Adam Lindsay Gordon
A Basket of Flowers
“From Dawn to Dusk”
On skies still and starlit
White lustres take hold,
And grey flushes scarlet,
And red flashes gold.
And sun-glories cover
The rose shed above her,
Like lover and lover
They flame and unfold.
Still bloom in the garden
Green grass-plot, fresh lawn,
Though pasture lands harden
And drought fissures yawn.
While leaves not a few fall,
Let rose leaves for you fall,
Leaves pearl-strung with dew-fall,
And gold shot with dawn.
Does the grass-plot remember
The fall of your feet
They are rhymes rudely strung with intent less
Of sound than of words,
In lands where bright blossoms are scentless,
And songless bright birds;
Where, with fire and fierce drought on her tresses,
Insatiable Summer oppresses
Sere woodlands and sad wildernesses,
And faint flocks and herds.-
Where in drieariest days, when all dews end,
And all winds are warm,
Wild Winter’s large floodgates are loosen’d,
And floods, freed by storm;
From broken-up fountain heads, dash on
Dry deserts with long pent up
They say that poison-sprinkled flowers
Are sweeter in perfume
Than when, untouched by deadly dew,
They glowed in early bloom.
They say that men condemned to die
Have quaffed the sweetened wine
With higher relish than the juice
Of the untampered vine.
They say that in the witch’s song,
Though rude and harsh it be,
There blends a wild, mysterious strain
Of weirdest melody.
And I believe the devil’s voice
Sinks deeper in our ear
Than any whisper sent from Heaven,
However sweet and
Here’s a health to every sportsman, be he stableman or lord,
If his heart be true, I care not what his pocket may afford;
And may he ever pleasantly each gallant sport pursue,
If he takes his liquor fairly, and his fences fairly, too.
He cares not for the bubbles of Fortune’s fickle tide,
Who like Bendigo can battle, and like Olliver can ride.
He laughs at those who caution, at those who chide he’ll
Crush’d and throng’d are all the places
In our amphitheatre,
‘Midst a sea of swarming faces
I can yet distinguish her;
Dost thou triumph, dark-brow’d Nina?
Is my secret known to thee?
On the sands of yon arena
I shall yet my vengeance
WHERE shall we go for our garlands glad
At the falling of the year,
When the burnt-up banks are yellow and sad,
When the boughs are yellow and sere?
Where are the old ones that once we had,
And when are the new ones near?
What shall we do for our garlands glad
At the falling of the year?
Child! can I tell where the garlands go?
Can I say where the lost leaves veer
On the brown-burnt banks,
The ocean heaves around us still
With long and measured swell,
The autumn gales our canvas fill,
Our ship rides smooth and well.
The broad Atlantic’s bed of foam
Still breaks against our prow;
I shed no tears at quitting home,
Nor will I shed them now!
Against the bulwarks on the poop
I lean, and watch the sun
Behind the red horizon stoop-
His race is nearly run.
Those waves will never quench his light,
O’er which they seem to close,
The terrible night-watch is over,
I turn where I lie,
To eastward my dim eyes discover
Faint streaks in the sky;
Faint streaks on a faint light that dapples
And dawns like the ripening of apples,
Closes with darkness and grapples,
And darkness must die.
And the dawn finds us where the dusk found us—
The quick and the dead;
Thou dawn-slaying darkness around us,
Oh! slay me instead!
Thou pitiless earth that would sever
(A Song of Pilgrimage)
Our hopes are wild imaginings,
Our schemes are airy castles,
Yet these, on earth, are lords and kings,
And we their slaves and vassals;
Your dream, forsooth, of buoyant youth,
Most ready to deceive is;
But age will own the bitter truth,
“Ars longa, vita brevis.”
The hill of life with eager feet
We climbed in merry morning,
But on the downward track we meet
The shades of twilight warning;
The shadows gaunt they fall aslant,
And those who
Thou art moulded in marble impassive,
False goddess, fair statue of strife,
Yet standest on pedestal massive,
A symbol and token of life.
Thou art still, not with stillness of languor,
And calm, not with calm boding rest;
For thine is all wrath and all anger
That throbs far and near in the breast
Of man, by thy presence possess’d.
With the brow of a fallen archangel,
The lips of a beautiful fiend,
And locks that are snake-like to strangle,
A Preface and a Piracy.
Of borrow’d plumes I take the sin,
My extracts will apply
To some few silly songs which in
These pages scatter’d lie.
The words are Edgar Allan Poe’s,
As any man may see,
But what a Poe-t wrote in prose,
Shall make blank verse for me.
And now that my theft stands detected,
The first of my extracts may call
To some of the rhymes here collected
Your notice, the second to all.
Ah! friend, you may
THE shore-boat lies in the morning light,
By the good ship ready for sailing;
The skies are clear, and the dawn is bright,
Tho’ the bar of the bay is fleck’d with white,
And the wind is fitfully wailing;
Near the tiller stands the priest, and the knight
Leans over the quarter-railing.
“There is time while the vessel tarries still,
There is time while her shrouds are slack,
There is time ere her sails to the west wind
Oh! wind that whistles o’er thorns and thistles,
Of this fruitful earth like a goblin elf;
Why should he labour to help his neighbour
Who feels too reckless to help himself?
