In Memoriam : Marcus Clarke

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In Memoriam : Marcus Clarke  (1880) 
by Thomas Henry Kendall

The night winds sob on mountains drear,
   Where gleams by fits the wint'ry star;
And in the wild dumb woods I hear
   A moaning harbor bar.

The branch and leaf are very still,
   But now the great grave dark has grown,
The torrent in the harsh sea-hill
   Sends forth a deeper tone.

Some sad, faint voice is far above,
   And many things I dream, it saith,
Of home made beautiful by Love
   And sanctified by Death.

I cannot catch its perfect phrase;
   But, ah, the touching words to me
Bring back the lights of other days—
   The friends that used to be.

Here sitting by a dying flame,
   I cannot choose but think with grief
Of Harpur, whose unhappy name
   Is as an autumn leaf.

And domed by purer breadths of blue
   Afar from folds of forest dark,
I see the eyes that once I knew —
   The eyes of Marcus Clarke.

Their clear, bright beauty shines a space;
   But sunny dreams in shadows end,
The sods have hid the faded face
   Of my heroic friend.

He sleeps where winds of evening pass,
   Where water songs are soft and low —
Upon his grave the tender grass
   Has not had time to grow.

Few knew the cross he had to bear,
   And moan beneath from day to day.
His were the bitter hours that wear
   The human heart away.

The laurels in the pit were won:
   He had to take the lot austere
That ever seems to wait upon
   The man of letters here.

His soul was self-withdrawn. He made
   A secret of the bitter life
Of struggle in inclement shade
   For helpless child and wife.

He toiled for love unwatched, unseen,
   And fought his troubles band by band,
Till, like a friend of gentle mien,
   Death took him by the hand.

He rests in peace! No grasping thief
   Of hope and health can steal away
The beauty of the flower and leaf
   Upon his tomb to-day.

The fragrant woodwinds sing above
   Where gleams the grace of willow fair;
And often kneels a mournful love
   To plant a blossom there.

So let him sleep, whose life was hard;
   And may they place beyond the wave
This tender rose of my regard
   Upon his tranquil grave.

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (January 2019).

This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joined the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.