The Happy Islands
O FAR away, and far away,
The Happy Islands lie;
In bluer seas of calm than these,
Beneath a bluer sky.
The sea, a shining girdle, winds
Round cliff and cape and bay,
With flash and gleam, and there they dream,
O far and far away!
Upon a rim of sapphire sea,
As some sweet girl might lean
Her breast of snow, my Islands glow,
All exquisite and green.
The cliffs like shining ramparts rise,
The golden beaches gleam;
And thro' the hills sing silver rills,
And cataract and stream.
Bright in a mist of leaves, on height
And headland, waving high,
The flame-flowers lean, and burn between
Splendours of sea and sky.
The still, bright forests, massed and green,
Like painted woodlands glow
In shade and shine; and belts of pine
Climb up to meet the snow.
No burning drought with fevered breath,
Nor blight of bitter hail,
Blackens the yield of fruitful field,
Nor sears the flowery vale.
Ah me! my Isles! my Happy Isles!
The Isles that nurtured me;
My heart is fain to cross again
Those leagues of purple sea,—
To watch at sunset from the hills
The headlands fade in mist,
'Mid changing glows, of gold and rose
I tread to-day a sunless strand
Under sad skies of grey,
But summer smiles in my fair Isles
So far and far away.
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