Gertrude [poem by Philip Durham Lorimer]

[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]


I know a soul divinely fair,
Of beauty pure and bright ;
The darkest shadows cannot hide
Her virgin feet in night.
She strays on cliffs, where ocean’s waves
Beat on the rocks below ;
A creature tall, of stately form,
In robes as white as snow.

Her eyes, to those who know her well,
Are full of music glad ;
Around her spreads a heavenly light,
Like one divinely clad.
And walking far abroad from all,
I in her features trace
The beauty of the soul within,
Which shines from out her face !

The breathings of the morning’s joy
Chime to her beating heart,
And bring that soft aeolian touch
Beyond all Music’s art.
And nestling in her bosom warm,
The lights of Love arise,
With lustre splendid, rich, and pure,
From her sweet hazel eyes !

Her voice, when amber-clouded streaks
Bar day’s receding sun,
And twilight with half-closed eyes
Proclaims the day is done,
Is gently borne in silver tones
Through many a leafy dell,
On Zephyr’s wings when Wattle birds
Sleep songless on the fell.

Then comes on me her power of soul
In song fresh from the springs
Of her pure heart, responsive to
The joy a lover brings ;
When gazing on night’s brilliant arch,
With starry lights aglow,
I see her face — alas for me,
She slumbers on below !

September 15, 1888.

E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 113-114

Editor’s notes:
aeolian = of or relating to the wind; especially a moaning or sighing sound or musical tone produced by, or as if by, the wind (from Aeolus, god of the winds, in Greek mythology)

fell = a high barren field, upland moor, hill, or mountain (not to be confused with other meanings of “fell”: to fall or bring down; hide, pelt or skin; bad, cruel, destructive, fierce or sinister, as in “one fell swoop”)

Zephyr = a breeze from the west, especially a gentle breeze (from Zephyrus, or Zephyr, god of the west wind in Greek mythology)

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