an ebook published by Project Gutenberg Australia

Title: A Poet's Home
Author: Charles Harpur
eBook No.: 2100441h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: 2021
Most recent update: 2021

This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore

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A Poet's Home

Charles Harpur

 

CONTENTS

A Poet's Home
The Poet

A Poet’s Home

Here in this lonely rill-engirdled spot,
The world forgetting, by the world forgot,
    With one vowed to me with beloved lips
How sweet to draw, as hiddenly from Time,
    As from its rocks yon shaded fountain slips,
                My yet remaining prime!

Here early rising from a sinless bed
How sweet it were to view Aurora shed
    Her first white glances o’er the dusky wood,
When powdered as with pearls the sprays all gleam
    Through the grey dawn, like prophecies of good
            Or like some fairy dream.

And while the clouds imbibed a golden hue,
And purple streaks grained yon ethereal blue,
    By the glad voice of every early bird
(As some full lake by breezes in their glee
    Is rippled into smiles) how sweetly stirred
            My spirit then should be!

And as like burning bullion brightened still
The cloud-hung Orient, o’er yon misty hill
    I’d watch the sun’s ethereal chariot come,
Flooring the glades with flakes of crystal fire
    And the green spaces round my rural home,
            Where slept mine Heart’s Desire.

When, if sweet memories of her sleeping smile
Should my devotion thitherward beguile,
    Cheating the morn of its observance due,
My happy voice should not be wanting long,
    To wile her forth with loving transport true,
            Or wake her with a song.

“Awake, my fair One! for the glowing skies
Desire thee, and a thousand flowery eyes
    Look for thy coming from each pathway side;
With all things fresh and beautiful and bright
    The earth’s illumin’d like an Eastern bride,—
            Arise, my best delight!

What can be deeper than the heavens o’erbending,
Or rarer—richer than the colours blending
    Beyond the green cones of the misty hill!
What gladder than the runnel’s silvery fall!
    And yet my spirit asketh something still—
            ’Tis thee—the crown of all!”

Joined by the Angel of my life—the Day’s
Full glory, setting the moist hills ablaze,
    How lovelier now for her dear loveliness!
The birds—the stream—the forest’s leafy stir,
    Catch from her voice a double power to bless,
            And the flowers breathe of her!

The dews are brighter for her love-bright eyes
And the air sweeter for the sweet surprise
    In every gesture of her gentle face!
So widely love’s invisible spirit flings
    The visible enrichment of its grace
            O’er all regarded things.

Filled with the fresh keen life that so sublimes
Both mind and body, we should then betimes
    Repair us to our cheerful morning meal,
Not more attuned by thankfulness of heart
    Well to enjoy, than willing in our weal
        To spare a stranger part.

Sufficed and grateful, to her household care
Should she betake her then,—I fieldward fare
    To till the thriving maize or guide the plough
Through the rich loam; or, while the slant sunshine
    Carressed them, to remark the melons, how
            They lumped from out their vine.

Or of its weeds to rid some border, rich
With fragrant shrubs, the folded blooms of which
    Might seem all dreaming of their dewy bliss!
Till, by the breeze awakened, they should more
    Like blushes rousing to the passionate kiss
            Of a too open love.

Or else to loop against its latticed frame
Some runner’s coils, all tremulous and a-flame
    With crimson stars,—or hung with silver bells
Such as the Fays ring, when, on summer nights,
    Their sparkling revels out of forest dells
            Scatter wild glancing lights!

Thence to the orchard—to well-prune the robes
The orange trees embossed with golden globes;
    Or then the peachy tribes all ruddy cheeked,
Or plum’s live rubies,—and, with these, the rare
    Boom nectarine’s fragrant swarms so lushly streaked,
            That flavour even the air.

To tithe the rich pips of the apricot,
So early ripe, where in some sheltered spot
    They gleam like nuggets hung in brilliant hoards;
Or prop the pear’s long branches, loading low;
    Or mark if the pomegranites, lamped with gourds,
            Stretch in a perfect row.

To pluck the fig, that in its broad-leafed shade
Secretes its ripeness—even like a maid
    Mature for love, who yet through bashfulness
Doth shun each would-be wooer’s amorous gaze;
    Or stay the drooping vines, whose every tress
            Should catch the morning rays;—

The glad green vines! exuberant in health,
And overladen with their clustered wealth
    Of bloomy grapes nectareous;—some all bright
And half diaphanous, like a precious stone;
    Some darkly purple, like thick-clouded light
            Up from the sunset thrown.

So should the noon draw on: when in yon shade
Beside the rill, on the green couch-grass laid
    In careless luxury my faint limbs should be;
And hearing but the splash of feathered things
    Then fluttering downward from some neighbouring tree
            To dip their shining wings;

Or the slow-rising and most summery hum
Of gorgeous insects that at times might come
    Over the runnel, and so voyage by;
Or the light footfall on the further brink
    Of some wild creature, from its covert nigh
            Just venturing forth to drink;

I’d calmly think of all my wandering youth
Had suffered, with a heart so dear to Truth
    That she at length had portioned it with love,
And then of her who to my being’s good
    Was what the vitalising Sun doth prove
            To Nature’s bountihood!.

Thus rested, when the fierier-winged hours
Were quenching in the west, with freshened powers
    The field again in honorable toil
Should hear me ending what the morn begun,—
    Till the dressed orchard or the well-turned soil,
            Showed a good day’s work done.

