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In Memory of Edward Butler
A voice of grave, deep emphasis Is in the woods to-night; No sound of radiant day is this, No cadence of the light.
Here in the fall and flights of leaves Against grey widths of sea, The spirit of the forests grieves For lost Persephone.
The fair divinity that roves Where many waters sing Doth miss her daughter of the groves-- The golden-headed Spring.
She cannot find the shining hand That once the rose caressed; There is no blossom on the land, No bird in last year's nest.
Here, where this strange Demeter weeps-- This large, sad life unseen-- Where July's strong, wild torrent leaps The wet hill-heads between, I sit and listen to the grief, The high, supreme distress, Which sobs above the fallen leaf Like human tenderness!
Where sighs the sedge and moans the marsh, The hermit plover calls; The voice of straitened streams is harsh By windy mountain walls; There is no gleam upon the hills Of last October's wings; The shining lady of the rills Is with forgotten things.
Now where the land's worn face is grey And storm is on the wave, What flower is left to bear away To Edward Butler's grave?
What tender rose of song is here That I may pluck and send Across the hills and seas austere To my lamented friend?
There is no blossom left at all; But this white winter leaf, Whose glad green life is past recall, Is token of my grief.
Where love is tending growths of grace, The first-born of the Spring, Perhaps there may be found a place For my pale offering.
For this heroic Irish heart We miss so much to-day, Whose life was of our lives a part, What words have I to say?
Because I know the noble woe That shrinks beneath the touch-- The pain of brothers stricken low-- I will not say too much.
But often in the lonely space When night is on the land, I dream of a departed face-- A gracious, vanished hand.
And when the solemn waters roll Against the outer steep, I see a great, benignant soul Beside me in my sleep.
Yea, while the frost is on the ways With barren banks austere, The friend I knew in other days Is often very near.
I do not hear a single tone; But where this brother gleams, The elders of the seasons flown Are with me in my dreams.
The saintly face of Stenhouse turns-- His kind old eyes I see; And Pell and Ridley from their urns Arise and look at me.
By Butler's side the lights reveal The father of his fold, I start from sleep in tears, and feel That I am growing old.
Where Edward Butler sleeps, the wave Is hardly ever heard; But now the leaves above his grave By August's songs are stirred.
The slope beyond is green and still, And in my dreams I dream The hill is like an Irish hill Beside an Irish stream.
How the Melbourne Cup was Won
In the beams of a beautiful day, Made soft by a breeze from the sea, The horses were started away, The fleet-footed thirty and three; Where beauty, with shining attire, Shed more than a noon on the land, Like spirits of thunder and fire They flashed by the fence and the stand.
And the mouths of pale thousands were hushed When Somnus, a marvel of strength, Past Bowes like a sudden wind rushed, And led the bay colt by a length; But a chestnut came galloping through, And, down where the river-tide steals, O'Brien, on brave Waterloo, Dashed up to the big horse's heels.
But Cracknell still kept to the fore, And first by the water bend wheeled, When a cry from the stand, and a roar Ran over green furlongs of field; Far out by the back of the course-- A demon of muscle and pluck-- Flashed onward the favourite horse, With his hoofs flaming clear of the ruck.
But the wonderful Queenslander came, And the thundering leaders were three; And a ring, and a roll of acclaim, Went out, like a surge of the sea: "An Epigram! Epigram wins!"-- "The Colt of the Derby"--"The bay!"
But back where the crescent begins The favourite melted away.
And the marvel that came from the North, With another, was heavily thrown; And here at the turning flashed forth To the front a surprising unknown; By shed and by paddock and gate The strange, the magnificent black, Led Darebin a length in the straight, With thirty and one at his back.
But the Derby colt tired at the rails, And Ivory's marvellous bay Passed Burton, O'Brien, and Hales, As fleet as a flash of the day.
But Gough on the African star Came clear in the front of his "field", Hard followed by Morrison's Czar And the blood unaccustomed to yield.
Yes, first from the turn to the end, With a boy on him paler than ghost, The horse that had hardly a friend Shot flashing like fire by the post.
When Graham was "riding" 'twas late For his friends to applaud on the stands, The black, through the bend and "the straight", Had the race of the year in his hands.
In a clamour of calls and acclaim, He landed the money--the horse With the beautiful African name, That rang to the back of the course.
Hurrah for the Hercules race, And the terror that came from his stall, With the bright, the intelligent face, To show the road home to them all!
Blue Mountain Pioneers
The dauntless three! For twenty days and nights These heroes battled with the haughty heights; For twenty spaces of the star and sun These Romans kept their harness buckled on; By gaping gorges, and by cliffs austere, These fathers struggled in the great old year.
Their feet they set on strange hills scarred by fire, Their strong arms forced a path through brake and briar; They fought with Nature till they reached the throne Where morning glittered on the great UNKNOWN!
There, in a time with praise and prayer supreme, Paused Blaxland, Lawson, Wentworth, in a dream; There, where the silver arrows of the day Smote slope and spire, they halted on their way.
Behind them were the conquered hills--they faced The vast green West, with glad, strange beauty graced; And every tone of every cave and tree Was as a voice of splendid prophecy.
-- * Son of Sir Henry Parkes.
High travelling winds by royal hill Their awful anthem sing, And songs exalted flow and fill The caverns of the spring.
To-night across a wild wet plain A shadow sobs and strays; The trees are whispering in the rain Of long departed days.
I cannot say what forest saith-- Its words are strange to me: I only know that in its breath Are tones that used to be.
Yea, in these deep dim solitudes I hear a sound I know-- The voice that lived in Penrith woods Twelve weary years ago.
And while the hymn of other years Is on a listening land, The Angel of the Past appears And leads me by the hand;
And takes me over moaning wave, And tracts of sleepless change, To set me by a lonely grave Within a lonely range.
The halo of the beautiful Is round the quiet spot; The grass is deep and green and cool, Where sound of life is not.