1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Anonymous, Review of Landon, The Improvisatrice, and other Poems; The Star (16 July 1824).



There may be charms in poetry which none but poets feel, but it requires no inspiration to appreciate the beauties which are so thickly strewed in the Improvisatrice and the other poems of which the volume before us consists. The author, a young Lady, who we are assured has not yet reached her twentieth year, has long been favourably known to the public by several poetical contributions to the Literary Gazette; in the Improvisatrice, however, she has far outstripped her former efforts, and given the public a poem of singular beauty and originality. We have only room for a short extract, and though perhaps not the most favourable that might be selected, will speak more for the accomplished author than we can do by our praise.

SONG.
When should lovers breathe their vows?
When should Ladies hear them?
When the dew is on the boughs,
When none else are near them;

When the moon shines cold and pale,
When the birds are sleeping,
When no voice is on the gale,
When the rose is weeping;

When the stars are bright on high,
Like hopes in young Love's dreaming,
And glancing round the light clouds fly,
Like soft fears, to shade their beaming.

The fairest smiles are those that live
On the brow by star-light wreathing;
And the lips their richest incense give
When the sigh is at midnight breathing!

Oh! softest is the cheek's love-ray
When seen by moonlight hours;
Other roses seek the day,
But blushes are night-flowers!

Oh! when the moon and stars are bright,
When the dew-drops glisten,
Then their vows should lovers plight—
Then should Ladies listen!