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archibaldcurrie

The poems of Andrew Wotherspoon


Andrew Wotherspoon (1811-1887) published a book of poems in 1859 - "The maid of Erin and other poems".  There is a copy of this book in the Mitchell Library in Sydney and I was able to photograph many of the pages.







The book is only small, perhaps 15cm x 10cm or less.  The main poem is "The maid of Erin" which is broken into sections and is a very lengthy piece which takes up most of the book.  Due to time contraints I only photographed the first section of it and will reproduce it here in due course.  There were a number of other poems with various subject matters and I simply chose a few randomly to photograph. 

The dedication and the preface cast light on Andrew Wotherspoons character and literary ability as much as any of the poems so I have included them below:










So far my favorite is the very last poem in the book, entitled 'Lines" which is as follows:

LINES

Long years have pass’d, since last I trod
The heather bell, and grassy sod
On Caledonia’s hills,
Yet still my spirit wings its way,
Among her glens and mountains grey,
Despite of present ills;
For fortune’s frown with evil fraught,
Can never chain my freeborn thought.
 
‘Twas there, amid terrific storms,
Magnificent with awful forms
Which through the mist were seen,
The roaring torrent gushing down
‘Mid rifted rocks all white with foam
A living thing did seem;
‘Twas there I learn’d what nature taught,
That freedom is the soul’s first thought.
 
Dear Scotland thou has ever
Been foremost ‘mong the free,
And to thy foes thou never
Did’st bend a conquered knee;
Thy gallant sons with manly heart,
Are here to take Australia’s part.
 
Sons of the soil wake up from your sleep,
Nor let the few your birthright keep,
The Land should be your own;
Unite and gather in your might,
Your fathers’ battled for their right,
And gloriously they won.
The peal ascends from sea to sea,
Australia shall be great and free.
 
The hurricane in any form,
Dread Simoon o’er the desert borne,
Are powerful in their might,
But a people’s voice when raised on high
In one prolonged united cry,
For justice and for right;
Is mightier and grander still,
The power of reason’s moral will.
 
When equal laws shall be the rule
The state become a fostering school
To elevate the mind;
When arts and science shall have shone
To give society a tone,
Of taste and view refined;
A nation shall Australia be
The Empress of the Southern sea.



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