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Mary Darby Robinson

Canzonet

SLOW the limpid currents twining,
Brawl along the lonely dell,
'Till in one wild stream combining,
Nought its rapid course can quell;
So at first LOVE'S poisons stealing,
Round the heart unheeded play,
While we hope our pangs concealing,
Vainly hope to check his sway.

If amidst the glassy river
Aught impedes its placid course,
Ah ! it glides more swift than ever,
While opposing gives it force;
So when HOPE and PASSION blending,
Warm the feeble trembling frame;
REASON sickens by contending,
Fanning only feeds the flame.

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Sonnet VI: Is It to Love

Is it to love, to fix the tender gaze,
To hide the timid blush, and steal away;
To shun the busy world, and waste the day
In some rude mountain's solitary maze?
Is it to chant one name in ceaseless lays,
To hear no words that other tongues can say,
To watch the pale moon's melancholy ray,
To chide in fondness, and in folly praise?
Is it to pour th' involuntary sigh,
To dream of bliss, and wake new pangs to prove;
To talk, in fancy, with the speaking eye,
Then start with jealousy, and wildly rove;
Is it to loathe the light, and wish to die?
For these I feel,--and feel that they are Love.

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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!

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Stanzas Inscribed to Lady William Russell

NATURE, to prove her heav'n-taught pow'r,
That gems the earth, and paints the flow'r;
That bids the soft enchanting note
Steal from the LINNET'S downy throat;
That from young MAY'S ambrosial wings,
The balmy dew of HYBLA flings;
With partial hand, each charm combin'd,
To deck THY Form, and grace THY Mind.

She gave her ROSE, to tint thy cheek,
Her witching smile, her blushes meek;
She bade thy ruby lips impart
The chastest precepts of the heart;
She taught thy dulcet voice to prove,
The soothing softness of the DOVE;
While thro' each wond'rous beauty stole
THE PERFECT IMAGE OF THY SOUL.

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Sonnet II: High on a Rock

High on a rock, coaeval with the skies,
A Temple stands, rear'd by immortal pow'rs
To Chastity divine! ambrosial flow'rs
Twining round icicles, in columns rise,
Mingling with pendent gems of orient dyes!
Piercing the air, a golden crescent tow'rs,
Veil'd by transparent clouds; while smiling hours
Shake from their varying wings--celestial joys!
The steps of spotless marble, scatter'd o'er
With deathless roses arm'd with many a thorn,
Lead to the altar. On the frozen floor,
Studded with tear-drops petrified by scorn,
Pale vestals kneel the Goddess to adore,
While Love, his arrows broke, retires forlorn.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Sonnet XVIII: Why Art Thou Chang'd?

Why art thou chang'd? O Phaon! tell me why?
Love flies reproach, when passion feels decay;
Or, I would paint the raptures of that day,
When, in sweet converse, mingling sigh with sigh,
I mark'd the graceful languor of thine eye
As on a shady bank entranc'd we lay:
O! Eyes! whose beamy radiance stole away
As stars fade trembling from the burning sky!
Why art thou chang'd? dear source of all my woes!
Though dark my bosom's tint, through ev'ry vein
A ruby tide of purest lustre flows,
Warm'd by thy love, or chill'd by thy disdain;
And yet no bliss this sensate Being knows;
Ah! why is rapture so allied to pain?

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Sonnet XXV: Can'st Thou Forget

Can'st thou forget, O! Idol of my Soul!
Thy Sappho's voice, her form, her dulcet Lyre!
That melting ev'ry thought to fond desire,
Bade sweet delerium o'er thy senses roll?
Can'st thou, so soon, renounce the blest control
That calm'd with pity's tears love's raging fire,
While Hope, slow breathing on the trembling wire,
In every note with soft persuasion stole?
Oh! Sov'reign of my heart! return! return!
For me no spring appears, no summers bloom,
No Sun-beams glitter, and no altars burn!
The mind's dark winter of eternal gloom,
Shews 'midst the waste a solitary urn,
A blighted laurel, and a mould'ring tomb!

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