Charles Harpur

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

A Lament - Poem by Charles Harpur

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.

Under the glad face of nature, her face
Hath carried down with it all beauty and grace;
Pale is it there in that dark silent place—
Mary! oh Mary!

Children are by me—her children; oh God!
To see where their feet have unwittingly trod,
Tiny tracks in the loam of the new broken sod
Betwixt them and their mother!

Betwixt them and the true one who loved us in truth,
Who bore them, and died ’mid the hopes of her youth!
Who would live in a world where nor anguish nor ruth
May avail the bereaved ones.

Yet must I live, lest her spirit should say,
Meeting mine in its flight from this vesture of clay,
“Where are our little ones? Where do they stay?
And why did you leave them?”

If for them only, then, so must it be,
See, I remain with them, Mary! but see
How lonely we stand in a world without thee!
Mary! oh Mary!

I live, but death’s shadow is over me cast;
And even when wearied woe sleepeth at last,
Some dream of the dead, sighing out of the past,
Is alive in the darkness!

Could I but weep, it were comfort, though brief;
But the fountain of tears by the fire of my grief
Hath been dried to its dregs, and can shed no relief
On the thirst of my eyelids.

As music that wasteth away on the blast,
As the last ray by the sunken sun cast,
All my heart’s gladness hath died in the past,—
Mary! oh Mary!




Comments about A Lament by Charles Harpur

  • Susan Williams (7/25/2018 8:18:00 PM)


    at first I was thinking why is this called a lament when all the flowers are blooming and rivers are chuckling- -then the lament begins and oh how it is heartbreaking and everyone of us will go through this pain someday or another unless you don't love anybody (Report) Reply

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  • Petals Azureblue (7/25/2018 8:01:00 AM)


    Deep searing pain of loss. Superbly penned. (Report) Reply

  • Dr.tony Brahmin (7/25/2018 4:42:00 AM)


    very good poem. tony (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (7/25/2018 1:48:00 AM)


    Such a great write by Charles Harpur👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Mahtab Bangalee (7/25/2018 1:32:00 AM)


    nicely penned pathetic pathos-

    Under the glad face of nature, her face
    Hath carried down with it all beauty and grace;
    Pale is it there in that dark silent place—
    Mary! oh Mary!

    ...excellence of Charles Harpur
    (Report) Reply

  • Ruta Mohapatra (7/25/2018 12:29:00 AM)


    How sorrowful! It is hard for anyone to accept death. Poignantly expressed! (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/25/2017 11:19:00 AM)


    Sunken sun cast! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (7/25/2017 8:02:00 AM)


    It is a blues poem with heartfelt depiction where a loving husband has lamentation for his wife who is no more and has tenderness and care for his children. (Report) Reply

  • Md Shahadat Hossain (7/25/2017 4:17:00 AM)


    so poignant writing... (Report) Reply

  • Liza Sudina (7/25/2017 4:15:00 AM)


    A wonderful poem on the loss of a wife, full of tenderness and care for nature and children written by a loving husband! (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: children, dark, grief, lonely, music, nature, tree, truth, mother, green, dream, fire, beauty, joy, world, people, death, sun, flower, hope



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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