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The Temple Garden

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

The fountain's low singing is heard on the wind,
Like a melody bringing sweet fancies to mind;
Away in the distance is heard the far sound
From the streets of the city that compass it round,
Like the echo of mountains, or ocean's deep call:
Yet that fountain's low singing is heard over all.

The turf and the terrace slope down to the tide
Of the Thames, that sweeps onwards a world at its side;
And dark the horizon with mast and with sail
Of the thousand tall ships that have weather'd the gale;
While beyond the arched bridge the old abbey appears,
Where England has garnered—the glories of years.

There are lights in the casement—how weary the ray
That asks from the night time the toils of the day!
I fancy I see the brow bent o'er the page,
Whose youth wears the paleness and wrinkles of age;
What struggles, what hopes, what despair may have been.
Where sweep those dark branches of shadowy green!
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on March 05, 2020

51 sec 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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