Letitia Elizabeth Landon

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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Letitia Elizabeth Landon (August 14, 1802 – October 15, 1838) was an English poet and novelist, better known by her initials L. E. L.. She was one of the richest sources of epigrams in the early nineteenth century and one reviewer compared her to Rochefoucauld. Sometimes she adopts an adversarial role, giving contradictory viewpoints. Some of her thoughts recur, either developed or refined but over time, she also threw out differing opinions on some subjects; changeability, she argues, is one of our principal traits and, as she has one character remark, truth is like the philosopher's stone, a thing not to be discovered.

See also
Romance and Reality
Francesca Carrara
Ethel Churchill (or The Two Brides)
Lady Anne Granard (or Keeping up Appearances)


The Fate of Adelaide (1821)[edit]

  • Romantic Switzerland! thy scenes are traced
    With characters of strange wild loveliness,
    Beauty and desolation, side by side;
    Here lofty rocks uprise, where nature seems
    To dwell alone in silent majesty;
    Rob'd by the snow, her stately palace fram'd
    Of the white hills; towering in all their pride,
    The frost's gigantic mounds are lost in clouds,
    Like to vast castles rear'd in middle air.
    The ice has sculptur'd too strange imagery—
    Obelisks, columns, spires, fantastic piles;
    Some like the polish'd marble, others clear
    As the rock crystal, others sparkling with
    The hues that melt along the sunborn bow.
    • Canto I, I opening lines
  • And o'er them lowers destruction, high in air,
    Upon those jutting crags, whose rugged sides,
    Riven in fragments, and like ruins pil'd,
    Seem as that giants of those ancient days
    When earthborn creatures braved th' Olympic Gods,
    Those of whom fable tells, had torn away
    Rocks from their solid base, and with strong arm,
    Parted the mountains: there the avalanche hangs,
    Mighty, but tremulous; just a light breath
    Will loosen it from off its airy throne;
    Then down it hurls in wrath, like to the sound
    Of thunder amid storms, or as the voice
    Of rushing waters—death in its career.
    • Canto I, I

The Improvisatrice (1824)[edit]

  • I am a daughter of that land,
    Where the poet’s lip and the painter’s hand
    Are most divine, —where the earth and sky,
    Are picture both and poetry—
    I am of Florence.
    • Title Poem
  • Statues but known from shapes of the earth,
    By being too lovely for mortal birth;
    Paintings whose colours of life were caught
    From the fairy tints in the rainbow wrought;
    Music whose sighs had a spell like those
    That float on the sea at the evening’s close
    Language so silvery, that every word
    Was like the lute’s awakening chord;
    • Title Poem
  • My power was but a woman’s power;
    Yet, in that great and glorious dower
    Which Genius gives, I had my part:
    I poured my full and burning heart
    • Title Poem
  • But Love’s bright fount is never pure;
    And all his pilgrims must endure
    All passion’s mighty suffering
    Ere they may reach the blessed spring.
    • Title Poem
  • It was my evil star above,
    Not my sweet lute, that wrought me wrong;
    It was not song that taught me love,
    But it was love that taught me song.
    • Title Poem
  • There are a thousand fanciful things
    Linked round the young heart's imaginings.
    In its first love-dream, a leaf or a flower
    Is gifted then with a spell and a power:
    A shade is an omen, a dream is a sign,
    From which the maiden can well divine
    Passion's whole history.
    • Title Poem
  • It is most sad to watch the fall
    Of autumn leaves!--but worst of all
    It is to watch the flower of spring
    Faded in its fresh blossoming!
    • Title Poem
  • I loved him as young Genius loves,
    When its own wild and radiant heaven
    Of starry thought burns with the light,
    The love, the life, by passion given.
    I loved him, too, as woman loves--
    Reckless of sorrow, sin, or scorn:
    Life had no evil destiny
    That, with him, I could not have borne!
    • Title Poem
  • It is a night of summer,—and the sea
    Sleeps, like a child, in mute tranquillity.
    Soft o'er the deep-blue wave the moonlight breaks;
    Gleaming, from out the white clouds of its zone,
    • Rosalie.
  • Then they were silent:—words are little aid
    To Love, whose deepest vows are ever made
    By the heart's beat alone. Oh, silence is
    Love's own peculiar eloquence of bliss!
    • Rosalie.
  • How very desolate that breast must be,
    Whose only joyance is in memory!
    And what must woman suffer, thus betrayed?—
    Her heart's most warm and precious feelings made
    But things wherewith to wound: that heart—so weak,
    So soft—laid open to the vulture's beak!
    • Rosalie.
  • It must be worth a life of toil and care,—
    Worth those dark chains the wearied one must bear
    Who toils up fortune's steep,—all that can wring
    The worn-out bosom with lone-suffering,—
    Worth restlessness, oppression, goading fears,
    And long-deferred hopes of many years,—
    To reach again that little quiet spot,
    So well loved once, and never quite forgot;—
    To trace again the steps of infancy,
    And catch their freshness from their memory!
    • Rosalie.
  • There was a grave just closed. Not one seemed near,
    To pay the tribute of one long—last tear!
    How very desolate must that one be,
    Whose more than grave has not a memory!
    • Rosalie.
  • I do love violets:
    They tell the history of woman's love;
    • Roland's Tower

