Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
An Aboriginal Mother’s Lament
 
Charles Harpur (1817–68)
 
 
STILL farther would I fly, my child,
  To make thee safer yet
From the usparing white man,
  With his dread hand murder-wet!
I ’ll bear thee on as I have borne        5
  With stealthy steps wind-fleet,
But the dark night shrouds the forest,
  And thorns are in my feet.
 
    O moan not! I would give this braid—
      Thy father’s gift to me—        10
    But for a single palmful
      Of water now for thee.
 
Ah, spring not to his name—no more
  To glad us may he come—
He is smouldering into ashes        15
  Beneath the blasted gum;
All charred and blasted by the fire
  The white man kindled there,
And fed with our slaughtered kindred
  Till heaven-high went its glare!        20
 
And but for thee, I would their fire
  Had eaten me as fast!
Hark! Hark! I hear his death-cry
  Yet lengthening up the blast!
But no—when his bound hands had signed        25
  The way that we should fly,
On the roaring pyre flung bleeding—
  I saw thy father die!
 
No more shall his loud tomahawk
  Be plied to win our cheer,        30
Or the shining fish pools darken
  Beneath his shadowing spear;
The fading tracks of his fleet foot
  Shall guide not as before,
And the mountain-spirits mimic        35
  His hunting call no more!
 
    O moan not! I would give this braid—
      Thy father’s gift to me—
    For but a single palmful
      Of water now for thee.        40
 

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