[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Heart of Spring (1919) and Ballad and Lyrical Poems (1923).]
O, Lady of the Dazzling Flowers!
O lady of the dazzling flowers
And the frock so white and fine,
How hopeless is thy prettiness
And that cool heart of thine!
Thou hast not been to the rude field
Where men and women war;
Thou hast not found what a woman’s mouth
And a man’s full heart are for.
Thy speech is all of a thin calm,
Of sleep and slow sunshine:
Oh, hopeless is thy happiness
And that pale heart of thine.
Through the love-feud and the love-thirst
Thou hast not fought and smiled;
Thou hast not heard the strings that speak
In the crying of a child.
Thou hast not been where tears lie hot
And words can only run,
Thou hast not cried to the bare night
Or prayed for the white sun.
Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, Sydney: The Bookfellow, 1919, page 87
Also published in:
John Shaw Neilson, Ballad and Lyrical Poems, Sydney: The Bookfellow in Australia, 1923, page 64
hast = (archaic) have
rude = primitive, raw, or rough, or in an unfinished state or natural condition (distinct from the modern usage of “rude” as someone being discourteous or ill-mannered)
thine = (archaic) yours; your (“thine”, meaning “your”, is usually placed before a word which begins with a vowel, e.g. “To thine own self be true”)
thou = (archaic) you
thy = (archaic) your
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