FROM THE HILLS
SONGS FROM THE HILLS
FROM THE HILLS
LONDON AND MELBOURNE
MELVILLE, MULLEN y SLADE
Printed by BALLANTVNE, HANSON <V Co.
At the Ballantyne Press
MY DEAR MOTHER
Page 140, line 7, read "lion heart" for "lion of heart."
Page 144, line 14, read "dear" for "fond."
Page 152, in third line, second verse, read "fleet" for "float.
Page 168, line 21, read "enshrining" for "enshrined."
Page 171, line 18, read " Wa^ ever a day so fair?" instead of
"Was ever a lady so fair?"
Page 166, second verse, read " the purity" for "her purity
ERE THE SILVER CORD BE LOOSED .... 4
ORANGE BLOSSOMS 6
HEART OF MY HEART 8
"MY LITTLE GIRL" IO
FERNSHAW (BLACK SPUR) . . . . . 14
DEAR DARK HEAD -I?
CAMP DREAMS . .... . .' . . 19
A BUSH REVERIE . . . . ... .23
AMOR VINCIT MORTEM - . .26
NOBODY'S MOTHER . . ... . . .27
THE LAND OF OUR CHILDISH DREAMS .... . 29
LAID LOW . -32
" GOD BE WITH THEE, MIA CARA ! " . ... . 34
JENNINGS CARMICHAEL 37
THE WELL-SPRING OF THE HEART 39
THE LAND OF OUR YOUTH'S ROMANCE. ... 42
OUR OWN HOME LAND . 45
LOVERS' LAND 49
"MIA CARINA " 53
"CAMP FIRES" 55
OVER THE HILLS WITH YOU 6l
SUNSET, MONT ALBERT 64
THE FIRST FOUNDATION DAY 6j
ST. FILLAN CREEK, NARBETHONG 70
WITH THE BLOOM AND THE GLORY OF SPRING . . 72
THE MATCH-SELLER . . . . . . -79
THE BLACK SPUR . . . " . . . . 8l
THE ACHERON RIVER, DIVIDING RANGE . . . 89
A BALLAD OK NORMANDY 9!
THE OPEN DOOR . . . . . . . -95
UNDER THE SHADOW OF THY CROSS .... 97
IN SIGHT OF CAMP . ... - . -99
THE OLD ROAD, NARBETHONG . . . . .103
THREE MEN . . . * .... . . IO6
THE BLIND MUSICIAN IO8
WHERE WATER-LILIES SLEEP Ill
LIGHT IN DARKNESS 112
AN ARMENIAN HEROINE IIS
S1GNOR CECCHI . . . . ? . ', . . Il8
THE CUCKOO OF THE SOUTH 119
WHEN THE LILAC BLOOMED AGAIN . . . . 122
AUSTRALIA'S HEROES . . . . . ... 125
GRANDMOTHER . . . . ... . 129
THE SOUL'S EXPRESSION 133
THE CHRISTMAS ANGELS . . . . . .135
JOAN OF ARC IN THE CHAPEL OF DOMREMY .. . 138
GOD'S OWN "SONG WITHOUT WORDS " . . . .141
MY LADDIE . . . . 144
THE GRAVEYARD OF THE WEST 145
MEMORIES OF THE PAST 148
THE HEART'S ETERNAL YOUTH 152
THE LANGUAGE OF THE EYE 155
THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIA 157
THROUGH A MIST OF GOLDEN RAIN .... l62
THE WATCH-TOWER OF THE SOUL . . . .164
A LEGEND OF THE VIOLET 167
THE AUSTRALIAN CUCKOO I/O
AN ANGEL'S CHRISTMAS EVE 172
A SUNSET IDYLL 177
A BUSH TRAGEDY . . iSo
THE CRY OF THE WOMAN . . . . . . 187
THE GARDEN OF THE SEA 1 91
AT THE END 194
THE ANGEL OF THE SUNSET 197
CEAN BAWN DEELISH 2OO
ACROSS SEAS . 2O2
I MET you in Life's bright morning
While the dew on the grass was wet,
And the birds' mellow joy-bells were ringing, -
Dear heart, I can hear them yet !
