James Brunton Stephens Poems

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James Brunton Stephens
James Brunton Stephens (17 June 1835 29 June 1902) was a Scottish-born Australian poet, author of Convict Once. Stephens was born at Borrowstounness, on the Firth of Forth; the son of John Stephens, the parish schoolmaster. Stephens the younger was educated at his father's school and at the University of Edinburgh. For three years he was a travelling tutor on the continent, which was followed by a period of school teaching in Scotland. Stephens migrated to Queensland, Australia, in 1866 for health reasons. He was a tutor with the family of a squatter for some time and in 1873 entered the Queensland education department. He had experience as a teacher at Stanthorpe and was afterwards in charge of the school at Ashgrove, near Brisbane. Representations were then made to the premier, Sir Thomas McIlwraith, that a man of Stephens's ability was being wasted in a small school, and in 1883 a position was found for him as a correspondence clerk in the colonial secretary's department. He afterwards rose to be undersecretary to the chief secretary's department. Before coming to Australia Stephens had done a little writing for popular magazines, and in 1871 his first volume of poems, Convict Once, was published by Macmillan and Company, which immediately proclaimed him to be an Australian poet of importance. Two years later a long poem, The Godolphin Arabian, was published. These were followed by The Black Gin and other Poems, 1873, and Miscellaneous Poems, 1880. The first collected edition of his poems was published in 1885, others followed in 1888, 1902 and 1912. Of these the 1902 edition is the most complete. After Stephens entered the colonial secretary's department in 1883 he was unable to do much literary work though he wrote occasionally for the press. He was suffering for some time from angina pectoris before his sudden death on 29 June 1902. He married in 1876, Rosalie Donaldson, who survived him with four daughters and one son.

There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on t... [read poem]
prayer of the abolitionist
WE ask not that the slave should lie,
As lies his master, at his ease,
Beneath a silken ... [read poem]
one cigarette
No smoke without you, my fire.
After you left,
your cigarette glowed on in my ashtray... [read poem]
the loch ness monster's song
Hnwhuffl hhnnwfl hnfl hfl?
Gdroblboblhobngbl gbl gl g... [read poem]
the power of science
"All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,"
Are but t... [read poem]
the subway piranhas
Did anyone tell you
that in each subway train
there is one special seat
with a small ... [read poem]
a word from a petitioner
What! our petitions spurned! The prayer
Of thousands, -- tens of thousands, -- cast
Unhear... [read poem]
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