Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/197

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183
THE MOTHER OF THE AUSTRALIAS.

of Miss Katharine Tynan on "The Grave of Michael Dwyer":

I wish you slept where your kin are sleeping—
The dove-gray valley is sweet;
And the holy mountains their strange watch keeping
"Would love you lying still at their feet,
The dewy grass for your winding sheet.

You would sleep sweet with your sad lips smiling,
Dreaming, and hearing still
The bonny blackbird with songs beguiling,
The rain's light feet on the hill,
The children's laughter merry and shrill.

I have a fern that hath waved above you.
Just at your gray grave's head,
Sent to me by one who doth love you,
Bitter the tears she shed
Praying long by your lonely bed.

And now I weave of my idle fancies.
All for the love of you,
A wreath of passion flowers and of pansies
To lay on the grave I never knew,
And tears are thick on its leaves for dew.

There is a remarkable official testimony to the good qualities of the Irishmen who were exiled to Australia in the early days, that deserves to be dug out of the musty blue-book in which it has long been buried, and to be placed on permanent record. In 1819 Mr. John Thomas Bigge visited Australia in the capacity of special commissioner from King George III. to investigate the practical operation of the transportation system. He spent three years in making fall and exhaustive inquiries into every phase of the question; and in his final report, dated May 6th, 1822, occurs this significant and noteworthy passage:

"The convicts embarked in Ireland generally arrive in