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Sonnet To Disappointment

Helen Maria Williams 1761 (London) – 1827



PALE disappointment! at thy freezing name
Chill fears in every shiv'ring vein I prove;
My sinking pulse almost forgets to move,
And life almost forsakes my languid frame.
Yet thee, relentless nymph! no more I blame:
Why do my thoughts 'midst vain illusions rove?
Why gild the charms of friendship and of love
With the warm glow of fancy's purple flame?
When ruffling winds have some bright fane o'erthrown,
Which shone on painted clouds, or seem'd to shine,
Shall the fond gazer dream for him alone
Those clouds were sable, and at fate repine?--
I feel, alas! the fault is all my own,
And ah, the cruel punishment is mine!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Helen Maria Williams

Helen Maria Williams was a British novelist poet and translator of French-language works A religious dissenter she was a supporter of abolitionism and of the ideals of the French Revolution she was imprisoned in Paris during the Reign of Terror but nonetheless spent much of the rest of her life in France A controversial figure in her own time the young Williams was favorably portrayed in a 1787 poem by William Wordsworth but she was portrayed by other writers as irresponsibly politically radical and even as sexually wanton more…

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