Landon site links: Home Page , Bibliography , Biography , Corvey Holdings , Corvey Project , Criticism and Context , E-Mail , Introduction , Related Sites , Sample Texts , SHU English



These are familiar things, and yet how few

Think of this misery!--

I LEFT the crowded street and the fresh day,

And entered the dark dwelling, where Death was

A daily visitant,--where sickness shed

Its weary languor o'er each fevered couch.

There was a sickly light, whose glimmer showed

Many a shape of misery: there lay

The victims of disease, writhing with pain;

And low faint groans, and breathings short and deep,

Each gasp a heartfelt agony, were all

That broke the stillness.--There was one, whose brow

Dark with hot climates, and gashed o'er with scars,

Told of the toiling march, the battle-rush,

Where sabres flashed, the red shots flew, and not

One ball or blow but did destruction's work:

But then his heart was high, and his pulse beat

Proudly and fearlessly:--now he was worn

With many a long day's suffering,--and death's

A fearful thing when we must count its steps!

And this was, then, the end of those sweet dreams,

Of home, of happiness, of quiet years

Spent in the little valley which had been

So long his land of promise? Farewell all

Gentle remembrances and cherished hopes!

His race was run, but its goal was the grave.--

I looked upon another, wasted, pale,

With eyes all heavy in the sleep of death;

Yet she was lovely still,--the cold damps hung

Upon a brow like marble, and her eyes,

Though dim, had yet their beautiful blue tinge.

Neglected as it was, her long fair hair

Was like the plumage of the dove, and spread

Its waving curls like gold upon her pillow.

Her face was a sweet ruin. She had loved,

Trusted, and been betrayed! In other days,

Had but her cheek looked pale, how tenderly

Fond hearts had watched it! They were far away,--

She was a stranger in her loneliness,

And sinking to the grave of that worst ill

A broken heart.--And there was one whose cheek

Was flushed with fever--'twas a face that seemed

Familiar to my memory,--'twas one

Whom I had loved in youth. In days long past,

How many glorious structures we had raised

Upon Hope's sandy basis! Genius gave

To him its golden treasures: he could pour

His own impassioned soul upon the lyre;

Or, with a painter's skill, create such shapes

Of loveliness, they were more like the hues

Of the rich evening shadows, than the work

Of human touch. But he was wayward, wild;

And hopes that in his heart's warm summer clime

Flourished, were quickly withered in the cold

And dull realities of life; . . . he was

Too proud, too visionary for this world,

And feelings which, like waters unconfined,

Had carried with them freshness and green beauty,

Thrown back upon themselves, spread desolation

On their own banks. He was a sacrifice,

And sank beneath neglect; his glowing thoughts

Were fires that preyed upon himself. Perhaps,

For he has left some high memorials, Fame

Will pour its sunlight o'er the picture, when

The artist's hand is mouldering in the dust,

And fling the laurel o'er a harp, whose chords

Are dumb for ever. But his eyes he raised

Mutely to mine--he knew my voice again,

And every vision of his boyhood rushed

Over his soul; his lip was deadly pale,

But pride was yet upon its haughty curve; . .

He raised one hand contemptuously, and seemed

As he would bid me mark his fallen state,

And that it was unheeded. So he died

Without one struggle, and his brow in death

Wore its pale marble look of cold defiance.