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Fairy Sketch

William Lisle Bowles 1762 (King's Sutton) – 1850


There was a morrice on the moonlight plain,
And music echoed in the woody glade,
For fay-like forms, as of Titania's train,
Upon a summer eve, beneath the shade
Of Netley's ivied ruins, to the sound
Of sprightly minstrelsy did beat the ground:--
Come, take hands! and lightly move,
While our boat, in yonder cove,
Rests upon the darkening sea;
Come, take hands, and follow me!

Netley! thy dim and desolated fane
Hath heard, perhaps, the spirits of the night
Shrieking, at times, amid the wind and rain;
Or haply, when the full-orbed moon shone bright,
Thy glimmering aisles have echoed to the song
Of fairy Mab, who led her shadowy masque along.
Now, as to the sprightly sound
Of moonlight minstrelsy we beat the ground;
From the pale nooks, in accent clear,
Now, methinks, her voice I hear,
Sounding o'er the darksome sea;
Come, take hands, and follow me!

Here, beneath the solemn wood,
When faintly-blue is all the sky,
And the moon is still on high,
To the murmurs of the flood,
To the glimpses of the night,
We perform our airy rite;--
Care and pain to us unknown,
To the darkening seas are flown.

Hear no more life's fretful noise,
Heed not here pale Envy's sting,
Far from life's distempered joys;
To the waters murmuring,
To the shadows of the sky,
To the moon that rides on high,
To the glimpses of the night,
We perform our airy rite,
While care and pain, to us unknown,
To the darkening seas are flown.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:20 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme ababccxxdD aeaeffccxxdD xggxEEhH ijijggEEhH
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,401
Words 261
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 10, 12, 8, 10

William Lisle Bowles

William Lisle Bowles was an English poet and critic In 1783 he won the chancellors prize for Latin verse In 1789 he published in a small quarto volume Fourteen Sonnets which were received with extraordinary favour not only by the general public but by such men as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Wordsworth The Sonnets even in form were a revival a return to an older and purer poetic style and by their grace of expression melodious versification tender tone of feeling and vivid appreciation of the life and beauty of nature stood out in strong contrast to the elaborated commonplaces which at that time formed the bulk of English poetry more…

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