Ode for the Queen’s Birth-Day, 1819 [poem by Michael Massey Robinson, 23 January 1819]

[Editor: A poem by Michael Massey Robinson, published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 23 January 1819.]



The Queen’s Birth-Day, 1819.

By Mr. Michael Robinson.

THE Muses, rear’d in rural Bow’rs,
From Nature cull’d her fairest Flowers,
And the charm’d Scenes young Fancy drew,
From Nature’s sylvan Landscapes grew:
Hence, as in fav’ring Shades they sung,
Their wild Harps thro’ the Woodlands rung,
And only wak’d the slumbering Grove
With Tales of Innocence, with Strains of Love!

But, when from angry Climes, afar,
Discordant roar’d the Din of War;
And swelling from the tented Ground,
The Trump’s shrill Clangor echo’d round,
And Battles fierce, and Sieges long,
Usurp’d the wand’ring Minstrel’s Song —
Then Science lent her hallow’d Fire
To Homer’s Harp, and Maro’s Lyre;
And Love retir’d, to give the Warrior’s Glory
Its proud Pre-eminence in classic Story.

Still Mantua’s Bard, reclin’d by rural Streams,
Felt his charm’d Fancy glow with softer Themes;
Mute was the Chord that thrill’d with War’s Alarms,
And lull’d the Strain that sung the Clash of Arms;
Nature his Guide, he trac’d the cultur’d Soil,
The cherish’d Hope of Industry’s “brown Toil;”
The golden Clusters scatter’d on the Plains,
The Harvest, welcome to the Village Swains;
Their Evening Pastimes in the shelt’ring Grove;
The soft Confessions of ingenuous Love;
These gave his magic Lyre its sweetest Sound,
Liv’d in his Page — and left his Name renown’d!

Hence, tho’ on this auspicious Day
The Muses pour their fav’rite Lay,
’Tis not Imperial Rank demands
The trophy’d Garland at their Hands;
Years still succeeding Years have shown
The Glory of AUGUSTA’S Throne;
And Genius soared on Fancy’s proudest Wings,
To wake the willing Lyre’s enraptur’d Strings.

Now rural Nature’s humbler Lay
Aspires to hail this halcyon Day,
And Fancy, borne in sylvan Pride,
Leads by majestic Thames’ calm Tide
To Windsor’s green Retreats, which long
Have shone the Pride of lyric Song:—
There, in sequester’d Shades retir’d,
She feels the native Harp inspir’d,
And fondly hears its Chords proclaim
Whilst glist’ning Gratitude reveals
The Impulse its full Bosom feels,
And tells from WHOM those Bounties flow
That reach th’ unshelter’d Haunts of Woe;
That soothe the shiv’ring Orphan’s Cries,
And chase the Tear from widow’d Eyes:

Lo! to that Form rever’d, which bears
The silver’d Grace of lengthen’d Years;
Tho’ pale Disease, with tyrant Aim,
Now triumphs o’er her faded Frame;
And trembling Hope can scarcely dare
Repress the Bodings of Despair:
Still dear to Frogmore’s rural Bow’rs,
Which long have trac’d HER treasur’d Hours;
There Heaven-born Sympathy, instinctive, leads,
And smiles on Charity’s unwitness’d Deeds.

Tho’ circling Seasons roll away,
And Life’s endearing Scenes decay,
Still the fond Mem’ry of the past
Bids Virtue’s fadeless Trophies last,
While Hope’s expanding Smile appears
To gild the Dawn of future Years.

Oh, Hymen! whilst the Pledge divine
Is sanction’d at thy holy Shrine,
And BRUNSWICK’S riding SCIONS prove
The Grace that hallows wedded Love,
Long, long triumphant on historic Page,
May their proud Branches bloom thro’ ev’ry Age.

Ah! why must Language, fault’ring, here,
From fond Remembrance claim a Tear;
As late on Albion’s clouded Coast
Fell her first Hope — her fairest Boast!
As sunk that STAR, whose dawning Ray
Gave Promise of a brilliant Day;
Shew’d the proud World its radiant Light —
Then vanish’d into endless Night!

Nor will a Briton’s Heart refuse
This last Memorial of the Muse,
Whose Lyre still trembles in her Hand,
As round her drooping Sisters stand.
Long have their wasted Cymbals lain,
Lost to each Charm of Fancy’s Strain;
And doom’d, from Morn to Eve — thro Night, to mourn,

And while to ev’ry Clime and Shore
Unwelcome Barks the Tidings bore;
Shrinking, dishearten’d from the Gale
That restless labor’d with the Tale;
Australia! warm in Albion’s Weal,
Felt all as Britons — proud to feel;
Felt the full Sympathies that flow
From public Grief to private Woe;
And the lorn Sigh, the universal Tear, }
Lengthen’d Regrets — and Obsequies sincere, }
Enshrine departed Worth in fond Remembrance HERE! }

Hence shall Australia, like her Sister Isles,
By Britain rear’d, and foster’d by her Smiles,
From her own Source her ample Produce pour,
Thro’ Eastern Climes, and every peopled shore;
Whilst, on th’ expansive Waste of Waters wide,
Commerce shall see her treasur’d Navies ride;
And her full Marts, her busy Quays, proclaim
Her prosp’ring Course to Opulence and Fame.

And yon tall Tow’r, that with aspiring Steep,
Rears its proud Summit o’er the trackless Deep; —
The recent Care of His Paternal Hand
That long has cherish’d this improving Land; —
Thro’ the drear Perils of the starless Night
Shall shed the Lustre of revolving Light:
And, from the adverse Wind, and Stubborn Tide,
Safe to its Port the sea-worn Vessel guide.

Fruitful Clime! auspicious Land!
Nurs’d by liberal Nature’s Hand;
May Summer Suns and genial Gales
With Plenty crown thy verdant Vales;
And, faithful to thy Parent Source,
Let VIRTUE point the prosp’ring Course;


New South Wales, }
Jan. 19, 1819. }

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 23 January 1819, p. 4

Editor’s notes:
Spelling retained as in the original text:
shew’d (showed)

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