Australian and Other Poems/A Song of Australia
A SONG OF AUSTRALIA
January 26, 1788.
Joy fills to-day my bosom, and it flies through every vein,
It comes as on the parched plain descends mid-summer rain;
It fills my soul with gladness, e'en to aerial beings new,
As sunbeams fall on budding flowers when morning gilds the dew.
No more I'm like a maiden that's neglected in her bloom,
Doomed when bridals throng the highway to pine in lonely gloom;
No more I'm like a blooming bride, who waits, 'mid bright array,
For the coming of the bridegroom, whom Death struck on the way.
No more I'm like a matron lone, whose husband and whose sons
Lie slain where through the battle-throng the rude Destroyer runs.
To-day bold suitors come in crowds, to-day I'm wooed and won,
To-day the long-expected ones have found their gladdened home.
To-day the founders of a race shall fill my broad domains,
Shall wake the silence of my woods, shall swarm upon my plains,
Have come, and shall not welcome meet, and shall not guerdon high
Good greeting to their advent give, repay each toil-wrung sigh?
Fair are Britannia's fertile vales, with happy hamlets strown,
And fair are Gallia's hills and plains, for teeming vineyards known;
The Arno flows through smiling lands where peasants know but glee;
And stars that shine o'er Egypt's flood, earth's favoured regions see.
But not less rich than Britain's isles, and not less fair than France
Shall be the plains where, aftertime, my sons will lead the dance;
And not more pure th' Italian skies than skies above my soil.
And streams as broad, as rich as Nile shall bless my peasants' toil.
Rich are the gifts Columbia gives to those who cross the wave,
Bright are the ores she brings to light, where delves the weary slave;
But far more rich the gold I'll give, to glad my vent'rous sons;
And, oh! to win its lustrous glance no tear of sad slaves run!
Oh! to-day a joy unwonted within my heart holds sway,
Such joy as feel the shipwrecked host, at sight of coming day,
Such joy as feel the city's tribes, long pent by war's alarms,
When, breathing in sweet fields again, they fly to Freedom's arms.