Leaves from Australian Forests

Mountain Moss

Henry Kendall

IT LIES amongst the sleeping stones,
    Far down the hidden mountain glade;
And past its brink the torrent moans
    For ever in a dreamy shade.

A little patch of dark-green moss,
    Whose softness grew of quiet ways
(With all its deep, delicious floss)
    In slumb’rous suns of summer days.

You know the place? With pleasant tints
    The broken sunset lights the bowers;
And then the woods are full with hints
    Of distant, dear, voluptuous flowers!

’Tis often now the pilgrim turns
    A faded face towards that seat,
And cools his brow amongst the ferns;
    The runnel dabbling at his feet.

There fierce December seldom goes,
    With scorching step and dust and drouth;
But, soft and low, October blows
    Sweet odours from her dewy mouth.

And Autumn, like a gipsy bold,
    Doth gather near it grapes and grain,
Ere Winter comes, the woodman old,
    To lop the leaves in wind and rain.

O, greenest moss of mountain glen,
    The face of Rose is known to thee;
But we shall never share with men
    A knowledge dear to love and me!

For are they not between us saved,
    The words my darling used to say,
What time the western waters laved
    The forehead of the fainting day?

Cool comfort had we on your breast
    While yet the fervid noon burned mute
O’er barley field and barren crest,
    And leagues of gardens flushed with fruit.

Oh, sweet and low, we whispered so,
    And sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
But it was many years ago,
    When each, you know, was loved of each.

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