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

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

And now had weighed me down, but that the day
Appeared, and Phoebus, from his eastern tower,
With new-tricked beam, like truth immortal, shone,
And chased the visionary forms away.

(1778)


9. On Christmas

With footstep slow, in furry pall yclad,
His brows enwreathed with holly never-sear,
Old Christmas comes, to close the waned year;
And ay the shepherd's heart to make right glad;
Who, when his teeming flocks are homeward had,
To blazing hearth repairs, and nut-brown beer,
And views, well-pleased, the ruddy prattlers dear
Hug the gray mongrel; meanwhile maid and lad
Squabble for roasted crabs.—Thee, Sire, we hail,
Whether thine aged limbs thou dost enshroud,
In vest of snowy white, and hoary veil,
Or wrap'st thy visage in a sable cloud;
Thee we proclaim with mirth and cheer, nor fail
To greet thee well with many a carol loud.

(1778)


Charlotte Smith
(1749–1806)

During the last two decades of the eighteenth century, Charlotte Smith was
England's preeminent sonneteer. The first edition of her Elegiac Sonnets in
1784 galvanized interest in the sonnet and became one of the most well-
respected and popular books of the century. John Thelwall, Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott, and Leigh Hunt were among the contemporary
writers who celebrated Smith's poetic achievements. She was also a best-
selling novelist.The hardships of Smith's personal life find expression in the
intense melancholy of her sonnets. She continued to expand Elegiac Sonnets
for most of the rest of her career, producing nine editions by 1800. Her
blank-verse tour de force, Beachy Head, appeared posthumously in 1807.


10. 'The partial Muse has from my earliest hours'

The partial Muse has from my earliest hours
Smiled on the rugged path I'm doomed to tread,
And still with sportive hand has snatched wild flowers,
To weave fantastic garlands for my head:
But far, far happier is the lot of those
Who never learned her dear delusive art;

-29-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 18
  • Suggested Further Reading 21
  • Editorial Principles 23
  • Thomas Edwards(1699–1757) 25
  • Thomas Warton(1728–90) 26
  • John Codrington Bampfylde (1754–96) 27
  • Charlotte Smith (1749–1806) 29
  • Samuel Egerton Brydges(1762–1837) 39
  • William Hayley (1745–1820) 40
  • Helen Maria Williams(1761–1827) 42
  • William Lisle Bowles(1762–1850) 44
  • Thomas Russell(1762–88) 48
  • Mary Locke(Fl. 1791–1816) 50
  • Ann Radcliffe(1764–1823) 51
  • Anna Maria Jones(1748–1829) 54
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge(1772–1834) 55
  • Amelia Opie(1769–1853) 65
  • John Thelwall(1764–1834) 66
  • Mary Julia Young(Fl. 1789–1808) 68
  • Charles Lamb(1775–1834) 70
  • Mary Robinson(1758–1800) 73
  • William Beckford(1760–1844) 91
  • Charles Lloyd(1775–1839) 91
  • Robert Southey(1774–1843) 94
  • Edward Gardner(Fl. 1770–98) 97
  • Joseph Hucks(D. 1800) 98
  • Anna Seward(1742–1809) 99
  • Ann Home Hunter(1742–821) 106
  • Eliza Kirkham Mathews(1772–1802) 106
  • William Cowper(1731–1800) 107
  • Henry Kirke White(1785–1806) 108
  • Mrs. B. Finch(Fl. 1805) 109
  • Anna Maria Smallpiece(Fl. 1805) 110
  • William Wordsworth(1770–1850) 111
  • Mathilda Betham(1776–1852) 133
  • Susan Evance(Fl. 1808–18) 134
  • Martha Hanson(Fl. 1809) 136
  • Mary F. Johnson(Fl. 1810; D. 1863) 138
  • Mary Tighe(1772–1810) 141
  • Leigh Hunt(1784–1859) 145
  • Mary Bryan(Fl. 1815) 148
  • George Gordon, Lord Byron(1788–1824) 150
  • John Keats(1795–1821) 151
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley(1792–1822) 163
  • Jane Alice Sargant(Fl. 1817–21) 167
  • Thomas Doubleday(1790–1870) 168
  • Horace Smith(1779–1849) 170
  • John Clare(1793–1864) 170
  • Thomas Lovell Beddoes(1803–49) 176
  • Charles Johnston(D. 1823) 177
  • Elizabeth Cobbold(1767–1824) 178
  • John F. M. Dovaston(1782–1852) 180
  • Sarah Hamilton(C. 1769–1843) 181
  • Thomas Moore(1779–1852) 182
  • Mary Russell Mitford(1787–1855) 183
  • Barry Cornwall (Bryan Waller Procter)(1787–1874) 184
  • Joseph Blanco White(1775–1841) 185
  • Thomas Hood(1799–1845) 186
  • Edward Moxon(1801–58) 187
  • William Roscoe(1753–1831) 188
  • Charles Tennyson Turner(1808–79) 189
  • Alfred Tennyson(1809–92) 192
  • Agnes Strickland(1796–1874) 193
  • Frederick Tennyson(1807–98) 195
  • Hartley Coleridge(1796–1849) 196
  • Letitia Elizabeth Landon(1802–38) 199
  • Jane Cross Simpson(1811–86) 200
  • Felicia Hemans(1793–1835) 201
  • Caroline Norton(1808–77) 204
  • Ebenezer Elliott(1781–1849) 206
  • Frederick William Faber(1814–63) 206
  • Frances Anne Kemble(1809–93) 208
  • Eliza Cook(1818–89) 209
  • Arthur Hugh Clough(1819–61) 210
  • William Bell Scott(1811–90) 211
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti(1828–82) 213
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning(1806–61) 215
  • Appendix - Mary Robinson's Preface to Sappho and Phaon 233
  • Notes 239
  • Notes to the Poems and Sources 241
  • Index of Titles, Authors and First Lines 265
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