Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the Lake Poets along with William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and England’s Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 until his death in 1843.
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Famous Robert Southey Poems
Birth-Day Ode 02
Small is the new-born plant scarce seen
Amid the soft encircling green,
Where yonder budding acorn rears,
Just o’er the waving grass, its tender head:
Slow pass along the train of years,
And on the growing plant, their dews and showers they shed.
Anon it rears aloft its giant form,
And spreads its broad-brown arms to meet the storm.
Beneath its boughs far shadowing o’er the plain,
From summer suns, repair the grateful village train.
Nor BEDFORD will my friend survey
The book of Nature with unheeding eye;
For never beams the rising orb of day,
For never dimly dies the refluent ray,
But as the moralizer marks the sky,
He broods with strange delight upon futurity.
And we must muse my friend! maturer years
Arise, and other Hopes and other Fears,
For we have past the pleasant plains of Youth.
Oh pleasant plains! that we might stray
For ever o’er your faery ground—
For ever roam your vales around,
Nor onward tempt the dangerous way—
For oh—what numerous foes assail
The Traveller, from that chearful vale!
With toil and heaviness opprest
Seek not the flowery bank for rest,
Tho’ there the bowering woodbine spread
Its fragrant shelter o’er thy head,
Tho’ Zephyr there should linger long
To hear the sky-lark’s wildly-warbled song,
There heedless Youth shalt thou awake
The vengeance of the coiling snake!
Tho’ fairly smiles the vernal mead
To tempt thy pilgrim feet, proceed
Hold on thy steady course aright,
Else shalt thou wandering o’er the pathless plain,
When damp and dark descends the night
Shivering and shelterless, repent in vain.
And yet—tho’ Dangers lurk on every side
Receive not WORLDLY WISDOM for thy guide!
Beneath his care thou wilt not know
The throb of unavailing woe,
No tear shall tremble in thine eye
Thy breast shall struggle with no sigh,
He will security impart,
But he will apathize thy heart!
Fly Fly that fatal foe,
Virtue shall shrink from his torpedo grasp—
For not more fatal thro’ the Wretches veins
Benumb’d in Death’s cold pains
Creeps the chill poison of the deadly asp.
Serener joys my friend await
Maturer manhood’s steady state.
The wild brook bursting from its source
Meanders on its early course,
Delighting there with winding way
Amid the vernal vale to stray,
Emerging thence more widely spread
It foams along its craggy bed,
And shatter’d with the mighty shock
Rushes from the giddy rock—
Hurl’d headlong o’er the dangerous steep
On runs the current to the deep,
And gathering waters as it goes
Serene and calm the river flows,
Diffuses plenty o’er the smiling coast,
Rolls on its stately waves and is in ocean lost.
The Race Of Banquo
Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly!
Leave thy guilty sire to die.
O’er the heath the stripling fled,
The wild storm howling round his head.
Fear mightier thro’ the shades of night
Urged his feet, and wing’d his flight;
And still he heard his father cry
Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly.
Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly
Leave thy guilty sire to die.
On every blast was heard the moan
The anguish’d shriek, the death-fraught groan;
Loathly night-hags join the yell
And see—the midnight rites of Hell.
Forms of magic! spare my life!
Shield me from the murderer’s knife!
Before me dim in lurid light
Float the phantoms of the night—
Behind I hear my Father cry,
Fly, son of Banquo—Fleance, fly!
Parent of the sceptred race,
Fearless tread the circled space:
Fearless Fleance venture near—
Sire of monarchs—spurn at fear.
Sisters with prophetic breath
Pour we now the dirge of Death!
Think Valentine, as speeding on thy way
Homeward thou hastest light of heart along,
If heavily creep on one little day
The medley crew of travellers among,
Think on thine absent friend: reflect that here
On Life’s sad journey comfortless he roves,
Remote from every scene his heart holds dear,
From him he values, and from her he loves.
And when disgusted with the vain and dull
Whom chance companions of thy way may doom,
Thy mind, of each domestic comfort full,
Turns to itself and meditates on home,
Ah think what Cares must ache within his breast
Who loaths the lingering road, yet has no home of rest!
