My hat comes off when ’mid the aisles of stately gums I slowly walk ;
Grand colonnades and peristyles, with green entablatures that talk !
The whispering leaves that croon above sing anthems grand and grey to me ;
And swelling strains that murmur Love come from the far-off Organ Sea !
The tenets of my faith are breathed by each divine, slow-trailing breeze ;
The strands of my strong Creed are wreathed among the tops of singing trees.
My Alma Mater of the Bush, I worship in your cloisters wide —
I am in church when ’mid the hush of stately gums I slowly stride !
My Creed is short — its articles are stern as they are good and few —
No clangour of disturbing bells calls me, my God, to worship you !
“Be firm, be strong,” my Bible saith — the Scripture of the Pastor-Gums —
“Be kind and good, and smile at Death when at long last Earth’s summons comes.
Work hard, work well — use hand and heart and brain, my son” — Australia says ;
I hear Commandments in the rain, and in the waves along the bays.
My grey Cathedral of old trees — my well-beloved Eternal Land —
I am in church when on my knees I stoop beneath your gums so grand !
They call me pagan, those who pray to mould’ring spook on mould’ring throne,
But I — I smile when tall gums say “My son, worship your Land alone !”
And I do so. My heart and soul I pledge unto Australia mine ;
Where lifts a tall, sweet, white gum-bole there is my refuge and my shrine.
The thoughts too strange for mortal ears I speak in this confessional,
Where winds from far star-hemispheres their priest-responses softly call.
My hat comes off when ’neath the nave of two arched gums I mutely bow —
It is my Church ; dig there my grave, that gum-leaf tears may touch my brow !
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 57-58