Restormel Castle

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



It was the last Chief of Restormel,
He sat within his tower,
Dim burnt the hearth, and pale was the lamp,
For it was the midnight hour.

It was not the sound of a mortal voice,
Though it spoke with a mortal word,
Mid the howl of the wind, and the dash of the wave,
That the Chief of Restormel heard.

He heard a shriek on the midnight wind,
And he heard a dying groan;
Each gust through the sky, that went hurrying by,
Brought his murdered brother's moan.

The dark hearth hissed with the falling rain,
The lamp would burn no more;
But redder and redder the bloodspots grew
That stained the oaken floor.

Then he knew that the voice of his brother's blood
Was crying aloud to heaven;
And he knew that the present hour was one
To the evil spirits given;

And fiendish shapes from the tapestry looked,
And the lightning glared on the band;
" Come," said a voice, and he felt on his heart
The touch of an icy hand.

Fearful, they said, was the face of the dead,
Whom his vassals found next day;
For a clay-cold corse, in his midnight tower,
The last Chief of Restormel lay.

     Restormel Castle was one of the principal residences of the Earls of Cornwall. The above verses are
founded on a traditionary story told of its last castellan, or constable.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on June 25, 2016

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:10 min read
106

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABXB XCXC XDXD XEXE XFFF XGXG XXBA XA
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,215
Words 234
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 2

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…

All Letitia Elizabeth Landon poems | Letitia Elizabeth Landon Books

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