― 73 ―

Mountain Myrtle

MYRTLE by the mountain rills!
Dark-plumed monarch stern and scowling,
You that hear the thunder growling
And the black sou'-wester howling
Through the wild Tasmanian hills.
Myrtle by the western springs!
Harp whose chords have ne'er been smitten,
Land whose songs have ne'er been written,
Where no tooth of scorn has bitten
To the inner heart of things.

Myrtle, myrtle, watching yet,
Where old Montezuma races
Down the waterworn rock-faces,
Singing songs to lonely places
Set in ways of wind and wet!
Myrtle, myrtle, stern and stark,
Where they turned them from the questing,
When their sun of life was westing—
Still your dark boughs soothe their resting,
Moaning, moaning in the dark.

Myrtle, myrtle lying low,
With the moss about you creeping,
With the torrent round you leaping,
And the grand old mountain keeping
Vigil as the seasons go,
Still to me your music comes
Set in chords august, specific,
When a storm-voice, weird, terrific,
Beats across the waste Pacific
Like the roll of muffled drums.

  ― 74 ―
Guardian of far peaks untrod
By fierce cloven-hoofed excesses
And Humanity's distresses,
Where no clamour for redress is,
And the hills look up to God,
Pillars of a larger sky,
Immemorial altars folden
Deep in aisles of green and golden,
Whose white taper-stars are holden
By supernal hands on high!

On the wings of evenfall
Soft as clouds their sky-ways wending,
Or white angel-hosts descending
With the gift of peace unending
When the dark is over all,
Like the sough of Southern seas
Comes to me the drowsy droning
Of the wizard priests, intoning,
When the Western wind is moaning—
Moaning in the myrtle trees.