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Charles Harpur

(23 January 1813 – 10 June 1868 / Windsor, New South Wales)

A Coast View


High ’mid the shelves of a grey cliff, that yet
Riseth in Babylonian mass above,
In a benched cleft, as in the mouldered chair
Of grey-beard Time himself, I sit alone,
And gaze with a keen wondering happiness
Out o’er the sea. Unto the circling bend
That verges Heaven, a vast luminous plain
It stretches, changeful as a lover’s dream—
Into great spaces mapped by light and shade
In constant interchange—either ‘neath clouds
The billows darken, or they shimmer bright
In sunny scopes of measureless expanse.
’Tis Ocean dreamless of a stormy hour,
Calm, or but gently heaving;—yet, O God!
What a blind fate-like mightiness lies coiled
In slumber, under that wide-shining face!
While o’er the watery gleam—there where its edge
Banks the dim vacancy, the topmost sails
Of some tall ship, whose hull is yet unseen,
Hang as if clinging to a cloud that still
Comes rising with them from the void beyond,
Like to a heavenly net, drawn from the deep
And carried upward by ethereal hands

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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