Vaucluse

Tall rocks begirt the lovely valley round,
Like barriers guarding its sweet loneliness;
Clouds rested on their summits, and their sides
Darken‘d with aged woods, where ivy twined
And green moss grew unconscious of the sun:
Rushing in fury from a gloomy cave,
Black like the dwelling place of Death and Night,
An angry river came; at first it traced
Its course in wrath, and the dark cavern rang
With echoes to its hoarse and sullen roar;
But when it reach’d the peaceful valley, then,
Like woman’s smile soothing wild rage away,
The sunlight fell upon its troubled waves—
It made the waters, like a curbed steed,
Chafed and foamed angrily, but softly flowed,
A bright unbroken mirror, for the kiss
Of the fair children of its fragrant banks,
And close beside uprose the tree whose form
Had once been beauty's refuge—sacred shade!
Which even the lightning dares not violate,
The hero's trophy and the bard's reward—
The faded laurel.—
Vaucluse! thou hast a melancholy charm,
A sweet remembrance of departed time,
When love awoke the lyre from its long sleep,
Unbound the golden wings of poetry,
And in thy groves the graceful Petrarch sought
A shelter where his soul might wander free,
Dwelling on tender thoughts and minstrel dreams,
All that the bard can feel in solitude.
Thy name is in his songs, and it will be
Remembered, when thy woods shall wave no more.
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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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"Vaucluse" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 11 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/51696/vaucluse>.

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