Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cold Oblivion's Wave

Elegy
Written at the Sea-side, and Addressed to Miss Honora Sneyd
by Anna Seward


I write, Honora, on the sparkling sand!-
The envious waves forbid the trace to stay:
Honora's name again adorns the strand!
Again the waters bear their prize away!

So Nature wrote her charms upon thy face,
The cheek's light bloom, the lip's envermeil'd dye,
And every gay, and every witching grace,
That Youth's warm hours, and Beauty's stores supply.

But Time's stern tide, with cold Oblivion's wave,
Shall soon dissolve each fair, each fading charm;
E'en Nature's self, so powerful, cannot save
Her own rich gifts from this o'erwhelming harm.

Love and the Muse can boast superior power,
Indelible the letters they shall frame;
They yield to no inevitable hour,
But will on lasting tablets write thy name.


Seward, the 'Swan of Lichfield', was in the circle of Erasmus Darwin, who encouraged her to write her poetry from an early age. She was something of a controversial poet in her lifetime; the critical opinion of her occupies the entire range.

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