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

Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania)

D’Entrecasteaux Channel

By John Dunmore Lang (1799–1878)

NOW D’Entrecasteaux Channel opens fair,

And Tasman’s Head lies on your starboard bow

Huge rocks and stunted trees meet you where’er

You look around; ’t is a bold coast enow.

With foul wind and crank ship ’t were hard to wear:

A reef of rocks lies westward long and low.

At ebb tide you may see the Actæon lie

A sheer hulk o’er the breakers, high and dry.

’T is a most beauteous Strait. The Great South Sea’s

Proud waves keep holiday along its shore,

And as the vessel glides before the breeze,

Broad bays and isles appear, and steep cliffs hoar

With groves on either hand of ancient trees

Planted by Nature in the days of yore:

Van Dieman’s on the left and Bruné’s isle

Forming the starboard shore for many a mile.

But all is still as death! Nor voice of man

Is heard, nor forest warbler’s tuneful song.

It seems as if this beauteous world began

To be but yesterday, and the earth still young

Van Dieman’s Land (tasmania).

And unpossessed. For though the tall black swan

Sits on her nest and stately sails along,

And the green wild doves their fleet pinions ply,

And the gray eagle tempts the azure sky,

Yet all is still as death! Wild solitude

Reigns undisturbed along that voiceless shore,

And every tree seems standing as it stood

Six thousand years ago. The loud wave’s roar

Were music in these wilds. The wise and good

That wont of old, as hermits, to adore

The God of Nature in the desert drear,

Might sure have found a fit sojourning here.