A Century of Sonnets: The Romantic-Era Revival 1750-1850

By Paula R. Feldman; Daniel Robinson | Go to book overview

Then shall freed Fancy from her cell arise,
And elves, and fairies dance in airy ring
Before her sight, and melting visions bring
Of virgin love, pure faith, and lonely sighs;
While on the passing gale soft music dies,
And hands unseen awake the aerial string.
Ye dreams, to me than waking bliss more dear;
Love-breathing forms, before my view displayed;
And fairy songs, that charm my ravished ear;
Let blackening cares my day with darkness shade,
In smiling patience every wrong I'll bear,
While ye relume me with your nightly aid!

(1785)


37. 'No more by cold philosophy confined'

No more by cold philosophy confined;
By fearful models now no more depressed;
I give full range to my erratic mind,
And with wild visions soothe my beating breast!
Hail, thou loved season, when the hollow wind
Strips the torn forest of its golden vest;
Shrieks in the echoing domes, and frights the hind,
Who sees sad spirits through his broken rest!
But while the rain descends, and while the storm
Bursts in loud eddies through the sobbing grove,
Spirits before my view of heavenly form,
And scenes of wondrous beauty seem to rove!
Sweet Inspiration's voice my Fancy hears;
And verse immortal seems to meet my ears!

(1807)


William Hayley
(1745–1820)

William Hayley was one of the most prolific men of letters of his day (as
biographer, translator, editor, and playwright). After Thomas Warton's death,
he was offered but declined the poet laureateship. Robert Southey said of
him, “Everything about that man is good except his poetry.” Wealth and
social position allowed Hayley to serve as patron to Charlotte Smith and
William Blake.


38. To Mrs. Hayley, On her Voyage to America. 1784

Thou vexed Atlantic, who hast lately seen
Britain's vain thunder on her offspring hurled,
And the blind parent, in her frantic spleen,

-40-

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