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Sydney Jephcott 1864 (Tallangatta - Corryong area, Victoria) – 1951 ( Albury, New South Wales)

To the Author of the "Songs of the Army of the Night."

We - who, encircled in sleepless sadness
With ears laid close to the Austral earth,
Have heard far cries of wrong-wrought madness,
Of hopeless anguish and murd'rous mirth
Beneath all noise of maudlin gladness
Awail, environ the world's wide girth -

Almost arise with Hope's keen urging
When out the vasty and night-bound North
Red rays ascend, and Songs resurging
Through all the darkness and chill, come forth!

The comet climbs until it scorches
The sacred dais that skies the great,
Until it gleams on palace porches,
Where blissful aeons-to-be hold state -
Fades, and we know it one of the torches
Madmen a moment elevate!

And, closer clutching the earth, our sorrow
Doth then with desperate murmur cry,
"We ne'er shall see or morn or morrow!
For never star doth scale the sky,

"All men made wise through midnight sable
To lead where, safe after all annoy,
Sleep soft in earth's Augean stable
The virgin "Justice," the infant "Joy!" -
Grant this, O Father, being able,
Or else in merciful might destroy

"This orb whose past and present, awful
Alike, attest it a torture wheel,
Where, bound by holy men and lawful,
Man's body's broken with bars of steel!"

But when we pause, despairing wholly,
As a storm that strengthens out on the sea,
The far-flown SONGS come sounding slowly!
As sea-birds kindle that sweep alee
New hopes, old yearnings winging slowly
From breast to bosom for shelter flee!

And scarce we know, as there they hover
And our blood beats 'neath their beating wings,
If 'tis an old dream earthed over
Or new bird-ballad that stirs and sings!

But truth's Tyrtaeus is now our neighbour,
And strives to waken the slumbering South
With peal and throb of trump and tabour
And sobbing songs of his mournful mouth
To see where Life's all-giver, Labour,
Lies fettered, famished and dumb with drouth.

Sydney Jephcott,
Brisbane Boomerang, 25th January 1888.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:45 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,902
Words 345
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 1, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 2

Sydney Jephcott

Sydney Jephcott was an Australian poet more…

All Sydney Jephcott poems | Sydney Jephcott Books

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    Who wrote the poem ״Invictus״?
    • A. Sylvia Plath
    • B. Oscar Wilde
    • C. Thomas Hardy
    • D. William Ernest Henley