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Hurdwar * A Place of Hindoo Pilgrimage

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

I LOVE the feeling which, in former days,
Sent men to pray amid the desert's gloom,
Where hermits left a cell, or saints a tomb ;
Good springs alike from penitence and praise,
From aught that can the mortal spirit raise:
And though the faith be false, the hope be vain,
That brought the Hindoo to his idol fane ;
Yet one all-sacred truth his deed conveys—
How still the heart doth its Creator own,
Mid strange idolatry and savage rite,
A consciousness of power eternal shown,
How man relies on some superior might.
The soul mid darkness feels its birth divine.
And owns the true God in the false god's shrine.

* Hurdwar, or Haridwar, means the gate of Vishnoo, the Prinsir. The Hindoos perform this pilgrimage, to bathe in a particular spot of the Ganges,> at the time when the sun enters the sign Aries. A fair is then held, which, thanks to the precautions taken by the British government, has, of late years, gone off without bloodshed. " At the annual fairs, it is supposed, from 200,000 to 300,000 persons are collected. Once in twelve years, when particular ceremonies are performed, the number of those present has been computed at one million." —
Hamilton's Gazetteer.

> "Parvati, the bride of Siva, ventured one day to cover his eyes with her hands. Thereupon all the functions of life were suspended—time stood—nay, the drops poured from Siva's brow, to think of the awful consequences arising from his almighty eye relaxing from its eternal watchfulness. From these drops, the Ganges had its divine origin ; hence the veneration of the Hindoos for the sacred river." —
Asiatic Researches.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on June 17, 2016

1:24 min read

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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