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Best Famous Robert Southey Poems

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by Robert Southey |

To Contemplation

 Faint gleams the evening radiance thro' the sky,
The sober twilight dimly darkens round;
In short quick circles the shrill bat flits by,
And the slow vapour curls along the ground.

Now the pleas'd eye from yon lone cottage sees
On the green mead the smoke long-shadowing play;
The Red-breast on the blossom'd spray
Warbles wild her latest lay,
And sleeps along the dale the silent breeze.
Calm CONTEMPLATION,'tis thy favorite hour!
Come fill my bosom, tranquillizing Power.

Meek Power! I view thee on the calmy shore
When Ocean stills his waves to rest;
Or when slow-moving on the surge's hoar
Meet with deep hollow roar
And whiten o'er his breast;
For lo! the Moon with softer radiance gleams,
And lovelier heave the billows in her beams.

When the low gales of evening moan along,
I love with thee to feel the calm cool breeze,
And roam the pathless forest wilds among,
Listening the mellow murmur of the trees
Full-foliaged as they lift their arms on high
And wave their shadowy heads in wildest melody.

Or lead me where amid the tranquil vale
The broken stream flows on in silver light,
And I will linger where the gale
O'er the bank of violets sighs,
Listening to hear its soften'd sounds arise;
And hearken the dull beetle's drowsy flight,
And watch the horn-eyed snail
Creep o'er his long moon-glittering trail,
And mark where radiant thro' the night
Moves in the grass-green hedge the glow-worms living light.

Thee meekest Power! I love to meet,
As oft with even solitary pace
The scatter'd Abbeys hallowed rounds I trace
And listen to the echoings of my feet.
Or on the half demolished tomb,
Whole warning texts anticipate my doom:
Mark the clear orb of night
Cast thro' the storying glass a faintly-varied light.

Nor will I not in some more gloomy hour
Invoke with fearless awe thine holier power,
Wandering beneath the sainted pile
When the blast moans along the darksome aisle,
And clattering patters all around
The midnight shower with dreary sound.

But sweeter 'tis to wander wild
By melancholy dreams beguil'd,
While the summer moon's pale ray
Faintly guides me on my way
To the lone romantic glen
Far from all the haunts of men,
Where no noise of uproar rude
Breaks the calm of solitude.
But soothing Silence sleeps in all
Save the neighbouring waterfall,
Whose hoarse waters falling near
Load with hollow sounds the ear,
And with down-dasht torrent white
Gleam hoary thro' the shades of night.

Thus wandering silent on and slow
I'll nurse Reflection's sacred woe,
And muse upon the perish'd day
When Hope would weave her visions gay,
Ere FANCY chill'd by adverse fate
Left sad REALITY my mate.

O CONTEMPLATION! when to Memory's eyes
The visions of the long-past days arise,
Thy holy power imparts the best relief,
And the calm'd Spirit loves the joy of grief.


by Robert Southey |

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?


by Robert Southey |

To a Goose

 If thou didst feed on western plains of yore 
Or waddle wide with flat and flabby feet 
Over some Cambrian mountain's plashy moor, 
Or find in farmer's yard a safe retreat 
From gipsy thieves and foxes sly and fleet; 
If thy grey quills by lawyer guided, trace 
Deeds big with ruin to some wretched race, 
Or love-sick poet's sonnet, sad and sweet, 
Wailing the rigour of some lady fair; 
Or if, the drudge of housemaid's daily toil, 
Cobwebs and dust thy pinion white besoil, 
Departed goose! I neither know nor care. 
But this I know, that thou wert very fine, 
Seasoned with sage and onions and port wine.


by Robert Southey |

Sonnet 08

 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.


by Robert Southey |

Sonnet 07

 (to the rainbow)

Mild arch of promise! on the evening sky
Thou shinest fair with many a lovely ray
Each in the other melting. Much mine eye
Delights to linger on thee; for the day,
Changeful and many-weather'd, seem'd to smile
Flashing brief splendor thro' its clouds awhile,
That deepen'd dark anon and fell in rain:
But pleasant is it now to pause, and view
Thy various tints of frail and watery hue,
And think the storm shall not return again.
Such is the smile that Piety bestows
On the good man's pale cheek, when he in peace
Departing gently from a world of woes,
Anticipates the realm where sorrows cease.


by Robert Southey |

Sonnet 03

 Not to thee Bedford mournful is the tale
Of days departed. Time in his career
Arraigns not thee that the neglected year
Has past unheeded onward. To the vale
Of years thou journeyest. May the future road
Be pleasant as the past! and on my friend
Friendship and Love, best blessings! still attend,
'Till full of days he reach the calm abode
Where Nature slumbers. Lovely is the age
Of Virtue. With such reverence we behold
The silver hairs, as some grey oak grown old
That whilome mock'd the rushing tempest's rage
Now like the monument of strength decayed
With rarely-sprinkled leaves casting a trembling shade.


by Robert Southey |

Sonnet 05

 Hard by the road, where on that little mound
The high grass rustles to the passing breeze,
The child of Misery rests her head in peace.
Pause there in sadness. That unhallowed ground
Inshrines what once was Isabel. Sleep on
Sleep on, poor Outcast! lovely was thy cheek,
And thy mild eye was eloquent to speak
The soul of Pity. Pale and woe-begone
Soon did thy fair cheek fade, and thine eye weep
The tear of anguish for the babe unborn,
The helpless heir of Poverty and Scorn.
She drank the draught that chill'd her soul to sleep.
I pause and wipe the big drop from mine eye,
Whilst the proud Levite scowls and passes by.


by Robert Southey |

Sonnet 04

 What tho' no sculptur'd monument proclaim
Thy fate-yet Albert in my breast I bear
Inshrin'd the sad remembrance; yet thy name
Will fill my throbbing bosom. When DESPAIR
The child of murdered HOPE, fed on thy heart,
Loved honored friend, I saw thee sink forlorn
Pierced to the soul by cold Neglect's keen dart,
And Penury's hard ills, and pitying Scorn,
And the dark spectre of departed JOY
Inhuman MEMORY. Often on thy grave
Love I the solitary hour to employ
Thinking on other days; and heave the sigh
Responsive, when I mark the high grass wave
Sad sounding as the cold breeze rustles by.


by Robert Southey |

Inscription 02 - For A Column At Newbury

 Art thou a Patriot Traveller? on this field
Did FALKLAND fall the blameless and the brave
Beneath a Tyrant's banners: dost thou boast
Of loyal ardor? HAMBDEN perish'd here,
The rebel HAMBDEN, at whose glorious name
The heart of every honest Englishman
Beats high with conscious pride. Both uncorrupt,
Friends to their common country both, they fought,
They died in adverse armies. Traveller!
If with thy neighbour thou should'st not accord,
In charity remember these good men,
And quell each angry and injurious thought.


by Robert Southey |

Sonnet 06

 (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.