by C Provis
|South Australian Advertiser|
Friday, 13 December 1861. p. 3.
Australia-mourn ! thy brightest star is fled,
Thy hero of explorers now lies dead;
That spirit once so ardent, brave, and true,
Has breathed to all on earth its last adieu.
With fearless heart he led the dang'rous way,
No perils could his onward progress stay;
Privations could not force him to retreat,
Until his arduous journeywas complete.
He forced a passage through that desert land,
And reach'd in safety Carpentaria's strand.
For this great feat give Burke a hero's due,
A feat which many tried, but none could do.
With weaken'd frame his steps he then retraced
Across that dreary, trackless, desert waste;
Sanguine of hope at Cooper's Creek to find
The few companions he had left behind.
But what his thoughts to find his party gone,
And he by far too weak to journey on!
What cruel hearts thus to desert their chief,
When most he stood in need of their relief!
Had they a few short hours prolong'd their stay,
The gallant Burke had been alive to day.
With feeble, tottering steps, and almost nude,
He vainly sought, amongst the natives rude,
To find that succour which his friends denied,
But, finding none-exhausted nature died!
There none were near him, with Religion's pow'r,
To soothe the anguish of his dying hour.
No grieving friends were there -no pitying tear-
To mitigate his pangs while ling'ring here!
No loving wife received his dying breath,
Or fondly press'd the hand now cold in death;
No anxious mother, when the spirit fled,
Perform'd the last sad office for the dead.
o downy bed was there where he reposed;
No father's hand his qinVring limbs composed;
No sorrowing brother closed his glazing eye;
No weeping sister watch'd the suff'rer die.
He died alone! In regions far away,
Where still he lies to moulder in decay,
Go! bring his bones, and o'er them raise a tomb,
And there lament thy hero's mournful doom;
Where all who live may read his honor'd name,
And thousands yet unborn may learn his.
Melrose, November 12, 1861