[Editor: This patriotic poem by Norman L. Beurle was published in The Herald (Melbourne), 26 October 1899. This poem was written at the time of the Boer War (South Africa, 1899-1902).]
An Australian Greeting.
Scent of October flowers,
Breath of the Austral plains,
Speed to the old Home Country;
Quick! Ere the Snow-King reigns,
Breathe on the wind-swept moorlands,
Speak in the autumn rains.
Tell of the hearts still loyal,
True to the dear old Land;
Whisper the prayers ascending,
Tell of the men who stand
Far in the sunny Southland,
Valiant of heart and hand.
Pass where the war-clouds lower
Dark o’er the stormy Cape;
Echo the Nation’s greeting
Out where the trenches gape;
Speak to our Brother-Britons
Facing the cold, pale Shape.
Speak, for our hearts are faithful,
True, though misunderstood;
Speak to our grey-haired Mother,
Speak for the loyal blood;
Speak for the Southern Saxons
True to their Land and God.
— Norman L. Beurle.
Kenmare, 20th October, 1899.
The Herald (Melbourne, Vic.), 26 October 1899, p. 4
Also published in:
The Herald (Melbourne, Vic.), 27 October 1899, p. 4
The Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic.), 28 October 1899, p. 19 (under the title of “To the Front”)
West Gippsland Gazette (Warragul, Vic.), 14 November 1899, p. 6 (under the title of “To the Front”)
The Quorn Mercury (Quorn, SA), 24 November 1899, p. 2 (under the title of “To the Front”)
Austral = of or relating to Australia or Australasia; Australian, Australasian; an abbreviation of Australia, Australian, Australasia, Australasian; in a wider context, of or relating to the southern hemisphere; southern, especially a southern wind
Cape = in the context of South Africa: the Cape of Good Hope, a rocky promontory on the southern Atlantic coast of South Africa
ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)
Home Country = in an historical Australian context, Great Britain; may also refer to England specifically
Mother = the Motherland: in an historical Australian context, Great Britain; may also refer to England specifically
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
Shape = the character or spectre of Death (e.g. “the cold, pale Shape”); an apparition or phantom
Snow-King = Winter; a personification of Winter
Southland = Australia; the Australian continent