[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]
Upon The Hills
There is a nobler, purer air
Upon the Hills ;
An atmosphere — a breath so rare
My being thrills
With the delights of living !
There is no rancour and no strife —
No malice here ;
One borders on the better life
Where strong wills steer
Past doubting and misgiving.
The noble gums sway down their heads —
To me they murmur gravely ;
The spiders spin their fairy threads,
And loop their grass-stalks bravely ;
And I — I think what I should think —
Of purest patriotism ;
Australia’s own warm breath I drink —
Afar from sham and schism !
The rivers wind them back and forth,
And breezes blow
Out of the balmy, tree-topped north,
And then I know
How grand a country mine is
The essence of the Bush instils
A hope that I
May sleep for aye upon these hills
When last I die,
And have my humble finis.
Australia’s heart is beating here —
O gracious land of glory ;
Her mighty soul is pulsing clear
Upon this promontory.
Here at his ease a man might sleep
Within her bosom vernal —
And hear her life-blood throbbing deep ! —
And take his rest eternal.
O land of mine I do aspire,
Each living day,
To catch your cadences of fire
In some swift way,
And be your chiefest singer
You need an arch-interpreter —
Born of the soil —
To carry your sweet voice of myrrh
To those who toil,
Yet you your message linger.
There is a stirring in the heart
Of those born of your passion ;
O that I had the minstrel art
To stir them in some fashion !
I’d waken all the dormant love
Of country hidden in them ;
Gum-boughs that sing and sway above —
Give me the power to win them !
Upon the hills I sing a song
That some may hear
In some far city’s distant throng
Or other where,
And set their true hearts beating
For her, our Mother of the Bush,
Serene and grand —
The goddess of the great hills’ hush —
Our own dear land,
Who sends her children greeting !
Upon the hills I sing a song —
Straight from the heart it gushes,
Like some vast river swift and strong
From its deep source it rushes.
I sing the song of liberty —
The song Australia tells me
To send from these far hills to ye —
As loyalty impels me !
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 4-6
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