Musings in Maoriland
Morn's crimson banner floats across the East,
And bounteous Nature spreads her harvest feast;
The eye of day is peeping o'er the plain,
His silv'ry glances kiss the golden grain;
Sweet flowers, awaking from their dewy dreams,
Look up and smile beneath his warming beams;
The sparkling creek laughs brightly 'neath his rays,
And woos the lambkins with its babbling lays.
From yonder homestead in the river bend
Blue wreaths of smoke in snake-like folds ascend;
They seem like spiral stairs by angels given,
That fireside prayers might mount their steps to Heaven;
For round that hearth, before and after toil,
The hardy tiller of the fruitful soil
Collects his youthful family, and tells
Of spiritland, where great Jehovah dwells.
The kindly mother, seated by his side,
Sings holy songs in praise of Him who died
To save this sinful world. Contented pair!
To such as ye how sweet the hour of prayer;
For then, affection's purest fountains spring,
And loving hearts in sacred union cling
Around the goal of faith, where virtue weaves
Immortal chaplets of celestial leaves.
Well may that father's brow with smiles be crowned,
As, gazing on his dear ones grouped around,
He sees sure pledges that his honest fame
Will be transmitted spotless with his name.
How changed the scene! a few short years have flown
Since Nature ruled this vale supreme, alone,
Wrapped in a robe of dreamy, dull repose,
Save when the savage war-cry shrill arose,
And rival tribes, like tigers when enraged,
In senseless and ferocious strife engaged.
No more the hills behold the brutal fray,
With spotless sceptre Peace holds sov'reign sway
The rural music of the busy farm
Has ta'en the place of discord's wild alarm.
The hunter now no longer plies his trade,
O'er hill and mountain, and through dell and glade
Abundance revels in the earth's embrace,
For plenty here has found a resting-place.
The fattened oxen and full-uddered kine,
The cackling poultry and the lazy swine;
The bam and granary, well-stored with corn,
Attest the power of her prolific horn,
The conqueror, returning from the fight.
May proud exult in his victorious might;
The patriot may guard with glowing breast
His country's honour sealed with freedom's crest;
The bard with quickened pulse may strike his lyre,
Arousing slaves with strains of martial fire;
Joy may be theirs, but pure ecstatic bliss
Attends a glorious victory like this.
The colonist came not with swords and spears—
Those glittering harbingers of blood and tears—
Although he loved his dear old native land,
She gave him nothing but a willing hand
And bold courageous heart; with these, in twain
He burst cold poverty's oppressive chain,
And crossed the ocean to this southern strand,
Where Hope enthroned held out a golden wand,
And pointed to a dawning future, where
Intelligence received its rightful share
Of Heaven's gifts; where labour led the van,
And built a home for ev'ry honest man.
Oh! who would boast of blood-stained laurels won,
Whilst gazing on the work his arms have done?
Here, in the wilderness, with plough and spade,
An empire's firm foundation he has laid;
On him Art smiles, and Commerce to him pays
A tribute, from her crowded marts and bays;
Religion showers her blessings on his head,
And Education follows in his tread.
Ye dupes, who plead the fierce barbarian's cause,
Throw sickly sentiment aside, and pause
In contemplation o'er this lovely scene,
Contrasting what it is with what 't has been,
And then confess that knowledge must advance,
And break the yoke of slavish ignorance—
Civilization's ensign be unfurled,
And truth enlighten a regen'rate world.