The wide sun stares without a cloud:
Whipped by his glances truculent
The earth lies quivering and cowed!
My heart is hot with discontent—
I hate this haggard continent.
But over the loping leagues of sea
A lone land calls to her children free;
My own land holding her arms to me
Over the loping leagues of sea.
The old grey city is dumb with heat;
No breeze comes leaping, naked, rude,
Adown the narrow, high-walled street;
Upon the night thick perfumes brood:
The evening oozes lassitude.
But o'er the edges of my town,
Swept in a tide that ne'er abates,
The riotous breezes tumble down;
My heart looks home, looks home, where waits
The Windy City of the Straits!
The land lies desolate and stripped;
Across its waste has thinly strayed
A tattered host of eucalypt,
From whose gaunt uniform is made
A ragged penury of shade.
But o'er my isles the forests drew
A mantle thick—save where a peak
Shows his grim teeth a-snarl—and through
The filtered coolness creek and creek,
Tangled in ferns, in whispers speak.
And there the placid great lakes are,
And brimming rivers proudly force
Their ice-cold tides. Here, like a scar,
Dry-lipped, a withered watercourse
Crawls from a long-forgotten source.
My glance, home-gazing, scarce discerns
This listless girl, in whose dark hair
A starry-red hibiscus burns;
Her pallid cheeks are like a pair
Of nuns—they are so fragile-fair;
And like a sin her warm lips flame
In her wan face; swift passions brim
In her brown eyes, and ebb with shame;
Her form is sinuous and slim—
That lyric line of breast and limb!
But one there waits whose brown face glows,
Whose cheeks with Winter's kisses smart—
The flushing petals of a rose!
Of earth and sun she is a part;
Her brow is Greek and Greek her heart.
At love she laughs a faint disdain;
Her heart no weakly one to charm;
Robust and fragrant as the rain,
The dark bush soothed her with his balm,
The mountains gave her of their calm.
Her fresh young figure, lithe and tall,
Her twilight eyes, her brow benign,
She is the peerless queen of all—
The maid, the country, that I shrine
In this far banished heart of mine!
But over the loping leagues of green
A lone land waits with a hope serene—
My own land calls like a prisoner queen—
But oh! the long loping leagues between!