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Featured Poem: Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes! by Charlotte Turner Smith

November 25, 2013

The weekend may be over but it’s our favourite time of week here at The Reader Online as we get to enjoy a new Featured Poem. Why not take ten minutes out of your day to sit back, relax and enjoy some classic poetry?

This week’s selection comes from English Romantic poet and novelist Charlotte Turner Smith. Overcoming hardship to be able to provide for her children from an unhappy marriage and gain legal protection as a woman in the late 18th century, Charlotte utilised her struggles as a major theme in her poetry, which was her preferred form of writing. Such difficulty can be evidently witnessed in this poem – if Emily Dickinson took an optimistic approach by claiming ‘Hope is the thing with feathers’ then Turner Smith takes a more complex approach on the subject.

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the withered 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 though slow art sure.

Charlotte Turner Smith


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