Capel Lofft (1753-1824)

Visit Roger Meyenberg's Capel Lofft page for poems and biographical information.

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The Sports of the Field

Sports of the field!--deadly or maiming blow
Aimed at a gentle bird!--the timid hare
From her half slumber in warm brake to scare
And drive her over the track-betraying snow
To death, by chase embittered--from the bow
The rook, not yet of strength to cleave the air,
To slaughter trembling on the nest!--to tear
The bowels of the fish deliberate, slow,

Play with the agonizing worm!--to find
Amusement when the dauntless fox is torn
By furious dogs--or when the beauteous hind,
Winged by her unavailing fears, is borne
From yells of hounds and horn--or the stag dies
With silent tear!--Thus man enjoys earth, water, skies!


I love: and day by day, as absent, pine
Barr'd from her sight and converse whom I love:
And yet the fair by plighted vows is mine;
Mine by affection far those vows above
Mine by possession;--O the bliss divine;--
Nor can my heart her constancy reprove.
Why does she then society decline
With me, me whose desires never from her remove?

O night, return and give her to my arms!
Full of constraint and tedious is the day.
Though the same roof enshrine her wedded charms
Though on my board beam her benignant ray.--
O, haste the hour when private and alone
Joys only she can give shall be my own!

The Ring

Dear, mystic circlet!.... orbs like thine are found
Within their hallowd empire to enclose
Such unimagin'd joys, such cares and woes,
As still in hearts most sensible abound.
O, since for me bliss animates thy mound
Few be thy cares to her:--and only those
Whence sympathy more sweet and tender flows
And anguish with increas'd delight is crown'd.

Dear circlet!--while with love and awe I gaze
On thy pure gold, of constancy the sign,
Ah, prompt, if once imagination strays,
Recall my wedded thoughts to their blest shrine:
Nor look unkind, nor passion's angry sound,
E'er touch her gentle heart who bears from me thy round!

Love's Likeness

"Just like love the balmy rose:"
For ah their sweets have many a thorn;
And tempests chase their early morn;
Serenely calm each rarely glows.
But when enchanting music flows
Then pure and full delight is born,
And anxious care and woe forlorn
Are lull'd into divine repose!--

Just like love blest music breathes:
But with her bliss no pang enwreaths.--
Like love, ere death, or fear, or pain
Invaded those primæval bowers
Where the first parents hail'd the reign
Of harmony mid angel-powers.

To the Sea: Written on the Beach at Aldborough

Thou awful sea!--upon this shingly beach
Of Aldborough I pace:--my gazing eye
Thy world of waters lost in the dim sky
Admiring, and thy echoing waves, that teach,
In voice of thunder, more than tongue can preach;
The knell of ages past and passing by;
And claim their ancient Empire o'er the dry
And solid Earth; each animating each.

Of towns long sunk, o'er which thy wild waves roar,
Of sea to land, of land to ocean turn'd,
I muse: and mourn, that who could amplest pour
Homeric tones on thy resounding shore
Porson is dead!--That sea of Grecian lore
Unbounded, in the abyss of fate inurn'd.

The Musical Analogies of the Universe: On Occasion of the Comet of 1811

Nature is Music;--and the mystic tale,
No fable to the well-attempered ear,
Which sings that harmony tunes every sphere
In perfect concert:--though to mortals frail
Too fine the spirit of the ethereal gale
To reach this seat of earthly hope and fear;
When immortality removes the veil
Then we shall see indeed and truly hear.

Thou wondrous visitant! who hast so late
Approacht the sun, and now returning bright
In radiant glory from that source of light,
In diapason voicest forth Heaven's state,
A chord thou art of that celestial lyre,
To which through countless worlds resounds the angelic choir!

To Coleridge

Thou who hast amply quaff'd the Muse's rill,
And bath'd thy locks in pure poetic dews,
Canst thou disparage the Petrarcan Muse;
To her sweet voice deaf, cold, fastidious still!
Examine if unprejudic'd the will,
Coleridge, which can to her high praise refuse;
And of perverseness her fair laws accuse
Which through the enchanted ear the bosom fill.

Her various, cadenc'd, regularity
He who o'er epic heights hath soar'd sublime,
And magic Spenser, lov'd. The mighty dead
Have followers, haply to posterity
Not unendear'd.--O scorn not these, who led
In many a graceful maze the full harmonious rhyme.

That the True Structure of the Sonnet Should Be Observ'd by Authors of Genius Who Thus Entitle Their Poems

[addressed to Henry Kirke White]

Ye, whose aspirings court the Muse of lays
"Severest of those orders which belong
Distinct and separate to Delphic song"
Why shun the sonnet's undulating maze?
Or why its name, boast of Petrarcan days,
Assume, its rules disown'd?--whom from the throng
The Muse selects, their ear the charm obeys
Of its full harmony:--they fear to wrong

The sonnet by adorning with a name
Of that distinguisht import, lays, though sweet,
Yet not in magic texture taught to meet
Of that so varied and peculiar frame.
O think, to vindicate its genuine praise
Those it becomes whose lyre a favoring impulse sways.

(See White's response.)