George Gordon McCrae(9 May 1833 - 15 August 1927 / Leith, Scotland)
The Silence of the Bush
- by George Gordon McCrae44
There's that in our lone Bush, I know not what, Which 'genders silence; I've all that to learn. Here, there and everywhere, to loose the knot That binds the sheaf-band of the taciturn; It may be where it freezes; where 'tis hot, Or streams lie silent in the nymph's cool urn; In forest depths, or where the lone plain stretches Sans other roof than sky, o'er heat-worn wretches.
Or 'mid the gully's fern and sassafras, Where all is cool green glooms and early dusk, With silvern foliage in delicious mass As, sunwards, feel their way the spires of musk; Or where those solemn branches crossing, pass And wave o'er-head their pennon'd fragrant husk; Or by the river's marge or broad gumbower With lily-pads a-swim and floating flower.
Here might one read the Silence of Fatigue, And here again of Rest and Admiration. Where gentle hands are clasped in wordless league, And eyes meet eyes in eloquent oration, Or fingers wreathed, accomplish mute intrigue, Or tell by signs of ardent adoration, Or past all these, 'neath burning rocks and bare, The deep and death-like Silence of Despair.
L'envoi from Balladeadro
- by George Gordon McCrae32
See where the allied armies camped, Where plumed and painted dancers tramped-- 'Tis still the same, the same wild scene, As though the ploughshare ne'er had been. Grey Tomboritha still the skies With bold and massy front defies; And gorge, and chasm, and long-ledged rocks Echo the ever-thundering shocks Of waters dashed with headlong force, Wild cataracts leaping on their course. In dark Maroka's vale the stream Reflects the slanting solar beam; There the proud lyre-bird* spreads his tail, And mocks the notes of hill and dale-- Whether the wild dog's plaintive howl Or cry of piping waterfowl, Or the shrill parrot's answering scream, As, gem-like, dangling o'er the stream He hears, re-echoed from the rock The whirlwind whistle of the flock. Alas! and what a change is there! And yet the landscape still is fair. There smiled the woodland by the rill: 'Tis gone--the waters turn a mill. There the Mirbango village lay: Mirbango maidens, where? O say, Where the tall braves, whose warrior songs Once wooed the dark-eyed Darakongs. Yon sheltered hollow, 'neath the steep, Now dotted o'er with browsing sheep, Holds the last graves the dark man owns-- The treasure of his father's bones. All else, alas! has passed, is o'er; Time's wing has swept hill, vale, and shore; All, hence to farthest northern strand, Obeys the white, "the blood-stained hand;" And grey-beards by the fire at night, Warm, basking in its ruddy light, The young, in solemn tones, advise To shun all stranger-women's eyes. "Our fathers," quoth they, "as we trace, Thus lost a country--doomed a race."
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