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Laetitia Elizabeth Landon (auf ihren frühern Werken nur durch die Initialen L. E. L. bezeichnet), ward 1804 in London geboren, erhielt eine sorgfältige Erziehung und zeichnete sich schon früh durch ihre dichterischen Fähigkeiten aus und trat zuerst um 1822 mit Poesieen hervor. Im Jahre 1838 vermählte sie sich mit George Maclean, dem Gouverneur von Cape-Coast-Castle und folgte diesem nach Südafrica, ward aber wenige Monate nachher am 15. October 1838 eines Morgens todt, ein Fläschchen mit Blausäure in der erstarrten Hand, an der Thür ihres Zimmers gefunden. Die Ursache ihres gewaltsamen Endes ist noch immer ein Räthsel. Vgl. The Life and Correspondence of L. E. L., London 1839, 3 Bde in 8.

Ihre vorzüglichsten Schriften sind: The Improvisatrice, London 1825 u. ö.; the Troubadour, the golden Bracelet, the golden Violet, London 1825-1827; the Vow of the Peacock, London 1835, sämmtlich grössere romantisch - epische Gedichte, denen eine Reihe kleinerer angehängt ist. Ausserdem hat sie noch mehrere Bände Erzählungen und Romane,und viele kleinere prosaische Aufsätze und Dichtungen für Zeitschriften und Almanache verfasst.

Eine überaus reiche Phantasie, Geschmack, Eleganz der Sprache und Harmonie des Verses sind die Hauptzierden ihrer Leistungen, deren Reiz oft durch eine melancholische Stimmung, die fast in ihren sämmtlichen Schriften vorwaltet, auf eigenthümliche Weise erhöht wird: doch war sie zu schöpferisch um ihren Arbeiten Tiefe und die nothwendige Vollendung geben zu können, was sie vielleicht erlangt haben würde, wenn ihr das Schicksal ein längeres, ungetrübtes Leben gestattet hätte.

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The harvest of the rose, on Syria's plains,
Is reaped for Venice; from the Indian vales
The sandal-wood is brought to burn in Venice;
The ambergris that floats on eastern seas,
And spice, and cinnamon, and pearls that lie
Deep in the gulf of Ormus, are for Venice;
The Persian loom doth spread her silken floors;
And the clear gems from far Golconda's mines
Burn on the swanlike necks of her proud daugh-

For the fair wife of a Venetian noble
Doth often bear upon her ivory arm
The ransom of a kingdom. By the sword,
Drawn by the free and fearless; by the sail,
That sweeps the sea for riches, which are power,
The state of Venice is upheld: she is

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Are white with sunshine; and the few soft shades Too gravely to be warmed by that delight
Do but relieve the eye.

The morning-time

The summer time, how beautiful they are!
A buoyant spirit fills the natural world,
And sheds its influence on humanity;
Man draws his breath more lightly, and forgets
The weight of cares that made the night seem

How beautiful the summer, and the morn,
When opening over forest and green field,
Waking the singing birds, till every leaf
Vibrates with music; and the flowers unfold,
Heavy and fragrant with their dewy sleep.
But here they only call to life and light
The far wide waste of waters, and the walls
Of a proud city, yet how beautiful!
Not the calm beauty of a woodland world,
Fraught with sweet idleness and minstrel-dreams:
But beauty which awakes the intellect
More than the feelings; that of power



Born of the sun, and air, and morning prime.
For we forget the present as we stand,
So much beneath the shadow of the past:
And here the past is mighty. Memory
Lies heavy on the atmosphere around;
There is the sea, but where now are the

That bore the will of Venice round the world?
Where are the sails that brought home victory
And wealth from other nations? No glad prows
Break up the waters into sparkling foam:

I only see some sluggish fishing-boats.
There are the palaces, their marble fronts
Are grey and worn; and the rich furniture
Is stripped from the bare walls; or else the moth
Feeds on the velvet hangings. There they hang,
The many pictures of the beautiful,

The brave, the noble, who were once Venetians: But hourly doth the damp destroy their colours, and And Titian's hues are faded as the face

From which he painted. With a downcast brow,

Man's power, man's mind for never city Drawing his dark robe round him, which no


A prouder or a fairer brow than Venice, The daughter and the mistress of the sea. Far spread the ocean,


Hides the rich silk or gems, walks the Venetian;
Proud, with a melancholy pride which dwells

but it spread to Only upon the glories of the dead;
And humble, with a bitter consciousness
Of present degradation.

Her galleys o'er its depths, for war or wealth; And raised upon foundations, which have robbed The waters of its birthright, stand her halls.

Now enter in her palaces: a world Has paid its tribute to their luxury;

These are the things that tame the pride of


The spectral writings on the wall of time, Warnings from the Invisible, to show

Man's destiny is not in his own hands.
Cities and nations, each are in their turn
The mighty sacrifice which Time demands,
And offers up at the eternal throne,
Signs of man's weakness, and man's vanity.

