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To a Llangollen Rose, the Day after It Had Been Given by Miss Ponsonby
A CENTURY OF SONNETS
As mourning the unhappy doom,
Which tears it from so sweet a home!
The life of Susan Evance, afterwards Hooper, is now obscure. Reviews of her
1808 Poems were generally favorable. The British Critic praised the "elegance
and sensibility" of the poems, among them many sonnets, but worried that
real misfortune might have inspired their melancholy. James Clarke, the editor of Evance's Poems, remarks in his preface on the similarities between
Evance's sonnets and those of Charlotte Smith, particularly in their melancholy tone and intense expression of emotion. Her last book, published in
1818, received little attention; she had dropped out of sight by the 1820s.
260. To Melancholy
When wintry tempests agitate the deep,
On some lone rock I love to sit reclined;
And view the sea-birds on wild pinions sweep,
And hear the roaring of the stormy wind,
That, rushing through the caves with hollow sound,
Seems like the voices of those viewless forms
Which hover wrapped in gloomy mist around,
Directing in their course the rolling storms.
Then, Melancholy! thy sweet power I feel,
For there thine influence reigns o'er all the scene;
Then o'er my heart thy "mystic transports" steal,
And from each trifling thought my bosom wean.
My raptured spirit soars on wing sublime
Beyond the narrow bounds of space or time!
261. Written in a Ruinous Abbey
As 'mid these moldering walls I pensive stray,
With moss and ivy rudely overgrown,
I love to watch the last pale glimpse of day,
And hear the rising winds of evening moan.
How loud the gust comes sweeping o'er the vale!
Now faintly murmurs midst those distant trees;
The owl begins her melancholy wail,
Filling with shrieks the pauses of the breeze.
A CENTURY OF SONNETS
Fancy, thy wildest dreams engage my mind—
I gaze on forms which not to earth belong;
I see them riding on the passing wind,
And hear their sadly-sweet, expressive song.
Wrapped in the dear though visionary sound,
In spells of rapture all my soul is bound!
262. To a Violet
Spring's sweet attendant! modest simple flower,
Whose soft retiring charms the woods adorn,
How often have I wandered at that hour,
When first appear the rosy tints of morn,
To the wild brook—there, upon mossy ground,
Thy velvet form all beautiful to view;
To catch thy breath that steals delicious round,
And mark thy pensive smile through tears of dew:
But then I sigh that other violets bloom,
Unseen, in wilds where footstep never trod,
Find unadmired, unnoticed, there a tomb,
And mingle silent with the grassy sod;
Ah, so the scattered flowers of genius rise;
These bloom to charm—that, hid—neglected dies.
263. To the Clouds
O ye who ride upon the wandering gale,
And silently, yet swiftly pass away—
I love to view you, when the glimmering ray
Of early morning tints your forms so pale,
Or when meek twilight gleams above the steep,
As in fantastic changeful shapes ye fly
Far in the west,—when smiles the summer sky,
Or when rough wintry winds with fury sweep
Along the hill your darkly-frowning forms,
All desolate and gloomy as my heart.
Ah! could I but from this sad earth depart
And wander careless as the roving storms
Amidst your shadowy scenes—borne by the wind,
Far I would fly, and leave my woes behind!
264. Written in III Health at the Close of Spring
Where are the tearful smiles of youthful Spring,
That nursed the budding leaves and infant flowers?
A CENTURY OF SONNETS
Ah! vanished—like those dear regretted hours
That fled away on Pleasure's fairy wing,
When Hope light scattered o'er my glowing way
Her rose-buds of delight.—The cooling breeze,
The wily sportive warblers of the trees,
And garlands sweet that made the woods so gay,
All, all are gone.—Spring will return again,
But never more for me its charms shall bloom,
For me then slumbering in the dreary tomb
The birds will sing and flow'rets blow in vain;
While gentle gales, the budding trees that wave,
Will breathe their lonely sighs across my grave.
265. Written at Netley Abbey
Why should I fear the spirits of the dead?
What if they wander at the hour of night,
Amid these sacred walls, with silent tread,
And dimly visible to mortal sight!
What if they ride upon the wandering gale,
And with low sighs alarm the listening ear;
Or swell a deep, a sadly-sounding wail,
Like solemn dirge of death! why should I fear?
No! seated on some fragment of rude stone,
While through the ash-trees waving o'er my head
The wild winds pour their melancholy moan,
My soul, by fond imagination led,
Shall muse on days and years for ever flown,
And hold mysterious converse with the dead!
