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Best Famous Mary Darby Robinson Poems

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by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXVI: Where Antique Woods

 Where antique woods o'er-hang the mountains's crest,
And mid-day glooms in solemn silence lour;
Philosophy, go seek a lonely bow'r,
And waste life's fervid noon in fancied rest.
Go, where the bird of sorrow weaves her nest, Cooing, in sadness sweet, through night's dim hour; Go, cull the dew-drops from each potent flow'r That med'cines to the cold and reas'ning breast! Go, where the brook in liquid lapse steals by, Scarce heard amid'st the mingling echoes round, What time, the noon fades slowly down the sky, And slumb'ring zephyrs moan, in caverns bound: Be these thy pleasures, dull Philosophy! Nor vaunt the balm, to heal a lover's wound.


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XV: Now Round My Favourd Grot

 Now, round my favor'd grot let roses rise,
To strew the bank where Phaon wakes from rest;
O! happy buds! to kiss his burning breast,
And die, beneath the lustre of his eyes!
Now, let the timbrels echo to the skies, 
Now damsels sprinkel cassia on his vest, 
With od'rous wreaths of constant myrtle drest,
And flow'rs, deep tinted with the rainbow's dyes!
From cups of porphyry let nectar flow,
Rich as the perfume of Phoenicia's vine!
Now let his dimpling cheek with rapture glow,
While round his heart love's mystic fetters twine;
And let the Grecian Lyre its aid bestow,
In songs of triumph, to proclaim him mine!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXI: Why Do I Live

 Why do I live to loath the cheerful day,
To shun the smiles of Fame, and mark the hours
On tardy pinions move, while ceaseless show'rs
Down my wan cheek in lucid currents stray?
My tresses all abound, nor gems display,
Nor scents Arabian! on my path no flow'rs
Imbibe the morn's resuscitating pow'rs,
For one blank sorrow, saddens all my way!
As slow the radiant Sun of reason rose,
Through tears my dying parents saw it shine;
A brother's frailties, swell'd the tide of woes,-
And, keener far, maternal griefs were mine!
Phaon! if soon these weary eyes shall close,
Oh! must that task, that mournful task, be thine?


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXII: Wild Is the Foaming Sea

 Wild is the foaming Sea! The surges roar!
And nimbly dart the livid lightnings round!
On the rent rock the angry waves rebound;
Ah me! the less'ning bark is seen no more!
Along the margin of the trembling shore,
Loud as the blast my frantic cries shall sound,
My storm-drench'd limbs the flinty fragments wound,
And o'er my bleeding breast the billows pour!
Phaon! return! ye winds, O! waft the strain
To his swift bark; ye barb'rous waves forbear!
Taunt not the anguish of a lover's brain,
Nor feebly emulate the soul's despair!
For howling winds, and foaming seas, in vain
Assail the breast, when passion rages there!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXXII: Blest As the Gods

 Blest as the Gods! Sicilian Maid is he,
The youth whose soul thy yielding graces charm;
Who bound, O! thraldom sweet! by beauty's arm,
In idle dalliance fondly sports with thee!
Blest as the Gods! that iv'ry throne to see,
Throbbing with transports, tender, timid, warm!
While round thy fragrant lips zephyrs swarm!
As op'ning buds attract the wand'ring Bee!
Yet, short is youthful passion's fervid hour;
Soon, shall another clasp the beauteous boy;
Soon, shall a rival prove, in that gay bow'r,
The pleasing torture of excessive joy!
The Bee flies sicken'd from the sweetest flow'r;
The lightning's shaft, but dazzles to destroy!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet. Inscribed to Her Grace the Duchess of Devonshire

 'TIS NOT thy flowing hair of orient gold,
Nor those bright eyes, like sapphire gems that glow;
Nor cheek of blushing rose, nor breast of snow,
The varying passions of the heart could hold: 

Those locks, too soon, shall own a silv'ry ray,
Those radiant orbs their magic fires forego;
Insatiate TIME shall steal those tints away,
Warp thy fine form, and bend thy beauties low: 

But the rare wonders of thy polish'd MIND
Shall mock the empty menace of decay;
The GEM, that in thy SPOTLESS BREAST enshrin'd,
Glows with the light of intellectual ray;
Shall, like the Brilliant, scorn each borrow'd aid,
And deck'd with native lustre NEVER FADE!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet X: Dangrous to Hear

