― 101 ―


O BAIRNSDALE by the Mitchell side!
A city still you are to me
When night brings peace that day denied,
And dreaming sets my spirit free.

My city of a thousand dreams
That walk beside me in the street,
My city of a thousand themes
That trod the earth with singing feet!

There is a path among the years,
A path I scarcely dare to take,
Lest anguish of forbidden tears
Should start for some old sorrow's sake.

Yet Father Mitchell still, I know,
Keeps one old play-place dear to me,
Where arrow-headed lilies show
Their fretted fairy filigree;

One headland where the wattles pour
On his brown bosom as of old,
From Spring's green chalice brimming o'er,
Libation of September gold;

One still pool where the willows stand
And trail green tresses from the brink,
And mussels glimmer on the sand,
And cattle straggle down to drink.

And one white road will keep alway
Youth's sweetest memory ever green,
A wayside chapel worn and grey,
The little school “Sixteen sixteen”.

  ― 102 ―
Ah! who shall say what vows long made,
What prayers like lilies incense-crowned,
Live yet beneath your pine-trees' shade
To keep you always holy ground?

O little school, O place apart,
Bush Alma Mater wise and true,
Who gave us all of saving art
And kindly knowledge that we knew!

O Bairnsdale, Bairnsdale, when my will
Breaks free of day's poor broken schemes,
You are my morning city still.…
My city of a thousand dreams.