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By the Grey Gulf-water

by
 Far to the Northward there lies a land, 
A wonderful land that the winds blow over, 
And none may fathom or understand 
The charm it holds for the restless rover; 
A great grey chaos -- a land half made, 
Where endless space is and no life stirreth; 
There the soul of a man will recoil afraid 
From the sphinx-like visage that Nature weareth.
But old Dame Nature, though scornful, craves Her dole of death and her share of slaughter; Many indeed are the nameless graves Where her victims sleep by the Grey Gulf-water.
Slowly and slowly those grey streams glide, Drifting along with a languid motion, Lapping the reed-beds on either side, Wending their way to the North Ocean.
Grey are the plains where the emus pass Silent and slow, with their dead demeanour; Over the dead man's graves the grass Maybe is waving a trifle greener.
Down in the world where men toil and spin Dame Nature smiles as man's hand has taught her; Only the dead men her smiles can win In the great lone land by the Grey Gulf-water.
For the strength of man is an insect's strength In the face of that mighty plain and river, And the life of a man is a moment's length To the life of the stream that will run for ever.
And so it comes that they take no part In small world worries; each hardy rover Rides like a paladin, light of heart, With the plains around and the blue sky over.
And up in the heavens the brown lark sings The songs the strange wild land has taught her; Full of thanksgiving her sweet song rings -- And I wish I were back by the Grey Gulf-water.

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