Page images

hope of seeing them. But their encampment had been || but this was unsuccessful; their natural timidity overbroken up. They had left the spot, turned towards the came even the desire of a present. Immense flights east, and their wide trail was soon lost on the hard surface of pigeons were seen in this neighbourhood, congreof the plains. A long sheet of water had been pointed gating in one vast winged army, as it were, preparing out by Mr. Poole; and, as the excursion in search of to migrate to the north-east. A few were shot; their the natives proved ineffectual, it was resolved to pitch | filesh was most delicious. With a horse and cart laden the tents on this site. It was a pretty spot—a hollow, with casks of water, Captain Sturt resolved to push on with a pond in the centre, surrounded by cliffs, as far as possible in a northerly direction. The counwith a lining of wood and vegetation. Here the try being now covered with sand-ridges, the progress camp was prepared. The high rocks, which rose on was most tedious. The poor animal suffered greatly. either hand far above the summits of the trees, af- || So heavy and difficult was the nature of the ground, forded shade, while a fine flat was covered with tents- that it was painful to tread upon; and though at intera little moving village, which the explorers erected for vals a cask was deposited in a hollow, or on some flat, themselves at intervals during their passage across the to lighten the load, the horse-whose usual allowance untraversed district of Australia.

of water, from twenty-five to thirty gallons a day, When, however, the travellers kindled their camp-had now been reduced to six-showed symptoms of fires in Depot Glen, on the 27th of January, 1845, it exhaustion, and rather tottered than walked over the was not with the idea of never striking their tents sand, which was matted with spinifex, rendering it still again until the 17th of July following. Yet such proved more painful to tread on. Pasture there was none; to be the result. The expedition was as completely and, had not a few oats been brought with them, the rooted to the spot as though it had been frozen in, || animal must have perished of want.

And here we in the icy seas of the north. To advance and to find Captain Sturt committing a fault which is too retreat were equally impossible. There was no water common among writers of all classes_namely, laying in any place save where the encampment lay, and in down an exception as a rule, and opposing his own a lagoon in its immediate vicinity. There was neither experience to the experience of ages :forage nor fruit, and it was useless to look for

“It was with great difficulty that we got our exhausted ani. any until the summer had fairly set in. To spend | mal on the following morning, although I gave him as much six months at Depot Glen was therefore an imperative water as I could spare. His docility under urgent want of food necessity. Here there was an abundance of water was astonishing. He was, in fact, troublesomely persevering, and pasture; and the travellers resolved to employ and walked round and round the cart

; and ever, as we sat drink. the interval in the most useful manner.

ing our tea, smelling at the casks, and trying to get his nose into

Excursions || the bung-holes, and implored for relief as much as an animal were, therefore, undertaken to all the neighbouring could do so, by looks. Yet I am satisfied that a horse is not points, to the hilly country to the east, to the low capablc of strong attachment to man, but that he is a selfish ranges of the west, north, and south, beyond which brute; for, however kindly he may be trented, where is the horse stretched broad and barren plains. Some native encamp. || although hunger and thirst are upon him, and who, though car,

that will stay, like the dog, at the side of his master to the last, ments were discovered; and one morning Captain Sturt niverous himself, will yet guard the hand that has fed him, and and his companions started before daybreak to pay a expire upon his post? But turn the horse loose at night, and visit to the blacks. A hot, stony plain was to be where will you find him in the morning, though your life detraversed, and whilst riding across it, a black cloud, pended on his stayp” composed apparently of minute spots, was observed in The attachment of the horse for his master has the distance. Presently it was discovered that these passed into a proverb in the Arabian deserts, and inwere hawks, whose singularly long and sweeping stances of it abound in almost every other country. flight presented a remarkable spectacle. They came Strong and unfailing attachments, too, not, perhaps, from the mountains; soaring at first a vast distance so enduring as that of the dog, the most faithful of the overhead, but rapidly descending, evidently with the animal creation, but sufficiently powerful to defend it idea that the unusual objects seen moving across the from the charge of being a selfish brute, incapable of plain might prove to be prey for their voracity. Ap. || strong attachment to man. Thousands of instances parently, the appearance of the whites was formidable, || are on record by which the direct contrary is proved. for the flight of hawks, after coming so close as to be We dislike those sweeping and universal accusations, within the reach of the hand, suddenly wheeled round, even though it be only a horse that is in question. swept with easy motion into the air, and were soon Captain Sturt may not have found, among the eleven lost in the distance. This sight, sufficiently remark- / horses which accompanied the expedition, any animal able, alone rewarded the labour of a ride of forty miles, of remarkable fidelity, or which evinced any great atfor the natives had disappeared, having covered up tachment for any of the party; but this experience is their fires, and left their nets, as if with the intention not, we imagine, sufficient to establish a rule. These of returning; nevertheless, they did not make them- remarks, matters of opinion only though they be, we selves visible.

