I am beginning with the poem MELINDA wrote following the death of her son Henry from Decadence and Desolation. I, myself , don’t like Henry but the poem has given me the title of the Blog so there we will begin. Melinda was born in PITT TOWN NSW in 1815. To a British Army Deserter transported for life . Patrick McNally was his name. He may well have had a D branded on his arm because that was done back then. D for DESERTER. (i) Her mother Judith Kilfroy McDermott had sailed on the Broxbornebury and arrived in Sydney on the same day as Patrick who was on the Surry I.

Be that as it may (and most of it is on MELINDA KENDALL) in the year 1839 Melinda had twin boys born down South near Ulladulla. One of these became HENRY – poet and drunkard.       http://melindakendall.wordpress.com/

Melinda was down on the South Coast with her husband, Basil Kendall, in disgrace as we now determine from articles in the Sydney Gazette. These were early days of white settlement as is reflected in the poem below. Written much later but speaking of the 1830s- 1840s and onwards.



He was born at the foot of the mountain,

He was taught his first letter in sand;

His companions – mimosas and gum trees,

And the beautiful birds of our land.

To his ear the wild scream of the curlew

Was sweeter than sweetest of flutes;

And the silvery tinkling of bell birds

More soothing than fair ladies’ lutes.

The despised aborigines loved him;

They partook of his dry crust of bread;

And he followed wherever they led him,

Without fear of peril or dread.

He grew up, ‘mid struggles, to manhood,

And then he burst forth into song

That will always be heard in Australia,

Its mountains and gullies among.

Then came to his heart a great first love,

Which could never be conquered by time;

Hence his muse was oft draped in sadness,

And she wore it sometimes in his rhymes.

A first disappointment is bitter,

And may bring in its train many woes;

Though it seems but a trifling matter

To be baulked in just plucking a rose.

But pride, with its wing, covered over

The vulture that tore at his breast;

None knew what it was but this writer

It was a sealed book to the rest.

Then that curse of all curses most cursed

That scourge of our fair native land

Seized its victim, securely it bound him,

He could find no escape from its hand.

The Eumenides closely pursued him,

They always seemed close on his track;

He feared to look upward or downward,

He dared not go forward or back.

Then, like Dante, he trod the “Inferno,”

When he lifted the maddening cup;

And now, what remained to him farther?

In despair, he must needs drink it up.

His physique, never strong at the best time,

Succumbed to this demon’s great power,

And caused the best fruit of his genius

Unheeded to lie in her bower.

But at last, he is quietly sleeping,

And the present will soon be the past;

If this thought can bring comfort in sorrow,

All wrong will be righted at last.

And now he can dream out his dreaming,

Away in those regions sublime,

Without fear of encountering a critic,

Or the tempting red juice of the vine.

And from thence like another Elija

His mantle on earth he may cast,

To be worn by a second Elisha,

Who will write his grand epic at last.

(Illawarra Mercury, April 19, 1884)






About nellibell49


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