Leaves from Australian Forests


Henry Kendall

LO! in storms, the triple-headed
            Hill, whose dreaded
Bases battle with the seas,
Looms across fierce widths of fleeting
            Waters beating
Evermore on roaring leas!

Arakoon, the black, the lonely!
            Housed with only
Cloud and rain-wind, mist and damp;
Round whose foam-drenched feet and nether
            Depths, together
Sullen sprites of thunder tramp!

There the East hums loud and surly,
            Late and early,
Through the chasms and the caves,
And across the naked verges
            Leap the surges!
White and wailing waifs of waves.

Day by day the sea-fogs gathered—
Pitch their tents on yonder peak,
Yellow drifts and fragments lying
            Where the flying
Torrents chafe the cloven creek!

And at nightfall, when the driven
            Bolts of heaven
Smite the rock and break the bluff,
Thither troop the elves whose home is
            Where the foam is,
And the echo and the clough.

Ever girt about with noises,
            Stormy voices,
And the salt breath of the Strait,
Stands the steadfast Mountain Giant,
            Grim, reliant,
Dark as Death, and firm as Fate.

So when trouble treads, like thunder,
            Weak men under—
Treads and breaks the thews of these—
Set thyself to bear it bravely,
            Greatly, gravely,
Like the hill in yonder seas;

Since the wrestling and endurance
            Give assurance
To the faint at bay with pain,
That no soul to strong endeavour
            Yoked for ever,
Works against the tide in vain.

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