John Liddell Kelly (1850-1926)


At twenty-five I cast my horoscope,
And saw a future with all good things rife --
A firm assurance of eternal life
In worlds beyond, and in this world the hope
Of deathless fame. But now my sun doth slope
To setting, and the toil of sordid strife,
The care of food and raiment, child and wife,
Have dimmed and narrowed all my spirit's scope.

Eternal life -- a river gulphed in sands!
Undying fame -- a rainbow lost in clouds!
What hope of immortality remains
But this: "Some soul that loves and understands
Shall save thee from the darkness that enshrouds";
And this: "Thy blood shall course in others' veins"?


More than a fleshly immortality
Is mine. Though I myself return again
To dust, my qualities of heart and brain,
Of soul and spirit, shall not cease to be.
I view them growing, day by day, in thee,
My first-begotten son; I trace them plain
In you, my daughters; and I count it gain
Myself renewed and multiplied to see.

But sadness mingles with my selfish joy,
At thought of what you may be called to bear.
Oh, passionate maid! Oh, glad, impulsive boy!
Your father's sad experience you must share --
Self-torture, the unfeeling world's annoy,
Gross pleasure, fierce exultance, grim despair!

(Texts from An Anthology of Australian Verse (1907?) from Project Gutenberg.)