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 hats of a man may be many In the course of a varied career,
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 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-
From The Gulf
Store cattle from Nelanjie! The mob goes feeding past, With half-a-mile of sandhill 'twixt the leaders and the last; The nags that move behind them are the good old Queensland stamp- Short backs and perfect shoulders that are priceless on a camp;
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,
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;
The skies that arched his land were blue, His bush-born winds were warm and sweet,
The Filling Of The Swamps
Hurrah for the storm-clouds sweeping! Hurrah for the driving rain!
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 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.
As I Wandered Home
As I wandered home By Hedworth Combe I heard a lone horse whinney,
‘ He's away ! '- With a quickened wild beat of the heart Every horseman responds, riding hard for a start,
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.
On the rim of the world the lightnings play,
The heat-waves quiver and dance,
And the breath of the wind is a sword to slay
And the sunbeams each a lance.