Victorian Poetry

This is a Victorian poem which I have transcribed from a 19th century handwritten album.

An amanuensis, a person who writes from dictation or copies manuscript; a literary assistant. Wouldn't it be marvelous to have such a person! But I do all my own manual tasks, and transcription takes time. So on this page I have given an example of some poetry I am transcribing.

I know who the author was, and am working on transcribing the rest of the album. The poet lived in Lincolnshire, England. She was a contemporary of Alfred Lord Tennyson, and some of her family if not the poet herself were friends of the Tennyson family. The poet lived only a few miles from Somersby, the Tennyson family home.

See if you can spot any Tennyson influence in this poem.


I love to see the sunset paint
The clouds with crimson and with gold,
I love to see the light grow faint
On winter evenings bleak and cold
When sitting by the fire I gaze
Upon the ever deep'ning gloom,
And watch the ruddy cheerful blaze
Illumining the dusky room.

But still the hour I love the best
Is when the busy day is past,
And all the house-hold are at rest,
My door secured and bolted fast; -
Then in the stillness of the night
I sit alone, my thoughts are free,
And by my solitary light
I can indulge in reverie.

There is no sound within the house
Which can my distant thoughts recall
Unless I hear a lively mouse
Which scampers nimbly in the wall
Or in the hearth raw and cold
The crackling of my friendly fire
Which to my fancy oft has told
A tale of which I never tire

But when the night is dark and wet
I hear the sobbing of the rain,
Which comes with heavy drops to fret
And break against my window pane;
And often when I sit alone,
The troubled winds are fleeting by,
And in their sad fascinating moan
I find the echo of my life.

1861 April


And here is an extract from a long poem called "The Wreck"

A lonely wanderer stands upon the shore
And gazes on the sea with aching heart;
It is a spot he often seeks to smile
Upon the goodly vessel that went down
In former years, when the mad waves were lash'd
To fury by fierce winds, and when the shriek
Of wild despair was heard as on the rocks
The pitiful black rocks, the timbers crack'd,
And in the darkness of that strange night
The strong and gallant ship was wrecked & lost
And sunk to rise no more. Who that has liv'd
To see the wreck of all his cherish'd hopes
Knows not the fascination sad and strange
Which hovers o'er the mem'ry of the past,
And leads us to recall each link which binds
Its days together, though we contemplate
With agony renewed the bitter loss
Which filled our life with darkness. Grief & pain
Are mighty conquerors & they never yield
A citadel once won until its walls
Are razed by death, but ever in the heart
They rule when they have gain’d admittance there.