A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest by Charles Harpur

| No TrackBacks
Not a bird disturbs the air!
There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods
What a mighty stillness broods.

   Even the grasshoppers 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
With a slanting track of light,
Till rising in the sunshine higher,
Its shards flame out like gems on 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.

O 'tis easeful here to lie
Hidden from Noon's scorching eye,
In this grassy cool recess
Musing thus of Quietness.

First published in The Empire, 27 May 1851, and again in the same periodical on 28 January 1858 and on 31 July 1862;
and later in
Poems by Charles Harpur, 1883;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright, 1956;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Silence into Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
Australia Fair: Poems and Paintings edited by Douglas Stewart, 1974;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Favourite Australian Poems, 1987;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes, 1988;
The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ken L. Goodwin and Alan Lawson, 1990;
Voice of a Land: Three Australian Songs for Young Voices and Piano or Orchestra, 1991;
A Treasury of Bush Verse edited by G. A. Wilkes, 1991;
An Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ch'oe Chin-yong and Cynthia Van Den Driessen, 1995;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1996;
The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English edited by John Thieme, 1996;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson  edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007;
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry by John Kinsella, 2009;
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 2009; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

Note: a number of versions of this poem exist; Harpur appears to have worked on it over the years.  The first version contained 28 lines, but by 1862 this had grown to 42.  You can read more about this on the poem's Austlit page.  I have used the version as printed in The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, which appears to be the definitive text.  Your mileage may vary.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.middlemiss.org/cgi-bin/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/970

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 27, 2011 6:48 AM.

I Met Her on the Railway by Henry Halloran was the previous entry in this blog.

Sunrise "Out Back" by Alice Ham is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en