On the Departure of the Nightingale

By Charlotte Smith 1749–1806 Charlotte Smith
Sweet poet of the woods, a long adieu!
   Farewell soft mistrel of the early year!
Ah! ’twill be long ere thou shalt sing anew,
   And pour thy music on the night’s dull ear.
Whether on spring thy wandering flights await,
   Or whether silent in our groves you dwell,
The pensive muse shall own thee for her mate,
   And still protect the song she loves so well.
With cautious step the love-lorn youth shall glide
   Through the lone brake that shades thy mossy nest;
And shepherd girls from eyes profane shall hide
   The gentle bird who sings of pity best:
For still thy voice shall soft affections move,
And still be dear to sorrow and to love!

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Poet Charlotte Smith 1749–1806

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Animals

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Pastoral

 Charlotte  Smith

Biography

Charlotte Smith wrote Elegiac Sonnets in 1783 while she was in debtor’s prison with her husband and children. William Wordsworth identified her as an important influence on the Romantic movement. She published several longer works that celebrated the individual while deploring social injustice and the British class system.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Animals

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Pastoral

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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