LAST MODIFIED Monday 20 August 2018 8:40

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, songwriter

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, songwriter", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 24 October 2018

Page directory (click on links)

Personal data

General documentation

Musical documentation


Musical sources and resources

Bibliography and resources

See also mainpage on Dunlop's collaborator Isaac Nathan: 

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, c.1820s

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, c.1820s (frontispiece illustration, De Salis 1967; from a portrait then in the possession of Miss I. L. Goddard)

DUNLOP, Eliza Hamilton (Eliza Matilda Harding HAMILTON; Mrs. LAW; Mrs. E. H. DUNLOP)

Poet, songwriter, recorder and translator of Indigenous songs

Born Armagh, Ireland, c.1796
Married (1) James Sylvius LAW, Ireland, by 1812
Married (2) David DUNLOP, Ireland, 1823
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 25 February 1838 (per Superb, from Liverpool, 19 September 1837, via Hobart Town, 13 February 1838)
Died Wollombi, NSW, 20 June 1880, aged 84 (TROVE tagged) (NLA persistent identifier) (WorldCat identities) (AustLit) (PAYWALL),_Eliza_Hamilton (IMSLP Petrucci Music Library) (Australian Royalty)



Born Priestland, Co. Antrim, Ireland, 12 May 1894
Married (2) Eliza LAW, Ireland, 1823
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 25 February 1838 (per Superb, from Liverpool, 19 September 1837, via Hobart Town, 13 February 1838)
Died Wollombi, NSW, 24 March 1863 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

LAW, Mary Sophia Georgina

Born Coleraine, Ireland, 1816 (daughter of Eliza and James LAW)
Died Wollombi, NSW, 1879 (NLA persistent identifier)

DUNLOP, Rachel Rhoda (Mrs. David Ambrose MILSON)

Born Ireland, c. 1828 (daughter of Eliza and David DUNLOP)
Married David Ambrose MILSON, Wollombi, NSW, 16 March 1853
Died Dulwich Hill, NSW, 5 August 1908 (TROVE tagged)

General documentation (Dunlop and family) (TROVE tagged) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

"ODE TO GOLD. BY E. H. DUNLOP", The Sydney Morning Herald (27 February 1852), 2 

AVAUNT! pale meteor of the mine,
Perfidious sprite! our steps misleading
To mighty Moloch's demon-shrine!
Where human hearts lie pierced and bleeding.
Vain yellow dross! when Time was young,
And Earth was cursed for Adam's sinning;
Volcanic thunders echoing rung,
To herald thy unbless'd beginning.

Forth issuing from thy cavern'd bed,
With arms around the globe extending;
A thirst for blood--how early shed!
While "Sin and Death" thy spells were blending,
Blending the spells, that since have been--
Warring with man's sublimer spirit,
Chimeras! shapeless and unseen,
Born of the curse thy powers inherit.

And craving still, like that dead Lake
That gulps old Jordan's sacred river;
Not seas of liquid ore, would slake
The burning thirst! insatiate ever.
Yes! subtle fiend, I know thee well--
Yet deem'd not, till I saw thee gleaming,
That "spirit of the Hartz" could dwell
Where fair Australia's bowers were beaming.

I dreamt not of thy twinkling ray,
Or glimmering lamp of tomb-fire lighted!
Deeming afar--thy kindred clay
In Californian gloom benighted:
Delusive form! what would'st thou here?
Where plenty weds with peaceful quiet.
Alas! thy tocsin fills the ear--
And ravens croak and vultures riot!

Mulla Villa, Wollombi, 1852.

Song documentation

Manuscript sources

The vase, comprising songs for music and poems by Eliza Hamilton Dunlop; MS; State Library of New South Wales, B 1541

[Eliza Hamilton Dunlop] Mrs. David Milson Kamilaroi vocabulary and Aboriginal songs, 1840; MS; State Library of New South Wales, A 1688 (DIGITISED)

David Dunlop, correspondence & documents, 1830s-1880s; papers of James Milson; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 9409/Box 14/Folder 7 (DIGITISED)

Verses (for Patrick Carolan)


The vase, 74, 76-77

Eliza Hamilton Dublop, verses, Belfast 1818 (for Patrick Carolan), The vase, 74 Eliza Hamilton Dublop, verses, Belfast 1818 (for Patrick Carolan), The vase, 76 Eliza Hamilton Dublop, verses, Belfast 1818 (for Patrick Carolan), The vase, 77


Composed at the request of a committee appointed to conduct a concert for the benefit of a Wandering Harper blind from his birth Carolan. The last pupil of the O'Nial, the latest and most eminent professor of Ireland's National music. They were spoken as a prologue by Mrs. Moore [?] an English singer of some celebrity. 1818. Belfast.

Land of those matchless chords whose faery spell
Owns the wide realm, and sways the pulse of feeling
Fair Land of heavens-taught minstrelsy, oh tell!
Why round thy Harp is letheal slumber stealing!

That not as when, in days of native power
Swell the proud strains thro' many a princely hall;
But, idly laid in some lorn Lady's bower
Pour to the mocking winds their "dying fall."

Oh wake! nor scorn the venturous hand
That trembling gropes the witching wand
And dare invoke the Spirit of our Isle.

Awake, and bid with soul of fire -
Ten thousand joys attune the Wise -
To touching beauty's smile!

For see! a ray of lone but lovely light
Breaks from the halo of our setting sun!
Drawn to our sphere, a wandering satelite
Of One whose course of melody is run.

Again the long deserted path discloses
One opening vista to the spires of fame!
On thee proud Belfast tremblingly reposes;
Our latest Minstrel's hope, the glory of a name!

Here, where unquenched Milesian ardors burn
Be thine to hail our ancient art's return!
Hence to depart for other climes, oh never!

And thus, in Ireland's future story,
One stainless page, of radiant glory,
Shall be thine own, for ever!

Again, again, let high-born bosoms beat!
While deeds of olden fame the Clairsach numbers,
Let timid beauty's tender glances greet -
The chords; where winged Love enraptured slumbers

Bid, the bold spirit of North
Through all his wide domain
Claim for his own fair native earth;
Now, bursting into glorious birth!
The meed of honor, truth, and worth,
The noblest boon of Heaven! immortal music's reign.

Here let the spell-bound genius rest;
Catch harmony's entrancing sigh;
Pillowed on feeling's throbbing breast -
And watched by pity's dewy eye.

Then, Harper-Bards again shall sweep
The range of sound, low, bold, and deep;
And steadfast hope shall smile!
And memory cease to weep.

* Clair-sach or Clairdagh, from the Celtic Clas i.e. harmony - / The Harp : / it must be remembered that H is not a letter of the Irish alphabet and used only, as in the greek language, merely, as an aspirate.


These verses were evidently composed to be read from the stage (not set to music and sung) at a concert given in Belfast under the auspices of the Anacreontic Society on 28 April 1818, for the benefit of the blind harper Patrick Carolan (Johnston with Plummer 2015, 83).

According to Dunlop, he was the "last pupil" of Arthur O'Nial (O'Neill) (d. 1816). If this was indeed the "Young Carolan" (only surviving son at Turlough Carolan's death in 1738) O'Neil referred to in his memoir (ed. in Fox 1911), at the time he dictated it he supposed had died in England.

Even if born in his father's sixties, Carolan junior must have been over 80 in 1818.

Dunlop's verses would seem to suggest that this Carolan was indeed old (". . . One whose course of melody is run") and that the benefit was partly arranged to convince him not to return to England.

However, it is probably more reasonable to suppose that this "Carolan" was either a son or some other younger relative of Carolan junior; someone who was not a relative with the same surname; or even someone who had merely adopted the famous surname to drum up trade.


Robert Prescott Stewart, "Irish music", in George Grove, A dictionary of music and musicians (1900) 

W. H. Grattan Flood, The story of the harp (London: The Walter Scott Publishing Co., 1905), 131, 145-47 (portrait of O'Neill 146) 

"Memoirs of Arthur O'Neill", ed. in Charlotte Milligan Fox, Annals of the Irish harpers (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1911), 164-66 

[164] . . . When Carolan died he left an only son and three daughters, and these lived in the County of Louth. The celebrated Dean Delany delighted in Carolan so much, [165] that he took young Carolan by the hand with the intention of opening a subscription for the purpose of defraying all expenses in reviving and recovering all his father's compositions. Young Carolan was but a tolerable performer on the harp, and totally destitute of any talent for composition. However, the Dean never ceased until he obtained a subscription to the amount of £1,600 or thereabouts, on which young Carolan made some attempts to represent his father; but his productions were scandalous, as I often heard, and Master Carolan becoming tired of industry, after humbugging the good-natured Dean for some time, formed an acquaintance with another man's wife in Ballymahon in the County of Longford, took her to London, where I am informed he died, when the residue of the 151,600 was spent, or otherwise disposed of between him and his Dulcinea . . . [166] . . . I heard a few tunes of the gleanings of young Carolan played, which I thought tolerably decent, but when I heard them and the chief part of his father's works played by the gentleman I alluded to I imagined myself in a manner enchanted.

Roy Johnston with Declan Plummer, The musical life of nineteenth-century Belfast (London and New York: Routledge, 2015), 83 (PREVIEW)

Song lyrics in The dark lady of Doona (W. H. Maxwell)


William Hamilton Maxwell, The dark lady of Doona (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1834) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

Is lovers' tear so insincere? 

[171] . . . As he spoke, a light and elegant symphony was played with excellent skill, and a voice of uncommon sweetness sung the following words:


Is lover's tear so insincere?
Are lover's oaths so soon forgot?
Is lover's pain all false and vain:
No! Lady, I'll "forget thee not!" . . .

The voice ceased, the symphony was played again, and the last stanza thus repeated:

But worlds may burn, and systems turn,
Yet, Gerald, I'll forget thee not!"

"'TIS NIGHT AT SEA", The Atlas (2 August 1845), 425 

The stag will rest the foray o'er 

[179] . . . The minstrel bowed with respectful deference to the lady of the castle . . . Placing himself upon the seat assigned to him by the seneschal, he drank the wine the page presented; and having adjusted a few strings and satisfied himself that the tuning of the instrument was perfect, he leaned over the harp, and, while one hand mechanically touched the wires, seemed absorbed in thought and waiting some harmonic impulse, before he commenced his song. Suddenly the fitful hour of fancy came, and he raised his head slowly. In a few brief moments his countenance had undergone a fearful change - every line and feature was convulsed with grief - his look was turned to the ceiling - his attitude like one "crazed with care or crossed in hopeless love," as he played over a wild and mournful symphony, and with a voice of much power, which seemed, however, impaired by mental emotion, he sang the following:

[180] BALLAD (from the Irish)

The stag will rest the foray o'er,
And sun himself upon the mountain -
The seal will bask along the shore -
The hind repose beside the fountain - . . .

As the song ended, with the last chord of the symphony, the bard's head drooped upon the harp again . . .

Hercules Ellis (ed.), The songs of Ireland, second series (Dublin: James Duffy, 1849), 232-33 

Such was the eye that won my love 

[181] . . . He swept the strings again, - and bending a look on Inez, which covered her cheeks with blushes, he thus accompanied the harp:

Such was the eye that won my love,
And thrilled me with its very glance;
And such the form that once could move,
The voice could charm, the smile entrance . . .

The song is hushed in Bala's hall 

[184] . . . the minstrel, with one wild sweep at the moment, struck [185] the harp-strings, and with uncommon pathos, sung what appeared an extemporary lay:

The song is hushed in Bala's hall,
The beacon's cold upon the steep,
The steed has left the empty stall,
The banner's sunk upon the keep; . . . 

. . . The minstrel paused, but suddenly seized the harp again. "One passing verse," he muttered, "ere I go." The air was similar to the last, but the accompaniment, no longer melancholy and desponding, was wild, martial, and irregular:

The day will come - the day will come -
When vengeance, bursting from her trance,
Shall sound the trump, and strike the drum,
And point the gun, and couch the lance! . . .

Give me the harp, my love, and when 

. . . At the bidding of the dark Lady, Ulic a Neilan rose, and approaching the elevated bench near the dais, from which the minstrels poured forth their simple melodies, he placed himself beside the instrument, touched the chords carelessly for a moment, and after a wild prelude, sang the following "unpremeditated lay":

Give me the harp, my love, and when,
My finger strikes each golden string,
Let fancy bring me back again
The dream of bliss that bless'd life's spring - . . .


- - -


Thomas Bailey Saunders, "Maxwell, William Hamilton", Dictionary of national biography 37,_William_Hamilton_(DNB00)

Songs of an exile no. 2 - She was - yet have I oft denied (Tune: I stood amid the glittering throng)


"SONGS OF AN EXILE - (No. 2)"", The Australian (22 November 1838), 3 

Adapted to the music of I stood among the glittering throng.

SHE WAS - yet have I oft denied,
Veiling the secret in my heart,
SHE was my dearest - my pride:
For whom those bitter tear drops start,

Now happy voices fill mine ear
And dancing footsteps throng around -
Yet hers amid them all I hear!
A sound of music from the ground.

Still, MY lorn spirit, seeks the clay,
Where her young limbs in darkness rest -
While her's, in light of endless day,
Reposes on a Saviour's breast.


"Songs of an Exile, No. 2", Bent's News and Tasmanian Register (21 December 1838), 4 



Music concordances:

I stood amid the glitt'ring throng (ballad, London, 1831); words Frederick William Naylor Bayley (1808-1853); music Henry Rowley Bishop (1786–1855)

I stood amid the glittering throng (Henry Bishop) 1

I stood amid the glittering throng, a ballad, the poetry by F. W. H. Bayley esq., the music by H. R. Bishop, sung by Madame Vestris, Mrs. Wood, Miss Inverarity, Miss Somerville and Miss H. Cawse . . . fourth edition (London: Goulding and D'Almaine, [1831]) (DIGITISED)

I stood amid the glittering throng, a ballad written by F. W. H. Bayley esq., composed by H. R. Bishop (New York: Bourne Depository of Arts, [n.d.]) (DIGITISED)

"SONG", Morning Advertiser [London] (19 May 1831), 2


This Song, which is the same that created so great a sensation at the evening Concert of Lady --- but a few nights past, is set to one of the most touching and plaintive melodies composed by Bishop, who appears to have exerted more than his usual talent in giving effect to a ballad, which, like "Oh no we never mention her," has been, we are told, the result of feeling on the part of its author. Mr. B. said to have written it on his return from a soirée near Portman-square, after gallopading with a certain illustrious person in the exclusive coterie; and the young lady alluded to is supposed to be the lovely and amiable recluse of a cottage orné, in the vicinity of Cheltenham. Madame Vestris, Miss Inverarity, Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Waylett, Miss Sommerville, and Miss H. Cawse, are the ladies, by means of whose most sweet warbling it will make its debut before the public.

