Love's Ending

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

And this, then, is love's ending. It is like
The history of some fair southern clime :
Hot fires are in the bosom of the earth,
And the warmed soil puts forth its thousand flowers,
Its fruits of gold — summer's regality ;
And sleep and odours float upon the air,
Making it heavy with its own delight.
At length the subterranean element
Bursts from its secret solitude, and lays
All waste before it. The red lava stream
Sweeps like a pestilence ; and that which was
A garden for some fairy tale's young queen
Is one wild desert, lost in burning sand.
Thus is it with the heart. Love lights it up
With one rich flush of beauty. Mark the end :
Hopes, that have quarrelled even with themselves,
And joys that make a bitter memory;
While the heart, scorched and withered, and o'erwhelmed
By passion's earthquake, loathes the name of love.
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on July 24, 2016

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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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