Men Of Australia

A poem by Edward Dyson

Men of all the lands Australian from the Gulf to Derwent River,
From the Heads of Sydney Harbour to the waters of the West,
There’s a spirit loudly calling where the saplings dip and quiver,
Where the city crowds are thronging, and the range uplifts its crest!
Do ye feel the holy fervour of a new-born exultation?
For the task the Lord has set us is a trust of noblest pride
We are named to march unblooded to the winning of a nation,
And to crown her with a glory that may evermore abide.
Have ye looked to great old nations, have ye wondered at their making,
Seen their fair and gracious cities, gemmed with palaces of light,
Felt the pulse of mighty engines beating ever, never slaking,
Like the sandalled feet of Progress moving onward in the night?
Can ye stand on some high headland when the drowsy day is fading,
And in dreamlike fancy see a merchant fleet upon the seas,
See the pinioned ships majestic ’gainst the purple even sailing
And the busy steamers racing down to half a thousand quays?

Have ye dreamed of this or seen of this, and feel ye no elation
O’er the most heroic duty that a free-born people knows?
To the chain of kindred nations ours to link another nation,
Ours to stay and build and bless her for a future great as those!
Cold and sordid hearts may linger still to bargain over trifles,
But the big-souled men have only hate for huckstering and sloth;
These would batter down division, tear away the bonds that stifle,
And would free our dear Australia for the larger, nobler growth.

Bushmen, roaming on the ridges, tracking “colours” to their sources,
Swinging axes by the rivers where the millsaws rend and shriek
Smoking thoughtful pipes, or dreaming on your slow, untroubled horses,
While the lazy cattle feed along the track or ford the creek,
Ye have known our country’s moods in all her wild and desert places,
Ye have felt the sweet, strange promptings that her solitudes inspire;
To have breathed the spirit of her is to love her turn your faces,
Ride like lovers when the day dawns, ride to serve her, son and sire!

Miners in the dripping workings, farmers, pioneers who settle
On the bush lands, city workers of the benches and the marts,
Swart mechanics at the forges, beating out the glowing metal,
Thinkers, planners, if ye feel the love of country stir your hearts,
Help to write the bravest chapter of a fair young nation’s story
Great she’ll be as Europe’s greatest, more magnificent in truth!
That our children’s children standing in the rose light of her glory
May all honour us who loved her, and who crowned her in her youth!

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