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Howth Light-House

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

Few subjects can be more sublime and grand than the present Illustration, under the circumstances and point of view in which it is here represented. A vista, formed by a great chasm amid the rocks, discloses to the view the lofty promontory called the Baily, (situated on the north side of Dublin Bay,) starting precipitously from the water, and having its narrow summit crowned by a beautiful tower, supporting a great lantern with an encircling gallery. — The character of “The Needles” is naturally sublime : the intervening sea between them and the light-house always presents an agitated surface ; and the little bold peninsula itself exposes a series of rocky, steep, and inaccessible cliffs.

Look from the lattice, look forth, my child
Are the waves heaving, is the wind wild.
Burns the red beacon afar on the air,
Are the stars shining, and is the night fair ?

Give me his keepsake, that echoing shell
Where the deep murmur of far waters dwell ;
There let me listen, it moans in my ear.
Soft is the music — no tempest is near.

Shine, thou bright beacon, though I may no more
Rejoice in the radiance thou fling'st on the shore,
Yet doth thy glory remembered impart
Light to my slumber, and hope to my heart.

Now is the autumn, the yellow leaves fall
From the grapes that lie purple, the last on the wall,
The free gales of autumn sweep over the sea,
They’ll bring back my sailor to home and to me.

The curlew has left, with a fugitive wing,
The nest which she built for her young in the spring,
Far on the wild winds and waters to roam.
But mine with the autumn returns to his home.

He will come to his mother the blind and the old,
Before the drear winter is cheerless and cold ;
I shall hear his light footstep his coming declare.
And kiss his fair forehead, and touch his soft hair.

The moon of the hunter is now in her wane.
And fair is the weather and fixed is the vane ;
Then shine, thou bright beacon, afar on thy height.
Shine out for the ship soon to welcome thy light.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on December 09, 2016

1:50 min read
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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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