[Editor: This poem by William Blocksidge (also known as William Baylebridge) was published in Songs o’ the South (1908).]
Seddon, farewell! Done is thy duty here:
No more, great spirit, shalt thou grace our sphere.
Well run the race of one whom Fate designed
To spend his blood in battle for mankind!
As stout oaks tower above the season’s weed,
And, towering high’r, more firm foundations need,
So, sprung from sturdy stock, more dear to thee
Were held the hopes of poor humanity.
Of rugged countenance and beetling brow,
Of vig’rous form — alas! ’tis lifeless now —
Thou wast not made in Nature’s smoothest mould;
But neither smooth is found much virgin gold.
Long didst thou nobly toil with lofty aim,
Content that actions fine should win thee fame;
Divining well that one of such renown
Professions great with greater deeds should crown.
Thy call so sudden, Australasians all
Deep mourn their loss, and gather round the pall;
One consolation only do they know —
Thy gentle wife was there to ease the blow.
Long may thy well-sown crop good seasons serve;
For peaceful laws prosperity preserve.
A king uncrowned, thou wast a willing slave;
But works alone can live beyond the grave!
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, pp. 62-63
Australasian = an inhabitant or native of Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and neighboring islands; may also refer to just those from Australia and New Zealand
beetling = prominent (usually used regarding eyebrows, rocks, or rock formations); extending outwards, jutting out, overhanging (from beetle-browed, i.e. having heavy overhanging eyebrows)
didst = did, second-person singular past tense of “do”; commonly used in conjunction with “thou” (e.g. “Whence didst thou come?”)
divining = guessing (engaging in conjecture); ascertaining, knowing, or realising something by insight or intuition; prophesising (stating a prophesy)
high’r = (vernacular) higher
pall = a heavy cloth draped over a coffin, hearse, or tomb; a coffin; a cloak, a mantle (can also refer to: a feeling of gloom; a negative mood; a thick cloud of smoke or dust)
Seddon = Richard John Seddon (1845-1906), Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1893 to 1906
shalt = (archaic) shall
sphere = a solid round object, a ball, a globe; a planet, star, or solid round body in space; a field of activity, expertise, interest, knowledge, or work; a social or cultural class, group, movement, section of society, or sub-culture; an area or environment (e.g. a sphere of influence over a geographic area or a section of society)
thee = (archaic) you
thou = (archaic) you
thy = (archaic) your
’tis = (archaic) a contraction of “it is”
vig’rous = (vernacular) vigorous
wast = (archaic) was; a singular form of the past tense of “be”
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