Henry Kendall

(18 April 1839 – 1 August 1882 / Ulladulla, New South Wales)

The Australian Emigrant - Poem by Henry Kendall

How dazzling the sunbeams awoke on the spray,
When Australia first rose in the distance away,
As welcome to us on the deck of the bark,
As the dove to the vision of those in the ark!
What fairylike fancies appear’d to the view
As nearer and nearer the haven we drew!
What castles were built and rebuilt in the brain,
To totter and crumble to nothing again!
We had roam’d o’er the ocean—had travers’d a path,
Where the tempest surrounded and shriek’d in its wrath:
Alike we had roll’d in the hurricane’s breath,
And slumber’d on waters as silent as death:
We had watch’d the Day breaking each morn on the main,
And had seen it sink down in the billows again;
For week after week, till dishearten’d we thought
An age would elapse ere we enter’d the port.

How often while ploughing the ‘watery waste’,
Our thoughts—from the Future have turn’d to the Past;
How often our bosoms have heav’d with regret;
For faces and scenes we could never forget:
For we’d seen as the shadows o’er-curtain’d our minds
The cliffs of old England receding behind;
And had turned in our tears from the view of the shore,
The land of our childhood, to see it no more.

But when that red morning awoke from its sleep,
To show us this land like a cloud on the deep;
And when the warm sunbeams imparted their glow,
To the heavens above and the ocean below;
The hearts had been aching then revell’d with joy,
And a pleasure was tasted exempt from alloy;
The souls had been heavy grew happy and light
And all was forgotten in present delight.

’Tis true—of the hopes that were verdant that day
There is more than the half of them withered away:
’Tis true that emotions of temper’d regret,
Still live for the country we’ll never forget;
But yet we are happy, since learning to love
The scenes that surround us—the skies are above,
We find ourselves bound, as it were by a spell,
In the clime we’ve adopted contented to dwell.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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