Bellambi’s Maid [poem by Henry Kendall]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Kendall was published in Poems and Songs (1862).]

Bellambi’s Maid.

Amongst the thunder-splintered caves,
On Ocean’s long and windy shore,
I catch the voice of dying waves
Below the ridges old and hoar ;
The spray descends in silver showers,
And lovely whispers come and go,
Like echoes from the happy hours
I never more may hope to know !
The tall mimosa spreads its locks
Of yellow hair, to hide the glade,
While far above the caverned rocks
I hear the dark Bellambi’s Maid !

The moonlight dreams upon the sail
That drives the restless ship to sea ;
The clouds troop past the mountain vale,
And sink like spirits down the lee ;
The foggy peak of Corrimal,
Uplifted, bears the pallid glow
That streams from yonder airy hall
And robes the sleeping hills below ;
The wandering meteors of the sky
Beneath the distant waters wade,
While mystic music hurries by —
The songs of dark Bellambi’s Maid !

Why comes thy voice, you lonely One,
Along the wild harp’s wailing strings ?
Have not our hours of meeting gone,
Like fading dreams on phantom wings ?
Are not the grasses round thy grave
Yet springing green and fresh to view ?
And does the gleam on Ocean’s wave
Tide gladness now to me and you ?
Oh ! cold and cheerless falls the night
On withered hearts and hopes decayed ;
And I have seen but little light
Since died the dark Bellambi’s Maid !

Henry Kendall, Poems and Songs, J. R. Clarke, Sydney, 1862, pages 39-40

Editor’s notes:
Corrimal = a suburb, located north of Wollongong, New South Wales

hoar = (a variant of “hoary”) someone with grey or white hair; very old

lee = the lee side of a ship or other vessel (the point or quarter towards which the wind blows on a ship); or, in a wider context, away from the wind

mimosa = a genus (of about 400 species) of flowering herbs and shrubs; it may refer specifically to the Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata, also known as Mimosa), a species of the genus Acacia, native to southeastern Australia

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