I stood amid the glittering throng - I heard a voice - it's tones were sweet! I turned to see from whence they came - And gazed on all I longed to meet. She was a fair and gentle girl! Her bright smile greeted me by chance I whispered low - I took her hand - I led her forth to dance! . . .

I stood amid the glitt'ring throng (The musical gem, 1845, 22)
I stood amid the glitt'ring throng (The musical gem, 1845, 23)

The musical gem, a collection of modern and favourite songs, duets, and glees, selected from the works of the most celebrated composers, adapted for the voice, flute, or violin, three volumes in one . . . 3. Flowers of song (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1845), 22-23 (DIGITISED)



Songs of an exile no. 4, The Aboriginal mother - Oh! hush thee - hush my baby [1] (Tune: 'Twas when the seas were roaring)


"SONGS OF AN EXILE (No. 4)", The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848), 13 December, p. 4 

THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER, (From Myall's Creek.)

Oh! hush thee - hush my baby,
I may not tend thee yet.
Our forest home is distant far,
And midnight's star is set.
Now, hush thee - or the pale-faced men
Will hear thy piercing wail,
And what would then thy mother's tears
Or feeble strength avail! . . .

Dunlop, The vase, 4-6 (with explanatory note)



Music concordances:

The melancholy nymph; words John Gay (1685-1732), in The what d'ye call it, London, 1715; music George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)

The what d'ye call it, a tragi-comi-pastoral farce, as it is acted at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, by Mr. Gay . . . the third edition (London: Bernard Lintot, 1716), 32-34 (act 2, scene 8) 

'TWAS when the seas were roaring
With hollow blasts of wind;
A damsel lay deploring,
All on a rock reclin'd.
Wide o'er the rolling billows
She cast a wistful look;
Her head was crowned with willows
That tremble o'er the brook . . .

The musical miscellany; being a collection of choice songs, set to the violin and flute, by the most eminent masters . . . volume the second (London: John Watts, 1729), 94-96 

'Twas when the sea was roaring (The beggar's opera, 4th edn. 1735, 26)

The beggar's opera, as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Lincolns-Inn Fields . . . the fourth edition; to which is added the music prefix'd to each song (London: John Watts, 1735), 26 (act 2, scene 9, air 28)

The melancholy nymph, set by Mr. Handel (London: R. Falkener, [? 1770s])

The melancholy nymph, set by Mr. Handel (London: R. Falkener, [? 1770s])

A select collection of English songs, in three volumes, volume the third (London: J. Johnson, 1783), [45] 

HANDEL: 'Twas when the Seas were roaring (The melancholy nymph); The Brook Street Band (Nicki Kennedy; Sally Bruce-Payne) 


De Salis 1967

Songs of an exile no. 5 - Your eyes have the twin-star's light, ma croidhe (Tune: The foggy dew)


"SONGS OF AN EXILE - (No. 5)", The Australian (12 January 1839), 4 

THE IRISH MOTHER. Air, "the foggy-dew."

Your eyes have the twin-star's light, ma croidhe,
Mo Cuisle INGHEAN ban;
And your swan-like neck is dear to me,
Mo Cailin og alain:
And dear is your fairy foot so light,
And your dazzling milk-white hand,
And your hair! it's a thread of the golden light
That was spun in the rainbow's band . . .

The vase, 66-67 ("The Irish nurse, to a foster child - Air 'The foggy dew'")


- - -

Music concordances:

The foggy dew (Bunting 1840, 109)

Bunting 1840, 109 

The foggy dew (major key version, Bunting); eitiltdireach (2012) 


- - -

Lyric in Stories of an exile - . . . The castle of Richmond stands fair on the hill . . . [Walter Scott] (Tune: Allan-a-dale)


"Stories of an Exile. No 1", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (29 May 1839), 4 


. . . This; as the second team came forward, gave place to the mellow notes of Sandy's clear voice, in one of Scott's sweet Ballads--

'The castle of Richmond stands fair on the hill,
My Hall 'quoth bold Allan' shows gallanter still;
'Tis the blue vault of heaven with it's crescent so pale,
And with all its bright spangles!' said Allan-a-dale.

'Troth an Sandy comrade I dunna, but that song purty as it is, makes my heart come into my eyes . . .



Music concordances:

Allen-a-dale; words from Rokeby by Walter Scott (1771-1832); music by Joseph Mazzinghi (1765-1844)

Allen-a-Dale (Mazzinghi)

Allen-a-Dale, from the celebrated poem Rokeby, written by Walter Scott esq., composed by J. Mazzinghi (London: Goulding & Co., [1813]) (DIGITISED)


See also conclusion, "Stories of an Exile" [2], The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (31 May 1839), 3 

De Salis 1967, 68

Songs of an exile no. 7 - Oh the limpid streams of my own dear land ("for music")


"SONGS OF AN EXILE - (No. 7)", The Australian (11 April 1840), 4 


Oh! the limpid streams of my own green land!
Oh! the limpid streams of my own green land!
Wo! wo, the Exile's cheek, and the Exile's parched hand
As she calls upon the rivers of her far off land.

There is fever in the pulse - a deep and restless eye -
A cold and pallid brow - but the cheek is flushed so dry.
She reclines in citron groves, by the south's soft breathings fanned,
Yet sighs o'er all the parted, in her own green land.

Away! these clustering grapes and olives ripening round,
For the cloudless sky is brass, and she treads on iron ground;
The bright Azelia blushes on its bed of burning sand,
But, oh ! the brook that gushes, in her own green land.

Proud aloes top her home, with their many branching flowers,
And birds of loveliest plumage are flitting o'er her bowers,
But the viper-fang is piercing - where no human eye hath scanned,
And the Exile's heart must wither - from her own green land.

Government House, Emu-plains,
New South Wales, 17 March, 1840.

"SONG OF AN EXILE", Empire (24 December1862), 4 

The vase, 7 ("My own green land")


- - -


- - -

Songs of an exile no. 8 - I bless thy shores my native land (Tune: Peggy Ban [ Barn / Bawn ])


"SONGS OF AN EXILE - No. 8", The Australian (7 May 1840), 2

I bless thy shores, my native land,
'Mid parting nature's strife;
I hail thee of the powerful wand,
Which moves the pulse of life.
Alas! the shadows of thy hills
Are thrown across nay heart,
And the gurgle of their gushing rills
Doth never thence depart . . .

I know my household hearths are cold,
That my kindred's graves are green;
I know - I know the Church-yard mould
Tells where my race have been.
But organ peals are sounding there,
And Choral anthems swell
Where the holy voice of Christian prayer
Ascends with Sabbath-bell.

Oh! birthrights of my Island home,
What dreary lot is mine !
Unblest 'mid Austral wilds to roam,
A slave at Mammon's shrine!
What weary doom to count each link,
Whose rust is in my soul.
Thus woe life's phantoms; but to sink
Untimely at the goal.

The vase, 3-4


- - -

Music concordances:

Peggy Ban (Bunting 1809, 56)

Bunting 1809, 56 (DIGITISED)


"Peggy Bawn", Tune Archive 

Songs of an exile - Lights of the past! say are ye fading (Tune: ? The light of other days)


"SONGS OF AN EXILE", The Australian (5 November 1840), 4 

Lights of the past! say are ye fading
From a lonely child of song?
Or whence the cloud thus dimly shading,
Visions beloved and cherished long? . . .

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Lights of the past (The vase, 40)

The vase, 40-41


- - -

Music concordances:

The light of other days is fading; ballad, in The maid of Artois, London, 1836; words by Alfred Bunn (1796-1860); music by Michael Balfe (1808-1870)

The light of other days (Balfe) page 2

The light of other days, ballad, sung by Mr. H. Phillips, in the grand opera The maid of Artois, performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the words by Alfred Bunn, the music by M. W. Balfe (London: Cramer, Addison & Beale, [1836/37])

Copy from "Dowling Songbook", at Sydney Living Museums (digitised Internet Archive) (DIGITISED)


De Salis 1967, 63

The Aboriginal mother - Oh! hush thee - hush my baby [2] (Setting: Nathan) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

For main entry in checklist:


"SONGS OF AN EXILE (No. 4)", The Australian (13 December 1838), 4 

THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER, (From Myall's Creek.)

Oh! hush thee - hush my baby,
I may not tend thee yet.
Our forest home is distant far,
And midnight's star is set.
Now, hush thee - or the pale-faced men
Will hear thy piercing wail,
And what would then thy mother's tears
Or feeble strength avail! . . .

"NATHAN'S SUBSCRIPTION CONCERTS", Australasian Chronicle (25 September 1841), 3 

"THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER", The Sydney Herald (15 October 1841), 2 

"The Aboriginal Mother", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (19 October 1841), 2 

"Select Poetry", Australasian Chronicle (16 October 1841), 2 

"THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER", The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (27 October 1841), 2 

"THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER", Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser (29 October 1841), 2 

The Aboriginal mother (Dunlop-Nathan) cover

The Aboriginal mother, an Australian melody respectfully inscribed to lady Gipps, the poetry by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop, the music by I. Nathan (Sydney: Published for the Composer, Ada Cottage, Prince Street, n.d. [1842]) 

Copy at National Library of Australia (without cover) digitised (DIGITISED)

Copy at State Library of New South Wales (with cover), not digitised (but photocopy at NLA digitised) (DIGITISED)

The Aboriginal mother (Dunlop-Nathan) 1

The vase, 4-6 (with explanatory note)


Letter, Eliza Hamilton Dunlop to Isaac Nathan, undated (before October 1841); unidentified original, ed. in De Salis, Two early colonials (1967), 101-02 

Isaac Nathan, Esq.
Ada Cottage, Prince Street

It is not I feel assured that to a mind so gifted as Mr. Nathan's I need to make apologies that without formal introduction present myself to his notice. If my Lahars (?) have merit they will require no other usher, and I who am in the Forest far from human habitation of civilized beings, may well be forgiven the want of due observance in this matter, Should my poetry be honored by your acceptance, pray do me the favor of a reply addressed Wollombi.

The Dark Lady of Doone [recte Doona], written by a relative, has a few of my songs published in it. A lady, a stranger in this land, but one to whom your eminent universal fame as an author and composer has long been known, thus begs permission to offer the accompanying poetry for your kind consideration. They are my favourites of a Collection which I hope to get published by Bentley of Broad Street. But were I so honored as to find those few worthy of acceptance to go forth into the world, [? with] the seal of your genius, it would be to me a source of pride and pleasure greater than I can say.

I wrote The Aboriginal Mother for the air, "When the seas were roaring". The massacre it commemorates took place a short period after my arrival in the Colony . . . And which as it has not been seen by any individual with the exception of Lady Gipps, I will if you give permission submit for your opinion.

My publications at home were confined to the magazines, but altered circumstances in this country where my husband has only £250 as police magistrate, induces my attempt to make my pen an aid for my numerous family. But more than this it would aid my way to future favor with the public if my poetry be honoured by your acceptance pray do me the favor of a reply.

I am Sir respectfully yours Eliza Hamilton Dunlop.

"THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER", The Sydney Herald (15 October 1841), 2 

. . . The above lines are from the pen of Mrs. Dunlop of the Wollombi, who sent them to Mr. Nathan; they have been set to music by that gentlemen, and will be sung at his approaching concert by Miss Nathan with full orchestral accompaniment. The words are pathetic, and display much poetic feeling, but they ascribe to the aboriginal woman words that might have been used by a North American Indian, but which our very slight acquaintance with the natives of this colony would enable any one to say never issued from the mouth of the woman who escaped from the New England massacre for which, we may remark, seven men were executed in Sydney. The lines will no doubt be copied in England where they are almost sure to be popular.

See below 29 April 1842

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (16 October 1841), 3 

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. Programme of MR NATHAN'S GRAND VOCAL and INSTRUMENTAL CONCERT (first of the series), to take place on WEDNESDAY, the 27th of October, 1841 . . . PART FIRST . . . Song -The Aboriginal Mother, a new Colonial composition, the words written by Mrs. Dunlop. - Nathan . . .

"NATHAN'S CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (16 October 1841), 2 

We are now enabled to lay the programme of this concert before our readers, which, for originality, variety and taste in the selection, offers to be the best musical treat we have yet had in the colony. Mr. Nathan has written complete orchestral parts for all the songs, which comprise some of the best works of Rossini, Paer, and Bishop, and in addition to these we have not less than three original compositions, one of which, "the Aboriginal Mother," we have carefully examined, and consider equal to any thing that Mr. Nathan has yet written.

"The Aboriginal Mother", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (19 October 1841), 2 

. . . The above pretty lines were sent to Mr. Nathan, who has set them to music - they will be sung by Miss Nathan at the forthcoming grand concert on the 27th.

[Advertisement], Morning Post [London] (29 April 1842), 8

THE AUSTRALIAN and NEW ZEALAND MAGAZINE for MAY. Price Two Shillings. Contents: - l. The Australasian Press - 2. On Wool-growing in Australia - 3. The Exotic World capable of being successfully implanted and cultivated in Australasia, No. 3 on the Olive Tree - 4. The Aborigines and their treatment - 5. Australian Lays, No. 1. The Aboriginal Mother - Australasian Intelligence, with some important information from South Australia - Arrivals and Departure of Ships, and a List of those laid on for the Colonies. Published by Smith, Elder, and Co., 65, Cornhill; Bell and Bradfute, Edinburgh; D. Robertson, Glasgow; M. Cumming, Dublin; and sold by all Booksellers.

[William Augustine Duncan], "NATHAN'S GRAND CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (28 October 1841), 2 

We shall briefly notice the leading features of this concert, which went off last evening with great eclat. The new glee, "Drink, drink," is decidedly good, and was well sung. Bishop's "Indian Drum," which followed, was given with Great skill and taste., and the orchestral accompaniments, which were composed by Mr. Nathan for the occasion, had a very good effect. Of the "Aboriginal Mother," given on this occasion for the first time, we have already expressed our opinion, and have only to add that it was sung by Miss Rosetta Nathan with great feeling. We shall he glad to hear it again; it will decidedly gain new favour by a better acquaintance . . .

