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69 Works of Robert Southey

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Story type: Poetry

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A wrinkled, crabbed man they picture thee, Old winter, with a rugged beard as gray As the long moss upon the apple-tree; Blue-lipt, an ice-drop at thy sharp blue nose, Close muffled up, and on thy dreary way Plodding alone through sleet and drifting snows. They should have drawn thee by the high-heapt hearth, Old […]

Hard by the road, where on that little moundThe high grass rustles to the passing breeze,The child of Misery rests her head in peace.Pause there in sadness. That unhallowed groundInshrines what once was Isabel. Sleep onSleep on, poor Outcast! lovely was thy cheek,And thy mild eye was eloquent to speakThe soul of Pity. Pale and […]

As thus I bend me o’er thy babbling streamAnd watch thy current, Memory’s hand pourtraysThe faint form’d scenes of the departed days,Like the far forest by the moon’s pale beamDimly descried yet lovely. I have wornUpon thy banks the live-long hour away,When sportive Childhood wantoned thro’ the day,Joy’d at the opening splendour of the morn,Or […]

With many a weary step, at length I gainThy summit, Lansdown; and the cool breeze plays,Gratefully round my brow, as hence the gazeReturns to dwell upon the journeyed plain.‘Twas a long way and tedious! to the eyeTho fair the extended vale, and fair to viewThe falling leaves of many a faded hue,That eddy in the […]

Mild arch of promise! on the evening skyThou shinest fair with many a lovely rayEach in the other melting. Much mine eyeDelights to linger on thee; for the day,Changeful and many-weather’d, seem’d to smileFlashing brief splendor thro’ its clouds awhile,That deepen’d dark anon and fell in rain:But pleasant is it now to pause, and viewThy […]

How darkly o’er yon far-off mountain frownsThe gather’d tempest! from that lurid cloudThe deep-voiced thunders roll, aweful and loudTho’ distant; while upon the misty downsFast falls in shadowy streaks the pelting rain.I never saw so terrible a storm!Perhaps some way-worn traveller in vainWraps his torn raiment round his shivering formCold even as Hope within him! […]

Fair is the rising morn when o’er the skyThe orient sun expands his roseate ray,And lovely to the Bard’s enthusiast eyeFades the meek radiance of departing day;But fairer is the smile of one we love,Than all the scenes in Nature’s ample sway.And sweeter than the music of the grove,The voice that bids us welcome. Such […]

Argument. To leap from the promontory of LEUCADIA was believed by the Greeks to be a remedy for hopeless love, if the self-devoted victim escaped with life. Artemisia lost her life in the dangerous experiment: and Sappho is said thus to have perished, in attempting to cure her passion for Phaon. SAPPHO (Scene the promontory […]

Where a sight shall shuddering Sorrow find.Sad as the ruins of the human mind! BOWLES. ELINOR. (Time, Morning. Scene, the Shore.[1]) Once more to daily toil–once more to wearThe weeds of infamy–from every joyThe heart can feel excluded, I ariseWorn out and faint with unremitting woe;And once again with wearied steps I traceThe hollow-sounding shore. […]

(Time, Noon.) HUMPHREY: See’st thou not William that the scorching SunBy this time half his daily race has run?The savage thrusts his light canoe to shoreAnd hurries homeward with his fishy store.Suppose we leave awhile this stubborn soilTo eat our dinner and to rest from toil! WILLIAM: Agreed. Yon tree whose purple gum bestowsA ready […]


Story type: Poetry

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(Time Night. Scene the woods.) Where shall I turn me? whither shall I bendMy weary way? thus worn with toil and faintHow thro’ the thorny mazes of this woodAttain my distant dwelling? that deep cryThat rings along the forest seems to soundMy parting knell: it is the midnight howlOf hungry monsters prowling for their prey!Again! […]

(Time, Evening.) JOHN. ‘Tis a calm pleasant evening, the light fades away,And the Sun going down has done watch for the day.To my mind we live wonderous well when transported,It is but to work and we must be supported.Fill the cann, Dick! success here to Botany Bay! RICHARD. Success if you will,–but God send me […]

