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Song of the Future

'Tis strange that in a land so

So strong and bold in mighty youth,

We have no poet's voice of

To sing for us a wondrous song.

Our chiefest singer yet has

In wild, sweet notes a passing strain,

All carelessly and sadly

To that dull world he thought so vain."I care for nothing, good nor bad,

My hopes are gone, my pleasures fled,

I am but sifting sand," he said:

What wonder Gordon's songs were sad!

And yet, not always sad and hard;

In cheerful mood and light of

He told the tale of Britomarte,

And wrote the Rhyme of Joyous Garde.

And some have said that Nature's

To us is always sad; but

Have never felt the smiling

Of waving grass and forest

On sunlit plains as wide as seas."A land where dull Despair is kingO'er scentless flowers and songless bird!"But we have heard the bell-birds

Their silver bells at eventide,

Like fairies on the mountain side,

The sweetest note man ever heard.

The wild thrush lifts a note of mirth;

The bronzewing pigeons call and

Beside their nests the long day through;

The magpie warbles clear and strongA joyous, glad, thanksgiving song,

For all God's mercies upon earth.

And many voices such as

Are joyful sounds for those to tell,

Who know the Bush and love it well,

With all its hidden mysteries.

We cannot love the restless sea,

That rolls and tosses to and

Like some fierce creature in its glee;

For human weal or human

It has no touch of sympathy.

For us the bush is never sad:

Its myriad voices whisper low,

In tones the bushmen only know,

Its sympathy and welcome glad.

For us the roving breezes

From many a blossum-tufted tree —Where wild bees murmur dreamily —The honey-laden breath of Spring.      *       *       *       *We have our tales of other days,

Good tales the northern wanderers

When bushmen meet and camp-fires blaze,

And round the ring of dancing

The great, dark bush with arms of

Folds every hearer in its spell.

We have our songs — not songs of

And hot blood spilt on sea and land;

But lilts that link achievement

To honest toil and valiant life.

Lift ye your faces to the

Ye barrier mountains in the

Who lie so peacefully at

Enshrouded in a haze of blue;'Tis hard to feel that years went

Before the pioneers broke

Your rocky heights and walls of stone,

And made your secrets all their own.

For years the fertile Western

Were hid behind your sullen walls,

Your cliffs and crags and

All weatherworn with tropic rains.

Between the mountains and the

Like Israelites with staff in hand,

The people waited restlessly:

They looked towards the mountains

And saw the sunsets come and

With gorgeous golden afterglow,

That made the West a fairyland,

And marvelled what that West might

Of which such wondrous tales were told.

For tales were told of inland

Like sullen oceans, salt and dead,

And sandy deserts, white and wan,

Where never trod the foot of man,

Nor bird went winging overhead,

Nor ever stirred a gracious

To wake the silence with its breath —A land of loneliness and death.

At length the hardy

By rock and crag found out the way,

And woke with voices of todayA silence kept for years and tears.

Upon the Western slope they

And saw — a wide expanse of

As far as eye could stretch or

Go rolling westward endlessly.

The native grasses, tall as grain,

Bowed, waved and rippled in the breeze;

From boughs of blossom-laden

The parrots answered back again.

They saw the land that it was good,

A land of fatness all untrod,

And gave their silent thanks to God.

The way is won!

The way is won!

And straightway from the barren

There came a westward-marching host,

That aye and ever onward

With eager faces to the West,

Along the pathway of the sun.

The mountains saw them marching by:

They faced the all-consuming drought,

They would not rest in settled land:

But, taking each his life in hand,

Their faces ever westward

Beyond the farthest settlement,

Responding to the challenge cryof "better country farther out".

And lo, a miracle! the

But yesterday was all unknown,

The wild man's boomerang was

Where now great busy cities stand.

It was not much, you say, that

Should win their way where none withstood;

In sooth there was not much of blood —No war was fought between the seas.

It was not much! but we who

The strange capricious land they trod —At times a stricken, parching sod,

At times with raging floods beset —Through which they found their lonely

Are quite content that you should

It was not much, while we can

That nothing in the ages old,

In song or story written

On Grecian urn or Roman arch,

Though it should ring with clash of steel,

Could braver histories

Than this bush story, yet untold —The story of their westward march.      *       *       *       *But times are changed, and changes

From old to new — the olden days,

The old bush life and all its ways,

Are passing from us all unsung.

The freedom, and the hopeful

Of toil that brought due recompense,

Of room for all, has passed away,

And lies forgotten with the dead.

Within our streets men cry for

In cities built but yesterday.

About us stretches wealth of land,

A boundless wealth of virgin

As yet unfruitful and untilled!

Our willing workmen, strong and skilled,

Within our cities idle stand,

And cry aloud for leave to toil.

The stunted children come and

In squalid lanes and alleys black:

We follow but the beaten

Of other nations, and we

In wealth for some — for many, woe.

And it may be that we who

In this new land apart,

The hard old world grown fierce and

And bound by precedent and bond,

May read the riddle right, and

New hope to those who dimly

That all things yet shall be for good,

And teach the world at length to

One vast united brotherhood.      *       *       *       *So may it be! and he who

In accents hopeful, clear, and strong,

The glories which that future

Shall sing, indeed, a wondrous song.

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A B Banjo Paterson

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, (17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941) was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads a…

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