(to a brook near the village of Corston.)
As thus I bend me o’er thy babbling stream
And watch thy current, Memory’s hand pourtrays
The faint form’d scenes of the departed days,
Like the far forest by the moon’s pale beam
Dimly descried yet lovely. I have worn
Upon thy banks the live-long hour away,
When sportive Childhood wantoned thro’ the day,
Joy’d at the opening splendour of the morn,
Or as the twilight darken’d, heaved the sigh
Thinking of distant home; as down my cheek
At the fond thought slow stealing on, would speak
The silent eloquence of the full eye.
Dim are the long past days, yet still they please
As thy soft sounds half heard, borne on the inconstant breeze.
Go Valentine and tell that lovely maid
Whom Fancy still will pourtray to my sight,
How her Bard lingers in this sullen shade,
This dreary gloom of dull monastic night.
Say that from every joy of life remote
At evening’s closing hour he quits the throng,
Listening alone the ring-dove’s plaintive note
Who pours like him her solitary song.
Say that her absence calls the sorrowing sigh,
Say that of all her charms he loves to speak,
In fancy feels the magic of her eye,
In fancy views the smile illume her cheek,
Courts the lone hour when Silence stills the grove
And heaves the sigh of Memory and of Love.
Ode Written On The First Of January
Come melancholy Moralizer—come!
Gather with me the dark and wintry wreath;
With me engarland now
The SEPULCHRE OF TIME!
Come Moralizer to the funeral song!
I pour the dirge of the Departed Days,
For well the funeral song
Befits this solemn hour.
But hark! even now the merry bells ring round
With clamorous joy to welcome in this day,
This consecrated day,
To Mirth and Indolence.
Mortal! whilst Fortune with benignant hand
Fills to the brim thy cup of happiness,
Whilst her unclouded sun
Illumes thy summer day,
Canst thou rejoice—rejoice that Time flies fast?
That Night shall shadow soon thy summer sun?
That swift the stream of Years
Rolls to Eternity?
If thou hast wealth to gratify each wish,
If Power be thine, remember what thou art—
Remember thou art Man,
And Death thine heritage!
Hast thou known Love? does Beauty’s better sun
Cheer thy fond heart with no capricious smile,
Her eye all eloquence,
Her voice all harmony?
Oh state of happiness! hark how the gale
Moans deep and hollow o’er the leafless grove!
Winter is dark and cold—
Where now the charms of Spring?
Sayst thou that Fancy paints the future scene
In hues too sombrous? that the dark-stol’d Maid
With stern and frowning front
Appals the shuddering soul?
And would’st thou bid me court her faery form
When, as she sports her in some happier mood,
Her many-colour’d robes
Dance varying to the Sun?
Ah vainly does the Pilgrim, whose long road
Leads o’er the barren mountain’s storm-vext height,
With anxious gaze survey
The fruitful far-off vale.
Oh there are those who love the pensive song
To whom all sounds of Mirth are dissonant!
There are who at this hour
Will love to contemplate!
For hopeless Sorrow hails the lapse of Time,
Rejoicing when the fading orb of day
Is sunk again in night,
That one day more is gone.
And he who bears Affliction’s heavy load
With patient piety, well pleas’d he knows
The World a pilgrimage,
The Grave the inn of rest.
With many a weary step, at length I gain
Thy summit, Lansdown; and the cool breeze plays,
Gratefully round my brow, as hence the gaze
Returns to dwell upon the journeyed plain.
‘Twas a long way and tedious! to the eye
Tho fair the extended vale, and fair to view
The falling leaves of many a faded hue,
That eddy in the wild gust moaning by.
Even so it fared with Life! in discontent
Restless thro’ Fortune’s mingled scenes I went,
Yet wept to think they would return no more!
But cease fond heart in such sad thoughts to roam,
For surely thou ere long shall reach thy home,
And pleasant is the way that lies before.
