Grant Hervey.

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THE LIBRARY
OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES






[%
1







7



AUSTRALIANS YET




GRANT HERVEY.



AUSTRALIANS
YET

AND OTHER VERSES



By

GRANT HERVEY



MELBOURNE
THOMAS C. LOTHIAN

1913

PRINTED IN ENGLAND



Printtd by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London



PR



To
JAMES EDMOND



136t946



ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Of the verses contained in this first instalment of
my Big-AustraHan message, the greater number
originally appeared in the Bulletin. Others are
reprinted from the Lone Hand, Sydney ; the Sun,
Kalgoorlie ; Steele Rudd's Magazine, Brisbane ;
the Spectator, Perth ; the Red Funnel Magazine,
New Zealand, and Australia Junior, WA.

" Australia," in which I have endeavoured to set
forth the national feeling of this Commonwealth
towards the Old World, now appears for the first
time.

Personally, I desire to express my heartiest
thanks to Messrs. J. F. Archibald, A. G. Stephens,
A. H. Davis, Captain Whitehead, C. W. Andree
Hayward, J. J. Simons, and other Australian
editors. Through their kindness the following
ballads of Manhood, Work, Good Cheer, Mateship,
Masculine Vigour and Nationalism — although I
know their technical faults are many — have already
obtained a wide Australian hearing.

May all good friends of Australia prosper !

GRANT HERVEY.



vu



CONTENTS





PAGE


Australians Yet ......


1


Upon the Hills ......


4


The Gods and the Girls , . . .


7


The Night I Spent in Quod


9


Ballad of the Drums . . . . .


14


Five Years


18


Mulga-Land .......


20


In Praise of Children


24


" The Max You Might have Been " .


27


The Need for Men ....


30


A Vagabond Heart ....


32


Going Blind .....


33


Back to the Bush ....


35


" When the Doctor will not Come " .


38


The Passing of Captain Banks .


41


His Monument .....


45


Thro' Storm and Gloom


47


Among the Thieves ....


49


Lips and Stars .....


53


The Driver


. 54


My Creed ......


57



IX



X CONTENTS




PAGE


The Coal-Ships ......


59


The Whirligig of Time ....


62


Leaving the Town !.....


65


Star-Set .......


66


Two Stars .......


68


Kisses and Sin


70


Home-Sick ......


72


When Ships and Harbours Part .


76


The Joy of Life .....


78


The New Song and the New Singer .


82


Homer is my Friend ....


84


The Masters of the Sea


87


Have You Set Your Standards High ?


94.


My Lady is Waiting for Me


97


Ballad of the Man Far Inland .


99


A Song of Work


. 102


Australia


105


My Morning Rose ....


112


Ballad of Jock McPhun


116


When the Shoddy Idols Go


. 120


A Song of Men and Women


. 123


Kids .......


. 127


The Buccaneers .....


. 131


Button's Grave


. 134


The Town of God-Forgotten


. 139


Portland Bay (Victoria)


. 144


The Western Road ....


. 147


Ballad of Exile


. 149


Walkers


. 153


Home .......


. 156



CONTENTS



XI



The Voice of God

The Old Colonial Days

A Visit from the Zoo .

Shell ....

I Hear Australia Singing

A Song of Ships .

A Ballad of the Road

An Idyll of the Rail

A Song of the Millennium

The Old " Blues "

Battle Hyjsin of the New Australia

The Night the Liner Died

Buenos Ayres

Tribute

The Sweater's Dream .

The Girl Who Came Between

Transcontinental Railways

Black Maria

The Strength to Be .

The Girls of the Morning .

"Another Fall of Earth".

Silk Cracker Days

"Rolling Her Home".

When a Fellow does his Damnedest



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208
211
214
219
223
227
229
231
235
239



AUSTRALIANS YET

I SAW a Track shine out across

The weariness and strife,
And on it marched a Band that was

The Vanguard of our Life.

A small but loyal troop of men,
With shining eyes and souls,

That left the western gaol-pen
For Freedom's far, white goals.

