English Poet and Prose Writer
Walter Savage Landor
English Poet and Prose Writer
Nations, like individuals, interest us in their growth.
Against the groaning mast I stand, the Atlantic surges swell, to bear me from my native land and Zo?'s wild farewell. From billow upon billow hurl'd I can yet hear her say, `And is there nothing in the world worth one short hour's delay?' `Alas, my Zo?! were it thus, I should not sail alone, nor seas nor fates had parted us, but are you all my own?' Thus were it, never would burst forth my sighs, Heaven knows how true! But, though to me of little worth, the world is much to you. `Yes,' you shall say, when once the dream (So hard to break!) is o'er, `My love was very dear to him, my fame and peace were more.'
Cats, like men, are flatterers.
Great men lose somewhat of their greatness by being near us; ordinary men gain much.
I should entertain a mean opinion of myself if all men, or the most part, praised and admired me; it would prove me to be somewhat like them.
Lanthe! you are call'd to cross the sea! A path forbidden me! Remember, while the Sun his blessing sheds upon the mountain-heads, how often we have watcht him laying down his brow, and dropt our own against each other's, and how faint and short and sliding the support! What will succeed it now? Mine is unblest, Lanthe! nor will rest but on the very thought that swells with pain. O bid me hope again! O give me back what Earth, what (without you) not Heaven itself can do--One of the golden days that we have past, and let it be my last! Or else the gift would be, however sweet, fragile and incomplete.
No ashes are lighter than those of incense, and few things burn out sooner.
Ah, what avails the sceptred race! Ah, what the form divine! What every virtue, every grace! Rose Aylmer, all were thine. Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes may weep, but never see, a night of memories and sighs I consecrate to thee.
Child of a day, thou knowest not the tears that overflow thy urn, the gushing eyes that read thy lot, nor, if thou knewest, couldst return! And why the wish! the pure and blest watch like thy mother o'er thy sleep. O peaceful night! O envied rest! Thou wilt not ever see her weep.
Every great writer is a writer of history, let him treat on what subjects he may. - He carries with him, for thousands of years, a portion of his times.
Great men too often have greater faults than little men can find room for.
I sometimes think that the most plaintive ditty has brought a fuller joy and of longer duration to its composer than the conquest of Persia to the Macedonian.
Lately our poets loiter'd in green lanes, content to catch the ballads of the plains; I fancied I had strength enough to climb a loftier station at no distant time, and might securely from intrusion doze upon the flowers thro' which Ilissus flows. In those pale olive grounds all voices cease, and from afar dust fills the paths of Greece. My sluber broken and my doublet torn, I find the laurel also bears a thorn.
No friendship is so cordial or so delicious as that of girl for girl; no hatred so intense and immovable as that of woman for woman.
Although men of eminent genius have been guilty of all other vices, none worthy of more than a secondary name has ever been a gamester. Either an excess of avarice, or a deficiency of excitability, is the cause of it; neither of which can exist in the same bosom with genius, patriotism, or virtue.
Children are what the mothers are; no fondest father's fondest care can so fashion the infant's heart, or so shape the life.
Experience is our only teacher both in war and peace.
Greatness, as we daily see it, is unsociable.
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife. Nature I loved and, next to Nature, Art: I warm'd both hands before the fire of life; It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
Let me take up your metaphor. Friendship is a vase, which, when it is flawed by heat or violence or accident, may as well be broken at once; it can never be trusted after. The more graceful and ornamental it was, the more clearly do we discern the hopelessness of restoring it to its former state. Coarse stones, if they are fractured, may be cemented again; precious stones, never.
No good writer was ever long neglected; no great man overlooked by men equally great. Impatience is a proof of inferior strength, and a destroyer of what little there may be.
Alciphron and Leucippe -
An ancient chestnut’s blossoms threw
Their heavy odour over two:
Leucippe, it is said, was one;
The other, then, was Alciphron.
‘Come, come! why should we stand beneath?’
This hollow tree’s unwholesome breath?’
Said Alciphron, ‘here’s not a blade
Of grass or moss, and scanty shade.
Come; it is just the hour to rove
In the lone dingle shepherds love;
There, straight and tall, the hazel twig
Divides the crookаed rock-held fig,
O’er the blue pebbles where the rill
In winter runs and may run still.
Come then, while fresh and calm the air,
And while the shepherds are not there.’
Leucippe. But I would rather go when they
Sit round about and sing and play.
Then why so hurry me? for you
Like play and song, and shepherds too.
Alciphron. I like the shepherds very well,
And song and play, as you can tell.
But there is play, I sadly fear,
And song I would not have you hear.
Leucippe. What can it be? What can it be?
Alciphron. To you may none of them repeat
The play that you have play’d with me,
The song that made your bosom beat.
Leucippe. Don’t keep your arm about my waist.
Alciphron. Might you not stumble?
