Charles Harpur

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

Charles Harpur
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Charles Harpur was an Australian poet.

Early Life

Harpur was born at Windsor, New South Wales, the third child of Joseph Harpur — originally from Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, parish clerk and master of the Windsor district school — and Sarah, née Chidley (from Somerset; both had been transported.) Harpur received his elementary education in Windsor. This was probably largely supplemented by private study; he was an eager reader of William Shakespeare. Harpur followed various avocations in the bush and for some years in his twenties held a clerical position at the post office in Sydney.

The Poet

In Sydney, he met Henry Parkes, Daniel Deniehy, ... more »

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Best Poem of Charles Harpur

A Lament

Flowers in their freshness are flushing the earth,
And the voice-peopled forest is loud in its mirth,
And streams in their fulness are laughing at dearth—
Yet my bosom is aching.
There’s shadow on all things—the shadow of woe—
It falls from my spirit wherever I go,
As from a dark cloud drifting heavy and slow,
For my spirit is weary.

Ah! what can be flowers in their gladness to me,
Or the voices that people the green forest tree,
Or the full joy of streams—since my soul sighs, ah me!
O’er the grave of my Mary.

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