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The Princess Victoria - And art thou a Princess?

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

And art thou a Princess?—in sooth, we may well
Go back to the days of the sign and the spell,
When a young queen sat on an ivory throne
In a shining hall, whose windows shone
With colours its crystals caught from the sky,
Or the roof which a thousand rubies dye;
Where the summer garden was spread around,
With the date and the palm and the cedar crowned ;
Where fountains played with the rainbow showers,
Touched with the hues of their comrade flowers ;
Where the tulip and rose grew side by side,
One like a queen, and one like a bride;
One with its own imperial flush,
The other reddening with love's sweet blush;
When silver stuffs for her step were unrolled,
And the citron was served on a plate of gold ;
When perfumes arose from pearl caskets filled
With odours from all sweet things distilled ;
When a fairy guarded the throne from ill,
And she knew no rule but her own glad will:
Those were the days for a youthful queen,
And such, fair Princess, thou should'st have been.

But now thou wilt fill a weary throne,
What with rights of the people, and rights of thy own :
An ear-trumpet now thy sceptre should be.
Eternal debate is the future for thee.
Lord Brougham will make a six-hours' oration,
On the progress of knowledge, the mind of the nation ;
Lord Grey one yet longer, to state that his place
Is perhaps less dear to himself than his race ;
O'Connell will tell Ireland's griefs and her wrongs,
In speech, the mac-adamized prose of Moore's songs :
Good patience ! how weary the young queen will be
Of "the flower of the earth, and the gem of the sea !"
Mr. Hume, with his watchwords 'Retrenchment and Waste',
Will insist that your wardrobe in his care be placed;
The silk he will save! the blonde he will spare—
I wish he may leave Your Grace any to wear.
That feminine fancy, a will of your own,
Is a luxury wholly denied to a throne ;
And this is your future—how soon time will trace
A change and a sign on that fair and young face!
Methinks the best wish to be offered thee now,
Is—God keep the crown long from that innocent brow !
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on November 12, 2015

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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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