Leucippe. Well then, do.
But why are we in all this haste?
Alciphron. To sing.
Leucippe. Alas! and not play too?
Acon and Rhodope -
The Year's twelve daughters had in turn gone by,
Of measured pace tho' varying mien all twelve,
Some froward, some sedater, some adorn'd
For festival, some reckless of attire.
The snow had left the mountain-top; fresh flowers
Had withered in the meadow; fig and prune
Hung wrinkling; the last apple glow'd amid
Its freckled leaves; and weary oxen blinkt
Between the trodden corn and twisted vine,
Under whose bunches stood the empty crate,
To creak ere long beneath them carried home.
This was the season when twelve months before,
O gentle Hamadryad, true to love!
Thy mansion, thy dim mansion in the wood
Was blasted and laid desolate: but none
Dared violate its precincts, none dared pluck
The moss beneath it, which alone remain'd
Of what was thine.
Old Thallinos sat mute
In solitary sadness. The strange tale
(Not until Rhaicos died, but then the whole)
Echion had related, whom no force
Could ever make look back upon the oaks.
The father said "Echion! thou must weigh,
Carefully, and with steady hand, enough
(Although no longer comes the store as once!)
Of wax to burn all day and night upon
That hollow stone where milk and honey lie:
So may the Gods, so may the dead, be pleas'd!"
Thallinos bore it thither in the morn,
And lighted it and left it.
First of those
Who visited upon this solemn day
The Hamadryad's oak, were Rhodope
And Acon; of one age, one hope, one trust.
Graceful was she as was the nymph whose fate
She sorrowed for: he slender, pale, and first
Lapt by the flame of love: his father's lands
Were fertile, herds lowed over them afar.
Now stood the two aside the hollow stone
And lookt with stedfast eyes toward the oak
Shivered and black and bare.
"May never we
Love as they loved!" said Acon. She at this
Smiled, for he said not what he meant to say,
And thought not of its bliss, but of its end.
He caught the flying smile, and blusht, and vow'd
Nor time nor other power, whereto the might
Of love hath yielded and may yield again,
Should alter his.
The father of the youth
Wanted not beauty for him, wanted not
Song, that could lift earth's weight from off his heart,
Discretion, that could guide him thro' the world,
Innocence, that could clear his way to heaven;
Silver and gold and land, not green before
The ancestral gate, but purple under skies
Bending far off, he wanted for his heir.
Fathers have given life, but virgin heart
They never gave; and dare they then control
Or check it harshly? dare they break a bond
Girt round it by the holiest Power on high?
Acon was grieved, he said, grieved bitterly,
But Acon had complied . . 'twas dutiful!
Crush thy own heart, Man! Man! but fear to wound
The gentler, that relies on thee alone,
By thee created, weak or strong by thee;
Touch it not but for worship; watch before
Its sanctuary; nor leave it till are closed
The temple-doors and the last lamp is spent.
Rhodope, in her soul's waste solitude,
Sate mournful by the dull-resounding sea,
Often not hearing it, and many tears
Had the cold breezes hardened on her cheek.
Meanwhile he sauntered in the wood of oaks,
Nor shun'd to look upon the hollow stone
That held the milk and honey, nor to lay
His plighted hand where recently 'twas laid
Opposite hers, when finger playfully
Advanced and pusht back finger, on each side.
He did not think of this, as she would do
If she were there alone.
The day was hot;
The moss invited him; it cool'd his cheek,
It cool'd his hands; he thrust them into it
And sank to slumber. Never was there dream
Divine as his. He saw the Hamadryad.
She took him by the arm and led him on
Along a valley, where profusely grew
The smaller lilies with their pendent bells,
And, hiding under mint, chill drosera,
The violet shy of butting cyclamen,
The feathery fern, and, browser of moist banks,
Her offspring round her, the soft strawberry;
The quivering spray of ruddy tamarisk,
The oleander's light-hair'd progeny
Breathing bright freshness in each other's face,
And graceful rose, bending her brow, with cup
Of fragrance and of beauty, boon for Gods.
The fragrance fill'd his breast with such delight
His senses were bewildered, and he thought
He saw again the face he most had loved.
He stopt: the Hamadryad at his side
Now stood between; then drew him farther off:
He went, compliant as before: but soon
Verdure had ceast: altho' the ground was smooth,
Nothing was there delightful. At this change
He would have spoken, but his guide represt
All questioning, and said,
"Weak youth! what brought
Thy footstep to this wood, my native haunt,
My life-long residence? this bank, where first
I sate with him . . the faithful (now I know,
Too late!) the faithful Rhaicos. Haste thee home;
Be happy, if thou canst; but come no more
Where those whom death alone could sever, died."
He started up: the moss whereon he slept
Was dried and withered: deadlier paleness spread
Over his cheek; he sickened: and the sire
Had land enough; it held his only son.