Visit of Hope to Sydney-Cove, Near Botany-Bay [poem by Erasmus Darwin, 1789]

[Editor: A poem by Erasmus Darwin. Published in The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay (1789). Also published in A Century of Australian Song (1888) under the title of “A Fulfilled Prophecy”.]

Visit of Hope to Sydney-Cove, Near Botany-Bay.

Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells,
Courts her young navies, and the storm repels;
High on a rock amid the troubled air
HOPE stood sublime, and wav’d her golden hair;
Calm’d with her rosy smile the tossing deep,
And with sweet accents charm’d the winds to sleep;
To each wild plain she stretch’d her snowy hand,
High-waving wood, and sea-encircled strand.
“Hear me,” she cried, “ye rising Realms! record
“Time’s opening scenes, and Truth’s unerring word. —
There shall broad streets their stately walls extend,
“The circus widen, and the crescent bend;
There, ray’d from cities o’er the cultur’d land,
“Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand. —
There the proud arch, Colossus-like, bestride
“Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide;
“Embellish’d villas crown the landscape-scene,
“Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between. —
There shall tall spires, and dome-capt towers ascend,
“And piers and quays their massy structures blend;
“While with each breeze approaching vessels glide,
“And northern treasures dance on every tide!” —
Then ceas’d the nymph — tumultuous echoes roar,
And Joy’s loud voice was heard from shore to shore —
Her graceful steps descending press’d the plain,
And Peace, and Art, and Labour join’d her train.

The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay: With an Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson & Norfolk Island, London: John Stockdale, 1789, p. v

Also published in:
1798: The Botanic Garden: A Poem, in Two Parts: Part I. Containing the Economy of Vegetation. Part II. The Loves of the Plants. With Philosophical Notes, New York: T. & J. Swords, 1798 (American edition), part 1, p. 246
1835: The Colonist (Sydney, NSW), 9 April 1835, p. 118
1888: Douglas B. W. Sladen (editor), A Century of Australian Song, London: Walter Scott, 1888, p. 124 (under the title of “A Fulfilled Prophecy”)

Editor’s notes:
strand = land bordering a body of water, such as a beach or shore adjoining the sea; less commonly, may also refer to a beach or shore adjoining a lake or river (may also refer to a small brook or rivulet)

Old spelling in the original text:
capt (capped)

1) Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was the grandfather of Charles Darwin (1809-1882).

2) In The Botanic Garden (1798), a notation was placed under the poem, as follows:

Mr. Wedgwood, having been favoured by Sir Joseph Banks with a specimen of clay from Sydney Cove, has made a few medallions of it, representing Hope encouraging Art and Labour, under the influence of Peace, to pursue the employments necessary for rendering an infant colony secure and happy. The above verses were written by the author of the Botanic Garden, to accompany these medallions.

3) Douglas Sladen, in A Century of Australian Song (1888), included a notation with the poem, which stated “From a Broadside, dated 1789”. Presumably, this was a reference to a broadside sheet accompanying the medallion manufactured by Wedgwood.

4) The Wedgwood medallion can be viewed on the following internet pages:
a) “Wedgwood medallion made from dark grey clay from Sydney Cove, 1789”, National Museum of Australia, (accessed 25 February 2015) [obverse/front and reverse/back]
b) The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay: With an Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson & Norfolk Island, London: John Stockdale, 1789, title page
c) “[The figures on the medallion made by Josiah Wedgwood]”, Documenting a Democracy (accessed 25 February 2015) [a version of the medallion in colour; “This depiction of the Wedgwood medallion is from an 1892 painted glass door panel in the Chief Secretary’s Building in Sydney”]

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