Our Country [poem, by M. W., 27 October 1883]

[Editor: A poem published in The Illustrated Sydney News, 27 October 1883.]

Our Country.

You may sing of English homesteads,
With their fields of golden corn,
Or the hedge of pearly hawthorn
In the dewy summer morn!

You may boast the calm sweet beauty
Of the old home o’er the sea,
But, give me the yellow wattle
And Australia young and free.

You may sing old Scotia’s praises,
Blooming heath, or stern hill side —
Granite, peat, or fertile valley,
Where Bruce fought, how Wallace died.

You may boast her men unconquered,
And her freedom none would sell,
But, of better nobler triumphs,
Yet our history shall tell.

You may sing of Tara’s princes,
Brave and strong, in days of old,
And may say, in Erin’s service
One true heart shall ne’er grow cold.

But I’ll sing of fair Australia,
And her onward destiny,
Of her acres yet unconquered,
Of her homes secure and free.

Where, from ancient wrongs delivered —
Briton, Saxon, Gael, or Scot
May rejoice in quarrels vanished —
Battles ended, feuds forgot.

— M. W.

The Illustrated Sydney News (Sydney, NSW), 27 October 1883, p. 14

Editor’s notes:
Bruce = Robert the Bruce (1274-1329), who was King Robert I of Scotland (1306-1329); he fought against Edward I and Edward II of England (who had claimed sovereignty over Scotland); his military and diplomatic activities led to a peace treaty being signed by Edward III in 1828, which recognised Scotland as an independent kingdom, thus making Bruce one of Scotland’s greatest national heroes

Erin = Ireland

ne’er = never

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

Tara = the Hill of Tara, or Teamhair na Rí, being the location of the ancient seat of the high kings of Ireland

Wallace = William Wallace (ca. 1270-1305) a Scottish national hero, who led a rebellion against Edward I of England (who had claimed sovereignty over Scotland)

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