Sonnet / To the South Downs by Charlotte Smith

Another strong poet from when women were kept weak, Charlotte Smith had a childhood as turbulent as the landscape she describes here is pacific.

She said she became a legal prostitute at 15 because she was wed off to a man to forgive her father for his gambling debts. She eventually had 12 children, lived in a debtor’s prison with her husband for many years, and became the inspiration for Dicken’s Bleak House, in that Charlotte went through a forty year legal battle to gain a rightful inheritance.

It is tough women like this that make me sad for women today who think argument means threat when debate comes from men. These snowballs couldn’t stand a chance in Ol’ England or anywhere else. As always, in the entirety of the human condition, one advocates for one’s self instead of retreating to the company of a third party for a witness, or to the shelter of home with a therapy animal.

If you’d like to know more of the brave Charlotte Smith, there is a wonderful poetry series for her on YouTube, read by the best reader of female poetry, Ghizela Rowe:

Lethean cup refers to the mythic river Lethe and its waters of forgetfulness. Aruna is most probably a water God or the water God.

Sonnet / To the South Downs
by Charlotte Smith (1749–1806)

AH, hills beloved!—where once, a happy child,
Your beechen shades, “your turf, your flowers, among,”
I wove your bluebells into garlands wild,
And woke your echoes with my artless song.
Ah! hills beloved!—your turf, your flowers, remain;
But can they peace to this sad breast restore,
For one poor moment soothe the sense of pain,
And teach a broken heart to throb no more?
And you, Aruna! in the vale below,
As to the sea your limpid waves you bear,
Can you one kind Lethean cup bestow,
To drink a long oblivion to my care?
Ah no!—when all, e’en hope’s last ray is gone,
There ’s no oblivion but in death alone!

About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
This entry was posted in editing writing, Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply