Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
1. From ‘Australasia’
 
By William Charles Wentworth
 
 
CELESTIAL poesy! whose genial sway
Earth’s farthest habitable shores obey;
Whose inspirations shed their sacred light
Far as the regions of the Arctic night,
And to the Laplander his Boreal gleam        5
Endear not less than Phoebus’ brighter beam—
Descend thou also on my native land,
And on some mountain summit take thy stand;
Thence issuing soon a purer fount be seen
Than charm’d Castalia or fam’d Hippocrene;        10
And there a richer, nobler fame arise
Than on Parnassus met the adoring eyes.
And tho’, bright Goddess, on those far blue hills,
That pour their thousand swift pellucid rills,
Where Warragamba’s rage has rent in twain        15
Opposing mountains, thund’ring to the plain,
No child of song has yet invoked thy aid,
’Neath their primaeval solitary shade,—
Still, gracious Pow’r, some kindling soul inspire
To wake to life my country’s unknown lyre,        20
That from creation’s date has slumbering lain,
Or only breath’d some savage uncouth strain,—
And grant that yet an Austral Milton’s song
Pactolus-like flow deep and rich along,—
An Austral Shakespeare rise, whose living page        25
To Nature true may charm in ev’ry age;—
And that an Austral Pinder daring soar,
Where not the Theban Eagle reach’d before.
 
  And, O Britannia! shouldst thou cease to ride
Despotic Empress of old Ocean’s tide;—        30
Should thy tam’d Lion—spent his former might—
No longer roar, the terror of the fight;—
Should e’er arrive that dark, disastrous hour,
When, bow’d by luxury, thou yield’st to power;—
When thou, no longer freest of the free,        35
To some proud victor bend’st the vanquished knee;—
May all thy glories in another sphere
Relume, and shine more brightly still than here:
May this—thy last-born infant—then arise,
To glad thy heart, and greet thy parent eyes;        40
And Australasia float, with flag unfurl’d,
A new Britannia in another world!
 

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