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

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

On Gallia's land I saw thy faded form,
Dim through the midnight mist—the rock thy bed—
The livid lightning flashed, and the wild storm
Fell blasting, keen, and loud, around thy head,
And Peace sat by, and poured forth many a tear.
To other realms I marked thy mournful flight,
While slowly bursting from the clouds of night,
Gleamed the pale moon upon thy blunted spear.
Though exiled still from Europe's purple plain,
Oh! fly not, Freedom! from our happier shore;
The tyrant's frown, or anarchy's wild train,
Too long do Gallia's harassed sons deplore:
But never from old Ocean's favorite isle,
Freedom! withdraw thy renovating smile.

(1798)


Anna Seward
(1742–1809)

Anna Seward's Elegy on Captain Cook (1780) won applause from Samuel
Johnson.When her friend Major John Andrè was hanged in America as a trai-
tor for conspiring with Benedict Arnold, she published a long elegy, Monody
on the Death of Major Andrè
(1781), which won her instant fame. Louisa, a
Poetical Novel in Four Epistles
(1784), a highly experimental novel in verse,
went through five editions; Llangollen Vale (1796) commemorates female
friendship. Seward's Miltonic Original Sonnets on Various Subjects; and Odes
Paraphrased from Horace
(1799) demonstrate technical prowess by adhering to
strict rules of sonnet form.Walter Scott edited Seward's Poetical Works (1810).
Jane West called her “the British Sappho.”


176. 'When Life's realities the Soul perceives'

When Life's realities the Soul perceives
Vain, dull, perchance corrosive, if she glows
With rising energy, and open throws
The golden gates of genius, she achieves
His fairy clime delighted, and receives
In those gay paths, decked with the thornless rose,
Blest compensation.—Lo! with altered brows
Lours the false world, and the fine spirit grieves;
No more young Hope tints with her light and bloom
The darkening scene.—Then to ourselves we say,
Come, bright Imagination, come! relume
Thy orient lamp; with recompensing ray

-99-

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