Here you will find the Long Poem The Vision of the Rock of poet Charles Harpur
I SATE upon a lonely peak, A backwood river?s course to view, And watched the changing shadows freak Its liquid length of gleaming blue, Streaked by the crane slow gliding o?er, Or chequering to the leafy roar Of woods that ?neath me grew, Or curdling dark, as high o?erhead The gathering clouds before the sounding breezes fled. Straight I bethought how once the scene Spread in its primal horror there, When, but some lone bird?s weary threne Or howlings from the wild dog?s lair, Or rush of startled kangaroo, As near some stealthy savage drew With hunger in his air, Or, from the stream some murmur?d sound Broke the dread slumbrous calm of solitude profound. A change came o?er my thoughts?behind A length of coming time I threw, Till round me, on that rock reclined, Its folds prophetic vision drew; And purpling, like the morning, gave Mine eyes of freedom?s births to have A seeming ante-view; As haply in brave promise stole His country?s purer weal o?er youthful Hampden?s soul. All round me villages upgrew At once, with orchards clumped about, And oft between, tall pine-rows through, Some mansion?s pillard porch looked out, And thickening up from alleys green, Where rustic groups in dance were seen, Came merry cry and shout; While from tall groves beyond, the cheer Of maiden?s laughter soft, broke in rich wavelets near. And in the gusts that overpassed The stir of neighbouring cities came, Whose structures in the distance massed Proclaimed their opulence and fame, O?er fields of ripening plenty viewed, Or hills with white flocks fleeced, and strewed With herds that grazed the same; While on the paven roads between The crowding chariots came with rapid-rolling din. Now gaining depth, the vision lay Around my being like a law, So that my spirit might not say But all was real that I saw: I mark a youth and maiden, pressed By love?s sweet power, elude the rest, And as they nearer draw I list the vow that each imparts Folded within the spells of harmonizing hearts. But suddenly a grim-faced sire Strides like a fatal wraith between With that cold whiteness is his ire Which in the bad alone is seen! Alas! This world can never be A poet?s Eden utterly? Twill be what it hath been! So long as love?s rich heart is red, And beauty?s eyes are bright?so long shall tears be shed. They pass; and lo, a lonely boy With wandering step goes musing by; Glory is in his air, and joy, And all the poet in his eye! And now, whilst rich emotions flush His happy face, as cloud-hues blush In morning?s radiant sky, He sings?and to the charmful sound Troops of angelic shapes throng into being round. But ?neath a sombre cypress tree, And clad in garbs of kindred gloom, A mother and her child I see Both mourning o?er a lowly tomb! Ah! Life hath ever been a brief Mixed dream of glory and grief? Its earliest, latest doom! That heart in which love?s tides first ran Descends with all its risks to every child of man. Now turning see, with locks all grey, A form majestic; wisdom true Illumes his brow?the power to weigh All worth, and look all semblence through; And stately youths of studious mien, Children of light, with him are seen, His auditory?who Attend the speaking sage along And hearken to the wisdom of his manna-dropping tongue. And now doth his large utterance throw A sacred solemnizing spell O?er scenes that yet no record know, Round names that now I may not tell; But there was one?too long unknown! Whereat, as with a household tone Upon the ear it fell, Each listener?s speaking eyes were given To glisten with a tear and turn awhile to heaven. Thus night came on; for hours had flown, And yet its hold the vision kept, Till lulled by many a dying tone, I laid me on the rock and slept! And now the moon hung big between Two neighbouring summits sheath?d with sheen? When all with dews dewept, And roused by a loud coming gale, I sought our camp-fire?s glow, deep in the darkening vale.