Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1838/Corfu

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1838-48-Corfu and Manduchio.png


Artist: C. Bentley - Engraved by: J. Sands


Oh, Lovely isle! that, like a child,
    Art sleeping on the sea,
Amid whose hair the wind is wild,
And on whose cheek the sun has smiled,
    As there it loved to be.

How fair thou art, how very fair,
    A lone and lovely dream,
That sprung on the enchanted air,
A fairy likeness seems to wear,
    A fairy world to seem,

Thou bringest to me a pleasant mood
    Of fanciful delight:
To me thou art a solitude
Known only to the sea bird’s brood,
    And to the stars at night.

I should so like to have thee mine,
    Mine own—my very own,
The shadows of thy sweeping vine,
Wherein the scarlet creepers twine,
    Broken by me alone.

I would not have a footstep trace
    Thy solitary shore:
No human voice—no human face
Should trouble my sweet resting place
    With memories of yore.

I would forget the wretched years
    Passed in this world of ours,
Where weary cares and feverish fears,
Ending alike in bitter tears,
    Darken the heavy hours.

But I would dwell beside the sea,
    And of the scattered shells
Ask, when they murmur mournfully,
What sorrow in the past may be,
    Of which their music tells.

Winds, waves, and breathing shells are sad—
    Methinks I should repine,
If their low tones were only glad,
‘Twould seem too much as if they had
    No sympathy for mine.

Not long such fancies can beguile
    Dreams of what cannot be;
Gone is thy visionary smile,
And thou art but a distant isle
    Upon a distant sea.


The island of Corfu is situated at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, and is the seat of government of the Septinsular Union. It has been immortalized by Homer, and is the imaginary theatre on which many of the fables of mythology were represented. The Venetians and Mussulmans have struggled, with a degree of ferocity disgraceful even to the sanguinary laws of war, for the possession of this spot, and its present independent position throws a species of ridicule upon the designs of the most powerful and resolute monarchs. The extreme length of the island does not exceed thirty-five miles, its greatest breadth is twelve, and its superficies covers about eighty square leagues. The population may be estimated at 6000 souls.