And the voice of the Past like a sweet bell calls
The soul where it oft hath been.
And promises peace to the weary heart
Where never hath darkened night
(Tho* the spirit that enters must oft depart
From this realm of a lost delight).
Where the angels bend from the clouds o'erhead,
A smile in their heavenly eyes,
The snow of their glorious pinions spread
O'er the beauty that never dies.
Where the Peace of God in the fragrant air
Hallows ever the passing hours,
For all in the sight of His love is fair
That blooms in its holy bowers !
Into this beautiful land we creep,
When the outside world grows cold ;
By its silent sea, in a restful sleep,
We live in a light of gold !
LAND OF CHILDISH DREAMS 31
And the howling winds may rage without,
But never a sound hear we,
For safe in a haven that knows not doubt
We dream of Eternity !
As towers of strength upon the giant hills
Through changing years they'd stood ;
No winter storm had power to raze or quell
These monarchs of the wood.
Theirs now to see the fire-fiend's flaming eyes
Glare with revengeful hate ;
His hot breath sears them as they stand at bay
To meet like kings their fate.
The smoke-clouds' floating draperies swiftly pass,
Weird phantoms in the glow,
Their long, lean arms in wild despair are spread,
Presaging death and woe !
The young leaves shrivel in the scorching blast,
The fire-fiend drinks their moan ;
The parent stem, unmoved, is in his grasp
We suffer best alone !
LAID LOW 33
As one who raises up her martyr's face
With holy look and high,
And faces slow and agonising death
Without one feeble cry ;
So, in the clutch of their malignant foe,
Defiant in their pain,
The grand old trees, like soldiers, yield their
On their last battle-plain !
Higher and higher the flames, with serpent hiss,
Are gloating o'er their doom ;
The wind with ghoulish laughter whirls their
In red stars thro' night's gloom.
Majestic still, in death-throe greater far
Than in the pride of life,
Pillars of fire, o'er all they proudly tower,
Scorning ignoble strife.
Crash ! Earth trembles, and the prisoned hills
Echo the groan that quivers into space.
Another Rachel, Nature wildly mourns
The bravest of her race !
"GOD BE WITH THEE, MIA
CARA ! "
"GoD be with thee, mia cara ! "
Hath Love sweeter words than these ?
Nay, I trow not ! With none other
He my longing heart could please !
What though more than one soft language
Blend in them to greet my ear ?
Love is love the wide world over,
And his voice in both I hear.
" God be with thee, mia cara ! "
Colder is the French " ma chere,"
Less expressive of the sweetness
Of a lover's tender care ;
Less expressive of emotion
Hidden deep from other eyes ;
Of the soul touch that embraces
Her on whom his heart relies.
"MIA CAR A" 35
Parting from his weeping sweetheart,
Mayhap some brave cavalier
"God be with thee, mia cara,"
Whispered softly in her ear.
Maybe through long years of sadness
Oft she heard it with a sigh
In the strains of martial music
From some army sweeping by.
In the noisy clang of battle
For her sweet face was there room ?
Did a girlish figure lighten
Even war clouds' blinding gloom ?
Did the hot tears rise unbidden
As he rested from the fray ?
Ah ! how often " mia cara,
God be with thee ! " did he pray ?
" God be with thee ! " Is there praying
That so much encompasseth ?
Prayer that feels the God-heart beating,
Even through the chill of Death !
Prayer that craves deliverance ever,
For a loved one, from all ill,
To the very gates of heaven
One petition bearing still.
36 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
" God be with thee ! " through Life's dangers,
Through the war-clash of the soul !
Through the floods of many waters,
Through the storms that o'er thee roll !
Unforgetful that exemption
From all woe is not our lot,
Yet the faith in Him who pilots
Our frail vessel, losing not.
Seeing through the mist around us
One strong Hand upon the helm,
Whose firm touch forbids the billows
Lightest bark to overwhelm.
Can a stronger prayer be wafted
To our dearest than the cry,
" God be with thee, mia cara ! "
Though we sever, He is nigh.
TO JENNINGS CARMICHAEL
BIRD in the city singing
Thy heart out against its bars,
Sending thy sweet notes pealing
Up to the quiet stars !
Sing on ! tho' thy song has ever
An undertone of pain :
Sing on ! for thy voice hath power to soothe
Sore heart and weary brain.
1 listen as one who heareth
Bells chime from a distant town,
In a vesper chorus swinging
As the summer sun goes down.
And the air around grows purer,
Hills rise thro' a purple haze,
And I wander afar in a world of dreams
From Life's thorn-covered ways !
