Jane Wilde

27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896

The New Path

We stand in the light of a dawning day,
With its glory creation flushing;
And the life‐currents up from the pris’ning clay
Through the world’s great heart are rushing.
While from peak to peak of the spirit land
A voice unto voice is calling:
The night is over, the day is at hand,
And the fetters of earth are falling!

Yet, faces are pale with a mystic fear
Of the strife and trouble looming;
And we feel that mighty changes are near,
Tho’ the Lord delayeth his coming.

For the rent flags hang from each broken mast,
And down in the ocean’s surges
The shattered wreck of a foundering Past
Sinks mid the night wind’s dirges.

But the world goes thundering on to the light,
Unheeding our vain presages;
And nations are cleaving a path to Right
Through the mouldering dust of ages.
Are we, then, to rest in a chill despair,
Unmoved by these new elations;
Nor carry the flag of our Island fair
In the onward march of nations?

Shall our hands be folded in slumber, when
The bonds and the chains are shattered;
As stony and still as enchanted men,
In a cave of darkness fettered?
The cave may be dark, but we’ll flash bright gleams
Of the morning’s radiance on it,
And tread the New Path, tho’ the noontide beams,
As yet, fall faintly upon it.

For souls are around us, with gifts divine,
Unknown and neglected dying;
Like the precious ore in a hidden mine,
Unworked and as useless lying.
We summon them forth to the banded war,
The sword of the Spirit using,
To come with their forces from near and far,
New strength with our strength infusing.

Let each bear a torch with the foremost bands,
Through the Future’s dark outgoing;
Or stand by the helm, mid the shoals and sands
Of the river of life fast flowing.

Or as guides on the hills, with a bugle note,
Let us warn the mountain ranger
Of the chasms that cross and the mists that float
O’er his upward path of danger.

For the chasms are deep, and the river is strong,
And the tempest is wildly waking;
We have need of brave hands to guide us along
The path which the Age is taking.
With our gold and pearls let us build the State;
Faith, courage, and tender pity
Are the gems that shine on the golden gate
Of the Angels’ Heavenly city.

O People! so richly endowed with all
The splendours of spirit power,
With the poet’s gift and the minstrel‐soul,
And the orator’s glorious dower;
Are hearts not amongst us, or lips to vow,
With patriot fervour breathing,
To crown with their lustre no alien brow
While the thorn our own is wreathing.

Ev’n lovelier gifts on our lowly poor,
Kind Nature lavishly showers,
As the gold rain falls on the cottage door,
Of the glowing laburnam flowers;
The deathless love for their Country and God
Undimmed through the ages keeping,
Tho’ the fairest harvests that grew on our sod
Were left for the stangers’ reaping.

The gentle grace that to commonest words
Gives a rare and tender beauty;
With the zeal that would face a thousand swords
For their Country, home and duty.

Still breathing the prayer for their Motherland
Her wrongs and her sorrows taught them;
Tho’ the scaffold’s doom, or the felon‐brand,
Were the only gifts she brought them.

But we, let us bring her—as eastern kings,
At the foot of Christ low kneeling
The gold that symbols our costliest things,
And myrrh for the spirit’s healing
Oh, Brothers! be with us, our aim is high,
The highest of man’s vocation:
With these priceless jewels, that round us lie,
To build up a noble Nation.
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