1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charlotte Smith

Anonymous, "From an unpublished Poem on Bignor Park, the Seat of the Late Mrs. Charlotte Smith" Oriental Herald and Journal of General Literature 5 (May 1825) 414-15.



Thy mountains, Bignor! fringed with beechen shades,
Thy verdant meadows, thy impurpled glades,
Brown hamlets, sheltered by the pendant wood,
And ancient oaks, that crown the watery flood;
Scenes which my mother's artless strains inspired,
And the ill-fated muse of Otway fired;
Nor sacred less is Herting's cottaged vale,
Where Collins breathed his ever-pensive tale,
Roused Echo from her sylvan bed of sleep,
And bade the groves and mountain shepherds weep.
On Arun's banks, where Flora's treasures throng,
In the deep vale, through which he pours along
His restless stream, to meet his parent flood,
Winding 'twixt meadow, purple heath, and wood,
Oft has my sainted mother sorrowing, sighed
To the low murmurs of his sullen tide;
And Echo still, from his cold oozy cave,
Repeats the tale, that charmed his wandering wave,
Bears her sad history into distant deeps,
And with his willowed banks, responsive weeps.

No more, ye sacred haunts! in spring's attire,
Shall sounds of sweetest harmony inspire.
Or the chaste empress of the starry night,
The muse's meditating steps invite
To the wild pathless copse, or flowery dell,
Or where the sheep-fold's melancholy bell,
Awakes the solemn silent car of night,
Or shepherd's boy in vernal dreams delight.

What time the hoary owl incessant weals,
Winnowing with labouring wings the misty fields,
And clamorous rooks, in black battalions meet,
Slow verging homeward, to their dark retreat,
Now hovering pause, above the tufted trees,
And wake to Gothic sounds, the evening breeze,
Whilst still is heard, from distant vales among,
The mournful woodlark's curfew-pealing song;
That time: — How oft upon thy utmost brow,
When evening's beams enriched the vale below,
With secret joy the farewell sweet I've seen,
As the sun lingering kiss'd each parting scene,
The humble village, and the gayer town,
Ocean's blue waste of waters, woodlands brown,
Beachy's sea-worn immeasurable steep,
Which frowns with pallid horror, o'er the deep,
Aruna's modest, meadow'd, winding vale,
Where magic sounds of minstrelsy prevail,
Brightened by turns, — as his last glimmering ray,
Down western waves, still loitering, stole away.