Not a bird disturbs the air!
There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods
What a mighty stillness broods.

Even the grasshoppers keep [All the birds and insects keep] Where the coolest shadows sleep; Even the busy ants are found Resting in their pebbled mound; Even the locust clingeth now In silence to the barky bough: And over hills and over plains Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns.
Only there's a drowsy humming From yon warm lagoon slow coming: 'Tis the dragon-hornet - see! All bedaubed resplendently With yellow on a tawny ground - Each rich spot nor square nor round, But rudely heart-shaped, as it were The blurred and hasty impress there, Of vermeil-crusted seal Dusted o'er with golden meal: Only there's a droning where Yon bright beetle gleams the air - Gleams it in its droning flight [Tracks it in its gleaming flight] With a slanting track of light, Till rising in the sunshine higher, [Rising in the sunshine higher,] Its shards flame out like gems on fire. [Till its shards flame out like fire.]
Every other thing is still, Save the ever wakeful rill, Whose cool murmur only throws A cooler comfort round Repose; Or some ripple in the sea Of leafy boughs, where, lazily, Tired Summer, in her forest bower Turning with the noontide hour, Heaves a slumbrous breath, ere she Once more slumbers peacefully.
0 'tis easeful here to lie Hidden from Noon's scorching eye, In this grassy cool recess Musing thus of Quietness.

I've found two versions of this poem. The relevant changes are included in the text in square brackets, i.e. "[...]".

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  Return to The Penguin Book of Australian Verse page.