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The Water Palace, Mandoo

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

He built it, for he was a king,
And wealth was at his will;
He had another mountain hold
Upon a mighty hill:
But that was built in times of war
With high and armed walls,
With midnight watchers in its towers,
And warriors in its halls ;
But this sweet palace was for peace,
Built by the water-side,
When Zerid sheathed the sword and won
The Persian for his bride.

And beautiful round Ispahan
Spread gardens of the rose,
And 'mid her guarded solitude
The young queen pined for those ;
The conqueror sought a lovely spot,
And built a lovely home ;
Of porphyry was the shining floor,
Of crystal was the dome.
But lovelier were the cypresses
That hung the lake beside ;
As beauties o'er their mirror bend,
So bent they o'er the tide.

Those giant warriors of the wood,
Palms with their leafy crest,
Like waving feathers caught each breeze,
That wandered from the west;
And every breeze, of red rose leaves
Brought down a crimson rain,
And fields of rice and scented grass
Made green each distant plain ;
And cool and bright adown the stream
The water lilies swept,
As if within each silvery hold
The god Camdeo slept.

She came, the young and royal bride,
And if the place was fair,
Before her eyes shed sunshine round,
How fair when she was there!
An hundred maidens and their lutes
Came with their queen along;
The mornings passed, the evenings passed,
With story and with song :
His sword the conqueror forgot,
Her early home his bride—
Whenever they and summer sought
Their palace by the tide.

The early history of Mandoo is involved in much obscurity: it was first possessed by the Dhar Rajahs ; to one of these the above verses refer.

Camdeo is the Indian Cupid. He is represented by the Hindoo writers as a beautiful youth, sometimes floating down the Ganges on a lotus ; or, at others, riding on a loorie by moonlight, attended by dancing nymphs, the foremost of whom carries his banner, which displays a fish on a red ground. He bears four arrows, each headed by a different flower ; his bow is formed of a sugar-cane, and strung with bees.— Sir W. Jones.

The lotus is a species of large lily, of which there are many varieties ; some of a pure white, others tinged with a faint, others with a deep red. On a clear wave, the rich crimson has a splendid effect.— Asiatic Annual Register.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on June 25, 2016

2:05 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 2,245
Words 415
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 12, 12, 12, 12, 1, 1, 1

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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