Today is National Poetry Day. We remember Charlotte Turner Smith (1749-1806), poet and novelist: ‘the first poet in England whom in retrospect we would call Romantic’ as the editor of her verse, Stuart Curran, writes.
Next week, scholars of Smith will unite here at Chawton House Library to celebrate her life and works. You can download the conference programme from this link:
In the meantime, please enjoy her poem
‘On the Departure of the Nightingale’
Sweet poet of the woods, a long adieu!
Farewell soft mistrel of the early year!
Ah! ’twill be long ere thou shalt sing anew,
And pour thy music on the night’s dull ear.
Whether on spring thy wandering flights await,
Or whether silent in our groves you dwell,
The pensive muse shall own thee for her mate,
And still protect the song she loves so well.
With cautious step the love-lorn youth shall glide
Through the lone brake that shades thy mossy nest;
And shepherd girls from eyes profane shall hide
The gentle bird who sings of pity best:
For still thy voice shall soft affections move,
And still be dear to sorrow and to love!