A Letter of Hope to Sydney Cove, near Botany Bay
Erasmus Darwin (1789)
Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells
Courts her young navies and the storm repels,
High on a rock, amid the troubled air,
Hope stood sublime, and wav’d her golden hair;
Calm’d with her rosy smile the tossing deep,
And with sweet accents charm’d the winds to sleep;
To each wild plain, she stretch’d her snowy hand,
High-waving wood, and sea-encircled strand.
‘Hear me,’ she cried, ‘ye rising realms! Record
Time’s opening scenes, and Truth’s unerring word.
There shall broad streets their stately walls extend,
The circus widen, and the crescent bend;
There ray’d from cities o’er the cultur’d land,
Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand. —
There the proud arch, Colossus-like, bestride
Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide;
Embellish’d villas crown the landscape scene,
Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between. —
There shall tall spires, and dome-capt towers ascend,
And piers and quays their massy structures blend;
While with each breeze approaching vessels glide,
And northern treasures dance on every tide!’
Here ceased the nymph—tumultuous echoes roar,
And Joy’s loud voice was heard from shore to shore —
Her graceful steps descending press’d the plain;
And Peace, and Art, and Labour, join’d her train.
I took this photo during a recent trip to Taronga Zoo. I was waiting for the ferry at Circular Quay and realised that I’d been there dozens of times before but had never actually taken a photo of the Bridge, something I’d always wanted to do… I guess living in Sydney I’d always assumed there’d be some other time and had just never got round to it. So this time I made myself take a few shots.
I particularly like how this one came out. The couple looking at the Bridge were tourists and they walked into the shot by accident at the last moment but I think they add a lot to it… they almost make me feel like I’m seeing it anew through their eyes.
The poem above is one of my favourites, A Letter of Hope to Sydney Cove, near Botany Bay by Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin’s grandfather). He wrote it in 1789 to accompany a small number of medallions created by Josiah Wedgwood to commemorate the settlement of Sydney Cove and it’s always struck me how eerily he predicts the city that would one day rise in its place. I thought it made an interesting contrast to the photo.
Photo © CJ Levinson 2011
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