A Poem on Australia [poem by Marguerite A. Thompson, 18 January 1876]

[Editor: A poem by Marguerite A. Thompson. Published in The Northern Argus, 18 January 1876.]

A Poem on Australia.

Oh, brilliant is Australia’s sky
And fragrant is her air,
Her wood-crowned heights, and mossy dells
Are far beyond compare.

And gorgeous is the plumage
That our native birds display,
While sweetly warbling in the trees
Their songs at close of day.

The various hues and colors
That the bright spring flowers unfold,
When blooming on the sunny slopes
Are beauteous to behold.

But who can paint the grandeur
In which our land is dressed
When the crimson streaks of sunset
Are shining in the West?

O’er mountain, peak, and valley
There bursts a flood of light,
As the sun sinks down in glory,
And bids to all good night.

It tints with gold the ocean,
And glistens on the foam
That beats upon the whiten’d shores
Of this, our southern home.

No isle can boast such riches
As Australia’s far-famed shore,
With its fields of yellow waving corn,
And gold, and precious ore.

Contentment shines on every part
Wheree’er the eye may rest,
The swelling bosom of our land,
With wealth untold is blest.

But who has made the country rich,
And won for it a name?
’Tis not the miner toiling hard,
Although he has a claim.

It is the hand that holds the plough
And turns the green sod o’er,
That’s caused the praises of our land
To ring from shore to shore.

With cheerful heart they labored on,
And put aside all fears;
They toiled, and now have gained success,
Our farmer pioneers.

And may the rulers of the land
With wisdom grant them all
The things that now they most require,
And turn not from their call.

But though the hand has freely toiled
For comfort, joy, and peace,
It is the all-wise Providence
That giveth the increase.

To Him our deepest thanks are due,
Who saw it fit to pour
So many rich and precious gifts
Upon our much-loved shore.

The poet sings of sunny France,
And beauteous it may be;
But long as life and memory last
Australia fair for me.

M. A. Thompson.
Maitland, Yorke Valley.



Source:
The Northern Argus (Clare, SA), 18 January 1876, p. 3

Also published in:
The Southern Argus and River Murray Advertiser (Strathalbyn, SA), 30 October 1879, p. 4

Editor’s notes:
blest = (archaic) blessed

Him = in a religious context, “Him” (capitalized) is a reference to God

Providence = (usually capitalized) God, or the benevolent care from God; care, guidance, or protection as provided by God, or as provided by nature

wheree’er = a contraction of “whereever” (an archaic form of “wherever”)

There were some minor differences in the text between the versions published in The Northern Argus (1876) and The Southern Argus and River Murray Advertiser (1879). Also, whilst the 1876 version was signed as “M. A. Thompson”, the author’s first name was published with the 1879 version, “Marguerite A. Thompson”.
Below are the textual differences in the 1876 version (given first) and the 1879 version (given second):
“warbling in the trees” vs. “warbling in the breeze”
“Are shining in the West?” vs. “Bestrew the gorgeous west.”
“O’er mountain, peak, and valley” vs. “O’er mountain-peak, and valley”
“And bids to all good night” vs. “And bids us all good night”
“As Australia’s far-famed shore” vs. “As Austral’s far-famed shore”
“Contentment shines on every part” vs. “Contentment reigns on every part”
“Wheree’er the eye may rest” vs. “Where’er the eye may rest”
“With wealth untold is blest” vs. “With untold wealth is blest”
“Although he has a claim” vs. “Although they have a claim”
“It is the hand that holds the plough And turns” vs. “It is the men who hold the plough, And turn”
“That’s caused” vs. “Who caused”
“Australia fair for me” vs. “Australia’s fair for me”

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