The Troubadour (1825)[edit]

  • 'Tis strange how the heart can create
    Or colour from itself its fate;
    We make ourselves our own distress,
    We are ourselves our happiness.
    • Canto II

The Golden Violet (1827)[edit]

  • Thou know'st how fearless is my trust in thee.
    • The Golden Violet - The Child of the Sea
  • So much to win, so much to lose,
    No marvel that I fear to choose.
    • The Golden Violet - title poem
  • Music moves us, and we know not why;
    We feel the tears, but cannot trace their source.
    Is it the language of some other state,
    Born of its memory ? For what can wake
    The soul's strong instinct of another world,
    Like music?
    • Erinna

The Venetian Bracelet (1829)[edit]

  • -- social life is fill’d
    With doubts and vain aspirings; solitude,
    When the imagination is dethroned,
    Is turned to weariness.
    • A History of the Lyre
  • Alas! we make
    A ladder of our thoughts, where angels step,
    But sleep ourselves at the foot: our high resolves
    Look down upon our slumbering acts.
    • A History of the Lyre
  • I would give worlds, could I believe
    One-half that is profess'd me;
    Affection! could I think it Thee,
    When Flattery has caress'd me.
    • Song - I pray thee let me weep to-night
  • My tears are buried in my heart, like cave-locked fountains sleeping.
    • Song - I pray thee let me weep to-night

Heath's book of Beauty, 1833 (1832)[edit]

  • For a discussion of some of the contents of this significant cultural volume, see Adriana Craciun, ‘Fatal Women of Romanticism’, Cambridge University Press, 2004, page 204. The section ‘The Enchantress’ here begins by describing that first story as a ‘self-consciously Byronic text’ that ‘develops a Promethean, distinctly Luciferian model of poetic identity and self-creation’.

The Enchantress

  • Water—the mighty, the pure, the beautiful, the unfathomable—where is thy element so glorious as it is in thine own domain, the deep seas ? What an infinity of power is in the far Atlantic, the boundary of two separate worlds, apart like those of memory and of hope ! or in the bright Pacific, whose tides are turned to gold by a southern sun, and in whose bosom sleep a thousand isles, each covered with the verdure, the flowers, and the fruit of Eden ! But, amid all thy hereditary kingdoms, to which hast thou given beauty, as a birthright, lavishly as thou hast to thy favourite Mediterranean ? The silence of a summer night is now sleeping on its bosom, where the bright stars are mirrored, as if in its depths they had another home and another heaven. A spirit, cleaving air midway between the two, might have paused to ask which was sea, and which was sky. The shadows of earth and earthly things, resting omen-like upon the waters, alone shewed which was the home and which the mirror of the celestial host.
  • We step not over the threshold of childhood till led by Love
  • Strange, that ignorance should be our best happiness in this life, and yet be the one we are ever striving to destroy !
  • The weakness of our nature—how soon any strong emotion masters it !
  • I had lost of humanity but its illusions, and they alone are what render it supportable.
  • Truly, night was made for sleep; since to its wakeful hours belongs an oppression unknown to the very dreariest hours of day. The stillness is so deep, the solitude so unbroken, the fever brought on by want of rest so weakens the nerves, that the imagination exercises despotic and unwholesome power, till, if the heart have a fear or a sorrow, up it arises in all the force and terror of gigantic exaggeration.
  • For when do friends not delight in the sorrow of the prosperous?
  • He who seeks pleasure with reference to himself, not others, will ever find that pleasure is only another name for discontent.
  • In sad truth, half our forebodings of our neighbours are but our own wishes, which we are ashamed to utter in any other form.
  • How often will the lip frame some indifferent question, when the heart is full of the most important!

