Adelaide: A Song [song by Agnes Neale]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes Neale was published in Shadows and Sunbeams (1890).]

Adelaide: A Song.

O fair is our beautiful city,
As she lies her green meadows between,
In the light of the fresh summer dawning,
Like a pearl in an ocean of green!
As the morn’s rosy rays kiss her steeples,
And her pinnacles fling back the light,
She is fair as a bride to her lover,
Arrayed in her garments of light.

O Adelaide! we who gaze on thee,
Entranced at thy loveliness stand;
O beautiful, beautiful city!
Sweet pearl of our bright southern land.

When the day-god has climbed the meridian,
And flames on his hot noontide throne,
With a broad track of glory behind him
Where his mantle of light has been thrown,
Thy white garments flash in the sunlight,
Throwing back the warm rays to the skies,
Like a vision of dazzling beauty
That in scenes of enchantment arise.

O Adelaide! we who gaze on thee,
Entranced at thy loveliness stand;
O beautiful, beautiful city!
White pearl of this bright southern land.

And when nature lies fainting and breathless,
All tired with the kisses of light,
Asleep in the soft arms of evening
Ere yet it has deepened to-night,
How fair shine thy churches and steep1es —
How pure gleam thy white robes, O queen!
At rest on thy billowy meadows,
Like a pearl in an ocean of green.

O Adelaide! we who gaze on thee,
Entranced at thy loveliness stand;
O beautiful, beautiful city!
Fair pearl of our bright southern land.

But when night in her dark cloak enfolds thee,
And the stars burn in glory on high,
There cometh a moan from thy bosom
That quivereth up to the sky —
A moan from the hearts that are breaking
With sin and with sorrow crushed low,
For there’s blood on thy white robes, O city!
Foul stains on thy garments of snow.

O Adelaide! we who behold thee,
Aghast at thy guiltiness stand;
O sorrowful, crime-blotted city!
Stained pearl of our bright southern land.



Source:
Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 75-76

Editor’s notes:
ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)

meridian = noon, midday, or relating thereto (may also refer to: a high point, of development, prosperity, success, etc.; a meridian line on a map, drawn from the North Pole to the South Pole)

morn = morning

Old spelling in the original text:
quivereth (quivers)
thee (you)
thy (your)

[Editor: Changed “deepened to night” to “deepened to-night” (added a hyphen, in line with the usage in the rest of the book).]

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