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Fowey Harbour, and Polruan Castle, &c.

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

The Ladye sat in her lonely tower,
Singing a mournful song;
One of those sad and olden rhymes
That aye to love belong.
The bride is young, and her lord is away,
Therefore sings she that love-lorn lay.

Sudden she marks, through the glittering waves,
Two armed ships cleave their way ;
Their sails are white, in the morning light,
And around breaks the dashing spray.
She sees the flag with its lilies expand,
And a band of warriors leap to land.

It had been sight, for a gallant knight,
To mark that ladye call,
'Mid weeping maidens, and wardens old,
On her vassals to man the wall;
Albeit it roused more love than fear,
To see, that white hand grasp the spear.

There are no knights like our English knights,
Yet the boldest of his name,
Never from castle repulsed the foe
More bravely than that fair dame:
They left their chief, and their banner behind,
When the Frenchmen spread their sails to the wind.

"Is a masque tow'rd ?" said the castle's lord,
When he came home next day,
Beside him stood a captive knight,
And a banner before him lay :
His ladye's cheek wore its deepest red,
When she told him how she had been lord instead.

Leland, when speaking of the "Frenchmen" having " diverse times assailed the town" of Fowey, "and last most notably, about Henry the Sixth's time," informs us, that " the wife of Thomas Treury, the 2d, with her men, repelled the French out of her house in her husband's absence ; whereupon Thomas Treury builded a righte faire and stronge embateled towr in his house,—and vnto this day it is the glorie of the town building in Faweye." The tower fell to the ground about sixty years ago, and two busts of the heroine who so gallantly repulsed the enemy, were found in the ruins : they are still preserved.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on June 29, 2016

1:35 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 1,711
Words 319
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 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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