Ode to the Cento and Mary Darby Robinson

O Adversity! O’er my head, the deaf’ning Tempest blew, and blew.
O Antique Woods! Whose branches oe’r-hang the mountain’s crest.

O Beauty, Exulting Beauty! Magic phantom of the hour.
O Bright Stars! Shine on fields where trembling we stand.

O Della Crussa! Enlighten’d Patron of Sacred Lyre! Sing now!
O Despair, Terrific Fiend! Be thou Monster fell’d, condemn’d.

O Eloquence, hail! Goddess of persuasive art! Speak!
O Envy! Deep in th’ abyss where frantic horror bides.

O Health! Bright-eyed maid born of the tranquil mind.
O Heaven! How I could toil for thee o’er burning plains.

O Love! I renounce thy tyrant sway. Go now, away!
O Life! What is this world? Is this thy school?

O Meditation! Sweet Child of Reason made serene!
O Melancholy! Thou Sorc’ress of the Cave Profound!

O Moon! Palest Goddess of the witching hour.
O Morning! Rise oe’r fallow plains and fertile meads.

O Muse! Let me seize thy pen sublime and write.
O Myrtle! Unfading branches of verdant hue.

O Nightingale, Sweet Bird of Sorrow! Why sing?
O Oberon! Who gilds the vapours of the night?

O Reason! Vaunted Sovereign of the Mind! Rule us now.
O Reflection! Thou, whose sober precepts may control.

O Simplicity! Sweet blushing Nymph who dwells inside.
O Solitary Man! So oft seen pacing oe’r the meadows.

O Thou! Meek Orb! Stealing oe’r the dale at night.
O Time! Forgive our mournful song that stole along.

O Valour! Dearest Valour! Bestow thy gifts of Pow’r!
O Vanity! Insatiate Tyrant of the Mind — begone!

. . . . .

Susan Powers Bourne | Tiferet Twenty-Eight
Found cento created with first lines mined from
selected pieces by Mary Darby Robinson (1757-1800)


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