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Dear Gifts

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



Life's best gifts are bought dearly. Wealth is won
By years of toil, and often comes too late:
With pleasure comes satiety ; and pomp
Is compassed round with vexing vanities :
And genius, earth's most glorious gift, that lasts
When all beside is perished in the dust—
How bitter is the suffering it endures !
How dark the penalty that it exacts !
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on July 24, 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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    "Dear Gifts" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 27 Nov. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/45038/dear-gifts>.

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