Biography of Barron Field
Barron Field was born October 23, 1786 in England. He arrived in Australia in 1816 to serve as judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. In 1819 the government printer published Field's First Fruits of Australian Poetry which contained two poems and is generally regarded as the first book of poetry to be published in Australia.
The only Australian publication ever reviewed by Charles Lamb, whose lukewarm eulogy appeared in the “Examiner” in 1820. After saying something about the author, who had quitted his friends, his family, and his pleasing avocations, “to go and administer tedious justice in inauspicious and unliterary Thiefland,” Lamb goes on to say: — “The First Fruits consist of two poems. The first celebrates the plant epacris grandiflora; but we are no botanists, and, perhaps, there is too much matter mixed up in it from the Midsummer Night's Dream to please some readers. The thefts are, indeed, so open and palpable, that we almost recur to our first surmise, that the author must be some unfortunate wight, sent on his travels for plagiarisms of a more serious complexion. ...We select for our readers the second poem; and are mistaken if it does not relish of the graceful hyperboles of our elder writers. We can conceive it to have been written by Andrew Marvell, supposing him to have been banished to Botany Bay, as he did, we believe, once meditate a voluntary exile to Bermuda.” The poem thus introduced, and quoted in full, is called The Kangaroo. The second poem in the collection was titled Botany Bay Flowers.
As a keen amateur naturalist, Mt Field National Park in Tasmania was named for Barron Field. Barron Field died in 1846.
Barron Field's Works:
First Fruits of Australian Poetry (Sydney: George Howe, 1819)
Barron Field's Memoirs of Wordsworth (Sydney: Sydney University Press for the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1975)
Geographical Memoirs on New South Wales (London: John Murray, 1825)
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Barron Field Poems
Kanagaroo, Kangaroo! Thou Spirit of Australia, That redeems from utter failure, From perfect desolation,
GOD of this Planet! for the name best fits The purblind view, which men of this "dim spot" Can take of THEE, the GOD Of Suns and Spheres! What desert forests, and what barren plains,
Sonnet On Affixing A Tablet To The Memor...
I have been musing what our Banks had said And Cook, had they had second sight, that here (Where fifty years ago the first they were
On Visiting The Spot Where Captain Cook ...
Here fix the tablet. This must be the place Where our Columbus of the South did land. He saw the Indian village on that sand
On Reading The Controversy Between Lord ...
WHETHER a ship's poetic? -- Bowles would own, If here he dwelt, where Nature is prosaic, Unpicturesque, unmusical, and where Nature-reflecting Art is not yet born; --
GOD of this Planet! for the name best fits
The purblind view, which men of this "dim spot"
Can take of THEE, the GOD Of Suns and Spheres!
What desert forests, and what barren plains,
Lie unexplor'd by European eye,
In what our Fathers call'd the Great South Land!
Ev'n in those tracts, which we have visited,
Tho' thousands of thy vegetable works
Have, by the hand of Science (as 'tis call'd)