Frank Dalby Davison(23 June 1893 - 24 May 1970 / Hawthorn, Victoria)
With Deaths' Prophetic Ear
- by Frank Dalby Davison33
Lay my rifle here beside me, set my Bible on my breast, For a moment let the warning bugles cease; As the century is closing I am going to my rest, Lord, lettest Thou Thy servant go in peace. But loud through all the bugles rings a cadence in mine ear, And on the winds my hopes of peace are strowed. Those winds that waft the voices that already I can hear Of the rooi-baatjes singing on the road.
Yes, the red-coats are returning, I can hear the steady tramp, After twenty years of waiting, lulled to sleep, Since rank and file at Potchefstroom we hemmed them in their camp, And cut them up at Bronkerspruit like sheep. They shelled us at Ingogo, but we galloped into range, And we shot the British gunners where they showed. I guessed they would return to us, I knew the chance must change -- Hark! the rooi-baatjes singing on the road!
But now from snow-swept Canada, from India's torrid plains, From lone Australian outposts, hither led, Obeying their commando, as they heard the bugle's strains, The men in brown have joined the men in red. They come to find the colours at Majuba left and lost, They come to pay us back the debt they owed; And I hear new voices lifted, and I see strange colours tossed, 'Mid the rooi-baatjes singing on the road.
The old, old faiths must falter, and the old, old creeds must fail -- I hear it in that distant murmur low -- The old, old order changes, and 'tis vain for us to rail, The great world does not want us -- we must go. And veldt, and spruit, and kopje to the stranger will belong, No more to trek before him we shall load; Too well, too well, I know it, for I hear it in the song Of the rooi-baatjes singing on the road.
The children of the Mist
- by Frank Dalby Davison22
Through the valleys, softly creeping ‘Mid the tree-tops, tempest-tossed, see the cloud-forms seeking, peeping For the loved ones that are lost. Not for storm or sunshine resting, Will they slacken or desist, Or grow weary in their questing For the children of the mist.
Where are those children hiding? Surely they will soon return, In the gorge again abiding ‘Mid the myrtle and the fern. Ah! the dusky forms departed Nevermore will keep their tryst, And the clouds, alone, sad-hearted, mourn the Children of the Mist.
E'en the wild bush-creatures, scattered, Ere they die renew their race, And the pine, by levin shattered, Leaves an heir to take his place. Though each forest thing, forth stealing, Year by year the clouds have kissed, Vainly are those white arms feeling For the children of the mist.
Dead the race, beyond awaking, Ere its task was well begun; Human hearts that throbbed to breaking Are but dust beneath the sun. Past all dreams of vengeance-wreaking, Blown where'er the tempests list. . . . . . . . .
But the cloud-forms still are seeking For the children of the mist.
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