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Best Famous Charlotte Turner Smith Poems

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by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet XLII: Composed During a Walk

 The dark and pillowy cloud, the sallow trees,
Seem o'er the ruins of the year to mourn;
And, cold and hollow, the inconstant breeze
Sobs thro' the falling leaves and wither'd fern.
O'er the tall brow of yonder chalky bourn, The evening shades their gather'd darkness fling, While, by the lingering light, I scarce discern The shrieking night-jar sail on heavy wing.
Ah! yet a little—and propitious Spring Crown'd with fresh flowers shall wake the woodland strain; But no gay change revolving seasons bring To call forth pleasure from the soul of pain; Bid Syren Hope resume her long-lost part, And chase the vulture Care—that feeds upon the heart.


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet LXVII: On Passing over a Dreary Tract

 Swift fleet the billowy clouds along the sky,
Earth seems to shudder at the storm aghast;
While only beings as forlorn as I,
Court the chill horrors of the howling blast.
Even round yon crumbling walls, in search of food, The ravenous Owl foregoes his evening flight, And in his cave, within the deepest wood, The Fox eludes the tempest of the night.
But to my heart congenial is the gloom Which hides me from a World I wish to shun; That scene where Ruin saps the mouldering tomb, Suits with the sadness of a wretch undone.
Nor is the deepest shade, the keenest air, Black as my fate, or cold as my despair.


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet VII: Sweet Poet of the Woods

 Sweet poet of the woods---a long adieu!
Farewel, soft minstrel of the early year!
Ah! 'twill be long ere thou shalt sing anew,
And pour thy music on the 'night's dull ear,'
Whether on spring thy wandering flights await,
Or whether silent in our groves ye dwell,
The pensive muse shall own thee for her mate,
And still protect the song, she loves so well.
With cautious step, the love-lorn youth shall glide Thro' the lone brake that shades thy mossy nest; And shepherd girls, from eyes profane shall hide The gentle bird, who sings of pity best.
For still thy voice shall soft affections move, And still be dear to sorrow, and to love!


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Written near a Port on a Dark Evening

 Huge vapours brood above the clifted shore, 
Night on the ocean settles dark and mute, 
Save where is heard the repercussive roar 
Of drowsy billows on the rugged foot 
Of rocks remote; or still more distant tone 
Of seamen in the anchored bark that tell 
The watch relieved; or one deep voice alone 
Singing the hour, and bidding "Strike the bell!" 

All is black shadow but the lucid line 
Marked by the light surf on the level sand, 
Or where afar the ship-lights faintly shine 
Like wandering fairy fires, that oft on land 
Misled the pilgrim--such the dubious ray 
That wavering reason lends in life's long darkling way.


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet LXIII: The Gossamer

 O'er faded heath-flowers spun, or thorny furze,
The filmy Gossamer is lightly spread;
Waving in every sighing air that stirs,
As Fairy fingers had entwined the thread:
A thousand trembling orbs of lucid dew
Spangle the texture of the fairy loom,
As if soft Sylphs, lamenting as they flew,
Had wept departed Summer's transient bloom:
But the wind rises, and the turf receives
The glittering web: -- So, evanescent, fade
Bright views that Youth with sanguine heart believes:
So vanish schemes of bliss, by Fancy made;
Which, fragile as the fleeting dews of morn,
Leave but the wither'd heath, and barren thorn!


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet LXVI: The Night-Flood Rakes

 The night-flood rakes upon the stony shore;
Along the rugged cliffs and chalky caves
Mourns the hoarse Ocean, seeming to deplore
All that are buried in his restless waves—
Mined by corrosive tides, the hollow rock 
Falls prone, and rushing from its turfy height,
Shakes the broad beach with long-resounding shock,
Loud thundering on the ear of sullen Night;
Above the desolate and stormy deep,
Gleams the wan Moon, by floating mist opprest;
Yet here while youth, and health, and labour sleep,
Alone I wander—Calm untroubled rest,
"Nature's soft nurse," deserts the sigh-swoln breast,
And shuns the eyes, that only wake to weep!


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet III: To a Nightingale

 Poor melancholy bird---that all night long
Tell'st to the Moon, thy tale of tender woe;
From what sad cause can such sweet sorrow flow,
And whence this mournful melody of song?

