Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAUREL, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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THE LAUREL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fling down the laurel from her golden hair
Last Line: And last, farewell! Oh, my false love, to thee!
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Love - Complaints


Fling down the Laurel from her golden hair;
A woman's brow! what doth the Laurel there?

Not to the silent bitterness of tears
Do I commit, oh, false one! thy requiting;
My measured moments shall be paid by years
Of long avenging on thy faithless slighting.

I call upon the boon that Nature gave,
Ere my young spirit knew its own possessing;
And, from the fire that has consumed me, crave
The cold stern power that knows its own redressing.

Love was my element! e'en as the bird
Knows the soft air that swells around its pinion,
Sweet thoughts and eager ones my spirit stirred,
Whose only influence was the heart's dominion.

They were but shadows of a deeper power,
For life is ominous, itself revealing
By the faint likeness of the coming hour,
Felt ere it vivify to actual feeling.

But from that fated hour is no return:
Life has grown actual, we have done with dreaming;
It is a bitter truth at last to learn,
That all we once believed was only seeming.

Thou -- who hast taught me this, upon thy head
Be all the evils thou hast round thee scattered;
Thro' thee the light that led me on is dead,
My wreath is in the dust -- my lute is shattered.

I could forgive each miserable night
When I have waked, for that I dreaded sleeping,
I knew that I should dream -- my fevered sight
Would bring the image I afar was keeping.

Alas! the weary hours! when I have asked
The faint cold stars, amid the darkness shining,
Why is mortality so over-tasked,
Why am I grown familiar with repining? --

Then comes the weary day, that would but bring
Impatient wishes that it were to-morrow;
While every new and every usual thing,
Seemed but to irritate the hidden sorrow.

And this I owe to thee, to whom I brought
A love that was half fondness, half devotion.
Alas! the glorious triumphs of high thought
Are now subdued by passionate emotion.

Upon my silent lute there is no song;
I sit and grieve above my power departed;
To others let the Laurel wreath belong,
I only know that I am broken-hearted.

Enough yet lingers of the broken spell,
To show that once it was a thing enchanted;
I leave my spirit to the low sweet shell,
By whose far music shall thy soul be haunted.

A thousand songs of mine are on the air,
And they shall breathe my memory, and mine only;
Startling thy soul with hopes no longer fair,
And love that will but rise to leave thee lonely.

Immortal is the gift that I inherit;
Eternal is the loveliness of verse;
My heart thou may'st destroy, but not my spirit,
And that shall linger round thee like a curse.

Farewell the lute, that I no more shall waken!
Its music will be murmured after me;
Farewell the Laurel that I have forsaken!
And last, farewell! oh, my false love, to thee!





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