Mary Robinson ( )

Ode to Despair

TERRIFIC FIEND! thou Monster fell, 
Condemnd in haunts profane to dwell, 
Why quit thy solitary Home, 
Oer wide Creations paths to roam? 
Pale Tyrant of the timid Heart, 
Whose visionary spells can bind 
The strongest passions of the mind, 
Freezing Lifes current with thy baneful Art. 

Nature recoils when thou art near, 
For round thy form all plagues are seen; 
Thine is the frantic tone, the sullen mien, 
The glance of petrifying fear, 
The haggard Brow, the lowring Eye, 
The hollow Cheek, the smotherd Sigh, 
When thy usurping fangs assail, 
The sacred Bonds of Friendship fail. 
Meek-bosomd Pity sues in vain; 
Imperious Sorrow spurns relief, 
Feeds on the luxury of Grief, 
Drinks the hot Tear, and hugs the galling Chain. 

AH! plunge no more thy ruthless dart, 
In the dark centre of the guilty Heart; 
The POWR SUPREME, with pitying eye, 
Looks on the erring Child of Misery; 
MERCY arrests the wing of Time; 
To expiate the wretchs crime; 
Insulted HEAVN consignd thy brand 
To the first Murdrers crimson hand. 
Swift oer the earth the Monster flew, 
And round th ensanguind Poisons threw, 
By CONSCIENCE goadeddriven by FEAR, 
Till the meek Cherub HOPE subdued his fell career. 

Thy Reign is past, when erst the brave 
Imbibd contagion oer the midnight lamp, 
Close pent in loathsome cells, where poisons damp 
Hung round the confines of a Living Grave; * 
Where no glimmring ray illumd 
The flinty walls, where pondrous chains 
Bound the wan Victim to the humid earth, 
In pestilential caves entombd, 
Sought thy cold arms, and smiling mockd their pains. 

THERE,each procrastinated hour 
The woe-worn suffrer gasping lay, 
While by his side in proud array 
There REASON closd her radiant eye, 
And fainting HOPE retird to die, 
Truth shrunk appalld, 
In spells of icy Apathy enthralld; 
Till FREEDOM spurnd the ignominious chain, 
And roused from Superstitions night, 
Exulting Nature claimd her right, 
And calld dire Vengeance from her dark domain. 

Now take thy solitary flight 
Amid the turbid gales of night, 
Where Spectres starting from the tomb, 
Glide along th impervious gloom; 
Or, stretchd upon the sea-beat shore, 
Let the wild winds, as they roar, 
Rock Thee on thy Bed of Stone; 
Or, in gelid caverns pent, 
Listen to the sullen moan 
Of subterranean winds;or glut thy sight 
Where stupendous mountains rent 
Hurl their vast fragments from their dizzy height. 

At Thy approach the rifted Pine 
Shall oer the shatterd Rock incline, 
Whose trembling brow, with wild weeds drest, 
Frowns on the tawny EAGLEs nest; 
THERE enjoy the witching hour, 
And freeze in Frenzys dire conceit, 
Or seek the Screech-owls lone retreat, 
On the bleak rampart of some nodding Towr. 
In some forest long and drear, 
Tempt the fierce BANDITTIs rage, 
War with famishd Tygers wage, 
And mock the taunts of Fear. 

When across the yawning deep, 
The Demons of the Tempest sweep, 
Or deafning Thunders bursting cast 
Their red bolts on the shivering mast, 
While fixd below the sea-boy stands, 
As threatning Death his soul dismays, 
He lifts his supplicating hands, 
And shrieks, and groans, and weeps, and prays, 
Till lost amid the floating fire 
The agonizing crew expire; 
THEN let thy transports rend the air, 
For madning Anguish feeds DESPAIR. 

When oer the couch of pale Disease 
The MOTHER bends, with tearful eye, 
And trembles, lest her quivring sigh, 
Should wake the darling of her breast, 
Now, by the tapers feeble rays, 
She steals a last, fond, eager gaze. 
Ah, hapless Parent! gaze no more, 
Thy CHERUB soars among the Blest, 
Lifes crimson Fount begins to freeze, 
His transitory scene is oer. 

She startsshe ravesher burning brain, 
Consumes, unconscious of its fires, 
Dead to the Hearts convulsive Pain, 
Bewilderd Memory retires. 
See! See! she grasps her flowing hair, 
From her fixd eye the big drops roll, 
Her proud Affliction mocks controul, 
And riots in DESPAIR, 
Such are thy haunts, malignant Powr, 
There all thy murdrous Poisons pour; 
But come not near my calm retreat, 
Where Peace and holy FRIENDSHIP meet; 
Where SCIENCE sheds a gentle ray, 
And guiltless Mirth beguiles the day, 
Where Bliss congenial to the MUSE 
Shall round my Heart her sweets diffuse, 
Where, from each restless Passion free, 
I give my noiseless hours, BLESSD POETRY, TO THEE.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. To Cesario
  2. The Poor Singing Dame
  3. Sonnet to Evening
  4. Sonnet to My Beloved Daughter
  5. Sonnet 40. On the Low Margin

Poems of another poets with the same name ( ):

  • Charlotte Smith ( ) Ode to Despair ("FROM THE NOVEL OF EMMELINE")

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