Thy poet's musing fancy would translate
What mean the sounds that swell thy little breast,
When still at dewy eve thou leav'st thy nest,
Thus to the listening night to sing thy fate!

Pale Sorrow's victims wert thou once among,
Tho' now releas'd in woodlands wild to rove?
Say---hast thou felt from friends some cruel wrong,
Or diedst thou---martyr of disastrous love?
Ah! songstress sad! that such my lot might be,
To sigh and sing at liberty---like thee!


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Huge Vapours Brood Above the Clifted Shore

 Huge vapours brood above the clifted shore,
Night o'er the ocean settles, dark and mute,
Save where is heard the repercussive roar
Of drowsy billows, on the rugged foot
Of rocks remote; or still more distant tone
Of seamen, in the anchored bark, that tell
The watch relieved; or one deep voice alone,
Singing the hour, and bidding "strike the bell.
" All is black shadow, but the lucid line Marked by the light surf on the level sand, Or where afar, the ship-lights faintly shine Like wandering fairy fires, that oft on land Mislead the pilgrim; such the dubious ray That wavering reason lends, in life's long darkling way.


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet I

 THE partial Muse, has from my earliest hours, 
Smil'd on the rugged path I'm doom'd to tread, 
And still with sportive hand has snatch'd wild flowers, 
To weave fantastic garlands for my head: 
But far, far happier is the lot of those 
Who never learn'd her dear delusive art; 
Which, while it decks the head with many a rose, 
Reserves the thorn, to fester in the heart.
For still she bids soft Pity's melting eye Stream o'er the ills she knows not to remove, Points every pang, and deepens every sigh Of mourning friendship or unhappy love.
Ah! then, how dear the Muse's favours cost, If those paint sorrow best--who feel it most!


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet XLIII: The Unhappy Exile

 The unhappy exile, whom his fates confine
To the bleak coast of some unfriendly isle,
Cold, barren, desart, where no harvests smile,
But thirst and hunger on the rocks repine;
When, from some promontory's fearful brow,
Sun after sun he hopeless sees decline
In the broad shipless sea—perhaps may know
Such heartless pain, such blank despair as mine;
And, if a flattering cloud appears to show
The fancied semblance of a distant sail, 
Then melts away—anew his spirits fail,
While the lost hope but aggravates his woe!
Ah! so for me delusive Fancy toils,
Then, from contrasted truth—my feeble soul recoils.


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet XLIV: Pressd by the Moon

 Press'd by the Moon, mute arbitress of tides,
While the loud equinox its power combines,
The sea no more its swelling surge confines,
But o'er the shrinking land sublimely rides.
The wild blast, rising from the Western cave, Drives the huge billows from their heaving bed; Tears from their grassy tombs the village dead, And breaks the silent sabbath of the grave! With shells and sea-weed mingled, on the shore Lo! their bones whiten in the frequent wave; But vain to them the winds and waters rave; They hear the warring elements no more: While I am doom'd—by life's long storm opprest, To gaze with envy on their gloomy rest.


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet XLVII: To Fancy

 Thee, Queen of Shadows! -- shall I still invoke,
Still love the scenes thy sportive pencil drew,
When on mine eyes the early radiance broke
Which shew'd the beauteous rather than the true!
Alas! long since those glowing tints are dead,
And now 'tis thine in darkest hues to dress
The spot where pale Experience hangs her head
O'er the sad grave of murder'd Happiness!
Thro' thy false medium, then, no longer view'd,
May fancied pain and fancied pleasure fly,
And I, as from me all thy dreams depart,
Be to my wayward destiny subdued:
Nor seek perfection with a poet's eye,
Nor suffer anguish with a poet's heart!


by Charlotte Turner Smith | |

Sonnet XXXIV: Charmd by Thy Suffrage

 Charm'd by thy suffrage, shall I yet aspire 
(All inauspicious as my fate appears,
By troubles darken'd, that encrease with years,)
To guide the crayon, or to touch the lyre?
Ah me!---the sister Muses still require
A spirit free from all intrusive fears,
Nor will they deign to wipe away the tears
Of vain regret, that dim their sacred fire.
But when thy envied sanction crowns my lays, A ray of pleasure lights my languid mind, For well I know the value of thy praise; And to how few, the flattering meed confin'd, That thou,---their highly favour'd brows to bind, Wilt weave green myrtle, and unfading bays!