The Explorers' Doom

Year: 1866

  

The Explorers' Doom.[1]

                           By George Vowles
 
ON New Holland's burning plains,
Where savage races dwell
Not held by slavish chains,
The brave explorers fell.
 
Beyond the ways of men,
Where glory reigns alone
In the desired clime--
There hopes were overthrown.
 
They then had reached that goal
Their eyes had looked for long:
Where sandy wavelets roll
Is hushed their voice of song.
 
Theirs was a song of praise
To Him who suffered men
Explore the desert ways
With thoughts of home again.
 
But vainly in each breast
Did gleams of joy arise;
Upon the sand they rest—
Their winding sheet the skies.
 
A scattered heap of bones
Is all that now remains
Of glory's noble sons
On the Australian plains.
 
Blanched by the dews that fall
Within that sultry clime,
They nobly seem to all
A beacon throughout Time;—
 
A beacon that will shine
When men themselves have fled,
And verdant branches twine
Above the unburied dead:—
 
A beacon that will guide
The rising youth to fame,
And lure them to its side,
To learn what's in a name.
 
 
George Vowles
Ipswich, November 27.
 
The Queenslander, Sat 8 December 1866, p3. 
 
[1] This is probably about the fate of Burke and Wills, whose expedition perished in 1861, but may have been occasioned by the death of John McDouall Stuart, news of whose death reached Queensland in August of 1866.