I ask for no sweeter music
Than the sound of thy liquid notes !
In a sea of golden glory
My spirit with thee floats,
38 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
And I live thro' years of rapture
That were never mine own before ;
Forgotten, forgiven, all wrongs from hands
Beloved in the days of yore.
Sing on, brave heart, tho' breaking,
There are those who love thy voice ;
Mourn on with the weeping mourner,
With the pure in heart rejoice !
Tho' thy guerdon no man may tell thee,
In the Land of Perfect Song
A recompense awaits thee
Where only the angels throng !
THE WELL-SPRING OF THE
O TO be out in the wild fresh breezes,
Borne on the breast of the wind away !
Wandering 1 whither my fancy pleases,
O to be out on the hills to-day !
O to gather the sweet wild flowers,
Smiling up from the fragrant sod !
To bury my face in the golden showers
Of wattles wet with the dew of God !
to thrill with the bliss of being !
Singing my heart out in the sun.
Free as the songsters upward fleeing,
Blithe as the brooks that seaward run !
Just to tread in the springing clover,
Feeling its blossoms round my feet !
1 was ever a " gipsy rover,"
Youth and Nature love to greet !
40 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
O to bound with the old-time gladness
To the dear tunes of the Past !
In my veins the old sweet madness
Like its mill-stream rushes fast !
O to be out where the sun is shining !
Out where the everlastings grow,
Out where the musk-leaves' silver lining
Gleams in the light of the golden glow !
Out where the peaks of the purple mountains
Stand like sentinels guarding all ;
Out where the splash of the flowing fountains
Stirs my blood with its bugle-call !
There I know are the glad birds singing,
Rippling carols of love and mirth :
There I know are the sheep-bells ringing
Fairy music o'er the earth !
There in the grass are the shy wild daisies,
Hiding their bonny heads of snow !
Ah, I would find you, winsome daisies,
Every sheltered nook I know !
Gone are the days of my happy childhood,
Girlhood's diadem groweth small ;
Only the secrets of the wildwood
Womanhood mav still recall.
WELL-SPRING OF THE HEART 41
What if my heart hath had its sorrows ?
Doth not its well-spring bubble clear ?
Ah ! I can dread no dark to-morrows,
While its whispering waters cheer !
Every life hath had its losses,
Vet, let Nature do her part,
Over the ruins grow the mosses
In the JT \rden of the heart !
THE LAND OF OUR YOUTH'S
IT lay beside a tranquil sea
Whose rippling- waters laved its shore,
And with a mystic harmony
Bore witness to the charm it bore :
For on its ground a spell was laid
Which only Youth might strive to read ;
Who entered found his toil repaid,
Who dwelt there long was blest indeed.
Sweet music echoed from its heights,
Sweet music echoed from its dells :
At night were seen unearthly lights,
And heard the sound of magic bells !
Fair flowers bloomed as in the day
Like stars the dewy grass above,
And shed their fragrance on our way,
Or thrilled the heart to thoughts of love.
LAND OF YOUTH'S ROMANCE 43
The quivering branches of the trees
Flung mystic shadows on the grass ;
The soft, low soughing of the breeze
In murmured litanies seemed to pass.
White -winged vessels swept the streams,
Upon their decks a fairy crew
Embodiment of childhood's dreams,
Yet fairer than its fancy knew !
And strange birds sang strange melodies
That stirred the fount of hidden tears,
Sweet as a mother's lullabies
Heard in the dawn of far-off years !
In waking dreams the moments flew ;
The soul, entranced, resigned its will,
Yet nobler, purer, grander grew,
For perfect beauty breeds no ill.
And Love drew nigh with shining wings
And smiled with tender dreamy eyes,
Till half forgot were earthly things,
And nearer seemed God's Paradise !
Dear Fairy Land of youth's romance,
Though closed long since thy gates of gold,
We journey on with backward glance,
And ever dear thy memory hold !
44 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
While pulses have the power to beat
To echoes of a love-lit Past
So long shall thoughts of thee be sweet,
So long thy wondrous magic last !
OUR OWN HOME LAND
WHERE the wild waves around her are flinging
Their challenge to Time,
And the rocks echo back to their clamour
In thunder sublime !
Where the winds in their shrill eerie music
Like a trumpet-call over the billows,
Stirring and deep,
She stands in her vigour exulting,
Strong, joyous, and free,
Her mountains her sentinels mighty,
Her rear-guard the sea !
True, nations before her have risen,
Fought for a name ;
They rest on their blood-dappled weapons,
Weary of fame.