make with regret, for hitherto we have accompanied Another attempt proved more fortunate. Captain the able author of the present narrative, without being Sturt, being out with one or two companions, observed || called upon to utter a word of censure. Few works several sqnatting on the plain, and succeeded in ap- are there, indeed, and few writers, of whom the same proaching them. During a visit of two hours' dura- might be said. tion, however, no information concerning the seasons, Having returned to the creek, and being deterred, or the character of the distant interior, could be ob- || by the absence of water, from a proposed excursion to tained; since these people spoke a language, with nearly the eastward, Captain Sturt resolved to trace the every word of which the travellers were unacquainted. | creek, in the hopes that it might favour the future adAn attempt was made to induce them to visit the camp, || vance of the party into the interior. In pursuance of

this design he rode from the camp, with two companions, || river. He was never content to remain idle in one on the morning of the 17th, and kept along the place, and resolved to make the utmost of his time. edge of the water, which increased in quantity, now In company with Mr. Browne and two other men, spreading over large flats, now lying in a deep bed, he started on the 12th of February; and, after traand occasionally washing the spurs of the sand-hills versing a wide range, proceeded over plains of varied which formed the flat valley through which it ran. | nature, now grassy, now barren, and now covered with At the distance of about fifteen miles, another creek || rich mould. It was evident that water must exist formed a junction with the main one; and in a deep somewhere in that direction; and a few miles proved and shaded hollow was some water, so pure and clear, the truth of the conjecture. Towards evening, a large that the travellers could not refrain from stopping to serpentine pool was observed, surrounded by a stretch take tea beneath the trees. On the bank was a native of light alluvial soil, well fitted for cultivation, on but, neatly built and quite new, in which were some which were growing several new shrubs. Halting at few valuables, amongst them a piece of red ochre. this place, the travellers observed in the distance a The occupant, however, had ied. There were nu-il small column of smoke rising from the ground ; and, merous traces of natives along the edge of the creek, looking more narrowly, saw that a plain, covered with and the remains of small fires, extending in two lines short crisp grass, extended for miles in that direction. as far as the eye could reach. It appeared probable The grass was of that kind from which the natives that the aborigines encamped in this place at certain collect seed for subsistence at this season of the year. seasons of the year. The gum trees, with foliage of a Smoke was again seen in the morning; and, conclud. bright green, increased in number and size as they ad- | ing that some of the aborigines were encamped on the ranced. Further on, it was evident that the natives verge of the plain, Captain Sturt resolved to ashad suddenly retreated, since a quantity of grass, of a certain the fact. He, therefore, after a hasty peculiar kind, was spread out to dry on the sloping meal, pushed over a wide extent of flooded bank. The heat was excessive.

lands, covered with different kinds of grass, large A broad plain, across which the creek ran, now ex- | heaps of which had been threshed by the natives, tending into wide pools, and now narrowing, occupied | and piled up like haycocks. The distance was not several hours of the journey. A pretty, well-wooded, || inconsiderable. At length they arrived at a large but confined valley succeeded, through the bottom of clump of gum trees, where the channel, or creek, which which the creek continued to run for seven miles. A had been lost on the upper plains, again became visible. lofty white bank of saponaceous clay now crossed the It was here very broad, and quite bare, with the exvalley like a wall. Close to this there were signs of || ception of a belt of polygorum growing on either side, eddying waters, as if those of the creek had been thrown which had been set on fire, and was now in flames. back; but at a spot where the bank sunk low, these |A shallow sheet of water still rested in the bed, and pour over when they rise to its level. On ascend- close to it the party sat down to dine :ing the bank, they saw a beautiful park-like plain,

