Far and Wide [poem by E. J. Brady]

[Editor: This poem by E. J. Brady was published in Bells and Hobbles (1911).]

Far and Wide.

I’ll call you to the Beaches,
And you shall bide with me,
Along the river reaches
And by the open Sea.

Far and wide I have to wander,
Far and wide and to and fro;
’Cross the Seas and o’er and under
Everywhere the Rovers go.

“Rolling stones no mosses gather,”
Let the careful critic moan;
In my heart I know, I’d rather
Be a restless rolling stone.

When I feel the soul-relieving
Comfort of the cradling sea,
When the giant hills upheaving
Into God’s blue sky I see;

When the brown plains spread before me,
And I slacken out the rein,
With a noon sun burning o’er me,
Then I know my loss is gain.

Let me watch the sea-rain falling,
Smell the salt, deck-driven spray;
Let me hear the bush-birds calling
At the dawning of the day.

Let me see the sun-bars streaming
Down the valleys, ere the night
Fills the world with pleasant dreaming,
Love and coolness and delight.

Inland creeks and shoreward rivers,
How they beckon and they croon;
Ah, the long dry grass that quivers
Ere the grey clouds cast their boon.

E’er the forests tall and splendid
Lure me with their light and shade,
And the rolling downs unended
Like a bridal carpet laid.

Gypsy come! The golden beaches
Hold their arms to you and me.
Gypsy come! The water reaches
Call us to them lovingly!

In the North green palm glades keep their
Vigils ’neath the cloudless moon;
Glutted pigeons safely sleep there,
Freely filled with fruited boon.

In the South a cold wind, singing,
Sways the high limbs to and fro,
And the Magpie homeward winging
Carols of the coming snow.

Gypsy come! the wide bush waits us
Gypsy come! the wide seas call,
Near and far the world awaits us,
We are wild hearts after all.

Far and wide we twain will wander,
All the world, the world to know,
Far and wide and o’er and under,
By the roads the Rovers go.

E. J. Brady, Bells and Hobbles, Melbourne: George Robertson & Co., 1911, pp. 112-114

Editor’s notes:
carol = to sing a song in a cheerful, happy, or joyful manner; to sing Christmas carols, especially when in a group going from door to door (can also refer to “carol”: a light-hearted or joyful song; a folk song, traditional hymn, or popular ballad, especially a religious song or hymn which is associated with Christmas)

’cross = (vernacular) across

e’er = (vernacular) a contraction of “ever”

ere = (archaic) before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)

’neath = (vernacular) beneath

o’er = (archaic) over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)

twain = (archaic) two (from the Old English word “twegen”, meaning “two”); especially known for the phrase “never the twain shall meet” (from the line “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”, as used by the poet Rudyard Kipling, at the start of the poem “The Ballad of East and West”, which was included in Barrack-room Ballads and Other Verses, 1892)

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