Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  September in Australia

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Henry Clarence Kendall 1841–82

September in Australia

GRAY Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,

And, behold, for repayment,

September comes in with the wind of the West

And the Spring in her raiment!

The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,

While the forest discovers

Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,

And a music of lovers.

September, the maid with the swift silver feet!

She glides, and she graces

The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,

With her blossomy traces;

Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,

She lightens and lingers

In spots where the harp of the evening glows,

Attuned by her fingers.

The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips

In a darling old fashion;

And the day goeth down with a song on its lips

Whose key-note is passion;

Far out in the fierce, bitter front of the sea

I stand, and remember

Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,

Resplendent September.

The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon

And beats on the beaches,

So filled with a tender and tremulous tune

That touches and teaches;

The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,

And the death of Devotion,

Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme

In the waves of the ocean.

We, having a secret to others unknown,

In the cool mountain-mosses,

May whisper together, September, alone

Of our loves and our losses.

One word for her beauty, and one for the place

She gave to the hours;

And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face

To sleep with the flowers.

High places that knew of the gold and the white

On the forehead of Morning

Now darken and quake, and the steps of the Night

Are heavy with warning!

Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud

Through its echoing gorges;

She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,

And her feet in the surges!

On the tops of the hills, on the turreted cones—

Chief temples of thunder—

The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,

Gliding over and under.

The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,

Leapeth wild at the forelands;

And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,

Complains in the moorlands.

Oh, season of changes—of shadow and shine—

September the splendid!

My song hath no music to mingle with thine,

And its burden is ended;

But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,

By mountain, by river,

May lighten and listen, and loiter and run,

With thy voices forever.