Ode to Governor Bowen

Year: 1859
An Ode to George Ferguson Bowen[1], Knight
 On his arrival in Queensland 
 
                                 by Charles Frederic Chubb
 
Bless’d be the gales and fav’ring winds
That brought thee, Bowen, to these shores,
Where Nature wild her untold stores
Of wealth has buried; where teeming mines,
With sparkling gems, yet hidden from the gaze
Of man’s quick searching vision, dwell in vain;
Where glorious sunshine darts alone her rays
On fallow ground, unbless’d with yellow grain.
 
This sunny land, which thou hast come to rule,
Is but an infant in his swaddling bands,
Pent up unkindly by the fostering hands
Of dubious nurses, from an uncouth school;
With grievous wrong, time past, the young child’s career[2]
Hath been untimely check’d, till, sad to say,
His infant spirit has begun to droop
And but for this bright era might have died[3].
 
Our bounteous Queen, o’er whose majestic sway
The sun ne’er quenches his revolving beam,
At length has deign’d to mark the happy day,
When tyranny shall cease; and now we seem
To view an omen of more prospering mien,
That greets once more our senses and our mind,
And gilds our hopes with bright and hallow’d sheen,
That with thy advent we true joy shall find.
 
The trump of Fame to this far distant land
Thy name has sounded, for the godlike fire
Of intellect, ‘tis said, has fixed its brand
Upon thee, and the undying tiar
Of ivy, sages’ symbol, sits upon thy brow;
May Fortune kind whilst in this happy hour
She breaks the chain that rivets us to Sydney now,
Weave thee a fresh chaplet from fair Freedom’s bower.
 
May Justice stern, with Wisdom at her side,
Proclaim that right shall be dispensed to all;
And may bold Honesty, with Reason for a guide,
Attend thy footsteps in the Council Hall;
Let private worth, allied to energy of mind,
To thy good Government sure passport find;
Then will our children, while all time shall stand,
Cry, God bless thee Bowen, Heaven bless Queensland!
 
Ipswich, December 1859.
 
 
 
[1] (1821-1899) First Governor of Queensland (1859-1866).
 
[2] This copy uses the text of the original satin Ode, now held by the Royal Queensland Historical Society. In the version of ‘Fugitive Pieces’ from 1881, Chubb has changed the word ‘career’ to ‘growth’, presumably because it scans better.
 

[3] The 1881 text uses ‘would decay’ instead of ‘might have died’ presumably because it rhymes. I think that ‘might have died’ might have been the printer’s interpretation of Chubb’s handwriting.