A Midsummer's Noon in the Australian Forest

Charles Harpur

Not a sound disturbs the air, 
There is quiet everywhere; 
Over plains and over woods 
What a mighty stillness broods! 
All the birds and insects sleep;
Where the coolest shadows sleep; 
Even the busy ants are found 
Resting in their pebbled mound; 
Even the locust clingeth now 
Silent to the barky bough:
Over hills and over plains 
Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns. 
Only there ’s a drowsy humming 
From you warm lagoon slow-coming: 
’T is the dragon-hornet—see! 
All bedaubed resplendently 
Yellow on a tawny ground— 
Each rich spot not square nor round, 
Rudely heart-shaped, as it were 
The blurred and hasty impress there 
Of a vermeil-crusted seal 
Dusted o’er with golden meal. 
Only there ’s a droning where 
You bright beetle shines in air, 
Tracks it in its gleaming flight 
With a slanting beam of light 
Rising in the sunshine higher, 
Till its shards flame out like fire. 
Every other thing is still, 
Save the ever-wakeful rill,
Whose cool murmur only throws 
Cooler comfort round repose; 
Or some ripple in the sea, 
Of leafy boughs, where, lazily, 
Tired summer, in her bower
Turning with the noontide hour, 
Heaves a slumbrous breath ere she 
Once more slumbers peacefully. 
Oh, ’t is easeful here to lie 
Hidden from noon’s scorching eye, 
In this grassy cool recess 
Musing thus of quietness.

Main Location: