Amelioration and the Future, Man's Noble Tasks

Fall, fall, ye mighty temples to the ground:
Not in your sculptured rise
Is the real exercise
Of human nature's brightest power found.

'Tis in the lofty hope, the daily toil,
'Tis in the gifted line,
In each far thought divine,
That brings down Heaven to light our common soil.

'Tis in the great, the lovely, and the true;
'Tis in the generous thought,
Of all that man has wrought,
Of all that yet remains for man to do.
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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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"Amelioration and the Future, Man's Noble Tasks" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 17 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/25681/amelioration-and-the-future,-man's-noble-tasks>.

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