Think Valentine, as speeding on thy wayHomeward thou hastest light of heart along,If heavily creep on one little dayThe medley crew of travellers among,Think on thine absent friend: reflect that hereOn Life’s sad journey comfortless he roves,Remote from every scene his heart holds dear,From him he values, and from her he loves.And when disgusted with […]

Go Valentine and tell that lovely maidWhom Fancy still will pourtray to my sight,How her Bard lingers in this sullen shade,This dreary gloom of dull monastic night.Say that from every joy of life remoteAt evening’s closing hour he quits the throng,Listening alone the ring-dove’s plaintive noteWho pours like him her solitary song.Say that her absence […]

What tho’ no sculptur’d monument proclaimThy fate-yet Albert in my breast I bearInshrin’d the sad remembrance; yet thy nameWill fill my throbbing bosom. When DESPAIRThe child of murdered HOPE, fed on thy heart,Loved honored friend, I saw thee sink forlornPierced to the soul by cold Neglect’s keen dart,And Penury’s hard ills, and pitying Scorn,And the […]

Not to thee Bedford mournful is the taleOf days departed. Time in his careerArraigns not thee that the neglected yearHas past unheeded onward. To the valeOf years thou journeyest. May the future roadBe pleasant as the past! and on my friendFriendship and Love, best blessings! still attend,‘Till full of days he reach the calm abodeWhere […]

Enter this cavern Stranger! the ascentIs long and steep and toilsome; here awhileThou mayest repose thee, from the noontide heatO’ercanopied by this arch’d rock that strikesA grateful coolness: clasping its rough armsRound the rude portal, the old ivy hangsIts dark green branches down, and the wild Bees,O’er its grey blossoms murmuring ceaseless, makeMost pleasant melody. […]

This mound in some remote and dateless dayRear’d o’er a Chieftain of the Age [1] of Hills,May here detain thee Traveller! from thy roadNot idly lingering. In his narrow houseSome Warrior sleeps below: his gallant deedsHaply at many a solemn festivalThe Bard has harp’d, but perish’d is the songOf praise, as o’er these bleak and […]

For the Apartment in CHEPSTOW-CASTLE where HENRY MARTEN the Regicide wasimprisoned Thirty Years. For thirty years secluded from mankind,Here Marten linger’d. Often have these wallsEchoed his footsteps, as with even treadHe paced around his prison: not to himDid Nature’s fair varieties exist;He never saw the Sun’s delightful beams,Save when thro’ yon high bars it pour’d […]

Stranger! awhile upon this mossy bankRecline thee. If the Sun rides high, the breeze,That loves to ripple o’er the rivulet,Will play around thy brow, and the cool soundOf running waters soothe thee. Mark how clearIt sparkles o’er the shallows, and beholdWhere o’er its surface wheels with restless speedYon glossy insect, on the sand belowHow the […]

This is the place where William’s kingly powerDid from their poor and peaceful homes expel,Unfriended, desolate, and shelterless,The habitants of all the fertile trackFar as these wilds extend. He levell’d downTheir little cottages, he bade their fieldsLie barren, so that o’er the forest wasteHe might most royally pursue his sports!If that thine heart be human, […]

O my faithful Friend!O early chosen, ever found the same,And trusted and beloved! once more the verseLong destin’d, always obvious to thine ear,Attend indulgent. AKENSIDE. BIRTH-DAY ODE,1793. Small is the new-born plant scarce seenAmid the soft encircling green,Where yonder budding acorn rears,Just o’er the waving grass, its tender head:Slow pass along the train of years,And […]

STRANGER! the MAN OF NATURE lies not here:Enshrin’d far distant by his [1] rival’s sideHis relics rest, there by the giddy throngWith blind idolatry alike revered!Wiselier directed have thy pilgrim feetExplor’d the scenes of Ermenonville. ROUSSEAULoved these calm haunts of Solitude and Peace;Here he has heard the murmurs of the stream,And the soft rustling of […]

