[Editor: This poem by Henry Kendall was published in Poems and Songs (1862).]
Under the Figtree.
Like drifts of balm from cedared glens, those darling memories come,
With soft low songs, and dear old tales, familiar to our home.
Then breathe again that faint refrain, so tender, sad, and true,
My soul turns round with listening eyes unto the harp and you !
The fragments of a broken Past are floating down the tide,
And she comes gleaming through the dark, my love, my life, my bride !
Oh ! sit and sing — I know her well, that phantom deadly fair
With large surprise, and sudden sighs, and streaming midnight hair !
I know her well, for face to face we stood amongst the sheaves,
Our voices mingling with a mist of music in the leaves !
I know her well, for hand in hand we walked beside the sea,
And heard the huddling waters boom beneath this old Figtree.
God help the man that goes abroad amongst the windy pines,
And wanders, like a gloomy bat, where never morning shines !
That steals about amidst the rout of broken stones and graves,
When round the cliffs the merry skiffs go scudding through the waves ;
When, down the bay, the children play, and scamper on the sand,
And Life and Mirth illume the Earth, and Beauty fills the Land !
God help the man ! he only hears and fears the sleepless cries
Of smitten Love — of homeless Love and moaning Memories.
Oh ! when a rhyme of olden time is sung by one so dear,
I feel again the sweetest pain I’ve known for many a year ;
And from a deep dull sea of sleep faint fancies come to me,
And I forget how lone we sit beneath this old Figtree.
Henry Kendall, Poems and Songs, J. R. Clarke, Sydney, 1862, pages 117-119
rout = a rabble; a disorderly crowd of people (distinct from a disorderly retreat of a defeated force)
skiff = a small boat
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