Through the Heads in the blue heat-haze,
See the hulls of the schooners glide –
Long white trails on the cloven tide –
Steering in to the gleaming bays.
Flecked with flame till they seem as one;
Domes and steeples and glistening spires
Cleave the smoke of a million fires,
Kissing warm in the dawning sun.
Crowds that sever and surge and meet,
Crowds that clamor and sound along –
Like the lilt of a blind man’s song,
Falls the tread of their drifting feet.
Up the Strand where the white girls go,
Down the lanes where the half-breeds play –
White and yellow, yellow and grey –
One there creeps like a shade of woe;
City, see where the Half-Breed stands –
Vain the guns at your Harbor Mouth!
Spawn o’ the East and the hot, red South
Holds your heart in her unclean hands.
Foetid, foul, to the sweet-breathed sea,
Blows the blast from her burning lips,
Floating out to the anchored ships,
Drifting down on the winding Quay.
Sears the kiss of her loathsome mouth –
Spreads the blight of her poisoned veins,
Gorged and full with the blood she drains –
Ah, the blood of the fresh young South!
‘The Half-Breed,’ Bulletin 26 Aug 1904: 3. NSW.
See also Verses 1905: 69-70.