Birth-day Ode, 1796. And wouldst thou seek the low abodeWhere PEACE delights to dwell?Pause Traveller on thy way of life!With many a snare and peril rifeIs that long labyrinth of road:Dark is the vale of years beforePause Traveller on thy way!Nor dare the dangerous path exploreTill old EXPERIENCE comes to lend his leading ray. Not […]

What! and not one to heave the pious sigh!Not one whose sorrow-swoln and aching eyeFor social scenes, for life’s endearments fled,Shall drop a tear and dwell upon the dead!Poor wretched Outcast! I will weep for thee,And sorrow for forlorn humanity.Yes I will weep, but not that thou art comeTo the stern Sabbath of the silent […]

(taken at two years of age) And I was once like this! that glowing cheekWas mine, those pleasure-sparkling eyes, that browSmooth as the level lake, when not a breezeDies o’er the sleeping surface! twenty yearsHave wrought strange alteration! Of the friendsWho once so dearly prized this miniature,And loved it for its likeness, some are goneTo […]

Come melancholy Moralizer–come!Gather with me the dark and wintry wreath;With me engarland nowThe SEPULCHRE OF TIME! Come Moralizer to the funeral song!I pour the dirge of the Departed Days,For well the funeral songBefits this solemn hour. But hark! even now the merry bells ring roundWith clamorous joy to welcome in this day,This consecrated day,To Mirth […]

The three Utilitise of Poetry: the praise of Virtue and Goodness, the Memory of things remarkable, and to invigorate the affections. Welsh Triad. INSCRIPTION I. For a TABLET at GODSTOW NUNNERY. Here Stranger rest thee! from the neighbouring towersOf Oxford, haply thou hast forced thy barkUp this strong stream, whose broken waters hereSend pleasant murmurs […]

Art thou a Patriot Traveller? on this fieldDid FALKLAND fall the blameless and the braveBeneath a Tyrant’s banners: dost thou boastOf loyal ardor? HAMBDEN perish’d here,The rebel HAMBDEN, at whose glorious nameThe heart of every honest EnglishmanBeats high with conscious pride. Both uncorrupt,Friends to their common country both, they fought,They died in adverse armies. Traveller!If […]

Hold your mad hands! for ever on your plainMust the gorged vulture clog his beak with blood?For ever must your Nigers tainted floodRoll to the ravenous shark his banquet slain?Hold your mad hands! what daemon prompts to rearThe arm of Slaughter? on your savage shoreCan hell-sprung Glory claim the feast of gore,With laurels water’d by […]

Glad as the weary traveller tempest-tostTo reach secure at length his native coast,Who wandering long o’er distant lands has sped,The night-blast wildly howling round his head,Known all the woes of want, and felt the stormOf the bleak winter parch his shivering form;The journey o’er and every peril pastBeholds his little cottage-home at last,And as he […]

Why dost thou beat thy breast and rend thine hair,And to the deaf sea pour thy frantic cries?Before the gale the laden vessel flies;The Heavens all-favoring smile, the breeze is fair;Hark to the clamors of the exulting crew!Hark how their thunders mock the patient skies!Why dost thou shriek and strain thy red-swoln eyesAs the white […]

‘Tis night; the mercenary tyrants sleepAs undisturb’d as Justice! but no moreThe wretched Slave, as on his native shore,Rests on his reedy couch: he wakes to weep!Tho’ thro’ the toil and anguish of the dayNo tear escap’d him, not one suffering groanBeneath the twisted thong, he weeps aloneIn bitterness; thinking that far awayTho’ the gay […]

Oh he is worn with toil! the big drops runDown his dark cheek; hold–hold thy merciless hand,Pale tyrant! for beneath thy hard commandO’erwearied Nature sinks. The scorching Sun,As pityless as proud Prosperity,Darts on him his full beams; gasping he liesArraigning with his looks the patient skies,While that inhuman trader lifts on highThe mangling scourge. Oh […]

