Eskdale, Cumberland

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

Oh! No: I do not wish to see
    The sunshine o’er these hills again;
Their quiet beauty wakes in me
    A thousand wishes wild and vain.

I hear the skylark’s matin songs
    Breathe of the heaven he singeth near;
Ah! heaven, that to our earth belongs,
    Why is thy hope so seldom here?

The grass is fill’d with early flowers,
    Whereon the dew is scarcely dry;
While singing to the silent hours,
    The glittering waves are murmuring by.

And fancies from afar are brought
    By magic lights and wandering wind;
Such scene hath poet never sought,
    But he hath left his heart behind.

It is too sad to feel how blest
    In such a spot might be our home;
And then to think with what unrest
    Throughout this weary world we roam.

In the midst of these secluded mountain districts, says Mr. Warren in his Northern Tour, lives one of the most independent, most moral, and most respectable characters existing, the estatesman, as he is called in the language of the country, whose hospitality to the wayfarer and traveller has been thus touchingly illustrated:—"Go," said an estatesman to a person whom he had entertained for some days at his house, "go to the vale on the other side of the mountain, to the house of———,(naming the party.) and tell him you came from me. I know him not, but he will receive you kindly, for our sheep mingle on the mountains."
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on February 22, 2020

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:14 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic octameter
Characters 1,389
Words 248
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 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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