The Bush, My Lover

The campfire gleams resistance
To every twinkling star;
The horse-bells in the distance  
Are jangling faint and far;  
Through gum boughs ‘lorn and lonely  
The passing breezes sigh;  
In all the world are only  
My star crowned Love and I.  

The still night wraps Macquarie;
The white moon, drifting slow,  
Takes back her silver glory  
From watching waves below;  
To dalliance I give over  
Though half the world may chide,  
And clasp my one true lover  
Here on Macquarie side.  

The loves of earth grow olden  
Or kneel at some new shrine;  
Her locks are always golden  
This brave Bush Love of mine;  
And for her starlit beauty,  
And for her dawns dew pearled,  
Her name in love and duty  
I guard against the world.  

They curse her desert places  
How can they understand  
Who know not what her face is  
And never held her hand
Who may have heard the meeting  
Of boughs the wind has stirred,  
Yet missed the whispered greeting  
Our listening hearts have heard.  

For some have travelled over  
The long miles at her side,  
Yet claimed her not as Lover  
Nor thought of her as Bride:  
And some have followed after  
Through sun and mist for years,  
Nor held the sunshine laughter,  
Nor guessed the raindrops tears.  

And if her droughts are bitter,
Her dancing mirage vain  
Are all things gold that glitter?  
What pleasure but hath pain?  
And since among love’s blisses  
Love’s penalties must live,  
Shall we not take her kisses,  
And, taking them, forgive?  

The winds of dawn are roving  
The river oaks astir  
What heart were torn of loving  
That had no love but her?  
Till last red stars are lighted  
And last winds wander West,  
Her troth and mine are plighted  
The lover I love best!  


Will Ogilvie  (21 August 1869 – 30 January 1963) was a Scottish-Australian narrative poet and horseman, jackaroo, and drover.

‘The Bush My Lover’ illuminated book written by William OgilvieIn 1924 a Sydney barrister, John Lane Mullins, commissioned this richly illuminated book of William Ogilvie's poem 'The Bush My Lover'. Gordon Dalrymple Nicol, a New Zealand born artist, illustrated each page with golden images of Australian flowers.
Image / Georgiana Lowe – from an album of drawings of New South Wales views, ca. 1842-1850

1 comment

Will Ogilvie, like Adam Lindsay Gordon before him, adopted and came to love the bush and the Australian country. However, unlike Gordon, Will Ogilvie lived much longer to enjoy it. Check out ‘Gordon of Dingley Dell’ at for more information about Australia’s national poet.

Lorraine Day June 06, 2023

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