To the Shade of Burns

By Charlotte Smith 1749–1806 Charlotte Smith
Mute is thy wild harp, now, O Bard sublime!
   Who, amid Scotia’s mountain solitude,
Great Nature taught to “build the lofty rhyme,”
   And even beneath the daily pressure, rude,
Of laboring Poverty, thy generous blood,
Fired with the love of freedom—Not subdued
   Wert thou by thy low fortune: But a time
   Like this we live in, when the abject chime
Of echoing Parasite is best approved,
   Was not for thee—Indignantly is fled
Thy noble Spirit; and no longer moved
   By all the ills o’er which thine heart has bled,
   Associate worthy of the illustrious dead,
Enjoys with them “the Liberty it loved.”


Source: Norton Anthology of Poetry (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2005)

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Poet Charlotte Smith 1749–1806

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 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 Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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