Noon in the Forest at Midsummer [poem by Charles Harpur, 27 May 1851]

[Editor: A poem by Charles Harpur (1813-1868), published in The Empire, 27 May 1851. This poem has also been published as “Noon in the Australian Forest”, “A Mid Summer Noon in the Forest”, and “A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest”.]

Noon in the Forest at Midsummer.

Not a bird disturbs the air,
There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods,
What a mighty stillness broods!

Only there’s a drowsy humming
From yon Summer rill-side coming:
’Tis the dragon-hornet, — see!
All bedaubed gorgeously
With crimson, splendid to behold!
Dusted o’er with mealy gold:—
Only there’s a droning, where
Yon bright beetle gleams the air,
And, rising in the sunshine higher,
Seems sharded as with gems on fire!

Every other thing is still,
Save the ever-wakeful rill,
Whose cool murmur only throws
A cooler comfort round Repose;
Or some ripple in the sea
Of leaves, when, intermittently,
Summer in her forest bower,
Turning from the noontide hour,
Heaves a slumb’rous breath, ere she
Once more slumbers peacefully.

Oh, ’tis easeful here to lie
Hidden from Noon’s scorching eye,
In this grassy cool recess,
Musing thus of Quietness!

Charles Harpur.

The Empire (Sydney, NSW), 27 May 1851, p. 479 (3rd page of that issue)

Also published (with variations) in:
The Empire (Sydney, NSW), 28 January 1858, p. 4 (as “A Mid Summer Noon in the Forest”)
Charles Harpur, Poems, George Robertson, Melbourne, 1883, pages 118-119 (as “A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest”)
The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser (Kiama, NSW), 26 October 1893, p. 4 (as “Noon in the Australian Forest”)

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