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Written near a port on a dark evening charlotte smith
Written Near a Port on a Dark Evening -
By Luz Esteban and Olivia Obligado
About The Author
Charlotte Turner Smith was an English Romantic poet and novelist. She initiated a revival of the
English sonnet, help establish the conventions of Gothic fiction and wrote political novels of
sensibility. A successful writer, she published ten novels, three books of poetry and other
assorted works, over the course of her career. She saw herself as a poet first. Scholars now credit
her with transforming the sonnet into an expression of woeful sentiment.
During adulthood, Charlotte Smith eventually left husband Benjamin Smith and began writing to
support their children. She included portraits of herself and her family in her novels as well as
details about her life in her prefaces.
After 1789, however, Smith’s popularity waned and by 1803 she was destitute and ill- she could
barely hold a pen, and sold her books to pay off her debts. In 1806, Smith died. She is recognized
as an important Romantic writer.
Huge vapours brood above the clifted shore,
Night on the ocean settles dark and mute,
Save where is heard the repercussive roar
Of drowsy billows on the rugged foot
Of rocks remote; or still more distant tone
Of seamen in the anchored bark that tell
The watch relieved; or one deep voice alone
Singing the hour, and bidding “Strike the bell!”
All is black shadow but the lucid line
Marked by the light surf on the level sand,
Or where afar the ship-lights faintly shine
Like wandering fairy fires, that oft on land
Misled the pilgrim–such the dubious ray
That wavering reason lends in life’s long darkling way.
Before we analyze the poem, let’s look a little closer at what the title tells us
about the meaning of the poem. The title can tell us the deeper meaning of
● “ Written Near a Port on a Dark Evening“. We can infer that this poem
might be obscure because of the powerful word present in the title:
“dark”. The author is introducing us to that kind of atmosphere.
● This obscure atmosphere may have something to do with nature
because of the word “evening”. It is possible that the author will explore
her deepest thoughts through a very powerful resource, such as nature.
What we interpret and understand about this poem was the author's
distance from the human world, that great need to feel the emptiness of the
sea, as she was feeling it in her daily life. We believe that the voice of the
poem needed to feel part of nature to find itself, to come out of the human
void, to find it in the environment. An empty life, an empty sea. That is what
it is about, we believe that the poem focuses on the gaps in life and how the
human being clings to what he can, and in this case it is nature, being more
specific, the sea.
The sonnet - conventional English sonnet structure
1- 3 Quatrains (4 lines each with rhyme scheme)
2- Rhyming couplet for last two lines
3- Each line contains 10 syllables
We believe that the voice of the poem
presents a totally distant and obscure tone, a
tone already disinterested in humanity
● “Huge Vapours brood above the clifted
● We believe that it is a personification since
it speaks that the vapours are somehow
staying being raised, as if they were part
of the animal nature, on the coasts.
● “All is black shadow but the lucid line
Marked by the light surf on the level sand”
● We believe that there is imagery in this sentence
since reading it we can create a clear image of what
the author wants to convey. A darkness that only
ends on the shoreline.
The following phrase caught our attention.
“Strike The bell”
We were surprised because it is the first time
in the entire poem that a human voice could
be heard. A human scream, human presence
in the emptiness of nature.
In conclusion, we really liked being able to read this
poem since we were able to see human distancing from
another point of view, from a look in which emptiness is
not so bad, a look in which in emptiness you will always
find the nature. An empty space. An empty life, which
can be compared to an immense and endless ocean.