Australia Federata [poem, 9 September 1899]

[Editor: A patriotic poem, with an internationalist flavour. Published in The Queenslander, 9 September 1899.]

Australia Federata.

By Austin South.

Last born of nations! Fair, and young, and free!
Continent isle, blue-bounded by the sea —
Australia, hail! A glorious lot is thine!
A goodly heritage of corn and wine!
Rich flow thy streams with hidden wealth untold;
Thy hills are stores of silver and of gold;
Rare are the gems that ’neath thy waters shine;
Bright gleams the opal, from the secret mine;
Here tropic fields are green with waving cane,
And golden glows the earth with ripening grain;
Here Autumn’s treasures load the drooping boughs,
And countless herds on sunlit pastures browse;
While rise to Heaven thy people’s songs of praise,
Through the glad circle of thy joyous days.

Such is thy land, and such the varied stores
That bounteous Nature ever on thee pours.
Great is thy wealth, and greater still shall grow —
Each coming year shall newer splendours know.
In wastes where yet the sombre forest waves,
By lonely shores the troubled ocean laves.
Thy sons in days to be shall rear on high
The swelling dome, the spire that scales the sky,
The lofty roof, the graceful column’s shade,
The long-drawn vista of the dim arcade!
There Art, arrayed in beauty and in truth,
Speaking new strength to age, new joy to youth,
Shall bring her choicest, noblest gifts to grace
The palace wall, the stately market-place,
Where every tribe and every tongue shall meet,
And busy thousands throng the city street.
There Science, labouring with unwearied skill,
Shall bridge the stream, and climb the towering hill;
Shall bind the lightning to the rushing car,
And bear thy commerce unto lands afar;
Until in every sea thy flag shall shine,
And all the treasures of the earth be thine!
Shall pierce with patient search the depths below,
Where, dark in sunless caves, the waters flow,
Hidden through ages, till man’s tireless hand
Shall loose their streams to bless the waiting land.
There shall the deserts flush with sudden green,
And cornfields wave, and olive-groves be seen;
There shall the labourer tend the fruitful vine,
And. orchard-girdled, shall thy cities shine;
Till, ’neath the glow of Southern suns shall smile
The one long garden of our nation isle!
There, skilled to raise high thoughts, or vanquish pain,
The poet heart shall voice the lofty strain;
There Learning shall her wondrous stores unbar,
And Wisdom, shining as a guiding star,
To light the darkened wars, and banish fears,
Stall lead thy people onward through the years!

Australia! Latest-born of nations thou!
The flush of youth yet lingering on thy brow —
Thy sister-peoples, worn with years of wrong,
Are weak, and scarce can strive; but thou art strong!
Not yet the scales of Prejudice and Fear
Have dimmed thy sight — thy vision yet is clear.
Lift up thine eyes; be strong and undismayed!
A glorious duty is upon thee laid!
Thine be the task to break thy sisters’ chain;
Thine to bring liberty and hope again!
Thine first to know, and first to point the way
That leads from darkness to the younger day!
Thy voice shall send a cry o’er land and sea,
Till all the world shall rise and follow thee;
Till each despairing, each sore-struggling soul
Shall hear the call, and see the wished-for goal;
Shall know his strength, and underfoot shall tread
The base desires of Want and Ignorance bred;
Till man, no longer bound to earth’s dull clod,
Shall soar his way to Freedom and to God!
This be thy destiny, fair Southern land!
Before the nations of the earth to stand.
“First to discern, and first to dare” the Truth;
And, in the ardour of thy glowing youth —
Beneath the splendour of thine own clear skies —
O’erthrow the Wrong, and make the Right to rise!
There Vice, Oppression, Poverty, and Crime,
Swept down the backward abysses of Time,
Shall vanish from men’s souls, and be forgot —
Phantoms of midnight, that at morn are not.
There envious Hate and selfish Greed shall cease,
And dawn the reign of universal peace,
When each man’s highest gain is all men’s good,
And hand clasps hand in joyous brotherhood;
And Love and Labour, joined in happy toil,
Shall win new treasures from thy fruitful soil;
Shall to thy sons the Golden Age restore,
And joy and plenty rule from shore to shore!

Then, when thou hast thyself the conflict won,
The world shall see how nobly thou hast done;
Shall know what man may do, and what may be;
Shall learn as thou to strive, as thou be free!
Then from the South shall go thy message forth,
Calling the nations, East and West and North,
To join with thee their hands in noble aim,
“One God, one Father,” and one goal the same!
Till all mankind in brotherhood shall meet.
Till the wide circle of our race, complete.
Beneath one flag of love and peace unfurled.
Shall dwell the united peoples of the world.

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.), Saturday 9 September 1899, page 517

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