"MR. NATHAN'S CONCERT (From a Correspondent)", The Sydney Herald (29 October 1841), 2 

It is to be regretted, for the sake of public taste, that Nathan's treat on Wednesday evening was not attended as well as it ought to have been. It is not meant as to respectability but as to numbers. The defalcation lay in the absence of the "follow-my-leader clique" and the cabbage-tree oi polloi . . . Evidently the fair vocalists did their best and ample justice to the several pieces, in tune, pathos, and execution. But what, is the use? "Skippitty" and "Benedict" carried the clatter of the house - whilst the Aboriginal Mother, upon winch all that a parent's art could do to perfect, and daughter's skill to accomplish, was scarcely noticed! Bad taste this. - Things are not so, at home.

Perhaps some excuse may be said for the song itself. And it will serve Mr. Nathan as a hint for the future, not to attempt putting into music what is unintelligible in verse: that, having no meaning in itself, not Handel himself could have made any thing of it. For music, after all, (as Nathan knows very well) is only another mode of expressing our thoughts. And, yet, so odd is it with the public, that had this been got up in the character a black Gin with a ghastly, toad-like looking brat, gnawing a raw oppossum - the house would have been in a roar of applause, and no end of encore, - and, why? because the association of ideas would have been representative of the character, which no one could recognise in the song

There would have been one insurmountable difficulty attending this "cast," truly it is utterly impossible that out of "nature's own" the pretty Rosetta could have undertaken the part.

All that was sung was sweet, chaste, and true, and most scientifically accompanied by Nathan, who by the way ought to have given us one of his own solos . . .

"THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER", Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser (29 October 1841), 2 

The following lines are the production of a talented lady residing at the Wollombi, to the north of Sydney. They are descriptive of the escape of an aboriginal mother and her child from the massacre of her tribe, which, perhaps, was one of the most horrible transactions that ever stained the annals of any community. It occurred a few years since, and seven of the perpetrators of the outrage were afterwards tried and executed for their share in the transaction. From the evidence adduced at the time of their trial, it appeared that a tribe, between 20 and 30 in number, were domiciled on the station of a Mr. Dangar, in the New England district, and that, without their being guilty of any offensive act, a number of convict and freed servants attached to stations in the surrounding districts assembled together, procured a stout rope, and making each of the tribe fast to it, drove the party along in a string to a retired spot. When they had arrived at a place which the murderers considered fit for the deed, muskets and knives were put in requisition, and the whole of the harmless creatures remorselessly butchered, with the exception of this woman and the child alluded to, who succeeded in escaping. It has been said that the words as ascribed to an aboriginal woman are somewhat overdone, although they might be used by a Mingo or a Delaware, but that is taking by far a too matter-of-fact view of the question. The lines have been set to music by Mr. Nathan, the composer, and will be sung at his next concert by Miss Nathan, with full orchestral accompaniment: - . . .

"CONCERT", The Australian (30 October 1841), 2 

Mr. Nathan's Concert on Wednesday evening was, as we had anticipated, a highly interesting entertainment . . . Next in point of excellence was, Bid me discourse, The Aboriginal Mother, and the Australian Anthem, Long Live Victoria. The first was sweetly sung, and encored. Miss Rosetta, though evidently wanting a due share of confidence, imparted to the Aboriginal Mother a peculiar degree of pathos - indeed, her very tremulousness harmonised most happily with the subject . . .

"Mr. Nathan's Concert", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (30 October 1841), 2 

We had a rich musical treat on Wednesday evening; it had been in perspective for some time, and we have now but to acknowledge that our most sanguine anticipations were to the fullest extent realized. Mr. Nathan seemed to have spared no pains either in the selection, orchestral arrangements or drilling, for the concert; and the effect must have been highly gratifying to him, as it was to us, and the audience generally. We are afraid, however, that Mr. Nathan, like most men of genius, is an injudicious arranger, as regards pecuniary calculations; or he would never have chosen the time he did for his entertainment; the Governor, and many other persons of distinction being absent from Sydney, and our financial state miserably depressed; but notwithstanding these obvious disadvantages, the boxes were full, and we were glad to see the house generally, presenting a much better appearance than we could have anticipated. In fact, when chaste and superior entertainments like this, are provided, one may be sure, even in the worst of times, to find many patronizers. Mr. Nathan, as this concert demonstrated, has done much - very much, for music in this colony, and it is sincerely to he hoped that the Australians will appreciate and encourage his efforts. We were struck on entering the theatre with the formidable array of vocalists, seated on the stage, and knowing that many of these must have been of very recent education - and also being aware of the very great difficulty of training a number of individuals to sing in chorus, in time and tune, we must confess that we were seriously apprehensive for the fate of some of the choruses; but these fears were soon dissipated . . .

Next came Mr. Nathan's new song "The Aboriginal Mother." The poetry by Mrs. Dunlop. We had seen the verses in the public prints; we had also seen Gins, and from our acquaintance with the gyneocracy of Australia, we could but regret that these thrillingly touching lines should have been so misplaced. Disconnect them however, from their present black heroine - fancy her any one else, and a treat awaits you. By the time the few first bars of the symphony were played, we were totally absorbed in the composition. The song was sung by Miss R. Nathan with a simplicity, chastity, and pathos truly thrilling - never was poetry recited to greater advantage, the accompaniments were most appropriate - the melody touching and effective. We were in spite of ourselves affected even to tears, and most of our neighbours from a similar state, were prevented observing our weakness. Since Jeptha's Daughter, we have not had such a treat, and we shall conceive no concert complete for months to come without a repetition of the "Aboriginal Mother." In England the song must become a favorite . . .

"Original Correspondence. TO THE EDITOR", Sydney Free Press (30 October 1841), 2 

Sir, - I just arrived in Sydney time enough to be present at Mr. Nathan's Concert on Wednesday night last; and, I must say, I was very much delighted with the "bill of fare," as, contrary to other concerts, there was only one foreign air - all the rest English, and that I could understand well, - every word of the singing was most distinct, and not drowned in accompaniment or smothered in flourishes. I have heard "Bid me discourse" by Miss Stephens, over and over again, and I must say it was most correctly, sung by Miss Nathan, but if anything rather too quick in the running passages. The "Aboriginal Mother" no doubt is very good music, but the young lady must have been timid at the first starting off, as I could easily see she could have sung it ten times as well at home; and the House, not much understanding these matters (only "tippity" ones), never encored her, so that they are in perfect ignorance what the song is after all! . . . I am yours, A BUSHMAN.

"MR. NATHAN'S CONCERT", Sydney Free Press (30 October 1841), 3 

. . . The music of the new song, "The Aboriginal Mother," is a beautiful composition; it was sung by the youngest Miss Nathan with great simplicity and feeling, and was much applauded . . .

"ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. SYDNEY EXTRAVAGANZAS - FELTON - NATHAN. To the editors", The Sydney Herald (3 November 1841), 2 

. . . Then the Aboriginal Mother (proh pudor!) is a very - very indifferent song - "another failure" in fact - is praised as equal to the sublime, superhuman pathos of Jephtha's Daughter. How much farther than this could absurdity go? "From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step." I do sincerely wish Nathan every success . . . Again, most warmly wishing all success to these over-praised and over-puffed meritorious men, and others I could name,
I am, gentlemen, yours to command,

[Mr. Thorough Bass is rather too hard on Nathan who is not to blame for the super-extra puffs which are bestowed upon him, and some of which we happen to know were written by persons who are good judges of music. - EDS.]

ASSOCIATIONS: Maurice Appleby Felton (artist, portrait painter)

Further correspondence:

"THE FINE ARTS AND THE PRESS. MR. EDITOR", Australasian Chronicle (4 November 1841), 2 

"THOROUGH-BASS AND NATHAN. To the Editors", The Sydney Herald (5 November 1841), 2 

Nathan's reply

"MR. NATHAN'S CONCERT", The Colonial Observer (4 November 1841), 6 

. . . In particular, we must notice "The Aboriginal Mother," the poetry by an Australian lady, Mrs. Dunlop, of the Wollombi; the music, we understand, by Mr. Nathan. This beautiful piece, the subject and the language of which are so rich in poetic feeling, was sung by the youngest Miss Nathan with great simplicity and feeling, and called down the plaudits of the assembly . . .

"THE MUSE OF AUSTRALIA", Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser (11 November 1841), 3 

From a critique in the Sydney Gazette on a recent concert given by Mr. Nathan, the composer, we select the following comments on those talented lines, "The Aboriginal Mother," which, our readers will doubtless remember, were published in this journal a few numbers back: - "Next came Mr. Nathan's new song 'The Aboriginal Mother,' . . . and and we shall conceive no concert complete for months to come without a repetition of the 'Aboriginal Mother.'"

[Eliza Hamilton Dunlop], "ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER", The Sydney Herald (29 November 1841), 2 


Prejudicta opini obruit justicium.

The author of the "Aboriginal Mother" takes leave to notice the favor bestowed on that poem, by the learned correspondent of the Sydney Herald, and to return acknowledgments for the candid review, and graphic delineation of how such a matter should have been represented, to meet as well, "the color of the times" as his conceptions of a New South Wales audience. Admitting his critical acumen in discerning that the Aboriginal Mother was not calculated for the meridian of Sydney, it is added that it was not intended for any of the high southern latitudes, but however much the idea is to be deprecated by Supers and Stock-men - had its origin in the hope of awaking the sympathies of the English nation for a people whom it is averred, are rendered desperate and revengeful by continued acts of outrage. Painfully sensible of great literary demerit; of a deficiency in poetical imagery - but above all in having such mal-a-propos taste as to select so inexpedient a subject - still the sarcasm of "Thorough-bass" cannot render that song worthless, which a hand long used to bestow, and to reap laurels, has now stamped with extrinsic value.

The erudite reviewer decides, as an anomalism, the idea of attributing the sweetest emotions of the heart - the feelings of mother and wife to an untutored savage - or moral courage to a wild denizen of nature's solitudes! Yet, the error rests not with the poet. The pool of Bethesda lay deep and pure, although the impotent man lingered in the porch; so do the clear well-springs of love and kindred ties, bestow their healing influences, even now, for the children of the desert; albeit, either "cohesively or repulsively" the "grave" tones of Thorough-bass, devoid all "harmonics of the string," send their "lateral vibration" through the Balaam-box of the Sydney Herald.

True, those deep tones will be reflected, aye, and multiplied, by far-off echoes of old hands licensed to cry havock beyond the boundaries. But the author of the Aboriginal Mother did hope, that, even in Australia, the time was past, when the public press would lend its countenance to debase the native character, or support an attempt to shade with ridicule, ties stronger than death, which bind the heart of woman, be she Christian or savage.

Extract from the papers of an officer employed on the Government Survey of New South Wales, published by a Committee of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge:

I had proceeded about a quarter of a mile, when my attention was attracted by sounds of human voices wailing in wild and melancholy strains, I soon perceived before me three native women sitting by a grave, their heads were depressed and nearly touching each other, they were striking their heads with a tomahawk and blood ran down on the back of the neck and ears - I called to them in vain, I went nearer and pulled one by her possum skin cloak, and succeeded in making her look up; but when she did, I may safely assert, it would be impossible to behold a more wretched creature. She was the picture of utter anguish and despair, tears were falling in fast succession down her checks; the same was the case withe the others; she muttered something and then dropped her head again, wailing as before in all the bitterness of agonising grief; whether she invoked the dead as able to hear beyond the grave, or wounded her head to soothe the parted spirit of a relative is yet a mystery. It is, however, a custom of the Aboriginal females thus to mourn over the tombs of their dead; and it is evident such excessive weeping can only arise from natural affection.

[Mrs. Dunlop is under a mistake in supposing that "deficiency in poetical imagery" is an offence with which she is chargeable. We complained of her having by means of poetical talent, of no mean order, given an entirely false idea of the native character; and that opinion we see no cause to alter. EDS.]

Letter, Eliza Hamilton Dunlop to Isaac Nathan, December 1841; unidentified original, ed. in De Salis, Two early colonials (1967), 104-05

[December 1841] Sydney, Ada Cottage.

I fear my dear Madam my long silence will not place me at number one in your estimation, the truth therefore must out. The same day that I did myself the honour to forward you the music of your beautiful aboriginal mother, I gave a copy to an engraver here, that I might testify by its immediate publication the delight I really felt in connecting my humble music with the words. unfortunately the engraver, who is infected with the gross air of Sydney I imagine, has not yet done his work and puts me off from day to day, and I fear will do so for some months to come. I not take leave to hand to your notice a simple French air which I would like to have sun at my next concert, to English words so that it may be published. If you can spare the time and will write on any subject you please, I shall feel highly flattered. Do not confine yourself to french words, I would rather make it an aboriginal subject, an Australian subject connected with native dance or festival. My object is to publish all I can in England as well as in Sydney and you may be certain that I shall not set a line of my music to any words of the Sydney writers whilst I may calculate on receiving productions from your powerful pen . . . I will lose no time in forwarding your "aboriginal mother" as soon as the engraver brings her home.

Dear Madam, Yours respectfully and obliged, I. Nathan.

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (20 January 1842), 3 

NEW MUSIC. This day is published, price 3s., by the Composer, Ada Cottage, Prince-street, THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER: poet, Mrs. Dunlop; composer, I. Nathan.

"NEW MUSIC", Australasian Chronicle (22 January 1842), 2 

The Aboriginal Mother: inscribed to Lady Gipps. Words by Mrs. Dunlop; music by I. Nathan. Our readers are already acquainted with the words of this beautiful melody, which we are happy to announce is now published with the music. The air is simple and pathetic, and the harmony learned and skilful. It ought to be on the pianoforte of every lady in the colony.

"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Herald (22 January 1842), 2 

Mr. Nathan has published the song of the "Aboriginal Mother," the music of which we spoke so highly of, when it was sung by Miss R. Nathan. Those who were not at the Concert, but who have had an opportunity of seeing the song in print, confirm the opinion we expressed, that it is a melody of great beauty - worthy the composer's high name in the musical world. We can only regret that the words are not more worthy of the music.