" It was singular enough that we should have pulled up close clothed with a rich growth of grass, and ornamented

to the camp of some natives, all of whom had hidden themselves by picturesque groups of trees. The change from the in the polygorum, except an old woman, who was asleep, but almost unvaried sterility they had left behind, to this who did not faint on seeing Mr. Browne close to her when she scene of verdure, was most striking. Leaving a dry, | awoke. With this old lady we endeavoured to enter into conbarren plain, they had entered the valley—the portal

, versation, and, in order to allay her fears, gave her five or six

cockatoos we had shot; on which two others crept from behind as it were, of the grassy park—whose extent was, how- the polygorun, and advanced towards us. Finding that the ever, limited, for, extending the gaze towards all men were out hunting, and only the women with the children points of the horizon, they could discern in the dis- were present, I determined to stop at this place until the followtance a circle of gum trees, inclosing the verdant oasis, || ing morning; we therefore unloaded the horses

, and allowed them behind which could be seen the bank of white clay, || their families. They were much astonished at seeing us quietly

to go and feed. A little before sunset, the two men returned to which encircled it as a rim. Traversing the park, || seated before their huts, and approached us with some caution, where the waters of the creek evidently exhausted | but soon got reconciled to our presence. One of them had themselves, and where the soil was so rich that it de- caught a lizard; but the other had not killed anything, so composed, Captain Sturt soon reached the opposite we gave him a dinner of mutton. The language of these side, and descending the slope, immediately found him- people was a mixture between that of the river and hill self on the brown scrub-covered plain, from which he understood their answers to general questions, we could not

tribes ; but, from what reason I am unable to say, although we had so recently emerged. Further on the sand-ridges gather any lengthened information from them. I gave the elder again commenced, the same arid country swept around, native a blanket, and to the other a knife, with both of which and sight was soon lost of the green face of the oasis. || they seemed highly delighted.” A short progress towards the south terminated the Captain Sturt subsequently paid the natives another excursion, and the party returned by another and less brief visit, and was received with cordiality. Two interesting route to the camp at Depot Glen. families of blacks joined them from the south, and

It was now evident that a further advance into the told the travellers that all the water in that neighnorth-west interior would be impossible, at least for bourhood had disappeared, “ that the sun had taken some months. A tedious imprisonment in the glenit ;” and that to the westward, in which direction was therefore to be expected, varied only by short ex- Captain Sturt proposed journeying, the same was the cursions into the surrounding districts. The spot case. After this discouraging announcement, our trawhere they were encamped lay considerably to the vellers resolved to return to the camp in Depot Glen. north-west of the Darling ; and Captain Sturt re- Here the heat was so excessive that the ground was solved, if possible, to ascertain the nature of the thoroughly warmed to a depth of three or four feet. country extending between the encampment and the Every screw in the boxes was drawn; the horn handles of the instruments and the combs were splity, there a verdant sweep of land was traversed. Occainto fine laminæ; the lead dropped out of the pencils ; || sional parties of the aborigines were encountered; the signal rockets were entirely spoiled; the wool on some of them carried from 150 to 200 beautiful jerthe sheep, and the hair of the head, ceased to grow ; || bous, in their bags. These animals are much sought the flour lost more than eight per cent. of its weight;|| after as food. They can seldom be caught except and so rapidly did the ink dry in the pen, that it was after a fall of rain, such as had just been experienced. difficult to write. An attempt was made in a few Lake Torrens, above a hundred miles distant from days to push on a little, but failed. The explorers the depot, presented its blue sheets of salt water to were forced to return to the glen. Ill health began their view on the 4th of August. Having minutely to make its appearance among the members of the examined it, and ascertained its bearings, Captain expedition. Mr. Poole became seriously ill, several of Sturt once more turned towards a depot which he had the officers were affected with scurvy, so that it ap- formed on the way, and where he determined to leave peared improbable that, when the season allowed of an a portion of the expedition, whilst he himself with a advance, all the party would be able to proceed. few companions pushed their way into the north-west

