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1 correction by doug.butler - Show corrections



Sir — it it were not presumptuous to ques tion the judgment of that literary " council of four' who, after having gravely discussed the comparative merits of a multitude of claimants

for poetical pre-eminence, have satisfied them selves (if not the public) by awarding the prize to one with the grandiloquent title of ' The Song of Australia,' I should (with per mission) feel grateful to be allowed to enter my modest protest against the soundness of that judgment. 'Poeta nascitur non fit' is a truth that seems to have been unknown to the minds of those gentlemen ; for this lyrical effu- sion, short though it be, contains none of that spirit of poesy which cannot be simulated without discovery, and which alone, with but little assistance from Art, stamps its presence as a divine gift. Let me, however, deprecate the ire of the fair authoress. My strictures apply now solely to the critical acumen dis played by the judges of her poem ; they have passed the work, and are responsible for it. I and some other working men would ask the comite, as they have published this patriotic (?) lyric, to explain some of the apparent obscuri-

ties that render the sense very misty to our un- polished minds. First, we wish to be informed how the skies of Australia, being coloured or tinted with a 'thousand dyes,' can be 'all blue?' Secondly, what is meant by saying 'honey flows' in this colony ? We never heard that it was a very abundant article ; and if meant meta- phorically, it is in bad taste. Better have said something about sheep and wool instead. Also, we wish to know how ' hidden wealth ' can gleam in darkness ; how that wealth can be only 'fabled wealth,' and how it can appear to be a reality at the same time ? We would ask, too, if not too pressing, what is that ' hidden minstrelsy ' that is supposed to mingle with the jubilant laughter of children ? Surely it cannot be that questionable sort emanating from dingoes, moreporks, or laugh ing-jackasses ? Lastly, how can that ubiquitous 'flag' that represents (we guess) the power of Great Britain be on the 'mountain top,' the ' girdling sea,' and be borne by every 'free- man's hand ' at the same time ? And how came that same sea to be ' girdled ? ' Surely there is something wrong in our geography. To conclude, what will 'all the talents' of the other colonies say to our cool assumption of being the 'fairest daughter' of England's dependencies ? Shall we not be met in return for such an egotistical boast by 'loud laughter and ironical cheers ' from all her other sisters ? We pause for a reply. BLUE SHIRT.