Notes [by Charles Harpur]

[Editor: These explanatory notes by Charles Harpur were published in The Bushrangers; A Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems (1853).]


An Aboriginal Mother’s Lament (p. 113.)

It will be remembered that, a few years back, a party of Stockmen (several of whom were afterwards executed for the crime) made wholesale massacre of a small tribe of defenceless Blacks — to the number, it is believed, of more than a score — heaping their bodies as they slaughtered them, upon a large fire kindled for the purpose. Of this doomed tribe, one woman only, with her infant, as it appeared subsequently on evidence, escaped the White man’s vengeance. The poem is supposed to describe the ejaculations of the mother after having fled to a considerable distance from the scene of the massacre, and when wearied and overtaken by the night.


Pp. 92, 96, 104, 110, 113, 114, 123, 124, 126.

The arrangement of the Rhymes in the Sonnets scattered through this Volume, is somewhat peculiar. In departing from the Italian model in this respect, I am conscious of not being induced thereto by a desire merely to innovate. But carefully trying the form I have here chosen, not to say invented, by my own ear, I venture to believe that it fits the English Sonnet — or rather, the Sonnet in English more agreeably than that usually adopted.

Charles Harpur, The Bushrangers; A Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems, Sydney: W. R. Piddington, 1853, page 127

Editor’s notes:
score = twenty (sometimes used in conjunction with a cardinal number, e.g. “threescore”, “fourscore”) (may also refer to an undefined large number)

Speak Your Mind