A single charm, that's not from Nature won, —
No more than rainbows, in their pride, can wear
A single tint unborrowed from the sun;
But 'tis the mental medium it shines through,
That lends to beauty all its charm and hue;
As the same light, that o'er the level lake
One dull monotony of luster flings,
Will, entering in the rounded rain-drop, make
Colors as gay as those on angels' wings!
One of the great statesmen of the nineteenth century, William Ewart Glad-
stone was a distinguished orator, classical scholar, political writer, and leader
of the Liberal Party. He served four terms as Prime Minister (1868–74,
1880–5, 1886, 1892–4), frequently clashing with his conservative rival Ben-
jamin Disraeli (1804–81). As a student at Eton, he edited the Eton Miscellany,
where this sonnet appeared.
Poor child of Sorrow! who did'st boldly spring,
Like sapient Pallas, from thy parent's brain,
All arm'd in mail of proof! and thou would'st fain
Leap further yet and, on exulting wing,
Rise to the summit of the printer's press!
But cruel hand hath nipped thy buds amain,
Hath fixed on thee the darkling inky stain,
Hath soiled thy splendor, and defiled thy dress!
Where are thy “full-orbed moon” and “sky serene?”
And where thy “waving foam” and “foaming wave?”
All, all are blotted by the murderous pen,
And lie unhonored in their papery grave!
Weep, gentle Sonnets! Sonneteers, deplore!
And vow—and keep the vow—you'll write no more!
Mary Russell Mitford was a respected dramatist and poet. She published
several accomplished volumes of poetry, including Poems (1810), Christina,
or the Maid of the South Seas (1811), and Poems on the Female Character (1813);
and her tragedy Julian was performed at Covent Garden to much acclaim
in 1823. However, it was Our Village (1824), with its amusing, affectionate,