Landon in The Literary Gazette 1823/Fragment 4

For works with similar titles, see Fragment (Letitia Elizabeth Landon).

Literary Gazette 18th October 1823, Page 667


----------A solitude
Of green and silent beauty, just a home
Where I could wish to weep my life away
In utter loneliness, and never more
Hear human voice, or look on human face.
It is a secret place among the hills:
Little and dark the valley lies below,
And not a taint of earth is on the air,
Which the lip drinks pure as the stream whose source
Is hidden here,—large rocks have girthed it in;
All palaces for the eagle are their sides,
Safe or far safer than a sanctuary,—
For even that, though shielded by God's name,
Man holds not sacred. Here at least his power
Is neither felt nor feared. The chamois rests
When harassed, as the powerless ever are;
It flies before the hunter. Small as still,
A skilful archer's bow would send the shaft
Across its utmost boundary, and half
Is covered with dark pines, which in the spring
Send forth sweet odours, even as they felt
As parents do, rejoicing o'er their children
In the green promise of their youthful shoots,
The spreading of their fresh and fragrant leaves.
The other part is thinly scattered o'er
With dwarf oaks, stinted both in leaves and growth.
And in the midst there are two stately firs,
The one dark in its hoary foliage, like
A warrior armed for battle; but the next
Has lost its leafy panoply, the bark
Stripped from the trunk, the boughs left black and bare
By some fierce storm to which it would not bend,—
Like a high spirit, proud, though desolate.

At one end is a cavern, musical
With falling waters: roof, and floor, and walls
Are set with sparry gems, snow turned to treasure;
Beyond is black as night, or grief, or death,
And thence there comes a silent stream, which takes
Onward its quiet course, then, through a break,
The only one amid the mountains, goes
Down to the world below. And it should be
My task in fanciful similitudes
To trace a likeness for my destiny.
Those pale blue violets, which in despite
Of snow, or wind, or soil, cling to the rock
In lonely beauty—they are like my love,
My woman's love: it grew up amid cares
And coldness, yet still like those flowers it lived
On in its fragrance: but far happier they,
They rest in their lone home's security,
While, rooted from its dear abode, my love
Was scattered suddenly upon the wind,
To wither and to die. And the blue stream
Will be another emblem: cold and calm
It leaves its dwelling-place,—soon over rocks
Torrents like headlong passions hurry it—
Its waters lose their clearness, weeds and sands
Choke it like evil deeds, and banks upraised
By human art, obstruct and turn its course,
Till, worn out by long wanderings, it seeks,
Its strength gone by, some little quiet nook
Where it may waste its tired waves away.
So in this solitude might I depart,
My death unwatch'd! I could not bear to die,
And yet see life and love in some dear eye.
Why should I wish to leave some faithful one
With bleeding heart to break above my grave?
Oh no,—I do but wish to pass away
Unloved and unremembered! L. E. L