Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Oceanica
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI.  1876–79.
 
Introductory to Australasia
The Australian Shepherd
Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1834–1894)
 
’T IS cold and rainy on this winter night,
But one whom I have known is with his flocks
At noonday in the summer of the South.
Before the sun the colors of the spring
Fade from the forest, and the odorous air        5
Is heated through and through. He takes his seat
On other earth, surrounded by strange plants.
He slays the wild dog and the stinging snake.
He has a rifle by him in the grass,
Wherewith he hunts the leaping kangaroo.        10
His dogs keep watch beside him. There he sleeps,—
What lies between us? All this bulky globe,
A chest of secrets, with a heart of fire
And crust of fossils.
                    When the summer night
Falls over that great island in the south        15
Whereon his flocks repose, the Polar Star,
Once never lost by ancient mariners
In their confined adventures on the sea,
Peers not above the horizon,—lost to him
Forever; but the splendid Southern Cross,        20
And those two clouds which bear Magellan’s name,
Two clouds of clustered stars in the clear sky,
Hang nightly, far above the winds that blow
Around our planet, changeless films of light.
And when Orion and the wandering moon        25
Come with familiar aspect, they remind
The exile of the land on which they shone
When he first saw them, and his earliest friends,
And hills and streams and meadows of his youth,
And this old gabled house where he was born.        30
 
 
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