Charles Harpur

Here you will find the Long Poem To - of poet Charles Harpur

To -

?Who would not be a poet?? thus I read 
In thy proud sonnet, my poetic friend; 
And unto this my full assent was given: 
?There is not, cannot be, under all heaven, 
Aught happier in itself than the witch, poetry.? 
But ?Who?d not be a poet?? here I pause 
Forebodingly, my poet-friend,?because 
?To see all beauty with his gifted sight,? 
To love, like him, with all the soul, 
To be, when life is morning-bright 
The very creature of delight,? 
 Delight beyond control,? 
Is still to be, in like degree, 
 Too sensible of misery 
And loss and slight, and all the weeping shapes of dole. 

And this is truth too, that with saddened heart 
Oft must he from his fellows live apart; 
For how can men whose every breath of life 
Is drawn in the hot air, and mid the strife 
Of pettiest interest, have a kindred heart 
With him who hath built heavenward and apart 
The structures of his mind, and looking thence 
Over this world-thronged universe immense, 
Is wont all such embroilments to deplore 
As light-obscuring vapours?nothing more? 
What ladder of experience can they build, 
To mount with?up, into a nature filled 
With beauty, or by mighty truths inspired, 
Or one even with a bold ambition fired? 
But least of all in such men can there be 
Devotions chiming into sympathy 
With some pure soul, unsuccoured and alone, 
Struggled in weariness unwearied on? 
Unwearied, day and night, and night and day, 
Towards the far Mecca of its faith always. 

Yet thus the poet, armed only with the right, 
To life?s dishonest battle oft must come, 
To front instead of valour, mean despite, 
 With envy aye in emulation?s room, 
Blotting heaven?s sacred light! 
To see unblushing fortune?s minions doom 
To obloguy, through some repute unholy, 
Or to some vile and miserable estate, 
All such as would not trample on the lowly, 
And basely glorify the falsely great. 

Yet if a thought like this 
Should mar at times they tuneful bliss, 
Stronger within thine earnest will 
Be the spirit of sone, that still 
Thou mayest sing of eloquent eyes 
That are of sunny thoughts the every sunny skies; 
Sweet dreams that swarm round honeyed lips, 
Like honey-loving bees; 
Glad birds, fresh flowers, clear streams, and trees 
All starry bright with golden pips; 
Or with a loud bold chime, 
Sing of that braver time, 
When world-wide justice from her Alpine chair 
Shall read at length in the rich reddening skies 
The gospel of her advent, and declare 
The sacred sign of her epiphany there, 
Amid the purple dyes; 
While all true men, the bravely wise, 
Shall seek her there with fearless feet and free 
Where the prophet-peaks arise 
Out of the shattering mist, the phantom sea 
Of old iniquity! 
Through dense and rare, shall seek her there, 
Breathing with lion-lungs the clear keen mountain air 
Of a supreme up-climbing, God-great liberty. 
Then envy not the splendid wretchedness 
Of Mammon?s dupes! Sing thy great rhymes 
For those diviner spiritual times 
Our country yet shall know, and, wisely knowing, bless. 

Downward, through the blooming roofage 
 Of a lonely forest bower, 
 Come the yellow sunbeams,?falling 
 Like a burning shower: 
 So through heaven?s starry ceiling 
 To the hermit soul?s abode, 
 Comes the Holy Spirit,?earthward 
 Raying down from God.