Mary Robinson ( )


Ode to Meditation


SWEET CHILD OF REASON! maid serene; 
With folded arms, and pensive mien, 
Who wandring near yon thorny wild, 
So oft, my lengthning hours beguild; 
Thou, who within thy peaceful call, 
Canst laugh at LIFES tumultuous care, 
While calm repose delights to dwell 
On beds of fragrant roses there; 
Where meek-eyd PATIENCE waits to greet 
The woe-worn Travllers weary feet, 
Till by her blest and cheering ray 
The clouds of sorrow fade away; 
Where conscious RECTITUDE retires; 
Instructive WISDOM; calm DESIRES; 
Prolific SCIENCE,labring ART; 
And GENIUS, with expanded heart. 

Far from thy lone and pure domain, 
Steals pallid GUILT, whose scowling eye 
Marks the rackd souls convulsive pain, 
Tho hid beneath the mask of joy; 
Maddning AMBITIONS dauntless band; 
Lean AVARICE with iron hand; 
HYPOCRISY with fawning tongue; 
Soft FLATTRY with persuasive song; 
Appalld in gloomy shadows fly, 
From MEDITATIONS piercing eye. 

How oft with thee Ive strolld unseen 
Oer the lone valleys velvet green; 
And brushd away the twilight dew 
That staind the cowslips golden hue; 
Oft, as I ponderd oer the scene, 
Would memry picture to my heart, 
How full of grief my days have been, 
How swiftly raptrous hours depart; 
Then wouldst thou sweetly reasning say, 
TIME journeys thro the roughest day. 

THE HERMIT, from the world retird, 
By calm Religions voice inspird, 
Tells how serenely time glides on, 
From crimson morn, till setting sun; 
How guiltless, pure, and free from strife, 
He journeys thro the vale of Life; 
Within his breast nor sorrows mourn, 
Nor cares perplex, nor passions burn; 
No jealous fears, or boundless joys, 
The tenor of his mind destroys; 
And when revolving memry shows 
The thorny worlds unnumberd woes; 
He blesses HEAVNs benign decree, 
That gave his days to PEACE and THEE. 

The gentle MAID, whose roseate bloom 
Fades fast within a cloysters gloom; 
Far by relentless FATE removd, 
From all her youthful fancy lovd; 
When her warm heart no longer bleeds, 
And cool Reflections hour succeeds; 
Led by THY downy hand, she strays 
Along the green dells tangled maze; 
Where thro dank leaves, the whispring showrs 
Awake to life the fainting flowrs; 
Absorbd by THEE, she hears no more 
The distant torrents fearful roar; 
The well-known VESPERs silver tone; 
The bleak winds desolating moan; 
No more she sees the nodding spires, 
Where the dark bird of night retires; 
While Echo chaunts her boding song 
The cloysters mouldring walls among; 
No more she weeps at Fates decree, 
But yields her pensive soul to THEE. 

THE SAGE, whose palsyd head bends low 
Midst scatterd locks of silvry snow; 
Still by his MINDs clear lustre tells, 
What warmth within his bosom dwells; 
How glows his heart with treasurd lore, 
How rich in Wisdoms boundless store; 
In fading Lifes protracted hour, 
He smiles at Deaths terrific powr; 
He lifts his radiant eyes, which gleam 
With Resignations sainted beam: 
And, as the weeping star of morn, 
Sheds lustre on the witherd thorn, 
His tear benign, calm comfort throws, 
Oer rugged Lifes corroding woes; 
His pious souls enlightend rays 
Dart forth, to gild his wintry days; 
He smiles serene at Heavns decree, 
And his last hour resigns to THEE. 

When Learning, with Promethean art, 
Unveils to light the youthful heart; 
When on the richly-budding spray, 
The glorious beams of Genius play; 
When the expanded leaves proclaim 
The promisd fruits of ripning Fame; 
O MEDITATION, maid divine! 
Proud REASON owns the work is THINE. 

Oft, have I known thy magic powr, 
Irradiate sorrows wintry hour; 
Oft, my full heart to THEE hath flown, 
And wept for misries not its own; 
When pinchd with agonizing PAIN, 
My restless bosom dard complain; 
Oft have I sunk upon THY breast, 
And lulld my weary mind to rest; 
Till I have ownd the blest decree, 
That gave my soul to PEACE and THEE.



Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Ode to Valour
  2. Sonnet 9. Ye, Who in Alleys Green
  3. Stanzas Written under an Oak in Windsor Forest
  4. The Confessor, a Sanctified Tale
  5. To Cesario


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