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Ode to Melancholy

Written by: Mary Darby Robinson | Biography
 SORC'RESS of the Cave profound! 
Hence, with thy pale, and meagre train, 
Nor dare my roseate bow'r profane, 
Where light-heel'd mirth despotic reigns, 
Slightly bound in feath'ry chains, 
And scatt'ring blisses round. 

Hence, to thy native Chaos­where
Nurs'd by thy haggard Dam, DESPAIR, 
Shackled by thy numbing spell, 
Mis'ry's pallid children dwell; 
Where, brooding o'er thy fatal charms, 
FRENZY rolls the vacant eye; 
Where hopeless LOVE, with folded arms, 
Drops the tear, and heaves the sigh; 
Till cherish'd Passion's tyrant sway
Chills the warm pulse of Youth, with premature decay. 

O, fly Thee, to some Church-yard's gloom, 
Where beside the mould'ring tomb, 
Restless Spectres glide away, 
Fading in the glimpse of Day; 
Or, where the Virgin ORB of Night, 
Silvers o'er the Forest wide, 
Or across the silent tide, 
Flings her soft, and quiv'ring light: 
Where, beneath some aged Tree, 
Sounds of mournful Melody 
Caught from the NIGHTINGALE's enamour'd Tale, 
Steal on faint Echo's ear, and float upon the gale. 

DREAD POW'R! whose touch magnetic leads 
O'er enchanted spangled meads, 
Where by the glow-worm's twinkling ray, 
Aëry Spirits lightly play; 
Where around some Haunted Tow'r, 
Boding Ravens wing their flight, 
Viewless, in the gloom of Night, 
Warning oft the luckless hour; 
Or, beside the Murd'rer's bed, 
From thy dark, and morbid wing, 
O'er his fev'rish, burning head, 
Drops of conscious auguish fling; 
While freezing HORROR's direful scream, 
Rouses his guilty soul from kind oblivion's dream. 

Oft, beneath the witching Yew, 
The trembling MAID, steals forth unseen; 
With true-love wreaths, of deathless green, 
Her Lover's grave to strew; 
Her downcast Eye, no joy illumes, 
Nor on her Cheek, the soft Rose blooms; 
Her mourning Heart, the victim of thy pow'r, 
Shrinks from the glare of Mirth, and hails the MURKY HOUR. 

O, say what FIEND first gave thee birth, 
In what fell Desart, wert thou born; 
Why does thy hollow voice, forlorn, 
So fascinate the Sons of Earth; 
That once encircled in thy icy arms, 
They court thy torpid touch, and doat upon thy Charms? 

HATED IMP,­I brave thy Spell, 
REASON shuns thy barb'rous sway; 
Life, with mirth should glide away, 
Despondency, with guilt should dwell; 
For conscious TRUTH's unruffled mien, 
Displays the dauntless Eye, and patient smile serene.



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