This poem appears in a number of versions from 1851 onwards. For further details, see The Poems of Charles Harpur in Manuscript in the Mitchell Library and in Publication in the Nineteenth Century: An Analytical Finding List by Elizabeth Holt and Elizabeth Perkins (Canberra: Australian Scholarly Editions Centre, 2002).
Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of
Alternative title:Noon in the Forest at Midsummer First line of verse:"Not a bird disturbs the air,"
Is There an Australian Pastoral Poetry?Andrew Taylor,
2015single work criticism — Appears in:
142015;(p. 38-51)Pastoral was common as a European literary genre from the Renaissance until the eighteenth century. It existed in other artistic forms as well, especially in the visual arts, and after its demise as a distinct genre elements of it persisted into the twentieth century, for example in music. With the colonial spread of European culture the pastoral influence also extended into other countries, with a mixed fate. Recently, the term Pastoral has come back into prominence in literature in English, not only in Great Britain but also, notably in the USA and Australia, with the growth of writing motivated by ecological involvement with the natural world, especially landscape. This has led to re-definitions of the term Pastoral in the last few decades. A number of Australian poets are looked at to see whether, and how, their writing about landscape might relate to, or incorporate elements of the Pastoral. The Australian poet John Kinsella, in particular, has been a widely published spokesperson for a new definition of Pastoral. His published works trace his move from a politically activist anti-colonialist redefinition of Pastoral towards a quieter, more harmonious, and essentially ethical engagement with the natural world.
Charles Harpur's 'Midsummer Noon' : A Structuralist ApproachNoel Macainsh,
1978single work criticism — Appears in:
Australian Literary Studies,Octobervol.
41978;(p. 435-445)Macainsh offers a paradigmatic analysis of the poem to show a "clarity of structure" not detected by other critics. The "element of space" suggested by the title "is essentially that of a vertical dimension penetrating a horizontal". The elements of the poem all fit in relation to these axes, forming a cone shape. The poem then "moves" along these two axes as the reader proceeds from the first line to the last.