 Dang'rous to hear, is that melodious tongue,
And fatal to the sense those murd'rous eyes,
Where in a sapphire sheath, Love's arrow lies,
Himself conceal'd the crystal haunts among!
Oft o'er that form, enamour'd have I hung,
On that smooth cheek to mark the deep'ning dyes,
While from that lip the fragrant breath would rise,
That lip, like Cupid's bow with rubies strung!
Still let me gaze upon that polish'd brow,
O'er which the golden hair luxuriant plays;
So, on the modest lily's leaves of snow
The proud Sun revels in resplendent rays!
Warm as his beams this sensate heart shall glow, 
Till life's last hour, with Phaon's self decays!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XLI: Yes I Will Go

 Yes, I will go, where circling whirlwinds rise,
Where threat'ning clouds in sable grandeur lour;
Where the blast yells, the liquid columns pour,
And madd'ning billows combat with the skies!
There, while the Daemon of the tempest flies
On growing pinions through the troublous hour,
The wild waves gasp impatient to devour,
And on the rock the waken'd Vulture cries!
Oh! dreadful solace to the stormy mind!
To me, more pleasing than the valley's rest,
The woodland songsters, or the sportive kind,
That nip the turf, or prune the painted crest;
For in despair alone, the wretched find
That unction sweet, which lulls the bleeding breast!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet IV: Why When I Gaze

 Why, when I gaze on Phaon's beauteous eyes,
Why does each thought in wild disorder stray?
Why does each fainting faculty decay,
And my chill'd breast in throbbing tumults rise?
Mute, on the ground my Lyre neglected lies,
The Muse forgot, and lost the melting lay;
My down-cast looks, my faultering lips betray,
That stung by hopeless passion,--Sappho dies!
Now, on a bank of Cypress let me rest;
Come, tuneful maids, ye pupils of my care,
Come, with your dulcet numbers soothe my breast;
And, as the soft vibrations float on air,
Let pity waft my spirit to the blest,
To mock the barb'rous triumphs of despair!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XLII: Oh! Canst Thou Bear

 Oh! can'st thou bear to see this faded frame,
Deform'd and mangled by the rocky deep?
Wilt thou remember, and forbear to weep,
My fatal fondness, and my peerless fame?
Soon o'er this heart, now warm with passion's flame,
The howling winds and foamy waves shall sweep;
Those eyes be ever clos'd in death's cold sleep,
And all of Sappho perish, but her name!
Yet, if the Fates suspend their barb'rous ire,
If days less mournful, Heav'n designs for me!
If rocks grow kind, and winds and waves conspire,
To bear me softly on the swelling sea;
To Phoebus only will I tune my Lyre,
"What suits with Sappho, Phoebus suits with thee!"


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XIII: Bring Brick to Deck My Brow

 Bring, bring to deck my brow, ye Sylvan girls,
A roseate wreath; nor for my waving hair
The costly band of studded gems prepare,
Of sparkling crysolite or orient pearls:
Love, o'er my head his canopy unfurls,
His purple pinions fan the whisp'ring air;
Mocking the golden sandal, rich and rare, 
Beneath my feet the fragrant woodbine curls.
Bring the thin robe, to fold about my breast, White as the downy swan; while round my waist Let leaves of glossy myrtle bind the vest, Not idly gay, but elegantly chaste! Love scorns the nymph in wanton trappings drest; And charms the most concealed, are doubly grac'd.


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XIV: Come Soft Aeolian Harp

 Come, soft Aeolian harp, while zephyr plays
Along the meek vibration of thy strings,
As twilight's hand her modest mantle brings,
Blending with sober grey, the western blaze!
O! prompt my Phaon's dreams with tend'rest lays,
Ere night o'er shade thee with its humid wings,
While the lorn Philomel his sorrow sings
In leafy cradle, red with parting rays!
Slow let thy dulcet tones on ether glide,
So steals the murmur of the am'rous dove;
The mazy legions swarm on ev'ry side,
To lulling sounds the sunny people move!
Let not the wise their little world deride,
The smallest sting can wound the breast of Love.


