James Lister Cuthbertson

(8 May 1851 – 18 January 1910 / Glasgow, Scotland)

Australian Federata


AUSTRALIA! land of lonely lake
And serpent-haunted fen;
Land of the torrent and the fire
And forest-sundered men:
Thou art not now as thou shalt be
When the stern invaders come,
In the hush before the hurricane,
The dread before the drum.
A louder thunder shall be heard
Than echoes on thy shore,
When o’er the blackened basalt cliffs
The foreign cannon roar—
When the stand is made in the sheoaks’ shade
When heroes fall for thee,
And the creeks in gloomy gullies run
Dark crimson to the sea:

When under honeysuckles gray,
And wattles’ swaying gold,
The stalwart arm may strike no more,
The valiant heart is cold—
When thou shalt know the agony,
The fever, and the strife
Of those who wrestle against odds
For liberty and life:

Then is the great Dominion born,
The seven sisters bound,
From Sydney’s greenly wooded port
To lone King George’s Sound—
Then shall the islands of the south,
The lands of bloom and snow,
Forth from their isolation come
To meet the common foe.

Then, only then—when after war
Is peace with honour born,
When from the bosom of the night
Comes golden-sandalled morn,
When laurelled victory is thine,
And the day of battle done,
Shall the heart of a mighty people stir,
And Australia be as one.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004
Edited: Wednesday, May 09, 2012

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