Then whilst the unharnessed steer I woodward took,
Or sought the kine, that in some grassy nook
    Were ruminating all in full-fed ease,
The sun should ’light upon his western hill,
    Slanting his last beams through the shadowing trees,
            And up the gleaming rill:

Then, sinking, make a heaven’s lit draperies seem
Golden confessions of the love supreme
    My heart poured out on Nature, and on Her
Now waiting me at our peace-hallowed board:
    Thus placed, who’d care amongst the great to stir
            Or with the rich to hoard?

The pens secured, the final meal in haste
Despatched though savoury,—both should forth to taste
    Eve’s odorous breath and with renewed surprise,
To find Elysiums painted in the west,
    We then should look into each other’s eyes,
            To feel that we were blest!

And feeling thus up through that golden glow,
Thanksgivings from our mutual hearts should go,
    Golden as it,—to Him who made the time
So beautiful, that only then to be
    Was sure baptism into a sublime
            Sense of his Deity!

Obsedrving afterwards how soon ’tis given
For richest things to change. For lo, in heaven
    Recesses of a loveliness divine,
Transform, ere long, into abysms grey,
    And dim-drawn reefy seas that, widening, shine
            Round headlands far away,

And thence out—infinitely out, with not
One shore-like limit or one isle-like spot;
    Then, in a moment, all again is change,
As more the congregated vapours loom,
    And where those sky-seas were, broad prairies range
            Oft clumped with groves of gloom;

Or craggy glens appear, and gorges dark,
Browed in by mountains more abrupt and stark
    Than their similitudes the Alps of Earth—
Towered high with castles, spectral and remote,
    And altering ever to some wilder birth
            As up the cloud-banks bloat.

More solemn, though less beautiful, so seen,
Is the wide-bending heaven, than when the sheen
    Of sunset drapes in their most rich array
Those western depths of wonder. Such the close
    Meetest to glory dying with the day—
            Mutation ere repose.

And when the gloaming followed evening’s flight,
Down o’er yon hills,—whence yet a skiey light
    Kept mellowing upward, near to where, first seen,
The glowing Leader of the starry quire
    Comes wingedly from out the blue serene,
            Even like a bird of fire,

The hushing bounties of those twilight hours
Falling into our souls, as in the flowers’
    Balm-breathing bosoms melt the silent dews,
Should freshen every feeling mild and wise,
    And thence o’er all our charities diffuse
            The quiet of the skies.

Thus should the Night in solemn guise come o’er,
With all her far ethereal eyes to pore
    Upon my happy life, and draw my soul
To wander like a star, the stars among,
    And homeward point from the resplendent pole
            Uranian beams of song.

Or while the moon, the world’s apparent queen,
Came whitening up in majesty serene,
    Reminding us of some dear long past night,
I’d chronicle in rhyme the many things
    Of lovely thought, that from her mystic light
            Had woven then their wings.

At length retired to our most cozy room
Stored with such books as Fancy’s fires relume,
    Some chosen song together we’d rehearse
To its meet air with a long-dying close;
    Or list great Milton’s or save Wordsworth’s verse,
            Or Lander’s noble prose.

Or musical movements, such as foretastes are
Of deeper being in some fairer star,
    Should flood our quietude,—till it might seem
The very Immortality of love
    Came spell-drawn down, to perfect Feeling’s dream
            With dream-power from above.

Or reading of Sweet Genevieve, whose own
Great minstrel Wooer did so well intone
    The Legend of the Lady and the Knight!
With nearer pleadings,—we might sweetlier know
    How first our hearts, too, into sudden light
            Rushed, joining,—long ago.

Or of Endymion should the lonely rhyme
With mythic pageants wile the listening time—
    Visions that sparkled from his starry mind
Whose memory is like a fervent tune
    Heard richly prospering in a Summer wind
            Under the midnight moon.

Or by mild Spencer’s dreamy love we’d live
Awhile in Beauty’s rarest breath, and give
    Our spirits to sail—borne bark-like on by this—
O’er Fairy seas all billowed with delights,
    And round the wonder-witching Bower of Bliss,
            Peopled with magic sleights.

And suddenly wrapt in such a sunset blaze
Of music—flushing through arborious ways
    From birds and waves, voices and viols sweet,
All mingled in a weired wind warbling low—
    Yea, such as might, so long as heard, even cheat
            The damned of their woe.

And lastly, ere the drowsy hours of sleep
Came hushing o’er grateful hearts should steep
    Their happiness in prayer; acknowledging
His goodness, who hath filled the day and night
    With strength and bounty, poured as from a spring
            For all who live aright.

The Poet

Both great and bountiful is he,
     The Poet,—he whose glorious gift
Free of the world, and making free,
Heavenward on wings of melody
               Can all things lift!

Yes, well may we account him great
     Who through his every living line,
Doth, elevated, elevate,
And throw Into the Mind’s estate
               A ray divine!

And bountiful as well as great,
     Who still, in every song of power,
Commissioned, God-like, to create,
Bequeaths to Nature and to Fate
               A rarer flower!

A rose of joy that cannot die!
     A gem of light that nought may dim!
Some well of faith no drouth shall dry!
Some foretaste of those anthems high
               The Seraphs hymn!

Some glimpse of God—some mightier star
     Isling a supersensual sky!
Some glory without stint or bar—
A value over-valuing far
               All Pride can buy!

All Pride can buy, or Avarice hoard,
     Or earth-born influence attain!
A loveliness by Love adored—
A stuff by royal natures stored
               As priceless gain!

Then great and bounteous both is he,
     The Poet,—he whose glorious gift,
Free of the world, and making free,
Heavenward on wings of melody
          Can all things lift!

Yea, whatso he hath seen or heard—
     As at the morning’s golden rise,
The lark from his ground-nest is stirred,
And lifted, till he flames—a bird
          Of Paradise!


THE END

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