Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
A Midsummer’s Noon in the Australian Forest
 
Charles Harpur (1817–68)
 
 
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;        5
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:        10
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!        15
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        20
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        25
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,        30
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        35
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,        40
In this grassy cool recess
Musing thus of quietness.
 

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