A Celebration of Women Writers

"Lines to Him Who Will Understand Them." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
From: Robinson, Mrs. M. Poems. London: J. Bell, 1791. pp. 61-64.

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[Page 61]

LINES

TO

HIM WHO WILL UNDERSTAND THEM.

THOU art no more my bosom's FRIEND;
Here must the sweet delusion end,
That charm'd my senses many a year,
Thro' smiling summers, winters drear.
O, FRIENDSHIP ! am I doom'd to find
Thou art a phantom of the mind ?
A glitt'ring shade, an empty name,
An air-born vision's vap'rish flame ?
And yet, the dear DECEIT so long
Has wak'd to joy my matin song,
Has bid my tears forget to flow,
Chas'd ev'ry pain, soothed ev'ry woe;
That TRUTH, unwelcome to my ear,
Swells the deep sigh, recalls the tear,
Gives to the sense the keenest smart,
Checks the warm pulses of the Heart,
Darkens my FATE and steals away
Each gleam of joy thro' life's sad day.

   BRITAIN, FAREWEL ! I quit thy shore,
My native Country charms no more;

[Page 62]


No guide to mark the toilsome road;
No destin'd clime; no fix'd abode;
Alone and sad, ordain'd to trace
The vast expanse of endless space;
To view, upon the mountain's height,
Thro' varied shades of glimm'ring light,
The distant landscape fade away
In the last gleam of parting day:
Or, on the quiv'ring lucid stream,
To watch the pale moon's silv'ry beam;
Or when, in sad and plaintive strains
The mournful PHILOMEL complains,
In dulcet notes bewails her fate,
And murmurs for her absent mate;
Inspir'd by SYMPATHY divine,
I'll weep her woesFOR THEY ARE MINE.
Driven by my FATE, where'er I go
O'er burning plains, o'er hills of snow,
Or on the bosom of the wave,
The howling tempest doom'd to brave,
Where'er my lonely course I bend,
Thy image shall my steps attend;
Each object I am doom'd to see,
Shall bid remem'brance PICTURE THEE.

Yes; I shall view thee in each FLOW'R,
That changes with the transient hour:
Thy wand'ring Fancy I shall find
Borne on the wings of every WIND:
Thy wild impetuous passions trace
O'er the white wave's tempestuous space:

[Page 63]

In every changing season prove
An emblem of thy wav'ring LOVE.

   Torn from my country, friends, and you,
The World lies open to my view;
New objects shall my mind engage;
I will explore th' HISTORIC page;
Sweet POETRY shall soothe my soul;
PHILOSOPHY each pang controul:
The MUSE I'll seek, her lambent fire
My soul's quick senses shall inspire;
With finer nerves my heart shall beat,
Touch'd by Heaven's own PROMETHEAN heat;
ITALIA'S gales shall bear my song
In soft-link'd notes her woods among;
Upon the blue hill's misty side,
Thro' trackless desarts waste and wide,
O'er craggy rocks, whose torrents flow
Upon the silver sands below.
Sweet Land of MELODY ! 'tis thine
The softest passions to refine;
Thy myrtle groves, thy melting strains,
Shall harmonize and soothe my pains,
Nor will I cast one thought behind,
On foes relentless, FRIENDS unkind;
I feel, I feel their poison'd dart
Pierce the life-nerve within my heart;
'Tis mingled with the vital heat,
That bids my throbbing pulses beat;
Soon shall that vital heat be o'er,
Those throbbing pulses beat no more !

[Page 64]

NoI will breathe the spicy gale;
Plunge the clear stream, new health exhale;
O'er my pale cheek diffuse the rose,
And drink OBLIVION to my woes.

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