Charles Harpur

Here you will find the Long Poem Fragments from 'Genius Lost' of poet Charles Harpur

Fragments from 'Genius Lost'

 I SEE the boy-bard neath life?s morning skies,
 While hope?s bright cohorts guess not of defeat,
 And ardour lightens from his earnest eyes,
And faith?s cherubic wings around his being beat. 

 Loudly the echo of his soul repeats
 Those deathless strains that witched the world of old;
 While to the deeds, his high heart proudly beats,
Of names within them, treasured like heroic gold. 

 To love he lights the ode of vocal fire,
 And yearns in song o?er freedom?s sacred throes,
 Or pours a pious incense from his lyre,
Wherever o?er the grave a martyre-glory glows. 

 Or as he wanders waking dreams arise,
 And paint new Edens on the future?s scroll,
 While on the wings of rapture he outflies
The faltering mood that warns in his prophetic soul. 

 ?All doubt away!? he cries in trustful mood;
 ?From Time?s unknown the perfect yet shall rise;
 And this full heart attests how much of God
Might dwell with man beneath these purple-clouded skies!? 

 Thus holiest shapes inhabit his desire,
 And love?s dream-turtles sing along his way;
 Thus faith keeps mounting, like a skylark, higher,
As hope engoldens more the morning of his day. 

 But ah! Too high that harp-like heart is strung,
 To bear the jar of this harsh world?s estate;
 And ?tis betrayed by that too fervent tongue
How burns the fire within, that bodes a wayward fate. 

 Soon on the morning?s wings shall fancy flee,
 And world-damps quench love?s spiritual flame,
 And his wild powers, now as the wild waves free,
Be reef-bound by low wants and beaten down by shame. 

 Now mark him in the city?s weltering crowd
 Haggard and pale; and yet, in his distress,
 How quick to scorn the vile?defy the pround?
Grim, cold, and distant now?then seized with recklessness. 
 Yet oft what agony his pride assails,
 When life?s first morning faith to thought appears
 Lost in the shadowy past, and nought avails
Her calling to the lost?then blood is in his tears. 

 Henceforth must his sole comrade be despair,
 Sole wanderer by his side in ways forlorn;
 And as a root-wrenched vine no more may bear,
No more by this dry wood shall fruit be borne. 

 No more! And every care of life, in woe
 And desperation, to the wind is hurled!
 He thanks dull wondering pity with a blow,
And leaps, though into hell, out of the cruel world. 

First Love
 I, even when a child,
Had fondly brooded, with a glowing cheek
And asking heart, with lips apart, and breath
Hushed to such silence as the matron dove
Preserves while warming into life her young,
Over the secretely-disclosing hope
Of finding in the fulness of my youth
Some sweet, congenial one to love, to call
My own. And one has been whose soul
Felt to its depth the influence of mine,
Albeit between us the sweet name of Love
Passed never, to bring blooming to the check
Those rosy shames that burn it on the heart?
Symbol of heaven, sole synonym of God!?
Yet not the less a sympathy that heard,
Through many a whisper, Love?s sweet spirit-self,
Low breathing in the silence of our souls,
Knit us together with a still consent. 

And she was beautiful in outward shape,
As lovely in her mind. Such eyes she had
As burn in the far depths of passionate thought,
While yet the visionary heart of youth
Is lonely in its hope! Cherries were ne?er
More ruby-rich, more delicately full,
Than were her lips; and, when her young heart would,
A smile, ineffably enchanting, played
The unwitting conqueress there. 

 Her light, round form
Had grace in every impulse, motions fair
As her life?s purity; her being all
Was as harmonious to the mind, as are
Most perfect strains of purest tones prolonged,
To music-loving ears. 

 But full of dole
Her mortal fate to me! Ere sixteen springs
Had bloomed about her being, a most fell
And secret malady did feel amid
The roses of her cheeks, her lips?but still,
Felon-like, shunned the lustre of her eyes,
That more replendent grew. And so, before
Those glowing orbs had turned their starry light
Upon one human face with other troth
Than a meek daughter or fond sister yields;
Ere her white arms and heaving bosom held
A nestling other than the weary head
Of sickness or a stranger babe, the grass
That whistled dry in the autumnal wind,
Was billowing round her grave. 

 And yet I live
Within a world that knoweth her no more. 

. . . . .
?Tis well when misery?s harassed son
For shelter to the grave doth go,
As to his mountain-hold may run
 The hunted roe. 
Yet when, beneath benignant skies,
The angle Grace herself appears
But Death?s born bride, the stoniest eyes
 Might break in tears. 

Chorus of the Hours
 Ah! That Death
Should ever, like a d