The Talisman

  • How strong is the love of the country in all indwellers of towns !
  • Curious it is that every hour of our day is repeated from myriad chimes; and yet how rarely do we attend to the clock striking ! Alas ! how emblematic is this of the way in which we neglect the many signs of time ! How terrible, when we think of what time may achieve, is the manner in which we waste it! At the end of every man's life, at least three-quarters of the mighty element of which that life was composed will be found void—lost—nay, utterly forgotten ! And yet that time, laboured and husbanded, might have built palaces, gathered wealth, and, still greater, made an imperishable name.
  • Poverty is a terrible thing when it bows to the very ground the pride of the strong man—a terrible thing when it leaves old age destitute : till, the strong man may yet redeem his fortunes, and that old age may have had enjoyment while it was capable of enjoying. But a child, with the step slow from weakness, which from its age should be so buoyant ; a cheek thin and white from hunger, at a period which especially cares for food (for all children are greedy) ; a form shrivelled with cold ; a growth stopped by work too laborious for such tender years ; a spirit broken by toil, want, and harshness ;—is not such a child poverty's most miserable spectacle ? It is, however, a common one.
  • {of Theatres} There, while weeping for sorrows which are not, laughing at the light jest or the ludicrous misadventure, how little is remembered of the want which makes fear the only bond that binds the living to life !
  • Good and evil ! good and evil ! ye are mingled inextricably in the web of our being ; and who may unthread the darker yarn ?
  • There must be some deep-rooted anti-social principle in every man's nature, so dearly does he love aught that separates him from his kind ; or is it but one of the many shapes taken by that mental kaleidoscope, vanity, the varying and the glittering, the desire of distinction, sinking into that of notice?
  • The peasant boy, who followed the coloured track of the rainbow, hoping to find the blue and charmed flower which springs where the arch touches earth, is wiser far than one who gives youth, genius, and time to literature.
  • What a mistake rage is ! anger should never go beyond a sneer, if it really desires revenge.
  • Distinction is purchased at the expense of sympathy
  • We again repeat, that there is no temper so communicative as an imaginative one.
  • … who has not experienced, at some time or other, that words had all the relief of tears?
  • Not that we would detract one iota from the benevolence which does exist in humanity ; there is both more gratitude and more cause for gratitude than it is the fashion now-a-days to admit: but this we do say, that the obligation is never from those on whom we have a claim. Kindness is always unexpected; and “overcomes us like a summer cloud," exciting our "special wonder" as well as thankfulness.
  • What a falsehood it is to say that genius and industry are incompatible ! Does one work of genius exist that has not also been a work of labour ?
  • —to enjoy yourself is the easy method to give enjoyment to others; …

  • A despotic power makes slaves.
  • I rather disdained than coveted the luxuries I saw : alas ! we desire riches more for others than ourselves.
  • —vanity, like all social vices, craves for novelty ;
  • —true love is like religion, it hath its silence and its sanctity.
  • They say gravity is the centre of attraction ; I rather think that noise is. Nothing so soon assembles the inhabitants of a house as a loud and sudden noise : …
  • … when was a woman ever witty without being bitter?
  • To use the established phrase, three months of uninterrupted happiness glided away—a phrase, though in frequent use, whose accuracy I greatly doubt ; there being no such thing as uninterrupted happiness any how or any where.

The Knife

  • The discharge of a duty from affection is the best solace for sorrow.
  • The gallantry of an English peasant rarely expands into words.
  • —what an odd thing it is, that the indications of terror are usually ludicrous !
  • There is no denying the fact, that in all sudden emergencies a woman has ten times the presence of mind, or, to use the common expression, her wits more about her than a man.
  • Death never excites such sympathy as it does when it assumes the shape of murder.
  • Human nature is accused of much more selfishness than it really has ; a thousand kindly emotions break in upon and redeem our daily and interested life.
  • There is a deep impression of awe produced by such a vast but silent crowd ; we are at once conscious that the cause is terrible which can induce the unusual stillness. The issue of a trial on which hangs life or death, is indeed an appalling thing. We know that men are about to take away that which they cannot give—that a few words of human breath will deprive of breath one of the number for ever ; and though we acknowledge that in this evil world punishment is the only security against crime, and that blood for blood has been a necessity from the beginning of time ; still, we feel that the necessity is a dreadful one.
  • How incomprehensible is woman's love ! —it is not kindness that wins it, nor return that insures it; we daily see the most devoted attachment lavished on those who seem to us singularly unworthy. The Spectator shewed his usual knowledge of human nature, when, in speaking on this subject, he relates, that in a town besieged by the enemy, on the women being allowed to depart with whatever they held most precious, only one among them carried off her husband,—a man notorious for his tyrannical temper, and who had, moreover, a bad—or, as it turned out, a good—habit of beating his wife every morning. Well, all governments are maintained by fear—fear being our great principle of action ; and fear, we are tempted to believe, heightens and strengthens the love of woman.
  • The fearless make their own way.
  • Born with them—born with them : all alike ! No pleasure equal to the pleasure of tormenting, to a woman.


