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Stately, yet rural; thro' thy choral day,
Why fled ye all so fast, ye happy bours,
Fairest, and best!-Oh! can I e'er forget
Ah, dear Honora! that remember'd day,
"Twas eve;-the sun, in setting glory drest,
In the kind interchange of mutual thought,
The bishop's palace at Litchfield.
On her green verge the spacious walls arise,
With arms entwin'd, and smiling as we talk'a,
O! hast thou mark'd the Summer's budded rose,
1 - The lustre of the brightest of the stars (says Miss Seward, in a note on her ninety-third Sonnet) always appeared to me of a green hue; and they are so described by Ossian."
December Morning, 1782.
I love to rise ere gleams the tardy light,
Winter's pale dawn; and as warm fires illume,
And cheerful tapers shine around the room,
With shutters clos’d, peer saintly through the gloom
That slow recedes; while yon gray spires assume,
The grateful thoughts to God, ere they unfold
Wisdom's rich page: 0 hours! more worth than gold, By whose blest use we lengthen life, and, free
From drear decays of age, outlive the old !
THE GRAVE OF YOUTH.
When life is hurried to untimely close,
CHARLOTTE SMITH, 1749–1806.
Mrs. CHARLOTTE Smith was the daughter of Nicholas Turner, Esq., of Stoke House, Surrey. Her father possessed another house at Bignor Park, on the banks of the Arun,' where she passed many of her earliest years; of which she speaks in the following beautiful stanza:
Then, from thy wildwood banks, Aruna, roving,
Thy thymy downs with sportive steps I sought,
Sung, like the birds, unheeded and untaught. “How enchanting must have been the day-dreams of a mind thus endowed, in the early season of youth and hope ! Amid scenery which had nursed the fancies of Otway and of Collins, she trod on sacred ground: every charm of Nature seems to have made the most lively and distinct impression on her very vivid mind; and her rich imagination must have peopled it with beings of another world.”'2
From a very early age she had an insatiable thirst for reading, and devoured almost every book that fell in her way. From her twelfth to her fifteenth year, her father resided occasionally in London, and she was, while still a child, introduced into society. She lost her mother when quite young, and when her father was about to form a second marriage, the friends of the young poetess made efforts, most foolishly, to "establish her in life," as it is called, and induced her to accept the hand of a Mr. Smith, the son and partner of a rich West India merchant. She was then but sixteen, and her husband twenty.one years of age. It was a most ill-advised and rash union, and pro. ductive of the most unha results. The first years of her marriage she lived in London, which was not at all congenial to her tastes. Subsequently her father inlaw purchased for her husband, who was negligent of his busi. ness in the city, a farm in Hampshire. Here if possible, he did worse, keeping too large an establishment, and entering into injudicious and wild speculations. She foresaw the storm that was gathering, but had no power to prevent it.
In 1776, Mrs. Smith's father died. A few years after this event, her hus. band's affairs were brought to a crisis, and he was imprisoned for debt. With great fortitude and devoted constancy she accompanied him, and by her untiring exertions was enabled to procure his release. During his confine. ment, she collected her sonnets and other poems for publication. They were much admired, and passed through no less than eleven editions. In the following letter, she describes, most graphically,
" The Arun is a river of Sussex county, on the southern coast of England.
Read a most genial sketch of her life in Sir Egerton Brydges'"Censura Literaria," vol. viii. p. 239; and another in his “Imaginative Biography."
HER HUSBAND'S LIBERATION.
"It was on the 2d day of July that we commenced our journey. For more than a month I had shared the restraint of my husband, in a prison, amidst scenes of misery, of vice, and even of terror. Two attempts had, since my last residence among them, been made by the prisoners to procure their liberation, by blowing up the walls of the house. Throughout the night appointed for this enterprise, I remained dressed, watching at the window, and expecting every moment to witness contention and bloodshed, or perhaps be overwhelmed by the projected explosion. After such scenes, and such apprehensions, how deliciously soothing to my wearied spirits was the soft, pure air of the summer's morning, breathing over the dewy grass, as (having slept one night on the road) we passed over the heaths of Surrey! My native hills at length burst upon my view! I beheld once more the fields where I had passed my happiest days, and amidst the perfumed turf with which one of those fields was strown, perceived with delight the beloved group from whom I had been so long
divided, and for whose fate my affections were ever anxious. The transports of this meeting were too much for my exhausted spirits. After all my sufferings, I began to hope I might taste content, or experience at least a respite from my calamities!”
But this state of happiness did not long continue. Mr. Smith's liberty was again threatened, and he went to France. His wife and their eight children accompanied him, and they spent an anxious and forlorn winter in Normandy. The next year she returned to England, and by her great and persevering exertions, enabled her husband to follow her. They hired a mansion at Wolbeding, in Sussex, a parish of which Otway's' father had been rector. Here she wrote her twenty-sixth Sonnet :
TO THE RIVER ARUN.
“On thy wild banks, by frequent torrents worn,
No glittering fanes or marble domes appear;
And still to her thy rustic waves be dear!
Of early woes she bade her votary dream
· Thomas Otway (1651–1685), the celebrated dramatic poet, author of the "Orphan,” and “ Venice Preserved."