A Dutch Interior

They were poor, and by their cabin,
  Pale want sat at the door;
And the summer to their harvest
  Brought insufficient store.

On one side, the fierce ocean
  Proclaimed perpetual war;
On the other, mighty nations
  Were threatening from afar.

Foes and seas denied a footing,
  On the very ground they trod;
But they had their native courage,
  And they had their trust in God.

They made the sea defender
  Of the lately threatened shore,
And their tall and stately vessels
  Sailed the conquered waters o’er.

To the poor and scanty cabin,
  Poured wealth from East and West;
And Freedom came with commerce,
  From all old times her guest.

Dyke by dyke they beat their enemies,
  As they had beat the sea;
Till Faith stood by her altar,
  Secure—triumphant—free.


The brilliant theory of a republic has never been reduced to more rational practice than in the history of Holland. Commerce, religious toleration, security of life and property, and universal instruction—these have been the principles of the States from the very first. Liberty can have no securer foundations. We know of nothing finer in all history, than their unequal but triumphant struggle with le Grand Monarque. The spirit which animated the young and gallant Prince of Orange, was that of the whole nation. "You will see the ruin of your country," was the prophecy of those who looked to the inferior means, not to the superior spirit. "Never," was the heroic reply, "for I will die in her last ditch."
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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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"A Dutch Interior" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 4 Jun 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/52668/a-dutch-interior>.

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