"And the place thereof shall know them no more." -Psalm 103, v 16.
"They make a solitude, and call it peace."-Byron.
Thro' the forests deep the slow rains weep,
And the leaves fall thick beneath,
As the last lone child of Tasmania's wild
Lies passing away in death.
The she-oaks wail in the autumn gale,
And the sad mists shadowy rise
O'er the wild swamp streams, where the curlew screams,
As the queen of the dead tribes dies!
The dark tribe's queen! she has suffered, and seen
Her race perish one by one
In the terrible past, till lonely and last
The sands of her life are run.
Ere the last ones sink on the silent brink
Of Eternity's shrouded wave,
As her dark cheek pales, she mournfully wails
Her dirge o'er her people's grave.
Oh, God of our race ! hast thou never a place
For the one we were spoiled of on earth?
Or shall we be left, of a heaven bereft,
And our death be as doomed as our birth?
Oh, God of our tribes! we bore the jibes
And scourge of our tyrants long —
Were hunted and slain, from forest and plain,
With never a righted wrong!
With hatchet and flame, they drove the game
From our happy hunting grounds,
And ravished and slew, and merciless threw
Our babes to their savage hounds.
Thou saw'st our woes, oh God of our foes!
And heard'st the awful wails
Of our slaughtered ones, as the lightning guns
Swept thundering through our vales.
Oh pitiless race of the fierce pale-face!
Had'st thou a warrant from God?
In the cold grey north, to come south and drive forth
The peaceable people who trod.
By right of their birth, their own spot of earth?
Was there not room under Heaven
For thy people and mine, that my people by thine
To death and destruction were given?
You came unsought, and the gifts you brought
As Christians from over the wave,
Were greed for land and a merciless hand,
And the fire drink that digs the grave!
Ere came the White, time's peaceful flight
Was measured by happy years,
And we lived our life — with scarcely a strife —
'Midst friendship which knew no fears!
With never a foe, and scarcely a woe —
Except for some loved one's death —
We lived by the chase-a harmless race,
And gladsome with freedom's breath.
Oh, the happy days! midst the pleasant ways
Of the wildwoods and the hills,
Where the echoes rang, whilst the wild birds sang
To the music of rippling rills!
Ah! never again o'er hill and plain
Shall Trucanini rove,
With the swift firm tread of the wilderness bred,
Whose home is the forest grove.
By Tamar's banks, where the bearded ranks
Of the bright green rushes bend,
Shall her bark canoe the swan pursue,
Or her arm the swift spear send —
No more, no more, — ah! never once more,
Shall the feet of my people skim
O'er the tufted grass, up the mountain pass,
Or the bush tracks greenly dim.
Never, no never! Alas! for ever
They have faded from river and shore;
Yea! have passed like a dream or a summer-dried stream,
And their place shall know them no more!
Lay me to rest in the silent breast
Of the solemn mountain chain,
Beyond all trace of the ruthless race
By whom my race was slain!
And have remorse on my lonely corse;
Let ravenous science reap
Nor nerve, nor bone, but leave me alone,
Unharmed! for my last long sleep.
My days are past, and I die, the last
Of the tribes! So let me rest
In my long last home, where they loved to roam,
Where the hills face the dying west;
And the shadows deep of the mountains sweep
O'er the lonely wandering stream;
There lay my head, in its last cold bed,
For the sleep that has never a dream!
Whilst the high stars calm, hear the night wind's psalm,
And the rivulet's rippling wave,
As Nature wild takes home her child.
And watches her lonely grave!