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George Gordon McCrae

Life’s a Cigar

‘Life’s a cigar’: the wasting body glows;
The head turns white as Kosciusko’s snows;
And, with the last soul-fragrance still in air,
The ashes slowly sink in soft repose.

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The Silence of the Bush

There’s that in our lone Bush, I know not what,
Which ’genders silence; I’ve all that to learn.
Here, there and everywhere, to loose the knot
That binds the sheaf-band of the taciturn;
It may be where it freezes; where ’tis hot,
Or streams lie silent in the nymph’s cool urn;
In forest depths, or where the lone plain stretches
Sans other roof than sky, o’er heat-worn wretches.

Or ’mid the gully’s fern and sassafras,
Where all is cool green glooms and early dusk,
With silvern foliage in delicious mass
As, sunwards, feel their way the spires of musk;
Or where those solemn branches crossing, pass
And wave o’er-head their pennon’d fragrant husk;
Or by the river’s marge or broad gumbower
With lily-pads a-swim and floating flower.

Here might one read the Silence of Fatigue,
And here again of Rest and Admiration.

[...] Read more

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L'envoi from Balladeadro

See where the allied armies camped,
Where plumed and painted dancers tramped--
'Tis still the same, the same wild scene,
As though the ploughshare ne'er had been.
Grey Tomboritha still the skies
With bold and massy front defies;
And gorge, and chasm, and long-ledged rocks
Echo the ever-thundering shocks
Of waters dashed with headlong force,
Wild cataracts leaping on their course.
In dark Maroka's vale the stream
Reflects the slanting solar beam;
There the proud lyre-bird* spreads his tail,
And mocks the notes of hill and dale--
Whether the wild dog's plaintive howl
Or cry of piping waterfowl,
Or the shrill parrot's answering scream,
As, gem-like, dangling o'er the stream
He hears, re-echoed from the rock
The whirlwind whistle of the flock.

[...] Read more

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Mamba: (The Bright Eyed) An Aboriginal Reminiscence

Canto I.

XXVIII.

The day had fled, the moon arose,
Night straight began with evening's close--
A night whose calm and silvery sheen
Befitted well the wild yapeen.1
Within the circle of the camp
Blazed the clear fire, while measured tramp
Of dancing warriors shook the ground,
To song and time-sticks' throbbing sound.
There twice two hundred feet advanced,
There twice a hundred malkas2 glanced
Bright in the moon, that silvered o'er
The arms that all those malkas bore.
Wild the device, and strange the sign
That stared in many a snowy line
From beaming face and heaving breast,
And limbs that seldom paused to rest;

[...] Read more

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Morning at Sea in the Tropics

NIGHT waned and wasted, and the fading stars
Died out like lamps that long survived a feast,
And the moon, pale with watching, sank to rest
Behind the cloud-piled ramparts of the main.
Young, blooming Morn, crowned with her bridal wreath,
Bent o’er her mirror clear, the faithful sea;
And gazing on her loveliness therein,
Blushed to the brows, till every imaged charm
Flung roses on the bosom of the wave,
Then, glancing heavenward, both, they blushed again,
As sprang the Sun to claim his radiant bride;
And sea and sky seemed but one rose of morn,
Which thenceforth grew in glory, and the world
Shot back her lesser light upon the day,
While night sped on to seek the sombre shades
That sleep in silent caves beyond the sea.
The day grew calmer, hotter, and our barque
Lay like a sleeping swan upon a lake,
And such soft airs as blew from off the land
Brought with them fragrant odours, and we felt

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Forby Sutherland

A LANE of elms in June;—the air
Of eve is cool and calm and sweet.
See! straying here a youthful pair,
With sad and slowly moving feet,

On hand in hand to yon gray gate,
O’er which the rosy apples swing;
And there they vow a mingled fate,
One day when George the Third is king.

The ring scarce clasped her finger fair,
When, tossing in their ivied tower,
The distant bells made all the air
Melodious with that golden hour.

Then sank the sun out o’er the sea,
Sweet day of courtship fond,… the last!
The holy hours of twilight flee
And speed to join the sacred Past.

[...] Read more

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