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Poem by Charlotte Turner Smith


Ode to the Poppy


Written by a deceased friend.

NOT for the promise of the labour'd field,
Not for the good the yellow harvests yield,
I bend at Ceres' shrine;
For dull, to human eyes, appear
The golden glories of the year,
Alas!--a melancholy worship's mine,
I hail the goddess for her scarlet flower;
Thou brilliant weed,
That dost so far exceed
The richest gifts gay Flora can bestow:
Heedless I pass'd thee, in life's morning hour,
(Thou comforter of woe)
Till sorrow taught me to confess thy power.
In early days, when Fancy cheats,
A varied wreath I wove,
Of laughing Spring's luxuriant sweets,
To deck ungrateful Love:
The rose, or thorn, my labours crown'd;
As Venus smiled, or Venus frown'd;

But Love and Joy, and all their train, are flown;
E'en languid Hope no more is mine,
And I will sing of thee alone,
Unless, perchance, the attributes of Grief,
The cypress bud, and willow leaf,
Their pale funereal foliage blend with thine.
Hail, lovely blossom!--thou canst ease
The wretched victims of Disease;
Canst close those weary eyes in gentle sleep,
Which never open but to weep;
For, oh! thy potent charm
Can agonizing Pain disarm;
Expel imperious Memory from her seat,
And bid the throbbing heart forget to beat.
Soul-soothing plant! that can such blessings give,
By thee the mourner bears to live!
By thee the hopeless die!
Oh! ever 'friendly to despair,'
Might Sorrow's pallid votary dare,
Without a crime, that remedy implore,
Which bids the spirit from its bondage fly,
I'd court thy palliative aid no more;
No more I'd sue that thou shouldst spread,
Thy spell around my aching head,
But would conjure thee to impart
Thy balsam for a broken heart;
And by thy soft Lethean power,
(Inestimable flower)
Burst these terrestrial bonds, and other regions try. 



Charlotte Turner Smith


Charlotte Turner Smith's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 32. To Melancholy. Written on the Banks of the Arun, October, 1785
  2. Sonnet 26. To the River Arun
  3. Sonnet 55. The Return of the Nightingale. Written in May, 1791
  4. Sonnet 15. From Petrarch (WHERE the green leaves exclude the summer beam)
  5. Sonnet 63. The Gossamer


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