Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. IXXI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 18611889 Western Australia
By John Boyle OReilly (18441890)
[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 oer 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 Creators 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.