His Monument [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

His Monument

A paltry hundred pounds — £100,000 was expected — have been subscribed in M.L. for the Seddon Memorial.

What need has he for carven stone — what need for granite pile ?
True heroes live by Deeds alone, surviving greed and guile !
The Man who died on Calvary, how lowly was His tomb,
And yet His name in history shall last till crack of doom !
Brave Martin Luther lies asleep, beneath the humble sod,
But still his soul, with measured tread, goes marching on to God !
Can Ziska die, or Zwinglius ? — each name, a blazing star,
Shall shine when all To-Day’s vain fuss lies scattered very far.

They hanged the bones of Cromwell high — they spurned the mighty dead ;
Yet Cromwell’s fame shall never die, tho’ Charles’ brief pomp is fled !
Can marble make a Nero great ? — can granite blot the shame
Which drags far down from high estate full many a Ruler’s name ?
The Pyramids are useless heaps of Pharaoh-plundered stone ;
But still the great Galileo keeps his place on Reason’s throne !
While kings and princes, turned to clay, are feeding kine and sheep,
Columbus holds eternal sway upon the western deep !

Then talk no more of mortared tiers to keep remembrance green —
Across the stormy sea of years the Chief shall lead unseen !
His monument is Maoriland — he needs no sculptured gauds
To mark the deeds of his strong hand. Leave marble to the frauds !
They need the sculptor’s plastic skill to hide their public crimes ;
Triumphant yet, tho’ cold and chill, HE strikes the era-chimes !
Rings in the New Democracy ; proclaims the Rights of Man —
Tho’ puppets dance in office, He goes marching in the van.

Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 45-46

Editor’s notes:
M.L. = an abbreviation of Maoriland (i.e. New Zealand)

Seddon = Richard John Seddon (1845–1906), Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1893 to 1906

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