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Musings in Maoriland

James Macandrew. 1

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James Macandrew. 1

Why should our songs be sad? He needed rest;
  He was afield among the pioneers
Who watched at daybreak on the mountain's crest
 The golden dawning of a nation's years.

He was the foremost 'mong the sturdy band
  Who breasted dangers in the early days
To found new homes; his was the head that plann'd
 The super-structure upon which we gaze.

Behold the noble city towering high
  Above the silver mirror framed in green!
How chang'd the prospect now since first his eye
  Glanced hopefully around the silent scene.

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The virgin forests, wrapt in deep repose,
  Lay on the bosoms of the ancient hills,
Adown whose sides the sun-enfranchised snows
  Roll'd into liquid song in founts and rills.

The fertile plains and valleys were asleep,
  No plough-share yet had stirr'd the quiet sod;
Earth hugg'd her secret treasures hidden deep;
  The noon-day rays had kiss'd no kindling clod.

When came the pilgrims to the promised land,
  With hearts prepared to dare and hands to do,
They needed but a ruler to command,
  And found in him a leader staunch and true.

Here was a land with Nature's gifts endow'd,
  A new Canaan needing sturdy men;
The trunk that now lies still, rose strong and proud,
  And stood an oak among the saplings then.

He set the pulse of Progress beating high,
  And laid the firm foundations of a State;
His were the thoughts that ever onward fly
  With lighting speed, to make a people great.

page 325

He beckon'd Commerce with her steam and sails,
  And to our lovely bay fleet followed fleet;
He summoned Industry to bring her bales
  And lay them down at young. Edina's feet.

He waved his wand, and at the touch of toil
  Were opened the prolific pores of earth;
Flocks roam'd the hills, and, turning up the soil,
  The ploughman told his joy in songs of mirth.

He saw the primal seed-time in the land,
  He watch'd the first green corn that dress'd the plain;
He saw the sickle in the reaper's hand
  That gather'd in the first ripe sheaves of grain.

Why should our songs be sad? Tears are for those
  Who live in vain and die with lands untill'd,
And not for him who sows and reaps, and goes
  To peaceful sleep with all his tasks fulfilled.

He needed rest, he work'd an honest day,
  The harvest fruits are garner'd once again;
'Tis meet that he should now receive his pay:
  The Master knows His best and truest men.

1 Father of the New Zealand House of Representatives.