The Melbourne International Exhibition

I

Brothers from far-away lands,
Sons of the fathers of fame,
Here are our hearts and our hands—
This is our song of acclaim.
Lords from magnificent zones,
Shores of superlative sway,
Awful with lustre of thrones,
This is our greeting to-day.
Europe and Asia are here—
Shining they enter our ports!
She that is half of the sphere
Beams like a sun in our courts.
Children of elders whose day
Shone to the planet’s white ends,
Meet, in the noble old way,
Sons of your forefather’s friends.

II

Dressed is the beautiful city—the spires of it
Burn in the firmament stately and still;
Forest has vanished—the wood and the lyres of it,
Lutes of the sea-wind and harps of the hill.
This is the region, and here is the bay by it,
Collins, the deathless, beheld in a dream:
Flinders and Fawkner, our forefathers grey, by it
Paused in the hush of a season supreme.
Here, on the waters of majesty near to us,
Lingered the leaders by towers of flame:
Elders who turn from the lordly old year to us
Crowned with the lights of ineffable fame.

III

Nine and seventy years ago,
Up the blaze of yonder bay,
On a great exalted day,
Came from seas august with snow—
Waters where the whirlwinds blow—
First of England’s sons who stood
By the deep green, bygone wood
Where the wild song used to flow
Nine and seventy years ago.

Five and forty years ago,
On a grand auspicious morn
When the South Wind blew his horn,
Where the splendid mountains glow—
Peaks that God and Sunrise know—
Came the fearless, famous band,
Founders of our radiant land,
From the lawns where roses grow,
Five and forty years ago.

IV

By gracious slopes of fair green hills,
In shadows cool and deep,
Where floats the psalm of many rills,
The noble elders sleep.
But while their children’s children last,
While seed from seedling springs,
The print and perfume of their past
Will be as deathless things.

Their voices are with vanished years,
With other days and hours;
Their homes are sanctified by tears—
They sleep amongst the flowers.
They do not walk by street or stream,
Or tread by grove or shore,
But, in the nation’s highest dream,
They shine for evermore.

V

By lawny slope and lucent strand
Are singing flags of every land;
On streams of splendour—bays impearled—
The keels are here of all the world.
With lutes of light and cymbals clear
We waft goodwill to every sphere.
The links of love to-day are thrown
From sea to sea—from zone to zone;
And, lo! we greet, in glory drest,
The lords that come from east and west,
And march like noble children forth
To meet our fathers from the North!

VI

To Thee be the glory, All-Bountiful Giver!
The song that we sing is an anthem to Thee,
Whose blessing is shed on Thy people for ever,
Whose love is like beautiful light on the sea.
Behold, with high sense of Thy mercy unsleeping,
We come to Thee, kneel to Thee, praise Thee, and pray,
O Lord, in whose hand is the strength that is keeping
The storm from the wave and the night from the day!

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Henry Kendall

Thomas Henry Kendall was a nineteenth-century Australian author and bush poet, who was particularly known for his poems and tales set in a natural environment setting. more…

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"The Melbourne International Exhibition" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 22 Oct. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/17589/the-melbourne-international-exhibition>.

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