Mary Robinson ( )

Ode to the Muse

O, let me seize thy pen sublime
That paints, in melting dulcet rhyme, 
The glowing powr, the magic art, 
Th extatic raptures of the Heart; 
Soft Beautys timid smile serene,
The dimples of Loves sportive mien; 
The sweet descriptive tale to trace; 
To picture Natures winning grace;
To steal the tear from Pitys eye; 
To catch the sympathetic sigh; 
O teach me, with swift lightnings force
To watch wild passions varying course; 
To mark th enthusiasts vivid fire,
Or calmly touch thy golden lyre,
While gentle Reason mildly sings
Responsive to the trembling strings. 

SWEET Nymph, enchanting Poetry! 
I dedicate my mind to Thee. 
Oh! from thy bright Parnassian bowrs
Descend, to bless my sombre hours;
Bend to the earth thy eagle wing,
And on its glowing plumage bring
Blithe FANCY, from whose burning eye
The young ideas sparkling fly; 
O, come, and let us fondly stray,
Where rosy Health shall lead the way,
And soft FAVONIUS lightly spread
A perfumd carpet as we tread;
Ah! let us from the world remove,
The calm forgetfulness to prove,
Which at the still of evenings close,
Lulls the tird peasant to repose; 
Repose, whose balmy joys oer-pay
The sultry labours of the day. 

And when the blue-eyd dawn appears,
Just peeping thro her veil of tears; 
Or blushing opes her silver gate, 
And on its threshold, stands elate,
And flings her rosy mantle far
Oer every loitring dewy star; 
And calls the wanton breezes forth,
And sprinkles diamonds oer the earth; 
While in the green-woods shade profound,
The insect race, with buzzing sound
Flit oer the rill,a glittring train,
Or swarm along the sultry plain. 
Then in sweet converse let us rove,
Where in the thyme-embroiderd grove, 
The musky air its fragrance pours
Upon the silvry scatterd showrs; 
To hail soft Zephyr, as she goes
To fan the dew-drop from the rose;
To shelter from the scorching beam,
And muse beside the rippling stream. 

Or when, at twilights placid hour, 
We stroll to some sequesterd bowr; 
And watch the haughty Sun retire
Beneath his canopy of fire; 
While slow the dusky clouds enfold
Days crimson curtains fringd with gold;
And oer the meadows faintly fly
Pale shadows of the purpling sky: 
While softly oer the pearl-deckd plain,
Cold Dian leads the sylvan train; 
In mazy dance and sportive glee,
SWEET MUSE, Ill fondly turn to thee;
And thou shalt deck my couch with flowrs, 
And wing with joy my silent hours. 

When Sleep, with downy hand, shall spread
A wreath of poppies round my head; 
Then, FANCY, on her wing sublime,
Shall waft me to the sacred clime
Where my enlightend sense shall view,
Thro ether realms of azure hue, 
That flame, where SHAKESPEARE usd to fill, 
With matchless fire, his golden quill. 
While, from its point bright Genius caught
The wit supreme, the glowing thought, 
The magic tone, that sweetly hung
About the music of his tongue. 
Then will I skim the floating air,
On a light couch of gossamer,
While with my wonder-aching eye,
I contemplate the spangled sky, 
And hear the vaulted roof repeat
The song of Inspiration sweet; 
While round the winged cherub train,
Shall iterate the aery strain:
Swift, thro my quivring nerves shall float
The tremours of each thrilling note; 
And every eager sense confess
Extatic transports wild excess:
Till, waking from the glorious dream,
I hail the morns refulgent beam. 

DEAR Maid! of ever-varying mien, 
Exulting, pensive, gay, serene, 
Now, in transcendent pathos drest, 
Now, gentle as the turtles breast; 
Whereer thy feathry steps shall lead,
To side-long hill, or flowry mead; 
To sorrows coldest, darkest cell,
Or where, by Cynthias glimmring ray, 
The dapper fairies frisk and play
About some cowslips golden bell;
And, in their wanton frolic mirth,
Pluck the young daisies from the earth,
To canopy their tiny heads, 
And decorate their verdant beds; 
While to the grass-hoppers shrill tune,
They quaff libations to the moon, 
From acorn goblets, amply filld
With dew, from opning flowrs distilld. 
Or when the lurid tempest pours, 
From its dark urn, impetuous showrs, 
Or from its brows terrific frown,
Hurls the pale murdrous lightnings down;
To thy enchanting breast Ill spring, 
And shield me with thy golden wing. 

Or when amidst ethereal fire,
Thou strikst thy DELLA CRUSCAN lyre, 
While round, to catch the heavenly song,
Myriads of wondring seraphs throng:
Whether thy harps empassioned strain
Pours forth an OVIDs tender pain;
Or in PINDARIC flights sublime,
Re-echoes thro the starry clime;
Thee Ill adore; transcendent guest,
And woe thee to my burning breast. 

But, if thy magic powrs impart
One soft sensation to the heart,
If thy warm precepts can dispense
One thrilling transport oer my sense; 
Oh! keep thy gifts, and let me fly,
In APATHYs cold arms to die.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. The Widows Home
  2. Sonnet 44. Here Droops the Muse
  3. The Deserted Cottage
  4. Sonnet 36. Lead Me, Sicilian Maids
  5. Sonnet to Evening

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