Hello all, this week’s blog post has my eyes compelled to the words that these two poets have written. In my literary life the names Charles Harpur and Henry Kendall have yet to be of my interests until last Friday. As they both engaged me through their love of the natural scene mainly the bushlands, it intrigued me more and more to see their similarities as well as their differences.

Charles Harpur born in 1813 at a young age was immensely fond of the bush almost as much as his love for his wife Rose (Mary). The poem “A mid-summer noon in the Australian Forest” opaquely compares his love for his beloved Mary and the beauty of the bush. Throughout the poem an evolving impression is made from the silence that brews just from the calmness of the smallest of creatures. It eventuates into the loud intense sounds of life, which is a lot like the rollercoaster which love took him on. I also realised within the third stanza that the pace of the words started to speed up alluding an exciting and dangerous energy when speaking of the hornet. The colourful imagery of the bright yellow hornet’s exuberated charisma is evident as it reflects the strong pace and the rush of life. Harpur expresses this reminding himself that through all the noise the quiet things as well as the silent things in life is what he appreciates the most.

The bond between Charles Harpur and Henry Kendall is special. Even though there is almost a 20 year age difference as Kendall was born in 1839 they both had a common gratitude for the bush. Kendall was a great admirer of Harper and as a result led and aided Kendall when becoming a poet. Harpur’s newly founded protégé wrote the poem “Bell-Birds”. Kendall reveals how he embraces the loud and the quiet noises in the Australian bushland. By comparing the timeframe “They sing in September their songs of the May-time” in the second stanza Kendall indirectly makes these associations to his home country England. The S in September, The M in May, the O in October and the D in December are all capitalised to create a personified movement in time, recognising that the bushes beauty has no time frame that it passes through the comfortable parts of nature. In the final stanza he wishes to have inspiration to write with passion by using the bellbird sounds;


“…Longing for the power and the sweetness to fashion

Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of passion-

Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters

Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest rafters;…”


Showing that his appreciation lies with the simple things in life such as the sweet sound of chirping Bell-birds.

If you want to read the full poems you can find them in the links below! Have a lovely weekend!!



Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature – Insight into Harpur and Kendall Pages 99 & 147


2 thoughts on “#4 Harpur and Kendall

  1. Hi there Annaliese! May I first commend you on your wonderful post on Harpur and Kendall. I appreciate the fact you have provided contextual background information on each poet, which I found to have extended and broadened my knowledge and understanding further for each poem. The line you’ve taken from Bell-Birds really captured my attention and would prove to be my favourite line in the poem. My only suggestion would be to add a photo to complement your blog post (A picture of the Bell-Bird perhaps?). Thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to more of your postings.


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