Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
Western Australia
By John Boyle O’Reilly (1844–1890)
 
[Born at Dowth Castle, County Meath, Ireland, 1844. Died at Hull, Mass., 1890. Songs from the Southern Seas. 1873.—Songs, Legends, and Ballads. 1878.—The Statue in the Block, etc. 1881.—In Bohemia. 1886.]

O BEAUTEOUS Southland! land of yellow air,
  That hangeth o’er thee slumbering, and doth hold
The moveless foliage of thy valleys fair
  And wooded hills, like aureole of gold.
 
O thou, discovered ere the fitting time,        5
  Ere Nature in completion turned thee forth!
Ere aught was finished but thy peerless clime,
  Thy virgin breath allured the amorous North.
 
O land, God made thee wondrous to the eye!
  But his sweet singers thou hast never heard;        10
He left thee, meaning to come by and by,
  And give rich voice to every bright-winged bird.
 
He painted with fresh hues thy myriad flowers,
  But left them scentless: ah! their woful dole,
Like sad reproach of their Creator’s powers—        15
  To make so sweet fair bodies, void of soul.
 
He gave thee trees of odorous precious wood;
  But, midst them all, bloomed not one tree of fruit.
He looked, but said not that his work was good,
  When leaving thee all perfumeless and mute.        20
 
He blessed thy flowers with honey: every bell
  Looks earthward, sunward, with a yearning wist;
But no bee-lover ever notes the swell
  Of hearts, like lips, a-hungering to be kist.
 
O strange land, thou art virgin! thou art more        25
  Than fig-tree barren! Would that I could paint
For others’ eyes the glory of the shore
  Where last I saw thee; but the senses faint
 
In soft delicious dreaming when they drain
  Thy wine of color. Virgin fair thou art,        30
All sweetly fruitful, waiting with soft pain
  The spouse who comes to wake thy sleeping heart.
 
 
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