E Colthurst: Irish Woman Poet

Little is known of Colthurst’s life, other than that she was born in Cork, lived most of her life in Killarney and published profusely, if anonymously. Impromptu is from her 1840 volume, The Storm and Other Poems.

IMPROMPTU
 
ON THE ROAD TO KILLARNEY
 
Behind me a desert, cold, barren, and drear,

Before me, a paradise lies;

Oh ! the bright-shining- lakes, and the mountains are there,

Now cloth ‘d to the summit, now rugged and bare,

Where the red deer sinks deep in his lone heather lair,

Or far from the wild hunter flies.

 
The white clouds around all mysteriously flung.

Still opening new wonders to view.

Now cresting the torrents, now resting among

The moss-tinted cliffs, whence the arbuties sprung,

With bright-berried hollies, whose branches are hung

Luxuriant o’er waters of blue.

 
And echo, sweet echo, is busy around.

Her own native region is here.

Repeating, prolonging each musical sound.

Melodiously breathing to distance profound.

Or bidding the nest of the eagle resound

To the stag-hound in rapid career.

 
Oh who could contemplate a landscape so fair.

Or look on a scene such as this.

Distinguish the Almighty Architect there.

Nor feel combinations of beauty so rare.

Roll off from the bosom the cloud of its care,

And waken the spirit of bliss?

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