The Astrologer

Alas! for our ancient believings,
  We have nothing now left to believe;
The oracle, augur, and omen
  No longer dismay and deceive.

All hush’d are the oaks of Dodona;
  No more on the winds of the north,
As it sways to and fro the huge branches,
  The voice of the future comes forth.

No more o’er the flow'r-wreathed victim
  The priest at the red altar bends:
No more on the flight of the vulture
  The dark hour of vict'ry depends.

The stars have forgotten their science,
  Or we have forgotten its lore;
In the rulers, the bright ones of midnight,
  We question of fortune no more.

O folly! to deem that far planets
  Recorded the hour of our birth;
Too glorious they are, and too lovely,
  For the wo and the weakness of earth.

Now the science of fate is grown lowly,
  We question of gipsies and cards;
’Tis a question how much of the actual
  The fate of the vot'ry rewards.

’Tis the same in all ages; the future
  Still seems to the spirit its home;
We are weary and worn with the present.
  But happiness still is to come.
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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 Astrologer" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 10 Apr. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/52486/the-astrologer>.

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