The dappled sunlight heard those airy footsteps on the grass,
   Rustling in the coppice and
   Dancing on the sward.
The mottled elm trees knew them, and bade them lightly pass,
   Flitting in the hollows where
   The winter’s moss was stored.
And even the silent cypresses put on a lighter green,
And spread new branches round their trunks where laughing Spring had been.

The ripples at the ocean’s shore came curling faster in,
   Breaking on the shingle and
   Washing on the sand.
Lone sea-gulls on their beaches called forlornly to their kin,
   Sweeping out to seaward and
   Flapping back to land.
And far below the sea-born blossoms owning Neptune king,
Turned chilly faces upward to the filtered beams of Spring.

Luxuriant tropic creepers pushed their bursting buds to light,
   Rioting in glory at
The new-awakened day.
On Alpine slopes undreamt of flowers sprang upwards in a night,
   Carpeting the uplands with
   The galaxies of May.
And in farmer Stedley’s meadow, the broom-tree burst its pod,
And joined with Earth’s ten thousand tongues, in wonder praising God.

School poems

  • Now virgin forest

    Where now the virgin forest reigns
    In solitary state

  • Quiet

    Where wooded hills run downward to the sea,
    Beside a land-locked harbour, still and deep

  • Voyages

    A merchant ship came sailing here today,
    Her timbers stained, her cordage worn and old

  • Sunday morning

    I wake to the sound of the chapel Bell,
    And I roll from my bed at dawning

  • Re-Awakening

    The dappled sunlight heard those airy footsteps on the grass,
       Rustling in the coppice and
       Dancing on the sward.

  • The Saturday Party

    The dusky storm and the grey half-light,
    The whispered word and a muffled tread

  • Grimy ships

    When the grimy ships go down,
    Down the river to the sea
    Dirty decks and funnels brown

  • Cambyses

    Cambyses is the name men call me. King
    Of Persia once and Egypt.

  • Pirates’ chorus

    We sing of sunken treasure-ships in coral-girt lagoons,
    And ancient casquets burst with weight of ducats and dubloons,

  • Life and Death

    Look where he lies, a clod of earth at best,
    Yet colder than a clod, for where there shone

  • Lines written in meditation upon the recent moth plague

    Moths! Moths! Moths!
    In trouser-leg, singlet and shirt..

  • Easter

    I stood in the street in the morning,
    On a blue and shiny day.

  • Ballade of Suburbia

    I’ve never killed a Marquis in a fight,
    Nor led a lovely lady’s feet astray

  • On first venturing upon a switchback railway

    O mortal man, how fleeting is true bliss,
    So eager sought, so often seeming found

  • To A. E. Houseman

    Full many wise old men have said
       That this world has more ill than good

  • Australia to her Children

    I am so old, oh very old, my children,
       Ye that are so young,

  • Timber

    “Up here the schooners used to come
      For timber, years ago,

  • Music

    He spoke with eager grace, and learnedly,
    Of matters strange, dark, wonderful to me