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Love's Followers

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



There was an evil in Pandora's box
Beyond all other ones, yet it came forth
In guise so lovely, that men crowded round
And sought it as the dearest of all treasure.
Then were they stung with madness and despair:
High minds were bowed in abject misery.
The hero trampled on his laurell'd crown,
While genius broke the lute it waked no more.
Young maidens, with pale cheeks, and faded eyes,
Wept till they died. Then there were broken hearts —
Insanity and Jealousy, that feeds
Unto satiety, yet loathes its food ;
Suicide digging its own grave ; and Hate,
Unquenchable and deadly ; and Remorse
The vulture feeding on its own life-blood.
The evil's name was Love — these curses seem
His followers for ever.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on May 10, 2016

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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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