John Mitford (1781-1859)

return to sonnet central return to the Romantic Era

Abuse of Poetry

It cannot be that in the muse's bower
Are men, who bartering for their private gain
The lustre of that ancient house would stain
And, following those who still for place and power
Are striving, forfeit all the beauteous dower
Bequeathed them--and the virtues' peaceful train
Desert, and wisdom with her countenance plain
And meek, and learning through the midnight hour
Still in his studious hermitage.
                                             Who then
Seeing the muse's haunts by ruthless feet
Are trodden, and by bold and violent men,
Would wonder if the bard for scenes more meet,
For the lone valley, and the quiet glen,
Should quit each venal hall and crowded street?

At Genoa, 1822

Rise, Genoa, rise in beauty from the sea,
Old Doria's blood is flowing in thy veins!
Rise, peerless in thy beauty! what remains
Of thy old glory is enough for me.
Flow then, ye emerald waters, bright and free;
And breathe, ye orange groves, along her plains;
Ye fountains, sparkle through her marble fanes:
And hang aloft, thou rich and purple sky,
Hang up thy gorgeous canopy: thou Sun,
Shine on her marble palaces that gleam
Like silver in thy never-dying beam:
Think of the years of glory she has won;
She must not sink before her race is run,
Nor her long age of conquest seem a dream.

At Dover Castle

Look upward on yon desolated pile,
And as you mark its ruins lone and grey,
Mourn not, O mourn not for its long decay!
But see how gentle Nature, with a smile,
Sweet as a mother's, anxious to beguile
Her infant to her bosom, gone astray,
Calls on the ocean-gales from yonder bay
To breathe upon its mouldering towers; the while
The fox-glove, and the wild flower, o'er the walls
Drop silently their seeds; and sun, and rain,
And summer dews with fairy hands unchain
Each granite link; and then anon it falls,
Obedient to that voice, which once again
So tenderly her offspring lost recalls.