High in the air expos’d the Slave is hungTo all the birds of Heaven, their living food!He groans not, tho’ awaked by that fierce SunNew torturers live to drink their parent blood!He groans not, tho’ the gorging Vulture tearThe quivering fibre! hither gaze O yeWho tore this Man from Peace and Liberty!Gaze hither ye who […]

Did then the bold Slave rear at last the SwordOf Vengeance? drench’d he deep its thirsty bladeIn the cold bosom of his tyrant lord?Oh! who shall blame him? thro’ the midnight shadeStill o’er his tortur’d memory rush’d the thoughtOf every past delight; his native grove,Friendship’s best joys, and Liberty and Love,All lost for ever! then […]

O thou who from the mountain’s heightRoll’st down thy clouds with all their weightOf waters to old Niles majestic tide;Or o’er the dark sepulchral plainRecallest thy Palmyra’s ancient pride,Amid whose desolated domesSecure the savage chacal roams,Where from the fragments of the hallow’d faneThe Arabs rear their miserable homes! Hear Genius hear thy children’s cry!Not always […]

The coffin [1] as I past across the laneCame sudden on my view. It was not here,A sight of every day, as in the streetsOf the great city, and we paus’d and ask’dWho to the grave was going. It was one,A village girl, they told us, who had borneAn eighteen months strange illness, and had […]

WOMAN.Sir for the love of God some small reliefTo a poor woman! TRAVELLER.Whither are you bound?‘Tis a late hour to travel o’er these downs,No house for miles around us, and the wayDreary and wild. The evening wind alreadyMakes one’s teeth chatter, and the very Sun,Setting so pale behind those thin white clouds,Looks cold. ‘Twill be […]

NATHANIEL.Father! here father! I have found a horse-shoe!Faith it was just in time, for t’other nightI laid two straws across at Margery’s door,And afterwards I fear’d that she might do meA mischief for’t. There was the Miller’s boyWho set his dog at that black cat of hers,I met him upon crutches, and he told me‘Twas […]

Aye Charles! I knew that this would fix thine eye,This woodbine wreathing round the broken porch,Its leaves just withering, yet one autumn flowerStill fresh and fragrant; and yon holly-hockThat thro’ the creeping weeds and nettles tallPeers taller, and uplifts its column’d stemBright with the broad rose-blossoms. I have seenMany a fallen convent reverend in decay,And […]

Lord William

Story type: Poetry

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No eye beheld when William plungedYoung Edmund in the stream,No human ear but William’s heardYoung Edmund’s drowning scream. Submissive all the vassals own’dThe murderer for their Lord,And he, the rightful heir, possessedThe house of Erlingford. The ancient house of ErlingfordStood midst a fair domain,And Severn’s ample waters nearRoll’d through the fertile plain. And often the […]

This story is also related by Olaus Magnus, and in the Nuremberg Chronicle, from which the wooden cut is taken. A BALLAD, SHEWING HOW AN OLD WOMAN RODE DOUBLE, AND WHO RODE BEFORE HER. The Raven croak’d as she sate at her meal,And the Old Woman knew what he said,And she grew pale at the […]

Henry The Hermit

Story type: Poetry

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It was a little island where he dwelt,Or rather a lone rock, barren and bleak,Short scanty herbage spotting with dark spotsIts gray stone surface. Never marinerApproach’d that rude and uninviting coast,Nor ever fisherman his lonely barkAnchored beside its shore. It was a placeBefitting well a rigid anchoret,Dead to the hopes, and vanities, and joysAnd purposes […]

The subject of this parody was given me by a friend, to whom also I am indebted for some of the stanzas. Respecting the patent coffins herein mentioned, after the manner of Catholic Poets, who confess the actions they attribute to their Saints and Deity to be but fiction, I hereby declare that it is […]

JANE.Harry! I’m tired of playing. We’ll draw roundThe fire, and Grandmamma perhaps will tell usOne of her stories. HARRY.Aye–dear Grandmamma!A pretty story! something dismal now;A bloody murder. JANE.Or about a ghost. GRANDMOTHER.Nay, nay, I should but frighten you. You knowThe other night when I was telling youAbout the light in the church-yard, how you trembledBecause […]

