The Emigrant's Vision

The Emigrant's Vision

Original Text

The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur, ed. Elizabeth Perkins (London, Sydney and Melbourne: Angus & Robertson, 1984): 448. Online at the University of Sydney Library at

2  And out towards the South I was gazing,
3First there passed o'er my spirit a darkness like sleep,
4  Then the light of a Vision amazing!
5As rises the Moon, from the white waves afar
6Came a Goddess it seemed of love, wisdom and war,
7And on her bright helmet encircling a star,
8  Behold there was graven "Australia."
9Her robes of green as the mantle of spring
10  Newly spread by the streams that so mildly
11Elapse through yon flock-dappled plains, or that sing
12  'Mid those blue-ranging mountains so wildly:
13Her locks were as bright as the lustre that lies
14At morn on the seas of the South, and her eyes
15Were as deep in their joy as the clear sunny skies --
16  The clear sunny skies of Australia.
17Stranger, she asked, hast thou fled from the home
18  Which thy forefathers bled for so vainly!
19Does shame for its past thus induce thee to roam,
20  Or despair of its future constrain thee?
21In the far sunny South three's a refuge from wrong,
23Through genius hath already shouted his song:
24  'Tis the evergreen land of Australia.
25There Truth her abode on the forest-clad hills
26  Shall establish -- a dweller for ever;
28  Aye wedded to honest Endeavour:
29Till the future a numberless people shall see
30All equally noble as equally free,
31And the God they adore their sole monarch shall be!
32  Then come, build thy home in Australia.
33This said, tow'ards the South she passed brightly away,
34  And at once as from slumber I started;
35But the cadences sweet of its welcoming lay
36  Yet breathed of the Vision departed.
37And when o'er the deep these had fadingly spread,
38The swell of my heart as it rose to my head
39Broke loud into words on my tongue -- and I said:
40  Be the home of my hope then Australia!


1] bark: ship. Back to Line
22] Shiloh: in Biblical times, a village of central Palestine northwest of the Dead Sea, which was a meeting place and sanctuary for the Israelites. The Ark of the Covenant was kept there until its capture by the Philstines. Back to Line
27] rills: streams. Back to Line
Publication Start Year
Publication Notes

Poems (Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide: George Robinson, 1883).

RPO poem Editors
Cameron La Follette
Data entry: Sharine Leung
RPO Edition