Geoffry Prophesieth to his Public of the Future Greatness of Adelaide [poem, 9 July 1872]

[Editor: A poem from Geoffry Crabthorn’s column “Echoes from the bush”. Published in The South Australian Register, 9 July 1872.]

Geoffry Prophesieth to his Public of the Future Greatness of Adelaide.

[After Lord Macaulay.]

Thine Adelaide is the triumph!
Adelaide, the palm is thine,
The high renown and glory
Of the Telegraphic Line;
And thine are the dauntless heroes
Who with their lengthy train
Moved slowly through the unknown land
In sunshine and in rain.

Beneath thy fame proud Melbourne
Shall veil her haughty brow;
Old Sydney’s lofty cornstalks
Before thy name shall bow;
And the jealous sons of Queensland,
In spite of scornful sneers,
Shall yield thee due submission
Through all the coming years.

The storm has come against thee
From the land of dust and fire;
Thou hast bravely plodded onward
With thy weird and wondrous wire;
The floods have come against thee,
The mountain rocks have rolled;
But still their crags and valleys
By thy fearless hand were polled.

The tribes of the treacherous natives
Before thy sons have flown;
In vain the savage shouted,
In vain the spear was thrown;
Though danger and disaster
On every side have pressed,
With slow but sure gradations
Thy work has still progressed.

Hurrah for the brave fellows
Who stoutly did their part!
Hurrah for the Saxon spirit,
The South Australian heart!
Hurrah for axe and hatchet
That through the dense array
Of forests dark and tangled scrub
Hewed deep their opening way!
Hurrah for the tall sentinels
That stand in endless file!
Hurrah for the wire triumphant
That stretches many a mile!
The well-strained wire depending
From the insulators bright,
And singing its weird music
In the dark and mournful night;
The little loghut station;
The narrow fenced-in pen;
The lonely operators,
Far from their fellow-men;
The living, throbbing needle
That vibrates day by day,
And tells of what is happening
Ten thousand miles away!

Hurrah for little Toddlekins,
Australia’s doughtiest son,
Long since in utmost need sent forth
To see the work was done.
Weave, weave for little Toddlekins
A fine embroidered gown,
Make ready now a lofty car,
And twine a laurel crown.
And yoke the steeds of Cartwright,
With flanks all flecked with foam,
To draw him through the city
When he safely reaches home.

Thrice blest is the gumsucker
Who lives to see the treat,
Who sees the long victorious pomp
Wind down King William-street,
And past the Town Hall buildings,
While bellowing thousands cheer,
Up to the gay and gilded gates
Of his own Post-Office dear.

Then where o’er all the city
The rival towers look down,
Where the spires of clustering chapels
Denote the “holy town;”
Where Torrens softly murmurs
Beneath the tall bamboos,
Where the sentimental shop boy
His youthful beauty woos;
Where in the deep-dredged waters,
Sheltered from stormy blasts,
Bristles the tapering forest
Of Mudholia’s myriad masts;
Where bearded bushmen wander
On many a Northern run,
With faces like hot coppers,
Bronzed by the sweltering sun;
Where the grim MacDonnell ranges
Pile their steep walls of rock;
Where the wondrous wealth of the Moonta
The old Burra seems to mock;
Where the bends and lagoons of the Murray
Are clouded with fluttering game,
While the sable swans are falling
To the sportsman’s deadly aim;
Where the light canoe is skimming
With its load of fresh-caught cod —
Shall be great praise for many days,
To the famous name of Todd.

The South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA), Tuesday 9 July 1872, page 5

[Editor: Removed what appeared to be a superfluous bracket from the end of the 4th line, i.e. “Telegraphic Line;]”.]

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