voices from the past


New Country

by Mary Hannay Foott (1846-1918)

Australian writer

Conde had come with us all the way
 Eight hundred miles but the fortnight's rest
Made him fresh as a youngster, the sturdy bay!
 And Lurline was looking her very best.

Weary and footsore, the cattle strayed
 'Mid the silvery saltbush well content;
Where the creeks lay cool 'neath the gidya's shade
 The stock-horses clustered, travel-spent.

In the bright spring morning we left them all
 Camp, and cattle, and white, and black
And rode for the Range's westward fall,
 Where the dingo's trail was the only track.

Slow through the clay-pans, wet to the knee,
 With the cane-grass rustling overhead;
Swift o'er the plains with never a tree;
 Up the cliffs by a torrent's bed.

Bridle on arm for a mile or more
 We toiled, ere we reached Bindanna's verge
And saw as one sees a far-off shore
 The blue hills bounding the forest surge.

An ocean of trees, by the west wind stirred,
 Rolled, ever rolled, to the great cliff's base;
And its sound like the noise of waves was heard
 'Mid the rocks and the caves of that lonely place.

* * * * *

We recked not of wealth in stream or soil
 As we heard on the heights the breezes sing;
We felt no longer our travel-toil;
 We feared no more what the years might bring.

About the Author

See our page on Mary Hannay Foott. Includes a linked list of all her writing available on our website.

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