Solitude [poem by Sir Henry Parkes]

[Editor: A poem by Sir Henry Parkes. Published in Australian Ballads and Rhymes: Poems Inspired by Life and Scenery in Australia and New Zealand, 1888.]


Where the mocking lyre-bird calls
To its mate among the falls
Of the mountain streams that play,
Each adown its tortuous way;
When the dewy-fingered even
Veils the narrowed glimpse of heaven,
Where the morning re-illumes
Gullies full of ferny plumes,
And the roof of radiance weaves
Through high-hanging vault of leaves;
There ’mid giant turpentines,
Groups of climbing clustering vines,
Rocks that stand like sentinels
Guarding native citadels,
Lowly flowering shrubs that grace
With their beauty all the place,
There I love to wander lonely
With my dog companion only;
There, indulge unworldly moods
In the mountain solitudes;
Far from all the gilded strife
Of our boasted “social life,”
Contemplating, spirit-free,
The majestic company,
Grandly marching through the ages —
Heroes, martyrs, bards, and sages —
They who bravely suffered long,
By their struggles waxing strong,
For the freedom of the mind,
For the rights of humankind.

Oh, for some awakening cause,
Where we face eternal laws,
Where we dare not turn aside,
Where the souls of men are tried —
Something of a nobler strife,
Which consumes the dross of life,
To unite to truer aim,
To exalt to loftier fame,
Leave behind the bats and balls,
Leave the racers in the stalls,
Leave the cards forever shuffled,
Leave the yacht on seas unruffled,
Leave the haunts of pampered ease,
Leave your dull festivities —
Better far the savage glen,
Fitter school for earnest men.

(Sir) Henry Parkes.

Douglas B. W. Sladen (editor), Australian Ballads and Rhymes: Poems Inspired by Life and Scenery in Australia and New Zealand London: Walter Scott, 1888, pages 164-165

Previously published in:
Sir Henry Parkes, The Beauteous Terrorist and Other Poems, Melbourne: George Robertson & Company, 1885

Also published in:
Douglas B. W. Sladen (editor), A Century of Australian Song, London: Walter Scott, 1888, pages 366-367

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