The trees spread their branches above us,
The Sun shed its gold through the leaves ;
We were young on the green Earth together,
Like the flowers that her love interweaves !
There was beauty in sky and in valley,
In the white lambs that dotted the hill,
And the children's far silvery laughter,
O love ! does it reach to you still ?
In my heart thro' the years it has echoed
With the sound of their small flying feet,
For the ring of our gladness was in it,
Like a fairy-call piercingly sweet !
2 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
There was music wherever we wandered ;
The wind made a harp of the trees.
There was joy in their tremulous motion
As it swept o'er their magical keys.
In that dreamy nocturne they had whispered
Sweet words for the Angels to hear.
Did you steal from their wandering music
The secret you breathed in my ear ?
If I stood in the shadow a moment,
'Twas to think that the world was fair !
If I bent o'er the flowers an instant,
'Twas to offer a thankful prayer !
I was glad with the glee of childhood,
Glad, too, with my woman's heart.
" From Shadow to Shine is the sweetest ! "
You smiled as you stood apart.
I kissed the red hearts of the roses
In the glow of their beautiful bloom,
And bore with me back to the sunshine
The breath of their sweet perfume.
The spring and the summer vanished
Like a radiant fairy dream,
But they bore in their boat of azure
TWO hearts on their golden stream !
I walked with you late in the autumn,
As its red leaves fluttered and fell,
And the wind rustled mournfully through them
With a sad, sobbing note in its swell.
But we drew but the closer together,
There was glory still over the land !
And the hills in their mantle of purple
In the sunlight rose stately and grand.
To the banks of the fast-flowing river
Where we loitered with lingering feet,
With its sails of crimson and amber
Came gliding an elfin fleet.
Its crew were the old sweet fancies,
Returned in a soberer guise ;
Its cargo was gay with the splendour
Of First Love's glorious skies !
We smiled and sighed as we watched it
Even Love hath its twilight of pain,
We had trod through the shine and the shadow,
And fathomed the loss and the gain !
I sat by your side in the winter,
In the pitiless whirling snow,
But we'd found the fire in our hearts, Dear,
And we've never lost its glow J
ERE THE SILVER CORD BE
ERE thy sweet soul doth sail the Silent Sea,
Lift up thy voice, O Love ! and answer me.
Do thy true eyes, lit by Faith's beacon-light,
See holy things still curtained from our sight ?
Fixed is their gaze ! A rapt and holy awe
Darkens their blue, as though God's strand they
Are other vessels coming from afar,
Nearing, like thee, the shining harbour bar?
On their dim decks perhaps old friends they see,
Dear heart, perchance e'en now they're hailing
Borne far away by currents of the years,
Deaf to our cries, and blinder to our tears,
May not the loved for whom our spirits grieve,
At the same hour their summons, too, receive ?
Pass not away, sweet soul, without a word !
Whisper the song by mortal ears unheard.
Doth its soft music float across to thee,
Or doth God's Silence guard Eternity ?
THE SILVER CORD 5
Fain would we know that not into the dark,
Chilled and untended flies life's vital spark ;
Fain would be sure that loving hands would guide
The spirit bark that trembles on the tide !
Leave thou some token, soul to us so dear,
Who watch thy flight, and yet must travail here !
Till Earth's last sun in awful glory set,
Must we still question on ? unanswered yut !
IN the far-off haze of the past,
In the land of the " Might-have-been,"
There lies a little lonely grave,
By tears kept ever green.
With reverent hands I dug it,
In the dying sunset glow,
And buried there my sweetest hopes
Long years and years ago !
I kissed their faces lingeringly
No broken heart may weep !
