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Poem by Mary Robinson

Oberon to the Queen of the Fairies

My OBERON, with ev’ry sprite
”That gilds the vapours of the night,
”Shall dance and weave the verdant ring
”With joy that mortals thus can sing; 
”And when thou sigh’st MARIA’S name, 
”And mourn’st to feel a hopeless flame, 
”Eager they’ll catch the tender note
”Just parting from thy tuneful throat, 
”And bear it to the careless ear 
”Of her who scorn’d a lover’s tear. ” 


SWEET MAB! at thy command I flew 
O’er glittering floods of midnight dew, 
O’er many a silken violet’s head, 
Unpress’d by vulgar mortal tread; 
Eager to execute thy will, 
I mounted on the ZEPHYR’S wing, 
And bid her whisp’ring tongue be still, 
Nor thro’ the air its murmurs fling. 

Cold CYNTHIA hid her silver bow
Beneath her azure spangled vest;
No gentle ray my wand’rings blest, 
Save the small night-worm’s twinkling glow. 
Upon the budding thorn I found
A veil of gossamer, which bound
My tiny head;­about my waist
A scarf of magic pow’r I threw,
With many a crystal dew-drop grac’d,
And deck’d with leaves of various hue. 

Thus, gaily dress’d, I reach’d the grove, 
Where, like the Paphian Queen of Love 
Upon a bank of lillies fair 
MARIA slept; the am’rous air 
Snatch’d nectar from her balmy lips, 
Sweeter than haughty JUNO sips, 
When GANYMEDE her goblet fills 
With juice, the citron bud distills. 

Her breast was whiter than the down
That on the RING-DOVE’S bosom grows;
Her cheek, more blushing than the rose
That blooms on FLORA’S May-day crown! 
Beneath her dark and ”fringed lid,” 
I spy’d LOVE’S glittering arrows hid; 
I listen’d to the dulcet song 
That trembled on her tuneful tongue; 
And, ”IL FERITO i;” was the sound 
The babbling echo whisper’d round: 
The blissful moment swift I caught, 
And to the maiden’s slumb’ring thought 
Pictur’d the graces of his mind, 
His taste, his eloquence refin’d! 

His polish’d manners sweetly mild! 
His soft poetic warblings wild ! 
His warm impassion’d verse, that fills 
The soul with Love’s extatic thrills. 
I mark’d the blush upon her cheek, 
Her spotless bosom’s language speak; 
I mark’d the tear of pity roll, 
Sweet emblem of her feeling soul: 
I heard the sympathetic sigh 
Upon her lips vermilion die. 
When busy LOVE too eager sped 
His light steps near the charmer’s bed; 
His pinions rustling thro’ the air 
Awoke the trembling spotless fair; 
Swiftly her radiant eyes unclose, 
When, on my filmy wing I rose 
Sweet MAB the rapt’rous tale to bear, 

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet to My Beloved Daughter
  2. Sonnet 40. On the Low Margin
  3. Sonnet 42. Oh! Canst Thou Bear
  4. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb
  5. Stanzas Written under an Oak in Windsor Forest

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