Three by Charlotte Turner Smith

“Alas! Can tranquil nature give me rest,
Or scenes of beauty, soothe me to repose?”
Charlotte Turner Smith



To Hope

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the wither’d rose,
And clear my painful path of pointed thorn?
Ah come, sweet nymph! in smiles and softness drest,
Like the young hours that lead the tender year,
Enchantress! come, and charm my cares to rest:—
Alas! the flatterer flies, and will not hear!
A prey to fear, anxiety, and pain,
Must I a sad existence still deplore?
Lo!—the flowers fade, but all the thorns remain,
‘For me the vernal garland blooms no more.’
Come then, ‘pale Misery’s love!’ be thou my cure,
And I will bless thee, who, tho’ slow, art sure.”

– Charlotte Turner Smith

Reflections on Some Drawings of Plants

I can in groups these mimic flowers compose,
  These bells and golden eyes, embathed in dew;
Catch the soft blush that warms the early Rose,
  Or the pale Iris cloud with veins of blue;
Copy the scallop’d leaves, and downy stems,
  And bid the pencil’s varied shades arrest
Spring’s humid buds, and Summer’s musky gems:
  But, save the portrait on my bleeding breast,
I have no semblance of that form adored,
  That form, expressive of a soul divine,
  So early blighted, and while life is mine,
With fond regret, and ceaseless grief deplored—
  That grief, my angel! with too faithful art
  Enshrines thy image in thy Mother’s heart.

– Charlotte Turner Smith

The Moon

Queen of the silver bow, by thy pale beam
Alone and pensive I delight to stray,
And watch thy shadow trembling in the stream,
Or mark the floating clouds that cross thy way.
And while I gaze, thy mild and placid light
Sheds a soft calm upon my troubled breast;
And oft I think, fair planet of the night,
That in thy orb the wretched may have rest;
The sufferers of the earth perhaps may go,
Released by death, to thy benignant sphere;
And the sad children of despair and woe,
Forget in thee, their cup of sorrow here.
Oh, that I soon may reach thy world serene,
Poor wearied pilgrim in this toiling scene.

– Charlotte Turner Smith

RELATED

  • In 1783 , Charlotte Turner Smith wrote Elegiac Sonnet. This was while – along with her husband and children – she was in debtor’s prison. LibriVox recordings of the poems are HERE and are available at no charge. 

Charlotte Turner Smith by George Romney / Public Domain

CHARLOTTE TURNER SMITH  (1749 – 1806) 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. She saw herself as a poet first and foremost. Poetry in her day was considered the most exalted form of literature. She is now credited with transforming the sonnet into an expression of woeful sentiment.W

According to Poetry Foundation, “William Wordsworth identified her as an important influence on the Romantic movement.”

Much of Smith’s work drew attention to the injustices of the British Class System. 

When Smith divorced her husband, she attempted to use her writing to provide for her children and to support her attempts to gain legal protection as a woman. Her life experiences and observations provided themes for her poetry and novels. She included portraits of herself and her family in her novels.

Smith’s popularity waned and by 1803 she was destitute and ill, likely suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. She could barely hold a pen. She had to sell her books to pay off her debts. In 1806, Smith died. Largely forgotten by the middle of the 19th century, her works have now been republished. She is recognized as an important Romantic writer.

Find her books at no or low-cost on Amazon Kindle HERE.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

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