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Fair in the sight of heaven. Sweet, sweet love,
And holy marriage rite, and joyous song,
And by-and-by the babes will twine their arms
Around the parents' necks, and see the kine
Filling the pails at e'en, and laugh at kids
Wrestling with butting horns upon the green ;
Or watch the servants at their javelin-play.
From sire to son the heirloom of chaste life
Will pass down like a treasure, and the girls
Will bring their mother's dower of purity
To bless God's favourites with. This was the life
The ancient Sabines led; Etruria grew
In strength and beauty by it, and great Rome
Owes to it all her virtue. Hark, good friends,
The bridegroom calls us. Let us hasten in!
I HAVE drawn no imaginary picture in this poem. Twentyfive years of rough-and-ready life in the Colonies have made me acquainted with the possibilities which they afford to every Englishman who has the proper pith in him. I know well that even here, where the mass of the people devote themselves to money-making with an intensity which goes beyond that of the votaries of European plutolatry, there are plenty of examples of men who choose to get on in life by the oldfashioned and unfailing method of the First Psalm. I do not know of a country in the world where life may be led under happier and diviner auspices than here in Victoria. The conditions of climate, of soil, of material in the vast forests of the country, are favourable to the development of a healthy and happy nation, under the discipline of common sense and the Christian religion. Every grace, joy, and worthy possession of life is possible here, for the man who will work. Before long, perhaps, we shall have captains of industry, who will discipline and lead forth the superfluous masses of Europe to till the waste places of the world ; until that time comes, however, let not any Englishman, desiring more elbow-room than he can find at home, dread coming to these lands, if he have health, courage of the working sort, and a sufficiency of means to enable him in stout, broad-shouldered fashion, to subdue the forest, and change it to a fruitful field,
Sic fortis Etruria crevit.—Virgil.
From that fierce time when English kings in France,
By bow and bill far more than sword or lance
Won victories, which through five hundred years,
Ring valiant music to our children's ears,
Heaven's charge unto our hardy race hath been
To stem the seas, and far-off climes to win
From tangled wilderness and savage strife,
To Christian peace and sweet domestic life.
Our English nature, like our language, made
Of mixed material, has its roots well laid
In a sound bed of homely Saxon toil,
And bears a racy smack of that rough soil
In all it does and thinks, and sings and says,
And hangs the wheatsheaf up beside its bays.
To older nations Providence was kind;
To Greece was given that vital force of mind
Which made her teacher of the world ; to Rome
Stern martial vigour and deep love of home;
Italian life in art and beauty glows;
Warmed by the East, the Spanish grandeur rose;
On every nation Heaven some gift bestowed,
Blest it at starting and marked out its road,
But for its darling still reserved the best,
And locked that secret up in England's breast.
As the hard matrix hides the precious ore,
As the harsh husk matures the wheaten store,
As sweetest fruit oft dwells in prickly rind,
As surly Johnson's form enclosed his mind,
So in our nature Heaven's best gift doth lurk,
The dreadless energy which seeks for work.
A rugged virtue, spurned, and cast to slaves,
Yet conquers continents and rules the waves,
Wrings from the hills old treasures long concealed,
Tames the wild desert to a fruitful field,
Puts to best use the ploughshare, spade and sword,
Makes earth rejoice, to Eden's bliss restored ;
Bids strife expire and cankering sorrow cease,
And binds wild olive round the brow of Peace.
Toil, thy strong shoulder keeps ajar the door
Of that deep cave where Nature hides her store;
Stern Nature ever to the worker kind,
Hides her best gifts for honest toil to find,
The truest love, the pleasures born of home,
The blessings which with dewy evening come,
The manly joy which healthful labour brings,
And the sweet sleep desired by mighty kings.
Think not, ye drones, who reap the golden spoil
Of the earth's poor, who unrewarded toil,
That Heaven has made the world for
And bid the poor, oppressed by you, to groan;
His trust betrayed, God will again require,
And make your lusts the servants of His ire;
And when your race, worn out by vice, is gone,
Toil shall be glad in fields which it has won.
Not ground by avarice, and not pressed for strife,
The wretch and slave shall taste the sweets of life ;
The poor, now born to wipe cruel sweat away,
In tilling others' fields for scanty pay,
Whose only joys are to get drunk—and die,
God will redeem from guilt and misery;
For them the future of the earth remains,
For them its valleys, and its fruitful plains,
Its mountain waters, and its babbling rills,
And the great forests on a thousand hills.
O band most blessed, our latest chivalry,
The weary ages call aloud for ye;
Whose noble hearts and vigorous arms shall moil,
And lift three thousand years' reproach from toil;
Like the great Greek make noble base employ,
And wed old Labour to his long-lost Joy,
Fill his cramped sinews with elastic youth,
Gladden his eye with love, and brace his heart with truth.
Rise, peers of Nature, bring the years again,
Sung in their beauty by th' Ionian swain;
In the soft sunshine falls the yellow corn,
And the huge armfuls by glad boys are borne.
The mellow king amidst his eager band,
Serenely sits, the sceptre in his hand,
Sees the big stooks in golden clumps arise,
And views the workers with approving eyes ;
While the sweet girls for evening sport arrayed,
Prepare the banquet in an oak's cool shade,
And sturdy youths turn slowly on the pole,
Over the fire, the big ox roasted whole.
Your England has for scenes like this no room ;
Come to these regions then, and make your home;
Break down the forest, plough these lovely plains,
Build the stout garner, learn to store the rains,
Milk your own kine, and reap your fields' increase,
Eat your own bread and drink your wine in peace,
And in the purple evening watch the play
With which your children end the joyous day.
See yonder household through the forest come,
From Yorkshire dales they seek a southern home;
They bring the strength of England in their arms,
Soundness of soul, and English rustic charms.
Behind the forest drops the glowing sun,
Through the deep glades the lengthening shadows run.