William Henry Ogilvie
Biography of William Henry Ogilvie
Born in Kelso, Scotland, Ogilvie moved to Australia at the age of twenty. One of his reasons for leaving his homeland was his admiration of the writer Adam Lindsay Gordon and like Gordon, a great love for horses. When he arrived in Australia he found work as a drover, a breaker, and a musterer. He worked at Maroupe, located in South Australia as well as Belalie on the Warrego. It was during this time that he began writing, his poetry focusing on the Outback life and it's many adventures in an acclamatory, romantic verse. Ogilvie had many of his works published in the Mount Gambier Border Watch, the Australasian and the Bulletin. A couple of years before his return to Scotland in 1901 he published his most well known collection of verse in 1898. It is considered to be his best and most notable piece of work.
While all of his works were published in Australia, he never returned. After his return to Scotland he continued to write poems that concerned the Scottish borders. The well known poet, Hugh McDairmund, hailed his work as a triumph. Unfortunately, though he was successful in both countries, he died practically unknown and has become one of the more obscure poets of that era.
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William Henry Ogilvie Poems
The Men Of The Open Spaces
These are the men with the sun-tanned faces and the keen far-sighted eyes- the men of the open spaces, and the land where the mirage lies.
My road is fenced with the bleached, white bones And strewn with the blind, white sand, Beside me a suffering, dumb world moans On the breast of a lonely land.
The Death Of Ben Hall
Ben Hall was out on Lachlans side With a thousand pounds on his head; A score of troopers were scattered wide
The Horse Of Your Heart
When you've ridden a four-year-old half of the day And, foam to the fetlock, they lead him away,
The True Sportsman
The real ones, the right ones, the straight ones and the true, The pukka, peerless sportsmen-their numbers are but few;
The hats of a man may be many In the course of a varied career,
The skies that arched his land were blue, His bush-born winds were warm and sweet,
The Bush, My Lover
The camp-fire gleams resistance To every twinkling star; The horse-bells in the distance Are jangling faint and far;
Great big lolloping lovable things! Rolling and tumbling on every lawn, Tearing at slippers and bones and wings-
The dusk is down on the river meadows, The moon is climbing above the fir, The lane is crowded with creeping shadows,
The Last Fence
When the last fence looms up, I am ready And I hope when the rails of it crack There'll be nothing in front but the Master,
The Pearl Of Them All
Gaily in front of the stockwhip The horses come galloping home, Leaping and bucking and playing With sides all a lather of foam;
The Last Muster
All day we had driven the starving sheep to the scrub where the axes ply, And the weakest had lagged upon weary feet and dropped from the ranks to die; And the crows Hew up from the rotting heaps and the ewes too weak to stand, And the fences Haunted red skins like flags, and the dour drought held the land.
The Riding Of The Rebel
He was the Red Creek overseer, a trusted man and true, Whose shoulder never left the wheel when there was work to do;
His Gippsland Girl
Now, money was scarce and work was slack
And love to his heart Crept in,
And he rode away on the Northern track
To war with the world and win;
And he vowed by the locket upon his breast
And its treasure, one red gold curl,
To work with with a will in the fartherest West
For the sake of his Gippsland girl.