Tag Archives: soliloquy

Eliza Daye, “Soliliquy”




NATURE! in all correct, thy hand we trace,
And o’er thy carpet hail a beauteous race;
Each have their station, each have their native home,
In adverse soils and climes they find a tomb:
Some in the open lawn, delighted seem                                                     5
To look with vigour on the sun’s full beam:
Whilst some retiring, hide the modest head,
And screen their beauties in the shelt’ring shade:
Some dare the summit of the mountain’s brow,
And others humbly seek the vale below:                                                    10
Some o’er the parched heath minutely spread,
Whilst some, best flourish in the wat’ry mead;
Deep in the soil others are firmly struck,
Some lightly flaunt upon the sedgy brook,
Others on rocks can independent thrive,                                                   15
And in rich soil alone can others live.
The gard’ner marks the stations each demand:
Refin’d by cultivation’s skilful hand,
Which marks their graces with a clearer line,
And draws each forth more pointedly to shine.                                         20

By Providence to different lots assign’d,
A bent so various takes the human mind,
And education marks the native worth,
And boldly calls the leading feature forth,
It fires the hero, or instructs the sage,                                                         25
To save his country, or reform the age;
It leads th’ ambitious to the public eye,
Or fits the humble for retirement’s joy;
Refines the pleasures of the social scene,
Or teaches industry the art of gain;                                                              30
Opens the depth of science unconfin’d,
Researches for the philosophic mind;
It gives the gay, more graceful to be seen,
Swim on the surface of each trifling scene;
It can its proper views to fancy give,                                                             35
And by th’ applause of ages bid it live.

Oh happy they! whose lot thro’ life’s design’d,
To suit what nature gave, and art refin’d,
Let glory’s radiant form the soldier shield,
And courage lead him to the hostile field;                                                   40
Give sensibility its social joy,
And for life’s trials arm cold apathy.
Fortune and favouring friends may genius see,
All feel the native powers of fancy free;
Oh! were the human lot disposed so,                                                          45
This were a world of joy, scarce mix’d with woe;
But ah! full oft we see the tortur’d mind,
Destin’d to trials of ungenial kind,
Where without arms t’oppose, stern foes invade,
And all its native virtues seem to fade;                                                        50
The feeling shed not still the tear of joy,
Nor cold disdain meets careless apathy;
Bright genius roves not still without restraint,
Nor always free his favorite scenes to paint;
But evils check the wing he lightly spread,                                                  55
Then warm imagination too must fade.
Reflection in this solitary scene,
Engraves for me the solemn truth within,
As on the moss-grown rock now seated here,
Pain’d memory finds the source of many a tear.                                        60


4  climes  “A tract or region of the earth; now often considered in relation to its distinctive climate” (OED).

11  heath  “Open uncultivated ground; a wilderness” (OED).

12  wat’ry mead  A wet, “marshy” meadow (OED).

14  sedgy  “Covered or bordered with sedge,” that is, various “course grassy, rush-like plants” (OED).

25  sage  “Of a person: wise, discreet, judicious” (OED).

41  sensibility  “The quality of being readily and strongly affected by emotional or artistic influences and experiences” (OED).

43  Fortune  “Chance, hap, or luck, regarded as a cause of events and changes in one’s affairs” (OED).

44  fancy  Imagination.

SOURCE: Poems on Various Subjects (Liverpool, 1798), pp. 164-67.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Ruby Schneider




Ann Yearsley, “Soliloquy”




