Spotlight: Morgan, the Bushranger (Poem; 15 April 1865)

Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (Vic. : 1860 – 1870), Saturday 15 April 1865, page 3


MORGAN, THE BUSHRANGER

Dark, brooding, melancholy, and alone,
Beast-like, the ruffian plundered, prowled and slew,

Without a rival or compeer to own
His fellowship ; all shuddered in his view.

Like to a tiger whose fierce maw once drew
The life-blood from some shrieking unaware,

And ever after’s thirsty to renew
The baleful draught ; still watching from his lair,
Where fetid bones, half-gnawed, pollute and plague the air.

Thus seemed the human monster ; he had swilled
His godless hands full oft in human gore :

It was a pastime— horrid, grim, but filled
His fiendish longing restlessness for more.

It joyed the tiger’s instinct in his core ;
Or devil’s impulse that delighted in

Such deeds as man bad never done before ;
That sighed to top the summit of all sin
Which man hath scaled, where devildom can but begin.

He knew no refuge where all perils past,
If Fortune warded him, to seek for rest ;

He felt no ray of hope ; his choice had cast
It all away as an unwelcome guest.

He wooed no such like blisses to his breast.
He sought no pleasures such as humans seek

Who love by sweetnesses to be caressed.
His joys were ills and mischiefs ; and to wreak
Fiends’ deeds in equal triumph o’er the strong and weak.

Strange was his choice — and dark must be his soul
Erratic all the spheres upon his birth —

To choose a present easeless lot, with goal
Dark— darker than his end upon the earth.

No wealthy comforts beckoned to their worth
To compensate him here for future pain.

It was a lot of woe — a total dearth
Of all the good that mankind loves to gain ;
And which, sans virtue, Reason would not wish obtain.

And yet amid his deeds of ruthlessness
Some sparks of human sympathy would steal;

And then he seemed as if be would that less
Of odium had on him burnt its seal ;

As if in men’s eyes yet he cherished weal
But this was when on calmer moments bent ;

When he could see the pleasures others feel,
But ere his soul could purpose to relent
His passions loosed their springs and got unbridled vent

He was a terror ; he had made a name ;
‘Twas all he had for glory and for pride ;

‘Twas all his harm [?] that’s deserved [?] shame
Most infamous to all the w? ll? b?

Yes, he was great ; for[?] blood his hand had dyed,
And Iong men’s tongues had chosen him ? theme.

But do I when Death appears with sudden stride,
And changes all the “spirit of his dream,”
Who is there but doth shout in joyousness supreme?

He stood a terror midst a host of foes ; —
A moment and that terror was no more.

The unseen missile brought him low as those
Had helpless on his mercies lain before.

A few short hours his mortal course was o’er,
And he was but a lump of lifeless clay!

Oh, what collapse! that o’er the fearful doer
Of fearful deeds should thus be brought to bay
And helpless lay him down ‘neath Death’s all conquering sway.

Hamilton, April 12. B. H.

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