Obrazy na stronie

Stately, yet rural; thro' thy choral day,
Tho'shady, cheerful, and tho' quiet, gay;
How interesting, how loved, from year to year,
How more than beauteous did thy scenes appear!
Still, as the mild Spring chas'd the wintry gloom,
Devolv'd ber leaves, and wak'd her rich perfume,
Thou, when thy fields and groves around thee spread,
Lift'st, in unlessen'd grace, thy spiry head;
But many a lov'd inhabitant of thine
Sleeps where no vernal sun will ever shine.

Why fled ye all so fast, ye happy bours,
That saw Honora's eyes adorn these bowers ?
These darling bowers, that much she lov'd to hail-
The spires she called “the Ladies of the Vale!"

Fairest, and best!-Oh! can I e'er forget
To thy dear kindness my eternal debt?
Life's opening paths how tenderly it smooth'd,
The joys it heightend, and the pains it sooth'd ?
No, no! my heart its sacred memory bears,
Bright mid the shadows of o'erwhelming years;
When mists of deprivation round me roll,
'Tis the soft sunbeam of my clouded soul.

Ah, dear Honora! that remember'd day,
First on these eyes when shone thy early ray!
Scarce o'er my head twice seven gay springs had gone,
Scarce five o'er thy unconscious childhood flown,
When, fair as their young flowers, thy infant frame
To our glad walls a happy inmate came.
O summer morning of unrivall'd light!
Fate wrapt thy rising in prophetic white !
June, the bright month, when nature joys to wear
The livery of the gay, consummate year,
Gave that envermeild day-spring all her powers,
Gemm'd the light leaves, and glow'd upon the flowers;
Bade her plum'd nations hail the rosy ray
With warbled orisons from every spray.
Purpureal Tempe, not to thee belong
More poignant fragrance, or more jocund song.

"Twas eve;-the sun, in setting glory drest,
Spread his gold skirts along the crimson west;
A Sunday's eve !-Honora, bringing thee,
Friendship's soft Sabbath long it rose to me,
When on the wing of circling seasons borne,
Annual I hail'd its consecrated morn.

In the kind interchange of mutual thought,
Our home myself and gentle sister sought;
Our pleasant home,' round which th' ascending gale
Breathes all the freshness of the sloping vale;

The bishop's palace at Litchfield.

On her green verge the spacious walls arise,
View her fair fields, and catch her balmy sighs;
See her near hills the bounded prospect close,
And her blue lake in glassy breadth repose.

With arms entwin'd, and smiling as we talk'a,
To the maternal room we careless walk'd,
Where sat its honor'd mistress, and with smile
Of love indulgent, from a floral pile
The gayest glory of the summer bower
Cullid for the new-arriv'd—the human flower,
A lovely infant girl, who pensive stood
Close to her knees, and charm'd us as we view'd.

O! hast thou mark'd the Summer's budded rose,
When mid the veiling moss its crimson glows?
So bloom'd the beauty of that fairy form ;
So her dark locks, with golden tinges warm,
Play'd round the timid curve of that white neck,
And sweetly shaded half her blushing cheek.
O! hast thou seen the star of eve on high,
Thro' the soft dusk of Summer's balmy sky,
Shed its green light,' and in the glassy stream
Eye the mild reflex of its trembling beam ?
So look'd on us with tender, bashful gaze,
The destin'd charmer of our youthful days;
Whose soul its native elevation join'd
To the gay wildness of the infant mind,
Esteem and sacred confidence impressed,
While our fond arms the beauteous child caress'd.
Dear Sensibility! how soon thy glow
Dy'd that fair cheek, and gleam'd from that young brow!
How early, Generosity, you taught
The warm disdain of every grovelling thought;
Round sweet Honora, e'en in infant youth,
Shed the majestic light of spotless truth;
Bid her for others' sorrow pour the tear,
For others' safety feel th' instinctive fear;
But for herself, scorning the impulse weak,
Meet every danger with unaltering cheek;
And thro' the generally unmeaning years
Of heedless childhood, to thy guardian cares,
Angelic Friendship, her young moments give,
And, heedless of herself, for others live.

1 - The lustre of the brightest of the stars (says Miss Seward, in a note on her ninety-third Sonnet) always appeared to me of a green hue; and they are so described by Ossian."


December Morning, 1782.

I love to rise ere gleams the tardy light,

Winter's pale dawn; and as warm fires illume,

And cheerful tapers shine around the room,
Thro' misty windows bend my musing sight,
Where, round the dusky lawn, the mansions white,

With shutters clos’d, peer saintly through the gloom

That slow recedes; while yon gray spires assume,
Rising from their dark pile, an added height
By indistinctness given.—Then to decree

The grateful thoughts to God, ere they unfold
To Friendship, or the Muse, or seek with glee

Wisdom's rich page: 0 hours! more worth than gold, By whose blest use we lengthen life, and, free

From drear decays of age, outlive the old !


