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Helen Maria Williams

Imitation Of Lines Written By Roucher

BELOW HIS PICTURE, WHICH
A FELLOW-PRISONER HAD DRAWN, AND WHICH
HE SENT TO HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN THE
DAY BEFORE HIS EXECUTION.-1794.
Lov'd objects! cease to wonder when ye trace
The melancholy air that clouds my face;
Ah! while the Painter's skill this image drew,
They rear'd the Scaffold, and I thought of you!

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To The Baron De Humboldt,

ON HIS BRINGING ME SOME FLOWERS IN MARCH.


SOOTH'D I receive the flowers you bring,
Whose charm anticipates the Spring;
Whose tints in vernal freshness vie
With plants beneath an austral sky,--
Those glowing plants that, long unknown,
Your travell'd science made our own:--
Bright gift! in lavish grace array'd,
Thy flowers have only bloom'd to fade,--
Their transient being soon forgot:
How far unlike the giver's lot!

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To James Forbes, Esq.

WHEN sever'd from this hostile shore,
A weary captive now no more,
Home, cherish'd home, shall glad your sight
In blessedness of fresh delight;
While love shall weave new spells around
That spot of consecrated ground,

Where sweet domestic joy imparts
The charm that binds congenial hearts,
And filial tenderness prepares
A balm for all terrestrial cares:--
Forget not,--ah, forget not those
Who sought to soothe the captive's woes!
Exult, be happy, and be free,
But give one pensive thought to me!

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Lines To Helen

A NEW-BORN INFANT, 1821.


She lives-that first pulsation of the heart
Is life!-receive, dear babe, thy destin'd part;
Yet frail thy being as the op'ning rose
When chill the rude wind blows.

But ah, be like the blossom of the vale,
Lov'd infant, shelter'd from the mountain gale;
On whose meek head descend no ruffling showers,
Who lives the span of flowers.

And far from thee may sorrow's tempest bend,
Nor ever wasting pangs the bosom rend;
Calm be thy day of life, and o'er its bloom
May evening mildly come!

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Lines written In An Album

OF THE BARONESS
D' H---, TO HER TWO DAUGHTERS.


BRIGHT nymphs, of NEWA'S banks the pride,
Receive, before we part,
For you, and your maternal guide,
The wishes of my heart!

Be every future good your lot!-
But what can fate do more?
Has nature any boon forgot
For you in all her store?

While, mids't the wreathes the arts have twin'd
Around your brows, we trace
That tender modesty of mind
That decorates the face;

Grac'd with such forms as RAPHAEL drew

[...] Read more

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Sonnet to Twilight

Meek Twilight! soften the declining day,
And bring the hour my pensive spirit loves;
When o'er the mountain slow descends the ray
That gives to silence and to night the groves.
Ah, let the happy court the morning still,
When, in her blooming loveliness arrayed,
She bids fresh beauty light the vale or hill,
And rapture warble in the vocal shade.
Sweet is the odour of the morning's flower,
And rich in melody her accents rise;
Yet dearer to my soul the shadowy hour
At which her blossoms close, her music dies:
For then, while languid Nature droops her head,
She wakes the tear 'tis luxury to shed.

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Sonnet To Mrs. Bates

Oh, thou whose melody the heart obeys,
Thou who can'st all its subject passions move,
Whose notes to heav'n the list'ning soul can raise,
Can thrill with pity, or can melt with love!
Happy! whom nature lent this native charm;
Whose melting tones can shed with magic power,
A sweeter pleasure o'er the social hour,
The breast to softness sooth, to virtue warm-But
yet more happy! that thy life as clear
From discord, as thy perfect cadence flows;
That tun'd to sympathy, thy faithful tear,
In mild accordance falls for others woes;
That all the tender, pure affections bind
In chains of harmony, thy willing mind!

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Sonnet To The White-Bird Of The Tropic

BIRD of the Tropic! thou, who lov'st to stray
Where thy long pinions sweep the sultry Line,
Or mark'st the bounds which torrid beams confine
By thy averted course, that shuns the ray
Oblique, enamour'd of sublimer day:
Oft on yon cliff thy folded plumes recline,
And drop those snowy feathers Indians twine,
To crown the warrior's brow with honours gay.
O'er trackless oceans what impels thy wing?
Does no soft instinct in thy soul prevail?
No sweet affection to thy bosom cling,
And bid thee oft thy absent nest bewail?--
Yet thou again to that dear spot canst spring,
But I no more my long-lost home shall hail!

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Sonnet To The Curlew

SOOTH'D by the murmurs on the sea-beat shore,
His dun-grey plumage floating to the gale,
The Curlew blends his melancholy wail
With those hoarse sounds the rushing waters pour.
Like thee, congenial bird! my steps explore
The bleak lone sea-beach, or the rocky dale,--
And shun the orange bower, the myrtle vale,
Whose gay luxuriance suits my soul no more.
I love the ocean's broad expanse, when drest
In limpid clearness, or when tempests blow:
When the smooth currents on its placid breast
Flow calm, as my past moments us'd to flow;
Or when its troubled waves refuse to rest,
And seem the symbol of my present woe.

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Sonnet To The Calbassia-Tree

SUBLIME Calbassia! luxuriant tree,
How soft the gloom thy bright-hued foliage throws!
While from thy pulp a healing balsam flows,
Whose power the suff'ring wretch from pain can free:
My pensive footsteps ever turn to thee!
Since oft, while musing on my lasting woes,
Beneath thy flowery white-bells I repose,
Symbol of Friendship dost thou seem to me;
For thus has Friendship cast her soothing shade
O'er my unshelter'd bosom's keen distress,
Thus sought to heal the wounds which Love has made,
And temper bleeding sorrow's sharp excess!
Ah! not in vain she lends her balmy aid--
The agonies she cannot cure are less!

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