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The Fairy Queen Sleeping. By Stothard

Letitia Elizabeth Landon 1802 (Chelsea) – 1838 (Cape Coast)



She lay upon a bank, the favourite haunt
Of the spring wind in its first sunshine hour,
For the luxuriant strawberry blossoms spread
Like a snow-shower there, and violets
Bow'd down their purple vases of perfume
About her pillow,--link'd in a gay band
Floated fantastic shapes, these were her guards,
Her lithe and rainbow elves.

WE have been o'er land and sea,
Seeking lovely dreams for thee,--
Where is there we have not been
Gathering gifts for our sweet queen?
We are come with sound and sight
Fit for fairy's sleep to-night,--
First around thy couch shall sweep
Odours, such as roses weep
When the earliest spring rain
Calls them into life again;
Next upon thine ear shall float
Many a low and silver note,
Stolen from a dark-eyed maid
When her lover's serenade,
Rising as the stars grew dim,
Waken'd her from thoughts of him.
There shall steal o'er lip and cheek
Gales, but all too light to break
Thy soft rest,--such gales as hide
All day orange-flowers inside,
Or that, while hot noontide, dwell
In the purple hyacinth bell;
And before thy sleeping eyes
Shall come glorious pageantries,--
Palaces of gems and gold,
Such as dazzle to behold,--
Gardens, in which every tree
Seems a world of bloom to be,--
Fountains, whose clear waters show
The white pearls that lie below.--
During slumber's magic reign
Other times shall live again;
First thou shalt be young and free
In thy days of liberty,--
Then again be woo'd and won
By thy stately OBERON .
Or thou shalt descend to earth,
And see all of mortal birth.

No, that world's too full of care
For e'en dreams to linger there.
But, behold, the sun is set,
And the diamond coronet
Of the young moon is on high
Waiting for our revelry;
And the dew is on the flower,
And the stars proclaim our hour;
Long enough thy rest has been,
Wake, TITANIA , wake our queen!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was an English poet. Born 14th August 1802 at 25 Hans Place, Chelsea, she lived through the most productive period of her life nearby, at No.22. A precocious child with a natural gift for poetry, she was driven by the financial needs of her family to become a professional writer and thus a target for malicious gossip (although her three children by William Jerdan were successfully hidden from the public). In 1838, she married George Maclean, governor of Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast, whence she travelled, only to die a few months later (15th October) of a fatal heart condition. Behind her post-Romantic style of sentimentality lie preoccupations with art, decay and loss that give her poetry its characteristic intensity and in this vein she attempted to reinterpret some of the great male texts from a woman’s perspective. Her originality rapidly led to her being one of the most read authors of her day and her influence, commencing with Tennyson in England and Poe in America, was long-lasting. However, Victorian attitudes led to her poetry being misrepresented and she became excluded from the canon of English literature, where she belongs. more…

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