I Hear Australia Singing [poem by Grant Hervey]

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

I Hear Australia Singing

I hear Australia singing — hear her voice at night and morning ;
Have ye heard it, O my brothers, sounding clear and glad and free ?
’Tis her singing soul that beckons to her children — hark ! in warning,
Lo, she bids us up and labour for this white land’s liberty !
Hear her song, O far-off toilers, hear her cry for stalwart fighters —
Men whose arms shall guard Australia when the Asian cohorts come ;
Are ye laggards, are ye careless — up ! to arms, ye stern-eyed smiters,
For Australia’s Voice is calling and she beats her battle-drum !

In the cane-brake, by the mine top — where the stampers crash and thunder,
Where the anvils roar, O hear it — hear our proud Australia’s song :
“Are ye marching with me, children ; shall the White Man’s cause go under ?
Up and guard me from the danger ; ye have tarried overlong !
I have bred you in my Bushland. I have strained you to my bosom —
Now I need your strength to save me from the foreign legions brown ;
Launch your ships, O White Australians ! What ! — on fields of carnage gruesome
Shall my Flag at last be lowered, and the White Man’s cause go down ?

“Children all, I call you homeward from the lands beyond the Leeuwin —
Call you back to fight my battles and to man my ships at sea ;
Shall the land that bred and bore you drift all helplessly to ruin ? —
Home ! Australians ; Home ! I need you — shall ye turn your backs on Me ?
Sons and daughters I have nurtured, children dear whom I have cherished,
Shall I call in vain for fighters — men to serve my smoking guns ?
Nay, I know your hearts are loyal. Other lands have passed and perished,
But your bones shall be my bulwark ’gainst the grim, flotilla’d Huns !

“Far my sons have wandered forthward — round the world’s wide rim they’re scattered,
They are driving ships and engines from Cape York to Ecuador ;
But their hearts will steer them homeward, lest they see the Home-land shattered —
Lest they see their bleeding mother reel beneath the storms of war.
At my knee they learnt to love me, and I know they’re not forgotten —
Nay, they’ll heed the tender Mother who is calling from the South ;
And when Asia sends her legions — when the roaring guns are shotten,
Lo, my sons shall come and kiss me — kiss me bravely on the mouth !

“Nay, my children, ye are faithful ; ye shall save your ’leaguered Mother —
Ye shall march as marched the Grecians in the noble days of yore ;
Ye, my sons, shall gather round me, owning service to none other,
And in vain the Ape may batter at my strong, fast-bolted door !
Children dear, your arms around me ! Let me feel your lips upon me —
Let me see my sons all bearded standing at their mother’s side ;
When the Monkey’s fleets are roaring — when his blows are beating on me,
Ye shall bear my shining standard — ye shall be my living pride !”

I hear Australia singing — hear Her voice at night and morning ;
Have ye heard it, too, my brothers, ringing far o’er land and sea ?
’Tis Australia’s soul that beckons — hark ! again in solemn warning
Rolls her song athwart our country — sacred Song of Liberty !
Heed her song, strong-thewed toilers ; heed her cry for stalwart fighters —
Ye must guard her, ye must save her when the Monkey cohorts come ;
Are ye listening, are ye moving ? Up ! to arms, ye stern-eyed smiters,
For Australia’s Heart is singing and she beats her Battle-Drum !




Source:
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 175-178

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