"The Scroll"

The maiden's cheek blush'd ruby bright.
And her heart beat quick with its own delight;
Again she should dwell on those vows so dear.
Almost as if her lover were near.
Little deemed she that letter would tell
How that true lover fought and fell.
The maiden read till her cheek grew pale—
Yon drooping eye tells all the tale :
She sees her own knight's last fond prayer.
And she reads in that scroll her heart's despair.
Oh ! grave, how terrible art thou
To young hearts bound in one fond vow.
Oh ! human love, how vain is thy trust;
Hope ! how soon art thou laid in dust.
Thou fatal pilgrim, who art thou.
As thou fling'st the black veil from thy shadowy brow?
I know thee now, dark lord of the tomb.
By the pale maiden's withering bloom :
The light is gone from her glassy eye.
And her cheek is struck by mortality ;
From her parted lip there comes no breath.
For that scroll was fate—its bearer—Death.
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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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""The Scroll"" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 11 Dec. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/45142/"the-scroll">.

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