The Curlew Song

Original Text: 
The Poems of Henry Kendall, ed. Bertram Stephens (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1920): 21-22. Sydney Electronic Text and Image Service (SETIS), digital text sponsored by AustLit: http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit
2    Away to the forest trees,
3Where giant pines and leafless vines
4    Bend 'neath the wandering breeze!
5From ferny streams, unearthly screams
6    Are heard in the midnight blue;
7As afar they roam to the shepherd's home,
8    The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
9             As afar they roam
10             To the shepherd's home,
11    The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
12The mists are curled o'er a dark-faced world,
13    And the shadows sleep around,
14Where the clear lagoon reflects the moon
15    In her hazy glory crowned;
17    Of the watchdog brave and true;
18Whose loud, rough bark shoots up in the dark,
19    With the song of the lone Curlew!
20             Whose loud, rough bark
21             Shoots up in the dark,
22    With the song of the lone Curlew!
23Near herby banks the dark green ranks
24    Of the rushes stoop to drink;
25And the ripples chime, in a measured time,
26    On the smooth and mossy brink;
27As wind-breaths sigh, and pass, and die,
28    To start from the swamps anew,
29And join again o'er ridge and plain
30    With the wails of the sad Curlew!
31             And join again
32             O'er ridge and plain
33    With the wails of the sad Curlew!
34The clouds are thrown around the cone
35    Of the mountain bare and high,
36(Whose craggy peak uprears to the cheek--
37    To the face of the sombre sky)
38When down beneath the foggy wreath,
39    Full many a gully through,
40They rend the air, like cries of despair,
41    The screams of the wild Curlew!
42             They rend the air,
43             Like cries of despair,
44    The screams of the wild Curlew!
45The viewless blast flies moaning past,
46    Away to the forest trees;
47Where giant pines and leafless vines
48    Bend 'neath the wandering breeze!
49From ferny streams, unearthly screams
50    Are heard in the midnight blue;
51As afar they roam to the shepherd's home,
52    The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
53             As afar they roam
54             To the shepherd's home,
55    The shrieks of the wild Curlew!

Notes

1] Curlew Song: eerie "weer-loo" wail of the bush stone-curlew, now an endangered species.
blast: a strong gust of wind or air. Back to Line
16] dingoes: Australian wild dogs, found mainly in the outback. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1862
Publication Notes: 
Poems and Songs (1862)
RPO poem Editors: 
Cameron La Follette
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: