Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/691

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

PROLOGUE.




Nor gold nor silver are the words set here,
Nor rich-wrought chasing on design of art;
But rugged relics of an unknown sphere
Where fortune chanced I played one time apart.
Unthought of here the critic blame or praise,
These recollections all their faults atone;
To hold the scenes, I've writ of men and ways
Uncouth and rough as Austral ironstone.
It may be, I have left the higher gleams


Of skies and flowers unheeded or forgot;
It may be so,—but, looking back, it seems
When I was with them I beheld them not.
I was no rambling poet, but a man
Hard pressed to dig and delve, with naught of ease
The hot day through, save when the evening's fan
Of sea-winds rustled through the kindly trees.


It may be so; but when I think I smile
At my poor hand and brain to paint the charms
Of God's first-blazoned canvas! here the aisle
Moonlit and deep of reaching gothic arms
From towering gum, mahogany, and palm.
And odorous jam and sandal; there the growth
Of arm-long velvet leaves grown hoar in calm,—
In calm unbroken since their luscious youth.


How can I show you all the silent birds
With strange metallic glintings on the wing?

645