- - -


- - -

The eagle chief - Hark to the sound! along the green hill side (Setting: Nathan) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

For main entry in checklist:


The eagle chief, an Australian melody, respectfully inscribed to lady O'Connell, the poetry by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop - the music by I. Nathan (Sydney: Isaac Nathan, Ada Cottage, Prince Street, n.d., [1842]) (DIGITISED)

"Original Poetry", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (21 April 1842), 3 

The vase, 53-54 (with explanatory notes)


[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (5 February 1842), 3 

NEW MUSIC. This day is published, price, 3s., for the composer, Ada Cottage, Prince-street, THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER. In a few days will appear, THE EAGLE CHIEF: Poet, Mrs. Dunlop; composer, J. Nathan.

"MUSIC", The Sydney Herald (15 April 1842), 3 

Mr. Nathan has just published a piece of Music called the Eagle Chief, upon which we shall take an early opportunity of making a few critical remarks.

"NEW MUSIC", Australasian Chronicle (16 April 1842), 2 

Mr. Nathan has just published a very pretty song and chorus, entitled "The Eagle Chief". The words are by Mrs. Dunlop, and the work is dedicated to Lady O'Connell. The subject (partly from a popular French air) is light and pleasing, and the harmony is very skilfully distributed in the vocal score.

"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (16 April 1842), 3 

Mr. Nathan has published No. 2 of his Australian melodies, entitled the "Eagle Chief." The poetry by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop, is far superior to that usually written for song, and is what an Australian melody should be, characteristic of the aborigines, it is therefore free from the objections we made against No. 1 of these Australian melodies - the "Aboriginal Mother." Mr. Nathan's music is strictly in keeping with the subject, and combines the rare desiderata of beauty - simplicity, and learning, especially in the quartette. We hope that our fair and gifted poet will continue her labours, and that Mr. Nathan will give us a set of Australian Melodies not unworthy the composer of the Hebrew Melodies, but we must also hope, that they will be perpetuated in better type and printing, than those before us. Every musical person should procure a copy of the "Eagle Chief."

"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Herald (18 April 1842), 2 

The publication of new music is now no novelty in Sydney. Two new compositions have come under our notice within the last fortnight, and we have now before us another, "The Eagle Chief," being No. 2, of Mr. Nathan's Australian Melodies, the poetry by Mrs. Dunlop. It is arranged as a treble solo, and quartette for two trebles, tenor and bass. The melody is simple, pretty, and appropriate, but it is the harmonics that have most engaged our attention; these are rich and classical, and in every respect worthy the composer.

Having spoken thus of the music, we regret we cannot say anything favourable of Mrs. Dunlop's poetry; it is entirely out of character, and instead of giving any idea of the habits of the black natives of this Colony, it is calculated to mislead, indeed did we not know that Mrs. Dunlop resides at the Wollombi, where she has every opportunity of studying the habits and characters of the natives, we should imagine from her poetry that she was a cockney, and that her only knowledge of the aboriginal natives, was acquired by reading the Last of the Mohicans. The song is supposed to be sung by a black gin, who is waiting the return of her husband, and upon hearing his "gladsome step," bids her attendants

Light, light the pine! let cedar burn,
To greet Maliyan's glad return.

Maliyan, we are told in a note, means the "great Eagle Hawk." The singer then bids the assembled parties drink the "bold" and then,

Drink to the land where the emu dwells
And the ibis floats on high.

Now, with all deference to Mrs. Dunlop, we positively assert that there is no custom analogous to the stupid practice of toast-drinking known among the natives, and if there were, we should imagine that Mrs. Maliyan would have known very little about the ibis. If Mr. Nathan's excellent music should cause a demand for a second edition, we would suggest that the name of the Egyptian bird should be left out, and "eagle" substituted, which, as the Eagle Chief is the subject of the song, would be more appropriate. In the next verse Mrs. Maliyan bids them,

Wave high the glancing plume, and proudly bring
That dazzling gem which light the spirit's bower.

Passing by the nonsense about the plume, we come to Mrs. Maliyan's injunctions to bring the "dazzling gem," which is the most surprising mistake Mrs. Dunlop has made: for so far from the black gins having the care of the "secret stone," carried by the principal men among the blacks, any black woman who was even to look at it accidentally would be surely murdured. This secret stone has puzzled all the writers who have described the customs of the natives of this colony, for the particular virtues which the natives ascribe to it have never been satisfactorily discovered. About twelve years ago we were in the bush, to the northward, when the nature of this stone became the subject of conversation; and one of the blacks, who were encamped a short distance from the house, named Wicki, (which signifies bread), was sent for, and questioned about it. It was with great reluctance that he alluded to it at all, being evidently frightened lest some supernatural influence should be exercised over him; all our entreaties for a sight of it he for a long time resisted, but yielded to a bribe of enough flour for a cake, a fig of tobacco, and the promise of the loan of a gun and some powder and shot the next day. He then carefully examined the house to see that there were no black gins in it - and shut and locked the doors, lest any white woman should accidentally come in; he next untied his hair, and from the centre of it took out a small native net, containing a parcel made of tea-tree bark, (which is as soft as paper), and after unfastening several wrappers, he at length came to what Mrs. Dunlop makes Mrs. Maliyan call the "dazzling gem," which was a bit of crystal, of an irregular shape, about the size of a die. While we were examining it, he was evidently in a state of great alarm, and begged that the black gins might not be told about the stones, as it would be the death of them. What power these stones were supposed to possess we could not get Wicki to say, his only reply on this head being, "baal pialla" which means, do not talk about or mention it: he was also anxious that the white women on the farm should not know that these stones had been seen, fearing that some evil would befall them if they did. When, therefore, Mrs. Dunlop makes a black gin tell some other blacks to bring the "dazzling gem," she displays an ignorance of their customs, which is remarkable, as we learn from a note, that she herself had often "prayed for a peep at one worn by the Wollombi chief," in vain.

We should not have taken the trouble to show the folly of this second attempt of Mrs. Dunlop's to make the blacks appear a different race of people from what they really are, were it to be circulated in this Colony only, but Mr. Nathan's music is likely to make it known in England, and therefore we thought it a duty to shew the real character of the verse.

Mrs. Dunlop appears to have a poetic turn of mind, and we should be glad to see her attempting some subject unconnected with the blacks.

"THE EAGLE CHIEF; AN AUSTRALIAN MELODY, BY I. NATHAN", The Australian (19 April 1842), 2 

This composition is the first concerted musical production of Australia, set to a beautiful poem written expressly for the composer by Mrs. Dunlop. We scarcely know which to admire most, the music or the poetry. The melody, which is simple and pleasing, is perfectly descriptive of the poet's ideas, and is arranged as a solo and quartetto, not with common mamby-pamby harmony of thirds and their inverted sixes, but by rich and well chosen chords, such as 3-4-7, judiciously prepared 9ths, &c, which may be observed on the two accented parts of the second bar, - at the commencement of the quartetto, page 2. The accented note of the second bar of the air, page 1, is accompanied with a 7th prepared in the unaccented part of the preceding bar, which elegantly resolves on the 6th, with the suspension of the major third, to the holding note A in the bass. This chord, with all its inversions and positions, is treated ingeniously, in a masterly style, throughout the composition. In the fifth bar we have the same chord, with the addition of a well prepared 9th. The 9th is again effectively given on the second accent of the same bar, and carried on occasionally with much discretion in various parts of the composition. The dischord of 3-4-5, which in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred would be grating to the ear, is most effectively given on the last unaccented note of the 6th bar, page 6. In fact, the whole composition abounds in well-selected chords, scientifically dispersed, which must at all times tend to relieve the ear from monotony, animate and enrich a composition, and give force and expression to the words. Of this Mr. Nathan seems perfectly aware, by the production of his Eagle Chief.

We have already said that we admire the words as a beautiful specimen of poetry - we cannot do otherwise; but we agree with our cotemporary [sic], the Herald, that Mrs. Dunlop, in giving free scope to her poetical imagination, outstrips, in some measure, the bounds of nature in making the Aborigines drink bumper after bumper to each other. How far the history of the "dazzling gem" may be correct, we will not say, our cotemporary having already given a fair critique on the subject; but for the satisfaction of our readers, we subjoin Mrs. Dunlop's well written and interesting note, as published on the title-page of the "Eagle Chief": -

"The Chiefs, as also many of the braves, or fighting men, wear, in a secret nook of their girdle (which is spun from opossum hair by the lubra, or gin,) a piece of crystal, or adamant, on which none of their females are ever permitted to look. I have prayed for a peep at one worn by the Wollombi Chief, who, not absolutely refusing my request, yet evaded it by saying what I know imported some strange affinity between 'ladies' eyes' and 'bad luck.' To my Hibernian ear, the sentence contained a host of argument, quite sufficient to deter me from any further effort to look on the mystic gem; which, I believe, is either an object of worship, or held as a means of communication with a great mysterious power, whose wrath they seem to fear." - E. H. D.

"NEW MUSIC", The New South Wales Examiner (20 April 1842), 3 

The Eagle Chief, an Australian melody, respectfully inscribed to. Lady O'Connell, the poetry by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop - the music by J. Nathan.

If music be rarely "married to immortal verse," it is certain that verse is as rarely married to immortal music - a rule to which this piece is by no means an exception, so that Poet and Composer may view their performance with an equal degree of complacent satisfaction. The air is arranged for the Piano-forte, with a chorus for four voices, and on the whole is a very tolerable composition, and is as good as the generality of such productions, but we think it might have keen written by any single individual out of the thousand and one who manufacture music, just as well as by Mr. NATHAN - of whose powers such a trifle as this can give us no very exalted notion. We cannot compliment the publisher on the style in which it is got up - the impression, upon indifferent paper, being a very inferior one, apparently from Zinc - and presenting a striking contrast to the chaste typography of Adoro te devote - recently published under the superintendence of Mr. W. A. DUNCAN.

With respect to the Poetry, as by a very allowable courtesy the words are termed, the verses are very pretty - very pretty indeed - such verses, in short, as a lady may write without damage to her reputation, and a composer set to music without any very favourable accession to his own. Looking upon it however as an Australian melody, it is as great a misnomer as that of the so-called Legends of Australia, and the reasoning which applies in the one case, applies - mutatis mutandis - in the other. The Irish melodies, as all the world knows, are a series of songs, written by one THOMAS MOORE and adapted to airs which had existed in the country for a long time anterior to the birth and reputation of the Irish poet. But in the present case, Mrs. DUNLOP writes some very pretty verses - which are without a single local association - and Mr. NATHAN makes a tune for them, and forthwith they are exalted, under distinguished patronage, into the style and title of Australian Melodies! The Public have had quite enough of this sort of pretension and quackery, and we say reform it altogether.


- - -


- - -

Mable Macmahon - Your eyes have the blackberry's lustre (Setting: Nathan) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

For main entry in checklist:


Mable Macmahon, an Australian melody, respectfully dedicated to Roger Therry, Esq., attorney general, written by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop, composed by I. Nathan (Sydney: Published for the composer, Ada Cottage, Prince Street, n.d. [1842]) (DIGITISED)

The vase, 80-81 (with explanatory notes)

[note 81] . . . Nathan, with good taste dedicated the above to one of the most worthy and most esteemed Irishmen in Australia: the then, Attorney General, no, his honor Judge Therry . . .


"NEW MUSIC", Australasian Chronicle (21 July 1842), 2 

Mable Macmahon: words by Mrs Dunlop, music by I. Nathan. Inscribed to R. Therry, Esq., Attorney General. Sydney, 1842.

This is No. 3 of the Australian Melodies, and, so far as respects the melody itself, is perhaps the best of the series. It is in the key of D major, three fourth time, and has a very full pianoforte accompaniment, in which the composer, as usual, gives a richness to his harmony by preserving the fifth in the left hand and dropping it in the sight. At the end of each phrase of the melody there is an ad libitum passage for a flute and clarionet, which, soaring above the full, deep, common chords of the tonic, relative minor, and dominant, have a very elegant effect.

The words are translated by Mrs. Dunlop from an old Irish song, which, as some of our readers are conversant with that language, we give, together with Mrs. Dunlop's elegant version. The story relates to a young Irish noble named Redmon or Emain O'Hanlon, who, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was driven an outlaw to his native hills, the Fews. He loved the bold and beautiful Mable Macmahon, who is the heroine of the song.


A tsuile duibhe si mein na smeure,
Ni sa blait maise na subh-craob puis;
Si planda na ubhal cumrog fheare,
Gean a muil geal si Mable deas -
Mo cuisle, mo Mable, a rûn.

Si mo cuisle si mo rûn aillean,
Le hamharae a sul samae clas,
Dar cairde is sam radh san fhaught airge!
Eidee nodluig sa gham caoin chais -
Mo cuisle, mo Mable, a rûn.

(Translated by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop from the Irish of Emain-a-Knoc.)

Your eyes have the blackberry's lustre,
Your lip the ripe raspberry's bloom;
Your cheek shames the apple bough's cluster,
My Mable, mo cuisle, mo rûn.
Sweet drop of my life's treasured fountain,
Soft pulse of my heart's inmost core,
Oh! pure as the breath of the mountain
Is Mable Macmahon astore.

When winter's deep snows are congealing,
Or when the young summer winds blow,
The warm sunny light of my sheiling
Is thee, dearest, thee, Mable rû.
Sweet drop of my life's treasured fountain,
Soft pulse of my heart's inmost core,
Oh! pure as the breath of the mountain
Is Mable Macmahon astore.


- - -


- - -

Star of the south - Hail star of the south, Australasia advance (Setting: Nathan) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

For main entry in checklist:


Star of the south, an Australian national melody, written by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop, the music composed and as a small token of grateful recollection of the hospitality experienced on his first landing in Australia Felix, respectfully inscribed to his honor Mr. La Trobe, and the inhabitants of the district, by I. Nathan (Sydney: Printed by Thos. Liley, Litho. &c. &c., Brougham Place, n.d. [1842]) (DIGITISED)

The vase, 32 (note: "published in Nathan's Australian Melodies")


"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 August 1842), 3 

Mr Nathan, with most laudable industry, seems resolved upon establishing for us a music of our own. We have now before us his fifth Australian composition "Star of the South," an "Australian National melody;" the composition pleases us much, and we allow it to possess no small amount of beauty and merit in pronouncing it to be one of Mr. Nathan's best. The air is what a national air should be - Majestic, but it is at the same time flowing and pleasing, and is enriched throughout with most effective communications, whether we listen as an idler, or scrutinize the harmonies with more critical industry, we have nought but delight, as far as the composer is concerned. We wish, for gallantry sake, that we could speak of the poetry in the same terms, but we cannot, even in our most allegorical mood, imagine what the "Star of the South" has to do with either "Soft flowing tresses," or "Proud eagle glance." It is not polite of us, but we do wish that the new "National Melody" had been set to better words.

