Traverse yon spacious burial ground,
Many are sleeping soundly there,
Who pass’d with mourners standing around,
Kindred, and friends, and children fair;
Did he envy such ending? ’twere hard to say;
Had he cause to envy such ending? no;
Can the spirit feel for the senseless clay,
When it once has gone where we all must go?
ADAM LINDSAY GORDON
Envy not thou the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
O see the poor victim of trade ever toiling
At the wearisome counter throughout the long day:
From labour unceasing tired nature, recoiling,
Seeks rest and refreshment to lighten their way.
We talk of the slaveholders’ deeds of oppression,
Of the negro enslaved in a far distant land;
For his wrongs and his woes we still make intercession,
But forget the sad drudgery nearer at hand.
We boast that all fetters are riven asunder;
We call our fair Island the ” Land of theFree;”
But see the hard bondage of thousands and wonder
That still in Australia such evils can be!
In vain does bright Summer unfold her gay treasure
Of buds and of blossoms, to gladden the sight;
To them is forbidden each innocent pleasure,
While chained to a counter from morning till night.
O ye, the fair leaders of folly and fashion,
Give a thought to the slaves by your selfishness bound;
And listen at length to the voice of compassion
Which pleads for your overtasked brethren around.
To lighten their burdens, kind friends are proposing
To spare a few hours at the close of the week;
And their shops in the evening at ‘
” Early hours closing”
Will afford to the weary the rest which they seek.
A.W.Queanbeyan, 21st July, 1863.