A Poem of Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Forget Me Not, 1836/The Confession

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In the absence of an internet source, this poem has been transcribed from F. J. Sypher’s Poems from the Annuals.


Of the accompanying plate, the following description is available:

The Literary Gazette, 24th October 1835, p.684

"The Confession," F. Stone delt., C. Rolls sculpt. A fine contrast between the weeping culprit and the stern husband or father. The introduction of the curious waiting-maid gives the necessary repose to the expression.



THE CONFESSION.


I pray thee, father, do not turn
    That dark and angry brow on me—
How can I, father, bear a frown?
    I never met but smiles from thee!

I pray thee pardon if my heart
    Has owned another love than thine:
I pray thee for my mother's sake—
    You often say her eyes are mine.

I have no memory of those eyes,
    I never saw my mother's brow—
And yet I look to heaven and feel
    That she is pleading for me now.

She loved you, father, as I love
    The Earl whose name you will not hear—
A love that trembles while it owns
    That nought on earth can be so dear.

I'll tell you how it was we met:
    'Twas when you waited on the king.
Of eighteen years that I have known
    I never saw so sweet a spring.

I staid but little in our halls,
    The woods around us were so fair;
The young leaves seemed like flowers, so bright,
    So fragrant, and so soft, they were.

The maiden-hair flung o'er the banks
    Its long, green tresses, and beneath,
Hid in its little world of leaves,
    The violet hung its purple wreath.

The hawthorn spread its perfumed boughs,
    A very Araby of snow;
And sunshine through the aspen flung
    A trembling shower of gold below.

You know, my father, you first taught
    My steps to love these wanderings wild;
The leaf, the brook, the singing bird,
    Were your first lessons to your child.


I've said how glad the murmuring rill—
    How fair had every wild flower grown:
I longed to say how dear they were—
    'Twas sad to wander there alone.

Like me he loved the green-wood side,
    The opening leaf, the early flower:
Beside the old oak we grew friends—
    My father, 'twas a happy hour.

And dearer every ancient oak,
    And dearer every green path grew,
Now that their solitude was gone,
    And that another loved them too.

He loved to hear me talk of thee,
    Your tender kindness, and your care;
And how it was beside your knee
    I learned to breathe my infant prayer.

Forget the past, the dreary past,
    And let the present pity move—
Ah! shall an ancient feud divide
    Our deep, our young, our happy love!

My father, is forgiveness near?
    I read it in your softening eye:
Think of your own youth's dearest dream—
    My mother loved, and so do I.

My father, dost thou smile on me?
    My pleading has not been in vain.
Bless me, my father, bless your child,
    And take her to your heart again!


L. E. L.