And piled the earth-clods wide and high
Where naught could break their sleep ;
And when the mound was smooth to view,
A cross I placed above
The cross of pain that guards alike
Both dead and living love !
The grass grew green upon the grave
E'en as I knelt beside ;
I set within it snowy flowers
That should have decked a bride !
There is dew upon their petals yet,
And their scent is rare and sweet,
The shade and sunshine of my youth
Upon their bosom meet !
I seem to hear the sound of bells
From somewhere far away,
Ring out with gladness in their tone
Then die with ebbing day !
And sometimes in the silence there
I breathe a name that's dear,
But never, never answer comes,
For only God doth hear !
HEART OF MY HEART
INSIDE, the firelight's glow
Outside, the rain,
Wild wind and falling snow,
Moorland and plain !
Inside are warmth and light,
Outside but darkest night,
Shapes that thy soul affright,
Mocking thy pain !
Why should the woes of years
Weigh on thee yet ?
Why, with those scalding tears
Thine eyes be wet ?
Life of my life, can I
See thee go forth to die
Without one pleading cry,
Wild with regret !
Wet are thy wings, my dove,
Rest thou with me !
Guarded by faithful love,
Safe thou wilt be.
HEART OF MY HEART
Wildly the tempests blow,
Whirling the fallen snow ;
Why to their fury go ?
Love, stay with me !
Lo, I would make for thee,
Cold as thou art,
A nest to shelter thee
Deep in my heart !
Come in thy sore distress,
Come in thy loneliness !
Ne'er shall I love thee less,
Heart of my heart !
WHERE the wild birds sing their sweetest, and the
In white and starry clusters in the grass,
There's a spot beneath the wattles which only
By its beauty few have ever cared to pass.
There oft we sat together at the closing of the
While the red sun sank in splendour in the
And the floating clouds, like islets in some blue
and placid bay,
Drifting slowly, seemed to follow him to
Their mimic shores were golden, but more golden
was her hair ;
I turned from them to watch its sunny gleam ;
I prized their mystic beauty, but her face was
The sweetest poet wove into his dream !
"MY LITTLE GIRL" n
In the sunset glow transfigured, that calm face
seemed to shine
With a light that somehow drew my thoughts
to God ;
He lends us masterpieces from the Land of the
But the spirit quickens slowly in a clod !
There were rays of Heaven's glory in the deep
and tender eyes.
Was she angel ? Then I grudged her heavenly
I grudged each thought she wafted to the quiet,
Heav'n had its host of angels I wanted mine
on Earth !
The evening breezes whispered to the leaves that
And thrilled to keener life beneath their touch ;
The life in me was bounding, but I could have
knelt and prayed
God pity him who loveth over much !
Is there ever joy that hath not its presentiment of
There were moments when the thought flashed
o'er my mind
That the things we prize the dearest are the first
we must forego,
Our brightest hopes the ones we have resigned.
12 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
I loved the girl beside me with a love God only
I was never quick to tell each inward thought,
But I think, whate'er my history, she knew that
love was true,
That life itself without her was as naught.
And in the dreamy stillness, though I spoke no
Dumb with a longing born of joy and
Her little head would nestle like some soft and
On the heart no woman's touch can thrill
I would scale the skies above me, search the
yawning depths beneath,
Dare all that man ere ventured in his pride,
Pluck from the hand of science her fairest laurel
To bring her now one moment to my side.
But the red sun sinks at evening with a strange
and lurid light,
The glory of its cloudland dim and blurred,
And the everlastings chill me with their cold and
deathly white ;
The silence by no breath of life is stirred.
MY LITTLE GIRL" 13
And I sit alone and ponder on the problems that
The heart of man while ages onward roll.
Well, no question now of mine can her purer
spirit vex !
She hath learnt the deeper problem of the soul.
They preach of resignation who have never known
a loss !
I turn from them unheeding, unimpressed ;
There is more for me of healing in the simple
That shadows her last earthly place of rest.
