voices from the past


Australia Federata

James Lister Cuthbertson (1851-1910)

Australian poet

Australia! land of lonely lake
And serpent-haunted fen;
Land of the torrent and the fire
  And forest-sundered men:
Thou art not now as thou shalt be
  When the stern invaders come,
In the hush before the hurricane,
  The dread before the drum.

A louder thunder shall be heard
  Than echoes on thy shore,
When o'er the blackened basalt cliffs
  The foreign cannon roar
When the stand is made in the sheoaks' shade
  When heroes fall for thee,
And the creeks in gloomy gullies run
  Dark crimson to the sea:

When under honeysuckles gray,
  And wattles' swaying gold,
The stalwart arm may strike no more,
  The valiant heart is cold
When thou shalt know the agony,
  The fever, and the strife
Of those who wrestle against odds
  For liberty and life:

Then is the great Dominion born,
  The seven sisters bound,
From Sydney's greenly wooded port
  To lone King George's Sound
Then shall the islands of the south,
  The lands of bloom and snow,
Forth from their isolation come
  To meet the common foe.

Then, only then when after war
  Is peace with honour born,
When from the bosom of the night
  Comes golden-sandalled morn,
When laurelled victory is thine,
  And the day of battle done,
Shall the heart of a mighty people stir,
  And Australia be as one.

About the Author

See our page on James Lister Cuthbertson. Includes a linked list of all his writing available on our website.

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