Through forest boles the stormwind rolls,
Vext of the sea-driven rain;
And up in the clift, through many a rift,
The voices of torrents complain.
The sad marsh-fowl and the lonely owl
Are heard in the fog-wreaths grey,
When the Warrigal wakes, and listens, and takes
To the woods that shelter the prey.
In the gully-deeps, the blind creek sleeps;
And the silver, showery, moon
Glides over the hills, and floats, and fills,
And dreams in the dark lagoon;
While halting hard by the station yard,
Aghast at the hut-flame nigh,
The Warrigal yells, and flats and fells
Are loud with his dismal cry.
On the topmost peak of mountains bleak,
The south wind sobs, and strays
Through moaning pine, and turpentine,
And the rippling runnel ways;
And strong streams flow, and great mists go,
Where the Warrigal starts to hear
The watch-dog’s bark break sharp in the dark,
And flees like a phantom of Fear!
The swift rains beat, and the thunders fleet
On the wings of the fiery gale,
And down in the glen of pool and fen,
The wild gums whistle and wail,
As over the plains, and past the chains
Of waterholes glimmering deep,
The Warrigal flies from the Shepherd’s cries,
And the clamour of dogs and sheep.
The Warrigal’s lair is pent in bare
Black rocks at the gorge’s mouth:
It is set in ways where Summer strays
With the sprites of flame and drouth;
But when the heights are touched with lights
Of hoarfrost, sleet, and shine,
His bed is made of the dead grass-blade
And the leaves of the windy pine.
He roves through the lands of sultry sands,
He hunts in the iron range,
Untamed as surge of the far sea verge,
And fierce and fickle and strange.
The white man’s track and the haunts of the black
He shuns, and shudders to see;
For his joy he tastes in lonely wastes
Where his mates are torrent and tree.
* The Wild Dog.
Henry Kendall, Leaves from Australian Forests, Melbourne: George Robertson, 1869, pages 16-18