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XVI: Delusive Hope

 Delusive Hope! more transient than the ray
That leads pale twilight to her dusky bed,
O'er woodland glen, or breezy mountain's head,
Ling'ring to catch the parting sigh of day.
Hence with thy visionary charms, away! Nor o'er my path the flow'rs of fancy spread; Thy airy dreams on peaceful pillows shed, And weave for thoughtless brows, a garland gay.
Farewell low vallies; dizzy cliffs, farewell! Small vagrant rills that murmur as ye flow: Dark bosom'd labyrinth and thorny dell; The task be mine all pleasures to forego; To hide, where meditation loves to dwell, And feed my soul, with luxury of woe!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet to Evening

 [Written under a tree in the woods of St.
Amand, in Flanders.
] SWEET BALMY HOUR! ­dear to the pensive mind, Oft have I watch'd thy dark and weeping shade, Oft have I hail'd thee in the dewy glade, And drop'd a tear of SYMPATHY refin'd.
When humming bees, hid in their golden bow'rs, Sip the pure nectar of MAY'S blushing rose, Or faint with noon-day toils, their limbs repose, In Baths of Essence stol'n from sunny flow'rs.
Oft do I seek thy shade dear with'ring tree, Sad emblem of my OWN disast'rous state; Doom'd in the spring of life, alas ! like THEE To fade, and droop beneath the frowns of FATE; Like THEE, may Heaven to ME the meed bestow, To shelter Sorrow's tear, and sooth THE CHILD OF WOE.


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXIV: O Thou! Meek Orb

 O thou! meek Orb! that stealing o'er the dale
Cheer'st with thy modest beams the noon of night!
On the smooth lake diffusing silv'ry light,
Sublimely still, and beautifully pale!
What can thy cool and placid eye avail,
Where fierce despair absorbs the mental sight,
While inbred glooms the vagrant thoughts invite,
To tempt the gulph where howling fiends assail?
O, Night! all nature owns thy temper'd pow'r;
Thy solemn pause, thy dews, thy pensive beam;
Thy sweet breath whisp'ring in the moonlight bow'r,
While fainting flow'rets kiss the wand'ring stream!
Yet, vain is ev'ry charm! and vain the hour,
That brings to madd'ning love, no soothing dream!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XVII: Love Steals Unheeded

 Love steals unheeded o'er the tranquil mind, 
As Summer breezes fan the sleeping main,
Slow through each fibre creeps the subtle pain,
'Till closely round the yielding bosom twin'd.
Vain is the hope the magic to unbind, The potent mischief riots in the brain, Grasps ev'ry thought, and burns in ev'ry vein, 'Till in the heart the Tyrant lives enshrin'd.
Oh! Victor strong! bending the vanquish'd frame; Sweet is the thraldom that thou bid'st us prove! And sacred is the tear thy victims claim, For blest are those whom sighs of sorrow move! Then nymphs beware how ye profane my name, Nor blame my weakness, till like me ye love!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XLIII: While From the Dizzy Precipice

 While from the dizzy precipice I gaze,
The world receding from my pensive eyes,
High o'er my head the tyrant eagle flies,
Cloth'd in the sinking sun's transcendent blaze!
The meek-ey'd moon, 'midst clouds of amber plays
As o'er the purpling plains of light she hies,
Till the last stream of living lustre dies,
And the cool concave owns her temper'd rays!
So shall this glowing, palpitating soul,
Welcome returning Reason's placid beam,
While o'er my breast the waves Lethean roll,
To calm rebellious Fancy's fev'rish dream;
Then shall my Lyre disdain love's dread control,
And loftier passions, prompt the loftier theme!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXVII: Oh! Ye Bright Stars

 Oh! ye bright Stars! that on the Ebon fields
Of Heav'n's empire, trembling seems to stand;
'Till rosy morn unlocks her portal bland,
Where the proud Sun his fiery banner wields!
To flames, less fierce than mine, your lustre yields,
And pow'rs more strong my countless tears command;
Love strikes the feeling heart with ruthless hand,
And only spares the breast which dullness shields!
Since, then, capricious nature but bestows
The fine affections of the soul, to prove
A keener sense of desolating woes,
Far, far from me the empty boast remove;
If bliss from coldness, pain from passion flows,
Ah! who would wish to feel, or learn to love?


