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Short poem

Charlotte Smith (1749-1806)

Huge Vapours Brood above the Clifted Shore

              1Huge vapours brood above the clifted shore,
              2Night o'er the ocean settles, dark and mute,
              3Save where is heard the repercussive roar
              4Of drowsy billows, on the rugged foot
              5Of rocks remote; or still more distant tone
              6Of seamen, in the anchored bark, that tell
              7The watch relieved; or one deep voice alone,
              8Singing the hour, and bidding "strike the bell."
              9All is black shadow, but the lucid line
            10Marked by the light surf on the level sand,
            11Or where afar, the ship-lights faintly shine
            12Like wandering fairy fires, that oft on land
            13Mislead the pilgrim; such the dubious ray
            14That wavering reason lends, in life's long darkling way.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Charlotte Smith, The Young Philosopher, 4 vols. (London, 1798): III, 75.
First publication date: 1798
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/20

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: ababcdcdefefgg

Other poems by Charlotte Smith