[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]
The Song of the Forest
Oh, give me the song of the forest and vale,
The soft warbling notes of the birds ;
More precious to me than a true lover’s tale,
Is their melody borne on the midsummer’s gale,
With a love that is gushing with eloquent words.
From bush and from branch it is ringing out clear
To the blue that is stretching its arms
Round the flowers that are open when love is so near,
In pink and in white and in gold they appear,
Welcoming song with their beautiful charms.
In hollows where fern-trees are spreading their shade
That the vines in their joy may recline
’Neath white bridal veils in a festooned arcade,
Where beauty remains e’en when leaves are decayed,
There Liberty findeth a shrine.
I now see on the rocks, the ledges, and steeps,
Like cups of red wine the Waratah’s gleam,
Enchanting the gush of the waterfall’s leaps
On depths far below where the foam-covered heaps
Of a snow-drift resemble a beautiful dream.
In the glittering sheen enveloping all,
Oh, how the choirs of the goburras ring
Aloud to the ears that are there in the hall,
Who only can answer to Liberty’s call,
From hearts where the wild flowers in happiness spring !
I have gathered the garlands and slumbered alone,
While in rapture my dreaming eyes gave
A leap to their laugh and its gay rippling tone,
To the bright coming morning my soul has then flown,
To laugh o’er the ocean’s awakening wave.
When Nature rings out in her beautiful strains,
Pure is her breast with a deep, earnest love ;
That love which grows deeper as deeper it drains
The joy that comes fullest from high mountain-chains,
When the singer is highest above.
Yea, often I’ve opened my heart on the hill,
Listening there to the voices of Spring,
And my bosom have bared to the moss-covered rill ;
In those homes of my love I am lingering still ;
And still to those pleasures in spirit I cling !
Balmoral, September 23, 1891.
E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 183-184