Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SONNETS IN IMITATION OF SHAKESPEARE, by JAMES SMITH (1775-1839)



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SONNETS IN IMITATION OF SHAKESPEARE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Absence and presence, born of elder night
Last Line: Some thoughts on him whose all thoughts dwelt on thee.
Subject(s): Absence; Dramatists; Night; Plays & Playwrights; Poetry & Poets; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616); Separation; Isolation; Bedtime


ABSENCE and Presence, born of elder Night,
O'er common mortals hold a common sway;
Absence alights when Presence takes her flight,
Presence presides when Absence is away.
O'er life's dull ocean, borne with steady sails,
Alike, as brother oft resembles brother;
By cold indifference poised in equal scales,
The one may well pass current for the other.
But (thee once known) what heart can ever know,
Oblivion, weed that rots on Lethe's wharf?
Presence dispensing joy, and Absence woe,
This soars a giant, and that droops a dwarf.
Oh! disproportioned size of joy and grief,
Absence, how endless long, and Presence brief!

Thou 'lt still survive, when I to time shall bow,
When my leaves scattered lie, thy rose will bloom;
Thou'lt walk the earth, alert as thou art now,
When I am mould'ring in the silent tomb;
My face, my form, traced by the graver's tool,
Thou holdest: hold them then; and, with a sigh,
When shadowing night shall o'er the welkin rule,
Bethink thee, musing, of the days gone by.
Be not too happy, or my jealous sprite
Shall deem thy laughter light, thy spirits folly;
But, gazing on my portraiture, unite
Serene content with sober melancholy,
And cast, in thy beloved sobriety,
Some thoughts on him whose all thoughts dwelt on thee.





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