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The Pilgrim (And Palmer, grey Palmer, by Galilee's wave.)

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

And Palmer, grey Palmer, by Galilee's wave.
Oh! saw you Count Albert, the gentle and brave.
When the crescent waxed faint, and the red cross
rushed on,
Oh! saw you him foremost on Mount Lebanon.

* * * * * *

The ladye sat in her lonely tower,—
She woke not her lute, she touched not a flower;
Though the lute wooed her hand with its silver string,
And the roses were rich with the wealth of spring:
But she thought not of them, for her heart was afar,
It was with her knight in the Holy war.

She look'd in the west;—it was not to see
The crimson and gold of the sky and sea,
Lighted alike by the setting sun,
As rather that day than night were begun;
But it was that a star was rising there,
Like a diamond set in the purple air,
The natal star of her own true knight—
No marvel the maiden watched its light:
At their parting hour they bade it be
Their watch and sign of fidelity.

Amid the rich and purple crowd
That throng the west, is a single cloud,
Differing from all around, it sails,
The cradle of far other gales
Than the soft and southern airs, which bring
But the dew and the flower-sigh on their wing;
Like some dark spirit's shadowy car,
It floats on and hides that lovely star,
While the rest of the sky is bright and clear,
The sole dark thing in the hemisphere.

But the maiden had turned from sea and sky,
To gaze on the winding path, where her eye
A pilgrim's distant form had scann'd:
He is surely one of the sacred band
Who seek their heavenly heritage
By prayer and toil and pilgrimage!
She staid not to braid her raven hair,—
Loose it flow'd on the summer air;
She took no heed of her silvery veil,—
Her cheek might be kiss'd by the sun or the gale:
She saw but the scroll in the pilgrim's hand,
And the palm-branch that told of the Holy Land.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on September 04, 2016

Modified by Madeleine Quinn

1:47 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…

All Letitia Elizabeth Landon poems | Letitia Elizabeth Landon Books

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  • Peter Bolton
    I ought to remark that this poem comes from a volume entitled Death's Doings. It is a poetical illustration of a drawing showing a hooded 'pilgrim' kneeling before a lady and offering her a scroll. His face is hidden but from other illustrations within the volume one knows that it would appear as that of a skull. 
    LikeReplyReport1 year ago
  • Peter Bolton
    This is a poem about presentiment. The lady has seen the single dark cloud and now she sees a grey pilgrim, who is the personification of Death. She does not need to read the scroll, she knows what it reads, and so do we. 
    LikeReplyReport1 year ago


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"The Pilgrim (And Palmer, grey Palmer, by Galilee's wave.)" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 22 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/45139/the-pilgrim-(and-palmer,-grey-palmer,-by-galilee's-wave.)>.

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