To My Own Minature Picture Taken At Two Years Of Age
And I was once like this! that glowing cheek
Was mine, those pleasure-sparkling eyes, that brow
Smooth as the level lake, when not a breeze
Dies o’er the sleeping surface! twenty years
Have wrought strange alteration! Of the friends
Who once so dearly prized this miniature,
And loved it for its likeness, some are gone
To their last home; and some, estranged in heart,
Beholding me with quick-averted glance
Pass on the other side! But still these hues
Remain unalter’d, and these features wear
The look of Infancy and Innocence.
I search myself in vain, and find no trace
Of what I was: those lightly-arching lines
Dark and o’erhanging now; and that mild face
Settled in these strong lineaments!—There were
Who form’d high hopes and flattering ones of thee
Young Robert! for thine eye was quick to speak
Each opening feeling: should they not have known
When the rich rainbow on the morning cloud
Reflects its radiant dies, the husbandman
Beholds the ominous glory sad, and fears
Impending storms? they augur’d happily,
For thou didst love each wild and wonderous tale
Of faery fiction, and thine infant tongue
Lisp’d with delight the godlike deeds of Greece
And rising Rome; therefore they deem’d forsooth
That thou shouldst tread PREFERMENT’S pleasant path.
Ill-judging ones! they let thy little feet
Stray in the pleasant paths of POESY,
And when thou shouldst have prest amid the crowd
There didst thou love to linger out the day
Loitering beneath the laurels barren shade.
SPIRIT of SPENSER! was the wanderer wrong?
This little picture was for ornament
Design’d, to shine amid the motley mob
Of Fashion and of Folly,—is it not
More honour’d by this solitary song?
Inscription 04 – For The Apartment In Chepstow-Castle
For thirty years secluded from mankind,
Here Marten linger’d. Often have these walls
Echoed his footsteps, as with even tread
He paced around his prison: not to him
Did Nature’s fair varieties exist;
He never saw the Sun’s delightful beams,
Save when thro’ yon high bars it pour’d a sad
And broken splendor. Dost thou ask his crime?
He had rebell’d against the King, and sat
In judgment on him; for his ardent mind
Shaped goodliest plans of happiness on earth,
And peace and liberty. Wild dreams! But such
As PLATO lov’d; such as with holy zeal
Our MILTON worshipp’d. Blessed hopes! awhile
From man withheld, even to the latter days,
When CHRIST shall come and all things be fulfill’d.
Inscription 01 – For A Tablet At Godstow Nunnery
Here Stranger rest thee! from the neighbouring towers
Of Oxford, haply thou hast forced thy bark
Up this strong stream, whose broken waters here
Send pleasant murmurs to the listening sense:
Rest thee beneath this hazel; its green boughs
Afford a grateful shade, and to the eye
Fair is its fruit: Stranger! the seemly fruit
Is worthless, all is hollowness within,
For on the grave of ROSAMUND it grows!
Young lovely and beloved she fell seduced,
And here retir’d to wear her wretched age
In earnest prayer and bitter penitence,
Despis’d and self-despising: think of her
Young Man! and learn to reverence Womankind!
Botany Bay Eclogues 01
Where a sight shall shuddering Sorrow find.
Sad as the ruins of the human mind!
Botany Bay Eclogues 05 – Frederic
(Time Night. Scene the woods.)
Where shall I turn me? whither shall I bend
My weary way? thus worn with toil and faint
How thro’ the thorny mazes of this wood
Attain my distant dwelling? that deep cry
That rings along the forest seems to sound
My parting knell: it is the midnight howl
Of hungry monsters prowling for their prey!
Again! oh save me—save me gracious Heaven!
I am not fit to die!
Thou coward wretch
Why heaves thy trembling heart? why shake thy limbs
Beneath their palsied burden? is there ought
So lovely in existence? would’st thou drain
Even to its dregs the bitter draught of life?
Dash down the loathly bowl! poor outcast slave
Stamp’d with the brand of Vice and Infamy
Why should the villain Frederic shrink from Death?
Death! where the magic in that empty name
That chills my inmost heart? why at the thought
Starts the cold dew of fear on every limb?
There are no terrors to surround the Grave,
When the calm Mind collected in itself
Surveys that narrow house: the ghastly train
That haunt the midnight of delirious Guilt
Then vanish; in that home of endless rest
All sorrows cease.—Would I might slumber there!
