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Iole

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



'Tis a vain folly, and I know it such ; 

Yet who has not some weakness which the heart
Has made an idol ? 'Tis thus with the name

That to my lute is as the vizard is, 

Which hides the masquer's face. I have no hope. 

Nay, scarce the wish, for fame ; but yet it soothes, 

And gives me somewhat of a social feeling, 

To think that some, albeit they know me not,

May share the grief that taught me poetry. 

Beloved mine ! Iole has a sound
Breathing of other days, and linked with thee :

'Tis not the first time I have borne that name. 

When but a boy, (for I was fair and pale, 

And had some likeness to an antique gem,),

In some young frolic, garb'd as a Greek girl, 

Named from that cameo with Iole's name, 

I taught my lute its earliest song of love,

Pouring my feelings under that disguise, 

lanthe, thou wast spirit of that song. — 

It was my first disguise, it is my last, — 

And both alike are thine.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on June 08, 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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1 Comment

  • Peter Bolton
    This is the signature poem for Letitia Landon writing under a pen name she used from late 1825 to early in 1827.
    LikeReplyReport6 years ago

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"Iole" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 28 Jun 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/44832/iole>.

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