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Poems, 1799   By: (1774-1843)

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Robert Southey.

The better, please; the worse, displease; I ask no more.





Book 1 2 3

The Rose

The Complaints of the Poor

Metrical Letter


The Cross Roads.

The Sailor who had served in the Slave Trade


Lord William

A Ballad shewing how an old woman rode double and who rode before her

The Surgeon's Warning

The Victory

Henry the Hermit


The Old Mansion House

The Grandmother's Tale

The Funeral

The Sailor's Mother

The Witch

The Ruined Cottage

The Vision


The Maid of Orleans.

Divinity hath oftentimes descended Upon our slumbers, and the blessed troupes Have, in the calme and quiet of the soule, Conversed with us.

SHIRLEY. 'The Grateful Servant'

[Sidenote: The following Vision was originally printed as the ninth book of 'JOAN of ARC'. It is now adapted to the improved edition of that Poem.]



Orleans was hush'd in sleep. Stretch'd on her couch The delegated Maiden lay: with toil Exhausted and sore anguish, soon she closed Her heavy eye lids; not reposing then, For busy Phantasy, in other scenes Awakened. 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 amid the invisible world, And all things 'are' that [2] 'seem'.

Along a moor, Barren, and wide, and drear, and desolate, She roam'd a wanderer thro' the cheerless night. Far thro' the silence of the unbroken plain The bittern's boom was heard, hoarse, heavy, deep, It made most fitting music to the scene. Black clouds, driven fast before the stormy wind, Swept shadowing; thro' their broken folds the moon Struggled sometimes with transitory ray, And made the moving darkness visible. And now arrived beside a fenny lake She stands: amid its stagnate waters, hoarse The long sedge rustled to the gales of night. An age worn bark receives the Maid, impell'd By powers unseen; then did the moon display Where thro' the crazy vessel's yawning side The muddy wave oozed in: a female guides, And spreads the sail before the wind, that moan'd As melancholy mournful to her ear, As ever by the dungeon'd wretch was heard Howling at evening round the embattled towers Of that hell house [3] of France, ere yet sublime The almighty people from their tyrant's hand Dash'd down the iron rod. Intent the Maid Gazed on the pilot's form, and as she gazed Shiver'd, for wan her face was, and her eyes Hollow, and her sunk cheeks were furrowed deep, Channell'd by tears; a few grey locks hung down Beneath her hood: then thro' the Maiden's veins Chill crept the blood, for, as the night breeze pass'd, Lifting her tattcr'd mantle, coil'd around She saw a serpent gnawing at her heart.

The plumeless bat with short shrill note flits by, And the night raven's scream came fitfully, Borne on the hollow blast. Eager the Maid Look'd to the shore, and now upon the bank Leaps, joyful to escape, yet trembling still In recollection.

There, a mouldering pile Stretch'd its wide ruins, o'er the plain below Casting a gloomy shade, save where the moon Shone thro' its fretted windows: the dark Yew, Withering with age, branched there its naked roots, And there the melancholy Cypress rear'd Its head; the earth was heav'd with many a mound, And here and there a half demolish'd tomb.

And now, amid the ruin's darkest shade, The Virgin's eye beheld where pale blue flames Rose wavering, now just gleaming from the earth, And now in darkness drown'd. An aged man Sat near, seated on what in long past days Had been some sculptur'd monument, now fallen And half obscured by moss, and gathered heaps Of withered yew leaves and earth mouldering bones; And shining in the ray was seen the track Of slimy snail obscene... Continue reading book >>

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