Why then this panting of the fearful heart?
This miser love of Life that dreads to lose
Its cherish’d torment? shall the diseased man
Yield up his members to the surgeon’s knife,
Doubtful of succour, but to ease his frame
Of fleshly anguish, and the coward wretch,
Whose ulcered soul can know no human help
Shrink from the best Physician’s certain aid?
Oh it were better far to lay me down
Here on this cold damp earth, till some wild beast
Seize on his willing victim!
If to die
Were all, it were most sweet to rest my head
On the cold clod, and sleep the sleep of Death.
But if the Archangel’s trump at the last hour
Startle the ear of Death and wake the soul
To frenzy!—dreams of infancy! fit tales
For garrulous beldames to affrighten babes!
I have been guilty, yet my mind can bear
The retrospect of guilt, yet in the hour
Of deep contrition to THE ETERNAL look
For mercy! for the child of Poverty,
And “disinherited of happiness,”
What if I warr’d upon the world? the world
Had wrong’d me first: I had endur’d the ills
Of hard injustice; all this goodly earth
Was but to me one wild waste wilderness;
I had no share in Nature’s patrimony,
Blasted were all my morning hopes of Youth,
Dark DISAPPOINTMENT follow’d on my ways,
CARE was my bosom inmate, and keen WANT
Gnaw’d at my heart. ETERNAL ONE thou know’st
How that poor heart even in the bitter hour
Of lewdest revelry has inly yearn’d
My FATHER! I will call on thee,
Pour to thy mercy seat my earnest prayer,
And wait thy peace in bowedness of soul.
Oh thoughts of comfort! how the afflicted heart,
Tired with the tempest of its passions, rests
On you with holy hope! the hollow howl
Of yonder harmless tenant of the woods
Bursts not with terror on the sober’d sense.
If I have sinn’d against mankind, on them
Be that past sin; they made me what I was.
In these extremest climes can Want no more
Urge to the deeds of darkness, and at length
Here shall I rest. What tho’ my hut be poor—
The rains descend not thro’ its humble roof:
Would I were there again! the night is cold;
And what if in my wanderings I should rouse
The savage from his thicket!
Hark! the gun!
And lo—the fire of safety! I shall reach
My little hut again! again by toil
Force from the stubborn earth my sustenance,
And quick-ear’d guilt will never start alarm’d
Amid the well-earn’d meal. This felon’s garb—
Will it not shield me from the winds of Heaven?
And what could purple more? Oh strengthen me
Eternal One in this serener state!
Cleanse thou mine heart, so PENITENCE and FAITH
Shall heal my soul and my last days be peace.
On The Death Of A Favourite Old Spaniel
And they have drown’d thee then at last! poor Phillis!
The burthen of old age was heavy on thee.
And yet thou should’st have lived! what tho’ thine eye
Was dim, and watch’d no more with eager joy
The wonted call that on thy dull sense sunk
With fruitless repetition, the warm Sun
Would still have cheer’d thy slumber, thou didst love
To lick the hand that fed thee, and tho’ past
Youth’s active season, even Life itself
Was comfort. Poor old friend! most earnestly
Would I have pleaded for thee: thou hadst been
Still the companion of my childish sports,
And, as I roam’d o’er Avon’s woody clifts,
From many a day-dream has thy short quick bark
Recall’d my wandering soul. I have beguil’d
Often the melancholy hours at school,
Sour’d by some little tyrant, with the thought
Of distant home, and I remember’d then
Thy faithful fondness: for not mean the joy,
Returning at the pleasant holydays,
I felt from thy dumb welcome. Pensively
Sometimes have I remark’d thy slow decay,
Feeling myself changed too, and musing much
On many a sad vicissitude of Life!
Ah poor companion! when thou followedst last
Thy master’s parting footsteps to the gate
That clos’d for ever on him, thou didst lose
Thy truest friend, and none was left to plead
For the old age of brute fidelity!
But fare thee well! mine is no narrow creed,
And HE who gave thee being did not frame
The mystery of life to be the sport
Of merciless man! there is another world
For all that live and move—a better one!
