Sydney Exhibition Cantata

A poem by Henry Kendall

Part I

Chorus

Songs of morning, with your breath
Sing the darkness now to death;
Radiant river, beaming bay,
Fair as Summer, shine to-day;
Flying torrent, falling slope,
Wear the face as bright as Hope;
Wind and woodland, hill and sea,
Lift your voices sing for glee!
Greet the guests your fame has won
Put your brightest garments on.



Recitative and Chorus

Lo, they come the lords unknown,
Sons of Peace, from every zone!
See above our waves unfurled
All the flags of all the world!
North and south and west and east
Gather in to grace our feast.
Shining nations! let them see
How like England we can be.
Mighty nations! let them view
Sons of generous sires in you.



Solo Tenor

By the days that sound afar,
Sound, and shine like star by star;
By the grand old years aflame
With the fires of England’s fame
Heirs of those who fought for right
When the world’s wronged face was white
Meet these guests your fortune sends,
As your fathers met their friends;
Let the beauty of your race
Glow like morning in your face.



Part II

Solo Bass

Where now a radiant city stands,
The dark oak used to wave,
The elfin harp of lonely lands
Above the wild man’s grave;
Through windless woods, one clear, sweet stream
(Sing soft and very low)
Stole like the river of a dream
A hundred years ago.



Solo Alto

Upon the hills that blaze to-day
With splendid dome and spire,
The naked hunter tracked his prey,
And slumbered by his fire.
Within the sound of shipless seas
The wild rose used to blow
About the feet of royal trees,
A hundred years ago.



Solo Soprano

Ah! haply on some mossy slope,
Against the shining springs,
In those old days the angel Hope
Sat down with folded wings;
Perhaps she touched in dreams sublime,
In glory and in glow,
The skirts of this resplendent time,
A hundred years ago.



Part III

Children

A gracious morning on the hills of wet
And wind and mist her glittering feet has set;
The life and heat of light have chased away
Australia’s dark, mysterious yesterday.
A great, glad glory now flows down and shines
On gold-green lands where waved funereal pines.



Solo Soprano

And hence a fair dream goes before our gaze,
And lifts the skirts of the hereafter days,
And sees afar, as dreams alone can see,
The splendid marvel of the years to be.



Part IV

Basses and Chorus

Father, All-Bountiful, humbly we bend to Thee;
Heads are uncovered in sight of Thy face.
Here, in the flow of the psalms that ascend to Thee,
Teach us to live for the light of Thy grace.
Here, in the pause of the anthems of praise to Thee,
Master and Maker pre-eminent Friend
Teach us to look to Thee give all our days to Thee,
Now and for evermore, world without end!

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