Elizabeth Cobbold
Image from Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Welcome back to the Richmond Read-along! Today we’re reading a sonnet from Elizabeth Cobbold. Cobbold was a prolific writer, although many of her poems were published posthumously, as well as an avid volunteer for charities and mother to 22 children. She was also known for her hand-cut valentines that she made for the single attendees of her annual valentines parties.

Today’s “Sonnet. On some Violets planted in my Garden by a Friend” is a poem in honour of the flowers given to her by a friend, and is a rumination on friendship and generosity:

“Cath’rine, though not from fortune’s glittering stores
Thou hadst a gift to offer, yet ’twas thine
A tender sweetness in thy gift to pour,
That gave thy heart’s expression best to mine.
The violets, o’er yon western bank that twine,
To thy protecting hand their station owe;
In brighter tints may proud exotics shine,
But none with fresher native fragrance blow:
Even as thy violets in my garden grow,
So shall thy friendship in my bosom live,
Its rooting fibres round my heart-strings throw,
And sweetness to each pure sensation give,
Still flourish there unfading, and defy
The changing climate and the stormy sky.”

You can find this sonnet, as well as several others by Cobbold, on her page at the English Poetry 1579-1830 database. Richmond Library members can read more about Cobbold in her Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article, part of our online resources.

We’ll see you tomorrow for the next Richmond Read-along!