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LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON was born in London, on the fourteenth day of August, 1802. Her father, who was of a respectable Herefordshire family, died when she was very young, and his widow and children were left in a great degree dependent upon the exertions of LETITIA, whose habit of writing had commenced in childhood, and who now exhibited indications of that genius which soon made her initial signature of L. E. L. everywhere familiar.

Her first appearance as a poet was in the pages of the Literary Gazette, to which she was long a frequent contributor; and her first volume was The Fate of Adelaide, a Swiss romantic tale, published in her eighteenth year. In the spring of 1824 it was followed by the Improvisatrice and other Poems, and about the same time began her permanent connection with periodical literature and criticism. The constant and exhausting drain of the press she bore with cheerfulness, and her duties were fulfilled carefully and earnestly. For fourteen years she was one of the most industrious and successful authors of England. In this period, besides her reviews, essays, and other contributions to literary journals, she wrote three novels, Romance and Reality, Francesca Carrara, and Ethel Churchill; and The Troubadour, the Venetian Bracelet, the Golden Violet, the Vow of the Peacock, and several volumes of shorter poems. Mr. BLANCHARD, her biographer, remarks of her opinions of books and authors, that there may be seen in them the results of much miscellaneous reading, research in several foreign languages, and acuteness and brilliancy of remark, with hastiness of judgment and prejudiced and inconclusive views, but no ungenerous or vindictive sentiment or trace of an unkindly or interested feeling. She often went far out of her way, indeed, to recommend the productions of rivals who abused her; and towards those by whom she conceived herself obliged, though in the slightest degree, she was ever ready to act the friend where she should have been the critic only. Her failings as a reviewer leaned to virtue's side; and the

young writer, with but a spark of the poetic fire in his lines, was as sure of a gentle sentence, of appreciation and sympathy, as the established favourite of a grateful welcome, and an honouring tribute.

Many of her poems were in their nature ephemeral; but others, especially those of later years, were written with care, and are distinguished for true feeling and a delicate fancy. From the beginning she sung in songs of a sad tone of love; nearly all her works are pervaded by a gentle and touching melancholy; yet she is said to have been as gay as she was brilliant, delighting her friends by her apparent happiness as well as by her genial wit. But they who write most rapidly write oftenest from the heart, and the solitary musings of the study are more real than the manner or the opinions exhibited in society. Miss LANDON became, with what reason we cannot tell, the subject of harsh judgments by the world; her associates "began to wish her health and happiness in set terms;" and she gave expression to disappointment, impatience, and scorn, in writings of too genuine a stamp to be regarded as the issues of only imagination. Yet she had many intimate and unchanging friends, among whom were some of the most eminent of her contemporaries.

In June, 1838, Miss LANDON was married to Captain GEORGE MACLEAN, Governor of Cape Coast Castle, and soon afterward left England for Africa. On arriving at her new home she wrote letters to her friends in London, which told of happiness and cheerful anticipations, but they were followed soon by intelligence of her death. A mystery hangs over her last days. There were rumours of suicide and of poisoning. According to the verdict of a coroner, her death was caused by prussic acid, taken in too large a quantity, to cure some slight disease.

The career of Mrs. MACLEAN commenced brilliantly, but the promise of her earlier efforts was scarcely fulfilled in her subsequent productions, which were generally written under circumstances that prevented study and elaboration. She had a deep feeling of affec

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There the bee heaps his earliest treasures of honey, Or sinks in the depths of the harebell to sleep. Like prisoners escaped during night from their prison,

The waters fling gayly their spray to the sun; Who can tell me from whence that glad river has risen? [not one. Who can say whence it springs in its beauty? O my heart, and my song, which is as my heart's flowing, [own!

Read thy fate in yon river, for such is thine Mid those the chief praise on thy music bestowing, Who cares for the lips from whence issue the tone?

Dark as its birth-place so dark is my spirit,

Whence yet the sweet waters of melody came: "Tis the long after-course, not the source, will inherit

The beauty and glory of sunshine and fame.

THE FEAST OF LIFE. BID thee to my mystic feast,

Each one thou lovest is gather'd there; Yet put thou on a mourning robe

And bind the cypress in thy hair. The hall is vast, and cold, and drear;

The board with fairest flowers is spread; Shadows of beauty flit around,

But beauty from which bloom has fled; And music echoes from the walls,

But music with a dirgelike sound; And pale and silent are the guests,

And every eye is on the ground. Here, take this cup, though dark it seem, And drink to human hopes and fears; "Tis from their native element,

The cup is fill'd-it is of tears.

What, turn'st thou with averted brow?

Thou scornest this poor feast of mine; And askest for a purple robe,

Light words, glad smiles, and sunny wine. In vain the veil has left thine eyes,

Or such these would have seem'd to thee; Before thee is the Feast of Life, But life in its reality!


My very heart is fill'd with tears! I seem
As I were struggling under some dark dream,
Which roughly bore me down life's troubled stream.
The past weighs heavily upon my soul,
A tyrant mastering me with stern control;
The present has no rest-the future has no goal.
For what can be again but what has been?
Soon the young leaf forgets its early green,
And shadows with our sunshine intervene.
Quench'd is the spirit's morning wing of fire;
We calculate where once we could aspire,
And the high hope sets in some low desire.
Experience has rude lessons, and we grow
Like what we have been taught too late to know,
And yet we hate ourselves for being so.

Our early friends, where are they? rather, where The fond belief that actual friends there were, Not cold and false as all must find they are?

We love-may have been loved-—but ah! how faint
The love that withers of its earthly taint,
To what our first sweet visions used to paint!
How have we been deceived, forgotten, flung
Back on our trusting selves-the heart's core wrung
By some fond faith to which we weakly clung.
Alas! our kindest feelings are the root
Of all experience's most bitter fruit ;
They waste the life whose charm they constitute.
At length they harden, and we feel no more
All that was felt so bitterly before,
But with the softness is the sweetness o'er.
Of things we once enjoy'd how few remain !
Youth's flowers are flung behind us, and in vain
We would stoop down to gather them again.
Why do we think of this? bind the red wreath-
Float down Time's water to the viol's breath,
Wot not what those cold billows hide beneath.
We cannot do this: from the sparkling brink
Drops the glad rose, and the bright waters shrink:
While in the midst of mirth we pause to think;
And if we think-we sadden: thought and grief
Are vow'd companions: while we turn the leaf
It darkens, for the brilliant is the brief.

Ah! then, farewell, ye lovely things that brought
Your own Elysium hither! overwrought
The spirit wearies with the weight of thought.
Our better nature pineth-let it be!
Thou human soul-earth is no home for thee;
Thy starry rest is in eternity!

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Quiets the anxious spirit's fond desiring.
Down the ungather'd darkness of her hair
Floats, like a pall that covers her despair,
What woman's care hath she in her adorning;
The noontide's sultry hours
Have wither'd the white flowers,
Binding its dark lengths in the early morning.
All day her seat hath been beside the shore,
Watching for him who will return no more;
He thinks not of her or her weary weeping.
Absence, it is thy lot

To be too soon forgot,

Or to leave memory but to one sad keeping.

Oh, folly of a loving heart that clings
With desperate faith, to which each moment brings
Quick and faint gleams an instant's thought must

And yet finds mocking scope
For some unreal hope,

Which would appear despair to any other!

She knows the hopelessness of what she seeks,
And yet as soon as rosy morning breaks,
Doth she unloose her pigeon's silken fetter;
But through the twilight air
No more its pinions bear,

What once so oft they brought, the false one's letter.
The harvest of the summer rose is spread,
But lip and cheek with her have lost their red;
There is the paleness of the soul's consuming-
Fretfully day by day

In sorrow worn away;

Youth, joy, and bloom have no more sure entombing.
It is a common story which the air
Has had around the weary world to bear,
That of the trusting spirit's vain accusing;
Yet once how firm and fond
Seem'd the eternal bond

That now a few brief parted days are loosing.
Close to her heart the weary pigeon lies,
Gazing upon her with its earnest eyes,
Which seem to ask-Why are we thus neglected?
It is the still despair

Of passion forced to bear

Its deep and tender offering rejected.

Poor girl! her soul is heavy with the past; Around the shades of night are falling fast; Heavier still the shadow passing o'er her. The maiden will no more

Watch on the sea-beat shore

The darkness of the grave is now before her.


FEW know of life's beginnings-men behold
The goal achieved;-the warrior, when his sword
Flashes red triumph in the noonday sun;
The poet, when his lyre hangs on the palm;
The statesman, when the crowd proclaim his voice,
And mould opinion, on his gifted tongue:
They count not life's first steps, and never think
Upon the many miserable hours

When hope deferr'd was sickness to the heart.
They reckon not the battle and the march,
The long privations of a wasted youth;
They never see the banner till unfurl'd.
What are to them the solitary nights
Past pale and anxious by the sickly lamp,
Till the young poet wins the world at last
To listen to the music long his own?
The crowd attend the statesman's fiery mind
That makes their destiny; but they do not trace
Its struggle, or its long expectancy.
Hard are life's early steps; and, but that youth
Is buoyant, confident, and strong in hope,
Men would behold its threshold, and despair.

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