But the blood of the young and the restless
Swells in her veins ;
Fame's grandest height still untrodden
For her remains
Like a figure of Hope bright and queenly
In warlike guise,
46 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
She scans her wide-acred dominions
With radiant eyes.
From the fresh emerald green of her valleys,
Dew-spangled and fair,
To the hill-tops whose bare jagged summits
No climber may dare ;
From the fern fairyland of her gullies
To limitless plains,
Where grey, haggard, grim Desolation
In misery reigns ;
From the sombre mysterious forests,
Gloomy and lone,
That echo the cry of the wanderer
To the swift eager flow of her rivers,
Her clear mountain streams,
There is written the promise of ages
Futurity's dreams !
They are types of the strength of her people
Born of a race
Who have won in the march of the Nations
The first royal place.
Ay, the blood of past heroes is in them !
The pioneer strain,
The force that no hardship can conquer
Defiance of pain !
They seek what their sires did before them
The front of the van ;
Theirs to press onward and upward
New worlds to scan.
OUR OWN HOME LAND 47
Worlds that the closed hand of science
Yet must disclose,
Realms that the sages have sought for,
Yet no man knows !
Through the crush and the storm of the battle
Of older days
They loomed on the far blue horizon,
Shrouded in haze.
In the dawn of the light that is breaking
Through sullen skies,
Clear as their message from heaven
Their peaks shall arise ;
When country to country is clinging
Hand clasped in hand,
And Federation shall scatter
Her gifts o'er the land :
When they stand as one nation, a bulwark
Mighty and strong,
Impregnable, ever victorious
Over all wrong.
Far-reaching, invincible, glorious >
A tower on the deep.
Above the dark waves of disunion
Its beacon to keep !
O Land of the young and the virile,
Thy banner unfold !
Let it wave in thy southern sunshine,
A standard of gold.
Let it stir in the heart of thy children
The patriot fire ;
48 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
And extend with new zeal for thy glory
The wings of desire !
" Unity " ever thy watchword,
Press eagerly on,
Till the sorrows that clouded thy morning
Have faded and gone ;
Till thou'rt seated, a queen on the waters,
All wrongs to redress
A land for all nations to honour
And heaven to bless !
HAND in hand, o'er silver sand,
We wandered once to Lovers' Land ;
Fairy bells ringing, sweet voices singing,
Followed us ever over its strand.
Skies were blue, and hearts were true,
Heaven itself within our view !
Golden clouds o'er us, flowers before us,
Earth in her splendour of diamond dew !
Far away, beyond the grey
Of colder seas, our childhood lay :
What were its dreamings but pallid gleamings
Of the far dawning of such a day ?
In its shine, the Love Divine
Blent my spirit so with thine,
Though we should sever, for ever and ever,
Thy soul can never my soul resign !
5 o SONGS FROM THE HILLS
Hand in hand, o'er silver sand,
We found our way to Lovers' Land ;
Be the stay long, or swift in its fleetness,
Once, and once only, touch we its strand !
Though with tears, across the years,
We crave for all that Life endears ;
Ne'er shall we follow o'er vale and hollow,
The sweet fairy music that ravished our ears !
Never more that glittering shore
Our lingering steps shall wander o'er ;
Others may meet us, tender hearts greet us,
Spent are the treasures our spirits would pour !
IN the days that are coming, darling, darling !
When your love grows less than my love for
When your spirit chafes at the old allegiance,
And, pitying me, you are falsely true ;
Come to me in the gathering shadows,
Saying, <( I need thee, thou faithful friend,
In the years that have gone I was thy true lover,
Now, Love's reign draweth near its end."
Tell me all in the dear old garden
Where oft we wandered on summer eves,
When our hearts beat fast to their own wild
And the wind's soft sighing that stirred the
Tell me all and I'll absolve you
From vows once made in the heat of youth.
Ah, laddie ! love is the gift divinest,
But more than love I shall value truth !
52 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
I will lean, beloved, on your heart a moment,
Though each word stab me with torturing pain ;
I will kiss you once with the old-time fervour
For the past that ne'er can be born again !
And I'll lay my hands on your head and bless you
While I speak the words I have strength to
The words that send you from me for ever !
No sob's mute pleading shall bid you stay.
I shall hear your footfall echoes dying,
Dying fast on the fragrant air,
And the gate shall close as my heart is closing
To all Life gave that was bright and fair !
Reproach shall follow you not, my darling ;
Though the sweet flowers listen, tear-wet with
The words I breathe may be words of sadness,
But ne'er of harshness or blame for you !