The wail of the breeze in the bending trees
Is something between a laugh and a groan;
And the hollow roar of the surf on the shore
Is a dull, discordant monotone;
I wish I could guess what sense they express,
There’s a meaning, doubtless, in every
A burning glass of burnished brass,
The calm sea caught the noontide rays,
And sunny slopes of golden grass
And wastes of weed-flower seem to blaze.
Beyond the shining silver-greys,
Beyond the shades of denser bloom,
The sky-line girt with glowing haze
The farthest, faintest forest gloom,
And the everlasting hills that loom.
We heard the hound beneath the mound,
We scared the swamp hawk hovering nigh —
We had not sought for that we found —
He lay as dead
The sun has gone down, spreading wide on
The sky-line one ray of red fire;
Prepare the soft cushions of Sidon,
Make ready the rich loom of Tyre.
The day, with its toil and its sorrow,
Its shade, and its sunshine, at length
Has ended; dost fear for the morrow,
Strong man, in the pride of thy strength?
Like fire-flies, heavenward clinging,
They multiply, star upon star;
And the breeze a low murmur is bringing
From the tents of my
Aye, snows are rife in December,
And sheaves are in August yet,
And you would have me remember,
And I would rather forget;
In the bloom of the May-day weather,
In the blight of October chill,
We were dreamers of old together,
As of old, are you dreaming still?
For nothing on earth is sadder
Than the dream that cheated the grasp,
The flower that turned to the adder,
The fruit that changed to the asp;
When the day-spring in
ADIEU to kindred hearts and home,
To pleasure, joy, and mirth,
A fitter foot than mine to roam
Could scarcely tread the earth;
For they are now so few indeed
(Not more than three in all),
Who e’er will think of me or heed
What fate may me befall.
For I through pleasure’s paths have run
My headlong goal to win,
Nor pleasure’s snares have cared to shun
When pleasure sweetened sin.
Let those who will their failings mask,
To mine I
TO fetch clear water out of the spring
The little maid Margaret ran;
From the stream to the castle’s western wing
It was but a bowshot span;
On the sedgy brink where the osiers cling
Lay a dead man, pallid and wan.
The lady Mabel rose from her bed,
And walked in the castle hall,
Where the porch through the western turret led
She met with her handmaid small.
“What aileth thee, Margaret?” the lady said,
“Hast let thy
Fragmentary Scenes from the Road to Avernus
An Unpublished Dramatic Lyric.
Laurence Raby Laurence:
I said to young Allan M’Ilveray,
Beside the swift swirls of the North,
When, in lilac shot through with a silver ray,
We haul’d the strong salmon fish forth —
Said only, “He gave us some trouble
To land him, and what does he weigh?
Our friend has caught one that weighs double,
The game for the candle won’t pay
Us to-day, We may
The spring-wind pass’d through the forest, and whispered low in the leaves,
And the cedar toss’d her head, and the oak stood firm in his pride;
The spring-wind pass’d through the town,
through the housetops, casements, and eaves,
And whisper’d low in the hearts of the men, and the men replied,
Singing — “Let us rejoice in the light Of our glory, and beauty, and might;
Let us follow our own devices, and foster
“Turn out, boys!” – “What’s up with our super. to-night?
The man’s mad – Two hours to daybreak I’d swear —
Stark mad – why, there isn’t a glimmer of light.”
“Take Bolingbroke, Alec, give Jack the young mare;
Look sharp. A large vessel lies jamm’d on the reef,
And many on board still, and some wash’d on shore.
Ride straight with the news — they may send some relief
From the township; and we —
In Collins Street standeth a statute tall,
A statue tall, on a pillar of stone,
Telling its story, to great and small,
Of the dust reclaimed from the sand waste lone;
Weary and wasted, and worn and wan,
Feeble and faint, and languid and low,
He lay on the desert a dying man;
Who has gone, my friends, where we all must go.
There are perils by land, and perils by water,
Short, I ween, are the obsequies
-Visions in the Smoke-
Rest, and be thankful! On the verge
Of the tall cliff rugged and grey,
But whose granite base the breakers surge,
And shiver their frothy spray,
Outstretched, I gaze on the eddying wreath
That gathers and flits away,
With the surf beneath, and between my teeth
The stem of the “ancient clay”.
With the anodyne cloud on my listless eyes,
With its spell on my dreamy brain,
As I watch the circling vapours rise
From the brown
How We Beat The Favourite
A Lay of the Loamshire Hunt Cup
“Aye, squire,” said Stevens, they back him at evens;
The race is all over, bar shouting, they say;
The Clown ought to beat her; Dick Neville is sweeter
Than ever — he swears he can win all the way.
A gentleman rider — well, I’m an outsider,
But if he’s a gent who the mischief’s a jock?
You swells mostly blunder, Dick rides for the
The lord shall slay or the Lord shall save!
He is righteous whether He save or slay —
Brother, give thanks for the gifts He gave,
Though the gifts He gave He hath taken away.
Shall we strive for that which is nothing? Nay.
Shall we hate each other for that which fled?
She is but a marvel of modelled clay,
And the smooth, clear white, and the soft, pure red,
That we coveted, shall endure no