Sunday, October 9, 2011


by Ann Radcliffe

From haunt of man, from day's obtrusive glare,
Thou shroud'st thee in the ruin's ivy'd tow'r,
Or in some shadowy glen's romantic bow'r,
Where wizard forms their mystic charms prepare,
Where Horror lurks, and ever-boding Care!
But, at the sweet and silent ev'ning hour,
When clos'd in sleep is ev'ry languid flow'r,
Thou lov'st to sport upon the twilight air,
Mocking the eye, that would thy course pursue,
In many a wanton round, elastic, gay,
Thou flitt'st athwart the pensive wand'rer's way,
As his lone footsteps print the mountain-dew.
From Indian isles thou com'st, with Summer's car,
Twilight thy love -- thy guide her beaming star!

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794.


Now the bat circles on the breeze of eve,
That creeps, in shudd'ring sits, along the wave,
And trembles 'mid the woods, and through the cave
Whose lonely sighs the wanderer deceive;
For oft, when melancholy charms his mind,
He thinks the Spirit of the rock he hears,
Nor listens, but with sweetly-thrilling fears,
To the low, mystic murmurs of the wind!
Now the bat circles, and the twilight dew
Falls silent round, and, o'er the mountain-cliff,
The gleaming wave and far-discover'd skiff,
Spreads the grey veil of soft, harmonious hue.
So falls o'er Grief the dew of pity's tear
Dimming her lonely visions of despair.

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794

                      --Oft I hear,
Upon the silence of the midnight air,
Celestial voices swell in holy chorus
That bears the soul to heaven!

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794


Sweet Autumn! how the melancholy grace
Steals on my heart, as through these shades I wind!
Sooth'd by thy breathing sigh, I fondly trace
Each lonely image of the pensive mind!
Lov'd scenes, lov'd friends -- long lost! around me rise,
And wake the melting thought, the tender tear!
That tear, that thought, which more than mirth I prize --
Sweet as the gradual tint that paints thy year!

Thy farewell smile, with fond regret, I view,
Thy beaming lights, soft gliding o'er the woods;
Thy distant landscape, touch'd with yellow hue,
While falls the lengthen'd gleam; thy winding floods,
Now veil'd in shade, save where the skiff's white sails
Swell to the breeze, and catch thy streaming ray.
But now, e'en now! -- the partial vision fails,
And the wave smiles, as sweeps the cloud away!
Emblem of life! -- Thus checquer'd is its plan,
Thus joy succeeds to grief -- thus smiles the varied man!

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794
BIO: Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823), known as the Mistress of the Gothic Novel, wove an effective blend of psychological fear and poetry into her stories, profoundly affecting the writings of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.  

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