Mary Robinson ( )


The Reply to Time


O TIME, forgive the mournful song 
That on thy pinions stole along, 
When the rude hand of pain severe 
Chasd down my cheek the burning tear; 
When sorrow chilld each warm desire 
That kindles FANCYS lambent fire; 
When HOPE, by fostring FRIENDSHIP reard, 
A phantom of the brain appeard; 
Forgive the song, devoid of art, 
That stole spontaneous from my heart; 
For when that heart shall throb no more, 
And all its keen regrets be oer; 
Should kind remembrance shed one tear 
To sacred FRIENDSHIP oer my bier; 
When the dark precincts of the tomb, 
Shall hide me in its deepest gloom; 
O! shouldst thou on thy wafting wing 
The sigh of gentle sorrow bring; 
Or fondly deign to bear the name 
Of one, alas! unknown to fame; 
Then, shall my weak untutord rhyme, 
Exulting boast the gifts of TIME. 

But while I feel youths vivid fire 
Fannd by the breath of care expire; 
While no blest ray of HOPE divine, 
Oer my chilld bosom deigns to shine: 
While doomd to mark the vapid day 
In tasteless languor waste away: 
Still, still, my sad and plaintive rhyme 
Must blame the ruthless powr of TIME. 

Each infant flowr of rainbow hue,
That bathes its head in morning dew,
At twilight droops; the mountain PINE,
Whose high and waving brows incline
Oer the white cataracts foamy way,
Shall at THY withering touch decay!
The craggy cliffs that proudly rise
In awful splendour midst the skies,
Shall to the vale in fragments roll,
Obedient to thy fell controul!
The loftiest fabric reard to fame;
The sculpturd BUST, the POETS name;
The softest tint of TITIAN die;
The boast of magic MINSTRELSY;
The vows to holy FRIENDSHIP dear;
The sainted smile of LOVE sincere, 
The flame that warms th empassiond heart;
All that fine feeling can impart;
The wonders of exterior grace;
The spells that bind the fairest face;
Fade in oblivions torpid hour
The victims of thy TYRANT POWR!



Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Ode to Melancholy
  2. Ode to Valour
  3. Sonnet 9. Ye, Who in Alleys Green
  4. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb
  5. Stanzas Written under an Oak in Windsor Forest


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