[Editor: This poem by Marie E. J. Pitt was published in The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses (1911).]
The day is dying! The auspicious day
That brought from human faith-fires of the North
A living brand to flash from coast to coast
And beacon Freedom in Australian skies —
A levin torch to light the splendid pyre
Of old dishonours and the blind unfaith
That bade man rend his brother — Lo! to-day
Leap high from altared Australasian hills
The Freedom-fires no wrong shall quench again.
The day is dying! The reluctant day
That bids us yield to sharper need than ours!
Because of hope and strength made ours to guard,
Because of vanquished error, justice won,
Because of slave-souls pent in bars of greed
Unnumbered still, in Liberty’s behest,
Here in the red gold sunset of the day
His message gladdened with diviner gold,
We give him God-speed — God-speed and farewell.
As fared Ulysses forth, and in the dust
Troy the accursed sank unto the plain
Smoking to heaven — Forth, strong soul, fare forth
To victory of Right o’er Mammon-Might!
Tho’ proud Oppression’s gates be Pole and Pole,
Her boundaries cleave the Sunset and the Dawn,
Her walls be Himalayahs — shall it reck?
A lesser conquest then were flaming Troy;
And Liberty? Star-Helen lesser prize !
Farewell! God-speed! And if perchance to eyes
Unwonted spring grief’s quick unbidden tears,
And tightened heartstrings ache — ’tis that the sense,
The over-sense that caught some secret speech,
Some song-snatch thro’ the sunset’s parted veil
No sense interprets, strikes our laughter dumb,
And hushed we stand ALONE and face the grey
Of all the twilights leaden merged in one;
And in some caverned dusk of wistful winds
Inwoven with aeolian echoes hear
A human song — nor thrush notes swelled so sweet,
Nor nightingale sang ever yet so clear
In throbbing hush of an Italian night.
O Swan song sailing sunward, tho’ the dark
Fold thee in silence, yet the dark doth drift
Thro’ deeps o’ Dream toward Islands of the Dawn!
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 29-30
Leave a Reply