  • If we did but know how we rush into one evil while seeking to avoid another, we should have no resolution to shun any thing.
  • Youth's first acquaintance with sorrow is a terrible thing—before time has taught, what it will surely teach, that grief is our natural portion, at once transitory and eternal. But the first lesson is the severest—we have not then looked among our fellows, and seen that suffering is general ; and we feel as if marked out by fate for misery that has no parallel.
  • But as our explanation will be more brief than one broken in upon by words of wonder, regret, and affection, we will proceed to it ; holding that explanation, like advice, should be of all convenient shortness.


  • How beautiful, how buoyant, and glad is morning! The first sunshine on the leaves: the first wind, laden with the first breath of the flowers-that deep sigh with which they seem to waken from sleep; the first dew, untouched even by the light foot of the early hare; the first chirping of the rousing birds, as if eager to begin song and flight; all is redolent of the strength given by rest, and the joy of conscious life.
  • Sound peculiarly appeals to memory.
  • It is a humbling thing to human pride to observe that strength of mind does not preserve its possessor from indulging any favourite delusion; but that this very strength gives its own force to the belief.
  • It is the mistake of a coxcomb, whose experience of affection is all to come—if it ever comes—to say that women are won by mere good looks. Though it does not owe its birth to them. Gratitude and Vanity are the nurses that rock the cradle of Love.
  • What a visionary thing is the independence of youth ! how full of projects, which take the shape of certainties ! How much of rugged and stern experience it requires to convince the young and the eager, that the efforts of an individual unaided by connexion or circumstance, are the true reading of the allegory of the Danaides : —industry and skill, alas, how often are they but water drawn with labour into a bucket full of holes !
  • [From Reginald Clinton]: I do not believe that the heart is turned from the Creator by enjoying his works. Of what avail is the sweet breath of the rose, the morning song of the lark ? The pleasure they impart is not matter of necessity, and yet we delight in both. The soul of the poet is as much His gift as the fragrance of the flower, or the lay of the bird ; and the page where inspired words record heroic deed, touching sorrow, or natural loveliness, is one of those pleasures for which we should be thankful. I, for my part, believe most devoutly in the Almighty mercy, when I see how much that is beautiful and gladdening has been scattered over our pilgrimage here.
  • I do firmly believe that the Londoner is as contented with his city home as the dweller in the fairest valley among the Appennines ; and that habit brings its usual indifference as to place.
  • Out upon the folly which, in estimating human misery, allows aught to bear comparison with the agony of the poor ! I use the word poor relatively; I call not those poor to whom honesty brings self-respect, whose habits and whose means have gone together, and whose industry is its own support. But those are the poor whose exertion supplies not their wants—to whom cold, hunger, and weariness, are common feelings ; who have known better days—to whom the past furnishes contrast, and the future fear.
  • [From Lee, a dramatist]: Ah! the poet hath no true hope, who doth not place it in the many, and in the feeling of the common multitude.
  • [From Lee]: I believe that the mind may make its own immortality : thought is the spiritual part of existence ; and so long as my mind influences others, so long as my thoughts remain behind, so long shall my spirit be conscious and immortal. The body may perish—not so the essence which survives in the living and lasting page.
  • I am persuaded there is no triumph equal to one achieved on the stage—it comes so immediate and so home : you have before you the mass of human beings whose sympathies are at your will; you witness the emotions which you raise, you see the tears which you command : the poet has erected the statue, but it is for you to give it life—the words must find their music on your lips—the generous sentiment, the exalted hope, the touches of deep feeling, ask their expression from you : surely such influence is among the triumphs of the mind, ay and a great and noble triumph.
  • But in this world every thing has its evil ; the dust is on the wheels of the conqueror's chariot—the silken-wrought tapestry covers the mouldering wall;
  • I have ever remarked, that when Fate has any great misfortune in store, it is always preceded by a brief period of calm and sunshine—as if to add bitterness of contrast to all other misery. It is for the happy to tremble—it is over their heads that the thunderbolt is about to burst.
  • … ; but conscience, like a child, is soon lulled to sleep ; and habit is our idea of eternity.
  • Who does not know the restlessness of an anticipated arrival ?