Where the proud bipeds, who would fain confine
INFINITE GOODNESS to the little bounds
Of their own charity, may envy thee!
Inscription 03 – For A Cavern That Overlooks The River Avon
Enter this cavern Stranger! the ascent
Is long and steep and toilsome; here awhile
Thou mayest repose thee, from the noontide heat
O’ercanopied by this arch’d rock that strikes
A grateful coolness: clasping its rough arms
Round the rude portal, the old ivy hangs
Its dark green branches down, and the wild Bees,
O’er its grey blossoms murmuring ceaseless, make
Most pleasant melody. No common spot
Receives thee, for the Power who prompts the song,
Loves this secluded haunt. The tide below
Scarce sends the sound of waters to thine ear;
And this high-hanging forest to the wind
Varies its many hues. Gaze Stranger here!
And let thy soften’d heart intensely feel
How good, how lovely, Nature! When from hence
Departing to the City’s crouded streets,
Thy sickening eye at every step revolts
From scenes of vice and wretchedness; reflect
That Man creates the evil he endures.
Poems On The Slave Trade – Sonnet III
Oh he is worn with toil! the big drops run
Down his dark cheek; hold—hold thy merciless hand,
Pale tyrant! for beneath thy hard command
O’erwearied Nature sinks. The scorching Sun,
As pityless as proud Prosperity,
Darts on him his full beams; gasping he lies
Arraigning with his looks the patient skies,
While that inhuman trader lifts on high
The mangling scourge. Oh ye who at your ease
Sip the blood-sweeten’d beverage! thoughts like these
Haply ye scorn: I thank thee Gracious God!
That I do feel upon my cheek the glow
Of indignation, when beneath the rod
A sable brother writhes in silent woe.
Birth-Day Ode 03
And wouldst thou seek the low abode
Where PEACE delights to dwell?
Pause Traveller on thy way of life!
With many a snare and peril rife
Is that long labyrinth of road:
Dark is the vale of years before
Pause Traveller on thy way!
Nor dare the dangerous path explore
Till old EXPERIENCE comes to lend his leading ray.
Not he who comes with lanthorn light
Shall guide thy groping pace aright
With faltering feet and slow;
No! let him rear the torch on high
And every maze shall meet thine eye,
And every snare and every foe;
Then with steady step and strong,
Traveller, shalt thou march along.
Tho’ POWER invite thee to her hall,
Regard not thou her tempting call
Her splendors meteor glare;
Tho’ courteous Flattery there await
And Wealth adorn the dome of State,
There stalks the midnight spectre CARE;
PEACE, Traveller! does not sojourn there.
If FAME allure thee, climb not thou
To that steep mountain’s craggy brow
Where stands her stately pile;
For far from thence does PEACE abide,
And thou shall find FAME’S favouring smile
Cold as the feeble Sun on Heclas snow-clad side,
And Traveller! as thou hopest to find
That low and loved abode,
Retire thee from the thronging road
And shun the mob of human kind.
Ah I hear how old EXPERIENCE schools,
“Fly fly the crowd of Knaves and Fools
“And thou shalt fly from woe;
“The one thy heedless heart will greet
“With Judas smile, and thou wilt meet
“In every Fool a Foe!”
So safely mayest thou pass from these,
And reach secure the home of PEACE,
And FRIENDSHIP find thee there.
No happier state can mortal know,
No happier lot can Earth bestow
If LOVE thy lot shall share.
Yet still CONTENT with him may dwell
Whom HYMEN will not bless,
And VIRTUE sojourn in the cell
Of HERMIT HAPPINESS.
Poems On The Slave Trade – Sonnet II
Why dost thou beat thy breast and rend thine hair,
And to the deaf sea pour thy frantic cries?
Before the gale the laden vessel flies;
The Heavens all-favoring smile, the breeze is fair;
Hark to the clamors of the exulting crew!
Hark how their thunders mock the patient skies!
Why dost thou shriek and strain thy red-swoln eyes
As the white sail dim lessens from thy view?
Go pine in want and anguish and despair,
There is no mercy found in human-kind—
Go Widow to thy grave and rest thee there!
