and cypress groves,
    Where Daphne and Minerva walked,
      Leave but memory of their loves.



            AURELLE.


    I would frame a lyric sweet
      To ma belle Aurelle;
    Tresses rippling to her feet,
      Laughing lips as well.
    She hath hands as lilies pure,
      Head of beauty’s mould,
    Eyes like great brown pools so clear,
      Sparkling depths enfold.
    On a grassy knoll she stands,
      Clasping wattle bloom--
    Golden flower of Austral’s lands,
      With its rich perfume.
    Roses grace her cheeks so fair,
      And she knoweth well
    That she doth my heart ensnare--
      Ma belle Aurelle.
    And she singeth like a bird
      At heaven’s gate,
    When its swelling notes are stirred
      By its mate.
    And I know that Cupid’s dart--
      Sharp, yet slender--
    Some fine day will pierce her heart,
      Oh, so tender.
    But this stately maid of mine
      Loveth none as me:
    For her summers are but nine--
      Aurelle mine, you see!



            THE TALE OF THE GREAT WHITE PLAINS.


    Day by day and night by night,
    Till the great white plains in sight--
    Speeds the “Terra Nova” on;
    Britain’s laurels must be won,
    So they press to reach their goal:
    Point they to the Southern Pole.
    What a tale thou dost unfold,
    Far surpassing deeds of old.
    Shades of Spartan heroes these
    Mightier see in southern seas,
    Mountain pillars gleaming white
    In the lone Antarctic night.
    Dazzling peaks, all tempest riven;
    Shrouded ghosts, which gaze at heaven:
    There, majestic, grand and free,
    Towering o’er that frigid sea,
    Terror, Erebus, look down
    From their smouldering fiery throne.
    Sunken eyes and cheeks so pale,
    Still the stout hearts do not quail,
    Though they pay a heavy toll
    Yet, at length, they reach the Pole.
    Lo! The Union Jack unfurled,
    Britain’s finger leads the world.
    Glory gained, they may not stay,
    There is danger in delay.
    Back o’er that wide trackless plain,
    Mighty Scott with all his train
    Passed, while death the white steed rode
    Side by side the way they trode,
    Through the blizzard’s freezing blast.
    Will he claim his prey at last?
    Buoyed with thoughts of northern skies
    Oft’ their drooping spirits rise.
    Where fond loved ones’ hopes and fears
    Mingle with their prayers and tears--
    So they struggle weakly on,
    Strength and courage almost gone.
    On, until with grief they find
    Evans they must leave behind.
    Ah! The other hut in view,
    Will they see the blizzard through?
    Yes! The camp at last they reach
    Cold exhaustion numbing speech,
    And brave Oates! Oh! Gallant heart,
    Nobly doth he take his part
    In this awful tragedy
    Of the icy polar sea.
    Facing death ’mid ice and snow
    See the loyal comrade go;
    Knowing nought his life could save
    Sought he thus a lonely grave.
    Silently we draw the veil
    And his mournful end bewail.

    Months elapse--what is their fate?
    Wilson, Bowers, alas! Too late:
    With their chief at length they find
    In their sleeping bags enshrined,
    Fresh as when their parting breath
    Froze within the embrace of death.
    Saintly looking in their sleep,
    Only angels o’er them weep;
    There in royal robes of snow
    Lie our glorious heroes now.

    And the message Scott would send:
    “Guard our loved ones to the end.”
    Britain’s, Austral’s hearts will be
    With their dead in that white sea,
    And their children, not in vain,
    Oft will read the tale again,
    And immortal memory shelve
    Nineteen hundred years and twelve.
    Not unmarked the way they trod,
    For it led them up to God.
    Lo! A cairn above them stands
    Raised by gentle, loving hands
    And a cross upon the spot
    In that grand Antarctic grott,
    While for aye they will remain
    Martyrs of the Great White Plain.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            AN AUSTRALIAN HYMN.


    God of earth’s nations, Thee we sing--
    Loud may Australia’s Anthem ring;
    Look down in mercy from Thy throne
    And with great empires make her one.

    Lord, not supreme alone in health,
    Or might, is she a Commonwealth,
    But by the grace which Thou hast given
    To spread her seed beneath the Heaven.

    Grant that her sons, her citadel,
    May ever hold impregnable;
    Swift to defend and slow to hate--
    The enemy within her gate.

    Fair waves her pennon on the breeze,
    Long may she reign in southern seas;
    Oh, may Thy power and glory wait
    Upon her mighty ship of state.

    Oh, may her empire builders be
    Faithful to base her dynasty
    On Truth, with Liberty for shield,
    And Battle-axe of Justice wield.

    Yea, Thine the glory, Lord, may she
    Fulfil her glorious destiny;
    And Austral’s Anthem ever pour
    Thy praise till time shall be no more.



            GOD’S GIFT.