They were our Nation's pioneers —

The star-lift of our day ;
Within their straining hearts and ears

There rang the Call : " Away ! "

*' Away, beyond the shackling Laws ;

Beyond the empire-crest,
Away, away, away — your Cause

Lies Eastward — curse the West I "

A small, great-hearted band it was —
A troop of marching men ;

They bore the dear, gum-fashion' d Cross-
There were Australians then I

6



AUSTRALIANS YET



They were our country's Pioneers,

The warriors in advance,
And were — by Faith's own royal tears —

The first Austrahans !

West, where the sinking ships go down,
Like plummet-souls to sleep,

Their vanguard hearts refused to drown
Within the turgid deep.

Adown the track their spirits strode

Unto the gleaming East.
A turn ... a bend within the road —

The stars, and Freedom's feast !

They knelt before this god with lips

A-tremble in the light
Of suns that drowned in red eclipse

The dull grey moons of Night.

They knelt, as I who write shall kneel,

As ye who read shall, too,
One hand upon the blood-marked steel,

One filled with faded Rue.

One god there is in all the host
Worth bend of true man's knee,



AUSTRALIANS YET



And East he holds his Pentecost —
My god of Liberty !

With pains and woes and many tears
Ye say the Road is set ? —

I see a track blazed down the Years,
We II be Australians yet !



UPON THE HILLS



UPON THE HILLS

There is a nobler, purer air

Upon the Hills ;
An atmosphere — a breath so rare

My being thrills
With the delights of living !
There is no rancour and no strife —

No malice here ;
One borders on the better life

Where strong wills steer
Past doubting and misgiving.
The noble gums sway down their heads-

To me they murmur gravely ;
The spiders spin their fairy threads,

And loop their grass-stalks bravely ;
And I — I think what I should think —

Of purest patriotism ;
Australia's own warm breath I drink —

Afar from sham and schism !

The rivers wind them back and forth,

And breezes blow
Out of the balmy, tree-topped north,

And then I know
How grand a country mine is



UPON THE HILLS



The essence of the Bush instils

A hope that I
May sleep for aye upon these hills

When last I die,
And have my humble finis.
Australia's heart is beating here —

O gracious land of glory ;
Her mighty soul is pulsing clear

Upon this promontory.
Here at his ease a man might sleep

Within her bosom vernal —
And hear her life-blood throbbing deep ! —

And take his rest eternal.

O land of mine I do aspire,

Each living day,
To catch your cadences of fire

In some swift way.
And be your chiefest singer
You need an arch-interpreter —

Born of the soil —
To carry your sweet voice of myrrh

To those who toil.
Yet you your message linger.
There is a stirring in the heart

Of those born of your passion ;
O that I had the minstrel art

To stir them in some fashion !



UPON THE HILLS



I'd waken all the dormant love
Of country hidden in them ;

Gum-boughs that sing and sway above-
Give me the power to win them !

Upon the hills I sing a song

That some may hear
In some far city's distant throng

Or other where,
And set their true hearts beating
For her, our Mother of the Bush,

Serene and grand —
The goddess of the great hills' hush —

Our OAvn dear land.
Who sends her children greeting !
Upon the hills I sing a song —

Straight from the heart it gushes,
Like some vast river swift and strong

From its deep source it rushes.
I sing the song of liberty —

The song Australia tells me
To send from these far hills to ye —

As loyalty impels me !



THE GODS AND THE GIRLS



THE GODS AND THE GIRLS

There's a toast that has waited proposing

Since the first wine was pressed from the grape ;
'Tis a toast better far than the prosing

Of the King and the Crown and the Crape !
There's a pledge fit for men waits a drinking —

'Tis a toast set with bright eyes and curls ;
Set the hearts and the glass-rims a-clinking —

Fill them up ! — To the Gods and the Girls !

'Tis a toast for a man's heart to cherish,

'Tis a pledge for a true soul to sing ;
It's a toast good to drink till we perish

And the arms cease to clasp and to cling !
'Tis a toast for the strong and the loyal —

Who refuse it are outcasts and churls ;
'Tis a hail to the ones truly royal —

So we drink to the Gods and the Girls.



Set a foot on the chair and the table,
Bring the best spidered wine in the bins ;

Now a cheer that shall half lift the gable —
Thank the Gods one and all for our sins !



8 THE GODS AND THE GIRLS



For we owe them to Bacchus and Cupid —
They invented our vices, our pearls ;

Man without them is muddy and stupid —
Ho ! we drink to the Gods and the Girls !

'Tis a toast to the twin founts of pleasure —

A libation to Jove and to Love ;
'Tis a toast for the vine's purplest measure,

Poured out to the good Gods above.
He who drinks not is base and a varlet,

So we drain to Sweet Life as it whirls ;
Fill them now with a liquor of scarlet —

Lo7ig life to the Gods — and the Girls !



THE NIGHT I SPENT IN QUOD



THE NIGHT I SPENT IN QUOD

I SPENT a night in Quod last year — in plain, unvar-
nished Quod ;

And I shall marshal swiftly here the myriad
thoughts which trod

Across my brain that dragging night, behind the
bolts and bars —

Behind the door which hid from sight my valued
friends, the stars !

The world went by in grim review — for from that
quiet cell

Had marched a motley, nameless crew — I seemed
to know them well.

They all came back and sat with me, those shadow-
felons odd ;

And there we held grey company, the night I
spent in Quod I

With sunken eyes and shoulders bent, the pallid
legion sat ;

All hopeless and impenitent — the scum of For-
tune's vat.

They spoke no word, but on their souls the vivid
cyphers burned ;

I scanned the blazing, fateful rolls, and knew
how much they spurned



10 THE NIGHT I SPENT IN QUOD

The plastic lies and sophistries which wrap the
lives of men —

The paltry, pale theologies, diluted ten times
ten!

I laughed at Churchianity ; how cheap the par-
son's God

Among those wrecks appeared to be — the night
I spent in Quod.

I spoke my thoughts aloud, and one gave forth a

bitter cry ;
" I was," he said, " in days long gone, a pilot to

the sky.
I guided souls across a sea which I had never

crossed —
That Gulf of Grim Adversity, where many men

are lost !
I stood upon the wharf — I waved directions from

the shore ;
And I concluded all were saved, for they returned

no more.
But once I ventured — once I steered " the voice

of Ichabod
Reverberated sad and weird, the night I spent in

Quod !

Another shadow lifted high his puny, shaking
paw ;



THE NIGHT I SPENT IN QUOD 11



" And I," he said, " in years gone by, I made the

precious Law.
I tabulated punishments — I made a bitter code
For those who dwell in Ishmael's tents and go the

devil's road.
I swore that I would conquer crime — ^that I would

shelter pelf ;
Behold the ghastly jest of Time — where am I now

myself ?
Where am I now ? " he cried again. " The chains

my soul corrode " —
I saw a shoreless sea of pain that night I spent in

Quod!



And yet another hoarsely cried — his voice was like
a scar ;

" And I stood on the further side — was not as
others are ;

I was the Upright Citizen — Respectability

And all the high Commandments Ten were typi-
fied in me !

The siren voice of Self-Esteem made music in my
breast —

Whene'er I crossed life's turbid stream that voice
shut out the rest !

I only thought of Mine and Me — I patronized my
God "—



12 THE NIGHT I SPENT IN QUOD

I saw a foundered Pharisee the night I spent in
Quod!

The others sat with burning eyes — the voiceless

multitude
Whose unartieulated Whys in flaming symbols

stood.
I spoke for them, and said : " Behold ! What

think ye now of these
Whom ye sent forth in days of old to cross un-
charted seas ?
For these ye made your bitter codes, for these ye

made the laws ;
They tramp alway the evil roads of vice and crime

because
Their fathers' blood is in their veins — their fathers'

ways they plod."
I called the Three the Sons of Cain — that night

I spent in Quod 1

" Aye, ye are Cains, ye Three," I said. " Ye

regulated well
The great machine which surely sped these others

into Hell.
The parson and the Pharisee, the man who made

the laws ;
The ushers of eternity — ye are effect and cause !



