Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI. 1876–79.

Australia: Araluen, the River


By Henry Kendall (1839–1882)

RIVER, myrtle-rimmed, and set

Deep amongst unfooted dells,—

Daughter of gray hills of wet,

Born by mossed and yellow wells,—

Now that soft September lays

Tender hands on thee and thine,

Let me think of blue-eyed days,

Star-like flowers, and leaves of shine!

Cities soil the life with rust:

Water-banks are cool and sweet:

River, tired of noise and dust

Here I come to rest my feet.

Now the month from shade to sun

Fleets and sings supremest songs,

Now the wilful woodwinds run

Through the tangled cedar throngs.

Here are cushioned tufts and turns

Where the sumptuous noontide lies.

Here are seen by flags and ferns

Summer’s large luxurious eyes.

On this spot wan Winter casts

Eyes of ruth, and spares its green

From his bitter sea-nursed blasts,

Spears of rain and hailstones keen.

Rather here abideth Spring,

Lady of a lovely land,

Dear to leaf and fluttering wing,

Deep in blooms, by breezes fanned.

Faithful friend beyond the main,—

Friend that Time nor Change makes cold,—

Now, like ghosts, return again

Pallid perished days of old.

Ah, the days,—the old, old theme

Never stale, but never new,

Floating, like a pleasant dream,

Back to me and back to you.

Since we rested on these slopes,

Seasons fierce have beaten down

Ardent loves and blossoming hopes,

Loves that lift, and hopes that crown.

But, believe me, still mine eyes

Often fill with light that springs

From divinity, which lies

Ever at the heart of things.

Solace do I sometimes find

Where you used to hear with me

Songs of stream and forest-wind,

Tones of wave and harp-like tree.

Araluen! home of dreams!

Fairer for its flowerful glade

Than the face of Persian streams

Or the slopes of Syrian shade.

Why should I still love it so?

Friend and brother far away,

Ask the winds that come and go,

What hath brought me here to-day.

Evermore of you I think,

When the leaves begin to fall,

Where our river breaks its brink,

And a rest is over all.

Evermore in quiet lands,

Friend of mine beyond the sea,

Memory comes with cunning hands,

Stays, and paints your face for me.