    The pure pale blossoms of God’s gift, the flowers,
            Breathe immortality.
    They tell us of sweet, heavenly, dreamless hours
            All through eternity.
    They tell us of dear Mother Earth who press’d
            So soft and deep
    Their tiny seeds within her tender breast
            As children sleep.
    They tell us, these white souls of flowers, sent
            To beautify
    Our minds, of human souls, an emblem meant,
            Which never die.
    And when our bodies, like dear flowers, must
            At length decay,
    The seeds we sow will bloom, when we from dust
            Have passed away.
    Then let our lives be pure as these pale blooms
            With fragrance blent,
    That deeds, like flowers, shall be upon our tombs
            A monument.



            BECAUSE OF THEE.


    Because of thee, the earth is fair to see,
    The dawn more radiant for it breathes of thee,
    It gloweth deeper in the eastern skies
    As dawneth love within thy beauteous eyes.

    Because of thee, my heart a song doth sing,
    Its cadence in mine ear doth ever ring
    So dulcet sweet, and though thou art not near
    I feel, and know in spirit, thou can’st hear.

    Because of thee, weak words may not convey
    The holy calm which comes at close of day;
    When sunsets flame like seas of beaten gold
    Ere night her spangled draperies hath unrolled.

    Because of thee, upon the balmy air,
    Pæans from every plumaged worshipper
    Thrill all my soul, dear love, and seem to me
    Each liquid note a message sent from thee.

    Because of thee, the flowers more odorous still,
    With subtle fragrance, waken at my will
    Sweet memories of the perfume-laden dew
    Of the old garden, redolent of you.

    Because of thee, this longing heart of mine
    Hath none but thee to dwell within its shrine,
    Its sacred taper thou, a glorious light,
    My lode-star like a splendid vision bright.

    Because of thee, the stars seem all enwrought
    With beauty which enriches every thought;
    The moon, a golden chariot in which we
    May circle space for all eternity.

    Because of thee, as o’er life’s mighty deep,
    We glide together, soft shall be thy sleep;
    His hand will guide our barque to yonder shore
    To live, Oh, love--true life for evermore.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            THE LEGEND OF OSYTH’S WOOD.

                [TO W. RICHER.]


    How well I remember the tranquil hours
      We spent in the haunted wood;
    How fair was the glade and the primrose flowers
      Where the ruined abbey stood,
    For there, near the lake where water springs--
      It gushed in a crystal stream--
    From the mouth of a dragon with carven wings
      And eyes of a fearful gleam.
    And there was the grotto, with walls inlet
      With shells from the shining sands,
    And the floor with mosaic scenes was set,
      All relics from Eastern lands.
    We played, and we idly wondered who
      In the centuries past and gone
    Had chiselled the antique shape so true
      Of this monster in sculptured stone.
    And the legend weird of this ancient pile
      We many a time had heard,
    And oft in the dusk we would list, the while
      The leaves by the wind were stirred.
    For ages and ages ago ’twas said
      A prince of the Saxon blood
    With the Lady Osyth one day was wed
      By a priest of the holy rood.
    He bade adieu at the altar there,
      But alas, for the vows they made,
    A rival prince took his bride so fair
      By force to the forest shade.
    She was rescued, assuming the sacred veil,
      And a nun she had scarce been made,
    When up to the abbey, in coat of mail,
      Rode the prince with a gleaming blade.
    And with sword held high he espied the face
      Of his wife in a window near,
    A moment more, in his fast embrace
      Swooned the lady in deadly fear.
    And fast on his palfrey they rode away
      These twain through the woodland deep,
    And saw not the rival till brought to bay
      Near the “Fatal Lover’s Leap.”
    And the enemy’s knights came and bore them on
      And round to the moonlit lake
    And jeered: “So perish each wicked one
      Who is false to the vows they make.”
    The prince they bound to his steed and led
      The lady whose every limb
    Trembled, while faltering prayers she said
      And her glorious eyes grew dim.
    Then they bade her stand by the dragon’s side
      When with swift and sudden blow
    The rapier fell, and her life’s red tide
      Welled o’er to the stream below.
    And the legend runs that the headless form
      Of the maiden quickly bent
    And lifted her head beneath her arm
      While a shriek the wild echoes rent.
    And the prince enraged, when he knew her fate,
      Unbuckled his heavy mail,
    And, stabbing himself as his steed he sate,
      He died with a mournful wail.
    And the story goes that the lady’s shade
      Still walks, and her voice is heard,
    When the moon is old in the haunted glade--
      Like the cry of a wounded bird--
    And the headless image in marble chased
      Of this saint in the chancel old
    Still stands, though time hath its lines effaced
      And despoiled it of beauty’s mould.
    And oft as I think of the woodland fair
      And the legend, I fain would be
    Once more near the dragon which standeth where
      St. Osyth lived, just by the sea.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



            MOUNT GAMBIER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA.


    In lone magnificence and stately pride,
      Majestic in thy ruin and decay,
    Thou, whose unfathomed crater yawned wide
      When Pluto’s furies in thy depths held sway;
    And forked lightning on black clouds astride,
      And igneous rocks, their glowing masses hurled
    While streams of lava in a ceaseless tide
      Flowed o’er thy base upon a darkened world.
    What hast thou felt in cycles long untold?
      What hast thou heard within thine eyrie there,
    That scalding tears of rage hath down thee rolled
      Scarring thine image and thy bosom bare?
    What hath the glorious sun-god looked upon,
      Searching thy heart with brilliant-zoned light?
    What hath the silver-veiled Fingari, lone
      Viewed from her vantage in the solemn night?
    Thou must have breathed when regal Pompeii, placed
      On proud Italia’s olive-mantled shore
    Was by Vesuvius’ wrath engulfed and rased,
      And eighteen centuries was covered o’er.
    If thou but had a tongue, mayhap thou would
      Tell us when fair Lemuria disappeared,
    Or how the dusky tribes, with rites of blood,
      In bora rings their writhing victims speared.
    Thou antique dial: scarce thou feeleth, though
      Thy faint spasmodic tremblings still are felt,
    And o’er thy sunken cranium waters flow,
      The rocky amphitheatre thy belt.
    Now, foliage green adorns thy noble form--
      Lo! Mansions fair are nestling there serene
    Around thy neck, and in the gathering gloom
      At eve we picture what thou once hath been.
    And Oh! Thou mighty Gambier, not in vain
      Thou teacheth like a sad and silent sage
    The wisdom and the pleasure we may gain
      While pondering on thy splendour and thine age.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



                Prose Fragments



                SCENTS AND THE PAST.

              A STRONG CONNECTING LINK.


It sometimes happens that some uncommon perfume will carry us back to
the days of our girlhood, when our mothers would devoutly disclose to
the light of day all sorts of odd things, such as old letters smelling
of musk, or ribbons and pieces of old lace yellow with age, cast off
baby clothes, which once on a time, covered our tiny persons, little
pinafores or caps and booties, perhaps toys which once belonged to a
sister or brother, long since gone on the other side.

Again, such a perfume may remind us of a time when the whole family were
gathered around the festive board, laughing, bright with repartee, the
room redolent of fragrance from the tastefully arranged flowers, long
since forgotten. Somehow a scent brings back a flood of memories; the
scene; the very arch glance of a pair of eyes, or the grave sweet look
of a face, as though it were yesterday.

Some perfumes become a precious memory lying dormant, which one can
conjure up at will. Others are suddenly resurrected.

Lavender! What luxury to lie between sheets odorous of lavender. And the
old-fashioned potpourri of late years, having a revival of favour,
chiefly consisting of orris roots, violets and rose leaves--with sweet
thoughts centred and clinging around them. The roses!

    Goddess of beauty, at thy magic breath
    My spirit turneth from the gate of death,
    And in thy deep red heart would find repose.
    And dreams of Arcady--thou queenly rose!

And, talking of roses, what a lot of them are now being worn on the
hats. Never in the history or vagaries of fashion have flowers held such
pride of place as at present. And, although they are artificial, they
revive thoughts of perfume. Some of the models make us think of Watteau
shepherdesses as the right sort of beauties to wear them; but some of
our Queensland girls have faces pretty and artistic enough to grace
anything with advantage.

I heard a very pretty compliment paid to Queensland women as a whole the
other day by an English gentleman. He remarked (I hope my readers will
not become too vain after hearing this) that they are the neatest and
nicest dressed girls he had seen anywhere, and were an example--with the
exception of some over-dressed ones--to many English women. But to
return to our own “moutons.”

How the smell of very old furniture will make one’s memory retrace its
steps. The past stands out sadly or joyously, and sometimes it is so
subtle and suggestive as to convey one back to a confused memory, like a
thread of a pre-existence, which most of us have experienced. It is very
vague and uncertain. Yet there it is.

Yes! scents are strong connecting links between the past and present,
and we have a sense of gratitude, for it gives us something very
pleasant to think about--and sometimes has the charm of making our
existence free from feelings of ennui.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



                MALTA.

            JUST A GLIMPSE.


It had been a very rough passage through the Bay of Biscay, and it was
an immense relief to run into calm water, so, hugging the coast of
southern Spain, we could distinctly see the shore, with trees standing
out in bold relief against the sky. So (I shall never as long as I live
forget the beauty of the scene) we approached the great, brown rock of
Gibraltar, with its hundred eyes of hate, bristling with guns, and with
the now fashionable watering place of Algiers on our left, we passed
through the great “Pillars of Hercules,” the extremities of Europe and
Africa almost meeting into the Mediterranean. The passage appears much
narrower than it really is, sea distance being deceptive. We steamed
along in the pinken glow of dawn, the change being very pleasant, and
the air gradually becoming warmer, until within a few miles of Malta
(which island, as you know, is off the southern coast of Sicily), when
it suddenly became quite hot. And, how shall I describe the impression,
under perfect weather conditions? The white rock, so imposing and
important politically, as well as commercially. A jewelled island, set
in a sapphire sea. A green vista of terraces of white houses, with green
shutters and awnings of scarlet and white, flapping in the breeze.
Pedestrians we could see in the distance with the ubiquitous umbrellas
and hats, green lined to keep off the glare of the sun. Presently we
anchored, and, hey presto! we were almost immediately surrounded by
vendors of all sorts of things in the shape of coral earrings,
bracelets, and brooches, good and bad Florida water, perfumes, real
Maltese lace and bad imitation. We inspected their wares, and amid a
babel of French and Italian (we being in a hurry), we purchased some
good lace and eau de Cologne.

