Charles Harpur

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

Marvellous Martin - Poem by Charles Harpur

Who sees him walk the street, can scarce forbear
To question thus his friend, What prig goes there?
So much hath Nature, as 'tis oft her plan,
Stamped inward trickery on the outward man!
And yet, with her great interdiction deep
Impressed thus on his being, see him creep
Into our Parliament, and dare to prate
About the god-like principles of State;
With this sole claim address him to the work,
That he has read that prince of sophists, Burke!
And though a dreary Plunkett's glad to praise
His talent, seeing that their feeble rays
Have just that kindred with his own pinched mind
Which (says the proverb ) makes us wond'rous kind.
No more could such a creature feel or think
Beyond Expediency's most beaten brink,
Or sum the onward pressure of our race,
Than I could heave a mountain from its base!
Nay, even the dogmas of his vaunted Burke
Work in him to no end, or backward work,
Or dwindle in his view, like heaven's wide cope
Seen through the wrong end of a telescope.

How then might such a 'thing', with all the gang
That yet like vermin about Wentworth hang,
Rear-ranked with hirelings,-how might he and these,
(Any-thing snobs and no-thing Nominees!)
Devise a Government intoned and twined
With all that's true and fetterless in mind
And free in body-one, in short, designed
Not for the pigmies of the passing hour,
But for Australia's future sons of Power?
No! they can spin but feudal cobwebs, soon
By Freedom to be blown into the moon,
Or back to Norfolk Island, whence, 'tis plain,
Their slimy embryos came in youthful Lottery's brain.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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