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To Melancholy

To Melancholy

by Charlotte Smith

To Melancholy: Text of the Poem

Written on the banks of the Arun, Oct. 1785

When latest Autumn spreads her evening veil,
And the grey mists from these dim waves arise,
I love to listen to the hollow sighs,
Through the half-leafless wood that breathes the gale:
For at such hours the shadowy phantom, pale,
Oft seems to fleet before the poet's eyes;
Strange sounds are heard, and mournful melodies,
As of night wanderers, who their woes bewail

Here, by his native stream, at such an hour,
Pity's own Otway I methinks could meet,
And hear his deep sighs swell the sadden'd wind!
O Melancholy!—such thy magic power,
That to the soul these dreams are often sweet,
And soothe the pensive visionary mind!

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