THE NIGHT I SPENT IN QUOD 13



Go now and lead these brothers hence, to what
they ought to be —

God's surplus of omnipotence is rotting use-
lessly ! "

They rose and left me in my cell — like phantoms
grey they trod ;

A slender ray of sunshine fell, and it was dawn in
Quod !



14 BALLAD OF THE DRUMS



BALLAD OF THE DRUMS

Lo ! the thresher-drums are booming 'mid the hills
at early morning —
'Tis the wheat that's rolling mill-ward in a
tawny, yellow stream !
Near the dawn our engine-whistles give their hasty
toots of warning,
And the sheaves fly from the stack-tops as our
pitchforks flash and gleam !
Marching down the teeming valley of the winding
Wannon River —
Marching down upon the harvest that is waiting
for our tread ;
Ho ! our threshers lift their drum-notes when the
heat-rays dance and quiver —
Aye ! our drums throb on like thunder when
the sun flames overhead !

Hear the music — roaring music that our rolling
drums are playing —
'Tis the Anthem of a Nation that is marching
bravely on !
In mine ear the roaring threshers are forever
grandly saying :
" March ! Australians — fight and conquer — care
is dead, and fear is gone 1 "



BALLAD OF THE DRUMS 15

As I tend my rocking engine all the world rolls on
in glory —
Lo ! the pistons and the fly-wheel sing a splendid
marching song ;
Aye they tell me that my country shall be famous
yet in story —
For the wheat shall raise up Workers for the
Nation stout and strong !

Ho ! my " blues " may be all oily, but I feel a
king, right royal —
And my oil-can is a sceptre that controls the
mighty earth !
Lo ! I thresh the food for millions — for the millions
true and loyal —
And my hand hath fed the people in the days
of drought and dearth !
There are kingships waiting for you on the thresher
decks, my brothers —
Yea, the thresher deck were better than a
crumbling, effete Throne ;
They are kings who flail the wheat out to sustain
the hungry others —
And the drums extol our kingship in a roaring,
major tone !

We are kings who rule in earnest — lo I the mills are
waiting for us —



16 BALLAD OF THE DRUMS

We control the vastest kingdom that the world
has ever seen ;
All the world strains for the music that we thunder
forth in chorus —
For it lives upon the substance that we sweaty
monarchs glean !
Better far to rule in denim than to rot in purple
vestures —
Aye, the wheat-stacks left behind us are the
Symbol of our might.
Let the politicians wrangle — let them make their
signs and gestures —
For the men who feed the people are the kings
in solid right !



Lo ! the thresher-drums are booming 'mid the hills
at early morning —
'Tis the Wheat that's rolling mill-ward in a tawny,
yellow stream !
Near the dawn our engine-whistles give their hasty
toots of warning.
And the sheaves -fly from the stack-tops as our
pitchforks flash and gleam !
Marching down the teeming valley of the winding
Wannon River —
Marching down upon the Harvest that is waiting
for our tread ;



BALLAD OF THE DRUMS 17

Ho ! our threshers lift their drum-notes when the
heat-rays dance and quiver —
Aye ! our Drums throb on like thunder when the
sun flames overhead !



18 FIVE YEARS



FIVE YEARS

I NEVER see a woman, save

To look upon and love her —
When I am hidden in my grave
I'll wake when girls pass over.
When ladies tread
The earth o'erhead
I'll stir once more my tomb in.
Ah ! pity me,
Ye people free —
I never see
A Woman !



I never see a girl go by,

With cheeks like stolen roses ;
No sun-rise lip or laughing eye
My prison-wall encloses.
These three years gone
I've lingered on,
This stony box of doom in ;
And earnestly,
For long years three,
I've prayed to see
A Woman !



FIVE YEARS 19



No high-heeled shoes of black or tan

Trip 'neath our barren gateway ;
No scented hair or jewelled fan —
These things are off a great way.

These two years more

My body sore
Must dwell this arid gloom in.

Ah ! pity me,

Ye lovers free —

I never see

A Woman !



20 MULGA-LAND



MULGA-LAND

Land of stars and stunted gum, where the crawling

camels come
To the " soaks " at night, like 'phantoms freighted

down with pain and woe ;
Land of lustre and of love, where the meteors march

above.
Like a hand of constellations lamping Venus to her

home !

'Tis a land where men lived lives — coddled not
with homes and wives —

'Tis a land of desert places and of dawn-lifts
grimly grand ;

'Tis a land where strong men toil in the golden-
hearted soil

With begrimed and dusty faces all, a brown
heroic band.

I have seen the Yilgarn coach through red seas of
heat approach ;

I have seen the grim dry-blowers tramping store-
ward for their mail ;

I have heard the driver swear while the red dust
clogged the air



MULGA-LAND 21



And hung o'er the dim horizon like a crimson
battle- veil.



I have heard the ball-mills roar, I have watched

the skips of ore
Flying upward to the platforms o'er the dumps at

Golden Gate ;
I have sharpened picks and drills in the red

Westralian hills,
And I've heard the stamps in chorus when the

night waxed tired and late.

Ah ! the music that they made — it was like a

cannonade
As the cams turned on serenely and the shoes

came crashing down !
There's a spirit dwelling there that bids men do

and dare,
In that glowing land of glory where all things are

big and brown.

Ha ! the strong, great-hearted men — men who

toiled with pick and pen —
Who shall count the stalwart heroes in their far

Westralian graves ?
They were big and they were strong — symbolistic

of the throng



22 MULGA-LAND



Where the roasters drip the ore-dust that the
'malgamator craves.

Yanks, Austrahans, Germans, Swedes — doers all

of daring deeds —
Men whose hearts were mighty engines beating

bravely to the last ;
Men w^ho faced the desert brown, men who spurned

the paltry town —
Men whose souls will drive through ether till the

last long trumpet-blast !

Ha ! the life ! the life ! the life ! it was red and

strong and rife ;
'Twas nq place for fops or weaklings, unctuous,

polite, and bland ;
Hagar's children one and all — pearls the desert

held in thrall —
Ay, the Ishmaels led the legions to the heart of

Mulga-land !

Now electric fans are whirring where the Hannans

crowds were stirring —
There are tram-cars on the Boulder and along the

Golden Mile ;
Lo ! the locomotive urges past Binduli and Mount

Burgess —



IMULGA-LAND 23



Where the camels once tramped slowly in a long,
clay-coloured file.

The explorers are forgotten — ay, the bones of

some are rotten —
But one breathes their strength and spirit in the

wild Westralian air ;
There's a something half immortal that Westralia

throws athwart all —
There's a something more than mirage in the

dawn's red-shrouded glare.

Bayley knew it, Bayley felt it — ay, the blazing

roasters smelt it —
In the telluride it's hidden — it's within the diorite ;
You can feel it in the camps clustered round the

Boulder ramps —
I have known it 'yond Kalgoorlie when the stampers

shook the night.

When the stamps are sounding shrill — when the

white stars watch the mill —
Then Westralia walks incarnate, with a firm,

right royal tread ;
It is she who leads the brave to their fortune — or

the grave —
And the Gods have bound the planets for a symbol

round her head I



24 IN PRAISE OF CHILDREN



IN PRAISE OF CHILDREN

Give me the kids for comrades — I'm tired of
politicians,
I'm weary of the wantons, and hard-eyed men
of trade ;
Call in a troop of children — dear, golden-haired
magicians,
Whose hearts are yet with Nature — whose souls
are white-arrayed.

