On Tasmania’s Receiving the Writ of Freedom [poem by Caroline Leakey, 1854]

[Editor: A poem by Caroline Leakey, written in celebration of the end of the transportation of convicts to Tasmania in 1853.]

On Tasmania’s Receiving the Writ of Freedom.

Fair virgin of the South, we call on thee ;
Receive with smiling courtesy the writ
Which bids thee now from childhood’s thrall be free ;
Thy mistress Self — oh, task most hard! while yet
Thy ray-crowned brow with youth’s bright bloom is fraught.
But, oh! fair maid, as thou dost take the gift,
Spare from thy varied joys one gentle thought,
In quiet prayerfulness, on high to lift ;
And let thy lips in heartfelt murmurs break
On festal voice around, with words inspired
By Him who spoke as never man yet spake, —
“Where much is given, there much will be required.”
Thou’rt free ! — behold, where spreads thy sun-blest land,
A glad inheritance — a grateful soil ;
Whence Plenty springs to kiss the roughest hand
That courts her cheerful smile with honest toil.
Oh! be not this thy curse :— a garnered store,
While patient Lazarus, all fainting, waits
At the dark portals of thy Divès’ gates,
To vow against thee at God’s justice-door.

Caroline W. Leakey. Lyra Australis; or, Attempts to Sing in a Strange Land, Bickers and Bush, London, 1854, page 161-162 [PDF from Google Books]

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