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EVANS, George Essex


A Pastoral

Nature feels the touch of noon;
   Not a rustle stirs the grass;
Not a shadow flecks the sky,
Save the brown hawk hovering nigh;
   Not a ripple dims the glass
   Of the wide lagoon.

Darkly, like an armed host
   Seen afar against the blue,
Rise the hills, and yellow-grey
Sleeps the plain in cove and bay,
   Like a shining sea that dreams
   Round a silent coast.

From the heart of these blue hills,
   Like the joy that flows from peace,
Creeps the river far below
Fringed with willow, sinuous, slow.
   Surely here there seems surcease
   From the care that kills.

Surely here might radiant Love
   Fill with happiness his cup,
Where the purple lucerne-bloom
Floods the air with sweet perfume,
   Nature's incense floating up
   To the Gods above.

'Neath the gnarled-boughed apple trees
   Motionless the cattle stand;
Chequered cornfield, homestead white,
Sleeping in the streaming light,
   For deep trance is o'er the land,
   And the wings of peace.

Here, O Power that moves the heart,
   Thou art in the quiet air;
Here, unvexed of code or creed,
Man may breathe his bitter need;
   Nor with impious lips declare
   What Thou wert and art.

All the strong souls of the race
   Thro' the aeons that have run,
They have cried aloud to Thee --
"Thou art that which stirs in me!"
   As the flame leaps towards the sun
   They have sought Thy face.

But the faiths have flowered and flown,
   And the truth is but in part;
Many a creed and many a grade
For Thy purpose Thou hast made.
   None can know Thee what Thou art,
   Fathomless! Unknown!


Toowoomba

Dark purple, chased with sudden gloom and glory,
Like waves in wild unrest,
Low-wooded billows and steep summits hoary,
Ridge, slope, and mountain crest,
Cease at her feet with faces turned to meet her,
Enthroned, apart, serene
Above her vassal hills whose voices greet her
The Mountain Queen.

Fair City, unto whom as to a lover
Our tender memories run—
Childhood and Springtide’s careless hours are over,
And Summer days begun.
Behold, amid what wealth of vine and meadow
Thy maiden feet are set;
And on thy brow, undimmed of care or shadow,
Thy civic coronet!

There have been dreams for thee by men who slumber
Sound where no voice may reach,
Who, ere they joined the host that none may number,
Saw what they strove to teach—
The vision of a city, wide and splendid,
Crowning the Range’s wall,
And o’er thy sweeping plateau, far extended,
Welcome for all!