Give me the glad-eyed children. I am their friend
forever,
Aye, hand in hand I'd lead them across the
shining stars ;
I'm weary of cold Mammon — the people harshly
clever,
Who draw their inspiration from turgid whisky-
jars.

Here in the Bush I'd wander, with children's

fingers clasping —
With children's hands so tender laid trustfully

in mine.
Give me the kids for comrades — I'll cease my

worldly grasping —



IN PRAISE OF CHILDREN 25

Their hearts shall be my mansion, their souls
shall be my shrine.

I love their sinless faces and all their happy
laughter —
My heart and soul grieve always at sight of
children's tears,
I'll march me down the world-ways, and fear no
grim Hereafter,
If children's hearts go with me across the field
of years.

My hopes lie in the youngsters — the legions of
To-morrow,
The pure-eyed, coming cohorts, who clasp my
hands to-day ;
Together we shall conquer — shall rid the world of
sorrow —
Aye, souls unborn shall help us to clear the
world's sad way !

My troops shall close around me — the troops ye
take no thought of —
A mighty host to-morrow these baby souls shall
be ;
We'll show the laggard legion what stuff our hearts
are wrought of —
We'll roll the world on bravely towards Eternity !



26 IN PRAISE OF CHILDREN

I love their vivid voices and all their faith and
fairness —
I ask no greater tribute than children's simple
trust,
Their love is all I ask for — bow down before its
rareness —
Would that its light might jewel the haggard
eyes of lust.

Their love has all the fragrance of tender-petalled
flowers ;
Their lips, like op'ning roses, breathe happiness
and love ;
Their smiles blot out the sadness of all life's bygone
hours —
Whene'er a baby blossoms, a star goes out
above !

Here in the Bush Fd wander, with children's fingers
clasping —
With children s hands so tender laid trustfully in
mine.
Give me the kids for comrades — Fll cease my worldly
grasping —
Their hearts shall he my mansion, their souls shall
he my shrine.



" THE MAN YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN " 27



" THE MAN YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN "

There's a fearsome lot of pages filled by pessimistic

sages —
Men who sing glad songs no longer, but deplore

the festive scene ;
And these scribes are all explaining, like a grey-
sky when it's raining,
What very wondrous characters they really might

have been.
It was Drink, they say, that did it ; but I'm game

to bet a quid it
Was a sort of spinal sinkage that wrought all the

grievous work ;
And opine that every writer should remain a

cheerful fighter —
He should be a gladsome mixture of the Devil

and the Turk !
What's the use of dismal whinings ? — fit your soul

with cast-steel linings —
Turn your face toward your troubles and untwist

their tangled skein ;
Fix a cheerful eye upon it, write no tearful, sodden

sonnet,
And, for Satan's sake, don't maunder re the

" Man You ^lisht Have Been ! "



28 " THE MAN YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN "

It's the Man You'll Be that matters, though you

tramp around in tatters,
But the road to fame and fortune isn't paved with

grief and beer ;
It is paved with grim endeavour — you must make

it now or never,
Disregarding puny insects who arise at times and

sneer !
Let your pale obituary in the pathless future

tarry —
Don't announce that you're a failure till you're

quite completely dead ;
Let some other person curse you — when you're

riding in the hearse, you
Can depend they'll speak your epitaph above your

grassy bed.
While there's life there's hope, remember — sedu-
lously fan that ember —
You may make a bigger blaze yet than the world

has ever seen ;
Dig your claws in, scratch grim gravel — ^make the

chips and splinters travel —
But prevent your mind from dwelling on the

" Man You Might Have Been ! "



Glue your thoughts upon the future — like the
bull-ant, you must root your



" THE MAN YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN " 29

Path toward the distant object where your heart's

ambition lies ;
Cut the cords of sloth that bind you ; throw the

useless doubts behind you —
Graft like all Gehenna's forces published in one

human guise !
Are you hopeless, are you sodden, are you coinless

and downtrodden ? —
On the affluent tide of triumph you may roll


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Online LibraryGrant HerveyAustralians yet, and other verses → online text (page 1 of 9)