Roland's Tower.

Rubies, and lighted amber; and thence spread
A wide heath covered with thick furze, whose

So bright, are like the pleasures of this world,
Beautiful in the distance, but, once gained,
Little worth, piercing through the thorns which

Around them ever. Wilder and more steep

The banks upon the river's other side:

Tall pines rose up like warriors; the wild rose
Was there in all its luxury of bloom,

Sown by the wind, nursed by the dew and sun:

O heaven, the deep fidelity of love! And on the steeps were crosses gray and old,

Where, like a courser starting from the spur,
Rushes the deep-blue current of the Rhine,
A little island rests; green cypresses
Are its chief growth, bending their heavy boughs
O'er gray stones marking long-forgotten graves.
A convent once stood here; and yet remain
Relics of other times, pillars and walls,
Worn away and discoloured, yet so hung
With wreaths of ivy that the work of ruin
Is scarcely visible. How like this is
To the so false exterior of the world!
Outside all looks so fresh and beautiful;
But mildew, rot and worm, work on beneath,
Until the heart is utterly decayed.
There is one grave distinguished from the rest,
But only by a natural monument:

A thousand deep-blue violets have grown
Over the sod. I do love violets:

They tell the history of woman's love;
They open with the earliest breath of spring;
Lead a sweet life of perfume, dew and light;
And, if they perish, perish with a sigh
Delicious as that life; on the hot June
They shed no perfume: the flowers may remain,
But the rich breathing of their leaves is past;
Like woman, they have lost their loveliest gift,
When yielding to the fiery hour of passion:
The violet-breath of love is purity.

On the shore opposite a tower stands

In ruins, with a mourning-robe of moss

Which told the fate of some poor traveller.
The dells were filled with dwarfed oaks and firs;
And on the heights, which mastered all the rest,
Were castles, tenanted now by the owl,
The spider's garrison: there is not one
Without some strange old legend of the days,
When love was life and death, when lady's


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Lord Herbert sat him in his hall: the hearth
Was blazing as it mocked the storm without
With its red cheerfulness: the dark hounds lay
Around the fire; and the old knight had doffed
His hunting-cloak, and listened to the lute
And song of the fair girl who at his knee
Was seated. In the April-hour of life,
When showers are led by rainbows and the heart
Is all bloom and green leaves, was Isabelle:
A band of pearls, white like the brow o'er which
They past, kept the bright curls from off the fore
head; thence
They wandered to her feet - a golden shower.
She had that changing colour on the cheek
Which speaks the heart so well; those deep-blue

Like summer's darkest sky, but not so glad
They were too passionate for happiness.
Light was within her eyes, bloom on her cheek,
Her song had raised the spirit of her race
Upon her eloquent brow. She had just told

Hung on the gray and shattered walls, which of the young Roland's deeds, how he had


A shadow on the waters; it comes o'er



Against a host and conquered; when there came

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waves, all bright with sunshine, like the A pilgrim to the hall and never yet Had stranger asked for shelter and in vain! Adversity throws on the heart's young gladness. The board was spread, the Rhenish flask was


I saw the river on a summer-eve:

The sun was setting over fields of corn,

'Twas like a golden sea;

and on the left


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Again they gathered round the hearth, again The maiden raised her song; and at its close, Were vineyards, whence the grapes shone forth "I would give worlds," she said, "to see this chief,

like gems,

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they were beloved. Oh, hap- Upon old histories, and said with them,


I have said all that can be said of bliss,


"There is no hope in man's fidelity!"
Isabelle stood upon her lonely tower;

In saying that they loved. The young heart And as the evening-star rose up, she saw An armed train bearing her father's banner wild In triumph to the castle. Down she flew To greet the victors: they had reached the hall

Such store of wealth in its own fresh


And it is love that works the mind, brings

Its treasure to the light. I did love once

Loved as youth


That falsest of false things


genius loves; though now


a mask smiles:

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My heart is chilled with fear, and taught to Knew the dark curling hair and stately form,
And threw her on his breast. He shrank away
of As she were death, or sickness, or despair.
"Isabelle! it was I who slew thy father!"
She fell almost a corpse upon the body.
It was too true! With all a lover's speed,
Roland had sought the thickest of the fight;
He gained the field just as the crush began;
Unwitting of his colours, he had slain

Yet every pulse throbs at the memory
Of that which has been! Love is like the glass,
That throws its own rich colour over all,
And makes all beautiful. The morning looks
Its very loveliest, when the fresh air

Has tinged the cheek we love with its glad red; The father of his worshipped Isabelle!

And the hot noon flits by most rapidly,

When dearest eyes gaze with us on the page

Bearing the poet's words of love: and then

They met once more; and Isabelle was changed

As much as if a lapse of years had past:

The twilight-walk, when the linked arms can She was so thin, so pale and her dim eye

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