Experiments; or The Lover from Ennui

  • Cecil Forrester was heir to many misfortunes, being handsome, rich, high-born, and clever.
  • To make our story shorter than the miniature groom's, he learnt that his own property in himself was in danger; and that, if the patriot’s definition of liberty be true —"it is like the air we breathe, without it we die"—his life was near its termination. A writ was issued against him; and, thanks to a douceur to his valet, two professional gentlemen, as he left his toilet, would deprive his friends at the Clarendon of his company.
  • On one side, lemons are selling for a shilling a dozen ; on the other, oranges for sixpence. One man blows a horn in your ear, and offers you the Standard ; another exerts his lungs, and shews you the Courier. Pencils are to be had for a penny ; and penknives, with from three to six blades each, for eighteen pence a-dozen. A fellow with a trunk turns its corner on your temples; another deposits a box, with the grocery of a family —sugar, soap, candles, and all—on your toes. A gigantic gentleman nearly knocks you down in his hurry ; and an elderly Jew slips past you so neatly, that you tumble over him before you are aware. Every body is always too late, and therefore every body is in a bustle. Two policemen keep the peace; and half-a-dozen individuals, whose notions on the law of property are at variance with established principles or prejudices, attend for the purpose of breaking it. Add to these some females with shawls and sharp elbows ; and pattens, whose iron rings are for the benefit of foot-passengers. Such is the White Horse Cellar, and the pavement from Dover Street to Albemarle Street.
  • [From Cecil Forrester]: Nothing like love-letters for filling up a rainy morning. A mistress gives a man such an interest in himself! You cannot run your fingers through your hair, without a vision of the locket wherein one of your curls reposes on the fairest neck in the world. An east-wind only conjures up a host of "sweet anxieties ;" and if the worst comes to the worst, you can sit down and write sonnets to your inamorata's eyebrow.
  • English people ... never speak, excepting in cases of fire or murder, unless they are introduced. 

  • Now, a fancy ball is bad enough in London, where milliners are many, and where theatres have costumes that may be borrowed or copied ; but in the country, where people are left to their own devices—truly to them may be applied the old poet's account of murderers, "their fancies are all frightful.”
  • We talk of unsophisticated nature—I should like to know where it is to be found.
  • Ill-timed admiration is enough to enrage a saint.

  • What is the reason that we find it so satisfactory to make excuses to ourselves—the only persons in the world to whom they must be altogether needless ?

An Evening at Lucy Ashton’s

  • —the unpunished crime is never regretted. We weep over the consequence, not over the fault.

The Vow of the Peacock (1835)[edit]

Traits and Trials of Early Life (1837)[edit]

  • This volume was written for children. Miss Landon set out its purpose in the preface.


  • Sympathy is the surest destruction of selfishness. Children, like the grown person, grow the better for participation in the sufferings where their own only share is pity.

The Twin Sisters

  • ... happiness is not for this world — a conviction that cannot be too soon acquired : it will destroy a thousand vain expectations, dissipate the most perplexing of our illusions — the early knowledge that life is but a trial, whose triumph is hereafter, and this earth a place appointed for that sorrow and patient endurance which is gradually fitting us for a better and a happier state.
  • There are always an ample sufficiency of compassionate neighbours ready to console one who, by common consent, is styled "the disconsolate widower.”
  • Selfishness is hypocritical by nature, and seizes on the first decent excuse as a cloak ;
  • … any one who has noticed may have observed that the weeping of grown up persons produces a sensation of awe on the mind of a child. Accustomed to associate the idea of superiority with that of their elders, they cannot understand their giving way to the same emotions as themselves.
  • What a duty it is to cultivate a pleasant manner ! how many a meeting does it make cheerful which would otherwise have been stupid and formal! We do not mean by this the mere routine of polite observance, but we mean that general cheerfulness which, like the sunshine lights up whatever it touches, that attention to others which discovers what subject is most likely to interest them, and that information which, ready for use, is easily laid under contribution by the habit of turning all resources to immediate employ. In short, a really pleasant manner grows out of benevolence, which can be as much shown in a small courtesy as in a great service.
  • Nothing discourages a child so much as the impossibility of pleasing.
  • I believe the love of flowers to be as inherent in the disposition as any other inclination.
  • How many children, discontented with the exercise of needful authority, might learn submission and thankfulness from the lot of others ; such a temper as that we have been describing is very uncommon ; the treatment of children oftener errs on the side of over-indulgence than aught else. How many might be taught better to appreciate the blessings which surround them by considering what some, less fortunate than themselves, are called upon to endure !

