To Celia

Who addressed a consolatory letter to the writer on his imprisonment, through the medium of the IRIS, a newspaper published in Sheffield.


Where sorrow and solitude reign,

Reclined on my elbow, I sit,

And turn o’er the leaves of my brain,

But can find neither comfort nor wit:

My Robin, poor fellow! too soon

Returned to the green budding grove;

Where clearing his pipe into tune,

The pretty rogue’s fallen in love;


In his mate and his little ones blest,

How merry the warbler will be!

He’ll perch near his moss-woven nest,

And carol a Song about me:

Next winter, when tempests awake.

He’ll peck at yon window in vain:

Sweet Robin! Almost for thy sake,

I shall sigh for my prison again.


– Hark! – Shrill and sonorous around,

The trumpet’s dread summons I hear; *

Death’s voice in the blood-chilling sound

Assaults the pale murderer’s ear:

What horror must stiffen his veins!

At the pomp and the thunder of law,

Guilt shudders, and clings to his chains;

Even innocence trembles with awe!


Such mournful reflections as these

To agony turned every thought:

When lo! – at the music of keys,

I start ­– and a letter is brought!

– Oh! Celia, how soothing your art!

So sweetly pathetic you write,

Every syllable steals to the heart,

And melts it with pensive delight.


The Nightingale sitting forlorn,

Whose muse enamours the vale,

Learn his breast on the point of a thorn,

While telling his eloquent tale;

His feelings, this moment, are mine,

And oh! Could I borrow his strain,

Even Philomel’s numbers divine,

Might rival your letter in vain;–


Your beautiful letter replete

With modesty, elegance, ease!

Soft graces! How seldom they meet,

And oh! When they meet, how they please!

The charms of a delicate mind

So fair in this mirror are shewn,

One fault, and one only, I find ­–

­­– Dear Celia! Why are thy unknown?

Castle of York, March 7,


*Every morning, during the Assizes proclaim the entrance of the judge. These lines were written on the day when Celia’s letter was received, and just at the time when sentence of death had been pronounced upon a murderer; and his wife, in violent fits, was carried by the window of the writer.