[Editor’s note: This 1813 poem contains a rare early usage in print of the word “Australia” (see the 4th line), especially as applied to the discovered continent (i.e. as distinct from any early references to a theoretical southern land mass); this pre-dates Matthew Flinder’s recommendation of the word “Australia” in his A Voyage to Terra Australis (published July 1814); although the word “Australia” had been used in some other publications prior to this. Published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 30 January 1813.]
Effusions of Gratitude.
From Albion’s blest Isle have we cross’d the wide Main,
And brav’d all the Dangers, of Neptune’s Domain —
The Hurricane’s Whirlwind, the Tempest’s loud Roar,
An Asylum to find on Australia’s rude Shore
For the Genius of Britain sent forth a Decree,
That her Sons should be exil’d — once more to be free!
By PHILLIP commanded, our landing we made,
And worshipp’d HIS MAJESTY’S Standard, display’d
As a Pledge of Assurance — a Pledge ever dear,
That Britons in Exile were still Britain’s Care: —
Then gratefully bending, we hail’d the Decree,
Which bade us look forward, and hope to be free!
By Woodlands o’ershadow’d, how hard was the toil
The Pride to subdue of an obstinate Soil, —
Till Ceres appear’d, with her radiant train,
And shed her rich lustre across the Campaign: —
Then, join’d by Pomona, she hail’d the Decree,
That the Sons of Exertion should live and be free!
Now Commerce her Bosom expands to the Gale,
And Science o’er Darkness begins to prevail;
Religion’s pure Dictates illumine the Mind;
And a Friend in our PATRON and RULER we find! —
A PATRON, whose Sympathy hails the Decree,
That bids the lorn Exile “Amend and be free!”
Oh! blest be the MONARCH, and prosper His RACE,
Who thus the poor Wanderer’s faults can efface;
Whose Mercy uplifts the full Heart from Despair;
Whose Dictates are fram’d the sad Bosom to chear: —
Whose Gracious Beneficence stamp’d the Decree,
That Britons, once exil’d, again should be free!
In brotherly Love may we learn to unite;
To share in our Comforts the Stranger invite;
No jarring Contention our Interests divide,
But Harmony’s Fount swell Properity’s Tide.
Then Pæans, loud sounding, shall hail the Decree
Which doom’d us to Exile, once more to be free!
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 30 January 1813, page 3
Albion = Great Britain; may also refer to England specifically
Ceres = in Roman mythology, the goddess of agriculture and fertility
main = the high sea, the open ocean
Neptune = in Roman mythology, the god of the sea
Neptune’s Domain = the sea
paean = a poem, hymn, or song of joy, praise, thanksgiving, or triumph; a piece of artwork, film, song, or written work that gives great praise
Phillip = Arthur Phillip (1738-1814), the first Governor of New South Wales
Pomona = in Roman mythology, the goddess of fruit trees, gardens, and orchards, usually associated with fruitful abundance
Old spelling in the original text:
Anthony Nolan says
I love this poem, but wondered who wrote it. By reading the poem, and taking clues from it, I think the author was Everingham, Matthew James (1768–1817).
He was in the first fleet. He appears to be a highly educated man, he has much success to be happy for, and he was noted for his English language skills.