God be good to you, darling, darling !
God be good to you, what come may
To the weary heart and the restless spirit
That loved not " once," but must love for aye !
Like the scent of a rose long faded,
The love that was shall be with me yet,
And one spot still shall be bright with verdure,
For the heart keeps ever its mignonette !
WHEN the sigh of the wandering breeze
Falls on my ear,
Or the song of a bird from the trees,
Sweetly and clear ;
When the hills like a land of romance
Shrouded in haze,
Darkly blue in the sun's golden glance,
Loom on my gaze,
Then do I feel thee draw near,
Close to the gate of my heart,
Which, hearing footsteps so dear,
Swings on its hinges apart !
When the soft velvet touch of a flower
Brushes my cheek,
In the spell of its magical power
I hear thee speak ;
And its touch is as thy tender kiss
From days of old,
The love that my sadder hours miss
'Mid strangers cold !
54 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
And I fold thee again to my breast
With a passionate gladness and pain ;
Thou who art solace and rest,
I hold and caress thee again !
When the chime of a far vesper bell
Calls to my soul,
As the glad echoes answer its swell
From hill and knoll,
The sound of thy last whispered prayer
Sobs through its peace ;
The pain of its burden I bear
Till life shall cease !
Yet the love that hath held us in bond,
Though " the stars in their courses " assail,
Is a joy still and shall be, Beyond,
Till the tides of Eternity fail !
WHEN the night-winds through the sheoak like a
weary spirit moan,
And the red camp-fire is gleaming thro' the
I leave the group around it, and I wander off
Where the shadows of the sombre ranges loom.
I leave each trusty comrade to the laughter, joke,
That at the close of each day's work prevail,
While Jim, the old bush shepherd, spins some
gruesome yarn of wrong
Did he know it, I could tell a grimmer tale !
There are tragedies around us when all looks
bright and fair,
The sorrows that are deepest show no sign ;
There is no calm serener than the stillness of
The suicide ne'er loiters to repine !
56 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
I have known what " race for life" meant with the
trackers at my heels,
To ride all night and hide at break of dawn ;
I have known each dark emotion that the hunted
Yet my hand was guiltless as the babe's
I have borne another's sorrow, I have suffered for
What matter now he lieth cold and still ?
When Youth's first flush is over, there is little left
Nor hope worth the fruition to fulfil !
Is the peace we crave at morning worth possession
by the night ?
I doubt it, while there's strength to labour on ;
I would rather be the storm-bird on his long and
Than, dove-like, croon for ever in the sun !
But when broken-winged and crippled by the iron
hand of Fate,
The down of youth torn roughly from the
There's little left to work for, and the rest we can
Why race, when we were <( scratched " before
the start ?
"CAMP FIRES" 57
Yet I fain would see the Future roll her leaden
There is one bright gleam she owes my darkened
One figure should come gliding upon my stormy
One loved voice cheer me onward to the goal.
Did she ever know, I wonder that slender, sweet-
That not I, but her own brother, struck the
Through the changeful moods and seasons of her
life's unceasing whirl
Does she give one thought to days of long
I saw the crime, and hid it ; he was but a craven
He knew for love of her I would not speak.
Ah, well ! he's safe for ever beneath an English
Her tears the last to fall upon his cheek.
At the last he may have told her. He used to
think she cared
A little for me in the days of old.
And if not well, I am thankful his dread secret
she is spared,
My darling ! Heaven guard your heart of gold !
58 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
If luck would bless my labour, I might see her
sweet face yet
(They say good women's faces rarely change) ;
If she but knew my story, and if once again we
Well, Life hath had love stories still more
I SEE thee come when twilight shades are falling,
And watch and pray ;
I hear thy voice down in the garden calling,
Yet here must stay !
Love, with her crown, hath given to my keeping
Her cruel cross,
So joy must die in floods of bitter weeping,
With sense of loss !
The music of thy voice I hear for ever>
Yet must forego ;
The fate that linked as quickly stoops to sever,
And love is woe !
The harp-strings rust, untouched by loving fingers,
And, as it lies
Where never dew of morn upon it lingers,
The rosebud dies !
60 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
I would have been to thee all thou art dreaming,
Till life should fail,
Yet here must stand, beyond thy fond redeeming,
" Without the pale !"
OVER THE HILLS WITH YOU
IN the first sunny hour of the morn,
When the meadows were wet with dew,
Singing 1 , I wandered, life of my life,
Over the hills with you !
And the birds grew glad in our mirth,
And answered my song with joy ;
So fair looked all the world, my love,
When we were girl and boy !