The History of Mable Dacre’s First Lessons

  • Now, bitter, but useful, mortification is the steppingstone to knowledge, even in a child.
  • Expectation makes a long delay.
  • All beginnings are very troublesome things. 

  • … we all know mysteries are very fascinating things.

The Indian Island

Frances Beaumont

  • November's night is dark and drear,
    The dullest month of all the year.
  • Children are too often unkind to one another, and deny the allowance they so much need in their own case.
  • In moments of great anxiety there is a sort of natural superstition about the heart, which the reason rejects in cooler moments.

The History of a Child

  • To know yourself less beloved than you love, is a dreadful feeling
  • It was an epoch in my life, it is an epoch in every child's life, the first reading of Robinson Crusoe.
  • We read of the gales that bear from the shores of Ceylon the breathings of the cinnamon groves.
  • The poor child, as Charles Lamb so touchingly expresses it, is not brought, but "dragged out," and if the wits are sharpened, so, too, is the soft, round cheek. The crippled limb and broken constitution attest the effects of the over-early struggle with penury; but the child of rich parents suffers, though in another way; there is the heart that is crippled, by the selfishness of indulgence and the habit of relying upon others. It takes years of harsh contact with the realities of life to undo the enervating work of a spoilt and over aided childhood. We cannot too soon learn the strong and useful lessons of exertion and self-dependance.

The London Literary Gazette[edit]

  • How sweet on the breeze of the evening swells
    The vesper call of those soothing bells,
    Borne softly and dying in echoes away,
    Like a requiem sung to the parting day.
    • (22nd September 1821) Bells
  • He must be rich whom I could love,
    His fortune clear must be,
    Whether in land or in the funds,
    'Tis all the same to me.
    • (10th November 1821) Six Songs of Love, Constancy, Romance, Inconstancy, Truth, and Marriage - 'Matrimonial Creed'
  • Oh, softest is the cheek's love-ray
    When seen by moonlight hours
    • (24th November 1821) Stanzas Also published in The Improvisatrice (1824) as When Should Lovers Breathe Their Vows?
  • You may find many a brighter one
    Than your own rose, but there are none
    So true to thee, Love.
    • (5th January 1822) Song ("Are other eyes beguiling, Love?")
  • These are thy bridal flowers
    I am now wreathing;
    This is thy marriage hymn
    I am now breathing.
    • (12th January 1822) Sketch the first. "A woman's whole life is a history of the affections. The heart is her world. She sends forth her sympathies in adventure; she embarks her whole shoal in the traffic of love, and, if shipwrecked, her case is hopeless; it is a bankruptcy of the heart."
  • But ignorance is happiness,
    When young Hope is to show the way;
    • (12th January 1822) Ten Years Ago.
  • A blossom full of promise is life's joy,
    That never comes to fruit; hope, for a time,
    Suns the young floweret in its gladsome light,
    And it looks flourishing—a little while,
    Tis past, we know not whither, but 'tis gone—
    • (19th January 1822) Poetic Sketches, No.2
  • A light compliment was never yet breathed by love.
  • A man above thirty cannot enter into the wild visions of an enthusiastic girl.
  • Love has no power to look forward — the delicious consciousness of the present, a faint but delightful shadow of the past, form its eternity.
    • (18th August 1822) These from a prose sketch - Isadore
  • Hope is love's happiness, but not its life;—
    How many hearts have nourished a vain flame
    In silence and in secret, though they knew
    They fed the scorching fire that would consume them!
    • (21st September 1822) The Minstrel of Portugal Also published in The Improvisatrice (1824)
  • Ah! love is even more fragile than its gifts!
    A tress of raven hair:--oh, only those
    Whose souls have felt this one idolatry
    Can tell how precious is the slightest thing
    Affection gives and hallows.
  • Love, thou hast hopes like summers, short and bright,
    Moments of ecstasy, and maddening dreams,
    Intense delicious throbs!
    • (12th October 1822) The Basque girl and Henri Quatre Also published in The Improvisatrice (1824)
  • The father had prayed o'er his only son!
    • (16th November 1822) Fragments in Rhyme I: The Soldier's Funeral Also published in The Improvisatrice (1824)
  • Oh, tears are a most worthless token,
    When hearts they would have soothed are broken.
    • (14th December 1822) The Painter's Love Also published in The Improvisatrice (1824)
  • Do any thing but love ; or if thou lovest
    And art a Woman, hide thy love from him
    Who thou dost worship ; never let him know
    How dear he is ; flit like a bird before him, —
    Lead him from tree to tree, from flower to flower ;
    But be not won, or thou wilt, like that bird,
    When caught and caged, be left to pine neglected,
    And perish in forgetfulness.
    • (26th April 1823) Fragment - Do any thing but love ; or if thou lovest
  • I will look on the stars and look on thee,
    and read the page of thy destiny.
    • (11th October 1823) The Gipsy's Prophecy. Also published in The Improvisatrice (1824)
  • There's feasting spread in gorgeous halls,
    The lamps flash round the city walls,
    And many a flood of lustre falls
    O'er many an honoured name.

