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Carrick-a-Rede, Ireland

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

He dwelt amid the gloomy rocks,
A solitary man;
Around his home on every side,
The deep salt waters ran.
The distant ships sailed far away,
And o’er the moaning wave
The sea-birds swept, with pale white wings,
As phantoms haunt the grave:
’Twas dreary on an autumn night,
To hear the tempest sweep,
When gallant ships were perishing
Alone amid the deep.

He was a stranger to that shore,
A stranger he remained,
For to his heart, or hearth, or board,
None ever welcome gained.
Great must have been the misery
Of guilt upon his mind,
That thus could sever all the ties
Between him and his kind.
His step was slow, his words were few,
His brow was worn and wan;
He dwelt among those gloomy rocks,
A solitary man.

The romantic anecdote, to which the above lines have reference, is a true one.—A manuscript journal of a Tour through the Western Islands of Scotland, and along the Northern Coast of Ireland, in 1746, contains the following passage:—

"Carrick-a-Reid is a great rock, cut off from the shore by a chasm of fearful depth, through which the sea, when vexed by angry winds, boileth with great fury. It is resorted to at this season of the year by fishers, for the taking of salmon, who sling themselves across the perilous gulf by means of a stout rope, or withe, as the name Carrick-a-Reid imports. I was told, that, all through the inclemency of last winter, there dwelled here a solitary stranger, of noble mien, in an unseemly hut, made by his own hands. The people, in speaking of the stranger, called him, from his aspect, 'The Man of Sorrow;' and ’tis not unlikely, poor gentleman, he was one of the rebels who fled out of Scotland."

In the second volume of "Wakefield's Ireland," a particular account of Carrick-a-Rede, its fishery, and "very extraordinary flying bridge," may be found.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on October 29, 2019

1:38 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme aBxbxcxcxdxd xexexfxfxxaB x x x
Closest metre Iambic octameter
Characters 1,861
Words 329
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 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…

All Letitia Elizabeth Landon poems | Letitia Elizabeth Landon Books

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    "Carrick-a-Rede, Ireland" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 25 Mar. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/51763/carrick-a-rede,-ireland>.

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