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Sonnet LIX.

Charlotte Smith 1749 (London) – 1806 (Tilford, Surrey)



Written Sept. 1791, during a remarkable thunder
storm, in which the moon was perfectly clear, while
the tempest gathered in various directions near the
earth.
WHAT awful pageants crowd the evening sky!
The low horizon gathering vapours shroud,
Sudden, from many a deep-embattled cloud
Terrific thunders burst and lightnings fly--
While in serenest azure, beaming high,
Night's regent, of her calm pavilion proud,
Gilds the dark shadows that beneath her lie,
Unvex'd by all their conflicts fierce and loud.
--So, in unsullied dignity elate,
A spirit conscious of superior worth,
In placid elevation firmly great,
Scorns the vain cares that give Contention birth;
And blest with peace above the shocks of Fate,
Smiles at the tumult of the troubled earth.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Turner Smith was an English Romantic poet and novelist. She initiated a revival of the English sonnet, helped establish the conventions of Gothic fiction, and wrote political novels of sensibility. A successful writer, she published ten novels, three books of poetry, four children's books, and other assorted works over the course of her career. She saw herself as a poet first and foremost, poetry at that period being considered the most exalted form of literature. Scholars now credit her with transforming the sonnet into an expression of woeful sentiment. more…

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