Mary Robinson ( )

To Rinaldo

SOFT is the balmy breath of May, 
When from the opning lids of day 
Meek twilight steals; and from its wings 
Translucent pearls of ether flings. 
MILD is the chaste Moons languid eye, 
When gliding down the dappled sky 
She feebly lifts her spangled bow, 
Around her glittring darts to throw. 
SWEET are the aromatic bowers, 
When Night sends forth refreshing showers 
Oer every thirsty fainting bud, 
That drinks with joy the grateful flood. 
Yet, can the deeply wounded Mind, 
From these, no lenient balsam find. 

What can the force of anguish quell, 
Where sullen Sorrow loves to dwell, 
Where round the bosoms burning throne, 
HOPELESS, the mingling PASSIONS groan? 
While thro each guivring, scorching vein, 
Rolls a revolving tide of pain; 
That struggling with the Storms of FATE, 
Provokes her darkest, direst, HATE. 
O, BARD ADMIRD ! if ought could move 
The soul of Apathy to love; 
If, oer my aching, bleeding breast, 
Ought could diffuse the balm of rest, 
The powr is thine for oh ! thy lays 
Warmd by thy Minds transcendent blaze, 
Dart thro my frame with force divine, 
While all my rending woes combine, 
And thronging round thy glorious LYRE, 
In momentary bliss EXPIRE. 

So, the meek ROSE, that droops forlorn, 
Opes its cold breast to meet the morn, 
And shaking round a brilliant showr, 
Tempts the bright SUNS meridian powr; 
Trembling, its blushing cheek receives 
The glowing kiss warms PHOEBUS gives; 
Yet, to his fire unconscious flies, 
And midst his burning glances, DIES. 

Why wilt thou fly ?why give thy form
To the pale phantoms of the storm,
And from the dizzy maddning steep
Dash thy proud harpwhile oer the deep
Each envious FIEND shall fiercely glare,
And howling, mock thy RASH DESPAIR!
Ah! wherefore, prodigal of FAME,
Damp with thy tears the MUSES flame?
Say, dost thou think, as the soft showr
Checks the wingd lightnings fervid powr, 
To quell the transports of Thy Lyre, 
And with cold Sorrow quench its fire? 
Know, BARD SUPREME ! thy wondrous song 
Doth not to mortal power belong; 
The flame, that to thy care is givn, 
Owns an eternal source in Heavn; 
And like thy PURE, ILLUSTRIOUS Soul, 
SHALL LIVE, beyond thy weak controul. 

YES, I will lead thee to some rock, 
Whose frowns the dashing billows mock; 
While the fierce LORD OF LIGHT shall reign 
DESPOTIC oer th ethereal plain. 
Or when his fiery coursers fly 
On red wings down the Western sky; 
While Oceans curling waves unfold, 
In one vast sheet of liquid gold; 
Then shalt thou mark CREATIONS pride 
In slow and trembling tints subside, 
Till darkness stealing oer the globe, 
Unfurls its sable spangled robe. 
Then shall thy conscious feelings find 
An emblem of the Human Mind; 
How grand, ineffable and bright, 
When all its lustrous fires unite: 
But when chill sorrow spreads its snare, 
And tempts its victim to DESPAIR, 
All, all its proud perfections fade 
In black, oblivions baneful shade. 

O, SUN OF GENIUS! pierce the cloud 
That dares thy radiant glories shroud; 
Turn, turn thy course to bowers of joy, 
Where robd in Bliss, the Angel Boy 
Shall spread each witching, nameless sweet, 
Thy truant, wandring heart to greet; 
There, pour thy soul in faithful vows, 
While thy own LAURELS deathless boughs 
From each blest leaf shall drop a tear 
To bathe the wounds of love sincere. 
There, some chaste maid shall list thy lays 
In speechless eloquence of praise; 
And with her soft eyes melting glance 
Infold thee in delicious trance. 
And when her hearts celestial shrine 
Shall burn with passion warm as thine, 
Then, shalt thou feel the raptrous glow, 
Which none, but souls like THINE, CAN KNOW; 
Then, shalt thou hear her tongue declare, 

From ME the barbrous fates unite 
To wrest each vision of delight; 
No gleam of joy my sad-heart knows, 
No interval of calm repose; 
Save, when thy LOVD SERAPHIC Strain 
Thrills thro my breast, with quivring pain; 
And bids each throbbing pulse deplore, 

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Stanzas to Time
  2. To Cesario
  3. Sonnet 22. Wild Is the Foaming Sea
  4. The Bee and the Butterfly
  5. Ode to Melancholy

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