The Making of a Nation [poem by Agnes L. Storrie]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes L. Storrie was published in Poems, 1909.]

The Making of a Nation.

Not by rearing fairy arches,
Decked with flowers a day shall fade;
Not by flinging myriad banners
Forth from tower and colonnade;

Not by feasts and shows and pastimes,
Fitting though such revels be;
Not by words of adulation
Poured from lands across the sea;

Not by these — a moment’s trifles,
Brilliant, but of little worth —
Not by these shall we who love her
Celebrate our Nation’s birth.

Deeper, deeper, past these baubles
And this proud and high acclaim
Beats a mighty heart that quivers
At the naming of her name,

And a low and strenuous murmur,
Like a surely rising flood,
Tells the passionate awakening
Of the true Australian blood.

We who love her! We who love her!
Where and what and who are we?
Sweep your hand from Moreton Island
Till it meets the westward sea.

And from Torres Straits to Bruni,
From the Leeuwin to Mackay,
Wheresoe’er you go you’ll find us;
Call us, you shall have reply.

What are we who love Australia?
This the future shall reveal;
Yet, let every heart remember
Single worth makes common weal.

Who are we that love Australia?
Let a foe from near or far
Lift a hand to wound or shame her
And discover who we are.

Not by vain and idle boasting,
Not by wild, impetuous deeds,
But by steady, high endeavour
Shall we fitly serve her needs.

Honesty in hall and household,
Honour in the public mart,
Individual worth of purpose,
Purity of lip and heart.

These our flags for her adorning,
These her wreaths of deathless bloom,
These the jewelled lamps to guide her
And her upward path illume.

We who love her! God hath lavished
At her feet all earthly good,
Ours it is to make and keep her
Worthy of her Nationhood.

Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 157-159

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