Yet I long with passionate longing, with a crav-
ing naught can still,
For one look into the sweet and thoughtful
My little girl ! forget not the human heart you
While you wander 'mid the flowers of Paradise !
FERNSHAW (BLACK SPUR)
WHERE solitude still holds unbroken sway
O'er fern-clad slope and softly-flowing stream,
O'er purple hills that through the languid day
Seem distant castles in a fairy dream,
And passing shadows form a spirit band
To guard the brooding calm of their enchanted
There man ne'er toils nor grieves,
But through the tender leaves
The sensuous Summer sunlight slowly weaves,
With heavy-lidded eyes, bright hues for Autumn
There through the drowsy stillness ever steals
The sweet faint music of a choir unseen.
Though lulled to rest, the musing spirit feels
Time yet hath golden fields for her to glean.
But rest is sweet when fragrant odours steep
Tired soul and sense in self-forgetting sleep J
FERNSHAW (BLACK SPUR) 15
Far away the lyre bird's call ;
Splash of a distant waterfall ;
The wind's sigh through the tree-tops tall
Weird, broken music, rising, floating, ever over
Between the waving palm-fern branches shine
The swaying musk leaves, broad and silver-lined,
And with the lighter green their shades combine,
As chords of music blend within a master mind.
And ever rippling in sweet monotone
The river glides o'er rock and mossy stone.
Dreamy clouds float overhead
Snowdrifts on an azure bed,
Soft down by the angels spread
For the feet of some child spirit Heavenward
Wherever home of man hath left its trace
(As here in gardens long o'ergrown with weeds)
Vague hints of mystery seem to fill the place
The shadow cf the old-time reckless deeds !
The wild ride in the starlight dewy dusk
Thro' fresh winds fragrant with the breath of musk
Was but the prelude sweet
To song and dancing feet
The loud bush revel, where for youth and maid to
Proved oft the preface to a tale Love only could
16 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
The Past with lingering step before me steals ;
The rustic bridge above the river's flow
Resounds again beneath the coaches' wheels,
And phantom drivers of the long ago
Draw up before the poplar-shaded door
The quaint old inn threw wide in days of yore !
No vestige of it stands,
But Nature's kindly hands
Have beckoned fairy sprites from all her magic
And fern and wild-flower now bend o'er the river's
DEAR DARK HEAD
DEAR dark head, do you dream, I wonder,
Of all the thoughts that I think of you ?
Sweet, sweet thoughts, like the flowers of morning,
Bright with the glory of love's own hue !
Dear dark head, have you ever listened
To chimes far distant at break of day ?
Never was joybell like heart music !
Never was love-word it doth not say !
A peal of bells, and a wild bird singing,
Singing, singing, and rising still !
Hark to the echoes from wood and river
A fairy choir on the purple hill !
Listen, listen ! for they are calling
That heart of thine from its slumber deep :
" Awake, O love ! It is Life's bright morning ;
When youth is over, then thou shalt sleep ! "
Awake, and thine eyes shall see the splendour
Hid in the depths of the lakes and streams,
The castles fair, and the wondrous bowers
Love hath built for the Queen of Dreams !
i8 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
I have stolen the key of her ivory tower,
And cast it deep in her silver sea,
That all that is beautiful may for ever
Be a joy and delight to thee !
Not a shell but has some sweet message,
Breathed for thee in its dainty ear ;
Not a wave but its sunny ripple
Murmurs a poem for thee to hear !
Fancy lends me her golden kingdom
For thy wandering feet to tread,
But had I the key of the gates of heaven,
Thou shouldst feel how I love thee, dear dark
WHEN the matin-bell's silvery warning
Rings the Queen of the Night to repose ;
In the glow and the gleam of the morning,
When the slumbering flowers unclose ;
In the first sunny smile of the dawning
When the dew is still wet on the rose,
There are times when the passionate yearning
Of the spirit breaks every bar,
And the gates of God's heaven are turning,
And swing on their hinges ajar ;
When the heart-censer's mystical burning
Throws the breath of its perfume afar.
In such hours, when the bright starry splendour
From Arabian Nights of the past,
With a glow that is dreamy and tender,
O'er my quickening spirit is cast,
All is mine that illusion may render
From a storehouse resplendent and vast.
20 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
And I see the long 1 stretch by the river
Where the wattle-bloom showers its gold,
Where the sensitive seed-grasses quiver,
And the wild-flowers their glory unfold
By the sun-kissed, the beautiful river
Where I roamed in the glad days of old.
To the rhythm of its musical flowing 1
My heart sings a joyous refrain ;
Again the fresh breezes are blowing :
I am young, and a lover again
Is the reaping the better ? or solving'
The first shallow handfuls of grain ?
Is there ever a bliss like the pleasure
That falls dewy-sweet on the soul
Ere Fate hath apportioned its measure
To the young heart aglow for the goal ?-
Is the search dearer far than the treasure,
The half of a joy than the whole ?
I know not till Life be completer,
I know not and yet I believe
That the morning of life is the sweeter ;
Nothing fairer can Fantasy weave
O still to the old ringing metre
The songs of its memory cleave }
CAMP DREAMS 21
O love, though we loved but to sever,
Though Fate tore us roughly apart,
The gleam of its gold glow for ever
Like a sunburst shall gladden our heart
Like the first morning glory, or ever
Its crimson and amber depart.
Sweetheart ! where we halted to listen
To the river-song, long, long ago,
The clear waters whisper and glisten,
The old music still in its flow
Still babble, and ripple, and glisten
With the song and the sheen that we know.
" We know ! " yet alone I'm retracing
The paths where we wandered of yore,
And I see not what odds she is facing,
Whose face I must gaze on no more !
(All is dim and again I am pacing
The sands of an alien shore.)
I loved her as never loved woman
Knight-errant on tapestry quaint
With the passionate fire of the human,
With the rev'rence of monk for his saint,
With the worshipping awe of a true man
For a soul without evil or taint.
22 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
Through the sorrows that followed her after,
Through the gloom of her sad winter days,
Through the brief time of joy and of laughter,
Through the peace-time of prayer and praise,
May the sweet bells of Memory waft her
Refrains from Love's tenderest lays !
May the glory of sunlight and starlight
Shine ever within her sweet eyes
That are blue with the mystical far-light
Which gleams from the soul's Paradise,
Ah, never was sunlight or starlight
As fair as those deep azure skies !
That no shadow may darken their beauty
Earth-clouds blurring o'er the divine
The stern leading upward of Duty
I follow, and dare not repine.
For her be the peace and the beauty
Of a world that can never be mine !
A BUSH REVERIE
WHEN the bell-bird stirs the echoes with her last
And upon my homeward way I slacken rein,
The dark blue hills around me seem to wake the
And the problems of my boyhood vex again.
Nature, still and holy, looks to heaven with yearn-
ing eyes ;
I watch the grey mist stealing o'er the range,
And the dim mysterious shadows creeping upward
fill my breast
With a sense of isolation sad and strange.
There are times when every spirit feels its power
to stand alone,
Its sense of oneness with a Power Divine,
And Earth's sorrows and its passions seem a
world from it apart
A thing one spirit-touch would undermine !
24 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
There are thoughts we cannot fathom, there are
prayers we never hear
In the heart, to us the dearest here below ;
And the soul may rise to summits that the preacher
As the whitest flower blooms amid the snow.
Vet though the air immortal is the soul's best
There is joy in travelling o'er Life's lower plane,
And I feel the warm blood tingle as it did in boy-
When I mark the untrod valleys that remain.
There are depths I have not sounded, there are
heights I have not climbed ;
There is something in me bids me strive for all :
For the nature that can suffer most shall reach the
And the strong in spirit rise, whate'er befall !
