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Poem by Mary Robinson

Ode to Melancholy

SORCRESS of the Cave profound! 
Hence, with thy pale, and meagre train, 
Nor dare my roseate bowr profane, 
Where light-heeld mirth despotic reigns, 
Slightly bound in feathry chains, 
And scattring blisses round. 

Hence, to thy native Chaoswhere
Nursd by thy haggard Dam, DESPAIR, 
Shackled by thy numbing spell, 
Misrys pallid children dwell; 
Where, brooding oer thy fatal charms, 
FRENZY rolls the vacant eye; 
Where hopeless LOVE, with folded arms, 
Drops the tear, and heaves the sigh; 
Till cherishd Passions tyrant sway
Chills the warm pulse of Youth, with premature decay. 

O, fly Thee, to some Church-yards gloom, 
Where beside the mouldring tomb, 
Restless Spectres glide away, 
Fading in the glimpse of Day; 
Or, where the Virgin ORB of Night, 
Silvers oer the Forest wide, 
Or across the silent tide, 
Flings her soft, and quivring light: 
Where, beneath some aged Tree, 
Sounds of mournful Melody 
Caught from the NIGHTINGALEs enamourd Tale, 
Steal on faint Echos ear, and float upon the gale. 

DREAD POWR! whose touch magnetic leads 
Oer enchanted spangled meads, 
Where by the glow-worms twinkling ray, 
Aery Spirits lightly play; 
Where around some Haunted Towr, 
Boding Ravens wing their flight, 
Viewless, in the gloom of Night, 
Warning oft the luckless hour; 
Or, beside the Murdrers bed, 
From thy dark, and morbid wing, 
Oer his fevrish, burning head, 
Drops of conscious auguish fling; 
While freezing HORRORs direful scream, 
Rouses his guilty soul from kind oblivions dream. 

Oft, beneath the witching Yew, 
The trembling MAID, steals forth unseen; 
With true-love wreaths, of deathless green, 
Her Lovers grave to strew; 
Her downcast Eye, no joy illumes, 
Nor on her Cheek, the soft Rose blooms; 
Her mourning Heart, the victim of thy powr, 
Shrinks from the glare of Mirth, and hails the MURKY HOUR. 

O, say what FIEND first gave thee birth, 
In what fell Desart, wert thou born; 
Why does thy hollow voice, forlorn, 
So fascinate the Sons of Earth; 
That once encircled in thy icy arms, 
They court thy torpid touch, and doat upon thy Charms? 

HATED IMP,I brave thy Spell, 
REASON shuns thy barbrous sway; 
Life, with mirth should glide away, 
Despondency, with guilt should dwell; 
For conscious TRUTHs unruffled mien, 
Displays the dauntless Eye, and patient smile serene.

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Ode to Envy
  2. Sonnet 28. Weak Is the Sophistry
  3. Second Ode to the Nightingale
  4. Sonnet 4. Why, When I Gaze
  5. Sonnet 31. Far Oer the Waves

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Thomas Hood Ode to Melancholy ("Come, let us set our careful breasts")

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