When life is hurried to untimely close,
In the years of crystal eyes and burnish'd hair,
Dire are the thoughts of death;-eternal parting
From all the precious soul's yet known delights,
All she had clung to here;—from youth and hope,
And the year's blossom’d April;—bounding strength,
Which had out-leap'd the roes, when morning suns
Yellow'd their forest glade;—from reaper's shout
And cheerful swarm of populous towns;- from Time,
Which tells of joys forepast, and promises
The dear return of seasons, and the bliss
Crowning a fruitful marriage ;- from the stores
Of well-engrafted knowledge;—from all utterance,
Since, in the silent grave, no talk !—no music!-
No gay surprise, by unexpected good,
Social, or individualno glad step
Of welcome friend, with more intenseness listen'd
Than warbled melody !--no father's counsel!-
No mother's smile!-no lover's whispered vow!-
There nothing breathes save the insatiate worm,
And nothing is, but the drear altering corse,
Resolving silently to shapeless dust,
In unpierc'd darkness and in black oblivion.


Mrs. CHARLOTTE Smith was the daughter of Nicholas Turner, Esq., of Stoke House, Surrey. Her father possessed another house at Bignor Park, on the banks of the Arun,' where she passed many of her earliest years; of which she speaks in the following beautiful stanza:

Then, from thy wildwood banks, Aruna, roving,

Thy thymy downs with sportive steps I sought,
And Nature's charms with artless transport loving,

Sung, like the birds, unheeded and untaught. “How enchanting must have been the day-dreams of a mind thus endowed, in the early season of youth and hope ! Amid scenery which had nursed the fancies of Otway and of Collins, she trod on sacred ground: every charm of Nature seems to have made the most lively and distinct impression on her very vivid mind; and her rich imagination must have peopled it with beings of another world.”'2

From a very early age she had an insatiable thirst for reading, and devoured almost every book that fell in her way. From her twelfth to her fifteenth year, her father resided occasionally in London, and she was, while still a child, introduced into society. She lost her mother when quite young, and when her father was about to form a second marriage, the friends of the young poetess made efforts, most foolishly, to "establish her in life," as it is called, and induced her to accept the hand of a Mr. Smith, the son and partner of a rich West India merchant. She was then but sixteen, and her husband twenty.one years of age. It was a most ill-advised and rash union, and pro. ductive of the most unha results. The first years of her marriage she lived in London, which was not at all congenial to her tastes. Subsequently her father inlaw purchased for her husband, who was negligent of his busi. ness in the city, a farm in Hampshire. Here if possible, he did worse, keeping too large an establishment, and entering into injudicious and wild speculations. She foresaw the storm that was gathering, but had no power to prevent it.

In 1776, Mrs. Smith's father died. A few years after this event, her hus. band's affairs were brought to a crisis, and he was imprisoned for debt. With great fortitude and devoted constancy she accompanied him, and by her untiring exertions was enabled to procure his release. During his confine. ment, she collected her sonnets and other poems for publication. They were much admired, and passed through no less than eleven editions. In the following letter, she describes, most graphically,

" The Arun is a river of Sussex county, on the southern coast of England.

Read a most genial sketch of her life in Sir Egerton Brydges'"Censura Literaria," vol. viii. p. 239; and another in his “Imaginative Biography."

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"It was on the 2d day of July that we commenced our journey. For more than a month I had shared the restraint of my husband, in a prison, amidst scenes of misery, of vice, and even of terror. Two attempts had, since my last residence among them, been made by the prisoners to procure their liberation, by blowing up the walls of the house. Throughout the night appointed for this enterprise, I remained dressed, watching at the window, and expecting every moment to witness contention and bloodshed, or perhaps be overwhelmed by the projected explosion. After such scenes, and such apprehensions, how deliciously soothing to my wearied spirits was the soft, pure air of the summer's morning, breathing over the dewy grass, as (having slept one night on the road) we passed over the heaths of Surrey! My native hills at length burst upon my view! I beheld once more the fields where I had passed my happiest days, and amidst the perfumed turf with which one of those fields was strown, perceived with delight the beloved group from whom I had been so long

divided, and for whose fate my affections were ever anxious. The transports of this meeting were too much for my exhausted spirits. After all my sufferings, I began to hope I might taste content, or experience at least a respite from my calamities!”

But this state of happiness did not long continue. Mr. Smith's liberty was again threatened, and he went to France. His wife and their eight children accompanied him, and they spent an anxious and forlorn winter in Normandy. The next year she returned to England, and by her great and persevering exertions, enabled her husband to follow her. They hired a mansion at Wolbeding, in Sussex, a parish of which Otway's' father had been rector. Here she wrote her twenty-sixth Sonnet :


“On thy wild banks, by frequent torrents worn,

No glittering fanes or marble domes appear;
Yet shall the mournful Muse thy course adorn,

And still to her thy rustic waves be dear!
For with the infant Otway, lingering bere,

Of early woes she bade her votary dream

· Thomas Otway (1651–1685), the celebrated dramatic poet, author of the "Orphan,” and “ Venice Preserved."

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