"NEW MUSIC", Australasian Chronicle (11 August 1842), 3 

Star of the South, an Australian National Melody. Words by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop; music composed and dedicated to his Honor M. Latrobe and the inhabitants of Australia Felix by I. Nathan.

Mr. Nathan has been guilty of a misnomer in calling this a melody, for it is rather a bundle of melodies, bound together and progressing in six vocal parts, two sopranos, two tenors, a baritone, and a bass; the piano accompaniment being also for the most part a distinct composition, as it is indeed in nearly all Mr. Nathan's works. This arrangement, while it enriches the general effect, takes away the "glee" character from the composition, and the present work must be considered chiefly as a grand sestett and chorus. It commences in the key of A major, in the Maestoso style, the instrumental part being throughout a march, on which the voice parts are engrafted with a degree of skill and ingenuity which recalls some of Mr. Nathan's earlier and more successful efforts. This movement is repeated as a chorus at the end of every couplet. We give the words -

CHORUS - in six parts.

Hail, star of the south! Australasia, advance, With thy sort flowing tresses, thy proud eagle glance.


Happy homes and free altars, broad lands and bright skies -
All are thine - star of beauty, arise!
Chorus: Hail, star, &c.

Advance! for the Sybil hath written thy name,
And futurity opens the volume of fame:
Wit, valour, and virtue, the heart's treasured ties,
All are thine - Australasia, arise!
Chorus: Hail, star, &c.

TRIO - tenore, baritone, and bass.

Advance! let the right hand of fellowship join,
Bid faith be the plummet and truth be the line;
There are rights we could die for and blessings we prize
They are thine - Australasia, arise!
Chorus: Hail, star, &c.

In the trio the key changes to D 2-4 time, and the bass takes the principal melody, something after the style of Corelli, afterwards it returns to the original key, when the sopranos come in, introducing a chord which has a singular effect, but which we have been yet unable sufficiently to comprehend, except as a licence, namely, the 7-4-2 with a diminished 6. This movement concludes like the preceding, on the dominant of the key with the chord the 7, and the whole finishes with the first grand chorus. It is of course impossible to judge of the full effect of this elaborate piece without hearing the parts simultaneously, but this we venture to say, that it will, if we are not entirely mistaken, obtain a hearty encore on whatever occasion it shall be well performed.

"MR. NATHAN AND HIS AIRS IN AUSTRALIA", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (18 August 1842), 3 

To any one at all conversant with the sublime science of music, it must appear that the land we love promises as fair as ever did Italia; and there may be found, yet, some day, a feminine admirer of the divinity of sounds equal to the celebrated, but unfortunate, Mary Queen of Scots, and a performer as Sardanapalian as the equally unfortunate Rizzio. Mr. Nathan, since his arrival amongst us, has earned "golden opinions of all sorts of men," and his endeavours to set to music the poetry of the highly gifted Mrs. Dunlop, adds another laurel to the crown won by his meritorious adaptation of Byron's Hebrew melodies. Still, "Koorinda Braia" strikes us, with all its nativeness, as a hoax on that science which is a kin to mathematics; and if any one more gifted than another with the rudiments of Apollo's school can descry a refinement of harmony in the aforesaid "Koorinda Braia," we lay our judgment on the shelf. "Star of the South," and "Mable Macmahon" have but an ordinary standing, in our opinion, to a good judge; still are there beauties of composition in the music, as well as the poetry, which deserved much admiration, and we would fondly hope that the fair authoress of the poetry, and the renowned composer of the music will long live to establish the fame of Australia. -

[We insert the above facetious paragraph which has been written for our columns by an itinerant musician. Mr. N. cannot take offence at the jealousy of the poor unfortunate whose pocket and elbows bear a great similitude, being both - out.
- ED. SYD. GAZ.]

"SEMI-WEEKLY ABSTRACT", Port Phillip Gazette (27 August 1842), 2 

A series of Songs, under the appropriate designation of "Australian Melodies," composed by the poets and poetesses of the colony, and set to music by the celebrated composer Nathan, have been lately published in Sydney. No. 5 (a copy which we have just received) is from the pen of Mrs. E. H. Dunlop, and entitled "The Star of the South;" it is dedicated with a peculiar and fine reeling of gratitude, by the composer, to "His Honor Mr. La Trobe and the Inhabitants of the District, as a small token of grateful recollection of the hospitality experienced on his first landing in "Australia Felix." The words are - . . .

The letter-press of the composition - the music and poetry - is lithographed by T. Liley, of Brougham-place, Sydney, and presents a fair specimen of colonial art. These melodies - national in their feelings and origin - we trust to hear breathed in the silver voices, and familiar to the legend tongues, of the mothers and daughters of our adopted land.

"THE STAR OF THE SOUTH. To the Editors", The Sydney Morning Herald (30 August 1842), 3 

GENTLEMEN, - In noticing the publication of the national melody, Star of the South, in The Sydney Morning Herald, that paper has not, in my belief, faithfully discharged its duty to the reading public or to its numerous patrons. The song, an offering to the people of New South Wales, should have been published by the Critic to enable the many to form their own judgment of its fitness for the period when we can for the first time be truly designated A PEOPLE; of the simpleness and truth of those sentiments which it embodied; and of its merit or demerit as English poetry. To have given that poetry to your readers unslurred by prejudicial remark, would have been no more than justice to a pen, not a paid one, but proud of contributing its quota to the original literature of the colony. But has not the author added to a former offence, against a formidable clique, by saying that Australia possesses "happy homes and altars free?" and, by ascribing the moral bulwarks of a nation to this young country, offended by declaring, in the name of the People, that we value the blessings we possess, and that the advancement or ascent of Australasia in the scale of the nations of the earth should, in full fellowship of feeling with the sons and daughters of the land, be the honest desire of all those who have found a refuge and a rest within it?

If in all this the author has offended, be it so; "what is written, is written," and neither to be suppressed or amended by the flippant remarks, or vulgarly familiar style of criticism assumed by a "self constituted judge of poesy," who, in his haste to condemn, appears to have forgotten this truth--

In Poets, if true genius is but rare,
True taste, as seldom, is the Critic's share.

For the taste of choosing allegory, or rather the licentia-poetica of personifying this, the home of dear household deities, as a "Star of the South," "A young eyed Majesty," - the author, quoting Pope, has "at least a precedent to plead," and maintains in all its bearings, that Australasia, the fair "Queen of the South" may be called on by orator or poet, as a "Star of beauty," a Star having many glorious attributes - not alone "broad lands and bright skies," but that, which none who have looked upon the women of the land can disallow, peculiar loveliness and native grace; nor are the soft flowing tresses and proud eagle glances confined to a grade, but found equally under the gilded cornices in Sydney as in the weather-boarded cottages of the "Wollombi and Macdonald river;" but the second Jeffrey affirms that the stars have nothing to do with soft tresses or proud glances. MILTON says,--

The planets, in their stations list'ning stand -


Now, the bright morning star, harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east.

And, who, among our modern Dominies dare essay to break a lance with him who has written that

The parting banners of the king of light,
Gleam round the temples of each living star,

Aye, or sneer at LEYDEN, who, quoting from the Arabic, thus - "Dost sleep, while wakes yon star's refulgent eyes?" It cannot be, that amid "the untrodden ways" of the Wollombi, or by the lagoons of Wattagan Creek, an humble hut should furnish the writer with such precious stores of rule and precedent, as may be hourly drawn in the City from a master's library; but the inherited and inheritable mind, long as it hath been worn in the world's rude setting, may even yet retain the lustre of the original gem; and, with all the memories of a prouder day, may like her who "dwelt among her own people," say in words long ago used by the loving and beloved,--

I care not for the praise, love, so sweet to minstrel's ear,
For the laurel or the bays, love, the critic or his sneer;
But promise me to sing love, my songs in after years,
When the quiet eve shall bring, love, the hour for blissful tears.

E. H. D.
Wollombi, 19th Aug., 1842.

[As Mrs. Dunlop appears to wish that her song should have a place in the columns of the Herald, we have not the slightest objection to oblige her, as we have no doubt most of our readers will concur in the judgment we passed on its merits when it was first published. We admire, as much as Mrs. Dunlop can possibly do, "happy homes and free altars," but it does not follow that we should admire bad poetry written in their praise.--EDS.]

Hail, star of the south! Australasia . . .


- - -


- - -

The Aboriginal father - The shadow on thy brow, my child (Tune: Indigenous, after Lhotsky 1834; setting: Nathan) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

For complete documentation see main entry in checklists: 



The Aboriginal father, a native song of the Maneroo Tribe . . . versified from the original words . . . by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop, the melody, as sung by the Aborigines, put into rhythm & harmonized with appropriate Symphonies & accompaniments, respectfully inscribed to the lady mayoress, by I. Nathan (Sydney: [I Nathan], Elizabeth Street; T. Bluett, Litho[grapher], Brougham Place, n.d. [1843]) (DIGITISED)

The vase, 65-66


"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Morning Herald (19 January 1843), 2 

"The Aboriginal Father, a Native Song of The Maneroo Tribe," put into rhythm and harmonised by J. Nathan, versified from the original words by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop, dedicated by Mr. Nathan to the Mayoress.

Among the many compositions with which Mr. Nathan has favoured us during his residence in Australia, none has pleased us more than the above song: it is in every respect worthy of the composer of the Hebrew Melodies. The melody (in D minor) is very beautiful, and capable of great effects from harmonization. Mr. Nathan has realised all these in the most judicious and scientific style. The air was taken by Mr. Nathan from one of the Maneroo tribe, but it certainly savours strongly of the compositions of Handel and Neukomm. Mr. Nathan is struck by this, and to save his black vocalists from the charge of plagiarism, enters into an amusing effusion by way of preface. It appears that we may yet discover much reason to be proud of our aboriginal composers, as the first four bars of this their own melody, is identical with four bars composed by the greatest musician that ever lived—and that, long before any white man came to live in these parts. But if this native melody is worthy of Handel, the arrangement by Mr. Nathan is no less so, - and we feel confident that it will be admired long after we of the present age have done with these matters. Many persons labour under the error that good music is necessarily complicated and difficult: the above song of Mr. Nathan's may undeceive them. It is replete with scientific progressions and combinations, and may be performed by any player who can count three in a bar. There are others who fancy that scientific harmonization is only to be appreciated by the musical theorist, - let them compare this song by Mr. Nathan with a former arrangement of the same air by another composer. We hope to see the "Aboriginal Father" an universal favourite, as the study of music of this sort must beget a correct taste for the science.

"NEW PUBLICATION", Australasian Chronicle (19 January 1843), 2 

The Aboriginal Father, a Native Australian Song; translated by Mrs. Dunlop. The music put into rythm [sic] and harmonised by I. Nathan.

THE publication in quick succession of these Australian melodies (this is No. 7 of the series), and their steady improvement in character as they proceed, would seem to falsify the opinion that genius is fostered by patronage. We do not mean to say that each of these melodies is without the name of a patron or patroness on the title page, but if we are not misinformed, the author has in most cases found it "a name and nothing more." Be this as it may, we shall not fail in our duty of drawing the notice of our readers to the present song, which, simple as it looks, if it were to appear in London or Vienna as the first work of a young composer, would at once place that composer in the ranks of the great harmonists of the age. The songs that preceded it, under the title of "Australian Melodies," had all some marks of science and skill, but this is truly a harmonic gem, which Handel himself might have been proud to own. The melody is not here published for the first time. It was given to the world some years ago by Dr. Lhotsky, but in a very unattractive state, from the absurd harmonies with which it was accompanied. Those who have seen it before will barely recognise it now, and they will be very agreeably surprised at the metamorphosis it has undergone. The English words added by Mrs. Dunlop are pretty, and relate but "o'er true a tale."

The shadow on the brow, my child,
Like a mist o'er the clear lagoon,
Steals on with presage dim and wild,
Of the death cloud's direful gloom.

Our tribes droop by each native stream,
Where the forests which have fed them lie,
And white man's fire sends forth its gleam,
O'er the batwan where they die.

And thou my boy the last—the first
Green leaf of a smould'ring tree,
A stranger's eye will crush the burst,
Of a warrior's lament o'er thee.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (21 January 1843), 3 

THIS DAY is published for the composer, Elizabeth-street South, THE ABORIGINAL FATHER, A NATIVE MELODY; Inscribed to the MAYORESS. Poetess, Mrs, Dunlop. Composer, J. Nathan. ALSO, AUSTRALIA the WIDE and the FREE, A NATIONAL MELODY; Inscribed to JOHN HOSKINS, Esq., the Right Worshipful Mayor of Sydney. Poet. W.A. Duncan, Esq. Composer, J. Nathan.

"THE ABORIGINAL FATHER", The Australian (27 January 1843), 3 

Mr. Nathan has forwarded us a copy, of "The Aboriginal Father." We must postpone our remarks relative to the melody, but the note prefixed to the song being so peculiar, we deem it advisable to transfer it to our columns. Competent judges speak in high terms of the composer's merits.

On my arrival in Australia, I felt anxious for the honor, pride and glory of musical tradition, to make myself acquainted with the characteristic peculiarities of the native Aboriginal airs. I was favored with a lithographic copy of this beautiful pathetic melody, so deformed and mutilated by false rhyme [sic], so disguised in complete masquerade, by false basses and false harmony, that I cast it from me with no small share of regret at the poor chance thus afforded me of adding any thing in favor of the claim of the Aborigines to the pages of musical history. My astonishment, however, a short time afterwards, was only equalled by the delight I experienced at hearing the same melody sung in all its genuine purity and simplicity, by one of the Maneroo tribe. I at once discovered the key to its latent rhyme and excellent scope for good basses and rich transitions and progressions of harmony.

