Leah Fouracre: Vale! [poem by “Dryblower” Murphy, 1926]

[Editor: This poem by “Dryblower” Murphy was published in Dryblower’s Verses (1926).]

Leah Fouracre.


Peace to the ashes that lie
Down where the jarrah-trees old,
Stretching their arms to the sky,
Shower their leaves on the mould.
Untended the scrub-scattered flocks
Shall bleat where the eaglehawks soar,
The surf on the rampart-like rocks,
A requiem rugged shall roar.
Peace to the soul now asleep,
Waiting God’s message elate,
Peace, while a vigil we keep —
Bushwoman, Sister and Mate.

Never more shall we gallop all out
By the fringe of the paper-bark grey,
Never more shall we wheel to her shout
That told of the boomer at bay!
The bush bullock sprang to her lash,
When her stock-pony reefed at the rails,
The kangaroo fell to the flash,
The dagger-fanged boar at the bails.
Racing where saddle-tracks wind,
Spurning the gap and the gate,
Yet, withal, she was gentle and kind,
Bushwoman, Sister and Mate.

An angel of succour she came
To the galloping summons and call,
Fighting the flood and the flame,
Giving the beat of her all.
Carrying comfort and calm
To sufferers, distant and near,
The Mistress of Peppermint Farm
Flung aside hesitant fear.
Soothing with reprimand kind,
Jealousy, anger and hate;
To all but sweet excellence blind —
Bushwoman, Sister and Mate.

“Dryblower” Murphy, Dryblower’s Verses, Perth (WA): E. G. Murphy, 1926, p. 85

Previously published (with some differences) in:
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 1 September 1907, p. 4 (First Section)
The Evening Mail (Fremantle, WA), 2 September 1907, p. 3 (Third Edition)
Dryblower, Jarrahland Jingles: A Volume of Westralian Verse, Perth (WA): R.S. Sampson for Sunday Times, 1908, pp. 73-74

Editor’s notes:
Leah Fouracre = a woman murdered at Peppermint Grove Farm, near Waroona (Western Australia), in 1907; Augustin De Kitchilan, an immigrant from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), was found guilty of her murder, and subsequently hanged
See: 1) “The Waroona tragedy”, The Western Mail (Perth, WA), 21 September 1907, p. 20
2) “A murder trial. Who killed Leah Fouracre? De Kitchilan guilty. Sentenced to death. Prisoner’s statement.”, The Daily News (Perth, WA), 5 October 1907, pp. 7, 16 (Third Edition)
3) “The Peppermint Farm murder”, The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 13 October 1907, p. 4
4) “The Waroona murder: Execution of De Kitchilan”, The West Australian (Perth, WA), 24 October, pp. 7-8

succour = assistance, help, or support, particularly in a time of distress or difficulty (also spelt “succor”)

vale = farewell, often used with regards to someone who has died (not to be confused with “vale” as another word for “valley”); in classical Latin, “ave atque vale” (“hail and farewell”) was a formulaic farewell to the dead

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