[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]
The First Blight in Life
Give me back, O Life, the sunshine
Of mine earlier days,
When with morn my soul went forth to
Toil for empty praise !
Hope then gathered garments regal,
Lifted high my crest ;
Oh, what splendid visions opened
In my hours of rest !
Not a cloud disturbed the heavens
In those hours of calm ;
Then, indeed, I fondly fancied
I should win the palm.
Round my heart were flowers of promise :
Fruit should follow bloom ;
Every day they seemed to ripen :
Who would think of doom ?
Nature, bringing showers of rapture,
Led me by the hand.
Song came from her lips in magic
I could understand.
All the valleys rang with gladness,
And each mountain height ;
Ah ! those days they never brought me
Lilies bright, and waratahs,
Wreathed as fancy taught ;
Ev’ry smile of Love was crowned,
And each treasured thought.
Every day arose in glory.
Gleamed through beauty’s eyes,
Till the western clouds at evening
Hid the wondrous skies.
But one morning rose I early,
Flowers to see unfold,
As I often had before, their
Leaves of pink and gold.
But some ruthless blight had fallen.
And it brought a spell ;
From that moment on my spirit
Sorrow darkly fell.
Rills and brooklets ceased their music,
Ripples all were calm.
Half their beauty seemed to vanish.
Ended was their psalm.
In my heart I gazed with horror.
It was robed in black ;
From my spirit went out something
Never to come back.
From my harp, howe’er I tuned it,
Notes of grief arose ;
And the birds were startled round me
From their sweet repose.
Past the withering leaves descended.
Nature gave a sigh ;
And, alas 1 I knew the reason —
’Twas that Love can die !
One sweet bird with broken wing had
Fallen at my side ;
Though the morn before, its bosom
Unto love replied.
Now, not hearing sweet responses.
Bruised upon the clay.
There it died, all lone and mateless
As Love died that day !
Early hours came back in sorrow.
Naught from me could chase ;
For I saw in mournful vision
One remembered face.
Never more for me was gladness —
All was grief and care ;
In the dust lay Love’s sweet blossom,
And my heart was there !
E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 75-77