Cottage Courtship

Now, out upon this smiling,
  No smile shall meet his sight;
And a word of gay reviling
  Is all he'll hear to-night,
For he'll hold my smiles too lightly,
  If he always sees me smile;
He'll think they shine more brightly
  When I have frowned awhile.

'Tis not kindness keeps a lover,
  He must feel the chain he wears;
All the sweet enchantment's over,
  When he has no anxious cares.
The heart would seem too common,
  If he thought that heart his own;
Ah! the empire of a woman
  Is still in the unknown.

Let change without a reason,
  Make him never feel secure;
For it is an April season
  That a lover must endure.
They are all of them so faithless,
  Their torment is your gain;
Would you keep your own heart scathless,
  Be the one to give the pain.
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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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"Cottage Courtship" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 25 May 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/52420/cottage-courtship>.

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