An outcry in the bush below,
A crash, and boughs that sway,
And shouts of laughter let me know
Where my two ruffians play.
Barelegged, bareheaded, brown and free,
They lurk and prowl and spring;
Like tiger-cubs they disagree,
Like honeysuckers sing.
For in their hearts are echoes yet
From ages when they knew
The caves of green they now forget,
Though there they climbed or flew.
No cage set limits to their pace;
They held the hunt at bay;
And in their careless mien I trace
The savage mood to-day.
They’ll take no tidal drift, nor lie
And rot like souls of mud,
For sullen lip and flashing eye
Betray the rebel blood.
Go, flout the law your hearts disdain
Your foes are well arrayed
And take for guerdon love and pain,
And triumph unafraid.
In jungles where the night imparts
Her secret lore to you,
Lie still and listen to your hearts.
Be true, my sons, be true!