Posted By John
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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