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ODE TO SARA,
WRITTEN AT SHURTON BARS, NEAR BRIDGWATER SEPTEM
BER, 1795, IN ANSWER TO A LETTER FROM BRISTOL.
[The first Stanza alludes to a Passage in the Letter.]
Nor travels my meand'ring eye
Nor now with curious sight
An Emerald of Light..
O ever-present to my view!
And sooths your boding fears :
Ah me! You are in tears !
Beloved Woman ! did you fly
Or Mirth's untimely din ?
When aches the void within.
* The expression “green radiance” is borrowed from Mr. Wordsworth, a Poet whose versification is occasionally harsh, and his diction too frequently obscure; but whom I deem unrivalled among the writers of the present day, in manly sentiment, novel imagery, and vivid colouring.
But why with sable wand unbless'd
Dim-visag'd shapes of Dread ?
And hovers round my head !
I felt it prompt the tender Dream,
You rous'd each gentler sense,
With viewless influence.
And hark, my Love! The sea-breeze moans Thro' yon reft house! O'er rolling stones
With broad impetuous sweep, The fast encroaching tides supply The silence of the cloudless sky
With mimic thunders deep.
Dark-red’ning from the channel'd Isle *
Unslated by the blast)
Rude-cradled on the mast.
Ev'n there-beneath that light-house tower-
Ere Peace with Sara came,
* The Holmes, in the Bristol Channel.
To count the echoings of my feet,
And watch the troubled flame.
And there in black and jaundic'd fit
And listen to the roar:
Plung'd foaming on the shore.
Then by the Lightning's blaze to mark
Her vain distress-guns hear:
To see no Vessel there!
But Fancy now more gaily sings ;
As sky-larks mid the corn,
Nods, till returning morn. ,
O mark those smiling tears, that swell The open’d Rose! From heaven they fell,
And with the sun-beam blend ; Blest visitations from above : Such are the tender woes of Love
Fost'ring the heart, they bend !
When stormy Midnight howling round
Great God ! you'll say—To us so kind,
The houseless, friendless wretch !
The tears that tremble down your cheek,
In Pity's dew divine ;
The answ'ring swell of mine!
How oft, my Love! with shapings sweet
With eager speed I dart -
I press you to my heart !
'Tis said, on Summer's evening hour
A fair electric flame:
Shoots rapid thro' the frame !
COMPOSED AT CLEVEDON,
My pensive Sara ! thy soft cheek reclin'd
• Light from plants. In Sweden a very curious phenomenon has been observed on certain flowers by M. Haggern, lecturer in natural
To sit beside out cot, our cot o'er grown
history. One evening he perceived a faint flash of light repeatedly dart from a marigold. Surprised at such an uncommon appearance, he resolved to examine it with attention; and, to be assured it was no deception of the eye, he placed a man near him, with orders to make a signal at the moment when he observed the light. They both saw it constantly at the same moment.
The light was most brilliant on marigolds of an orange or flame colour ; but scarcely visible on pale ones.
The flash was frequently seen on the same flower two or three times in quick succession ; but more commonly at intervals of several minutes; and when several flowers in the same place emitted their light together, it could be observed at a considerable distance.
This phenomenon was remarked in the months of July and August at sun-set, and for half an hour, when the atmosphere was clear; but after a rainy day, or when the air was loaded with vapours nothing of it was seen.
The following flowers emitted flashes, more or less vivid, in this order :
1. The marigold, galendula officinalis.
4. The Indian pink, tagetes patula & erecta. From the rapidity of the flash, and other circumstances, it may be conjectured that there is something of electricity in this phenomenon.