The poetical works of Thomas Campbell/Lines on the Departure of Emigrants for New South Wales



On England's shore I saw a pensive band,
With sails unfurled for earth's remotest strand,
Like children parting from a mother, shed
Tears for the home that could not yield them bread;
Grief marked each face receding from the view,
'Twas grief to nature honourably true.
And long, poor wanderers o'er the ecliptic deep,
The song that names but home shall make you weep;
Oft shall ye fold your flocks by stars above
In that far world, and miss the stars ye love;
Oft when its tuneless birds scream round forlorn,
Regret the lark that gladdens England's morn,
And, giving England's names to distant scenes,
Lament that earth's extension intervenes.

But cloud not yet too long, industrious train,
Your solid good with sorrow nursed in vain:
For has the heart no interest yet as bland
As that which binds us to our native land?
The deep-drawn wish, when children crown our hearth,
To hear the cherub-chorus of their mirth.
Undamped by dread that want may e'er unhouse,
Or servile misery knit those smiling brows:

The pride to rear an independent shed,
And give the lips we love unborrowed bread:
To see a world, from shadowy forests won,
In youthful beauty wedded to the sun;
To skirt our home, with harvests widely sown,
And call the blooming landscape all our own,
Our children's heritage, in prospect long.
These are the hopes, high-minded hopes and strong,
That beckon England's wanderers o'er the brine,
To realms where foreign constellations shine;
Where streams from undiscovered fountains roll,
And winds shall fan them from th' Antarctic pole.
And what though doomed to shores so far apart
From England's home, that ev'n the homesick heart
Quails, thinking, ere that gulf can be recrossed,
How large a space of fleeting life is lost:
Yet there, by time, their bosoms shall be changed,
And strangers once shall cease to sigh estranged,
But jocund in the year's long sunshine roam,
That yields their sickle twice its harvest-home.

There, marking o'er his farm's expanding ring
New fleeces whiten and new fruits upspring,
The grey-haired swain, his grandchild sporting round,
Shall walk at eve his little empire's bound,
Emblazed with ruby vintage, ripening corn,
And verdant rampart of acacian thorn,
While, mingling with the scent his pipe exhales,
The orange-grove's and fig-tree's breath prevails;
Survey with pride beyond a monarch's spoil,
His honest arm's own subjugated soil;
And summing all the blessings God has given,

Put up his patriarchal prayer to Heaven,
That when his bones shall here repose in peace,
The scions of his love may still increase,
And o'er a land where life has ample room,
In health and plenty innocently bloom.

Delightful land, in wildness ev'n benign,
The glorious past is ours, the future thine!
As in a cradled Hercules, we trace
The lines of empire in thine infant face.
What nations in thy wide horizon's span
Shall teem on tracts untrodden yet by man!
What spacious cities with their spires shall gleam,
Where now the panther laps a lonely stream,
And all but brute or reptile life is dumb!
Land of the free! thy kingdom is to come,
Of states, with laws from Gothic bondage burst,
And creeds by chartered priesthoods unaccurst:
Of navies, hoisting their emblazoned flags,
Where shipless seas now wash unbeaconed crags;
Of hosts reviewed in dazzling files and squares,
Their pennoned trumpets breathing native airs,—
For minstrels thou shalt have of native fire,
And maids to sing the songs themselves inspire:—
Our very speech, methinks, in after time,
Shall catch th' Ionian blandness of thy clime;
And whilst the light and luxury of thy skies
Give brighter smiles to beauteous woman's eyes,
The Arts, whose soul is love, shall all spontaneous rise.

Untracked in deserts lies the marble mine,
Undug the ore that midst thy roofs shall shine;

Unborn the hands—but born they are to be—
Fair Australasia, that shall give to thee
Proud temple-domes, with galleries winding high,
So vast in space, so just in symmetry,
They widen to the contemplating eye,
With colonnaded aisles in long array,
And windows that enrich the flood of day
O'er tesselated pavements, pictures fair,
And niched statues breathing golden air.
Nor there, whilst all that's seen bids Fancy swell,
Shall Music's voice refuse to seal the spell;
But choral hymns shall wake enchantment round,
And organs yield their tempests of sweet sound.

Meanwhile, ere Arts triumphant reach their goal,
How blest the years of pastoral life shall roll!
Ev'n should some wayward hour the settler's mind
Brood sad on scenes for ever left behind,
Yet not a pang that England's name imparts,
Shall touch a fibre of his children's hearts;
Bound to that native land by nature's bond,
Full little shall their wishes rove beyond
Its mountains blue, and melon-skirted streams,
Since childhood loved and dreamt of in their dreams.
How many a name, to us uncouthly wild,
Shall thrill that region's patriotic child,
And bring as sweet thoughts o'er his bosom's chords,
As aught that's named in song to us affords!
Dear shall that river's margin be to him,
Where sportive first he bathed his boyish limb,
Or petted birds, still brighter than their bowers,
Or twined his tame young kangaroo with flowers.

But more magnetic yet to memory
Shall be the sacred spot, still blooming nigh,
The bower of love, where first his bosom burned,
And smiling passion saw its smile returned.

Go forth and prosper then, emprising band:
May He, who in the hollow of his hand
The ocean holds, and rules the whirlwind's sweep,
Assuage its wrath, and guide you on the deep!