Burke & Wills Web
The online digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020

by Alfred Kenyon Holden

(Written in 1877 - Cooper's Creek)

Cairns Post
Cairns, Queensland.
Thursday, 15 August 1929, page 10.

I stand beneath the very tree,
Where breathed was Burke's last sigh,
O'er me wave the rustling boughs
That mourned to see him die.

And my fancy weaves a sadness
Which seems to hover over all,
The very bean trees dark green leaves
Seem placed by nature as a pall.

And the sighing leaves to breathe a knell,
Give but these boughs a tongue,
And oh! how sad a story
Of manhood faded in its prime
Robbed of successes glory.

Of aspersions checked
By fate's unpitying hand
Of the last sad submission
So mournefull - yet so grand
Their pitying tale would tell.

How the grand pioneer
Trod proudly first his new found land,
Steering the barque "Success"
With a firm and steady hand.

Of his faltering steps returning
To the sad and lonely bier
Where "Death" withered the laurels
Won at a price so dear.

Flow on thou turbid stream,
And with each gliding wave
Murmur a pitying anthem,
Over "Burke's" lonely grave.
Let all surrounding nature join
And swell the mournful chorus,
Wail we for the stately dead
Whose last bed lies before us.

www.burkeandwills.net.au Burke & Wills Web The digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020, Dave Phoenix