Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

My Own Green Isle (1868)
By the Irish Girl. (From the Nation.)

My own bright, my bright, my beautiful.
Green Island of the wave ;
Sweet land of legend and of the song ;
Land of the kind and brave ;
Gem of the ocean's billowy breast,
Still fondly turns my heart to thee,
My loved, my sea--girt home.

Although my feet have wandered far
From thy green sunny hills--
Far from thy Verdant, flowery meads,
And from thy murmuring rills.
Although I tread thy vales no more,
Nor climb the mountains wild,
Where rings the sportive, happy laugh,
Of many a rustic child ;

Yet mem'ry oft returns to thee--
Oft fancy takes the reins,
And leads my dreaming spirit back
To Erin's fertile plains.
E'en now I seem to tread the path
In childhood known so well ;
The green bank by the sunny sea,
The valley and the dell.

The old churchyard upon the hill--
I see its waving trees--
I see, amid the long green grass,
The footsteps of the breeze,
With wave--like motion, sweep along
The sad and sacred turf,
Where weary hearts find dreamless rest
Beneath its tear--washed turf.

I see it in the golden light
Autumnal eves bestow ;
And there I seem to linger with
That brightly mournful glow,
And push aside the long green grass,
To read each sculptured stone,
O'er which the fitful breezes sigh
With hollow, dirge--like moan ;

And think, as then I used to think,
Far happier those who sleep
So peaceful in their lonely home,
Than those who live to weep--
To wander through life's vale of tears,
And find each pathway spread
With blighted hopes, like withered flowers,
All cold, and crushed, and dead.

What eye could weep for those who leave
This dearth in infant years ?
Alas ! 'tis but a wilderness--
Bestrewed,with thorns and tears--
Thus do I seem to think, and thus
Such mournful thoughts will come,
Commingling with the shadowy joys
That hover o'er my home.

Yet brightly gleams (though chequered o'er
With many a darkening shade)
The visionary vale of life,
By fancy's wand pourtrayed.
And still I seem to tread my own
Green Island of the sea,
In all the brightly--pictured dream
Fond Hope holds forth to me.

I'm far from thee, my beautiful ;
The, seas between us roam
I've strayed from thee, my beautiful ;
But thou art still my home.
Sooner shall Israel's dark--eyed race
(Though scattered o'er the earth)
Forget their tribe, than I forget
The country of my birth.


From the Melbourne newspaper The Advocate 3 Oct 1868 p. 12.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory