Tag Archives: soliloquy

Ann Yearsley, “Soliloquy”

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

NOTES:

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”

GEORGE SAVILLE CAREY

 “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.

NOTES:

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”

WALTER HARTE

“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

NOTES:

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