Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
66. Australia
(Published on the day the Australian Fleet reached Sydney)
By Dowell O’Reilly
WHAT can we give in return
For her beauty and mystery
  Of flowering forest, infinite plain,
  Deep sky and distant mountain-chain,
And her triumphant sea,        5
Thundering old songs of liberty?
Love—steadfast as her stars,
And passionate as her sun,
  And joyous as the winds, that fling
  The golden petals of her spring        10
By gully, spur, and run,
On dreaming age, and little one:
Courage—when courage fails
In the blind smoke and pain
  Of raging fire, and lurid sky,        15
  And dumb thirst-driven agony—
Till river and creek again
Swirl seaward through the teeming rain.
Faith—wild flower of the soul,
Thrilling the breathless night        20
  With fragrance, and the desolate ways
  Where silence fears to whisper praise,
With radiant delight
Of wonder—worship in God’s sight.
Duty—O great white stars,        25
And glorious red cross, shine
  On victory, when, rushing forth
  Against the peril of the North,
Australia’s battle-line
Flings out Trafalgar’s deathless sign.        30


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