(Written on board “Kyarra,” bound for W.A.)
For Miss Eliza Cook.
“Prove what Life can give of gladness;
Seek for aught that merits trust —
All thy mirth will turn to sadness,
All thy bliss to cold disgust.
Soon revolving years will banish
Fairest hopes, in darkness laid;
Earthly treasures soon must vanish,
Strength and beauty fail and fade.”
Thus, life-weary, spake the preacher,
Closing his misguided quest.
Heed him not, the half-truth teacher,
Deaf to Love’s supreme behest.
But with Faith thy life adorning,
Serve thy race as Heaven hath plann’d;
Sow thy seed at dawn of morning,
Nor at evening stay thy hand.
Never shall this path seem weary;
Never hath such purpose fail’d;
Nor the retrospect proved dreary,
When Life’s furthest heights are scaled.
And in bright realms still above thee,
On some ever-verdant shore,
Those thou servest, and who love thee,
Shall rejoin, to part no more.
K. B. [Kate Baker] (editor), The Poems of Joseph Furphy, Melbourne: Lothian Book Publishing Co., 1916, page 41
aught = anything; anything at all, anything whatsoever
verdant = countryside covered with lush green grass or other plant life; may also refer to the colour green, or to someone who is “green” (i.e. lacking experience, judgment, or sophistication)