On Viewing a Beautiful Picture in the Art Gallery, Sydney
What pomp and wealth of antique pageantry,
What stately grace, what majesty sublime,
Poynter has rescued from confounding Time,
And clothed in semblance of Eternity!
Soul-bending Power! thy heaven-born alchemy
Doth prompt our thoughts Aonian heights to climb!
Inspiring Art! O touch my barren rhyme
With flame that burns on altars built to thee!
Here I behold, in glad astonishment,
A vision wonderful; the glitt’ring East
Has piled such wealth of pillared monument,
Of kings and queens, of harps, of bird and beast,
Of lovely maids, rich gems, stern armament,
Rare fruits, snakes, golden thrones, and Art’s good feast!
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, p. 42
alchemy = a medieval school of thought which involved the search for knowledge (and therefore regarded as the forerunner of chemistry), particularly concerned with attempts to transmute matter (the primary goal being to discover a way to convert base metals into gold), as well as being concerned with creating a universal medicine (to cure all diseases) and an elixir of life (to enable the indefinite prolonging of life); the transmutation of matter; magical transformation (especially in fiction)
Aonian = of or relating to Aonia (an ancient region in Greece, believed to include the mountains Helicon and Parnassus, both of which were regarded as home to the Muses); of or relating to the Muses, who (according to Greek mythology, or differing versions thereof) lived in Mount Helicon or Mount Parnassus
doth = (archaic) does
glitt’ring = (vernacular) glittering
Poynter = Sir Edward John Poynter (1836-1919), an English artist
thee = (archaic) you