In A Garden
Girl, with the soft grey eyes,
You to the flowers belong:
From the perfume of a rose
My heart shall weave you a song.
I will colour its words with light,
Like the sun on that straying tress.
The wind will lend me its harp
To set it in loveliness.
It shall fold you soft as the mist,
Yet stir your heart like the sea,
Till lips that never were kissed
Shall yeld their homage to me.
To The Unknown God
O wilt Thou on the day when all is sifted,
All heights of Heaven, all depths of Hell laid bare,
When from the vexed world’s heart thy veil is lifted,
And men shall see the dayspring hidden there,
O wilt Thou give to each whose course has drifted,
The thread, the clue by which his feet may fare,
To tread at last with sight supremely gifted
The path he missed in darkness and despair!
This is the hidden secret of the strife—
To find your life and live it—This is Life.
Friend, you have wealth and power,
Men go and come at your call,
Yours are the whims of the hour—
What have you done with it all?
I am only a poet
Fighting a bitter fight,
Fate will not even grant me
Leisure in which to write.
You said as your thin lips curled:
“Money is better than bays.”
Battered and bruised by the world!
I still have my golden days.
You have lost the power to enjoy,
You tire of each plaything new,
Mine is the heart of a boy;
Friend, I am richer than you!
To A Bigot
Here am I sent a wanderer like to thee,
And here a moment ere the night I stand.
The twin eternities—Has Been, Shall Be—
Gird me on either hand.
My joy or grief—the flicker of a wing
Of some brief insect in the blinding glow!
One moment down the wind my voice shall ring.
This, and no more, I know.
My soul went out amid the ways of men,
By land and sea, and to the stars o’erhead.
I deemed it lost when it came back again.
“Is there a God?” I said.
“Thou fool,” it answered, “all are truly kin.
God is the Soul of all—no power apart.
God is the spark Divine that glows within
The Temple of the Heart.”
The Two Goblets
Bearing two crystal goblets in her hands
To a philosopher an Angel came:
One wine shone clear as water o’er white sands,
One red as flame.
“Choose!” said the Angel. “From life’s wine-press flows
For all mankind the vintage which I bring.
The pale cup holds exemption from life’s woes,
The red brings suffering.”
“One wine is colourless,” the dreamer said.
“Who suffer keenest nobler joys attain.”
And to the dregs drained from the goblet red
The draught of pain.
Then spake the Angel: “Thou hast chosen well.
What seemeth loss to thee shall prove thy gain.
All that is pure, and sweet, and beautiful
Is born of pain.”
The Dead Democrat
The roar and rush of life sweeps on;
Still shines the sun as once it shone:
Men reap and sow and live and toil
And plan for power and scheme for spoil.
What reeks the world in field or street?—
One heart has ceased to beat.
But She to whom in all the lands
The toilers stretch beseeching hands—
Democracy, the Soul of all,
Marks where her faithful servants fall.
They seek not things that others seek
Who battle for the weak.
Her yoke is heavy to be borne,
Her bitter paths are choked with thorn,
But glorious shines, through mist and haze,
The splendour of her coming days.
Our loftiest tribute shall be then,
“He served his fellow-men.”
Thomas Joseph Byrnes
God gave him gifts: nor gave in vain
The great heart and the master-brain
To dream, to battle, to attain,
To storm the height.
The power that all men strive to gain
Was his by right.
O saddest Spring in all the land!
O Mystery, hard to understand—
When, at the stern unknown command,
With icy breath,
Fate placed within his fearless hand
The gift of Death!
Calm be his sleep who lived to dare.
Go, say a patriot slumbers there
Whose brows were never bent to wear
His loftiest fame,
Yet wrote on Queensland’s page a rare—
A fadeless name!
[...] Read more
The pen falls from his nerveless hand,
The light is fading from his eyes,
The brain that nobly served his land
Darkens and dies.
No, never dies! From hour to hour
The burning thought is living still;
Onward it speeds with gath’ring power
To strengthen and fulfil.
Build him no mockery of stone,
Nor shame him with your idle praise;
He liveth in his work alone
Through all our days.
Sleep, heart of gold, ’twas not in vain
You loved the struggling and the poor
And taught in sweet yet strenuous strain
To battle and endure.
The lust of wealth, the pride of place,
Were not a light to guide thy feet,
But larger hopes and wider space
[...] Read more
White Star of Womanhood, whose rays
Thro’ years of peace and years of stress
Shed wide o’er all thy people’s ways
The light of nobleness—
A memory in their hearts impearled
To nerve thy sons where’er they roam—
Empress and Queen o’er half a World,
Yet Angel of the Home.
Now, when the Shadow of Death has crost
The belt of Empire, sea by sea,
The wide world weeps that freedom lost
A friend like thee,
Who strove for righteousness, who wore
A hero’s soul in woman’s breast:
God fold thee, now thy work is o’er,
In robes of rest.
Death came not to thy fearless eyes
A King of Terrors, but a friend,
Whispering: “Long years of sacrifice
[...] Read more
The Doves Of Venus
The dull earth swung in silence o’er,
A dreamless world, a dreary star,
Until the doves of Venus bore
To Thessaly her ivory car.
She whispered to the sea and air,
And lightly with her wand she smote
The solid earth, till everywhere
The birds gave forth a sweeter note.
Whereat the sun did brighter shine,
More richly did the roses blow,
And like deep peace, a joy divine
Did fill the souls of men below.
And still are showered her magic arts
On man and maiden hand in hand,
Who hear a music in their hearts
Which none but they can understand.
A sweeter perfume sheds the rose,
A deeper azure tints the sky,
And softly with the daylight’s close
The doves of Venus hover nigh.
[...] Read more