Bundanoon [poem by Philip Durham Lorimer]

[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]


A murm’ring noise, ’tis that of water rushing,
Leaping the boulders in their onward speed ;
A gurgling sound, ’tis that of clear springs gushing
On to the front, distrustful of their lead.

A cloudless sky and morn awake the pleasure
Of that untiring glory day can bring ;
The cheerful song that knows not rhyme or measure
Is ended now from birds with weary wing.

The soft’ning hour from toil and its sweet changes
Has brought a stillness o’er the breath of noon ;
And in the midday Nature sweet arranges
Her royal scenes for view at Bundanoon.

Afar in Jervis Bay, the dark-blue ocean
Gleams like a sapphire, richly set in gold.
The storm is o’er, and lulled is that commotion,
When wild the tempests all their strength unfold.

A broken mass of clouds in line are waiting,
Again to be the play-things of the wind ;
They loom in masses just as if debating
What fury next will meet them well combined.

The bronze-wing ’neath mimosas now is listening
To that kind tone the brooklet gently sings ;
While o’er her brood a straying beam is glist’ning.
Arraying glory on their early wings.

Fair Fancy from a thousand trellised bowers
Courts Nature’s strange and wild recess of art ;
While from the pink and golden-coloured flowers
It culls fresh bloom to beautify the heart.

Where Erith falls, the voices of the leaping
Break from her sisters o’er the ferny dell ;
The chalice of the morn is in her keeping,
Charming the rock-birds in the brushy fell.

There is in all the scene enchantment’s glory,
Soft’ning the peace of the gay lyre-bird’s home ;
Such as we often read in fairy story,
Where ferns o’erarch the paths where lovers roam.

A pheasant calls, and shyly from her cover
She seeks her lord along the flowery glen,
And with the waving wattle bloom above her
Is lost to view amid that bronze-tinged fen.

There is a grandeur in this high perfection,
As Nature’s smiles steal o’er her lovely face,
As if it were a part — a true reflection
Of some primeval joy in her embrace.

She has the gems that man finds so endearing,
The very soil that gave to him his birth ;
While on her breast her jewels are appearing,
To let all know she is a Queen on earth.

Laggan, March 3, 1891.

E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 161-163

Editor’s notes:
bronze-wing = Australian pigeons, of several species belonging to the genus Phaps, that are known for the bronze-like metallic spots on their wings

brooklet = a small brook (i.e. a small creek)

Bundanoon = a town in New South Wales (an Aboriginal word meaning “place of deep gullies”)

Erith = presumably a reference to a flower or flowers; Erith is a Hebrew girl’s name, meaning “flower” or “resembling a flower” (also a place name: Afon Erith Falls in Wales, Erith in England, and Erith Island in Bass Strait, north-west of Flinders Island; there was a borough in Britain named Erith, which took its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “Erra-hythe”, or “old haven”; also, Mount Erith was a name given to Mount Snowdon in Arthurian mythology)

fen = low-lying flat swampy land, which has been drained of water (usually for agricultural purposes); a marsh

mimosa = a genus (of about 400 species) of flowering herbs and shrubs; although in the Australian context it is more likely to refer to the Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata, also known as Mimosa), a species of the genus Acacia, native to southeastern Australia

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