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Alfred Thomas Chandler

Lights Along the Mile

THE NIGHT descends in glory, and adown the purple west
The young moon, like a crescent skiff, upon some fairy quest,
Has dropped below the opal lights that linger low and far
To havens that are beaconed by the Pilot’s evening star;
And slowly, softly, from above the darkness is unfurled
A wondrous curtain loosened on the windows of the world.
Then suddenly, like magic, where smoke-stacks fumed the while,
Ten thousand lights flash out aflame along the Golden Mile.

And thro’ the dusky gauze that falls upon the looming mines
Dim spires and spars of poppet-heads in faintly broken lines
Grow clearer to the vision, till the shadow picture seems
The argosies from half the world i’ the misty Port o’ Dreams;
And lo! where golden Day had reigned in radiant robes of blue,
A god of joy and hope, who thrilled the sons of toil and rue,
Now comes the Queen of Starland forth to scatter with a smile
Her diamonds that flash and blaze along the Golden Mile.

And all the night a thousand stamps in ceaseless rhythmic roar
Are beating out the tragic gold from endless streams of ore,

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Catching The Coach

At Kangaroo Gully in 'Fifty-two
The rush and the scramble was reckless and rough;
'Three ounces a dish and the lead running true!'
Was whispered around concerning the stuff.

Next morning a thousand of fellows or more
Appeared for invasion along the brown rise,
Some Yankees, and Cockneys, and Cantabs of yore
And B.As from Oxford in blue-shirt disguise.

And two mornings later the Nugget saloon,
With billiards and skittles, was glaring with signs,
A blind fiddler, Jim, worked out a weak tune,
Beguiling the boys and collecting the fines.

Then tents started up like the freaks of a dream
While heaps of white pipeclay dotted the slope,
To 'Dern her -- a duffer!' or 'Creme de la creme!'
That settled the verdict of languishing hope.

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