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Lost quotations

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"She sat on the rocks" - poem about a woman transported to Australia | 20-Mar-11

Our enquirer learned this poem at school, and associates the poem with her own great great grandmother.

It is about a convict woman transported to Australia, and includes the lines:

"She sat on the rocks her tired eyes teased and [ ...] by thoughts of yore

And straining her sense was an alien sky, an alien sea and an alien shore"

3 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!

Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


This is SYDNEY COVE 1788 by Roderic Quinn

SHE sat on the rocks, her fireless eyes
Teased and tired with the thoughts of yore;
And paining her sense were alien skies,
An alien sea and an alien shore.
In gold-green dusks she glimpsed new flowers
And the glittering wings of gleaming birds ?
But haunting her still were English bowers
And the clinging sweetness of old love-words.
A soft breeze murmured of unknown shores
And laughed as it touched her with fingers light,
But she mourned the more for the wind that roars
Down sullen coasts on a northern night.
Like topaz gems on a sable dome
The stranger stars stole shyly forth;
She saw no stars like the stars of home
That burned, white-fired, in the frosty north.
A restless sea was at her feet,
A restless sea of darkest blue;
The lights burned dimly on The Fleet,
And these were all the ships it knew.
She watched the dark tides rise and fall,
The lion-tides that, night and noon,
Range round the world, and moan and call
In sad sea-voices to the moon.
Thus while she watched they ebbed and flowed;
Till last with sudden splendour Day
Lit all the scene with gold, and showed
An arrow black on a garb of gray.
Tina Rath

Thank you so much Tina, I have been looking the poem Sydney Cove for many years, I learnt it in primary school. Not knowing that the poem reflected the lives of two of my gg grandmothers that I never knew but now feel extremely close to.
Regards Maeve Bayliss Symonds
Mavis Symonds

I'm so pleased it was the right one.
Best wishes
Tina Rath

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