Written at the Close of Spring

Charlotte Smith

2 min read by Dmitri and Chi. Published in Essays, Stories.

The garlands fade that Spring so lately wove,

Each simple flower, which she had nursed in dew,

Anemonies, that spangled every grove,

The primrose wan, and hare-bell mildly blue.

No more shall violets linger in the dell,

Or purple orchis variegate the plain,

Till Spring again shall call forth every bell,

And dress with humid hands her wreathes again.—

Ah! poor humanity! so frail, so fair,

Are the fond visions of thy early day,

Till tyrant passion, and corrosive care,

Bid all thy fairy colors fade away!

Another May new buds and flowers shall bring:

Ah! why has happiness—no second Spring?

❦❧

A frequently discussed and interpreted sonnet by a late-eighteenth-century-writer, Charlotte Smith. Illustrated with photographs selected from Chikako’s fantastic Instagram portfolio of floral film photography.

For someone as inexperienced in Georgian era reading as myself, this poem takes a few tries to digest. Although trips to the dictionary are, in this case, a delight. Both embarrassed to admit to not knowing and happy to learn, anemone, a fantastically melodic word for a type of flower.

In her poem, Smith unveils the sad reality of trying and mortal human lives on the backdrop of relentlessly blooming nature.