Our True Men

Our true men! our true men!
We proudly sing them all,
In felon's chain, across the main,
Despite of tyrant thrall.
Our true men! our true men!
We do not fear to tell
How deep within our inmost souls
They and their treason dwell.

Those true men! those few men!
How truthfully they strove,
Unaided few, to rend in two
The chains around us wove.
Our true men! our true men!
Though coward tongues defame,
They'll bear through every grief and wrong
A pure, undying name.

The loved ones! the proved ones!
They only trod the way
Where Right, of yore, led some before,
And more will guide today.
Our true men! our true men!
Perchance like you to fail;
But others then will fill the van,
And still the struggle hail!

For masters! O masters!
There's not our isle within
A plant so green, and strong, I ween,
As disaffection's sin.
'Twill grow on, 'twill blow on,
Whatever you may do,
With nurture good, of tears and blood –
The food it ever knew.

Our true men! our true men!
Oh, proudly sing them all,
In traitor's chain, in wrong and pain,
Or lonely wanderers all.
Our true men! our true men!
We do not fear to tell
How deep within our inmost souls
They and their treason dwell.
 

                      Eva Mary O'Doherty, ca 1848

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"L. L."*

              By Eva Mary O'Doherty

Leichhardt Tree, Comet (SLQ image)
Leichhardt tree, Comet, QLD (SLQ Neg 145198)

Far off! far off! within the desert rude,
In the cold heart of that deep solitude,
Two magic letters on the rugged bark,
With touching memory on that pathway dark,
The wanderer's footsteps tenderly still mark.

The mosses, clustering, grew not to efface,
But crept along in melancholy grace,
And made the outline of the letters dear
Unto the eager eyes more true and clear,
Through all the tumult of our hope and fear.

Along the pathway sterile, lone and grey,
We follow still, where'er they point the way;
And ever still, before our longing eyes,
We see the whitening of the dawn arise,
And hear the whisper of a glad surprise.

Ah! mournful letters – who may now divine
The unspoken tale of which you are the sign?
You hold it in your keeping, graven deep;
And men conjecturing, perchance, may weep –
But it is locked, for aye, in deathly sleep!

"L. L.!" alas! for those dark, weary days,
With failing footsteps toiling through the maze –
The lonely anguish of a hero soul,
Bent 'neath the burthen of a heavy dole,
Yet ever struggling forward to the goal!

Beloved letters! not that desert tree
Alone shall keep a record fond of thee –
A nation, treasuring its precious lore,
Shall have thee graven deep for evermore,
With mournful pride, upon its inmost core.

                                             Eva Mary O'Doherty (published 1909)

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* In the search for Leichhardt, one of the explorers of the Australian Continent, several trees were found bearing the initials of his name, "L, L."

 

Queensland

Thou are, in sooth, a lovely land,
As fair as ever fancy painted,
In virgin freshness calm and bland,
By shadows dark untainted.
But, ah! upon that bright expanse,Roma St, Brisbane, 1862, SLQ 147714
The glory of a clime Elysian,
'Tis but a cold and soulless glance
That meets the gazer's vision.

No poet fancies o'er thy skies
Spread tints that hallow live for ever;
No old tradition's magic lies
On mountain, vale and river;
There is no heart within thy breast,
No classic charm of memories hoary,
No footprint hath old Time imprest
On thee of song or story.

O barren land! O blank, bright sky!
Methinks it were a noble duty
To kindle in that vacant eye
The light of spirit-beauty –
To fill with airy shapes divine
Thy lonely plains and mountains,
The orange grove, the bower of vine,
The silvery lakes and fountains.

To wake thy voiceless, silent air
To soft, melodious numbers;
To raise thy lifeless form, so fair,
From those deep, spell-bound slumbers.
Oh, whose shall be the potent hand
To give that touch informing,
And make thee rise, O southern land,
To life and poesy warming?
 

                         Eva Mary O'Doherty (1862)

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A Flight Across the Sea

                          by Eva Mary O'Doherty (1848)

The voices of the spring are calling
Among the green hills far away;
The flitting lights and shades are falling
O’er skies of soft and weeping gray.
The buds and blossoms forth are peeping,
With glittering beads of fragrant dew;
While hidden streamlets murmur leaping
The leafy glens and woodlands through

Behind the hawthorn copses hiding,
Now glancing through the primrose dell,
Those silvery feet are airy gliding,
That spirit voice is heard to swell
The choral strain of living waters,
Pervading all the earth and air;
Mysterious music, still that utters
Eternal thoughts of praise and prayer!

Dr Kevin O'Doherty (SLQ Image)
Kevin O'Doherty, Irish rebel, (SLQ 13335) 

Oh! fresh and sweet the breeze is blowing
With odours from some flowery isle,
Where youth, and hope, and love, are glowing
Amid the clustering roses' smile.
Far off, far off, from seas of azure,
That roll in slumbers bright and calm,
O'er many a hoard of golden treasure,
Still blows around that breath of balm!

Soft dreams and memories now are playing
Anear on radiant, snowy plume;
To life they whisper, gently saying –
"For thee again is spring-tide bloom.
The skies emerge from clouded sadness,
The flowers forget the winter snow;
And thou mayst drink again of gladness,
With the wak'ning earth below."

O Ireland of that spring-time fairest!
O Ireland of the murmuring streams!
Fair clime on earth of memories rarest,
Of early hopes and golden dreams –
With heart strings round thee fondly twining,
With eyes thro' space and time that strain
Across that waste of waters shining,
The exile flies to thee again!
 

                             Eva Mary O'Doherty (ca 1848)

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The Boomerang*

An Australian Love Song

                                         by Eva Mary O'Doherty (1909)

By Fate's strong hand I am hurled away
To the distance, blue and dim,
From the love and light of thy face to-dayMan with Boomerang, Wynnum, ca 1910, (SL Neg 16074)
To the far horizon's rim.
I go, I go, since it must be so
('Twas thus he softly sang) –
I go, my dear, but, oh, never fear,
I'll come back like the boomerang!
Come back to you, still sure and true –
As true as the boomerang!

I go from the soft, bright southern skies,
I go from the summer day
That faints in sweet, voluptuous sighs,
In perfume and light away;
I go, I go, to the ice and snow,
Where the cruel north winds clang;
But I'll come back, on the homeward track, -
Come back like the boomerang!
Yes, seek you feet, as true and fleet –
As true as the boomerang!

I listed the bell-bird piping clear
In the heart of the fragrant shade,
Where you and I, in those days so dear,
Together have fondly strayed.
"Oh, my love and dear!" thus, so sweet and clear,
His notes through the forest rang,
"Though you part to-day, yet he'll cleave his way,
Back, back like the boomerang!
Yes, he'll come to you, as sure and true –
As true as the boomerang!"

                                 Eva Mary O'Doherty (published 1909)

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*The boomerang is an Australian Aboriginal weapon. When flung by a skilful hand it is sure to return to the spot from whence it was sent.