There is in the first four bars of this melody, so striking an affinity to one of Handel's compositions, that those who are acquainted with the works of that great master might find difficulty in divesting themselves of the belief, that the Aborigines had been guilty of piracy: sceptics on that point however may remove all doubt from their minds, when they reflect on the little probability of any one of these sable-faced gentlemen ever having graced Drury Lane or Covent Garden, by the sunshine of their polished countenances, to witness the performance of Handel's Oratorios. I have in early life read of a gruntling (in company with its accomplished mamma) who, unlike Selwyn in search of a daughter, or Japhet in search of a father, flow, with all the epicurean taste of a gourmand, across the Atlantic, after the more fascinating allurements of the calipash and calipee; and we have all been made acquainted with full particulars of Mohawne's journey to heaven on his ass (Al. Borak); but as we have no authenticated record of either the Loobrus or Gins of the Aborigines taking flight to England for the purpose of engaging composers, and of selecting sacred music from the works of Handel for their antipodal words, we must give them credit for originality, and prevent hostile proceedings in the Court of Chancery against them, by way of injunction for their seeming infringement on the laws of copy-right.

As to the affinity of the four bars alluded to, to Handel's song, we must exclaim with Bowdick [recte Bowdich], that there can be no stronger proof of the musical powers of these beings, nor of the nature of Handel's compositions. For the satisfaction of the curious I take leave to subjoin the following quotation from Bowdick's mission to Ashantee, page 451.

After giving an account of the musical powers of a white negro from the interior country of Imbeekee, describing his person, his harp, &c., he says, "The negro sat on a low stool, supporting his harp on his knee and shoulder, when he proceeded to time it to great nicety: his hands appeared to wander among the strings until he performed a running accompaniment to extra-ordinary vociferations. At times one deep and hollow note burst forth and became broken; presently he looked up, pursuing all the actions of a maniac, whilst the one hand continued playing, he rung forth a peal which vibrated on the ear long after it was produced; he became silent, the running accompaniment revived again, as a prelude to loud recitative, uttered with the greatest volubility, and ending with one word, on which he ascended and descended divisions far beyond the extent (in pitch) of his harp, with the most beautiful precision. Sometimes be became more collected, and a mournful air succeeded the recitative without the least connexion, and he would again burst out with the whole force of his powerful voice in the notes of the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel. To meet with this chorus in the wilds of Africa and from such a being, had such an effect I can scarcely describe; I was lost in astonishment at the coincidence: there could not be a stronger proof of the nature of Handel nor of the powers of the negro. I naturally enquired if this man was in his senses, and the reply was, he was always rational but when he played, at which time he invariably used the same gestures and evinced the same incoherency.

[News], South Australian Register (25 February 1843), 4 

A Poem, entitled the "Aboriginal Father," has been published in Sydney, by Mrs. Dunlop. In a note prefixed to the song, the author says: "On my arrival in Australia . . .

. . . rest selectively quoted from The Australian (27 January 1843) above

[Isaac Nathan], The southern Euphrosyne and Australian miscellany, containing . . . an historical sketch with examples of the native aboriginal melodies put into modern rhythm and harmonized as solos, quartettes &c. . . . arranged to a piano-forte accompaniment by the editor and sole proprietor I. Nathan (Sydney: [Nathan]; London: Whittaker & Co., [1848-49]), 104-05 (106-07)

Copy at National Library of Australia (DIGITISED)

Copy at Bodleian Library, Oxford (DIGITISED)

[104] KOON-GI KAWEI GHO. On our arrival in Australia, we felt anxious for the honor, pride and glory of musical tradition, to make ourselves acquainted with the characteristic peculiarities of the native aboriginal airs. We were favored with a lithographic copy of this beautifully pathetic melody, so deformed and mutilated by false rhythm, so disguised in complete masquerade, by false basses and false harmony, that we cast it from us with no small share of regret at the poor chance thus afforded of adding any thing in favor of the claim of the aborigines, to the pages of musical history. Our astonishment however, a short time afterwards was only equalled, by the delight we experienced at hearing the same melody sung in all its genuine purity and simplicity, by one of the Maneroo tribe: we thus at once discovered the key to its latent rhythm, and excellent scope for good basses, rich transitions, and progressions of harmony . . .

[105] . . . The plaintive wild aboriginal melody before mentioned, was sung by the Maneroo tribe to the following native words:

"Koon-gi koon-gi kawel-gho yueree, koon-gi kawel-gho yueree,
Kooma-gi ko ko kawel-gho koomagi ka-ba kooma-gi ko ko -
Kooma-gi ko ko kawel-gho koomagi ka-ba kooma-gi yue-ree."

Which we forwarded to Mrs. Dunlop, the talented writer of several elegant poems. This Lady kindly favoured us with the subjoined characteristic stanzas - versified from the original words.


The shadow on thy brow, my child,
Like a mist o'er the clear Lagoon:
Steals on with presage dim and wild -
Of the death-clouds* direful gloom.

Our tribes, droop by each native stream,
Where the founts that have fed them lie;
And white man's fire sends forth its gleam,
O'er the Batwan+ where they die.

And thou my boy! the last - the first
Green leaf of a smouldering tree!
A stranger's eye will crush the burst
Of a Warrior's lament o'er thee.

[Footnotes]: Death clouds* - The unseen power has many names and forms; and is a spirit of evil only, living in the Wheeguon-cura [CHECK SPELLING] - Fire Clouds.
Batwan-mian+ - The water of the Creek.

We regret that our Euphrosyne's appearance cannot now be delayed for a new edition of this melody, which we published a few years ago, but we look forward to the time - when, if it should please the great geometrician of the universe to permit us to visit some land of civilization, where science and literature may hold a small portion of conversation in the drawing room, as well as lambs wool and mutton fat, to re-publish this beautiful native air, with several other extraordinary musical relics - which, but for our timely arrival in this Colony, might for ever have sunk into oblivion . . .


- - -

Music concordances:

Kongi kawelgo (A song of the women of the Menero tribe)

A song of the women of the Menero Tribe arranged with the assistance of several musical gentlemen for the voice and pianoforte, most humbly inscribed as the first specimen of Australian music, to her most gracious majesty Adelaide, queen of Great Britain & Hanover, by Dr. J. Lhotsky, colonist N. S. Wales (Sydney: Sold by John Innes, [1834])

Copy at the State Library of New South Wales (DIGITISED) (TROVE)


Edward Bowdich, Mission from Cape Coast to Ashantee, with a statistical account of that kingdom, and geographical notices of other parts of the interior of Africa (London: John Murray, 1819), 450-51, see also music examples page facing 449 (DIGITISED)

Nathan's immediate sources was his own Musurgia vocalis (1836), 39, where he had earlier quoted this same passage: (DIGITISED)

The Irish volunteers - For the golden harp on field of green (Tune: The irish volunteers)

Sources and documentation:

The Irish volunteers, dedicated to captain M. C. O'Connell, H. M. 28th Regt., the poetry by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop; the music composed by a professor in Dublin, in 1780 ? ([? Sydney: ?, 1843])

NO COPY IDENTIFIED; words survive separately (see below)

See also main entry in checklist:

[Review], The Australian (10 April 1843), 2 

The copy of a pleasing song, composed by Mrs. Dunlop, and set to the original air of the "Irish Volunteers," has been politely handed to us. The following account of the air is interesting:

This simple noted air is rendered singularly interesting to the historian, by its having been composed for, and adopted by, the most extraordinary military body over organised in any country, the Irish Volunteers, a force 150,000 strong, self-constituted, self-supportod, and effectively disciplined, comprising in its members nearly all the rank, influence, and wealth of a Kingdom. When 300 of these nobles and gentlemen, in the full dress uniforms of their respective Corps, were escorted in splendid procession through Dublin, as Delegates, on the 30th November, 1782, to the first sitting of the Grand National Convention of Ireland, this was the March played by the bands of the different Regiments, and the National Standard of Ireland was borne before them by a Captain of the Barristers' Grenadiers."

The poetry is simple and expressive. Indeed, its quality ought to be good, since there is but little of it.

"NEW MUSIC - AN IRISH MELODY", Australasian Chronicle (13 April 1843), 2 

We have been favored with a copy of that soul stirring national air, The Irish Volunteers, dedicated to Captain M. C. O'Connell, H.M. 28th Regt. The poetry by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop; the music composed by a professor in Dublin, in 1780.


For the golden harp on field of green,
Our glorious banner's stainless sheen!
For native land and natal scene,
Renown of vanish'd years!
We rouse each pulse by beat of drum,
And bid the heart's affections come,
While mem'ry's roll-call swells the sum
Of Irish Volunteers.

As the names of Caulfield, Grattan, Flood, -
Proud pillars of the past - have stood
Enshl in'd by Erin's gratitude,
Embalm'd by Erin's tears:
Thus lov'd like their's, a name we prize,
Engirt by fame's triumphal dyes,
A ruling star of southern skies,
And Irish Volunteers!

We have no doubt but it will be well received, and meet with such encouragement as will be satisfactory to every friend of Old Erin.

The vase, 92-94 (with explanatory note 93-94)


Attributed to Elfort (not "Ellard", as mis-transcribed by Flood), later composer of popular harpsichord sonata, The Bastile; several works by him published in London and by Lee of Dublin, are now in the National Library of Ireland (search Elfort).

Music concordances:

Lord Charlemont's march, composed for the Volunteer's concert, and most humbly inscribed to his excellency the earl of Charlemont by * * * Elfort [sic] (Dublin: John Lee, n.d.)

Copy in the National Library of Ireland (Joly collection) 

March of the Irish volunteers (Mooney 1853, volume 2, 852)

Thomas Mooney, A history of Ireland, from its first settlement to the present time . . . including a particular account of its literature, music, architecture, and natural resources . . . volume 2 (Boston: Published by the author, 1853), 852 


D. J. Donoghue, Catalogue of the musical loan exhibition held in the National Library, Dublin (Dublin: Feis Ceoil, 1899), 8 (no. 35) (DIGITISED)

The March of the Irish Volunteers of 1782 (Flood 1916, 3)

W. H. Grattan Flood, "The March of the Irish Volunteers of 1782", The Irish Volunteer (16 January 1916), 3 (DIGITISED)

The March of the Irish Volunteers of 1782, composed by Ellard [recte Elfort], published by John Lee, Dublin, 1782. The above fine quickstep was the March adopted by the Dublin Volunteers of 1782. It was a favourite with Wolfe Tone, whose musical taste was much above the average amateur. Being simple, melodious, and of well marked rhythm, it will be found very suitable for present-day Irish Volunteer Bands.

Rosetta Nathan's dirge - Way for my grief - give way


"ROSETTA NATHAN'S DIRGE", The Sydney Morning Herald (25 April 1843), 2 

Way for my grief - give way -
Shroud not that beauteous form,
I would but kiss the brow which yesterday
With life's young pulse was warm,
And now - oh God! 'tis clay!

Those lips unclose no more,
Even tho' I name her name!
Oh broken heart, hath thy rich tide ebb'd o'er!
And I yet live the same?
Come back sweet voice of yore!

Back to me, from the dead,
Doth voice of love dwell there?
None - none, I am bereaved! see from my head
I rend the waving hair;
Go! leave me with my dead.
Give way, to my despair!

E. H. D.
Wollombi, April 18.

The vase, 51


- - -


"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (3 April 1843), 3 

On Saturday morning, at the residence of her father, Elizabeth-street, in the sixteenth year of her age, Rosetta Nathan, daughter of J. Nathan, Esq. This highly accomplished, amiable, and virtuous young lady, who was but a few hours ago the pride and delight of her family and friends, calmly slept in death after two short days' illness, leaving her afflicted family inconsolable for her sudden but irreparable loss.

"STANZAS", The Sydney Morning Herald (4 April 1843), 3 


"ORIGINAL POETRY. ROSETTE, BY H. H.", The Sydney Morning Herald (5 April 1843), 4 

"Original Poetry", Australasian Chronicle (6 April 1843), 2 


To the memory of Mary Fitzroy - Trembling in agony! faint with amaze!


Nathan, Southern Euphrosyne, 136 (DIGITISED)


The following letter addressed to us, together with the accompanying pathetic stanzas on the lamented death of the amiable Lady Mary Fitzroy, do credit to the heart and talent of Mrs. Dunlop; and though we cannot, at this crisis, avail ourselves of her kind permission to unite the stanzas to our music, we feel a melancholy satisfaction in thus laying them before our readers.

Mulla villa Wollombi, December 20, 1847.

Dear Mr. Nathan,
You could create a melancholy melody to embody the sad thoughts I offer you. The subject is one of universal sympathy; and you, who could so well value the amiable qualities of the illustrious departed, will, I feel convinced, love to honor her memory.

Ever Yours, obliged and gratefully,

I. Nathan, Esq.


Trembling in agony! faint with amaze!
Not tear drops but terror is blinding his gaze:
He sits by the loved one, supporting her head -
The spirit-bond's broken - he kneels by the dead.

All his heart's treasury, hallowed by time,
Love changeless and cherished in many a clime,
Passing from earth as he kneels by her there,
Stern in the strength of his silent despair.

Dirge-notes roll solemnly thrilling through all,
Hearts heave in the hamlet, tears gush in the hall;
Yes! tears for that loved one, our noblest and best,
Oh! call her not back from the home of the blest.

Fount of deep tenderness, feebly the tone
Flow'd with thy life's current naming thine own;
Breathing his name with thy heart's parting swell,
Winning from death an undying farewell.

E. H. Dunlop.

We who have drank deeply of the bitter cup of sorrow, can indeed sympathise in the affliction of others - but we must all submit to heaven's decree . . .

The vase, 17-18 ("Elegy on the death of the Right Hon. Lady Mary Fitz-Roy", includes explanatory note on 18)


- - -



"THE LATE MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT AT PARRAMATTA", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 December 1847), 2 

[Editorial], The Sydney Morning Herald (10 December 1847), 2 

"Original Poetry. ON THE DEATH OF LADY MARY FITZ ROY", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (1 January 1848), supplement 2 

John M. Ward, "FitzRoy, Charles Augustus (1796-1858)", Australian dictionary of biography 1 (1966) 

? By c.1848
Aboriginal songs and translations
Various songs transliterated


Aboriginal song texts, in Kamilaroi vocabulary and Aboriginal songs, c.1840s (DIGITISED)

Vocabulary, in David Dunlop, correspondence & documents, 1830s-1880s; papers of James Milson; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 9409/Box 14/Folder 7 (DIGITISED)

Relevant page images: (PAGE IMAGE)

Ko-ra ko-a--be-á-raa!

