To Imagination [poem by Charles Harpur, 9 June 1835]

[Editor: A poem by Charles Harpur.]

To Imagination

Enchanting power! whose rich effulgent ray
Divine ! (of unfeign’d magic only sphere,)
Doth add a fuel to the blaze of day,
Burnish the glories of the rolling year ;
And fallen nature make, us e’re she fell, appear,

Tho’ doom’d a homeless wanderer to be,
I’ll count me bless’d if still possess’d of thee ;
For I have travell’d poorly shod, alone,
O’er burning sands and rugged mountain stone ;
But meeting thee upon the desert way,
Have found a palace in the cavern gray ;
Enwrapp’d in visions of poetic year,
Have bearded lawless knights, and harp’d to ladies fair.

Or where some wealthy worldling’s wide domains,
Spread all around me o’er the hills and plains —
Found, while I bask’d within thy light divine,
That tho’ the soil was his the flowers as much were mine.

O! he, whose heart responds to thy wild strains,
Is even rich where want or exile reigns ;
Still his possessions stride o’er every grove,
He reaps his treasures from the mines of love !
For him what wealth is in the morning’s hues,
What diamonds glitter in the lucid dews ;
And every bird that pipes a matin hymn,
Is there a tributary unto him ;
Yea, all that’s beautiful o’er earth or sky,
Become retainers to his sovereign eye.

Or when the busy hums of mammon-brood,
Fail like the voices of an ebbing flood,
And from the scene he marr’d with stern array,
The dragon pomp hath shrunk faitigued away,
And the long beams of day no more invest.
The hills far east, but like a summon’d host,
Concentrate round their Regent in the west.
Then slowly roll from the horizons coast,
A sumptuous banquet is that close of day,
To fill his raptur’d soul with harmony ;
Thus led by thee true bliss the soul attains,
One fruit in thee of Paradise remains.

Or in sad mood if sorrow be the theme,
The hopeless lover or the faded dream ;
Those still attendant givest thy votary joy,
Mak’st deepest woe, but highest luxury,
For different his is from the worldling’s care,
’Tis like the cadence of a mournful air.

Bright spirit tend me thro’ life’s weary waste,
For tho’ thou sheild’st not from, thou warm’st the blast,
Art to the burden’d soul air eagle’s wing ;
And to the wintery fate, the flowers of spring ;
Wrap me in visions, and may naught destroy,
Thy spell, for nothing real deserves the name of joy.

C. Harper

The Australian (Sydney, NSW), Tuesday 9 June 1835, page 4

Editor’s notes:
lucid = clear, translucent or transparent (not to be confused with “lucid”, regarding someone who is mentally sound or rational)

[Editor: The original newspaper printing incorrectly spelt Charles Harpur’s surname as Harper.]

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