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Henry Kendall

The Austral Months

January

The first fair month! In singing Summer’s sphere
She glows, the eldest daughter of the year.
All light, all warmth, all passion, breaths of myrrh,
And subtle hints of rose-lands, come with her.
She is the warm, live month of lustre—she
Makes glad the land and lulls the strong, sad sea.
The highest hope comes with her. In her face
Of pure, clear colour lives exalted grace;
Her speech is beauty, and her radiant eyes
Are eloquent with splendid prophecies.


February

The bright-haired, blue-eyed last of Summer. Lo,
Her clear song lives in all the winds that blow;
The upland torrent and the lowland rill,
The stream of valley and the spring of hill,

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Euterpe: A Cantanta

Argument.
Hail to thee, Sound!—The power of Euterpe in all the scenes of life—
in religion; in works of charity; in soothing troubles by means of music;
in all humane and high purposes; in war; in grief; in the social circle;
the children’s lullaby; the dance; the ballad; in conviviality;
when far from home; at evening—the whole ending with an allegorical chorus,
rejoicing at the building of a mighty hall erected for the recreation
of a nation destined to take no inconsiderable part in the future history
of the world.


Overture

No. 1 Chorus

All hail to thee, Sound! Since the time
Calliope’s son took the lyre,
And lulled in the heart of their clime
The demons of darkness and fire;
Since Eurydice’s lover brought tears

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The Glen of Arrawatta

A SKY of wind! And while these fitful gusts
Are beating round the windows in the cold,
With sullen sobs of rain, behold I shape
A settler’s story of the wild old times:
One told by camp-fires when the station drays
Were housed and hidden, forty years ago;
While swarthy drivers smoked their pipes, and drew,
And crowded round the friendly gleaming flame
That lured the dingo, howling, from his caves,
And brought sharp sudden feet about the brakes.

A tale of Love and Death. And shall I say
A tale of love in death—for all the patient eyes
That gathered darkness, watching for a son
And brother, never dreaming of the fate—
The fearful fate he met alone, unknown,
Within the ruthless Australasian wastes?

For in a far-off, sultry summer, rimmed
With thundercloud and red with forest fires,

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The Voyage of Telegonus

Ill fares it with the man whose lips are set
To bitter themes and words that spite the gods;
For, seeing how the son of Saturn sways
With eyes and ears for all, this one shall halt
As on hard, hurtful hills; his days shall know
The plaintive front of sorrow; level looks
With cries ill-favoured shall be dealt to him;
And ~this~ shall be that he may think of peace
As one might think of alienated lips
Of sweetness touched for once in kind, warm dreams.
Yea, fathers of the high and holy face,
This soul thus sinning shall have cause to sob
'Ah, ah,' for sleep, and space enough to learn
The wan, wild Hyrie's aggregated song
That starts the dwellers in distorted heights,
With all the meaning of perpetual sighs
Heard in the mountain deserts of the world,
And where the green-haired waters glide between
The thin, lank weeds and mallows of the marsh.
But thou to whom these things are like to shapes

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A Death in the Bush

The hut was built of bark and shrunken slabs,
That wore the marks of many rains, and showed
Dry flaws wherein had crept and nestled rot.
Moreover, round the bases of the bark
Were left the tracks of flying forest fires,
As you may see them on the lower bole
Of every elder of the native woods.

For, ere the early settlers came and stocked
These wilds with sheep and kine, the grasses grew
So that they took the passing pilgrim in
And whelmed him, like a running sea, from sight.

And therefore, through the fiercer summer months,
While all the swamps were rotten; while the flats
Were baked and broken; when the clayey rifts
Yawned wide, half-choked with drifted herbage past,
Spontaneous flames would burst from thence and race
Across the prairies all day long.

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The Sydney International Exhibition

Now, while Orion, flaming south, doth set
A shining foot on hills of wind and wet—
Far haughty hills beyond the fountains cold
And dells of glimmering greenness manifold—
While August sings the advent of the Spring,
And in the calm is heard September’s wing,
The lordly voice of song I ask of thee,
High, deathless radiance—crowned Calliope!
What though we never hear the great god’s lays
Which made all music the Hellenic days—
What though the face of thy fair heaven beams
Still only on the crystal Grecian streams—
What though a sky of new, strange beauty shines
Where no white Dryad sings within the pines:
Here is a land whose large, imperial grace
Must tempt thee, goddess, in thine holy place!
Here are the dells of peace and plenilune,
The hills of morning and the slopes of noon;
Here are the waters dear to days of blue,
And dark-green hollows of the noontide dew;

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