The Circling Hearths

Roderic Quinn 1867 (Surry Hills, New South Wales) – 1949 (Darlinghurst, New South Wales)

MY Countrymen, though we are young as yet   
With little history, nought to show   
Of lives enleagued against a foreign foe,   
Torn flags and triumph, glory or regret;   
Still some things make our kinship sweet,         
Some deeds inglorious but of royal worth,   
As when with tireless arms and toiling feet   
We felled the tree and tilled the earth.   
’Tis no great way that we have travelled since   
Our feet first shook the storied dust           
Of England from them, when with love and trust   
In one another, and large confidence   
In God above, our ways were ta’en   
’Neath alien skies—each keeping step in mind   
And soul and purpose to one trumpet strain,           
One urging music on the wind:   
Yet tears of ours have wet the dust, have wooed   
Some subtle green things from the ground—   
Like violets—only violets never wound   
Such tendrils round the heart: the solitude           
Has seen young hearts with love entwine;   
And many gentle friends gone down to death   
Have mingled with the dust, and made divine   
The very soil we tread beneath.   
Thus we have learned to love our country, learned           
To treasure every inch from foam   
To foam; to title her with name of Home;   
To light in her regard a flame that burned   
No land in vain, that calls the eyes   
Of men to glory heights and old renown;           
That wild winds cannot quench, nor thunder-skies   
Make dim, nor many waters drown.   
Six hearths are circled round our shores, and round   
The six hearths group a common race,   
Though leagues divide, the one light on their face;           
The same old songs and stories rise; the sound   
Of kindred voices and the dear   
Old English tongue make music; and men move   
From hearth to hearth with little fear   
Of aught save open arms and love.           
To keep these hearth-fires red, to keep the door   
Of each house wide—that is our part:   
Surely ’tis noble! Surely heart to heart,   
God’s love upon us and one goal before,   
Is something worth; something to win           
Our hearts to effort; something it were good   
To garner soon; and something ’twould be sin   
To cast aside in wanton mood.   
My Countrymen, hats off! with heart and will   
Thank God that you are free, and then           
Arise and don your nationhood like men,   
And manlike face the world for good or ill.   
Peace be to you, and in the tide   
Of years great plenty till Time’s course be run:   
Six Ploughmen in the same field side by side,           
But, if need be, six Swords as one.


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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:07 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,540
Words 426
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

Roderic Quinn

Roderic Joseph Quinn was an Australian poet. more…

All Roderic Quinn poems | Roderic Quinn Books

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