Furness Abbey - In the Vale of Nightshade, Lancashire

I WISH for the days of the olden time,
When the hours were told by the abbey chime,
When the glorious stars looked down through the midnigh dim,
Like approving saints on the choir's sweet hymn:
I think of the days we are living now,
And I sigh for those of the veil and the vow.

I would be content alone to dwell
Where the ivy shut out the sun from my cell,
With the death's-head at my side, and the missal on my knee,
Praying to that heaven which was opening to me:
Fevered and vain are the days I lead now,
And I sigh for those of the veil and the vow.

Silken broidery no more would I wear,
Nor golden combs in my golden hair;
I wore them but for one, and in vain they were worn;
My robe should be of serge, my crown of the thorn:
'Tis a cold false world we dwell in now,
And I sigh for the days of the veil and the vow.

I would that the cloister's quiet were mine;
In the silent depths of some holy shrine.

I would tell my blessed beads, and would weep away
From my inmost soul every stain of clay:
My heart's young hopes they have left me now,
And I sigh for the days of the veil and the vow.
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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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"Furness Abbey - In the Vale of Nightshade, Lancashire" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 21 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/25687/furness-abbey---in-the-vale-of-nightshade,-lancashire>.

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