The Poet’s Lay [poem by Philip Durham Lorimer]

[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]

The Poet’s Lay

I’m a bird that will never be tamed,
For my spirit is free and is proud ;
High on mountain-tops and in the vales
I will pour forth my heart-songs aloud.
Either sipping the honey from wattles,
Or else fondling the soft hand of Spring,
I will bask in the sun’s glowing colours,
Or will flash them afar from my wing.
I’m a bird that will never be trammeled.
Never sing to the worldling for gain ;
And no power can ever coerce me
To debase or to mar my song’s strain.

I’m a bird whose swift flight may be fitful,
Now o’er crag, now o’er blossoming stem ;
But my love-notes are ever the sweetest
When I hover o’er some floral gem.
The sweet violet’s scent will entice me
To remain where in beauty she dreams ;
And I blend my wild notes with the music
That oft ripples from murmuring streams.

I’m a bird that disdaineth to be
In the close crowded dwellings of men ;
My own home is where Nature is free
In the mountains, and woodland, and glen.
The trembling mimosa may hide me ;
For their slumbering shadows I yearn ;
And, with Nature’s soft arms flung around me,
I her beautiful lessons can learn.

I’m a wild bird that welcomes the morn
When the vapoury mists roll away.
And with song, of the heart’s gladness born,
I rejoice in the dawning of day.
To the sunrise I open my heart.
Full of gratitude, rapture, and joy
For, ’tis only in Nature I find
Sweetest pleasure without an alloy.

And at eve, on the sprays of the wattle,
I watch raptly the amber clouds fold
Like a robe round the sun at its setting.
And then change into crimson and gold.
And oh ! then, as the shadows fall o’er me.
And a silence comes on, dark and long.
With my head ’neath my tired wing I slumber.
And quite hushed is the voice of my song.

1890 (?).

E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 59-60

Editor’s notes:
mimosa = a genus (of about 400 species) of flowering herbs and shrubs; although in the Australian context it is more likely to refer to the Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata, also known as Mimosa), a species of the genus Acacia, native to southeastern Australia

The query over the dating of this poem, “1890 (?)”, is as it appears in the book

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