A solitary native, old and emaciated, half dead with interior. The site chosen for the camp was eligible. hunger and thirst, came to visit the camp. They It was a small, sandy rise, dotted with a few native could not learn whence he came ; he would, or could, huts. A broad sheet of water lay directly in front of give no information ; his demeanour was unlike that the tents, surrounded by numerous shady green trees, of any of their former visitors; it was neither timid, whilst a grassy plain, extending beyond, afforded nor marked by any display of curiosity. He remained abundant pasture for the cattle. Arrangements were for a fortnight with his new friends, and had grown | made for the erection of a stout stockade, besides absolutely fat before the expiration of that time, when which, a space was to be inclosed for the cattle to he took his departure. His presence had been a kind sleep in at night. of solace to the imprisoned travellers, who felt lonely Captain Sturt's advance was very rapid. The natufe when he had gone. Their position was now one of of the country was varied-grassy flats, stretches of scrub extreme discomfort. They had penetrated deep into land, undulating sand-rises, with a few creeks here and the heart of the country; before them stretched the there, alternated; while occasionally a spot of singular wide plains of the interior; around, the stony desert | beauty lay, like a rich gem, on the surface of the waste. extended its arid expanse : they could not retreat, |A singular phenomenon was observed at one place, neither could they advance; it was uncertain when where, in an isolated pond, of small size, thirteen fine release would come.

fish were discovered—a welcome meal for men who had “ We had witnessed migration after migration of the feathered | been living on an allowance of five pounds of flour per tribes, to that point to which we were so anxious to pursue our week. At length they entered upon immense plains, way. Flights of cockatoos, of parrots, of pigeons, and of bit-|| covered with tine grass; a few native buts, sometimes terns

, birds also whose notes had cheered us in the wilderness; tenantless, at others occupied by the Australian saall had taken the same high road to a better and more hospitable region. The vegetable kingdom was at a stand, and there was

vages, were passed. On one occasion, a warrior came nothing either to engage the attention or attract the eye.” down to the Europeans, with threatening gestures, in

The cattle and sheep had laid bare the ground for timating, as plainly as he could, that his tribe would miles around; the axe had made a broad gap in the destroy them if they advanced. Seeing, however, that pretty line of gum trees which ran along the creek ; his threats produced no effect, he softened his manner, while the water was observed to be gradually sinking and, finally, entered into friendly intercourse. and diminishing day after day, exhausted by the ani- We must not pause to accompany our traveller mals

, and dried up by the sun and winds. A species through every mile of his progress, interesting as it is. of melancholy came over the minds of the party; and, We must pass on across the stony desert with unto relieve the monotony of existence, the men were observing eyes, and, entering a new region, strike into employed in erecting a pyramid of stones, eighteen forests full of every description of birds, whose loud fcet in height, and twenty-one feet at the base, at the and discordant notes formed a strange concert as the summit of Red Hill. The employment was salu- | travellers passed through. They had so long lost sight tary; but little did its projector think that he was of the feathered crcation that the appearance of these engaged in raising a monument for his fellow-travel- || birds was a novelty. In the bed of a wide creek were ler, Mr. Poole. Such, however, was the fact; the two magnificent trees, the largest in the forest, and rude structure looks over the lonely grave, a record of beneath them was a mound of earth, where Captain suffering, pain, and death. Too often does it happen Sturt discovered a well of unusual dimensions. It that the enthusiasm of the explorer is checked by the was twenty-two feet in depth, and eight feet wide at loss of a dear friend, whose absence is the more the top ; well-trodden paths led from this spot towards acutely felt on account of the wild loneliness of a new all points of the compass. Striking into one which region. Early in July the first rain fell, the waters ran to the left, the travellers soon came upon a village of the creek rose once more, and the pattering of the consisting of nineteen huts; containing, however, no shower upon the tents and in the pool, formed the evidences of recent occupation. Troughs and stones sweetest music in the ears of the long-pent-up party for grinding seed were lying about, with broken spears of adventurers.

and shields. Two or three of the dwellings were of On the 10th, Mr. Poole died. His remains were considerable size, to each of which smaller ones were placed in the ground, beneath the shade of a gavillia ; || attached, opening into the main apartment. Small and the onward march was commenced in melancholy || boughs lay scattered about, and the appearauce of the and sad foreboding. Water was never too plentiful, the place altogether tended to show that the inhabitants earth was still comparatively barren, although here and only lived here during the season in which they collect

the box-tree seeds for subsistence. No living creature || menced. The backward journey, which was marked was near; and the party retreated by the way they | by countless curious and interesting incidents, was came, and bivouacked in the forest, by the well. soon commenced. We cannot pausc to linger over the