Then, we decided we would go ashore, which three of us did, and we
passed the casinos and shipping offices, and wended our way up those
famous streets of stairs described by Lord Byron, and we no longer
wondered, when we thought of his poor deformed foot, how difficult he
must have found the ascent. Each house rose imperially above its
neighbour up those flights, and, peeping from some of the doors, were
dark-eyed Madonna-looking Spanish beauties, their classic heads draped
gracefully with mantillas. But the dominating smell, which spoilt it
all, was that of garlic. It assailed our nostrils; it seemed to be
everywhere, and we were told that, in some form or another, it was found
at every meal. At last we gained the top, after much stifled laughter,
and made for the barracks and the fort, after which we visited the
armoury, and imagined we had known the brave knights themselves, after
the kind information tendered by our guide in mixed Anglo-Saxon, French
and Italian.

We then went to the Cathedral of St. John, saw the Alexandrian Gate, and
the places set apart for worshippers of different sects, after which we
joined in a service in the central portion. Later on towards sunset, we
hired a fiacre with a Pegasus-like winged steed attached, and the way
that sorry horse flew along was marvellous. No whip was needed, and to
say he was as thin as a herring would be a libel on the herring.
Anyhow, we arrived safely at Valetta, the Government residence, and
visited the famous orange gardens. We returned to the ship, dined on
board, and then in the evening went toiling up again to the Royal Opera
House. The scene was very brilliant. An Italian Company was performing,
and the artistes were loaded with floral tributes. The next day we were
off again, and steamed to Cape Malea--but “that’s another story.”

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



                SMYRNA.


It was a glorious morning when we arrived off Malea, and we steamed near
enough to distinguish the plateau on the rock where the celebrated old
hermit--who isolated himself in that lonely spot for so many years--had
always, on the approach of a vessel, advanced waving a flag.

The promontory passed, we were out of the Mediterranean, and we slowly
passed the maze of islands--the Cyclades--past Milo and Delos, famed in
song and story, Andros and Nicaria, and soon were making our way into
the Ægean Sea towards the volcanic island of Chios or Cos. This island
is off the Gulf of Smyrna, and has frequently been devastated by seismic
agencies.

It was a thrilling experience passing through the Gulf, and there, in
the light of evening, lay that ancient city--one of the seven Churches
of Asia--with its background of everlasting hills, beneath a turquoise
sky, carrying one’s mind back down the centuries, when St. Paul himself
preached there, and delivered the message to the churches.

Smyrna is the key of Asia Minor, and Anatolia is as large as France.

After our luggage had been inspected, we, after some altercation with
the drivers of various vehicles, were driven to our hotel, and, after
divesting ourselves of our travelling attire, we descended to the
table-d’-hôte, where dinner was served à la Russe. We noted the many
little dishes filled, one for each guest, with black and green olives,
and fresh beady-looking black caviare, the roe of the sturgeon,
indigenous to the Black Sea.

It was a truly cosmopolitan company which sat down to dine--so many
nationalities being represented--for Smyrna to-day is a very large and
important city of the near east.

The caravans leave here for the desert with all sorts of merchandise,
and they bring ivory, spices, and precious stones in return. The culture
of silk is carried on to an enormous extent, and the figs are of an
immense size. We watched, the day after our arrival, the loading of the
camels for the desert. Some looked well, others as though they would not
reach the end of the journey. Smyrna is the rendezvous of every eastern
merchant. The Armenians being good linguists, they conduct the bulk of
the business for the Turks, and are tutors in wealthy households.

The Angora goats and the Asiatic sheep--with tremendous tails, weighing
ten and fifteen pounds--flourish here in great numbers. We drove to the
Church of St. John some miles away. The scenery was truly magnificent,
and we felt that Turkey possessed the garden of the gods. We passed
pretty villas, buried in a wealth of magnolia trees, but the cypress
trees predominate, and the mulberry is very plentiful. We visited the
church, but were very much disappointed, the pictures being very tawdry
and common.

We also visited the ruins at Ephesus, to which we went by a slow train.
Frequent earthquakes have laid everything in magnificent ruin--remains
of ampitheatres, temples, aqueducts, are all levelled to the ground.
Most of the houses are built of wood which give in seismic shocks, but
the facades are of marble.

The Hamals are wonderfully strong, short but active men, and carry
immense loads upon their backs, the veins in their legs looking like
ropes. These are all Armenians and are trained from infancy.

We visited the Bazaar and the Turkish quarter, but were glad to escape
the dust and the quaint species of humanity.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may not be uninteresting reading now that the papers are filled with
news of the war between the allies and Turkey, if I recall one of the
pleasantest and most exciting days I ever spent during my sojourn in the
Ottoman Empire. I would first of all remark, that Turkey occupies the
most beautiful portion of Europe. The soil, being so volcanic, produces
a wealth of luxurious fruits, especially grapes and figs; but the
Turkish Government, as well as the Turks themselves, being naturally
indolent, never think of cultivating the soil as they might. Therefore,
there is more poverty among them, through their laxity, than wealth.