But may the God of Justice bid the wind
Whelm that curst bark beneath the mountain wave,
And bless with Liberty and Death the Slave!
Ode Written On The First Of December
Tho’ now no more the musing ear
Delights to listen to the breeze
That lingers o’er the green wood shade,
I love thee Winter! well.
Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,
Sweet is the summer’s evening gale,
Pleasant the autumnal winds that shake
The many-colour’d grove.
And pleasant to the sober’d soul
The silence of the wintry scene,
When Nature shrouds her in her trance
Not undelightful now to roam
The wild heath sparkling on the sight;
Not undelightful now to pace
The forest’s ample rounds;
And see the spangled branches shine,
And mark the moss of many a hue
That varies the old tree’s brown bark,
Or o’er the grey stone spreads.
The cluster’d berries claim the eye
O’er the bright hollies gay green leaves,
The ivy round the leafless oak
Clasps its full foliage close.
So VIRTUE diffident of strength
Clings to RELIGION’S firmer aid,
And by RELIGION’S aid upheld
Nor void of beauties now the spring,
Whose waters hid from summer sun
Have sooth’d the thirsty pilgrim’s ear
With more than melody.
The green moss shines with icey glare,
The long grass bends its spear-like form,
And lovely is the silvery scene
When faint the sunbeams smile.
Reflection too may love the hour
When Nature, hid in Winter’s grave,
No more expands the bursting bud
Or bids the flowret bloom.
For Nature soon in Spring’s best charms
Shall rise reviv’d from Winter’s grave.
Again expand the bursting bud,
And bid the flowret bloom.
The Pauper’s Funeral
What! and not one to heave the pious sigh!
Not one whose sorrow-swoln and aching eye
For social scenes, for life’s endearments fled,
Shall drop a tear and dwell upon the dead!
Poor wretched Outcast! I will weep for thee,
And sorrow for forlorn humanity.
Yes I will weep, but not that thou art come
To the stern Sabbath of the silent tomb:
For squalid Want, and the black scorpion Care,
Heart-withering fiends! shall never enter there.
I sorrow for the ills thy life has known
As thro’ the world’s long pilgrimage, alone,
Haunted by Poverty and woe-begone,
Unloved, unfriended, thou didst journey on:
Thy youth in ignorance and labour past,
And thine old age all barrenness and blast!
Hard was thy Fate, which, while it doom’d to woe,
Denied thee wisdom to support the blow;
And robb’d of all its energy thy mind,
Ere yet it cast thee on thy fellow-kind,
Abject of thought, the victim of distress,
To wander in the world’s wide wilderness.
Poor Outcast sleep in peace! the wintry storm
Blows bleak no more on thine unshelter’d form;
Thy woes are past; thou restest in the tomb;—
I pause—and ponder on the days to come.
Poems On The Slave Trade – Sonnet I
Hold your mad hands! for ever on your plain
Must the gorged vulture clog his beak with blood?
For ever must your Nigers tainted flood
Roll to the ravenous shark his banquet slain?
Hold your mad hands! what daemon prompts to rear
The arm of Slaughter? on your savage shore
Can hell-sprung Glory claim the feast of gore,
With laurels water’d by the widow’s tear
Wreathing his helmet crown? lift high the spear!
And like the desolating whirlwinds sweep,
Plunge ye yon bark of anguish in the deep;
For the pale fiend, cold-hearted Commerce there
Breathes his gold-gender’d pestilence afar,
And calls to share the prey his kindred Daemon War.
Go, Valentine, and tell that lovely maid
Whom fancy still will portray to my sight,
How here I linger in this sullen shade,
This dreary gloom of dull monastic night;
Say, that every joy of life remote
At evening’s closing hour I quit the throng,
Listening in solitude the ring-dome’s note,
Who pours like me her solitary song;
Say, that of her absence calls the sorrowing sigh;
Say, that of all her charms I love to speak,
In fancy feel the magic of her eye,
In fancy view the smile illume her cheek,
Court the lone hour when silence stills the grove,
And heave the sigh of memory and of love.
