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The Australian Sunrise
JLC (8 May 1851 – 18 January 1910 / Glasgow, Scotland)

The Australian Sunrise

The Morning Star paled slowly, the Cross hung low to the sea,
And down the shadowy reaches the tide came swirling free,
The lustrous purple blackness of the soft Australian night,
Waned in the gray awakening that heralded the light;
Still in the dying darkness, still in the forest dim
The pearly dew of the dawning clung to each giant limb,
Till the sun came up from ocean, red with the cold sea mist,
And smote on the limestone ridges, and the shining tree-tops kissed;
Then the fiery Scorpion vanished, the magpie's note was heard,
And the wind in the she-oak wavered, and the honeysuckles stirred,
The airy golden vapour rose from the river breast,
The kingfisher came darting out of his crannied nest,
And the bulrushes and reed-beds put off their sallow gray
And burnt with cloudy crimson at dawning of the day.

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Comments (5)

I too learnt this poem in high school in the middle fifties. Furthermore we sang it in the all girl school choir and I have long remembered being thrilled by the harmonies. I wonder if it was ever recorded.
I too learnt this poem, in high school in the middle fifties. Furthermore we sang it in the school choir and I remember being moved and thrilled by the harmonies. I wonder if it has ever been recorded.
This is a poem Iearned by heart in grade 6 in 1952 when I arrived in Australia from Scotland. I still love it.
Beautiful word picture and so true
After thr works of Henry Clarence Kendall, specially 'Bellbirds', this would be my favourite piece of Australian verse. The lyrical flow is almost music to the ear.