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Sir Henry Parkes

Sonnet

When you arrive at Sydney, sailing up
The harbour, a small central isle you'll see;
With two or three low huts, but not a tree,
Nor blade of grass,-upon't; and, on the top,
A score of men, in coarse habiliments,
Hewing the rock away. You may remember,
Among the many evil-traced events
Of a town life, some robbery, when December
Brought on the long, dark nights-a neighbour's boy
Tried for't, and banished. He, perchance, is one,
Who yonder lift the pickaxe in the sun
To level Pinchgut Island! If e'er joy
Gladden'd your heart on England's shore, oh! Never
Forget that Englishmen are banished here for ever.

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Four Score

I count the mercifullest part of all
God's mercies, in this coil of eighty years,
Is that no sense of being disappears
Or fails; I see the signal, hear the call,
Can calmly estimate the rise and fall
Of moth-like mortals in this "vale of tears";
And all His glorious works--the heavenly spheres,
The ocean, and the earth's unending wall--
Remain, for thought and wonder! Marvellous
Is God's creation, with its endless space
And those inhabited bright worlds by law
Divinely governed, as they shine on us,
Still keeping through all time their ordered place;
I bow my head in rapture and in awe.

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Weary

WEARY of the ceaseless war
Beating down the baffled soul,—
Thoughts that like a scimitar
Smite us fainting at the goal.

Weary of the joys that pain—
Dead sea fruits whose ashes fall,
Drying up the summer’s rain—
Charnel dust in cups of gall!

Weary of the hopes that fail,
Leading from the narrow way,
Tempting strength to actions frail—
Hand to err, and foot to stray.

Weary of the battling throng,
False and true in mingled fight;
Weary of the wail of wrong,
And the yearning for the night!

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The Buried Chief

(November 6th, 1886)

With speechless lips and solemn tread
   They brought the Lawyer-Statesman home:
They laid him with the gather'd dead,
   Where rich and poor like brothers come.

How bravely did the stripling climb,
   From step to step the rugged hill:
His gaze thro' that benighted time
   Fix'd on the far-off beacon still.

He faced the storm that o'er him burst,
   With pride to match the proudest born:
He bore unblench'd Detraction's worst, --
   Paid blow for blow, and scorn for scorn.

He scaled the summit while the sun
   Yet shone upon his conquer'd track:
Nor falter'd till the goal was won,

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Fatherland

THE BRAVE old land of deed and song,
Of gentle hearts and spirits strong,
Of queenly maids and heroes grand,
Of equal laws,—our Fatherland!

Though born beneath a brighter sun,
Shall we forget the marvels done,
By soul outspoken, blood outpoured,
By bard and patriot, song and sword?

Forget how firm and true our sires,
Still lighted by their battle-fires,
’Gainst kingly power and kingly crime,
Long struggled in the darkened time?

How in a rolling sea they stood,
Where every wave was freemen’s blood,—
Shall we forget the time of strife,
When freedom’s only price was life?

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Stanzas

Up go the beautiful and world-watch'd stars,
Lifting the glory of America,
'Mong the red flags which gleam through masts
and spars
Crowded in gay magnificence, to-day,
Where three score years ago, none found their way,
Of all the ships which left old England's shore:
Up goes the starry flag, on waves which lay
In undiscover'd solitude, when o'er
America those stars first glanc'd from fields of gore!

In friendly beauty floats that free-fix'd flag
'Gainst England's glowing ensign! I could dream
Of times, when the wild bush, each uncouth crag,
And precipice, beside this haven-stream,
Shall yield to one vast city; and the gleam
Of new-born banners shall illumine it;
And these alike be foreign in the beam
Of Australasia's morning. Heaven admit
One patriot spirit here, and Freedom's fires are lit!

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Solitude

Where the mocking lyre-bird calls
To its mate among the falls
Of the mountain streams that play,
Each adown its tortuous way;
When the dewy-fingered even
Veils the narrowed glimpse of heaven,
Where the morning re-illumes
Gullies full of ferny plumes,
And the roof of radiance weaves
Through high-hanging vault of leaves;
There ’mid giant turpentines,
Groups of climbing, clustering vines,
Rocks that stand like sentinels
Guarding native citadels,
Lowly flowering shrubs that grace
With their beauty all the place,
There I love to wander lonely
With my dog companion only;
There, indulge unworldly moods
In the mountain solitudes;

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The Beauteous Terrorist

Soft as the morning's pearly light,
Where yet may rise the thunder-cloud,
Her gentle face was ever bright
With noble thought and purpose proud.

Dreamt ye that those divine blue eyes,
That beauty free from pride or blame,
Were fashion'd but to terrorize
O'er Despot's power of sword and flame?

Beware! Those beauteous lineaments
Of girlhood shrine a force sublime,
Which moulds to fearful use events,
And dares arraign Imperial crime.

A fear was in the peasants' eyes,
A palsy smote both tongue and hand;
A network of police and spies
O'erspread the tyrant-tortured land.

[...] Read more

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