The Flight of Peace [poem by Charles Harpur]

[Editor: This poem by Charles Harpur was published in The Bushrangers; A Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems (1853).]

The Flight of Peace.

Trust and Treachery, Wisdom, Folly,
Madness, Mirth and Melancholy,
Love and Hatred, Thrift and Pillage,
All are housed in one small village.

And if such be Life’s mix’d being,
Where may Peace from ruin fleeing,
Find a shelter and inherit
All the calm of her own merit?

In a bark of gentle motion
Sailing on the summer ocean?
There worst war the tempest wages
And the whirlpool’s hunger rages.

In some lonely new-world bower,
Hidden like a forest flower?
There too, there, to irk the stranger,
Stalks the wild-eyed spirit Danger!

Vainly would she build by roving
Or in hoping or in loving,
Or in solitary spaces,
Having in all times and places,
Or in none a home of beauty
In the fearless heart of Duty,
Dwelling there and seeing
God’s right hand all things decreeing.



Source:
Charles Harpur, The Bushrangers; A Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems, Sydney: W. R. Piddington, 1853, pages 125

Editor’s notes:
bark = (also spelt “barque”) a small sailing ship in general, or specifically a sailing ship with three (or more) masts, in which the aftmost mast is fore-and-aft rigged, whilst the other masts are square-rigged

bower = a shaded, leafy resting place or shelter, usually located within a garden or park and often made of latticework upon which plants (especially vines) are grown, or made out of intertwined tree boughs or vines (also known as an “arbor”) (“bower” may also refer to a country cottage or retreat, or to a woman’s bedroom or apartments in a medieval castle or mansion)

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