Australian Hymn [song by the Rev. John Dunmore Lang, 1826 (republished 1835)]

[Editor: Written by John Dunmore Lang, this was published in the The Colonist (4 June 1835). Previously published in Lang’s book, Aurora Australis; or Specimens of Sacred Poetry, for the Colonists of Australia (1826) under the title “Australian Hymn: For the Native Youth of the Colony”.]

Hymn,

for the

Native Youth of the Colony.

[From Specimens of Sacred Poetry, &c.]

By the Rev. J. D. Lang, D.D.


Father of all! a youthful race
Unknown to fortune and to fame,
Presumes to celebrate thy praise
And sing the glories of thy name.
Australia’s sons would mingle theirs
With Britain’s vows and Britain’s prayers.

Supreme in wisdom as in power,
Thy throne, O God, for ever stands!
Thy righteous sceptre stretches o’er
The Northern and the Southern lands.
From sea to sea, from pole to pole,
Thou rulest the harmonious whole.

Our seagirt isle thy presence shares,
And thine Omnipotence displays:
Known unto thee from endless years
Were all its mountains, rivers, bays.
Its every shrub, its every tree
Was planted, mighty God, by Thee!

Fair on creation’s splendid page
Thy pencil sketch’d its wonderous plan,
Thine hand adorned it, many an age
Ere it was known or trod by man—
When nought but ocean’s ceaseless roar
Was heard along its voiceless shore.

At length an occupant was given
To traverse each untrodden wild,
The rudest mortal under heaven,
Stern Nature’s long-forgotton child!
Compatriot of the tall Emu,
The Wombat and the Kangaroo!

Long did the savage tenant stray
Across his forest-clad domain;
And every mountain, river, bay,
Confess’d his undisputed reign;
While his rude net and ruder spear
Supplied him with precarious cheer.

But still no grateful song of praise
Was heard along Australia’s shore:
Her mountains, rivers, lakes and bays,
Saw no fond worshipper adore.
His devious path the savage trod,
But still he knew not, fear’d not God.

God of our isle! a happier race
Far o’er the wave thine hand has brought
And planted in the Heathen’s place
To serve thee in the Heathen’s lot:
Grant then that we may all fulfil
Thy bright designs — thy heavenly will!

Chief over all thy works below
Thine eye regards the sons of men,
Fixing their lot where’er they go,
And mingling pleasure with their pain.
In mercy, then, good Lord, command
Thy blessing on our Southern land!

If the rude savage knew not thee,
Nor felt devotion’s holy flame,
Though every rock and every tree
Proclaim’d the glories of thy name,
O grant that in our Southern skies,
The Sun of Righteousness may rise!

And let his bright effulgence chase
The shadows of the night away,
That Australasia’s sable race
May hail the dawn of Gospel day,
And join’d with Britain’s sons, record
The triumphs of their heavenly Lord.

So shall Australia’s deepest bays,
And grassy vales, and mountains blue,
Resound with the sweet sound of praise
From ransomed men of every hue;
While Polynesia’s isles around
Re-echo with the joyful sound!

Sydney, November, 1826.



Source:
The Colonist (Sydney, NSW), Thursday 4 June 1835, page 183 (7th page of that issue)

Also published in:
John Dunmore Lang, Aurora Australis; or Specimens of Sacred Poetry, for the Colonists of Australia, Sydney: G. Eager, 1826

The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 15 November 1873, page 626 (18th page of that issue)

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