Musings in Maoriland
Unfurl our stainless flag, and let it wave
Beside the war-worn Standard of the brave.
Together let them gaily float and toss,
The British banner and the Starry Cross;
Together let them kiss the cheerful breeze
That fans the islands of the sunny seas.
Those silken symbols of the New and Old
Have fame and honor traced on every fold.
Uplift them boldly, then, with loyal hands,
While fair New Zealand, Queen of Southern lands,
Holds festival, and smilingly surveys
The wide expanse where Britain keeps ablaze
The torch of glory as she proudly steers
Her ship of Empire o'er the sea of years—
Those waves for ever onward swell and glide,
A non-receding and resistless tide;
Those billows that leap o'er tyranny, and climb
The slopes of freedom on the coast of Time.
O, bright young nation! thy brief annals seem
Like magic fables told in dazzling dream.
They live among us yet, the men who saw
Thy mountains ere the light of love and law
Illumined thee, and wak'd thee from thy trance
To hear God's voice command thee to advance,
And take a proud position in the van
Of States that shape the destiny of man;
They live among us yet who saw thee lie
A sleeping virgin, nursed by sea and sky,
With wasted wealth in wild profusion strewn
Across thy breast. But fifty years have flown
Since gallant Wakefield and his comrades gazed
Upon thy shores, delighted and amazed;
A little later still—just fifty years—
Since hill and vale re-echoed British cheers
Proclaiming thee a daughter, fair and free,
Of that old mother who commands the sea.
O, proud "Aurora," ship of happy name,
With thee the dawn of peace and progress came;
With thee the light of liberty appeared;
The virgin started as thy captain steer'd
His noble vessel through the restless Strait
That leads to wide Poneke's1 open gate.
The virgin rose, her dreaming days were o'er,
Destined to sleep in solitude no more;
New life and vigor filled her joyous heart
As Nature from the Old World beckoned Art
To her assistance, and Religion came
To kindle here the Gospel's holy flame;
And Commerce followed, dressed in snowy shrouds;
And Science brought her treasures from the clouds.
Oh, for some master's brush, some poet's pen,
To sketch the bridge connecting Now and Then!
Oh, wondrous age! with grand achievements fraught,
Behold the change that fifty years have wrought.
Where now the Central City stretches wide,
And seaward pushes back the conquered tide,
Wild forests; rich in every tint of green,
Mantled the hills and beautified the scene;
Where now the ships assemble to outpour
The garnered wealth of many a distant shore,
The white foam, 'scaping from the waters blue,
Swept up the beach and lapped the rude canoe;
Where once the swarthy chief held savage sway,
The sun of progress sheds his brightest ray.
O, transformation grand!—the rushing train
Pierces the mountain to unlock the plain.
Where yelling foemen fought, we welcome now
The steaming herald of the spade and plough;
Round happy homesteads flocks and herds increase
And fruitful fields are dressed in robes of peace.
Well may the Central City raise her voice,
And summon all her children to rejoice;
She saw with pride a future nation born,
And hails with mirth New Zealand's natal morn.
What wonder that fair Auckland with her vies
To claim the honor of the birthday prize?
States such as this bright land have seldom birth,
Freedom has few such homes upon the earth.
Oh, lovely city of the sunny isles!
Be proud to-day, and wear thy gladdest smiles.
Thou hast a glory which is all thine own.
Bold mariners found shelter near thy throne
When tameless tribes roamed wild in rude array,
And followed savage chiefs through feud and fray.
But savage though they were, those chiefs of old,
Their swarthy breasts held hearts of lions bold;
Unconquered heroes they, whose fathers brave
In ancient times subdued the wind and wave;
Dark navigators, fired with conquest's flame,
Across the deep from distant shores they came
To found new homes. Well worthy of the place
Were those old chiefs, and worthy of the race
That came to lead them to a higher plane,
Where Law and Justice claim the right to reign.
Be proud, then, Auckland! Thy traditions give
A greatness to thee. Envy cannot live
Amidst such charms as thine. Thy isles and bays
Command the painter's and the poet's praise;
Old Rangitoto guards a matchless scene—
The royal sentry of an ocean queen.
Now, winging southward on this day of glee,
The muse proclaims a gladsome jubilee
Where Avon's stream, with many a twist and twine,
Steals softly on, in tracings serpentine.
Through willow arches green, by English lanes
That skirt the City of the Fertile Plains.
And louder still the swelling chorus thrills
Around the stately City of the Hills.
Superb Edina of the South! 'tis thine
To hold to-day the treasures of the mine;
The costly fabrics of the mart and mill;
Rare trophies of the clever craftsman's skill;
Triumphs of toil, of industry, and trade;
Wonders of art and science—all displayed
Within the noble temple raised to Peace,
Whose shrines are deck'd with nugget, sheaf, and fleece;
Whose altars groan 'neath earth's prolific yield,
The riches of the valley and the field;
Whose courts, and aisles, and avenues, and bays
Afford bright glimpses of the coming days,
When war's red eagle, perched beneath the dove,
Shall typify the majesty of Love.
Prophetic visions flash across the mind—
Another fifty years are left behind,
And lo the change!—A grander race of men,
With fuller knowledge and with broader ken,
Are masters of the land; the fruits of toil
Are garnered by the children of the soil—
Bold sons of freemen privileged to rear
The nation's superstructure strong and fair.
New cities start to life, with stirring streets,
And open harbors welcome foreign fleets.
The virgin now to womanhood has grown;
Her strength developed, she can stand alone.
Glad songs her grand Centennial proclaim,
And sister nations spread New Zealand's fame;
And we, who meet upon this half-way stage,
Shall be remember'd in that forward age.
The echoes of our Jubilee shall last
Till then, and wed the future to the past;
The men who crown the apex then shall pay
Due homage to the builders of to-day,
And, gazing o'er the gulf, shall think with pride
Of our rejoicings at this new-year-tide,
As we look back across our fifty years,
And laud the labors of the pioneers
Who firmly laid the keystone of a State
Where proud Poneke guards the restless Strait.
1 Port Nicholson.