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Sonnet: At Dover Cliffs, July 20th 1787
by William Lisle Bowles

English poet and critic. His first work, Fourteen Sonnets (1789), was a considerable influence on the early romantics, especially Coleridge, and revived the sonnet form. Other works include The Spirit of Discovery (1804) and The Grave of the Last Saxon (1822). His edition of Alexander Pope's works (1806) brought about a pamphlet war between him and Byron for his claim that Pope's attention to "artificial" life rather than nature placed him at the leadership of only the second rank of poets.


Sonnet: At Dover Cliffs, July 20th 1787
by William Lisle Bowles

On these white cliffs, that calm above the flood
Uplift their shadowing heads, and, at their feet,
Scarce hear the surge that has for ages beat,
Sure many a lonely wanderer has stood;
And whilst the lifted murmur met his ear,
And o'er the distant billows the still eve
Sailed slow, has thought of all his heart must leave
Tomorrow; of the friends he loved most dear;
Of social scenes, from which he wept to part;
But if, like me, he knew how fruitless all
The thoughts that would full fain the past recall,
Soon would he quell the risings of his heart,
And brave the wild winds and unhearing tide,
The world his country, and his God his guide.


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