Poem introduction

Charlotte Smith's life included much misery, inflicted by her father's and then her husband's recklessness. Benjamin Smith ended up in a debtor's prison. To support her many children – there were twelve of them – entailed a prolific amount of literary work for Charlotte. Her tone is often elegiac and widely romantic.

Sonnet Written at the Close of Spring

The garlands fade that Spring so lately wove,
Each simple flower, which she had nursed in dew,
Anemonies, that spangled every grove,
The primrose wan, and hare-bell mildly blue.
No more shall violets linger in the dell,
Or purple orchis variegate the plain,
Till Spring again shall call forth every bell,
And dress with humid hands her wreaths again.-
Ah! poor humanity! so frail, so fair,
Are the fond visions of thy early day,
Till tyrant passion and corrosive care
Bid all thy fairy colours fade away!
Another May new buds and flowers shall bring;
Ah! why has happiness no second spring?

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Recordings

Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith Downloads read by Denise Riley

1Sonnet Written at the Close of Spring

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2Fragment Descriptive of the Miseries of War

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3Sonnet on being cautioned against walking on an headland

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