Nung-Ngnun - Our home is the gibber-gunyah


Nathan, Southern Euphrosyne, 94 (DIGITISED)


The poetry by Mrs. E. H. Dunlop - inscribed to William Hamilton Maxwell, Esq., author of "Stories of Waterloo," &c.

Our home is the gibher-gunyah,
Where hill joins hill on high:
There berramboo and boomerang
Like sleeping serpents lie!
There our lubras can look on the battwan clear,
That the track of a white man hath never been near.

Ours are the wascera gliding -
Deep in the shady creek;
Where bright gerool and cooperra tell
How sure the prey we seek:
While the rushing of wings, as the wangas pass,
Sweeps the wallaby's print from the glist'ning grass.

Ours is the coole-man flowing,
With fragrant contiyon stored:
For fleet the foot, and keen the eye,
That seeks the conindin's hoard!
But dearer the glance, and the footsteps to me,
Of the lubra who laughs by the kurrijong tree!


Gibber-gunyah: cave-of-the-rock.
Berramboo: the waddy or war-club, similar to those of New Zealand.
Boomerang: striking-weapon - from boomallee, to strike.
Lubra: female or daughter - young females of a tribe.
Battwan: spring water.
Wascerra: fish.
Gerrool, and Cooperra: the mullet and eel.
Wanga-wanga: a wild pigeon of the largest kind, of most exquisite plumage.
Wallaby: a small species of the kangaroo, which is also called barwan, and biiloo - they are yet found in thin herds in the mountanous ranges of the Wollombi.

The coole-man is a bowl, hollowed with great ingenuity by the aborigines, from an excrescent substance of a semicircular form, found growing on the iron-bark, apple, and other gumiferous trees; the inner wood is rather more porous and fibrous than that on which it grows; but the bark (which is the cooleman) is hard and smooth, one or two inches in thickness, and containing from a pint to two gallons. On a first examination I was inclined to the opinion of an author (Professor Rennie,) on "Insect Architecture," who believes that "such growths may be caused by the juncture of the lynips," but admitting, with that authority, that these excresences are "pseudo-galls," I rather infer them to be like wens on animals, "produced by too much nourishment."

Contiyon: honey.

Conindin: the small native honey-bee easily tracked through the air by a white down adhering to it; which is strewed by the natives on the sweet yams, on which the insect loves to feed.

Kurrijong: a tree, from the inner rind of which nets are woven.

"NATIVE POETRY", The Sydney Morning Herald (11 October 1848), 3 

Nge a runba wonung bulkirra umbilinto bulwarra;
Pital burra kultan wirripang buntoa

Nge a runba turrama berrambo, burra kilkoa:
Kurri wi, raratoa yella walliko,
Yulo Moane, woinyo, birung poro bulliko,

Nge a rumba kan wullung, Makoro, kokein,
Mip-pa-rai, kekul, wimbi murr ring kirrika:
Nge a runba mura ke-en kulbun kulbun murrung.

- - -

There is a god of Poesy, Wallatu, who composes
music, and who, without temple, shrine, or statue, is as
universally acknowledged as if his oracles were breathed
by Belus or Csiris [recte Osiris]: he comes in dreams, and transports
the individual to some sunny hill, where he is inspired
with the supernatural gift.

Mulla Villa, September 25.

Translated and Versified by Mrs. Dunlop.

Our home is the gibber-gunyah,
Where hill joins hill on high;
Where the turruma and berrambo,
Like sleeping serpents lie;--
And the rushing of wings, as the wangas pass,
Sweeps the wallaby's print from the glistening grass.

Ours are the makoro gliding,
Deep in the shady pool:
For our spear is sure, and the prey secure--
Kanin, or the bright gherool.
Our lubras sleep by the bato clear,
That the Amygest's track hath never been near.

Ours is the koolema flowing,
With precious kirrika stored:
For fleet the foot, and keen the eye,
That seeks the nukkung's hoard;--
And the glances are bright, and the footsteps are free,
When we dance in the shade of the karakun tree.

- - -

Gibber-gunya--Cave in the rock.
Turruna and Berrambo--War arms.
Wanga--A species of pigeon.
Nukkung--Wild bee.
Karrakun--The oak-tree.

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Native poetry (The vase, 55) Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Native poetry (The vase, 56)

The vase, 55-56

Song 1. / Nung-Ngnun.
Nge a runba wonung bulkirra umbilinto bulwarra;
Pital burra kultan wirripang buntoa

Song 2. / Nung-Ngnun
Nge a runba turrama berrambo, burra kilkoa:
Kurri wi, raratoa yella walliko,
Yulo Moane, woinyo, birung poro bulliko,

Song 3. / Nung-Ngnun
Nge a rumba kan wullung, Makoro, kokein,
Mip-pa-rai, kekul, wimbi murr ring kirrika:
Nge a runba mura ke-en kulbun kulbun -
- murrung.

- - -

There is a god of Poesy, Wallatu, who composes music, and who, without temple, shrine, or statue, is as universally acknowledged as if his oracles were breathed by Belus or Osiris: he comes in dreams, and transports the favoured individual wrapped in visioned slumber, to some bright, warm hill; where he is inspired with the rare and supernatural gift. Songs in general are a few words of praise, or anger, often repeated in a variety of cadence[s].

[56] Native song (the foregoing) translated and Versified.

Our home, is the gibber-gunyah,
Where hill joins hill, on high;
Where the turruma, and berrambo,
Like twisted serpents lie!
And the rushing of wings, as the Wangas pass,
Sweeps the wallaby's prints, from the glistening grass.

Ours are the makoro gliding
Deep in the shady pool:
For our spear is sure, and the prey secure--
Kanin, or the bright gherool!
Our lubras sleep by the batoo clear,
That the Amygest's track hath never been near.

Ours, is the koolema flowing
With precious kirrika stored:
And fleet the foot, and keen the eye,
That tracks to the nukkung's hoard!
And glances as bright, and the footstep is free,
Light our dancers that by the karakun tree.

- - -

Gibber-gunya--Cave in the rock.
Turruna and Berrambo--War arms.
Wanga--A species of pigeon.
Nukkung--Wild bee.
Karrakun--The oak-tree.


- - -


Lancelot E. Threlkeld, "Language of the Australian Aborigines", in Waugh's Australian almanac for the year 1858 (Sydney: James W. Waugh, 1858), (60-80), 70-71 (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

R. W. Venderkiste, Lost, but not for ever: my personal narrative of starvation and providence in the Australian mountain regions (London: James Nisbet, 1863), 209-210 (DIGITISED)

Edward Ellis Morris, Austral English: a dictionary of Australasian words, phrases and usages(London: Macmillan and Company, 1898), 160 (DIGITISED)

Margaret Clunies Ross, "Australian Aboriginal oral traditions", Oral Tradition 1/2 (1986), (231-71), 235 (DIGITISED)

Erin dheelish - The bell birds ring their silvery call (Tune: unidentified)


"ERIN DHEELISH", Empire (8 July 1865), 5 

The bell birds ring their silvery call,
Clear tinkling 'midst the myrtle glades;
The ci-ca-da hath cast its pall,
And myriads throng the cedar shades;
The sullen Mulla murmurs bye,
Reflecting mountain, crag, and tree,
Enchanting scene! then whence the sigh?
Mo Erin dheelish gra machree
Erin mo cushla, avourneen dheelish!
A yea yeelish gra machree
Enchanting scene! then whence the sigh?
Mo Erin dheelish gra machree.

Mulla Villa, Wollombi, New South Wales, 12th May [1865]

. . . * Erin dheelish is written for an old and somewhat plaintive air, published by Edward Bunting in his "Irish Melodies." Mr. Bunting, although so eminent, was less talented than our great composer, Sir John Stevenson . . .


Though Bunting attributed Planxty Maguire to [Turlough] Carolan in his 1796 collection, it is not generally thought to be by him.

Music concordances:

Unidentified; possibly [1] Planxty Maguire; [2] The green woods of Truigha; [3] The dawning of the day

[1] Planxty Maguire

Bunting 1 1796 (Dublin), 30 (DIGITISED)

Bunting 1 1796 (London n.d), 35 (DIGITISED)

Planxty Maguire (Bunting 1809, 34)

Bunting 1809, 34 (DIGITISED)

[2] The green woods of Truigha

The green woods of Truigha (Bunting 1809, 42)

Bunting 1809, 42 (DIGITISED)

[3] The dawning of the day

The dawning of the day (Bunting 1809, 53)

Bunting 1809, 53 (DIGITISED)


Wafer 2017, 228

A problem - Mysterious spark of living light (? Tune: Hymn L.M.


"A PROBLEM", Empire (17 June 1867), 5 

"Y la lus en las tinieblas resplendece mas las tinieblas ne la comprehendieron." - Segun San Juan.

Mysterious spark of living light!
One moment on the darkness vast:
Effulgence pure, of dazzling white;
But seen - and 'twas already past.

How, whence or why, to mortal eye,
Was that bright Visitant unveiled?
A soul's commune with Light on high,
Of covenant, peace, and pardon sealed.

With holy awe in fond amaze,
Spirit accepts the grace benign:
And grateful hymns of pray'rful praise
Ascend to our REDEEMER'S shrine.

Mulla Villa, May, 1867.

The vase, 101-102


- - -


- - -

The royal pilosus - When the hour of departure is o'er (Tune - Far, far, at sea)


Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, The royal pilosus (The vase, 85)

The vase, 85

The Royal Pilosus (air far far at sea)

[Epigraph] "As, the thistle down, when driven
To the various points of heaven!
As, the leaves, in wintry day
Thus my friends have passed away"

- James Sylvius Law.


When the hour of departure is o'er,
And each tender farewell hath been spoken;
The Pilosis, afar from our shores;
Shall the love links of memory be broken.
Far far at sea! Far far at sea!


No, no! while broad waves plash around;
While stars in the mid-watch shine over us,
Each tie shall be treasured, that bound
Hearts which last, from the Royal Pilosus.
Far far at sea! Far far at sea!


- - -

Music concordances:

Far, far at sea; words by ? , in Variety, London, 1802; words by ?; music by Charles Haiman Florio (1770-1819)

Far far at sea, a favorite ballad, sung by Mr. Incledon, in his new entertainment called Variety, and by Mrs. Bland at Vauxhall, composed by C. H. Florio (London: Goudling, Phipps & D'Almaine, [1803]) 

Far, far at sea (C. H. Florio)

Far far at sea, a favorite ballad sung by Mr. Incledon . . . (New York: J. & M. Paff, [n.d.]) (DIGITISED)

Far, far at sea, sung with great applause by Mr. Webster . . . (Philadelphia: G. E. Blake, [n.d.]) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)


On Florio, see A biographical dictionary of actors, actresses, musicians, dancers, managers . . . volume 5: Eagan to Garrett (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978), 311-12 (PREVIEW)

The evening star - of The girl I left behind me - Now Hesper weeps her glistening tears, high o'er the Atlantic ocean (? Tune - The girl I left behind me)


Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, The evening star (The vase, 47)
Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, The evening star (The vase, 48)

The vase, 47-48


- - -

Music concordances:

Brighton Camp (Skillern 1799, 7)

Twenty four new country dances for the year 1799 with proper directions to each dance as they are performed at court, Almacks, Bath, Pantheon, and all publick assemblies (London: T. Skillern, 1799), 7

Copy at the English Folk Song and Dance Society (digitised) 

As slow our ship (Moore and Stevenson 7 1818, 7)

Moore and Stevenson 7 1818, 7 (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

William Chappell, Popular music of the olden time . . . vol. 2 (London: Cramer, Beale, & Chappell, [1856]), 708-711 (with music 710) (DIGITISED)


- - -

Mo Varia Astore [?] - Yes I have wept, to see this faded - (? Tune: O Mary Asthore)


Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Mo Varia Astore (The vase, 111)

The vase, 111

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, poem draft, Milsom papers, State Library of New South Wales

? See also poem draft, among David Dunlop correspondence &c., Milsom papers, State Library of New South Wales (DIGITISED)


- - -

? Possible music concordances:

O Mary Asthore 

Derrapore - A spell is o'er my gifted eyes (? Tune - The harp that once through Tara's Halls)


Unidentified MS; ed. De Salis 1967, 23-24

[1] A spell is o'er my gifted eyes
And its spirit guided my hand!
While my canvas glow with the sunset dyes
Of a lovely Indian land.

[2] There's a deep dark tank in beauty there
With its crimson lily gems
The coco-palm tree's sombre air
And the betel's silvery stems . . .

[5] Those splendid halls are desolate
Alone! in their pillared pride:
No Durwans tend the lofty gate
Where prowling jackals hide . . .

[9] Aye Wo! for leaving a native land
And reaching a father's Dome
When the death sealed lips and the clay cold hand
Could not give thee a welcome home.


- - -

Music concordances:

[1] Gramachree - The harp that once thro' Tara's halls

The Scots musical museum, humbly dedicated to the Catch Club . . . vol. 1 (Edinburgh: [James Johnson], 1787), 46-47 

Gramachree Molly, a favorite Irish Air ([London]: [William Napier], [1790]) 

The musical repository . . . (Edinburgh: C. Stewart and Co., 1802), 76-78 

The harp that once thro' Tara's halls (Moore and Stevenson 1 1807, 27)

Moore and Stevenson 1 1807, 27 (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

Compare also:

I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls, from The Bohemian girl, London, 1843; words by Alfred Bunn (1796-1860); music by Michael Balfe (1808-1870)

I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls, as sung by Mrs. Stirling in the opera of the Bohemian girl, composed by M. W. Balfe (Sydney: F. Ellard, [1845]) (DIGITISED)


- - -

Nathan - Sweet voice of song! Australian shores


Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Nathan (The vase, 87)
Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Nathan (The vase, 88)

The vase, 87-88


"And joy and sorrow both convey,
Man's mortal bark along its way."

- - -


[Proud] Sweet voice of song! Australia's shores
Have hailed thee as, a newborn gladness!
A fount of harmony: that pours
A zest for joy; a balm for sadness;


From regal halls, and strains of praise;
From England's fairest, noblest daughters!
You come to faith's [?] "untrodden ways."
Beyond the waste of southern waters!


