All the heights of the high shores gleam
Red and gold at the sunset hour:
There comes the spell of a magic dream,
And the Harbour seems a lotus-flower;
A blue flower tinted at dawn with gold,
A broad flower blazing with light at noon,
A flower forever with charms to hold
His heart, who sees it by sun or moon.
Its beauty burns like a ceaseless fire,
And tower looks over the top of tower;
For all mute things it would seem, aspire
To catch a glimpse of the lotus-flower.
Men meet its beauty with furrowed face,
And straight the furrows are smoothed away;
They buy and sell in the market-place,
And languor leadens their blood all day.
At night they look on the flower, and lo!
The City passes with all its cares:
They dream no more in its azure glow,
Of gold and silver and stocks and shares.
The Lotus dreams ‘neath the dreaming skies,
Its beauty touching with spell divine
The grey old town, till the old town lies
Like one half-drunk with a magic wine.
Star-loved, it breathes at the midnight hour
A sense of peace from its velvet mouth.
Though flowers be fair — is there any flower
Like this blue flower of the radiant South?
Sun-loved and lit by the moon it yields
A challenge-glory or glow serene,
And men bethink them of jewelled shields,
A turquoise lighting a ground of green.
Fond lovers pacing beside it see
Not death and darkness, but life and light,
And dream no dream of the witchery
The Lotus sheds on the silent night.
Pale watchers weary of watching stars
That fall, and fall, and forever fall,
Tear-worn and troubled with many scars,
They seek the Lotus and end life’s thrall.
The spirit spelled by the Lotus swoons,
Its beauty summons the artist mood;
And thus, perchance, in a thousand moons
Its spell shall work in our waiting blood.
Then souls shall shine with an old-time grace,
And sense be wrapped in a golden trance,
And art be crowned in the market-place
With Love and Beauty and fair Romance.
Roderic Quinn was born in Sydney. His Irish parents had migrated, in 1853, to Australia. He received his education in Sydney together with his life long friends C.J.Brennan and E.J.Brady. He studied law for a while, then worked as a country schoolteacher. When he returned to Sydney he took a position as a freelance journalist. He wrote short stories for the ‘Bulletin’, and made a modest living from his poetry from the 1890s to the mid 1920s. His work was extremely appreciated by his contemporaries. He was linked with Victor Daly as poets of the ‘Celtic Twilight’.