The part of Turkey in which I happened to have recently arrived was the
lovely island of Lesbos, the birthplace of Sappho, and with very mixed
feelings have I stood on the very spot on the road to Polyknito, where
that impulsive maid so long ago threw herself from that Leucadian steep
into the blue waters beneath. Of recent years, a young lady I knew,
threw herself from the same spot and perished--a victim of unrequited
love.

Well, two or three Greek girl friends and myself made up our minds to
have a real good day’s outing, so, packing our luncheon baskets, we were
off before sunrise, as, living some distance from the town of Mitylene,
we had a long walk in front of us. We started in high spirits, and were
nearing the town when I heard what, to my unsophisticated ears, was a
most peculiar awe-inspiring sound. I found it was produced by the Hozahs
at sunrise, calling from the minarets of the mosques, the faithful to
prayer. And Turks they may be, but, they shame us by their devotions,
which all the jeers in the world would never prevent.

We toiled along up the hill towards the Konah, the kiosk, being near by
the Governor’s residence, and at the top we stood admiring the sunrise
over the hills of Anatolia, in Asia Minor; and the view right along to
the heights of Smyrna in the distance was superb. Every inch of this
part of eastern Europe is teeming with historical interest. We walked
along past the Turkish graveyard, the tombs of which are all surmounted
with turbans beautifully sculptured, giving in the dusk a most weird
appearance, as though human beings stood there on guard.

At length we arrived at the Loutra, as it is called. The thermal water
is conducted underground from the hot springs. We entered a small garden
enclosed by a wall; then we were ushered into a room containing dozens
of small cupboard-like compartments, scrupulously clean. Our entrance
fee was five piasters, or tenpence in English money. We were each
supplied with clean towels. Then I, at least, went timorously towards
the apartment where the first portion of our ablutions were to be
carried out. An attendant came forward to receive us. The first
apartment was very warm, and we remained there until the perspiration
began to trickle down on to our towels which we secured round our
waists. Then came the ordeal.

On entering the “chamber of horrors” (I thought at first) I could
scarcely breathe, the air was so hot, and then I noticed that the floor
in this dome-shaped chamber sloped towards the middle. Suddenly several
taps were turned on, gently at first, and the attendant smeared us all
over the top part of our bodies with Fuller’s earth, after which, the
taps were turned on full speed, and we raced round that room while the
attendants pursued us, and smacked us soundly in turn. We slid around on
the marble floor, but kept losing our footing. Our faces were scarlet,
and oh! the dirt that came from the pores of our skin. And we had
thought we were clean! Well, the smacking process went on; the water
seemed hotter than ever, and at last we were allowed into the cooler
chamber, as we were feeling exhausted. The attendant was a Turkish
woman, but spoke Greek sufficiently to make herself understood. I have
often thought since she was an unusually active person for a Turkish
woman.

Then we went back to the dressing rooms again, and after we had rested
on one of the numerous divans for half-an-hour, we went into the garden
and eat our dejeuner with gusto, we were so hungry and so delightfully
tired; and we chatted and watched the groups of well-to-do people
enjoying themselves--the Turkish children, in particular, with dozens
upon dozens of small plaits adorning their heads, which are often not
undone for months.

At 4 o’clock small cups of muddy, but delicious mocha were brought us,
and then we regretfully departed for our tramp home after a very
pleasant day, almost too fatigued to talk. So ended my first day in a
Turkish bath, for it needs the whole day to recuperate after the trying
but pleasing experience.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



                THE PORTS OF PALESTINE.


One morning we were waiting, luggage packed ready, to embark on the
Russian liner for all Palestine Ports. We were in a state of suppressed
excitement at the alluring prospects in store for us, the historical
places, and scenic loveliness of which we had heard, making us long to
start. After some hours the belated vessel hove in sight, an immense
grey object, capable of carrying in comfort eight or nine hundred
passengers. Having previously secured our ticket, we immediately hired a
caique, after much altercation about the fare, and were speedily
conveyed to the vessel, which was making only a short stay. Arrived on
board, we were conducted by a gorgeously dressed official to our cabin,
and delivered to the tender mercies of the stewardess, a French woman.
We went on deck to explore, and until we started people were rushing
about talking in a dozen different languages. At last we were off, and
we took our final farewell of Smyrna, that peerless city of the East,
set in the beautiful background of opaline-tinted clouds, merging into
crimson departing glory of day; and at last, as the pall of night fell,
we went into the saloon--which was filled with the usual brilliant
company of tourists--to dine. After dinner, tea, instead of coffee, was
served in long fragile glasses, a thin slice of lemon floating on top,
and a serviette to prevent the fingers being burned. Of pale amber
colour this tea was delicious, the flavour exquisitely preserved. The
tea is imported overland, the sea voyage destroying the flavour more or
less.

We again went on deck and, glancing beneath us on the lower deck, we saw
long rows of reclining figures in white, like so many mummies, with one
or two sitting up talking volubly and gesticulating. They were Turks and
Arabs bound for Bagdad and Mecca. There were long-bearded Greek priests,
Armenians, Italians, and Russians, all en route to Jerusalem or
Damascus, the majority for Jerusalem. They would return as Hadjes, a
title which is borne by those who have visited the Holy Sepulchre.

