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Dawn in the Australian Forest

By Charles Harpur

It is the Morning Star, arising slow
Out of yon hill’s dark bulk, as she were born
Of its desire for day; then glides she forth
And up into the dim sky, leaving still
A whiteness in her wake that whitens more
As she ascends, till all the gloomy woods
Are touched along their multiformous lines
By a faint gleaming azure, that instills,
With a soft clarifying sequence, down
Through their dense fleeces of dark-heaping leaves,
As out beyond them, from the horizon, now,
The dayspring strengthens momently, and spreads
Into the mightier Morn.

Meanwhile the stars,
Those golden children of Eternity,
From its eclipsive growth have all withdrawn
Within the Unapparent. Stronglier still,
Though with a gradual increment, works out
And downward, even to the grassy ground,
That skiey gleam and azure prevalence
Which first bespake the Dawn: till all the trees
Eastward disposed—against the brightening sky
Clearly defined to their minutest sprays—
Stand in unspeakable beauty. Moist with dew,
And glinting all with a dim silveriness,
The leaves curve out or tremblingly depend
From the remoter tracery of the boughs,
While interfused through all, the clearing light
Keeps steeping all in a diviner glow—
Diviner every moment—for beyond
The ruddy cheek of Morning more and more
Is breaking into smiles, to fill the world
To overflowing with the joy of Light!

And the great soul of Man with a relief
Surpassing joy, as thereby given afresh
To feel the presence of that greater Soul
Which makes all Nature, and of which itself
Is but an effluence, however far
Projected, or detached by tract of time;
Even as a sunbeam’s fountain is the sun,
Whether it hit the earth, or glance away
Into infinitude—shooting on for ever.

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