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The colours of the setting sun
   Withdrew across the Western land —
He raised the sliprails, one by one,
   And shot them home with trembling hand;
Her brown hands clung — her face grew pale
   Ah! quivering chin and eyes that brim! —
One quick, fierce kiss across the rail,
   And, "Good-bye, Mary!" "Good-bye, Jim!"
   Oh, he rides hard to race the pain
       Who rides from love, who rides from home;
    But he rides slowly home again,
       Whose heart has learnt to love and roam.


A hand upon the horse's mane,
   And one foot in the stirrup set,
And, stooping back to kiss again,
   With "Good-bye, Mary! don't you fret!
When I come back" — he laughed for her —
   "We do not know how soon 'twill be;
I'll whistle as I round the spur —
   You let the sliprails down for me."

She gasped for sudden loss of hope,
   As, with a backward wave to her,
He cantered down the grassy slope
   And swiftly round the dark'ning spur.
Black-pencilled panels standing high,
   And darkness fading into stars,
And blurring fast against the sky,
   A faint white form beside the bars.

And often at the set of sun,
   In winter bleak and summer brown,
She'd steal across the little run,
   And shyly let the sliprails down.
And listen there when darkness shut
   The nearer spur in silence deep;
And when they called her from the hut
   Steal home and cry herself to sleep.

     . . . . .

And he rides hard to dull the pain
   Who rides from one that loves him best;
And he rides slowly back again,
   Whose restless heart must rove for rest.


This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).


This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joining the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1922, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.