ANN RADCLIFFE (1764–1823)

Dear, wild illusions of creative mind!
         Whose varying hues arise to Fancy’s art,
And by her magic force are swift combin’d
          In forms that please, and scenes that touch the heart:
Oh! whether at her voice ye soft assume
          The pensive grace of sorrow drooping low;
Or rise sublime on terror’s lofty plume,
          And shake the soul with wildly thrilling woe;
Or, sweetly bright, your gayer tints ye spread,
          Bid scenes of pleasure steal upon my view,
Love wave his purple pinions o’er my head,
          And wake the tender thought to passion true;
O! still – ye shadowy forms! attend my lonely hours,
Still chase my real cares with your illusive powers!

[SOURCE: Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest, 3 vols (London: T. Hookham and J. Carpenter, 1791), vol. 1, pp. 86–7.]

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