Written in October by Charlotte Turner Smith (4 May 1749 – 28 October 1806)

The blasts of Autumn as they scatter round
The faded foliage of another year,
And muttering many a sad and solemn sound,
Drive the pale fragments o’er the stubble sere,
Are well attuned to my dejected mood;
(Ah! better far than airs that breathe of Spring!)
While the high rooks, that hoarsely clamouring
Seek in black phalanx the half-leafless wood,
I rather hear, than that enraptured lay
Harmonious, and of Love and Pleasure born,
Which from the golden furze,or flowering thorn
Awakes the Shepherd in the ides of May;
Nature delights me most when most she mourns,
For never more to me the Spring of Hope returns!

Charlotte Turner Smith was born in London, brought up on her family’s estate, Bignor Park, in Sussex, and educated at schools in Sussex and London. At fifteen she married a wealthy merchant in the West Indies trade. When he was imprisoned for debt and subsequently fled to France, she was left to bring up twelve children and turned to writing to earn money. Her first publication was a translation of Antoine-François Prévost’s Manon Lescaut, but she became better known as a poet and a novelist. A prolific writer, she published three collections of poetry, six children’s books, and ten novels. Her first collection, Elegiac Sonnets and Other Essays (1774), went through eleven editions and was translated into French and Italian.

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