voices from the past

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The Daylight Is Dying

by Banjo Paterson (1864-1941)

Australian writer

The daylight is dying
 Away in the west,
The wild birds are flying
   In silence to rest.

In leafage and frondage
   Where shadows are deep,
They pass to their bondage
   The kingdom of sleep.

And watched in their sleeping
   By stars in the height,
They rest in your keeping,
   Oh, wonderful night.

When night doth her glories
   Of starshine unfold,
'Tis then that the stories
   Of bushland are told.

Unnumbered I hold them
   In memories bright,
But who could unfold them,
   Or read them aright?

Beyond all denials
   The stars in their glories
The breeze in the myalls
   Are part of these stories.

The waving of grasses,
   The song of the river
That sings as it passes
   For ever and ever.

The hobble-chains' rattle,
   The calling of birds,
The lowing of cattle
   Must blend with the words.

Without these, indeed, you
   Would find it ere long,
As though I should read you
   The words of a song.

That lamely would linger
   When lacking the rune,
The voice of the singer,
   The lilt of the tune.

But, as one half-hearing
   An old-time refrain,
With memory clearing,
   Recalls it again.

These tales, roughly wrought of
   The bush and its ways,
May call back a thought of
   The wandering days.

And, blending with each
   In the mem'ries that throng,
There haply shall reach
   You some echo of song.

About the Author

See our page on Banjo Paterson. Includes a linked list of all his writing available on our website.

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