How the wild wind ruffled my hair,
In the maddest, merriest way !
And we laughed, and clung to each other's hands
Like children let out to play.
And the young leaves swayed in the breeze,
As their tints gleamed bright in the sun
The tender, roseate, virgin hues,
Of a life that is just begun !
6 2 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
And out of the stern old rocks,
With the glee of a living- thing,
From under the dainty mountain fern
Came gushing a tiny spring.
The forget-me-nots of the hills,
The blue-bells dreamily swung
Like azure lamps on their slender stalks,
By the art of the fairies hung.
Star-like amid the grass
A type of undying love
The everlastings pure and sweet
Gazed at the heaven above.
You gathered the snowy flowers,
And put them into my hand ;
With words that changed that lone hillside
Into enchanted land !
You were king of dominions vast,
And I was your chosen queen !
O love ! Whate'er Fate may deny,
It cannot take what has been !
What music on earth hath power
In its limitless control,
As the first " I love you ! " whispered low
To the newly-wakened soul !
OVER THE HILLS WITH YOU 63
I ask no more from the passing hour,
No more from the days to be ;
In the long, long kiss that made me thine,
Life gave its best to me !
The purple hills, and those golden days,
I wander through them at will ;
'Tis joy enough, sweetheart, to me,
To know you love me still.
SUNSET, MONT ALBERT
DAY hears the footfall of the Night,
And, scattering jewels in her flight,
Bathes hill and vale in rosy light,
Till grassy slope and purple height
Seem part of Heaven's portal.
Transfigured in her smile divine,
With changing hues their glories shine-
A picture from God's own design
To breathe of scenes immortal.
Her thoughts afar in mystic lands
Boats that drift to foreign strands
At her lattice idly stands
The weary Earth with folded hands
And pensive gaze and tender.
She lifts her wistful, wondering eyes,
And sees beyond the crimson skies,
Above the hills of Paradise,
The dawn of greater splendour.
SUNSET, MONT ALBERT 65
With fairy turrets lifted high,
Against the ever-changing sky,
In opal seas fair islets lie,
Or drift like Fancy's visions by
One moment bright as fleeting !
Below, on light, ethereal wing,
The evening breezes swiftly bring
The faint, sweet odours of the spring
For mortals' grateful greeting.
Low in the grass the daisies dream,
The sunset rays with reverent gleam
Upon their pale meek faces stream,
Until some holy thing they seem,
Too pure for Nature's keeping.
And bowing tiny heads of gold,
Leaf on leaf, and fold on fold,
Golden drops upon the wold,
The buttercups lie sleeping.
And through the silence softly steals
The peace that sometimes half reveals
The truths the mystic veil conceals,
Until the yearning spirit feels
Drawn close to Heaven's sweetness
We count our pangs, discount our gains,
Yet find some balm in what remains,
And taste the elixir that sustains
Through life's long incompleteness.
66 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
Dear is this springtide of the heart,
Glad thoughts like swallows round us dart,
New hopes like young leaves swiftly start,
And push the sheaths of self apart
To let in God's revealings.
And at His own appointed time
Rings matin bell or sunset chime,
Until within a golden clime,
Flower naught but holy feelings !
THE FIRST FOUNDATION DAY
As one who sleeps, yet keeps her consciousness
Of passing shadows formless, indistinct,
Clouds sweeping o'er a grey and starless sky,
Pregnant with promise of some change to be,
Australia lay ; while sad waves of the sea
Broke dully in upon her fitful dreams.
In fretful clamour at her lethargy,
Or, with the charm of murmuring melody
On shell-strewn sands, to soft winds' minstrelsy
Sang of the fuller life that might be hers,
Yet at her feet the sceptre rusted still !
She knew not of the fire within her veins,
The strength, the power, within her giant limbs,
Till alien hands, with rough but kindly force
Sent through her heart the wild electric thrill
Which now, as then, binds new worlds with the
Man's kingly grasp upon his heritage !
Slowly her eyes ope'd wide to a new sun ;
If, dazzled first by its resplendent rays,
She scarce did more than grope with feeble hands,
68 SONGS FROM THE HILLS
They who had roused her from ignoble sleep
Looked in her face, and smiled to find it fair !
Seeing the promise of Fame's lingering kiss
They hailed her Queen of all the years to be !
Brave pioneers ! your strong hearts long are still,
Yet shall your life-work, like some Indian gem
Brought from the deep dark storehouse of the
Shine in the setting of our loyal love
The dearest treasure of our native land !
Where you found wastes, behold fair cities rise,