Correggio Jones an artist was
Of pure Australian race,
But native subjects scorned because
They were too commonplace.
The Bush with all its secrets grim,
And solemn mystery,
No fascination had for him:
He had no eyes to see
The long sad spectral desert-march
Of brave Explorers dead,
Who perished — while the burning arch
Of blue laughed overhead;
The Solitary Man who stares
At the mirage so fair,
While Death steals on him unawares
And grasps him by the hair;
The Lonely Tree that sadly stands,
With no green neighbor nigh,
And stretches forth its bleached, dead hands,
For pity, to the sky;
The Grey Prospector, weird of dress,
And wearied overmuch,
Who dies amidst the wilderness —
With Fortune in his clutch;
The figures of the heroes gone
Who stood forth undismayed,
And Freedom's Flag shook forth upon
Eureka's old stockade.
These subjects to Correggio Jones
No inspiration brought;
He was an ass (in semi-tones)
And painted — as he thought.
"In all these things there's no Romance,"
He muttered, with a sneer;
"They'll never give C. Jones a chance
To make his genius clear!"
"Grey gums," he cried, "and box-woods pale
They give my genius cramp
But let me paint some Knights in Mail,
Or robbers in a camp.
"Now look at those Old Masters — they
Had all the chances fine
With churches dim, and ruins grey,
And castles on the Rhine,
"And lady grey in minever,
And hairy-shirted saint,
And Doges in apparel fair —
And things a man might paint!
"And barons bold and pilgrims pale,
And battling Knight and King —
The blood-spots on their golden mail —
And all that sort of thing!
"Your Raphael and your Angelo
And Rulwns, and such men,
They simply had a splendid show,
Give me the same — and then!"
So speaks Correggio Jones — yet sees,
When past is Night's eclipse,
The Dawn come like Harpocrates,
A rose held to her lips.
The wondrous dawn that is so fair,
So young and bright and strong,
That e'en the rocks and stones to her
Sing a Memnonic song.
He will not see that our sky-hue
Old Italy's outvies,
But still goes yearning for the blue
Of far Ausoniam skies.
He yet is painting at full bat —
You'll say, if him you see,
"His body dwells on Gander Flat,"
His soul's in Italy.