—What folly to complain,
Or throw my woes against the face of Heaven?
Ills, self-created, prey upon my soul,
And rob each coming hour of soften’d Peace.
What then? Is Fate to blame? I chose distress;                                   5
Free will was mine; I might have still been happy
From a fore-knowledge of the dire effect,
And the sad bondage of resistless love.
I knew the struggles of a wounded mind,
Not self-indulging, and not prone to vice,                                           10
Knew all the terrors of conflicting passion,
Too stubborn foe, and ever unsubdu’d;
Yet rashly parley’d with the mighty victor.
Infectious mists upon my senses hang,
More deadly than LETHEAN dews which fall                                        15
From SOMNUS’ bough, on the poor wearied wretch,
Whose woes are fully told!—
The dire contagion creeps thro’ all my frame,
Seizes my heart, and drinks my spirit up.
Ah! fatal poison, whither dost thou tend?                                              20
Tear not my soul with agonizing pains;
There needs no more; the world to me is lost,
And all the whirl of life-unneeded thrift.
I sicken at the Sun, and fly his beams,
Like some sad ghost which loves the moonless night,                         25
And pensive shuns the morn. The deep recess
Where dim-ey’d Melancholy silent sits,
Beckoning the poor desponding slighted wretch,
Suits well. ‘Tis here I find a gloomy rest;
‘Tis here the fool’s loud clatter leaves me still,                                       30
Nor force unwilling answers to their tale:
But, ah! this gloom, this lethargy of thought,
Yields not repose; I sigh the hour away;
The next rolls on, and leaves me still opprest.
But, oh! swift-footed Time, thou ceaseless racer,                                   35
Thou who hast chac’d five thousand years before thee,
With all their great events, and minute trifles,
Haste, with redoubled speed, bring on the hour,
When dark Oblivion’s dusky veil shall shroud
Too painful Memory. —                                                                               40


15 LetheanPertaining to the river Lethe; hence, pertaining to or causing oblivion or forgetfulness of the past” (OED).

16 Somnus Roman god of sleep.

23 thrift “Means of thriving; industry, labour; profitable occupation” or “prosperous growth; physical thriving” (OED).

38 Redoubled “To double (a thing) for a second or further time; (also) to double repeatedly” (OED).

Source: Poems, on Several Occasions, fourth edition (London, 1786), pp. 58-60.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Willis Plowman

George Saville Carey, “The Negro’s Soliloquy”


 “The Negro’s Soliloquy”

By yon bright streamers in the sky,
Which glimmer on the sea;
The chearing sun approaches nigh,
Yet brings no hope to me,
The peaceful night yields me no rest,                         5
Which gives to others sleep,
My heart it bleeds within my breast,
My eyes do nought but weep.

The toils, I cou’d endure of day,
Or spurn the tyrant’s chain,                                 10
But Norah’s driven far away,
Which racks my tortur’d brain;
My wife is she,—ah cruel heart,
That cou’d her heart oppress,
But ’tis alone the tyrant’s part,                                     15
To triumph o’er distress.

Haste, blessed tidings! haste along,
From fair Britannia’s isle,
Ah, come and ease the anxious throng,
And make the slave to smile;                                 20
If then good hap, my Norah lives,
These limbs shall ne’er have rest,
Until we meet, oh, then I’ll cleave,
Forever to her breast.


1 streamers “Ray[s] proceeding from the sun” (OED).

21 hap Luck.

Source: One Thousand Eight Hundred; or, I Wish You a Happy New Year. Being a choice collection of favourite songs, on serious, moral, and lively subjects (Tewkesbury, 1800), pp. 31-2. [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas

Walter Harte, “A Soliloquy, Occasion’d by the Chirping of a Grasshopper”


“A Soliloquy, Occasion’d by the Chirping of a Grasshopper”

Happy Insect! ever blest
With a more than mortal rest,
Rosy dews the leaves among,
Humble joys, and gentle song!
Wretched Poet! ever curst,                         5
With a life of lives the worst,
Sad despondence, restless fears,
Endless jealousies and tears.

In the burning summer, thou
Warblest on the verdant bough,               10
Meditating chearful play,
Mindless of the piercing ray;
Scorch’d in Cupid’s fervors, I
Ever weep, and ever die.

Proud to gratify thy will,                      15
Ready nature waits thee still:
Balmy wines to thee she pours,
Weeping thro’ the dewy flow’rs:
Rich as those by Hebe giv’n
To the thirsty sons of heav’n.                    20

Yet alas! we both agree,
Miserable thou like me!
Each alike in youth rehearses
Gentle strains, and tender verses;
Ever wand’ring far from home;                 25
Mindless of the days to come,
(Such as aged winter brings
Trembling on his icy wings)
Both alike at last we die;
Thou art starv’d, and so am I!                     30


13 Cupid’s fervors The Roman god of love, here referenced in the context of trying to write romantic love poetry.

19 Hebe Greek goddess of youth; she was cupbearer to the gods on Olympus, serving them ambrosia.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1727), pp. 80-2. [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas