[Page 62]

SONNET [42] XLII. Composed during a Walk on the Downs, Nov. 1787.

1 THE dark and pillowy cloud; the sallow trees,
2 Seem o'er the ruins of the year to mourn;
3 And cold and hollow, the inconstant breeze
4 Sobs thro' the falling leaves and wither'd fern.
5 O'er the tall brow of yonder chalky bourn,
6 The evening shades their gather'd darkness fling,
7 While, by the ling'ring light, I scarce discern
8 The shrieking nightjar, sail on heavy wing.
[*]

LINE 8. The shrieking nightjar sail on heavy wing.

The nightjar or nighthawk, a dark bird not so big as a rook, which is frequently seen of an evening on the Downs. It has a short heavy flight, then rests on the ground, and again, uttering a mournful cry, flits before the traveller, to whom its appearance is supposed by the peasants to portend misfortune. As I have never seen it dead, I know not to what species it belongs.

9 Ah! yet a little and propitious Spring,
10 Crown'd with fresh flow'rs, shall wake the woodland strain;
11 But no gay change revolving seasons bring,
12 To call forth Pleasure from the soul of Pain,
13 Bid syren Hope resume her long lost part,
14 And chase the vulture Care, that feeds upon the heart.

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Title (in Source Edition): SONNET [42] XLII. Composed during a Walk on the Downs, Nov. 1787.
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Genres: sonnet

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Source edition

Elegiac sonnets, and other poems. By Charlotte Smith. The first Worcester edition, from the sixth London edition, with additions. Printed at Worcester [Mass.]: by Isaiah Thomas, sold by him in Worcester, and by said Thomas and Andrews in Boston, 1795, p. 62. xix,[2],22-126,[2]p.,[5] leaves of plates: ill.; 15 cm. (12mo) (OTA N22357)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Charlotte Smith (née Turner)