[The household] Ancestral hearths, old friends sincere!
Triumphs of art - and lights of science;
[All yet] Lo! all are pilgrim strangers here
[Mocking] Testing our spirit's self-reliance.


No godlike footprints of the past!
No ivied arch; nor sculptured column:
No dusky minster, hoar, and vast -
To seal the soul in musings solemn!

[88] V

Yet sooth! it is a lovely land;
The [birth-place] cradle of a mighty nation;
All beautiful from nature's hand,
As on the [birthday] bridal of creation

7 [sic]

Rich trophies in its bosom dwell,
For Poet - painter - sculptor, vying!
A tree, is in the almost shell
A statue, in the marble lying.


And deep within its virgin mines
Too boundless spread for mind to measure
"The monarch of the waste" reclines
On sparkling beds of golden treasure.

6 [sic]

Vine covered hills, and honied dells,
That realize a Poet's vision!
And hearts; whence music's sweetest swells -
Gush forth, like founts [as springs] in vales elysian!


Be this thy country [May be thy best proud] "Son of Song"
Australian pearls shall gem thy name
On Time's bright current [borne along] wafted on
Blending with Byron's [deathless] waves of fame.


- - -


- - -

Appendix 1
Song of the Aborigines - Bail-gammon! Bail-gammon! The cooey from far [Samuel Prout Hill] (Tune: Tambourgi [Nathan])


For main entry in checklist:


"ORIGINAL POETRY", The Sydney Morning Herald (23 April 1844), 4 


[The following song has been written out of sheer compassion for the narrowed intellects of the blacks: the "EAGLE CHIEF," "ABORIGINAL MOTHER," &c., being considered of too flighty and exalted a nature to be comprehended by the dark and benighted understandings of our brethren of the woods: Damnant quod non intelligunt.]



BAIL-gammon! Bail-gammon! [1] The cooey [2] from far,
Dark frowns on the Settler with promise of war;
Now the tribes of the mountains with shouts take their way,


Oh! who is more ugly than brave Broken-bay,
With his greasy old blanket, and jacket so gay,
To the gins [3] in his goonyer [4] he leaves all he's got,
His boomering, waddy, [5] and smoky tin pot!


Shall thy sons, Murrumbidgee, who never forgive
The fault of a friend, bid an enemy live?
With gummy's [6] unerring ne'er let thy foes swim--
What mark is more fair than the breasts of black-bream?


Though the Squatter [7] sends slugs with a ne'er failing aim,
And hopes by his powder thy courage to tame;
On the brickfielder's [8] blast dark vengeance shall ride
And sweep the rude plain with gaunt death by its side.


Then the White-boys [9] shall whistle the note of the lagg'd--
And teach the pale Franks what it is to be scragg'd:
They shall leave on their wild track the blood of their foe,
For the dark pall of night shall encourage the blow.


I ask not the pleasures that labour can buy,
My spear strikes so deep--one blow--and you die;
From the neighbouring tribe it shall woo me a gin,
And her soft smiles shall lull--her caresses shall win.


I love the black face of the gin in her pride,
I love her endearments and snubb'd nose beside:
She shall bring from her goonyer some musical lad,
To yell me a tale on the fall of her dad.


Remember the moment when brave Jacky [10] died,
To the scragging-post yard arm the poor fool was tied;
But the cry of revenge shall yet peal through the air.
And the burst of our triumph cause phrenzied despair.


I talk not of mercy, our ways are our own,
Old Tamara's King--and the wild bush his throne.
We bow to his mandate and none shall dare say--
We allow'd the pale English to scrag us away!


For Tamara's son to the wilds has now sped--
Let the white man beware of his dark bushy head!--
In wrath he returns with his brave tribe again,
And the blood of the cattle shall redden the plain.


Bail-gammon! Throw high now old Tamara's spear!
Bail-gammon! That cooey proclaims they are near;
One yell of dark hate to the white man who scraggs;
One shout for their cattle and--sweet sugar bags!

S. P. H.

[1] Bail-gammon. Literally--no falsehood. This is a barbarism; and, for a barbarous expression, is certainly full of meaning. When employed as an interrogative it implies a good humoured suspicion; thus it might be rendered in classical language--"you are not telling me a crammer, are you?" The way in which it is employed above, is, more properly speaking, an asseveration;-- and implies that what is to follow is--"a fact--and no mistake!"
[2] A shout. Produced by a tremendous exertion of the lungs.
[3] Gins. Women.
[4] Goonyer. Hut.
[5] Boomering,--waddy. Implements of war.
[6] Gummy. Spear.
[7] Squatters. Friends of Sir George Gipps. (?)
[8] Brickfielder. Southerly wind.
[9] White- boys. Bushrangers.
[10] Jacky-Jacky, was executed for murder.


- - -

Music concordances:

Tambourgi (Byron - Nathan)

Tambourgi! Tambourgi! sung by Mr. Braham at the oratorios, Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, poet Lord Byron, composer I. Nathan (London: H. Falkner, [1831]) (NLA, 1980s ABC photocopy of copy in SL-NSW) (DIGITISED)

Tambourgi (Byron - Nathan), melody with final verse underlaid

As shown above (the last stanza of the Byron-Nathan original) each musical stanza sets 8 lines of texts, coinciding with 2 4-line verses in Prout's parody; however, it is likely that Prout only had the first half of the tune in mind.


[Music reviews], The Athenaeum 200 (27 August 1831), 556 

The poet (Samuel Prout Hill); William Nicholas (1807-1854); National Gallery of Australia; 87.1645 

Appendix 2
A good black gin - You may drain your glasses (words: J. W. Dent; setting: Nathan)


For main entry in checklist:


A good black gin (Dent - Nathan), page 1

A good black gin, an Australian melody, inscribed with great deference and profound respect, to the loyal subjects of his late most gracious, highly accomplished, and revered, antipodal majesty, king Bungaree; poet, Lieut. J. W. Dent, R.N.; composer, I. Nathan (Sydney: Published by W. Moffitt, Pitt-street, 1845)

Copy at the State Library of New South Wales (page 1 pictured above, page 4 with last verse and chorus, below) 

A good black gin (Dent - Nathan), page 4


[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (24 February 1845), 2

THIS DAY IS PUBLISHED, By W. MOFFITT, PITT-STREET, Price 2s., A GOOD BLACK GIN: AN AUSTRALIAN MELODY. Inscribed with great deference, and profound respect, to the loyal subjects of his late most gracious, highly accomplished, and revered antipodal Majesty KING BUNGAREE. Poet - LIEUT. DENT, R.N. Composer - J. NATHAN.

"NEW SONG", The Sydney Morning Herald (24 February 1845), 2

We have received a newly published song, the words by Lieutenant Dent, and the music by Nathan. It is in praise of a black gin, and is as ribald a production as it has been our lot to meet with for a long time. It cannot be admitted into any decent family, and we regret that any of Nathan's music should be arranged to such words.

"NATHAN'S BLACK GIN", The Australian (4 March 1845), 3 

This seems likely to become a very popular Air, having been performed in excellent style by the Band of the 99th, in the Domain, on Thursday last, to a numerous and fashionable assemblage.


- - -


- - -

Appendix 3

"Original Poetry", The Omnibus and Sydney Spectator (1 April 1843), 16 

TO -------- --------

The following lines are inscribed to Mr. Nathan, with a request that he will compose music for them.

I've roamed in many a distant land,
And many a form of beauty seen,
From the bright orients glowing strand,
To western wilds my step has been . . .

"LINES BY W. CHAUCER, WOLLOMBI", The Sentinel (15 October 1845), 3 

"ORIGINAL VERSES BY W. CHAUCER, WOLLOMBI", The Sentinel (10 December 1845), 3 

Music sources and resources

Bunting 1-3 1796-1840

Copies of all editions (digitised at Petrucci Music Library IMSLP),_Edward)

Bunting 1 1796 (Dublin)

A general collection of the ancient Irish music containing a variety of admired airs never before published and also the compositions of Conoloan and Carolan collected from the harpers & in the different provinces of Ireland and adapted for the piano-forte with a prefatory introduction by Edward Bunting (Dublin: W. Power & Co., [1796]) (DIGITISED)

Bunting 1 1796 (London, n.d.)

A general collection of the ancient Irish music containing a variety of admired airs never before published and also the compositions of Conoloan and Carolan collected from the harpers & in the different provinces of Ireland and adapted for the piano-forte with a prefatory introduction by Edward Bunting (London: Preston & Son, [? 1796])

Copy at Brigham Young University (digitised at Internet Archive) (DIGITISED)

Bunting 1 1796 (c1820)

New edition of a general collection . . . vol. 1 (Dublin: I. Willis, [c. 1820])

Copy at Bayerische StaatsBibliotek digital (DIGITISED)

Bunting 2 1809

A general collection of the ancient music of Ireland, arranged for the piano forte, some of the most admired melodies are adapted for the voice to poetry chiefly translated from the original Irish songs by Thomas Campbell esq. and other eminent poets, to which is prefixed a historical & critical dissertation on the Egyptian, British and Irish harp by Edward Bunting, vol. 1st [sic] (London: Engraved by Williamson, n.d. [1809])

Copy at Boston Public Library (digitised at Internet Archive) (DIGITISED)

Copy at the National Library of Scotland (DIGITISED)

Bunting 3 1840

The ancient music of Ireland, arranged for the piano forte, to which is prefixed a dissertation on the Irish harp and harpers, including an account of the old melodies of Ireland by Edward Bunting (Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1840)

Copy at Boston Public Library (digitised at Internet Archive) (DIGITISED)

Owenson 1805 ("Lady Morgan")

Sidney Owenson, Twelve original Hibernian melodies, with English words, imitated and translated, from the works of the ancient Irish bards . . . (London: Preston, [1805])

Copy at the British Library (digitised Google Books) 

Moore and Stevenson 1-7 1808-18

A selection of Irish melodies, with symphonies and accompaniments by Sir John Stevenson Mus.Doc. and characteristic words by Thomas Moore esq., vols. 1-7 (London: J. Power, [1807-18])

Copies of 1-7 at Bayerische StaatsBibliotek digital (also at Internet Archive) (DIGITISED)

Copies in separate sets at Bayerische StaatsBibliotek digital (SET 1 1807 DIGITISED) (SET 2 1807 DIGITISED) (SET 3 1810 DIGITISED) (SET 4 1811 DIGITISED) (SET 5 1813 DIGITISED) (SET 6 1815 DIGITISED) (SET 7 1818 DIGITISED)


Petrie 1855

George Petrie, The Petrie collection of the ancient music of Ireland, arranged for the piano-forte (Dublin: At the University Press, 1855) (DIGITISED)

Recent literature:

Fleischmann et al. 1998

Aloys Fleischmann, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, and Paul McGettrick (eds), Sources of Irish traditional music, c.1600-1855 (New York and London: Garland/Taylor & Francis, 1997/98), 2 volumes (PREVIEW)

Bibliography and resources

Goddard 1955

The life and times of James Milson (Melbourne: Georgian House, 1955) 

Gunson 1966

Niel Gunson, "Dunlop, Eliza Hamilton (1796-1880)", Australian dictionary of biography 1 (1966) 

De Salis 1967

Margaret de Salis, Two early colonials, by a great grand-daughter ([Sydney]: [Author], 1967) 

Webby 1986

Elizabeth Webby (ed.), The Aboriginal mother and other poems (Canberra: Mulini Press, 1981) 

Vickery 2002

Ann Vickery, "A 'Lonely crossing': approaching nineteenth-century Australian women's poetry", Victorian Poetry 40/1 (Spring 2002), 33-54 

O'Leary 2004

John O'Leary, "Giving the Indigenous a voice - further thoughts on the poetry of Eliza Hamilton Dunlop", Journal of Australian Studies 82 (2004) [special issue: Colour], 85-93 

O'Leary 2007

John O'Leary, "'The life, the loves, of that dark race': the ethnographic verse of mid-nineteenth-century Australia", Australian Literary Studies 23/1 (April 2007), 3-17 

Van Toorn 2007

Penny Van Toorn, "Wild speech, tame speech, real speech? written renditions of Aboriginal Australian speech, 1788-1850", Southerly 67/1-2 (Spring-Summer 2007), 166-78 

O'Leary 2009

John O'Leary, "Speaking the suffering indigene: 'native' songs and laments, 1820-1850", Kunapipi 31/1 (2009) (DIGITISED FREE DOWNLOAD)

Hansord 2011

Katie Hansord, "Eliza Hamilton Dunlop's 'The Aboriginal mother': romanticism, anti slavery and imperial feminism in the nineteenth century", Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 11/1 (2011) [special issue: Archive madness], (DIGITISED FREE DOWNLOAD)

O'Leary 2011

Savage songs & wild romances: settler poetry and the indigine, 1830-1880 (Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2011) (LIMITED PREVIEW)

Skinner 2011

Skinner 2011, First national music, on Isaac Nathan 167-237, on Dunlop especially 182-189, 193-198, 203, 214, 449, 453, 455 (DIGITISED FREE DOWNLOAD)

Wu 2014

Duncan Wu, "'A vehicle of private malice': Eliza Hamilton Dunlop and the Sydney Herald", The review of English studies new series 65/272 (2014), 888-903 (PAYWALL)

Wafer 2017

Jim Wafer, "Ghost-writing for Wulatji: incubation and 're-dreaming' as song revitalisation practices", in Jim Wafer and Myfanwy Turpin (eds), Recirculating songs: revitalising the singing practices of Indigenous Australia (Hamilton: Hunter Press, 2017), 187-244 (DIGITISED FREE DOWNLOAD)

Johnston 2018 a

Anna Johnston, "Mrs. Milson's wordlist: Eliza Hamilton Dunlop and the intimacy of linguistic work", in Penelope Edmonds and Amanda Nettelbeck (eds), Intimacies of violence in the settler colony: economies of dispossession around the Pacific rim (Cham: Springer/Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 225-248 (LIMITED PREVIEW)

Johnston 2018 b

Anna Johnston, "'The Aboriginal mother': poetry and politics", in Jane Lydon and Lyndall Ryan (eds), Remembering the Myall Creek massacre (Sydney: New South Publishing, 2018), (LIMITED PREVIEW)

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018