We were up very early to see the first beams of Aurora, and we were well
rewarded, earth and sea combining to make one feel how beautiful it is
to live. The mysterious beauty of the misty mitre-peaked hills on the
land side of us, rosy in the gilded dawn, filled our minds with
imagination. On the other side, gleaming like the facets of an emerald,
lay Samos, noted for its vintage, its figs and oil, the dark olive
mounts, showing against the tender foliage of orange and lemon groves.
On we went until we came to Rhodes, with its great harbour, once famed
for its colossus erected to Apollo, but long since levelled to the
ground by seismic agencies. It must have appeared like a mighty janitor
watching down the centuries, worshipped as a deity by the wonderful race
who lived there.

We chummed with five young Russian ladies, who, with their chaperon,
were journeying to the Holy Sepulchre, and we were shown the presents of
silver and crosses which they were to lay on the shrine. We extracted
much pleasure from their company, and we would not like to disclose how
many cups of tea we consumed from the ever-boiling samovar, which these
ladies dispensed every time they could induce us to visit the cabin de
luxe reserved for their special use. They will always hold a place in
our memory.

On leaving Rhodes, we steamed away from the coast and we turned in
towards Cyprus, passing the Gulf of Adalia. The Island of Cyprus is
noted for its ancient copper mines, its magnificent temples, statues to
the deities, and frescoes covered with the dust of centuries. From there
we made for the mainland, remaining at the small town of Alexandretta
but a few hours. Everything was extremely Oriental. We saw a number of
Mohammaden women, attended by an eunuch, walking along, their yasmaks
now and again lowered, and a pair of laughing young eyes disclosed. How
the dark eyes, some very dreamy looking, of these wise children of the
East (some of them the Bedouin Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael) have
been, century after century, centred on these Eastern nights of
splendour, watching the heavens--wiser than we in things pertaining to
nature.

We next come to Tripoli, with its long-robed bearded priests and sheiks,
and veiled women, and the dogs, those scavengers of the east, the
bazaars, and beautiful foliage.

When we came to Beyrout there was a great stir, so many persons
disembarking, some for Beyrout, but more bent for Damascus, beyond the
Mountain of Lebanon, and some crossing the Syrian deserts for Bagdad. We
bought some immense bunches of pink, blue and white double violets which
came from Sharon.

Damascus, the oldest city in the world, is famed chiefly for its finely
wrought steel instruments in the shape of swords, daggers, knives,
stilettos, some of them magnificent specimens of artistic skill, and
often encrusted with jewels of great value.

After leaving Beyrout the weather began to get very stormy, the waves
grew mountainous, and soon we were in the throes of a great gale. Just
about here we were told the currents are very dangerous, and very fierce
storms rage at times. We were ordered below, and we could hear glass and
crockery breaking at intervals--during a lull of the tempest.

When morning broke we were some miles from Joppa or Jaffa, as it is
called to-day. As we slowly neared the port, rolling heavily, we saw
that ancient city built on a rock rising sheer out of the water, with
practically no harbour, and in that great gale, swarms of caiques manned
by dexterous men of divers nationalities coming towards us--one moment
lost in the waves, the next high up on the crest of another. It was of
no use, we could not cast anchor, and were doomed to disappointment, for
had we not dreamed of traversing that long, white, chalky road which
some forty miles away shows the Zion of the elect. And our Russian
ladies were greatly excited at having to wait until the return voyage to
descend and attain their heart’s desire--to say that they had seen
Gethsemane, Calvary, and all the places which must, in these modern
times, have lost (except the Holy Sepulchre) much of the beauty depicted
in holy writ.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



                THE IVORY TEMPLE.

              FOR AUSTRALIAN WOMEN.


No matter to what status of society we belong we nearly all have little
idiosyncrasies, little mannerisms, and, in the majority of cases, they
are caused by self-consciousness. Many great speakers, at times, show it
in a marked degree. Actresses, too, suffer from it, not to mention
singers; but in the latter cases it is termed stage fright. And it is
not vanity, it is hyper-sensitiveness; it is not unpardonable, but is
often adversely criticised.

And how often are we prone to criticise our friends in their absence;
when they are not present to refute any unkind thing said of them,
merely because they are misunderstood. The things said may be very
trivial, and a look or an innuendo will ban more than words. How often
are long and valued friendships broken through these things, or rather
these habits of running each other down!

We wear the mask of what we call good-breeding, which makes us unnatural
to the detriment of our real selves. We murmur conventional phrases with
our lips, give a frozen smile: shake hands in the fashion of the moment
and pass on, thinking we have done our duty to society. And yet some of
us would give worlds for an earnest sympathetic pressure of the hand,
creating a bond of good feeling which is of the greatest value and
cannot be too much prized. Do let us be natural and unaffected. It sits
badly on young or old to pretend to be what we are not. Our real selves
do not seem to be reflected in the mirror of life; we are hidden,
distorted, just as when one looks into a common mirror. Let us hope that
physical culture and plenty of outdoor exercise will make our coming
young Australian citizens, with their finely developed bodies, a
self-reliant, broad-minded and generous race. There is no need to be
mannish: and this rubbing up against each other will make speech less
acrimonious. We can be gay at work or pleasure in this exhilarating
climate; and we must be a little serious too sometimes.

