Saturday, December 10, 2016

O Hours, More Worth than Gold

I Love to Rise Ere Breaks the Tardy Light
by Anna Seward


I love to rise ere breaks the tardy light,
Winter's pale day; and, as clear fires illume,
And cheerful tapers shine around the room,
Through misty windows bend my musing sight
Where, round the dusky lawn, the mansions white,
With shutters clos'd, peer faintly through the gloom,
That slow recedes; while yon grey spires assume,
Rising from their dark pile, an added height,
By indistinctness given;—then to decree
The rising thoughts to Heaven, ere they unfold
To Friendship, or the Muse; or seize with glee
Wisdom's rich page!—O hours, more worth than gold,
By whose blest use we lengthen life, and, free
From drear decays of age, outlive the old!

This is from Letter XXVIII, to Miss Ponsonby; the letter is, as all of Seward's letters, beautifully written, and gives her account of what makes a sonnet excellent. It is a subject on which she can be regarded as an expert -- Seward is often called the Swan of Lichfield because of the quality of her sonnets.

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