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Charlotte Smith


Charlotte Smith was born in 1749 in London, England. She published both novels and poetry, including Elegiac Sonnets (J. Dodley, H. Gardner, and J. Bew, 1786), Emmeline, the Orphan of the Castle (T. Cadell, 1788), and Desmond: A Novel (G. G. J. and J. Robinson 1792). Smith died on October 28, 1806, in Tilford, England.

By This Poet


Written on the Banks of the Arun

When latest autumn spreads her evening veil,	
And the gray mists from these dim waves arise,	
I love to listen to the hollow sighs	
Through the half leafless wood that breathes the gale.	
For at such hours the shadowy phantom pale,	        
Oft seems to fleet before the poet's eyes;	
Strange sounds are heard, and mournful melodies	
As of night-wanderers who their woes bewail.	
Here by his native stream, at such an hour,	
Pity's own Otway I methinks could meet	        
And hear his deep sighs swell the saddened wind!	
O Melancholy, such thy magic power	
That to the soul these dreams are often sweet	
And soothe the pensive visionary mind.

To Hope

    Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
    How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the wither’d rose,
    And clear my painful path of pointed thorn?
Ah come, sweet nymph! in smiles and softness drest,
    Like the young hours that lead the tender year,
Enchantress! come, and charm my cares to rest:—
    Alas! the flatterer flies, and will not hear!
A prey to fear, anxiety, and pain,
    Must I a sad existence still deplore?
Lo!—the flowers fade, but all the thorns remain,
    “For me the vernal garland blooms no more.”
Come then, “pale Misery’s love!” be thou my cure,
And I will bless thee, who, tho’ slow, art sure.

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 reliev’d; or one deep voice alone
Singing the hour, and bidding “strike the bell.”
All is black shadow, but the lucid line
Mark’d 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.