But it was at length made apparent that to pene events of that retreat. It was a melancholy one. The trate further into the interior was impossible. Water expedition had failed just when it was so near the fuland pastures deserted the travellers' path, and nothing | filment of its objects; we can enter fully into the feel. save a dry and scrubby plain extended in front. Theings of Captain Sturt--the indefatigable traveller, who following extract will illustrate the uninviting aspect succumbed only to invincible obstacles. We take of the country:

leave of our author, thanking him for the entertain" Long parallel lines of sandy ridges ran up northwards, further ment and information we have derived from the peruthan we could see, and rose in the same manner on either side. sal of liis most remarkable and valuable work. It Their sides were covered with spinifex, but there was a clear will take its place by the side of the narratives of space at the bottom of the valleys ; and, as there was really no

Captains Stokes, Leichardt, Grey, Eyre; and, of those choice, we proceeded down one of them for twelve miles.

" At this point, the open space at the bottom of the valleys in other quarters of the world, of Brooke, Keppel, and had closed in, and the cart, during the latter part of the journey, Mundy. In saying this, we pay the highest compliment had gone jolting over the tufts and circles of spinifex, to the great to Captain Sturt. It sufficiently characterises the merit distress of the horse. Grass and water had both failed, nor could of his work. Further criticism would be superfluous, I see the remotest chance of any change in the character of the

save that we should not omit to say a word in favour cinntry. It was clear, therefore, that, until rain should fall, it

of the numerous beaạtiful and delicately-executed plates was perfectly impracticable; and, with such a conviction in my mind, I felt that it would only be endangering the lives of those which illustrate the volumes. As a narrative of advenwho were with me, if I persevered in advancing. I therefore tures and incidents, of anecdote and information, the determined to fall back upon the creek.”

present has seldom been surpassed. It will be read The retreat to the creek was accordingly effected with eagerness by all who feel interested in the prowithout delay. Captain Sturt had resolved to repeat gress of Australian discovery. Captain Sturt failed in the attempt as soon as a few showers of rain should the ultimate object of his expedition ; but that failure have moistened the face of the country, and afforded was certainly owing to anything but want of energy, a chance of existence for the wanderers in those barren intrepidity, or ability on the part of the adventurous solitudes; but the onward progress was never recom- leader of the exploring party.


Author of“ Hours of Recreation."

But weak must have been the response of thy heart,
Be mindful how you wound a heart

Which I pictured so gentle and truc,
That is so much your own:

Since the foes to my peace could thus rend us apart:
The bonds of love, once rent apart,

But thou’rt gone-and, for ever, adieu !
Can bring but pain alone.

Nor think that I can soon forget

Come, kiss me, sweet, and drown the past
How blest we might have been,

In Lethe's fabled stream:
If enviòus spirits had not set

Let us have pleasures while they last,
So wide a gulf between.

For life is but a dream.
We can have foes whene’er we will;

So soon its smiles will fade away,
But seldom those that love

Though bright they do appear ;
Are linked in holy bonds until

Tlıey're like the light that shines upon
They join in peace above.

A fallen angel's tear.
Be mindful, then ; remember, too,
My heart is still thinc own;

So closely are they link'd with pain,

And yet so brief their stay;
It clings to thee, and loves thee truc,

As bright as stars that fall from heav'n,
Though thine, alas, seems gone.

As soon to fade away.

Then kiss me, sweet, my lovely heart,
Yes, yes, 'twill be better to meet thee no more;

While yet we may enjoy
I've loved thee too dearly till now,

The pleasant dreams of pure delight,
And all I had cherished so fondly before

We'll not that bliss destroy:
Must bring but a shade on my brow.
I knew not thy heart could so lightly esteem

We will forget the wrongs of foes,
The warm love that so fondly I gave;

We will forgive them too;
But love is a blossom that floats down a stream,

For hate should be repaid with love,
That looks bright while it sinks in the wave.

And wrongs with kindness true:
Go, go, if thou wilt, for I would not retain

The heart that will not keenly feel,
The heart that's not wholly my own :

Nor change when thus repaid,
I wish not to gaze on thy features again,

Oh, we will weep that it was not
Since the gem I so treasured is gone.

