1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charlotte Smith

Jane West, "On the Sonnets of Mrs. Charlotte Smith" Miscellaneous Poems (1791) 94-95.



The widow'd turtle, mourning for her love,
Breathes the soft plaintive melody of woe:
And streams, that gently steal along the grove,
In murmurs dear to melancholy flow.

Yet to thy strains, sweet nymph of Arun's vale,
Harsh is the turtle's note, and harsh the stream,
Ev'n when their echoes die upon the gale,
Or catch attention by the lunar beam.

Thy strains soul-harrowing melting pity hears,
Yet fears to break thy privacy of pain,
She blots thy page with sympathetic tears,
And while she mourns thy wrongs enjoys thy strain.

Hast thou indeed no solace? does the earth
Afford no balm thy anguish to relieve?
Still must thou feel the pang of suff'ring worth,
Taught by refinement but to charm and grieve.

Oh! if despair directs thy pensive eyes
To where death terminates terrestial woes,
May faith from thence exalt them to the skies,
Where glory's palm for suffering virtue grows.

There may thy lyre, whose sweetly magic pow'rs
From pain'd attention forc'd applauding tears,
With hallelujahs fill the eternal bowers,
The theme prolonging through eternal years.