NELLIE – Soprano.FATHER – Bass.ROBERT – Tenor.MOTHER – Contralto.CAPTAIN – Baritone.
SCENE I. – In an English City.
CHORUS OF MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN.
N0 work, no work, and drear the chill winds wail!
No work, no work, and anxious faces pale,
As cruel winter lays her icy hand
On shivering town and sunless northern land.
No bread! no bread! Dear father give us bread!
“Wait, wait, a little while,” this morn ye said,
But supperless we hunger yet, and cry –
Ah, give us food ere famishing we die.
No work! no work! yet we are strong and brave,
And fain would earn the food our children crave;
Labour, not alms, we ask, yet hopeless bide,
With willing hands their manhood’s right denied.
No fire! no fire! the little hands are cold,
And scanty rags the tender limbs unfold;
No work! Oh, Maker of this world of care,
Help Thou, ere we are harden’d to despair!
MEN AND WOMEN.
No work, no food! We cannot bear the wail
Of babes that weep and careworn hearts that fail;
We will go forth to far Australia’s main,
Where sunshine beams and peace and plenty reign.
Away, away, from the snowy North,
Away o’er the beckoning sea,
The land where the peach and the orange bloom,
And the paths are untrodden and free!
Away from the night world of sorrow and care
To the isle of the rosy morn,
Where the sunshine beams from a cloudless sky
O’er fields of the golden corn.
There hope shall blossom and youth rebloom,
For the fullness of life shall abound;
There work shall be found and honest toil
With its rightful meed be crown’d.
The die is cast, and ere another moon
We sail for distant shores.
One month! so soon?
My father, must I go and leave the one
Who but yest’reen has craved my heart-love’s boon?
Nay, take her not away, but let me strive
To work for all till brighter days shall come!
Child, my first-born, cherish’d darling,
Hard the choice for thy young heart.
We must speed, for hunger presses
Wilt thou go, or must we part?
FATHER AND MOTHER (in duet).
Kindred ? – lover ? – free we leave thee,
Nor by one reproach shall grieve thee;
If thy parents’ soul thou wringest,
While to newer love thou clingest.
Love, my love, I love thee truly;
Mother, yet I cleave to thee;
Shall the one who earliest cherish’d
By the child forsaken be?
Thou wilt need a daughter’s comfort,
Strange upon the lone wild sea;
Little ones would miss my tending –
Mother mine, I follow thee!
Claims the true love then no duty
From the maid’s betrothed heart;
With the lips still warm with pledges
Canst thou doom that we should part?
Part? part? and must we part?
Part, part, yes, we must part!
Part, awhile, but not for ever;
Holier calls though we obey,
Faithful hearts shall be united,
Love at last shall find a way!
The Scene changes to Plymouth Harbour.Enter Chorus.
The ship lies moor’d with sails all furl’d,
Like bird before the flight;
To England’s shores her children bid
Their sad, their last, good night.
Anchor Song heard in Forecastle.Then FATHER and MOTHER sing mournfully:
Farewell, thou mother-land that could not give
Thy hungry sons their daily bread;
So rich and great, yet powerless to help
The souls whence hope has fled.
Farewell, thy hands are bare, thy breast is cold,
Yet memory clings with tender tear
To scenes of youth and early wedded joy –
The “sweet home” ever dear.
Farewell! for me a twice-told sad farewell
To world of life’s first blissful dream.
Alas, I care not for a summer’s clime,
‘Tis here my light doth beam.
Farewell, the pain of winter’s hungry cold
‘Twere bliss to stay with thee to bear,
Then want were warmth, but plenty, famish’d care,
With love not nigh to share.
Old England, fading from our straining eyes,
The dearer in our hearts to dwell;
Across the waves shall steal like plaintive knell
The Emigrants’ farewell, the Emigrants’ farewell!
SCENE I. – At Sea.
OVER the waves we dance and toss,
And merrily on we go;
Now lifted high on a watery ridge,
Then plunged to the deeps below.
The air blows fresh with the scent of brine,
And our cheeks by the spray are kiss’d;
Old care has fled ‘fore the ocean breeze,
And hearts may bound as they list.
For over the billows we dance and toss,
And cheerily onward go.
A month has passed, the broad Atlantic rolls
‘Twixt us and home; already has the glow
Of life and health relit in children’s eyes.
Save one, our tender boy, whom Nellie loves
To cherish, while she sits alone and sings, –
Methinks she dreams of Robert and her love.
When first I wake to meet the day
Of sun or cloud, whate’er it be,
E’en ere the dreams have sped away
I breathe a prayer for thee.
At eventide, when fades the light
With tender blushes o’er the sea,
The aching sigh for past delight
I lull in prayer for thee.
But most at night, when shines each star
That look’d so oft on “thee and me,”
‘Tis saddest then to be so far,
But sweet to pray for thee.
If in my heart there mingles aught
Of selfish plaint ‘gainst God’s decree,
I will not breathe that murmuring thought,
But only pray for thee.
For half I hope this grace to win –
That love thy guardian power may be;
Perchance a shield from pain or sin
Those prayers may prove to thee.
Mother, the infant sleeps, and yet the tiny face
Too strangely quivers, and like marble grows.
The baby dies, convulsed! so help me God!
Too late for him has come the light of life;
The tender frame, long pinch’d with cold and want,
Has faded with the dawning of the spring.
SCENE II. – Funeral Service at Sea.
Organ symphony.Enter Chorus.
Solemnly, plaintively, chant we the dirge,
Echo’d and answer’d by fathomless surge –
One more is added to dark ocean’s graves,
One more o’erwept by the sorrowing waves.
Yielding our beloved to Thee –
Holy dust to lonely sea –
From the deep we cry to Thee,
Borne is the soul to the Haven of Calm,
Nestled and warm in the Messenger’s arm
Lay we the little one safe to its rest,
Hidden and rock’d ‘neath the deep-sobbing breast,
Sleeps our babe alone with thee,
Mournful passing o’er the sea,
From the deep we cry to Thee,
[They lower the bier.Recitative.
“The sea shall give up her dead. And this mortal
Shall put on immortality. O Grave, where is thy
Victory? O Death, where is thy sting?”
A gale, a gale! and the waves mount high;
The scud flies swift o’er the angry sky;
Reef in the topsails, head to the west,
The good ship’s timbers this night will test.
A storm, a storm! and the torn sails fly!
All hands to the halyards – your ropes stand by;
Have faith, fear not, for each smoking crest
The tight craft “Triton” can bravely breast.
Hurrah, hurrah! for the wind is fair;
Then little for danger Jack Tar will care.
And the gale may blow and the waves may roar,
But we jolly sailors will sing the more –
Hurrah, hurrah! for the wind is fair,
And the hurricane’s fury we laughing dare.
What that line of purple, bounding
Far away the distant West,
Like a stroke of God’s great pencil,
‘Twixt the sky and ocean crest?
Can it be the Southern mainland,
Weary eyes at last may see?
Or a mocking isle of cloud-land
Moving o’er the endless sea?
Land on view to the westward!
Sailors! a hearty cheer!
For the voyage will soon be ended –
The land of promise is near.
‘Tis the land, and hope arises
Brave within each wanderer’s soul;
Soon success our life shall brighten
When we reach the Southern goal.
Land? the shore? E’en in my bosom,
Wherefore, whence, I cannot tell,
Thoughts of love-lit hours are rising,
Springs of joy and sweetness well.
Farther, nearer, sail we ever,
While the shades of evening close,
But anon a light there shineth,
Glimmers now, then brighter glows.
Voices from mainmast.
Sydney light to the starboard!
Another ship is in sight.
Steer three points to the northward!
Stand out to the sea for the night!
Emigrants, make ye ready
To land with the morning light.
ROBERT (who has arrived in Sydney by the ship sighted by the “Triton.”)
Beaming lies the Sydney harbour,
Like a liquid eye of blue
Set in face of virgin Austral,
Or ‘neath brow of maiden true.
Moves a ship with white sails spreading,
O’er the track this morn we pass’d;
Toils she slowly, knowing never
Wings of love had sped more fast.
Could I bide in chilly norlands,
With the light fled from my eyes?
When she meets her parted lover
Will she flush with sweet surprise?
NELLIE (on the “Triton,” which is arriving).
Hear the heavy anchor dropping –
Each one now some friend will meet;
We alone, as exile strangers,
No loved face can joyful meet.
But – how strange! – what form now neareth ?
Is it real, or do I dream?
Were he not in distant England
Robert’s smile indeed ‘twould seem.
Nell! no dream! I could not rest me!
Ere the ship one day had sped
Left I all, to cast my fortune
Where thy guiding star had led.
NELLIE and ROBERT.
Love! indeed a way thou findest;
Hearts have met to part no more,
But with clasped hands to labour
Happy on the sunny shore.
An Australian Homestead.
SOFTLY breathes the Southern morning,
Sweet with aromatic scent;
Clear the deep-hued sky is glowing,
Warmth and balmy freshness blent.
All around the sheltering mountains
Rise through misty bays of blue;
In the vale there peeps a verdure
To the savage wildness new.
See our tiny homestead, standing
Nestled mid the dark-leaved trees
Rough, but rich with warmth and plenty,
Bright with love and quiet peace.
As now I look upon our smiling home,
The patch of land that each man loves to own,
How far away the troubled past years seem –
The morning light has chased the darken’d dream
No hunger more, nor aching cares to fear!
But I must speed, for Robert’s voice I hear.
Come, mount ye your horses, away let us ride,
For we’ve many a mile ere the eventide;
The cattle have stray’d to the distant plain,
We must drive them in ere we draw the rein.
So we’re off, we’re off, we’re off,
With the stockwhip in our hand,
And oh, for the fun of a cattle-hunt
With a rollicking bushman band!
Across the gully and over the range,
With a plunge through a creek for a cooling change;
Now over a log or a rock we leap,
O’er hill and on level our pace we keep.
With a gallop, a gallop, a gallop,
And a jolly song on our lips,
To the tune of the hoofs and the crashing boughs,
And the ringing crack of the whips.
See the wild young scrubbers come tearing in,
Then away they head, but the tail-mob win;
The horses swerve, and there’s many a spill,
But the muster goes on with a shout and a will.
With a yeh, hallo, ya-eh!
And danger full in the face,
And the rageful charge of a snorting bull,
But giving zest to the chase!
Mother, I hear the tramp of horses’ feet;
May I go forth the home-comers to meet?
Ay, ay. So one will light from off his horse,
And through the glen ye two will wend your course!
ROBERT and NELLIE (alternately).ROBERT.
Love! my own! the months are speeding;
Tell me, when wilt thou be mine?
When thou will’st, with maiden tremblings
I will lay my hands in thine.
Ere another moon has risen
Thou shalt wear love’s golden chain.
Thence our souls, in tender union,
Through life’s blended years shall reign.
Sweet ’twill be, in love-home dwelling,
Every thought and work to share,
Come there care, or come there sorrow,
Life is joy if thou art there.
SCENE II. – Rough Bush Church, in which the Wedding has just taken place.
No wedding bells! Through virgin stillness
Falls each hallow’d nuptial sound.
No wedding bells! In lonely wildness
Time-worn blessing words are heard.
No wedding bells! Yet through the mem’ry
Tones of far-off joy-bells flit.
No wedding bells! Yet all as closely
Hearts in holy bonds are knit.
No wedding bells! no wedding bells!
Yet deep with love each bosom swells;
The heart its joyous measure tells,
And rings its own sweet wedding bells,
Rings out, rings out, its wedding bells!
[Soft symphony of bells.FATHER and MOTHER.
May every blessing wait upon ye twain,
And holy peace in God-knit bosoms reign.
Australia! Blessings on thy welcoming shore!
We bid thee hail, our haven evermore!
Hungry we came, and thou hast given us bread;
Cold and despairing, thou to peace hast led;
Lone Emigrants to patriot children grow,
As on thy foster-breast fresh youth they know.
“No work, no bread!” we cry not here, nor weep,
But honest hands their plenteous harvest reap;
The stars are changed, but God unchanged on high,
Above the Southern Cross aye dwelleth nigh.
Old England still we love, yet cannot grieve,
As in the fair new world home ties we weave;
Sweet ties, whereby the wilderness is blest,
And exile changeth to a happy rest.
© Emily Manning