Charles Harpur

Here you will find the Poem A Poet to... of poet Charles Harpur

A Poet to...

Long ere I knew thee?years of loveless days, 
 A shape would gather from my dreams, and pour 
The soul-sweet influence of its gentle gaze 
 Into my heart, to thrill it to the core: 
Then would I wake, with lonely heart to pine 
For the nocturnal image?it was thine. 
Thine?for though long with a fond moody heed 
 I sought to find it in the beauteous creatures 
I met in the world?s ways, twas but to bleed 
 With disappointment, for all forms, all features, 
Yet left it void of living counterpart? 
The shadowy mistress of my yearning heart. 

Thine?when I saw thee first thou seem?dst to me 
 A being known, yet beautifully new! 
As when, to crown some sage?s theory, 
 Amid heaven?s sisterhoods, into shining view 
Comes the conjectured star!?his lucky name 
To halo thenceforth with its virgin flame. 

But I forget! Far from thy rural home, 
 Behold I wander mid primeval woods, 
In which but savage things are wont to roam, 
 Mixing fond questionings with solitude?s 
Wild voices, where amid her glades and dells 
Enwrapt in twilight trance her shadowy presence dwells. 

And now the Hunter, with a swollen speed, 
 Rushes in thunder at my side, but wears 
A softened mien whene?er its reaches lead 
 My vision westward?where pale fancy rears 
Thy wood?next by that brook whose murmurs first, 
As with a flattering heed, my love?s new gladness nurst. 

And with the river?s murmur, oft a tone 
 Of that far brook seems blending; accents, too, 
Of the dear voice there heard?that voice alone 
 To me unequalled,?like a silvery dew 
Honeyed with manna, dropping near me seems, 
As oft I listen, lost in rich memorial dreams. 

But vain these musings! Though my spirit?s bride, 
 Thou knewest not of my love! Though all my days 
Must henceforth be inevitably dyed 
 Or bright, or dark, through thee,?this missive says 
Thy lot is cast, and thou a wife wilt be 
Ere I again may look (if e?er again) on thee! 

The poet?s doom is on me! Poets make 
 Beauty immortal, and yet luckless miss 
The charms they sing; martyrs at fortune?s stake, 
 As if their soul?s capacity for bliss 
Might else mix earth with heaven, and so annul 
That want which makes man seek the world-wide beautiful! 

Yet, ye wild woods and waters of the earth, 
 How changed (with all things) shall ye grow to me! 
And even the spirit of your summer mirth 
 Moan pine-like in the woods of memory; 
Still, shorn of nearer joy, my heart alone 
Out in the mother-whole may henceforth seek its own.