Mary Robinson ( )

Ode to the Nightingale

SWEET BIRD OF SORROW! why complain 
In such soft melody of Song, 
That ECHO, amrous of thy Strain, 
The lingring cadence doth prolong? 
Ah! tell me, tell me, why, 
Thy dulcet Notes ascend the sky. 
Or on the filmy vapours glide 
Along the misty moutains side? 
And wherefore dost Thou love to dwell, 
In the dark wood and moss-grown cell, 
Beside the willow-margind stream
Why dost Thou court wan Cynthias beam? 
Sweet Songstressif thy wayward fate
Hath robbd Thee of thy bosoms mate, 
Oh, think not thy heart-piercing moan 
Evaprates on the breezy air, 
Or that the plaintive Song of Care 
Steals from THY Widowd Breast alone. 
Oft have I heard thy mournful Tale, 
On the high Cliff, that oer the Vale 
Hangs its dark brow, whose awful shade
Spreads a deep gloom along the glade: 
Led by its sound, Ive wanderd far, 
Till crimson evenings flaming Star
On Heavns vast dome refulgent hung, 
And round ethereal vapours flung; 
And oft Ive sought thHYGEIAN MAID, 
In rosy dimply smiles arrayd, 
Till forcd with every HOPE to part, 
Resistless Pain subdued my Heart. 

Oh then, far oer the restless deep 
Forlorn my poignant pangs I bore, 
Alone in foreign realms to weep, 
Where ENVYs voice could taunt no more. 
I hopd, by mingling with the gay, 
To snatch the veil of Grief away; 
To break Afflictions pondrous chain; 
VAIN was the Hopein vain I sought
The placid hour of careless thought, 
Where Fashion wingd her light career, 
And sportive Pleasure dancd along, 
Oft have I shunnd the blithsome throng, 
To hide thinvoluntary tear, 
For een where raptrous transports glow, 
From the full Heart the conscious tear will flow, 
When to my downy couch removd, 
FANCY recalld my wearied mind
To scenes of FRIENDSHIP left behind, 
Scenes still regretted, still belovd! 
Ah, then I felt the pangs of Grief, 
Grasp my warm Heart, and mock relief; 
My burning lids Sleeps balm defied, 
And on my fevrish lip imperfect murmurs died. 

Restless and sadI sought once more
A calm retreat on BRITAINs shore; 
Deceitful HOPE, een there I found
That soothing FRIENDSHIPs specious name
Was but a short-livd empty sound, 
And LOVE a false delusive flame. 

Then come, Sweet BIRD, and with thy strain, 
Steal from my breast the thorn of pain; 
Blest solace of my lonely hours, 
In craggy caves and silent bowrs,
When HAPPY Mortals seek repose, 
By Nights pale lamp well chaunt our woes, 
And, as her chilling tears diffuse
Oer the white thorn their silvry dews, 
Ill with the lucid boughts entwine
A weeping Wreath, which round my Head
Shall by the waning Cresent shine, 
And light us to our leafy bed,
But ah! nor leafy beds nor bowrs
Fringd with soft MAYs enamelld flowrs, 
Nor pearly leaves, nor Cynthias beams, 
Nor smiling Pleasures shadwy dreams, 
Sweet BIRD, not een THY melting Strains
Can calm the Heart, where TYRANT SORROW REIGNS.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb
  2. The Widows Home
  3. To Cesario
  4. The Poor Singing Dame
  5. Sonnet to Evening

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