Charles Harpur

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

To the Moon

With musing mind I watch thee steal 
 Above those envious clouds that hid 
 Till now thy face; thou dost reveal 
 More than the glaring sunlight did; 
 So round me would I have thy light 
 In one broad sea of beauty lie, 
 And who, while thou dost rule the night, 
 For day would sigh, 
Nor long for wings that he might flee 
To find thy hidden face and ride the dark with thee? 
 And hence it was that ever forth 
 My fancy doated more and more 
 Upon the wild poetic worth 
 Of that old tale in Grecian lore, 
 Which to the head of Latmos gave 
 Supernal glories, passion-won 
 By him who, in the mystic cave? 
Was wont to meet thee night by night, 
And drink into his soul the spirit of thy light. 

 Not thus it was thy beauty shone 
 In these drear summers lately past; 
 Disheartened, world-distrusting, lone, 
 I shuddered in misfortune?s blast! 
 Many that loved me, once were nigh 
 Of whom now these I may not trust, 
 And those forget me?or they lie 
 Dark in the dust! 
And never can we meet again, 
Loving and loved as then, beneath thy friendly reign. 

 O Cynthia! It would even seem 
 That portions from our spirits fell, 
 Like scent from flowers, throughout life?s dream; 
 And by that clue invisible, 
 A gathered after-scene of all 
 Affection builded high in vain, 
 Is drawn thus in dim funeral 
 Past us again; 
The which, where shadowed most with gloom, 
Uncertain thought is fain to map with spells of doom. 

 Let me this night the past forget, 
 For though its dying voices be 
 At times like tones from Eden, yet 
 The years have brought such change for me 
 That when but now my thoughts were given 
 To all I?d suffered, loved, and lost, 
 Turning my eyes again to heaven, 
 Tear-quenched almost, 
I started with impatience strange, 
To find thee, even thee, smiling untouched by change! 

 O vain display of secred pride! 
 My human heart, what irks thee so? 
 What, in the scale of being tried, 
 Should weigh thy happiness or woe? 
 Pale millions, so by fortune curst, 
 Have loved for sorrow in the light 
 Of this yet youthful morn, since first 
 She claimed the night, 
And thus mature even from her birth, 
With pale beam chased the glooms that swathed the infant earth. 

 And be it humbling, too, to know 
 That when this pile of haughty clay 
 For ages shall have ceased to glow? 
 Shrunk to a line of ashes grey, 
 Which, as the invasive ploughshare drills 
 The unremembered burial sward, 
 The wild winds o?er a hundred hills 
 May whirl abroad? 
That in the midnight heavens thou 
Shalt hang thy unfaded lamp, and smile serene as now. 

 Nay, more than this: could even those, 
 The Edenites, who sorrowed here 
 Ere Noah?s tilted ark arose, 
 Or Nimrod chased the bounding deer? 
 Wherever sepulchred, could they 
 The rigid bonds of death and doom 
 Now for a moment shake away? 
 From out their tomb 
They watchful face they still might see, 
Just as they dying left it, gazing solemnly. 

 I sadden! Ah! Why bringest thou 
 Yet later memories to my mind? 
 I would but gaze upon thee now 
 A wiser counsel thence to find! 
 Shall I not even henceforth aim 
 To shun in act, in thought control, 
 Whatever dims the heaven-born flame? 
 The essential soul 
I feel within, and which must be 
A living light when thine is quenched eternally?