STRANGER.Old friend! why you seem bent on parish duty,Breaking the highway stones,–and ’tis a taskSomewhat too hard methinks for age like yours. OLD MAN.Why yes! for one with such a weight of yearsUpon his back. I’ve lived here, man and boy,In this same parish, near the age of manFor I am hard upon threescore and […]

She spake, and lo! celestial radiance beam’dAmid the air, such odors wafting nowAs erst came blended with the evening gale,From Eden’s bowers of bliss. An angel formStood by the Maid; his wings, etherial white,Flash’d like the diamond in the noon-tide sun,Dazzling her mortal eye: all else appear’dHer THEODORE.Amazed she saw: the FiendWas fled, and on […]

And wherefore do the Poor complain?The rich man asked of me,–Come walk abroad with me, I saidAnd I will answer thee. Twas evening and the frozen streetsWere cheerless to behold,And we were wrapt and coated well,And yet we were a-cold. We met an old bare-headed man,His locks were few and white,I ask’d him what he […]

The Maiden, musing on the Warrior’s words,Turn’d from the Hall of Glory. Now they reach’dA cavern, at whose mouth a Genius stood,In front a beardless youth, whose smiling eyeBeam’d promise, but behind, withered and old,And all unlovely. Underneath his feetLay records trampled, and the laurel wreathNow rent and faded: in his hand he heldAn hour-glass, […]

The Cross Roads

Story type: Poetry

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The circumstance related in the following Ballad happened about forty years ago in a village adjacent to Bristol. A person who was present at the funeral, told me the story and the particulars of the interment, as I have versified them. THE CROSS ROADS. There was an old man breaking stonesTo mend the turnpike way,He […]

Metrical Letter

Story type: Poetry

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Written from London. Margaret! my Cousin!–nay, you must not smile;I love the homely and familiar phrase;And I will call thee Cousin Margaret,However quaint amid the measured lineThe good old term appears. Oh! it looks illWhen delicate tongues disclaim old terms of kin,Sirring and Madaming as civillyAs if the road between the heart and lipsWere such […]

In September, 1798, a Dissenting Minister of Bristol, discovered a Sailor in the neighbourhood of that City, groaning and praying in a hovel. The circumstance that occasioned his agony of mind is detailed in the annexed Ballad, without the slightest addition or alteration. By presenting it as a Poem the story is made more public, […]


Story type: Poetry

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The stories of the two following ballads are wholly imaginary. I may say of each as John Bunyan did of his ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, “It came from mine own heart, so to my head,And thence into my fingers trickled;Then to my pen, from whence immediatelyOn paper I did dribble it daintily.” JASPAR Jaspar was poor, and […]

Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly!Leave thy guilty sire to die.O’er the heath the stripling fled,The wild storm howling round his head.Fear mightier thro’ the shades of nightUrged his feet, and wing’d his flight;And still he heard his father cryFly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly. Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, flyLeave thy guilty sire to […]


Story type: Poetry

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In Finland there is a Castle which is called the New Rock, moated about with a river of unfounded depth, the water black and the fish therein very distateful to the palate. In this are spectres often seen, which foreshew either the death of the Governor, or some prime officer belonging to the place; and […]

Poussin! most pleasantly thy pictur’d scenesBeguile the lonely hour; I sit and gazeWith lingering eye, till charmed FANCY makesThe lovely landscape live, and the rapt soulFrom the foul haunts of herded humankindFlies far away with spirit speed, and tastesThe untainted air, that with the lively hueOf health and happiness illumes the cheekOf mountain LIBERTY. My […]


Story type: Poetry

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Divers Princes and Noblemen being assembled in a beautiful and fair Palace, which was situate upon the river Rhine, they beheld a boat or small barge make toward the shore, drawn by a Swan in a silver chain, the one end fastened about her neck, the other to the vessel; and in it an unknown […]