Martha Hanson published by subscription with the firm J. Mawman and
T. Lake a two-volume poetry collection entitled Sonnets and Other Poems
(1809). The contents reveal that she spent her childhood near Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, and that the poems were penned at Belle-vue House. She also
clearly adrnired two other prominent sonneteers—Mary Robinson and
266. To Fancy
Fancy! to thee, I pour a votive strain,
Who kindly cheer'st the lonely midnight hour,
For oft thy airy and fantastic power,
A CENTURY OF SONNETS
To my sad bosom, soothes the throb of pain.
When balmy sleep, on downy wing, retires
(Like the false friend who far from sorrow flies)
Stealing his poppies from my watchful eyes,
And leaves me, racked with fever's quenchless fires;
Then Fancy! thy soft melody I hear,
Around my couch, in soothing cadence play;
And round me throngs thy train of visions gay,
Attired in every hue, that paints the year.
Ah gentle Goddess! thy mild fire impart,
Its genial warmth revives my grief-chilled heart.
267. Occasioned by Reading Mrs. M.[ary] Robinson's Poems
Daughter of Genius! while thy tuneful lays
Lift my warm spirit from its mortal clay,
And bid it soar to realms of endless day,
In vain I seek thy matchless power to praise.
Though in the regions of the silent grave,
The tyrant Death has laid thy beauties low,
Around thy urn a lasting wreath shall blow,
Which still the wintry storms of fate shall brave.
The Muses culled its never fading flowers:
Which emblematic of thy heavenly strain,
To Time's last moment shall unchanged remain,
(Nor feel base envy's sting, detraction's powers)
And bloom for ever, round thy sacred name,
'Graved by the fingers of eternal fame.
268. 'How proudly Man usurps the power to reign'
How proudly Man usurps the power to reign,
In every climate of the world is known,
From the cold regions of the Northern Zone,
To where the South extends his boundless main.
Yet in this wide expanse, no realm we find,
To boast a Woman, who the yoke disdained;
And with intrepid soul, that freedom claimed,
Which Heaven impartial, gave all human kind.
With soul too proud, to bear the servile chain,
Or to usurping Man, submissive bow,
Though poorest of the names, record can show,
Ages unborn, with wonder, shall proclaim
The pride of one unyielding Female thine,
Dear native England! and the name be mine.
A CENTURY OF SONNETS
269. To Mrs. Charlotte Smith
Sweet Poetess! as pensive oft I stray,
Amid the wilds thy steps were wont to trace,
Thy charmful strains impart a touching grace,
To each rude scene, where thou hast waked thy lay.
Some sweet enchantment soothes my soul to rest,
As memory oft, thy tuneful verse recalls,
While evening's pearly tear unheeded falls
On every vermeil floret's fragrant breast.
Sweet Poetess! around thy honored brow,
A wreath of simple flowers, I fain would twine;
But when its blooms are intermixed with thine,
(Where Poesy's most cultured blossoms glow)
To thee, its wild buds could no praise impart,
Thy proudest trophy, is the feeling heart.
Mary F. Johnson
(fl. 1810; d. 1863)
Mary F. Johnsons Original Sonnets, and Other Poems, penned at Wroxhall
Farm, Isle of Wight, was published in 1810 by Longmans. In her introduction, she calls her poems "the first attempt of a secluded, unknown and inexperienced female" who wrote these "spontaneous effusion[s] of solitude and
leisure" without having thought about publication until a male friend encouraged her. In addition to Miltonic, Spenserian, and irregular sonnets, the
volume contains eight odes. A handwritten inscription in one copy says that
Johnson later married George Moncrieff, younger brother of Sir Harry
Moncrieff, and died in 1863, having lost a daughter, Georgiana, nine months
270. Thunder Storm
Loud, louder still, resounds the thundering peal;
The troubled deep reflects the vivid flash;
Their bounds with deepened roar the white waves dash,
And yon black, billowy clouds their slow course wheel.
Mournful, amid the elemental crash,
Their hollow, broken groans the raised winds deal,
The sighing copses, bending to their lash,
Scarcely the frighted, moaning herd conceal.
Let fear, within the closet's gloom, deter
Them whose weak hearts amid the tempest shrink:
May I, whene'er these awful scenes occur,
Stand on this clefted rock's indented brink;