My Days among the Dead are Past
My days among the Dead are past;
Around me I behold,
Where’er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old;
My never-failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.
With them I take delight in weal, And seek relief in woe; And while I understand and feel How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedew’d
With tears of thoughtful gratitude.
My thoughts are with the Dead, with them I live in long-past years,
Their virtues love, their faults condemn,
Partake their hopes and fears,
And from their lessons seek and find
Instruction with an humble mind.
My hopes are with the Dead, anon My place with them will be,
And I with them shall travel on
Through all Futurity;
Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
That will not perish in the dust.
Cold was the night wind, drifting fast the snows fell,
Wide were the downs and shelterless and naked,
When a poor Wanderer struggled on her journey
Weary and way-sore.
Drear were the downs, more dreary her reflexions;
Cold was the night wind, colder was her bosom!
She had no home, the world was all before her,
She had no shelter.
Fast o’er the bleak heath rattling drove a chariot,
“Pity me!” feebly cried the poor night wanderer.
“Pity me Strangers! lest with cold and hunger
Here I should perish.
“Once I had friends,—but they have all forsook me!
“Once I had parents,—they are now in Heaven!
“I had a home once—I had once a husband—
“Pity me Strangers!
“I had a home once—I had once a husband—
“I am a Widow poor and broken-hearted!”
Loud blew the wind, unheard was her complaining.
On drove the chariot.
On the cold snows she laid her down to rest her;
She heard a horseman, “pity me!” she groan’d out;
Loud blew the wind, unheard was her complaining,
On went the horseman.
Worn out with anguish, toil and cold and hunger,
Down sunk the Wanderer, sleep had seiz’d her senses;
There, did the Traveller find her in the morning,
GOD had releast her.
To Mary Wollstonecraft
The lilly cheek, the “purple light of love,”
The liquid lustre of the melting eye,—
Mary! of these the Poet sung, for these
Did Woman triumph! with no angry frown
View this degrading conquest. At that age
No MAID OF ARC had snatch’d from coward man
The heaven-blest sword of Liberty; thy sex
Could boast no female ROLAND’S martyrdom;
No CORDE’S angel and avenging arm
Had sanctified again the Murderer’s name
As erst when Caesar perish’d: yet some strains
May even adorn this theme, befitting me
To offer, nor unworthy thy regard.
Let ancient stories round the painter’s art,
Who stole from many a maid his Venus’ charms,
Till warm devotion fired each gazer’s heart
And every bosom bounded with alarms.
He culled the beauties of his native isle,
From some the blush of beauty’s vermeil dyes,
From some the lovely look, the winning smile,
From some the languid lustre of the eyes.
Low to the finished form the nations round
In adoration bent the pious knee;
With myrtle wreaths the artist’s brow they crowned,
Whose skill, Ariste, only imaged thee.
Ill-fated artist, doomed so wide to seek
The charms that blossom on Ariste’s cheek!
The Old Man’s Comforts and how he gained them
You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason I pray.
In the days of my youth, Father William replied, I remember’d that youth would fly fast, And abused not my health and my vigour at first That I never might need them at last. You are old, Father William, the young man cried, And pleasures with youth pass away,
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason I pray.
In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember’d that youth could not last;
I thought of the future whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past.
You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And life must be hastening away;
You are chearful, and love to converse upon death!
Now tell me the reason I pray.
I am chearful, young man, Father William replied,
Let the cause thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember’d my God!
And He hath not forgotten my age.
Poems On The Slave Trade – Sonnet VI
High in the air expos’d the Slave is hung
To all the birds of Heaven, their living food!
He groans not, tho’ awaked by that fierce Sun
New torturers live to drink their parent blood!
He groans not, tho’ the gorging Vulture tear
The quivering fibre! hither gaze O ye
Who tore this Man from Peace and Liberty!
Gaze hither ye who weigh with scrupulous care
The right and prudent; for beyond the grave
There is another world! and call to mind,
Ere your decrees proclaim to all mankind
Murder is legalized, that there the Slave
Before the Eternal, “thunder-tongued shall plead
“Against the deep damnation of your deed.”