The Secret Key and Other Verses

The Land of the Dawning

George Essex Evans

DARK rose her shore in seas of amethyst
                By tropic breezes kissed,
A summer land in watery wastes forlorn,
Her ranges floating in the snow-white mist
                And gold of early morn.
The tides of Empire ebbed and flowed afar;
The thrones of nations in the dust were hurled,
Silent she slept beneath the morning star,
                A virgin world.

Love, Birth, and Death, the stress of Age and Race,
                Changed not her maiden face—
Unstocked her pastures and untilled her soil—
She who for labour builds a throne apace
                Saw not her people toil;
Down the low valleys, up the stormy steeps,
Careless they roamed at will: the land was free
From desert stark to where the mangrove sleeps
                Upon the sea.

There dropped no anchor at her river bars
                Beneath the quiet stars;
No wandering sail her silent waters swept;
By waste and scrub, o’er plain and rocky scars
                No alien footstep crept;
In feathery billows of her grassy seas
Some lonely mountain stretched its capes of blue;
Only the heavens above her and the breeze
                Her secrets knew.

Where the wild grass grew rank on slopes forlorn
                Rise fields of yellow corn,
And purple lucerne-bloom makes sweet the air;
The sullen mountain, lost in mists of morn,
                Its golden heart lays bare.
Spoils of her pastures crowd full many a mart;
Her glittering treasure calls to many a land;
She has no secrets for the daring heart
                And strong brown hand.

The smoke and thunder of her cities rise
                To the same careless skies;
Her arteries thread the same wide sunlit leas,
Her fleets stretch forth their wings of enterprise
                O’er the same summer seas.
She to the Nations cries: “No Past, no Fame,
No Memories quicken round my flag unfurled;
The mightier, therefore, shall I carve my name
                Upon the World.”

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