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The birds, who passed in sleep the torrid day,
Now fill the branches with their evening play ;
A gravelly brook divides the dusty road,
Draw off, and loose the oxen from their load ;
The weary steer shakes from his neck the yoke;
The echoing woods ring with the axe's stroke;
The camp-fire throws aloft its ruddy gleam;
The children search for berries by the stream,
And chase the thought of travelling toil away
By their light-hearted mirth and laughter gay.
Now round the fire they take their homely fare,
The mother's brow relinquishes its care ;
The uncertain future from the father's heart
Lifts up its load, the teamsters take their part
In the rough cheer, and jocund as the rest,
Tell the droll tale, and crack the rugged jest.
To-morrow comes with toil and dust and heat,
With groaning oxen and with weary feet,
But let it come, to-night is ours at least,
With mirth and joy, and rest for man and beast.
Over the woods the Cross now greets the eye,
in chase across the sky,
The Pleiads dip in flight towards the west,
Within the tent the children are at rest,
And side by side beneath the bullock-dray,
The teamsters snore their weariness away.
In the dim forest tolls the oxen's bell,
Nocturnal beasts in tree-tops snarl and yell,
The bull-frog booms from out the distant marsh,
In the near brake croaks the opossum harsh,
And the weird mopoke answers to his mate,
In sounds as solemn as the voice of fate.
In pensive talk the husband and the wife
Discuss the toils and hopes of their new life,
Would in their thought divine events to come,
And wrest the future's secrets from their home.
Dismiss your troubles, O ! true-hearted pair,
Your path 's watched over by a Father's care ;
Nor are ye less in the Almighty's hand,
'Mid the dense forests of this far-off land,
Than on rich glebes, and cowslip banks, where bees
Mingle their murmur with the sound of Tees.
Their thoughts fly back, far, far across the sea,
Back to the scenes endeared to memory ;
Recall each feature of the well-known place,
Each friendly voice and each familiar face,
And bid the tears well up into the eye,
And the full heart heave its regretful sigh.
'Tis but an instant, and, the weakness past,
Beneath the stars they kneel, and humbly cast
Their needs on Him who doth His servants keep,
Then in their turn forget their cares in sleep.
See them once more, their dreary journey done, The giant toil of Southern life's begun ; Housed in with logs, and roofed with stringy-bark, Life's rough but kindly in their forest ark; Such fires as ne'er Joanna Baillie saw, Piled up to make an English yule-tide thaw, Gladden the house from ridge-pole unto floor, Pour crimson welcome through the open door, When the small children wish their father home, And peer into the night to see him come. The lamplight shines upon the table, spread With shining tea-cups and with whole-meal bread, Chine of cold beef, a dish of gooseberry-fool, Butter and cheese, and cresses, crisp and cool. Milk, which in bowl and bucket froths and reams, Such as the Cyclops drink in Homer's dreams; Honey, the boys find daily as they roam, The tree-top yields it and the trunk 's its home, Fit to feed princes with, and ladies fair,
And to make Bruin Rustefill's vengeance dare.
Plenty pours good things from her golden horn,
Fills the glad evening and the cheery morn;
Labour's severe in cold and wet and heat,
But toil whose fruit is for one's self is sweet ;
Here a man's earnings to himself belong,
Safe from the subtle spoiler and the strong;
Here no stern taxes doth the State impose
To keep her safe from French or Russian foes,
Nor Norman blood makes idle lordlings claim
The right to live and to transmit their name
Pure from the plebeian taint of industry ;
Do men the honour to consent to be,
And waste the realm in luxury abroad,
While the worn poor sweat underneath the load :
And their proud lords from idle sire to son
Hand down the right to tax what toil has won.
Before the axe the forest grim retires,
The nights are reddened with a score of fires,
Soon within bounds his kine the fences keep,
Safe by his streams repose untended sheep ;
The glittering share upturns the rich brown mould,
Soon the glad fields are fair with ripening gold.
And in the lane, seen through the glancing leaves,
The rustling wain sweeps homeward with the sheaves.
Soon the fair homestead rears aloft its form,
Smiles in the sunlight, and defies the storm;
Keeps English comfort sacred, safe, and sound,
Sees English cheer and mirth go nightly round,
Hears the dear longings with which true hearts yearn,
And the sweet prayers which English children learn.
The father oft the valiant deeds of yore
Tells to his children's hearts, and brings the lore
Of England's wisest to instruct their youth
In the sweet course of virtue, faith and truth.
Bids them love England as her true sons have
In every age and clime, on land and wave-
Be for her sake the bravest of the brave,
In work, in war, in every national need;
Pious and just and pure, true Englishmen indeed.
So glides life on in work, and well-earned wealth,
Made fair with honest love and joy and health ;
Another England their stout hearts have won,
And made her virtue and her good their own,
And while to Tees’-dale scenes they ne'er grow cold,
They make the new land precious as the old,
Love their Australian like their Yorkshire farm,
And Yackandandah takes the place of Yarm.
O! thou great sailor of my own Norse blood,
Ranked with the foremost of the brave and good ;
Who in heroic quest thy sails unfurled,
And joined a fifth great region to the world;
When from thy deck thou saw'st its woods expand,
And marked the floral beauties of its strand,
Didst thou then dream that ere one hundred years
Had foiled or answered human hopes and fears,
Thy countrymen in countless swarms, should come,
And make the land, untilled till then, their home ?
That scenes like these “in depth of woods embraced,"
Should smile like Edens in the Austral waste;
And men, too crowded in their English hive,
Here in a wider landscape, work and thrive ?
Where thy stout vessel ploughed her lonely path,
And the huge host of white waves leaped in wrath,
Proud and unconquered since the world began,
By the stern strength and enterprise of man,
A thousand sails now seize the polar gale,
And bound in beauty onward, and prevail
O'er the long swell in restless grandeur rolled
From the dread regions of eternal cold.
Where smoke from savage camp-fires sought the skies,
Now wealthy cities and fair towns arise ;
Where cannibals once tore the horrid feast,
Now Pity claims the stranger for a guest,
And smiling children every evening come
From school to share the joy and peace of home.
A younger Britain 'neath the southern sky
Inherits all her parent's energy;
May she inherit too the life of old
When Englishmen loved virtue more than gold,
When simpler manners, healthier desire,
Went hand in hand with patriotic fire.
O thou great toil ! worth centuries of meed,
Ranked as the prime of all heroic deed!
Colonisation, England's heritage old
From the fierce Viking and the Saxon bold !
Will the old spirit not impel the brave
To come and win the wastes across the wave ?
Heed not the prate of interested fools;
England, send workers well equipped with tools,
In strong industrial armies, year by year
To the great tracts which ask for tillage here !
Let them draw breath in unpolluted air
Which the strong wings of Southern breezes bear,
Until thy dwindling sons expand again
To the full height and strength of Englishmen.
Soon will be fled our ancient English boast,
Our manly form and mental vigour lost,
If thy stout rustic leave his native downs,
For the spare food, and deadly breath of towns.
Thy land with many a rich man's park may smile,
And yet thy life be perishing the while,
And thou wilt fall before some stalwart foe,
Who's had the sense to let his children grow
O! Mother England, fill the vacant earth
With valorous toilers, full of sense and worth :
Be thou the centre to which all hearts turn,
Be thou the parent for whom all hearts burn,