John Farrell

Here you will find the Long Poem Australia to England of poet John Farrell

Australia to England

June 22nd, 1897 

What of the years of Englishmen? 
   What have they brought of growth and grace 
Since mud-built London by its fen 
   Became the Briton's breeding-place? 
What of the Village, where our blood 
   Was brewed by sires, half man, half brute, 
In vessels of wild womanhood, 
   From blood of Saxon, Celt and Jute? 

What are its gifts, this Harvest Home 
   Of English tilth and English cost, 
Where fell the hamlet won by Rome 
   And rose the city that she lost? 
O! terrible and grand and strange 
   Beyond all phantasy that gleams 
When Hope, asleep, sees radiant Change 
   Come to her through the halls of dreams! 

A heaving sea of life, that beats 
   Like England's heart of pride to-day, 
And up from roaring miles of streets 
   Flings on the roofs its human spray; 
And fluttering miles of flags aflow, 
   And cannon's voice, and boom of bell, 
And seas of fire to-night, as though 
   A hundred cities flamed and fell; 

While, under many a fair festoon 
   And flowering crescent, set ablaze 
With all the dyes that English June 
   Can lend to deck a day of days, 
And past where mart and palace rise, 
   And shrine and temple lift their spears, 
Below five million misted eyes 
   Goes a grey Queen of Sixty Years -- 

Go lords, and servants of the lords 
   Of earth, with homage on their lips, 
And kinsmen carrying English swords, 
   And offering England battle-ships; 
And tribute-payers, on whose hands 
   Their English fetters scarce appear; 
And gathered round from utmost lands 
   Ambassadors of Love and Fear! 

Dim signs of greeting waved afar, 
   Far trumpets blown and flags unfurled, 
And England's name an Avatar 
   Of light and sound throughout the world -- 
Hailed Empress among nations, Queen 
   Enthroned in solemn majesty, 
On splendid proofs of what has been, 
   And presages of what will be! 

For this your sons, foreseeing not 
   Or heeding not, the aftermath, 
Because their strenuous hearts were hot 
   Went first on many a cruel path, 
And, trusting first and last to blows, 
   Fed death with such as would gainsay 
Their instant passing, or oppose 
   With talk of Right strength's right of way! 

For this their names are on the stone 
   Of mountain spires, and carven trees 
That stand in flickering wastes unknown 
   Wait with their dying messages; 
When fire blasts dance with desert drifts 
   The English bones show white below, 
And, not so white, when summer lifts 
   The counterpane of Yukon's snow. 

Condemned by blood to reach for grapes 
   That hang in sight, however high, 
Beyond the smoke of Asian capes, 
   The nameless, dauntless, dead ones lie; 
And where Sierran morning shines 
   On summits rolling out like waves, 
By many a brow of royal pines 
   The noisiest find quiet graves. 

By lust of flesh and lust of gold, 
   And depth of loins and hairy breadth 
Of breast, and hands to take and hold, 
   And boastful scorn of pain and death, 
And something more of manliness 
   Than tamer men, and growing shame 
Of shameful things, and something less 
   Of final faith in sword and flame -- 

By many a battle fought for wrong, 
   And many a battle fought for right, 
So have you grown august and strong, 
   Magnificent in all men's sight -- 
A voice for which the kings have ears, 
   A face the craftiest statesmen scan; 
A mind to mould the after years, 
   And mint the destinies of man! 

Red sins were yours: the avid greed 
   Of pirate fathers, smocked as Grace, 
Sent Judas missioners to read 
   Christ's Word to many a feebler race -- 
False priests of Truth who made their tryst 
   At Mammon's shrine, and reft or slew -- 
Some hands you taught to pray to Christ 
   Have prayed His curse to rest on you! 

Your way has been to pluck the blade 
   Too readily, and train the guns. 
We here, apart and unafraid 
   Of envious foes, are but your sons: 
We stretched a heedless hand to smutch <