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Musings in Maoriland

Six Sonnets. — The bird and the idol

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Six Sonnets.
The bird and the idol.

A simple lark—this is a fable new—
  That perched each morn upon a golden ray,
  Up where the lashes of the eye of day
Sweep all night's lesser jewels out of view;
Beheld a lovely idol's shrine, and flew
Down earthwards, to that form of painted clay,
And warbled there his sweetest, purest lay,
Thinking his song might it with life imbue.
  He sang to it God's Royal Anthem—Love;
At Eden's windows he had caught the strain—
  His lay the soulless image could not move—
His melodies were warbled all in vain;
  He turned away and tried to soar above,
But never reached his morning perch again.

page 183


Like some grand planet looking from its height
Upon a duller orb, thy soul o'er mine
Shoots forth effulgent radiance divine,
And draws it up within its orbit bright.
Affection's sparks, touched by its rays, ignite,
And o'er the span of my existence shine,
My spirit, drinking all its light from thine,
Acknowledges itself thy satellite.
Oh! let it bask for ever in those beams,
And quaff ethereal pleasure from that spring
Of ecstasy, until this life appears
A treasury of bliss, till each day brings
Fresh draughts of love; and when we pass earth's years
Let soul clasp soul in everlasting dreams.

page 184

Morning Above Dunedin.

God's golden limner of our planet's days,
  O'er summer's surface spreads his morning sheen,
  And on the trees a hundred tints of green
Are shimm'ring in the dazzle of his rays;
Beneath the boughs each breeze-stirr'd shadow plays,
  And side by side gnarl'd forest ancients lean
  Their tassell'd heads together. Through the scene
A lonely mountain creeklet sings and strays.
Melodious trills from feather'd exiles' throats—
  Pure warblings of the Old Land and the New,
Which silence all the tui's simpler notes—
Blend in a flood of euphony, that through
  The groves and bowers of clust'ring foliage floats
To chase the lark's sweet echoes in the blue.

page 185

The first match.

Ay, 'tis the same wild flame ablaze to-day
  Which flash'd athwart the pristine garden's night,
When angels dropp'd a spark of sacred light
From heav'n's eternal lamp. The same rich ray
Which, falling, blazon'd all the starry way,
  And strung a golden chain of planets bright
  Across the azure archway in its flight,
Then, reaching earth, illumed the living clay.
  The same wild flame now permeates and glows
As fresh through this old world as when it burst
  On Eden's fruit. Ay, love's swift lightning goes
Through flesh and blood, as hotly as when first
  The Prince of Darkness—Lucifer—arose
And struck the first bad match, but not the worst.

page 186

Ambition, fame, and love.

The sun climbs up the mountain side at morn,
  To ope the lily's breast with golden key,
  The lark ascends with songs of wildest glee,
To cheer his feathered love, when day is born;
And, like the sun, my lily I'd adorn,
  I'd open up the heart that's dear to me!
  And, like the lark, each song should be for thee!—
Ambition, of thy true affection shorn,
  Holds out no prize to woo me up its height,
For, after all, what is this loveless fame?
  A phantom bird that lures us in its flight
Unto the glimmer of a transient flame,
  Then leaves us starless in the vacant night,
Among the hollow echoes of a name.

page 187

Henry Kendall.

Fair Austral's eldest daughter veils her face,
And drapes her sunny splendours in the gloom,
Her first-born son of song, in manhood's bloom—
The sweetest singer of her brave young race—
Has joined the Dantesque shadows in the space
Beyond the sapphire arch, and o'er the tomb;
He faded ere the wattle's golden plume
Perfumed the sylvan scenes he loved to trace.
He who had witch'd and charm'd the South'rn lute
Till strains mellifluous swept o'er the land
In floods of euphony; whose soul could shoot
To Nature's heart, and pluck out, at command,
Her secrets and her mysteries, is mute,
The harp has fallen from the Minstrel's hand.