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXXIX: Prepare Your Wreaths

 Prepare your wreaths, Aonian maids divine,
To strew the tranquil bed where I shall sleep;
In tears, the myrtle and the laurel steep,
And let Erato's hand the trophies twine.
No parian marble, there, with labour'd line, Shall bid the wand'ring lover stay to weep; There holy silence shall her vigils keep.
Save, when the nightingale such woes as mine Shall sadly sing; as twilight's curtains spread, There shall the branching lotos widely wave, Sprinkling soft show'rs upon the lily's head, Sweet drooping emblem for a lover's grave! And there shall Phaon pearls of pity shed, To gem the vanquish'd heart he scorn'd to save!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXXV: What Means the Mist

 What means the mist opaque that veils these eyes;
Why does yon threat'ning tempest shroud the day?
Why does thy altar, Venus, fade away,
And on my breast the dews of horror rise?
Phaon is false! be dim ye orient Skies;
And let black Erebus succeed your ray;
Let clashing thunders roll, and lightning play;
Phaon is false! and hopeless Sappho dies!
"Farewell! my Lesbian love, you might have said,"
Such sweet remembrance had some pity prov'd,
"Or coldly this, farewell, Oh! Lesbian maid!"
No task severe, for one so fondly lov'd!
The gentle thought had sooth'd my wand'ring shade,
From life's dark valley, and its thorns remov'd!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XI: O! Reason!

 O! Reason! vaunted Sovreign of the mind!
Thou pompous vision with a sounding name!
Can'st thou, the soul's rebellious passions tame!
Can'st thou in spells the vagrant fancy bind?
Ah, no! capricious as the wav'ring wind,
Are sighs of Love that dim thy boasted flame, 
While Folly's torch consumes the wreath of fame,
And Pleasure's hands the sheaves of truth unbind.
Press'd by the storms of Fate, hope shrinks and dies; Frenzy darts forth in mightiest ills array'd; Around thy throne destructive tumults rise, And hell-fraught jealousies, thy rights invade! Then, what art thou? O! Idol of the wise! A visionary theme!--a gorgeous shade!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XII: Now Oer the Tesselated Pavement

 Now, o'er the tessellated pavement strew
Fresh saffron, steep'd in essence of the rose,
While down yon agate column gently flows
A glitt'ring streamlet of ambrosial dew!
My Phaon smiles! the rich carnation's hue,
On his flush'd cheek in conscious lustre glows,
While o'er his breast enamour'd Venus throws 
Her starry mantle of celestial blue!
Breathe soft, ye dulcet flutes, among the trees
Where clust'ring boughs with golden citron twine; 
While slow vibrations, dying on the breeze,
Shall soothe his soul with harmony divine!
Then let my form his yielding fancy seize,
And all his fondest wishes, blend with mine.


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXVIII: Weak Is the Sophistry

 Weak is the sophistry, and vain the art
That whispers patience to the mind's despair!
That bids reflection bathe the wounds of care,
While Hope, with pleasing phantoms, soothes their smart.
For mem'ry still, reluctant to depart From the dear spot, once rich in prospects fair, Bids the fond soul enamour'd there, And its least charm is grateful to the heart! He never lov'd, who could not muse and sigh, Spangling the sacred turf with frequent tears, Where the small rivulet, that ripples by, Recalls the scenes of past and happier years, When, on its banks he watch'd the speaking eye, And one sweet smile o'erpaid an age of fears!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet IX: Ye Who in Alleys Green

 Ye, who in alleys green and leafy bow'rs,
Sport, the rude children of fantastic birth;
Where frolic nymphs, and shaggy tribes of mirth,
In clam'rous revels waste the midnight hours;
Who, link'd in flaunting bands of mountain flow'rs,
Weave your wild mazes o'er the dewy earth,
Ere the fierce Lord of Lustre rushes forth,
And o'er the world his beamy radiance pours!
Oft has your clanking cymbal's madd'ning strain,
Loud ringing through the torch-illumin'd grove,
Lur'd my lov'd Phaon from the youthful train,
Through rugged dells, o'er craggy rocks to rove; 
Then how can she his vagrant heart detain,
Whose Lyre throbs only to the touch of Love!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet to Amicus

 WHOE'ER thou art, whose soul-enchanting song
Steals on the sullen ear of pensive woe;
To whom the sounds of melody belong,
Sounds, that can more than human bliss bestow; 

Like the wak'd God of day, whose rays pervade
The spangled veil of night, and fling their fires
O'er the cold bosom of the em'rald glade,
While bath'd in tears, the virgin orb retires.
Thy glowing verse illumes my path of care, And warms each torpid fibre of my heart, And tho' my MUSE exults thy smiles to share, She feels the force of thy superior art; YET, shall she proudly own her timid lays, The cherish'd darlings of thy ENVIED PRAISE.