The Grass-Rope Bridge, at Teree, In the province of Gurwall

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

We had to watch the fading
Of that young and lovely cheek,
And that pale lip's mute upbraiding,
Which asked not sound to speak.

We saw that she was pining
For her own loved English land,
And her life's sweet light declining,
For she loathed our Indian strand;

Her heart was with her mother,
Far o'er the salt sea foam,
And she could not love another,
As she loved her early home.

She clung with love too tender
To every former scene,
For one of Eastern splendour,
To be what they had been.

Alas, why did we bring her
To this golden land in vain ?
Ah, would that we could wing her
To her native land again !

We never see her weeping,
But we know that she does weep ;
And she names loved names in sleeping,
As she names them but in sleep.

We watch one bright spot burning
On her cheek of hectic red,
And we dread each day's returning,
Lest it rise but for the dead.

"The English who have lost their health, often resort to these hills for the hot season, where the air and exercise are sometimes as beneficial as the voyage to Europe." The following verses allude to the early death of a young friend, who, adopted by some distant relatives, accompanied them to India ; and died in this very spot, whither she had been taken for the recovery of her health.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on June 23, 2016


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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