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Charles Tomson (1807-1883)

On the Death of Maj. Gen. Macquarie,

The Late Much Lamented Governor of Australia.

WHAT mournful cause, on every sorrowing brow,
Sheds the dark poppies of corroding woe,
Shrouds every thought in melancholy deep,
And moves each heart to sadden and to weep?
Hark! o'er the waves the plaints of mourning rise,
And Griefs black ministers pervade the skies,
And a sad voice proclaims, from yonder shore,
"Weep, nation, weep, Macquarie is no more!

"Down a long vista of untarnished days,
Glad merit crown'd him with thy children's praise;
With fost'ring hand he nursed thine infant fame,
And ebbing nature heard him sigh — thy name!

"Shrined in some valley of his native North,
Slumber the reliques of departed worth,
Eternal requiems to his spirit swell,
From guardian seraphs hov'ring o'er the cell;
There, while the Scot his heartfelt tribute pays
Of sorrow for thy patriot's number'd days,
Canst thou, indiff'rent, gazing on his bier,
Forbear to stain it with one sacred tear?
Deep in the warm recesses of each heart
His lib'ral virtues held a grateful part,
And if, in life, he own'd a people's love,
Say, shall, in death, his spirit cease to move?

MACQUARIE! candid, gen'rous, noble, free,
All, 'neath perfection, blended, shone in thee!
Thou, when the hapless widow pined for bread,
Shed bounty o'er, and raised her drooping head;
When Affluence spumed the beggar from his door,
Cheered by thy smiles he felt no longer poor;
The orphan child, whose supplicating tongue
Craved scanty pittance of th' unbending throng,
His artless tale despised or disbelieved,
Ask but of thee, was pitied and relieved;
Did mis'ry to thy door a victim send?
Thy willing influence proved a saving friend;
Large were thy means, yet far beneath thy will —
Here praise must cease, for language here stands still.

Farewell, lost Excellence! If ruling fate
Show'rs bliss celestial on the good and great,
To thy triumphant soul the joy was given,
To quaff immortal sweets that bloom in heaven.
Then stoop, kind Father, from that bright abode,
Teach Rulers virtue — bid them dare be good.
Obey the promptures of a gen'rous mind,
And trace th' example thou hast left behind!

Tompson, Charles. Wild Notes From the Lyre of a Native Ministrel. Sydney: Albion Press, 1826.
[Facsimile edition publ. in 1973 by University of Sydney Press].

Wild Notes From the Lyre of a Native Ministrel was written by Charles Tomson (1807-1883) in the first book of poetry written by a native-born Australian poet to be published in Australia. The work appeared in 1826 and was printed by Robert Howe, Government Printer, in Sydney.

For further biographical details on Charles Tomson see: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

Note: the first book of verse by a native-born Australian was Australasia by William Charles Wentworth (1790-1872) published in London in 1823].

An earlier poem on the death of Macquarie topic was published soon after the news of his death reached the colony in November 1824. See: 'Monody, On the Death of General Macquarie, Late Governor of New South Wales.' Sydney Gazette, 18 November 1824 p.4.

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