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James Brunton Stephens

Stanzas for Music

Now once more the world is bright,
Gone the clouds that hid the light,
Gone the mists that dimmed my sight
Gone sigh and tear.
As the sunshine after rain
Mirth and gladness come again,
“Sweet is pleasure after pain,”
Hope after fear.

Now again the joyous Hours
Strew my path with leaves and flowers,
Leading where enchanted bowers
Bid Love repose.
And I follow full of glee,
Weary though the way may be,
For my love is waiting me
There at its close.

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The night was creeping on the ground;
She crept and did not make a sound
Until she reached the tree, and then
She covered it, and sole again
Along the grass beside the wall.

I heard the rustle of her shawl
As she threw blackness everywhere
Upon the sky and ground and air,
And in the room where I was hid:
But no matter what she did
To everything that was without,
She could not put my candle out.

So I stared at the night, and she
Stared back solemnly at me.

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Had I But Known

I loved thee! Ah, those vows of love,
So fondly made, so soon unmade!
I trusted thee all men above—
Ah, fatal trust, so soon betrayed.
A dream that wore the face of truth
Was what I loved. The dream has flown.
All, all I've lost, faith, hope and love,
Had I but known! Had I but known!

Thou weepest. Would that I could shed
A tear for either joy or grief!
But from the heart grown cold and dead
There springs no fountain of relief.
Now all my life is tearless pain,
My hope forgetfulness alone,
And all my speech the one refrain—
Had I but known! Had I but known!

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A Visit from Abroad

A speck went blowing up against the sky
As little as a leaf: then it drew near
And broadened. -- ' It's a bird,' said I,
And fetched my bow and arrows. It was queer!
It grew up from a speck into a blot,
And squattered past a cloud; then it flew down
All crumply, and waggled such a lot
I thought the thing would fall. -- It was a brown
Old carpet, where the man was sitting snug,
Who, when he reached the ground, began to sew
A big hole in the middle of the rug,
And kept on peeping everywhere to know
Who might be coming -- then he gave a twist
And flew away . . . . I fired at him but missed.

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Hate

My enemy came nigh,
And I
Stared fiercely in his face.
My lips went writhing back in a grimace,
And stern I watched him with a narrow eye.
Then, as I turned away, my enemy,
That bitter heart and savage, said to me:
'Some day, when this is past,
When all the arrows that we have are cast,
We may ask one another why we hate,
And fail to find a story to relate.
It may seem then to us a mystery
That we should hate each other.'

Thus said he,
And did not turn away,
Waiting to hear what I might have to say,
But I fled quickly, fearing had I stayed
I might have kissed him as I would a maid.

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Song from “Fayette

Why doth the dawning speak of her?
What kindred hath she with the morn?
Why should my wakening thoughts transfer
To her the glow in Orient born?
I only know that wheresoe'er
Awaketh Beauty, she is there.

Why is the noontide full of her?
What kindred hath she with the sun?
Why should the whole world's minister
Be eloquent alone of one?
I only know that wheresoe'er
Exulteth Beauty, she is there.

Why is the midnight fraught with her?
What kindred hath she with the night?
O dreams that are of things that were,
Ye change my darkness into light!
I know, I know that wheresoe'er
Reposeth Beauty, she is there.

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The Turn of the Road

I was playing with my hoop along the road
Just where the bushes are, when, suddenly,
There came a shout, -- I ran away and stowed
Myself beneath a bush, and watched to see
What made the noise, and then, around the bend,
I saw a woman running. She was old
And wrinkle-faced, and had big teeth. -- The end
Of her red shawl caught on a bush and rolled
Right off her, and her hair fell down. Her face
Was awful white, and both her eyes looked sick,
And she was talking queer. 'O God of Grace!'
Said she, 'where is the child?' and flew back quick
The way she came, and screamed, and shook her hands;
. . . Maybe she was a witch from foreign lands.

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Australian Anthem

Maker of earth and sea,
What shall we render Thee?
All things are Thine!
Ours but from day to day
Still with one heart to pray,
“God bless our land alway,”
This land of Thine.

Mighty in brotherhood,
Mighty for God and good,
Let us be Thine.
Here let the nations see
Toil from the curse set free,
Labour and Liberty
One cause—and Thine.

Here let glad Plenty reign;
Here let none seek in vain
Our help and Thine—
No heart for want of friend

[...] Read more

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The Gentle Anarchist

I am a gentle Anarchist,
I couldn't kick a dog,
Nor ever would for sport assist
To pelt the helpless frog.
I'd shoot a Czar, or wreck a train,
Blow Parliament sky-high,
But none could call me inhumane;
I wouldn't hurt a fly.
I wouldn't hurt a fly,
And why indeed should I?
It has neither land nor pelf
That I covet for myself,
Then wherefore should I hurt a fly?

I am a gentle Anarchist,
I live on herbs and fruits;
It don't become a communist
To eat his fellow-brutes.
I'd fire a town, upset a state,
Make countless widows weep,

[...] Read more

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Opening Hymn

[Sung at the Opening of the Queensland National Society's Exhibition,
1876.]
While nations joining gifts
Their fanes of Art adorn,
Hear, Lord, the lowly voice that lifts
The song of the youngest-born.
The gifts of the youngest-born,
We spread them forth to Thee,—
What toil hath wrought, what skill hath taught,
What Freedom hath brought the free.

No storied name we vaunt,
Nor martial trophies raise;
No battle-riven banners flaunt
The triumphs of other days.
But triumphs of peaceful days
Adorn our jubilee:
Here toil and skill Thine ends fulfil,
With hands that from blood are free.

[...] Read more

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