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.
 
106. Freedom the Goddess (A. D. 1788)
 
By Arthur W. Jose
 
 
WHERE through entangling bays
  Wanders the Southern Sea
The Goddess stayed to gaze,
  Her eyes a mystery.
  With toil of hands unfree        5
She saw the land astir:
The mockers laughed at her.
 
‘What does fair Freedom here?
  Is it the chain,’ they said,
‘Whose clank can please her ear?        10
  Where the swung lash drips red,
  Hopes she unstained to tread
Among these wretched ones?’
She said: ‘I seek my sons.
 
‘Even of these stones I raise        15
  Children to liberty.
Yea, after many days
  These that are bond shall be
  Freer than you, the free.
Their blood, their sin, their groans        20
Are but mine altar stones.’
 
‘Can aught of good,’ they said,
  ‘Come out of Nazareth?’
Answered the goddess dread,
  ‘While any man draws breath        25
  His free soul knows not death;
Through all disgrace and shame
His heart repeats my name.
 
‘Because they have known no good—
  Because they have said: “We die        30
Unloved, a multitude
  Forespent with misery,
  As beasts die”—therefore I,
Freedom, that am divine,
Will take their land for mine:        35
 
‘Because they are cast aside,
  Despised, and desolate,
Their labours shall abide,
  Their sons shall make a State:
  I, that take toll of Fate,        40
Among their later race
Will set my dwelling-place.
 
‘Mine is this continent,
  Wherethrough my sons shall go.
Your world, by factions rent,        45
  Shall watch this new world grow
  From palms to southern snow,
From east to western sea,
One nation—mine for me!’
 

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