Orleans was hush’d in sleep. Stretch’d on her couchThe delegated Maiden lay: with toilExhausted and sore anguish, soon she closedHer heavy eye-lids; not reposing then,For busy Phantasy, in other scenesAwakened. Whether that superior powers,By wise permission, prompt the midnight dream,Instructing so the passive [1] faculty;Or that the soul, escaped its fleshly clog,Flies free, and soars […]

Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. The words of Agur. The Title of the following Poem will probably remind the Reader of Akenside’s Hymn to the Naiads, but the manner in which I have treated the subject fortunately precludes comparison. HYMN […]

Written on the FIRST of DECEMBER, 1793. Tho’ now no more the musing earDelights to listen to the breezeThat lingers o’er the green wood shade,I love thee Winter! well. Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,Sweet is the summer’s evening gale,Pleasant the autumnal winds that shakeThe many-colour’d grove. And pleasant to the sober’d soulThe silence of […]

And they have drown’d thee then at last! poor Phillis!The burthen of old age was heavy on thee.And yet thou should’st have lived! what tho’ thine eyeWas dim, and watch’d no more with eager joyThe wonted call that on thy dull sense sunkWith fruitless repetition, the warm SunWould still have cheer’d thy slumber, thou didst […]

Go thou and seek the House of Prayer!I to the Woodlands wend, and thereIn lovely Nature see the GOD OF LOVE.The swelling organ’s pealWakes not my soul to zeal,Like the wild music of the wind-swept grove.The gorgeous altar and the mystic vestRouse not such ardor in my breast,As where the noon-tide beamFlash’d from the broken […]

To Horror

Story type: Poetry

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[GREEK (transliterated):Tin gar potaeisomaitan chai schuliches tromeontiErchomenan nechuon ana t’aeria, chai melan aima.Theocritos] Dark HORROR, hear my call!Stern Genius hear from thy retreatOn some old sepulchre’s moss-cankered seat,Beneath the Abbey’s ivied wallThat trembles o’er its shade;Where wrapt in midnight gloom, alone,Thou lovest to lie and hearThe roar of waters near,And listen to the deep dull […]

To Contemplation

Story type: Poetry

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[Greek (transliterated):Kai pagas fileoimi ton enguthen aechon achthein,A terpei psopheoisa ton agrikon, thchi tarassei. MOSCHOS.] Faint gleams the evening radiance thro’ the sky,The sober twilight dimly darkens round;In short quick circles the shrill bat flits by,And the slow vapour curls along the ground. Now the pleas’d eye from yon lone cottage seesOn the green mead […]

DACTYLICS. Weary way-wanderer languid and sick at heartTravelling painfully over the rugged road,Wild-visag’d Wanderer! ah for thy heavy chance! Sorely thy little one drags by thee bare-footed,Cold is the baby that hangs at thy bending backMeagre and livid and screaming its wretchedness. [1] Woe-begone mother, half anger, half agony,As over thy shoulder thou lookest to […]

“Lo I, the man who erst the Muse did askHer deepest notes to swell the Patriot’s meeds,Am now enforst a far unfitter taskFor cap and gown to leave my minstrel weeds,”For yon dull noise that tinkles on the airBids me lay by the lyre and go to morning prayer. Oh how I hate the sound! […]

The lilly cheek, the “purple light of love,”The liquid lustre of the melting eye,–Mary! of these the Poet sung, for theseDid Woman triumph! with no angry frownView this degrading conquest. At that ageNo MAID OF ARC had snatch’d from coward manThe heaven-blest sword of Liberty; thy sexCould boast no female ROLAND’S martyrdom;No CORDE’S angel and […]

With wayworn feet a Pilgrim woe-begoneLife’s upward road I journeyed many a day,And hymning many a sad yet soothing layBeguil’d my wandering with the charms of song.Lonely my heart and rugged was my way,Yet often pluck’d I as I past alongThe wild and simple flowers of Poesy,And as beseem’d the wayward Fancy’s childEntwin’d each random […]