Poems of Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Heath’s Book of Beauty, 1833/Madeline

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Painted by F. StoneEngraved by H. Cook


I pray thee leave me not; my heart
    So passionately clings to thee;
Oh, give me time, I'll try to part
    With life—for love is life to me.
A little while—I cannot bear
The presence of my great despair;
Though changed your voice, and cold your eye,
You would not wish to see me die.

The wretch who on the scaffold stands
    Has some brief time allow'd
For parting grasp of kindly hands,
    For farewell to the crowd:
And even as gradual let me learn
My thoughts and hopes from thee to turn;
To grow accustom'd to thy brow,
Strange, chilling as it meets me now!

But, no; I dare not, cannot look
    Upon thy alter'd face:

Methinks that I could better brook
    To have but memory's trace,
And I may cheat myself awhile
With many a treasured gaze and smile.
Yes, leave me—'tis less pain to brood
Over the past in solitude.

Oh, vanity of speech! no word
    Can make thee mine again;
The eloquent would be unheard,
    The tender would be vain.
Since gentle cares and spotless truth—
The deep devotion of my youth—
Since these are written on the air,
Wilt thou be moved by vow or prayer?

Yet how entire has been my love!
    The flower that to the sun
Raises its golden eyes above,
    Droops when the day is done:
But I for hours have watch'd a spot—
Although it longer held thee not;
It gave a magic to the scene
To think that there thy steps had been.

But I must now forget the past—
    Say, rather, 'tis my all;
Henceforth a veil o'er life is cast—
    I live but to recall.

I have no future—could I bear
To dream a dream you do not share?
It is hope makes futurity—
What, now, has hope to do with me?

Amid the ruins of my heart
    I'll sit and weep alone;
Mourn for the idols that depart,
    The altars overthrown,
With faded cheek and weary eyes,
Till life be thy last sacrifice.
Alas for youth, and hope, and bloom!
Alas for my forgotten tomb!