Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems

A Lay on Wanganui

page 161“Philosophy of Love”: Page 161. Red ink correction. The legible part reads: “1877 or 1867”.

A Lay on Wanganui.

Suggested by a visit to district, in February, 1897.

Nature; History; Future; PerceptionBy Wanganui’s stream I strayed.
Contemplating the scenes around,
Where much of interest seem’d display’d
And Nature’s beauties would abound,

All to the eye, and to the mind
Contemplative, a tale would tell
Of yore, while promises combined
For future, they’d declare as well!

PoetryA noble river this to view,
Of gentle flow and spaciousness,
With Britain’s vying;—prompting true
This Lay, my feelings to express:—

History; ChangeThy hist’ry, buried in the past,
Would observation search around,
And mark developemeuts, —though vast—
Till to this state arrived, thou’rt found.

History; PerceptionYon beetling cliffs of clay declare
Thou hast not always been as now;
These banks of scoria deep, would bear
There testimony strong, t’avow

page 162“Philosophy of Love”: Page 162.

In yore, thy winding course has been
Of snaky form ’neath briny waves;
Yon bed of shells confess, I ween,
This truth, which our attention craves.

Yes, there they are; a weighty tale
They tell,—how Neptune there had reign’d:
How oysters largely would prevail;
There long their weal have been maintain’d!

Poetry; Nature; ChangeSuch has a voice to Nature’s Muse,
They tell, with no unmeaning sound,
How dread convulsions would confuse
All former scenes; confirm’d around!

Yon uplands, bending round, would say,
’’Our base has once been own’d a shore,
As forming once a mud-flat bay,
Where, tide waves broke with deaf’ning roar

Nature; ChangeBut, mark the change; nor’-western gales
From, ocean’s bed the sands have sent
Mud-flats t’, and tell new tales
Of Nature on improvements bent!

The ancient bay would now appear
As smit by some Magician’s wand.
As billows in their fierce career
Had got transform’d to hills of sand!—

page 163“Philosophy of Love”: Page 163.

And lo! these beds of pumice deep,
With ancient drifted sands combined,
Confirm Changefell revolution’s sweep
O’er former things to change consign’d,

The land upheaving, driving forth
Old ocean from its old coast line,
Where, belchings of volcanic wrath
Are left by the retiring brine!

Change; ReligionWell, there they are;—substrata now,
Of sandy soil above them grown
With vegetation clad, t’avow
The plan of Providence forth-shewn.

While thou, fair River, hast thy course
Scoop’d deeper, as thy floods would flow
In bygone ages, oft in force
Augmented by the melting snow

Of yonder cloud-capt ridges, far!—
Thus, on great preparations bent,
Future; NatureFor future needs, all round declare
Nature has ever been intent!—

Yet, long, and seeming waste, thy time
Has been, as candidate of fame:—
Like Solitaire ’mid the sublime
Of nature, living void of aim!

page 164“Philosophy of Love”: Page 164.

Nature; Arts; PerceptionEach scene’s reflected beauty, round
Upon thy wave, inverted shewn,
Might lovely be; but not was found
The fond admirer such to own!

The sun would from meridian heights
Behold his gleamings on thy wave;
But none else there could take delight
In sparkling beauties shewn, or crave

The blessings thou couldst give to toil;
For all was Solitude around!—
How cheerless Nature’s brightest smile
Where no inhabitant is found!

Such, who might have enhanced the charms
Around, and made thee lovelier still;—
While thou, unyok’d to dire alarms,
Had aided Work; Changeenterprising skill:

Aye, such that makes each wilderness
To bud, and blossom like the rose:—
Though long thy waiting for such bliss,
Yet Time thy prize may soon disclose!

Change; War; Māori; Nature; CommerceTo savage feuds, and deadly strife,
Though long thou hast a witness been;
Thou’rt waking to another life
Of usefulness, and joy, I ween!

page 165“Philosophy of Love”: Page 165.

Upon thy banks erelong might range
Some factories of enterprize;
Where wool, and weed-like flax will change
Their forms to things of merchandize!

The war canoe, with all its pride
Of savage pomp, must now give place
To nobler structures, on thy tide
No more thy virtues to disgrace!

Colony; Commerce; Prosperity; Future; Technology; ScienceWhat now is seen, is prelude mere
Of what in future may occur
As shipping large may hither steer
With merchandise without demur;

Like that upon the Thames, or Clyde,
Which would make northern Britain great;—
When science makes this stream “the pride
Of other days, in prosprous state!

Imagination; CommerceHow fancy paints a forest dense
Of masts, in buntings best array,
Above thy waters, while immense
Of merchandise make great display

Upon thy quays; while workmen strong;
Proclaim the bustle business brings;
With thy small town become, erelong,
A city, having merchant kings!

page 166“Philosophy of Love”: Page 166.

Change; Arts; Past; Future; Perception; Work; CommerceAye then what grand improvements due,
Will on thine aspect be impress’d:
Thy present worthiness, most true,
Shall thus in future be confess’d!

The Country round, how it appears
In very contrast with the past,
As now another aspect cheers
Old Solitude as o’er it cast

Had been some festive garb, which charms
Th’ observant eye,— ’Tis good to see
Old dreary wastes laid out in farms
As scenes of stirring industry!

Nature; Society; Joy; Change; WorkHow Nature like some lowly maid,
Who long has borne a lonely state
With all her virtues cast in shade,
Yet bowing meekly to her fate,

Since she no better knew,—Now see,
Her head is raised, the cheering smile
Illumes her count’nance; as with glee,
New hopes inspire her, as to foil

All heart depressions! See, no more
She’s passive, void of pleasure; it
Seems now her lot, with hopes in store
Of great rejoicings,— bliss most fit!

page 167“Philosophy of Love”: Page 167.

