The Magpie’s Song.
Through the gumtrees’ rustling branches
Falls the quivering silver light;
All around are tones and whispers,
Murmuring voices of the night.
From the slender sheoak needles
Sighs the spirit of the wind;
As our hearts sigh in their sorrow
When the loved have been unkind.
Through the moonlight’s silver stillness
Falls a subtle thrill of song;
Breathed in tender notes of longing,
Faint and low, but sweet and long.
Trembling on the dewy silence,
Like some plaintive spirit-call,
Scarcely heard, but felt and cherished,
Still the soft notes rise and fall.
’Till about us, and around us,
All the air with sound is filled;
And we feel some restless longings
In our natures touched and stilled.
Song of bird and moonlight’s silver,
Heaven’s own cords of love are ye;
Drawing to the world we see not,
Through the world we feel and see.
Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 80-81
sheoak = flowering shrubs and trees of the family Casuarinaceae; sheoaks (or she-oaks) are also known as casuarinas (“she-oak” was coined by combining “she”, a prefix used to indicate an inferior sense of timber, with “oak”, regarding an inferior comparison with English oak trees) [See: “She Oak, or Casuarina”, The Western Mail (Perth, WA), Friday 10 July 1914, page 4]
Old spelling in the original text: