1845 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Hannah Flagg Gould, "The Grave of L. E. L." Gathered Leaves (1846) 121-23.



Where is thy lovely shrine of clay,
Sweet sister of the Lyre,
Since passed it's light so swift away,
When heaven recalled it's fire?
Where is the veil thy spirit wore?
I know, alas, too well,
On Afric's strand, what passes o'er
The dust of L. E. L.

My saddened soul within me weeps,
That no kind power would save
The form of genius there that sleeps,
From that unholy grave.
And when the half-indignant blush
Would on my cheek appear,
'Tis blackened by the sorrow-gush,
That bathes it with a tear.

Dead warriors, in their final rest,
Her couch of earth surround!
Rude soldiers, trampling o'er her breast,
Their loud reveille sound.
The daily drum and clang of arms,
The march, the stern command,
Pass o'er her form, whose music charms
The pure in every land.

'Tis meet to lay bold warriors there,
Beneath their last parade;
But not that tender woman share
The ground where these are laid.
The blazing tropic sun may shower
His fiery darts on them;
But o'er her breast some lovely flower
Should bow on flexile stem.

Yet she, who her sweet harp inwreathed
With fair, undying flowers,
To touch the soul whene'er it breathed,
And gave the world its powers—
She sleeps in noisy, foreign ground,
O'erhung by burning skies,
With no green grass, or tree, or mound,
To mark where Landon lies!

Four months a bride — two moons within
Those grim old castle walls;
Then laid in death, amid the din
That o'er that court-yard falls!
Her heart, the home of peace and love,
Of truthfulness and trust,
Has not a footing for the dove
To light above its dust!

And now, in that unpeaceful grave,
Forsaken! left behind!
By him to whom herself she gave,
Heart, hand, and glorious mind!
But clattering arms, and soldier's tramp,
Though borne afar by fame,
Have no dishonor e'er to stamp
On her far-honored name.

That name was England's praise; it shone,
A star, throughout the world,
Where'er her royal tongue is known—
Her haughty flag unfurled.
And will not England's parent-love—
Will not her pride and power,
Her gifted daughter's dust remove
To some cool, native bower?

No squaring art, in marble strong
Should rear her measured tomb;
But o'er her gush the wild bird's song,
Leaves spread, and young flowers bloom.
Yet, L. E. L., thy name, on earth
Immortal, cannot die!
Sweet Poesy embalms thy worth,
Where'er thine ashes lie.

And may some abler hand than mine
Thy sweeter requiem give;
And amaranth with cypress twine,
To bid thy memory live!
Thy voice is hushed to mortal ear,
Thy form, a broken lyre;
But shining hosts thy numbers hear,
Where seraphs form the choir.
June 27, 1845.