For gentler uses made.


[blocks in formation]

How throbbed my heart, when, through the morning skies,
The towers of Zion met my longing eyes !
When, one by one, along the horizon's verge,
I saw the hallowed landmarks first emerge;
And felt my glorious privilege to trace
The hills that guard Jehoval's dwelling-place !
There, gathered in majestic frame, were set
Moriah --Zion-Calvary-Olivet;
Where halos of departed glory still,
With sacred light, encompass every hill ;
While godlike forms of priests and prophets rise,
And kings, who held their sceptres from the skies,
Still throw their hallowed mantle o'er the scene,
And marshal round their “ melancholy Queen"
The “Queen of Nations !" Lo, how pale she stands,
With wildered look, mute lips, and clasped hands!

Yet, widowed Queen ! immortal is thy dower
The name of God is writ on every tower!

gaze, as if entranced ! my spirit fraught
With sounds and thoughts—« unterchable, untaught”-
Feelings, that ask for utterance in vain,
Swell in my heart, and throb within my brain.
And hark ! as with slow step I muse along,
The rocks still echo to the angels' song!
From green Gethsemane--from Siloa's wave-
From Kedron's brook-grey sepulchre and cave-
Each mound and vale, by saint and martyr trod,
Still shout, “Hosanna to the Son of God!"

[merged small][ocr errors]

On yonder height, in many a heaving mound
Of human dust, behold her battle-ground !
There, marshalled for her rescue or her fall,
Host after host has girt her sacred wall !
The Roman cohorts, and the fierce Crusade-
Moor-Moslem-Saracen--in steel arrayed ;
Iberian chiefs—the chivalry of France -
Have twang'd the bow and couched the quivering lance ;
And England's battle-axe wiped out in blood
The insults aimed at the triumphant Rood-
Rolled back the battering-rams that shook her wall-
Resolved to conquer—yet content to fall-
If there, at last, their ashes might repose
Where Jesus lived and suffered-died and rose !

At such an hour, on such a scene to gaze,
Inspires new life, each former toil repays-
Blunts in my heart the stings of earthly care,
And crowns with rich reward the pilgrim's prayer.
For lo, at last, through scenes of various death-
Strife---storm--the desert's pestilential breath
I touch the goal -I tread the hallowed ground
Where man was ransomed and the Saviour crowned!
Where Zion's gate, the gate of heaven, appears,
And thoughts, too deep for words, dissolve in tears !

W. B.


To the soul their answer cometh,

Thought-languaged—“That thou may'st know The Infinite's love for ever

Is turned to the world below.”

I SCARCE can sce the pathway,

Then I dream with him who called them

“ The poetry of heaven" With the lofty thoughts through ages

To mind their light has given : With those who, forsaking slumbers,

I wander the world of dreams, Who gave, in musical numbers,

Re-preachings of their beams :
I see, in mail, star rivetted,

Orion climbing his way,
As he goes, sword-shenthed, still “circling,"

In “eternal youth,” for aye.
And I would, oh, mighty warrior!

That, like thine, were mine the time To live till the world were living

In the light of peace sublime ! But the town's light steals upon me,

And it dims my thinkings bright; They pale and fade, as your beauty,

From mine eye, in the streets' red light.
But ye messengers supernal,

Within, through you, I find
I have walked in the light eternal-
The eternal light of mind !


'Tis so dim; and the light Of the far-off town but dazzles

The searchings of my sight. I can hear the sighing burthen

Of the north wind's passing wing; But Nature, quiet, listeneth

For the first faint voice of spring.

No footfalls through the chill air

On my seeking ears alight, And the stars alone companion

My pathway home to-night.

So I list, as to a singing,

For the thoughts which they convey,
To the soul a radiance bringing

As the noon of open day :
For their language, as they “brighten

Before the Eternal Eye,”
Of the All for aye unsleeping

In his love and majesty. I think of the mighty poets

Who, in strains time never mars, Discoursed with a truthful earnest

Of those flowers of night—the stars !
Yon solemn planet reminds me

Of him, as it climbs the steep,
With whom I ask, “ For whom shine ye,

When all men are asleep”.

* Inscribed to the Author of "Walks in and around Jerusalem." + North side of the City.

« PreviousContinue »