They who have not known a sorrow cannot feel
for others' woe,
And the heart that never loved is but a shell.
He serves his kind the better who has soared to
He also serves who knows the pangs of hell.
A BUSH REVERIE 25
Where the weak in terror falter, there the strong-
may firmly tread ;
We know not our resources till we're tried.
They who face the demon bravely are the first to
And the faint in heart gain courage by their side.
Where the bullets rained around them, in the
thickest of the fight,
The heroes that we worship stood like stone.
No thought of self disturbed them, and their aim
was swift and true,
Let their courage prove incentive to our own !
For in us, and about us, far fiercer battles rage,
The storm-fire of the fiend who prompts to ill ;
And the spirit-world lies closer to the earthly than
St. Michael and the devil wrestle still !
lie who fights for home and country has a claim
upon his land,
Though his life-blood ebb away on foreign sod :
Who helps the forward movement of his brothers
in the van
Has a claim for time eternal on his God !
AMOR VINCIT MORTEM
I LOVE thee with a love stronger than Death,
Dearer than Life, when Life is at its best,
Pure, as the heaven where I hope to rest,
True, with the truth of years of steadfast faith !
I've loved thee through long hours of weary days,
Through nights of pain when Sorrow's self was
And Hope lay silent. Yea, when Life grew numb,
And spirit worlds drew near my straining gaze.
In life or death, through weal and woe, thou art
So closely twined into my being's growth,
To pledge itself to thine in endless troth
God seemeth to have formed my woman's heart !
So close it cleaves that heaven itself were loth
By even just decree our lives to part !
THE children played in the quiet street,
And the sound of their voices shrill and
Floated high in the evening air.
From a window o'erlooking the peaceful
A sweet-faced woman was gazing down
A woman once young and fair.
" God bless the children ! " she said, and
" It is good to be blithe and a little child ! "
As she listened to laughter and merry song,
Two little girls in the happy throng
Looked up at the watcher lone.
" Is she your mother? " one, pointing, cried ;
" She's nobody's mother ! " the other replied,
In a petulant, wondering tone.
Clear as the note of a passing bird
The words rang out, and the listener heard.
28 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
" Nobody's mother ! " the colours die
Out of the glorious sunset sky,
And fade to a sombre grey.
" Nobody's mother ! " the scene grew blurred,
A thousand slumbering feelings stirred
In her heart as she turned away.
" O child, you have struck with your little hand
A harder blow than you understand ! "
The words were true, and the shaft struck deep ;
Never for her would the heart-pulse leap
At the sound of a lisping tongue !
Mothers with children around their knees,
Her place was not with the least of these,
No fond arms round her clung.
The heart knoweth best its tragedy,
She wept, and her weeping was sad to see !
For the feelings starved and the spirit's strife,
For the loveless home and the lonely life
That were hers at that evenfall ;
For the something missed in her life's long day,
The sweetest name that a child can say,
Her tears were as tears of gall.
How many lives are as incomplete,
That a babe could fill with his dimpled feet !
THE LAND OF OUR CHILDISH
INTO a beautiful land we creep
(My world-weary soul and I),
Where the years gone by in their beauty sleep
Undisturbed by our wailing cry.
Where the golden clouds of the days that were
Still hang in the radiant skies ;
And the incense of childhood's holiest prayer
Still reaches to Paradise.
Where the hills rise up thro' a purplish haze
Like a turreted castle tall,
And the spectral forms of an army gaze
From battlement, tower, and wall.
Where the crimson rays of a sun whose gleams
Shall be ever and aye the same,
In the flood of a setting glory beams
On a sea with a mystic name.
30 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
A sea, on whose silent bosom glide,
With sails that are never unfurled,
Fair phantom ships from the waters wide
Of an earlier, unseen world !
Where a rosy mist like a curtain falls
Dull Earth and its shore between,