Charles Harpur

To Poesy

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Yet do not thou forsake me now,
Poesy, with Peace-together!
Ere this last disastrous blow
Did lay my struggling fortunes low,
In love unworn have we not borne
Much wintry weather?
The storm is past, perhaps the last,
Its rainy skirts are wearing over
But though yet a sunnier glow
Should give my ice-bound hopes to flow,
Forlorn of thee, ’twere nought to me
A lonely rover!

Ah, misery! what were then my lot
Amongst a race of unbelievers
Sordid men who all declare
That earthly gain alone is fair,
And they who pore on bardic lore
Deceived deceivers.

That all the love I’ve felt to move
Round beauty in thy fountain laving,
Move in music through the air,
Gathering increase everywhere,
The more to bless her loveliness,
Was Folly raving!

That to believe thought yet shall weave,—
Although with arm’d oppression coping,
Truth-bright banners which, unfurled,
Shall herald freedom through the world,
And give to man her kindly plan,
Is Folly hoping!

On thy breast in sabbath rest
How often have I lain, deep musing
In the golden eventide,
Till all the dead, for truth that died,
Looked from the skies with starry eyes,
Great thoughts infusing!

But can it be life’s mystery
Is but a baseless panorama,
Peopled thick with passing dreams,
Wild writhing glooms, and wandering gleams,
And soul a breath exhaled by death,
Which ends the drama?

Then is the scope of this world’s hope
No more than worldlings deem it ever,
Earth and sky, with nought between
Of spiritual truth serene:
And if so, fly! for thou and I
At once should sever.

But if there lives, as love believes,
All underneath this silent heaven,
In yon shades, and by yon streams,
As we have seen them in our dreams,
A deathless race; still let thy grace
My being leaven!

Thy mystic grace! that face to face
Full converse I may hold with nature,
Seeing published everywhere
In forms, the soul that makes her fair,
And grow the while to her large style
In mental stature.

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Charles Harpur