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Eucles Announcing the Victory of Marathon

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

He cometh from the purple hills,
Where the fight has been to-day;
He bears the standard in his hand—
Shout round the victor’s way.
The sun-set of a battle won,
Is round his steps from Marathon.

Gather the myrtles near,
And fling them on his path;
Take from her braided hair
The flowers the maiden hath,
A welcome to the welcome one,
Who hastens now from Marathon.

They crowd around his steps,
Rejoicing young and old;
The laurel branch he bears,
His glorious tale hath told,
The Persian’s hour of pride is done,
Victory is on Marathon.

She cometh with brightened cheek,
She who all day hath wept;
The wife and mother’s tears,
Where her youngest infant slept,
The heart is in her eyes alone,
What careth she for Marathon?

But down on his threshold, down!
Sinks the warrior’s failing breath,
The tale of that mighty field
Is left to be told by death.—
’Tis a common tale—the victor’s sun
Sets, in tears and blood, o’er Marathon.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on March 01, 2020

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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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