Moyarra: An Australian Legend in Two Cantos
DRAWN FROM LIFE BY SIR THOMAS MITCHELL.
An Australian Legend
IN TWO CANTOS.
E. A. PETHERICK & CO., 33 Paternoster Row<br.> AND AT
MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY
Richard Clay and Sons, Limited,
london and bungay.
Page 30, line 14, after "this" insert "ill."
MOYARRA, by "YITTADAIRN."
Sir Frederick Barlee (who was Colonial Secretary of Western Australia for about twenty years) wrote to the Author of "Moyarra" —5th April, 1873—
"I write one line to thank you for the pleasure you afforded me in the perusal of 'Moyarra.' I really enjoyed it, and read it several times; and to those who know anything of the character of the Australian aboriginal, there is nothing overdrawn or far-fetched.
F. P. Barlee."
In utramque partem ingenium quid possit meum.
Si nunquam avare pretium statui arti meæ
Et eum esse quæstum in animum induxi maximum
Quam maxime servire vestris commodis;
Exemplum statuite in me, ut adolescentuli
Vobis placere studeant potius quam sibi.
Written with the foregoing heading, more than half a century ago, and intended for publication in England at that time, the following Legend is now printed in order that the writer may present copies to friends.
Few changes are needed in the prefatory words which were prepared for it in the early half of the nineteenth century. Most of them are as applicable now as they were then; and, written under impressions fresh and youthful, they may still fitly introduce my rhymes.
"No one has, so far as I know, attempted to depict the simple lives of that race which is now so fast melting away before the ardour of the white man's progress in the Australian bush:—soon none of the natural heirs of the soil will remain; and, even now, their primitive life is comparatively unknown to the majority of their invaders.
"I would fain do honour to those artless qualities which have often been my sole social amusement when, week after week, I have sojourned in the bush, with no other companion than my faithful Australian, my dog, and my horse; and I bear willing testimony to the fidelity and cheerfulness which have sometimes made me think my sable companion a pattern worthy of imitation by many of his white and contemptuous supplanters.
"Gratitude, therefore, is one motive which induces me to publish; and if I fail to give pleasure to my countrymen they may yet perhaps, for the sake of the motive, excuse the awkwardness of the deed.
"For the truthful air of the poem I ought easily to be able to vouch; it was written (or rather composed and jotted down subsequently at intervals) when I was in daily communication with the unfortunate race of which it treats; and I now present it as originally written rather than interfere with it in a manner which might prejudice its faithfulness as a representation."