The Emigrant’s Vision

Charles Harpur

AS HIS bark dashed away on the night-shrouded deep,
    And out towards the South he was gazing,
First there passed o’er his spirit a darkness like sleep,
    Then the light of a vision amazing!
As rises the moon, from the white waves afar
Came a goddess, it seemed, of love, wisdom, and war,
And on her bright helmet, encircling a star,
    Behold there was graven “Australia.”

Her robes were of green, like the mantle of spring
    Newly spread by the streams that so mildly
Flow on through yon flock-dappled plains, or that sing
    ’Mid those blue ranging mountains so wildly:
Her locks were as bright as the lustre that lies
At morn on the seas of the South, and her eyes
Were as deep in their joy as the clear sunny skies—
    The clear sunny skies of Australia.

“O stranger!” she said, “hast thou fled from the home
    Which they forefathers bled for so vainly?
Does shame for its past thus induce thee to roam,
    Or despair of its future constrain thee?
In the far sunny South there’s a refuge from wrong,
’Tis the Shiloh of freedom expected so long;
There genius and glory shall shout forth their song—
    ’Tis the evergreen land of Australia.

“There Truth her abode on the forest-clad hills
    Shall establish, a dweller for ever,
And Plenty rejoice by the gold-pebbled rills,
    Well mated to honest endeavour,
Till the future a numberless people shall see,
Eager, and noble, and equal, and free,
And the God they adore their sole monarch shall be—
    Then come, build thy home in Australia!”

She said. Towards the South she passed brightly away,
    And at once, as from slumber, he started;
But the cadences sweet of the welcoming lay
    Yet breathed of the vision departed;
And when o’er the deep these had fadingly spread,
The swell of his heart, as he rose from his bed,
Broke loud into words on his tongue, and he said—
    “Be the home of my hope, then, Australia!”

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