We should be neither proud, pandish, nor too modish. We can be a
modification of prevailing fashions, leaving extreme modes to the very
rich. Madame la mode, you know, is an expensive jade; and never mind
Mrs. Grundy, or her prototypes. Do what your conscience dictates, and be
as refined as you can; and also as kind as you can, and think of
beautiful things. The effect is wonderful. It is like studying beautiful
pictures; it gives us higher ideals; it is like walking in a lovely
garden, inhaling the fragrance of the flowers or admiring a verdant
landscape. It affects both mind and body most agreeably.

The classical beauties of ancient times always placed the finest
statuary in the apartments in order to inspire a sense of the beautiful
in themselves and, in turn, to their children. Likewise beautiful
thoughts will reflect themselves in our eyes, which are the mirrors of
our mind, even though we may not all be visions of beauty from an
artistic standpoint. Cultivate our minds, and care for the beautiful
“ivory temple” we call our bodies--and we shall be happy.



                THE LITTLE CHILDREN.

                MAKING GOOD CITIZENS.


I wonder how many people in this world are proof against the charms of
little children. They may be small brothers and sisters of our own, the
children of our friends, or other people’s children; but we cannot fail
to love them. These darlings of the home, these small despots, claim old
and young as their vassals and worshippers. Tiny kings and queens they
in verity are, and their rule is truly autocratic. They are at once the
despair and the pride of their parents.

To hear that sweet “mummy and daddy,” inevitably the first words framed
by these adorable lispers, is to listen to the most melodious music. But
when we think of the many darlings--not the happy ones of our beautiful
Australia, but the unhappy little beings of the densely populated cities
of the older world--beaten, starved, neglected, born of women to whom
the real meaning of the sacred name of mother is unknown, it provides us
with food for reflection.

When Australia attains a population of many more millions it
will--unless, with advancing science, conditions of poverty are
ameliorated--be the same thing here. “The poor will be with us always,”
but we hope not the unkindness of ignorance.

Think of it! These children teeming with potentialities for good or evil
and it behoves us to think of it, though it pain us. We, in Australia
(with the exception of those who have travelled in Europe), know
nothing of the grinding poverty of parts of this planet designed by the
Creator to furnish us with abundance of all that is necessary for our
subsistence.

But I am digressing. There is no doubt that formerly children were
brought up too strictly. But nowadays it is the reverse. The children of
to-day are frequently asked what they would like; not told what they may
have. A child should be treated very gently, yet firmly. And above all
things never promise a child a certain thing and then break that
promise. If we could only realise the after-effects of a broken promise!
Children lose their beautiful faith for ever. They have marvellous
memories, and often they become our inquisitors.

These little entities have their rights, and we should endeavour to
answer, and not evade their questions. We must never crush the sap of
knowledge in their little minds. Then, how often has the troubled look
on a child’s face stopped a hasty word--and the child proved the
unconscious peacemaker?

Have any of you ever gazed with tear-dimmed eyes upon a little waxen
figure, robed in its last fairy whiteness, noted its angelic expression,
its beautiful immobility, and not felt the sublime majesty of death! How
near the infinite it has brought us! How kind we would be if we could
feel that pulse beating with life once again!

If Australia is to grow into a great nation we must advance with the
times, and train those tenderest of plants, “the souls of little
children,” and inculcate in them the heroic spirit of that older Greece
in this reincarnated new Greece of southern seas. First, must we teach
the marching army of intelligent women how to love so that--“a little
child shall lead them.”



                MUSIC.

           ITS MAGNETIC CHARM.

         AUSTRALIA A MUSICAL COUNTRY.


What magnetic charm, and what wonderful effect has music upon human
beings--even upon persons who prefer to be indifferent to harmony. It
also has a marked influence upon animals and reptiles--as is well known.
Hence, the prancing of a well-bred horse at the sound of martial music,
especially if it bear a pronounced strain of Arab blood. The snake
charmers of India gain their livelihood by charming the reptiles from
their haunts. Dogs also display an intense dislike for some kinds of
music by whining dolorously. Cats and big domestic birds manifest the
same traits. But it is the ear of the “genus homo” which is the most
divinely sensitive to melody. Without possessing much special musical
ability, in classical music, we may follow the story without words. If
we are but the least little bit imaginative in the valse we may see the
grand ball-room, lovely faces of ladies, in powder and patches, courtly
men, beautiful and bizarre costumes, regal forms, flashing jewels,
coquettish glances, languid grace, the poetry of motion in the
magnificent figures--and mentally follow every phase of human emotion:
love, hope, sigh, remorse, jealousy, despair. All these are faithfully
depicted. Again, in dramatic music, without seeing the performers we
feel the revelation of pent-up passion, the force of accusative and
declamatory speech. How realistic it all is; and it appeals to our
deepest feelings, as we follow the vibrating notes, now raised in shrill
tones of invectives, or lowered to tense, nerve-straining anathemas, or
terror-stricken moans. And so breathlessly we follow the music,
sympathetically, or revolting at the intensity of love or hate in the
drama. Then the final death-scene brings us back to our normal selves.

