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Arthur Patchett Martin

Bushland

Not sweeter to the storm-tossed mariner
   Is glimpse of home, where wife and children wait
   To welcome him with kisses at the gate,
Than to the town-worn man the breezy stir
   Of mountain winds on rugged pathless heights:
   His long-pent soul drinks in the deep delights
That Nature hath in store. The sun-kissed bay
   Gleams thro' the grand old gnarled gum-tree boughs
Like burnished brass; the strong-winged bird of prey
Sweeps by, upon his lonely vengeful way --
   While over all, like breath of holy vows,
   The sweet airs blow, and the high-vaulted sky
Looks down in pity this fair Summer day
   On all poor earth-born creatures doomed to die.

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A Romance In The Rough

A sturdy fellow, with a sunburnt face,
And thews and sinews of a giant mould;
A genial mind, that harboured nothing base,—
A pocket void of gold.

The rival’s years were fifty at the least—
Withered his skin, and wrinkled as a crone;
But day by day his worldly goods increased,
Till great his wealth had grown.

And she, the lady of this simple tale,
Was tall and straight, and beautiful to view;
Even a poet’s burning words would fail
To paint her roseate hue.

The suitors came, the old one and the young,
Each with fond words her fancy to allure.
For which of them should marriage bells be rung,
The rich one or the poor?

[...] Read more

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Love and War

THE CHANCELLOR mused as he nibbled his pen
(Sure no Minister ever looked wiser),
And said, “I can summon a million of men
To fight for their country and Kaiser;

“While that shallow charlatan ruling o’er France,
Who deems himself deeper than Merlin,
Thinks he and his soldiers have only to dance
To the tune of the Can-can to Berlin.

“But as soon as he gets to the bank of the Rhine,
He’ll be met by the great German army.”
Then the Chancellor laughed, and he said, “I will dine,
For I see nothing much to alarm me.”

Yet still as he went out he paused by the door
(For his mind was in truth heavy laden),
And he saw a stout fellow, equipped for the war,
Embracing a fair-haired young maiden.

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In Memoriam Matris

IN my hot youth I rashly penned
A Sonnet of the After-life.
It was the time of stress and strife
Through which the ardent soul must wend.
It was the Spring-time of my days,
When Doubt, like an inspired sage,
With creeds did eager warfare wage,
And looked with scorn on ancient ways.
But gazing back across the years
That separate my youth from me,
These words and thoughts now seem to be
All dim, as through a mist of tears.
For then I saw, with eager eyes,
A coming world where joy would reign,
And evil pass away, and pain,
When man was rid of priestly ties.
While now I turn a backward gaze
On visions fled, and vanished hours,
On dead dry leaves and perished flow'rs,
That make the story of my days.

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The Cynic of the Woods

Come I from busy haunts of men,
With nature to commune,
Which you, it seems, observe, and then
Laugh out, like some buffoon.

You cease, and through the forest drear
I pace, with sense of awe;
When once again upon my ear
Breaks in your harsh guffaw.

I look aloft to yonder place,
Where placidly you sit,
And tell you to your very face,
I do not like your wit.

I’m in no mood for blatant jest,
I hate your mocking song,
My weary soul demands the rest
Denied to it so long.

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A Bush Study, A La Watteau

HE.
See the smoke-wreaths how they curl so lightly skyward
From the ivied cottage nestled in the trees:
Such a lovely spot—I really feel that I would
Be happy there with children on my knees.

SHE.
No, you wouldn’t. These are merely idle fancies
Of a gentleman much given to day-dreams.
These chimneys always smoke, and, then the chance is
You would have a scolding wife and babe that screams.

HE.
Ah! but look! just there, above that lowly cottage,
Birds are flitting in the sunlight clear and pure;
And the three-score years and ten—man’s poor allottage—
Might be passed away with pleasure there, I’m sure.

SHE.
Now, pray listen, oh, vain wanderer from the city,

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My Cousin From Pall Mall

There’s nothing so exasperates a true Australian youth,
Whatever be his rank in life, be he cultured or uncouth,
As the manner of a London swell. Now it chanced, the other day,
That one came out, consigned to me—a cousin, by the way.

As he landed from the steamer at the somewhat dirty pier,
He took my hand; and lispingly remarked, ‘How very queer!
I’m glad, of course, to see you—but you must admit this place,
With all its mixed surroundings, is a national disgrace.’

I defended not that dirty pier, not a word escaped my lips;
I pointed not—though well I might—to the huge three-masted ships;
For, although with patriotic pride my soul was all aglow,
I remembered Trollope’s parting words, ‘Victorians do not blow.’

On the morrow through the city we sauntered, arm in arm;
I strove to do the cicerone—my style was grand and calm.
I showed him all the lions—but I noted with despair
His smile, his drawl, his eye-glass, and his supercilious air.

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