John Kemble

O ! GLORIOUS triumph, thus to sway at will
All feelings in our nature ; thus to work
The springs of sympathy, the mines of thought,
And all the deep emotions of the heart.
To colour the fine paintings of the mind,
And bid them move and breathe. Our island bard,
He who flung human life upon his page,
How much he owes the actor. Kemble once
Made Hamlet, Cato, and the Noble Moor,
Our own familiar friends—they lived, they looked,
And left an actual image on the soul.
I would I could remember them, but he
Who looks yon pale and melancholy prince,
Was past before my time—yet still the stage
Is fancy’s world of poetry to me—
For I have heard the pathos of the Moor
Tremble in broken music, when he bids
His last farewell to Venice, and implores
For charity and rest :—and I have wept
When the stern father slays his only child,
That he may keep her memory a thing
To shelter in his heart. Nor is she least
Amid these haunting shapes—that gentle wife,
Who kept one stainless faith through long, long years,
Of utter hopelessness, and yet loved on ;
Till Mantua ranks within my memory,
With those Italian cities which have been
The visions of my youth.
I know not how it acts on other minds,
But this I know, my most enchanted world
Is hidden when the curtain falls, and leaves
Remembrance only of its gorgeous dreams
And beautiful creations.
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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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"John Kemble" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 20 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/45152/john-kemble>.

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