Charles Harpur

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

Absence Poem by Charles Harpur


NIGHTLY I watch the moon with silvery sheen
Flaking the city house-tops, till I feel
Thy memory, Rosa, like a presence, steal
Down in her light: for ever in her mien
Thy soul’s similitude my soul hath seen!
And as she seemeth now a guardian seal
On Heaven’s far bliss, upon my future weal
Even such thy truth is—radiantly serene!
But long my fancy may not entertain
These bright resemblances—for, lo, a cloud
Blots her away, and in my breast the pain
Of absent love, recurring, pines aloud!
When shall I look in thy sweet eyes again,—
Rosa, when cheer thee with like sadness bowed?

Wherever in some wildwood bower
There blooms a honey-yielding flower,
There too dwells a bird to sup
Out of its delicious cup,
And sing betimes, lest it should be
O’erfed into satiety:
So wherever Loveliness
Dwells retired—dwells to bless,
Not dazzle: there some destin’d spirit,
Feeding on its luscious merit,
Can at peace with Passion be
Only through sweet Poesy.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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