1839 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Anonymous, "Biography. Mrs. George Maclean" The Literary Gazette (5 January 1839).



Accounts have reached England of the sudden death, at Cape Coast Castle, on the 15th of October, of this richly gifted Being, whose writings, under the signature of L. E. L., have long been a well-spring of pleasure to all whom Genius had a power to charm. Her earliest efforts, whilst yet little more than a child, were made in the pages of the Literary Gazette, which many of her future productions have enriched and adorned. To express what we feel on her loss is impossible — and private sorrows of so deep a kind are not for public display; — her name will descend to the most distant times, as one of the brightest in the annals of English literature; and whether after-ages look at the glowing purity and nature of her first poems, or the more sustained thoughtfulness and vigour of her later works in prose or in verse, they will cherish her memory as that of one of the most beloved of female authors, the pride and glory of our country while she lived, and the undying delight of succeeding generations. Then, as in our day, young hearts will beat responsive to the thrilling touch of her music; her song of love will find a sacred home in many a fair and ingenuous bosom; her numbers which breathed of the finest humanities, her playfulness of spirit, and her wonderful delineations of character and society — all — all will be admired, but not lamented as now. She is gone, and, oh, what a light of mind is extinguished; what an amount of friendship and of love has gone down into her grave!
The death of her uncle, the Rev. Dr. Whitington Landon, Dean of Exeter and Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, is announced in the same day's journals. He was one who took a constant interest in the welfare and rising fame of his matchless relative.