How good to find her virtues all
Are prized, as they’re developed;—so
Old wild wastes yielding to the call
Of Enterprise, much promise shew!

What is already done is good;--
But still, such goodness warrants more,
To be accomplish’d, as prelude
Of farther blessings yet in store!

Ev’nsuch, as groaning to be free,
Long pent up, ready, as th’ award;
Of noble mind Industry;
Deserving of each best regard

Change; Civilisation; Prosperity; Joy; WorkHow good to mark each distant scene,
Where yet may come improvement’s change;
The wilderness will then be seen
Its savage prestige to estrange;

And welcome civ’lisation’s bliss,
As Nature such a state had chose;
So, thus ’tis said “the wilderness
Shall bud and blossom as the rose!”

Now, still on Wanganui’s banks
May thriving herds, and flocks be seen
With fields of grain, as Heavenly thanks
For industry, which glads each scene!

page 168“Philosophy of Love”: Page 168.

Past; Memory; History; PoetryReverting yet to ages past,
When upland plains around were clad
With prestine forests, dense and vast;
All not in man’s remembrance had.

Of which, appearances around
Are silent; as the tales of yore
Held secret,—mystery profound,—
As none were privileged such t’ explore!

But plougmen now, those lands who, till,
Find oft their plough-shares stick upon
Some vestage tree-roots left, whieh still
Would testify of forests gone!

While, scatter’d wide o’er many a plain
Are blocks, of ir’n like cinders strange
As Vulcan had with might and main
Clear’d out his ancient forge, t’ arrange

His fire to purpose good;—although
Like one, in thoughtlessness; or ire,
Who embers hot about would throw
Which set the neighbourhood on fire!—

Past; PoetryBut from such footprints would we trace
The his’try of the past profound;
So, let the Muse, with humble grace,
The record, thus descried, expound:

page 169“Philosophy of Love”: Page 169.

Past; Māori; New Zealand Flora and FaunaIn times of yore ore man was cast
A wreck upon this southern isle,
Would forests grace these prairies vast;
And in their ever verdure smile:

Till Change; Poetry; Imagination; Wargreat convulsions would resume
Some ancient task, unfinish’d then;
T’ upheave those ridges ’bove the room
They held, ’mid many’ a briny fen!

Volcanoes bursting forth in rage
On yonder mountains, dreadly grand;
The sky bombarding, as, they’d wage
Aggressive war, while quaked the land.

Thus, from earth’s caverns deep were thown
Its molten bowels high in air,
As belch’d from cannon’s mouth anon,
Like rockets, neither small nor spare!

A startling sight to be beheld;
Aye, more than fancy well can shew,
The clouds would seem a-blaze; while shell’d
With such dread ordnance from below.

These fiery missles sent on high,
When force was spent, and bending round,
With spacious curve, descendingly
Like meteors falling, strew’d the ground

page 170“Philosophy of Love”: Page 170.

Thus rose at length with fearful rage
A crackling roaring mass of fire;
No green bush could the heat assuage,
No pool nor brook could quench its ire!

Destruction was its ruthless game;
By day the smoke obscured the sun;
By night the heav’ns would seem a-flame,
As th’ world’s last burning had begun;

A general conflagration dire,
No bird nor beast their doom could shun;
The sea-breeze fanning wide the fire
Uncheck’d where ruin may be done:

Ev’n swamps, where stagnant waters stood,
When such were low, with verdure green,
Could not withstand such havoc rude,
Which, now prevail’d through ev’ry scene,

Till all a blacken’d waste became;
With not a fragment left, to tell
What once grew there; the lambient flame
Its part of ruin did so well!

For length of miles afar, and round,
Destructions were accomplish’d quite;
Save what’s beneath the surface found,
As vestiges left, out of sight,

page 171“Philosophy of Love”: Page 171.

Till turn’d up by the farmer’s plough
In present times.—But since of yore,
Must ferns, and wild grass spring, t’ avow
Of waste the land need not deplore!

Change; Nature; Work; JoyThus, devastations dire would prove
A prelude to some future bliss;
The soil enrich’d would now behove
The active settlers’ happiness:—

New, since old solitudes are past,
And day, with Nature, would arise
To scatter former glooms, She’d cast
Her lot in with bold enterprize:

And prove a handmaid good and true;
As crowning Industry with cheer;
And will as joyfully bestrew
Improvement’s path with blessings clear!

So, see around this truth proclaim’d
In mueh of largeness, still t’ encrease;
While more developments are aim’d
To know where her resources cease.

To fathom such would seem as vain
Where ample stores would overflow;
As merest effort makes each gain
A pledge, of what she’d yet bestow!

page 172“Philosophy of Love”: Page 172.

Land; Morality; ChangeA reflex influence has the land
Upon its owner, as on seed;
When its fertility will stand
A surety for each gen’rous deed!

Mete emblem of a bounteous soul,
Whieh would devise no scanty measure:
Ev’n as culture’s bland control
Would wilds convert to scenes of pleasure!

The country round begins to wear
An aspect new; the old’s outworn:
As civ’lization has a care
To brighten up things once forlorn!

Nature; Perception; Civilisation; Change; WorkSo see the flocks and herds around,
They tell of pastures most abundant,
And every homestead seem t’ abound
In industry’s rewards redundant!

No longer like a wilderness
Are spacious plains, as bleak and bare:
Now, ornamental trees express
Most cheering truths of culture there.

The parcel’d fields—the garden ground,
Improvement’s onward march reveal;
The country’s face adorn’d, is found
To promise much for future weal!

page 173“Philosophy of Love”: Page 173.

How blest such changes! thus t’ advance
In civ’lization’s grand carreer;
May best rewards succeed, t’ enhance
The int’rests of each pioneer!