But more tranquilly beautiful is the pastoral theme--each kind of music
has its own individuality. We imagine the sylvan scene, the sleek kine,
the woodland, the silver stream, the soft zephyrs, the rustic lover and
the maid, the cattle knee-deep in herbage. Then a stillness. Again the
wind stirs the leaves We can almost hear them falling. Then the patter
of rain-drops, and the rising of the tempest; and at last birds trilling
their lays--and then the sun shining through the clouds.

Again, the “Dead March in Saul” has a deep effect on us--that beautiful
march which now and again we hear in Brisbane streets, at some military
funeral. So sad. The riderless horse--the first notes so infinitely
pathetic. The place which has known us will soon know us no more for
ever, it seems to say, and makes the most callous of us sob. Then the
sublime triumphant notes ring out telling us that the soul has discarded
the veil of flesh, and has assumed its immortal garb. So does music
speak.

Italy was formerly producing nearly all the stars of great magnitude,
and now Australia, which is, by reason of climatical conditions,
naturally musical, is giving to the world many beautiful singers, some
of whom have added lustre to the Southern Cross. And note when a squad
of our defenders march at night from the barracks--how the pedestrians
quicken their steps in response to the inspiring music.

Vivacious music is necessary in this climate. It takes the gray colour
from our lives and elevates us by filling our ears with beautiful
sounds.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]



                MAN AND HIS DRESS.


Man may consider himself unfortunate in having to endure more pain than
pleasure during the natural term of his existence on this little planet
which mortals call earth.

But he cannot get away from the fact that he reigns supreme as the king
of animals, and the highest of all things yet created--a beautiful
casket of mind and matter, made in the likeness of his Maker. He is
endowed with the electric unquenchable spark of immortality which can
never die. He is half animal, half spiritual and emotional, with a love
for beauty, ever longing for protection with idealistic visions of to
what he may attain--one moment plunged into transport of joy and the
love of living; the next into a vortex of despair, impotent to combat
some unexpected blow of fate, yet withal, possessing the most marvellous
courage and capacity of endurance. And amidst the vast empire of the
animal world, he stands clothed with reasoning, power, and crowned with
the majesty of knowledge, of good and evil. He alone can, of all
animals, survey the infinitude of space.

We know that a great gulf divides man from the lower animals, and that
between civilised man and the savage of New Guinea there is a difference
of intelligence due to environment. But, nevertheless, the savage is a
noble man in the eyes of his Creator.

The intelligence of a man and a lower animal differs to a tremendous
extent, although the anatomatical structure may be similar. The brain of
a man is heavier than that of an animal. Man’s superiority depends upon
his being able to express himself by the glorious gift of speech, by
which he may exchange his thoughts and wishes, obtain the comforts
necessary to his mode of living, and build his dwelling according to the
climatic conditions of the country in which he has chosen to dwell. With
this comes another train of thought. Why, in our fair Queensland, will
the average man continue to suffer discomforts sooner than effect any
radical changes in his attire? On these days of torrid heat men are seen
in town and country wearing the conventional heavy dark coat and
waistcoat with stiff front and stiffer collar, trying to appear at
ease--while they are miserable. They will chide women for wearing
clothing which is too diaphanous, but themselves go to the other extreme
by wearing the same thickness of clothing all the year round.

In the early history of our race, when we ourselves were savages, we
wore iron and brass collars in token of serfdom. Then, surely, it seems
a relic of barbarism to allow a stiff collar and ugly clothes to induce
a man to a state of misery for the sake of a custom which would appear
to be inexorable as the laws of the Medes and Persians.

A bishop does not mind being seen in his distinctive dress and gaiters.
Why then should the average man be less brave in the matter of a
rational suite? It only needs one or two persons of influence to start
the mode and other classes would soon follow suit, to the comfort and
pleasure of all concerned. At least visitors to our shores would not
then have to discuss the martyrdom of man in the antipodes.



                SO LONG AGO.

            [TO C----. THOMSON.]


    It cometh in my dreams that long ago,
      When all the world seemed bathed in golden light,
    And when you told me that you loved me so
      The hours were burnished suns; there was no night,
            So long ago.

    Thy voice alone could calm my latent fears,
      And thou alone my every thought expressed.
    Thy presence stayed my unrestrained tears,
      Thy soft arms held me close against thy breast,
            So long ago.

    Thy dear lips spoke the tender words so sweet,
      It was thy hand which sought to guide the way
    Along life’s road, and set my faltering feet
      Upon the narrow path which leads to day,
            So long ago.

    So long ago; I see thee, heart of gold.
      Just as of yore, thou pure, fair spirit--yet,
    Though o’er thy grave the flowers their buds unfold
      I mourn thee still with passionate regret,
            For long ago.

    It cometh in my dreams, that olden grace,
      And grave, sweet look, but lo; upon thy brow
    A soft light shines. And, Oh! thy gentle face
      Presses my tearful one as closely now
            As long ago.

    Dear eyes which shimmered in a silver mist,
      I see them now as in the dim, sweet past
    Smiling on me, ere death had softly kissed
      And sealed them, but to ope in Heaven at last
            As long ago.





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