Moonlight on Moreton Bay
What wealth, fair Bay, the bright moon fondly brings
To fill thy bosom, rising ’gainst the sky;
Though many a foam-tossed phantom round her flings
Its hungry arms, that would those gains deny!
In truth, old Cynthia in such bonds they tie
That, like a wriggling fish with golden scales,
Within their mesh the struggling moon doth lie.
But soon she breaks between the cloudy veils,
And all thy bosom with her boundless wealth assails!
Now moonlit monsters gambol in the brine,
And showers of molten metal upward fling;
Their carcases well decked with silver shine
(And plainly seen when Fancy lends her wing).
Beyond, the dainty isles are slumbering
As soft as lovers in their bridal bed;
Above, the golden tapers sadly swing;
And where each tiny billow lifts its head,
A jewelled crown upon its brow is straightway shed!
Thou fairest sprite of all the favoured crew,
Sweet Fancy, tend again my good behest,
And show the dusky warrior’s dark canoe
Skimming like sea-bird o’er each jewelled crest!
The same fair moon that lit his midnight quest
Is here; mayhap the visions then beheld
In these rich fantasies were even dressed,
And in like wealth so wondrously excelled
That scorn might heap on scenes enchanted, known of eld!
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, p. 59
brine = the sea, the ocean; water from the sea; salty water, water saturated with salt (especially salty water used for the preservation or pickling of food)
carcase = (an alternative spelling of “carcass”) a dead body
Cynthia = Artemis (in Greek mythology, the goddess of the moon), who was known as “Cynthia” as a nickname or epithet (Artemis was born on Mount Cynthus); may also refer to the Moon, especially in a literary context
doth = (archaic) does
eld = old, aged; old age; (archaic) antiquity, old times, the past
’gainst = (vernacular) against
gambol = to playfully skip or jump, to frolic
isle = an island, especially a small island; a peninsula
mayhap = (archaic) perhaps; perchance; possibly
Moreton Bay = a bay situated on the coast of Queensland, east of Brisbane
o’er = (archaic) over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
sprite = fairy, elf, a small or tiny magical creature (especially one connected with water, or living in or near water; a water sprite); someone who has characteristics of an elf or a fairy, someone who is small and dainty (especially a female); goblin, hobgoblin; ghost, spirit
thou = (archaic) you