Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
174. Caprice
 
(A Summer’s Day, Sydney Harbour)
 
By Louis Esson
 
 
BLUE and gold, and mist and sunlight,
  Veils of colour blent and blown
  In melodic monotone.
Dark and bright, and white and dun light
Clash and flash, as into one light        5
  Trembling thro’ an opal stone,
Over green robes of the mountain
  And the blue skirts of the sea,
Spreading from a sacred fountain
  Hymeneal harmony.        10
 
Drums and trumpets of the ocean,
  Oboe spirits of the wind,
  Violins of forest kind,
Flutes that breathe the trees’ devotion,
Blending, hymn the joyous motion        15
  Of the universal mind,
When, with chariot cavorting,
  And a storm of symphonies,
Horses snorting, banners sporting,
  Ocean Seas wed Harbour Seas.        20
 
Salt of waves, and scent of roses,
  Seaweed strown along the sand,
  Blossoms blown from high head-land,
As the Ocean-Lord reposes
Where the Harbour dreams and dozes,        25
  Sultan and Sultana bland,
Rocky shrubs, earth, fragrant grasses
  Spiced with sand and sea and sun,
As the gay procession passes,
  Know that all things are but one.        30
 
At the sun a wave laughs, leaping
  Thro’ intoxicating air
  Like a child with tossing hair.
But a sea-gull, vigil keeping
Flutters, musically sweeping,        35
  Delicate and debonair,
Where the wave leaps, lightly wheeling,
  Like a flash of amethyst
Clasps the wave, then leaves her, stealing
  Kisses by the sunshine kissed.        40
 
Bird that brilliant pinion flies on
  Thro’ the azure atmosphere
  Pipes a duet, sweet and clear,
With the wind the sunlight lies on;
Sea weds Sky on dim horizon,        45
  And the distant joins the near.
Wave and cloud, and fish and swallow,
  Swaying tree and flying bird
Music maddened, flee and follow
  Till pale mortals, too, are stirred.        50
 
Over all things Love stands warder.
  Cloud seeks wave, while close behind
  Cloud is followed by the wind.
Dionysean disorder
Laughs, and leaps o’er bar and border,        55
  Breaks the shackles of the mind;
And in wine-enchanted weather
  Culls, that life and joy be one,
Grapes to mix all things together
  From the Garden of the Sun.        60
 
Nature takes delight in shedding
  Love that joins with benison
  All the elements in one;
And to-day the feast is spreading
Till her creatures all are wedding,        65
  And of sorrow there is none…
So the Summer Day rehearses
  Bridal lyrics mad to sing
As a viol or a verse is,
  Of the joy of everything.        70
 

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