    Turn thou from this, and enter where
    Some mother weeps o'er her despair,
    Some desolate bride rends her rich hair,
    Some orphan joins the cry !
    Then back again to the death plain,
    Where lie those whom they weep in vain,
    And ask, in gazing on the slain,
    What art thou, Victory ?
    • (21st January 1826) Io triumphe (under the pen name Iole)

The Monthly Magazine[edit]

Living Literary Characters, No. V. - Edward Lytton Bulwer (1831-1) Volume 31 page 437

  • It is a fact not to be disputed, that the aristocracy have not "progressed " in proportion to the other classes. A young nobleman of the present day has not a better education than his ancestor in the time of Elizabeth.
  • Literary taste is often confounded with literary talent by others, quite as much as by ourselves.
  • Ridicule is the re-action of enthusiasm. Sentiment was considered confined to schools ; and, so far from affecting too much feeling, people were beginning to be ashamed of having any.
  • Life has little breathing time ; and, even when we do for a moment reflect, it is rather on our present than our past : the pains and pleasures of memory are put aside as quickly as the poem which celebrates them.
  • But wit cuts its bright way through the glass-door of public favour;
  • But preference, and its consequence, neglect, is the child's most cruel wrong. The bitter feeling of comparing our own lot with another's, will come quite soon enough without its being taught in infancy.

On the Ancient and Modern Influence of Poetry (1832-2) Volume 35 page 466

  • It is curious to observe how little one period resembles another. Centuries are the children of one mighty family, but here is no family-likeness between them.
  • The imagination, which is the source of poetry, has in every country been the beginning as well as the ornament of civilization. It civilizes because it refines.
  • We deny that poetry is fiction; its merit and its power lie alike in its truth:

The Story of Hester Malpas (1833-3) Volume 39 Page 463

  • There is a favourite in every family; and, generally speaking, that favourite is the most troublesome member in it.
  • He had married for love, under the frequent delusion of supposing that love will last under every circumstance most calculated to destroy it ; and, secondly, that it can supply the place of everything else.
  • Other sorrows soften the heart, — poverty hardens it. Nothing like poverty for chilling the affections and repressing the spirits. Its annoyances are all of the small and mean order ; its regrets all of a selfish kind ; its presence is perpetual ; and the scant meal, and the grudged fire, are repeated day by day, yet who can become accustomed to them ?
  • A woman always exaggerates her beauty and its influence when they are past ; and it was a perpetual grief to think what her pretty face might have done for her.
  • Everybody has some particular point on which they pique themselves ; generally something which ill deserves the pride bestowed upon it.
  • She had always thought she would be like her father, and fancied a tall, dark, and handsome face.

A Calendar of the London Seasons (1834-1) Volume 40 page 425

  • Philosophers are moral, and poets are picturesque about the country.
  • It is an unpleasant thing to differ in opinion with the rest of one's species — it is making a sort of North Pole of one's own, and then setting out in search of it.
  • I like to be candid in my admissions — it is so very disarming ; you forestall the objection which you admit — at least your adversary has scarcely the heart to push to its utmost the advantage which you so meekly confess.
  • Ah ! I appeal to all who have any sensibility — for themselves — how delightful it is to be called in the morning, yet not to obey that call. It combines two of the greatest enjoyments of which our nature is susceptible— obstinacy and indolence.
  • A London day requires to be well aired before it is ventured into.
  • If, even at three years old, we turn to the pleasures of memory, the less that is asserted about the felicity of childhood, the less there will be to dispute.
  • We enjoy no pleasure so much as we do tormenting ourselves.
  • Pattern love-letter — "I — I — I — you — you — you ; you — you — you — I — I — I," garnished with loves and doves ad libitum.
  • ... who cares for a general compliment more than a general lover.
  • ... we English people delight in a moral — not a moral to be deduced or inferred, but a nice, rounded, little moral, in all the starch of set sentences, and placed just at the end,
  • Perhaps it is a benevolent provision of Nature that we remember more what touches than what pains us.

On the Character of Mrs. Hemans’s Writings (1835-2) Volume 44 page 425

  • There cannot be a greater error than to suppose that the poet does not feel what he writes. What an extraordinary, I might say, impossible view, is this to take of an art more connected with emotion than any of its sister sciences. What — the depths of the heart are to be sounded, its mysteries unveiled, and its beatings numbered by those whose own heart is made by this strange doctrine — a mere machine wound up by the clock-work of rhythm ! No ; poetry is even more a passion than a power, and nothing is so strongly impressed on composition as the character of the writer. I should almost define poetry to be the necessity of feeling strongly in the first instance, and the as strong necessity of confiding in the second.
  • Praise — actual personal praise— oftener frets and embarrasses than it encourages. It is too small when too near.
  • There is a well of melancholy poetry in every human bosom. We have all mourned over the destroyed illusion and the betrayed hope. We have quarrelled in some embittered moment with an early friend, and when too late lamented the estrangement.
  • In childhood, the impetus of conversation is curiosity. The child talks to ask questions. But one of its first lessons, as it advances, is that a question is an intrusion, and an answer a deceit.
  • Ridicule parts social life like an invisible paling ; and we are all of us afraid of the other. To this may be in great measure attributed the difference that exists between an author's writings and his conversation. The one is often sad and thoughtful, while the other is lively and careless. The fact is, that the real character is shown in the first instance, and the assumed in the second.
  • In this consists the difference between painting and poetry : the painter reproduces others, — the poet reproduces himself.
  • Did we not know this world to be but a place of trial — our bitter probation for another and for a better — how strange in its severity would seem the lot of genius in a woman. The keen feeling — the generous enthusiasm — the lofty aspiration — and the delicate perception — are given but to make the possessor unfitted for her actual position.
  • I always wish, in reading my favourite poets, to know what first suggested my favourite poems. Few things would be more interesting than to know under what circumstances they were composed, — how much of individual sentiment there was in each, or how, on some incident seemingly even opposed, they had contrived to ingraft their own associations. What a history of the heart would such annals reveal ! Every poem is in itself an impulse.
  • Fame to a woman is indeed but a royal mourning in purple for happiness.

The Love Charm (1835-3) Volume 45 page 156

  • Expectation is in itself a very pretty sort of reality.
  • They say suppers are very unwholesome, our grandfathers and grandmothers never discovered it …
  • … unshared mirth only damps the spirits of a small circle …
  • The huge dome of St. Paul's arose bathed in the moonlight, that giant fane of a giant city, a hundred spires were shining silvery in the soft gleam, and all meaner objects were touched with a picturesque obscurity: all around was silence and rest. The myriad voices of London were still, and nothing vexed the lulled ear of midnight.
  • She was tall beyond the ordinary height of woman, but stately in her grace as the ideal of a queen and the reality of a swan. Her arms and feet were bare, but for the gems which encircled them. A white robe swept around her in folds gathered at the waist by a golden girdle inscribed with signs and characters. Her hair was singularly thick, and of that purple blackness seen on the grape and the neck of the raven — black, with a sort of azure bloom upon it. It was fastened in large folds, which went several times round the head, and these were adorned with jewels and precious stones, like a midnight lighted with stars. Her complexion was a pale pure olive, perfectly colourless, but delicate as that of a child. Her mouth was the only spot where the rose held dominion, and lips of richer crimson never opened to the morning.
  • The very sound of his own steps disturbed him ; and he flung himself on a couch, to enjoy without interruption the exquisite melody. The intense perfume of the flowers intoxicated him like wine. He felt as if lulled in a delicious trance, in which one image became more and more distinct — the pale but lovely face of his hostess. His heart was filling with love for those radiant eyes. A softer fragrance breathed around him — it was her breath. He looked, and she was again bending over him ; he saw himself mirrored in the moonlight of her eyes.

Mildred Pemberton (1836-1) Volume 46 page 309

  • On this subject any general rule is impossible ; love, like the chamelion, is coloured by the air in which it lives — and the finer the air the richer the colour. Some young ladies have a happy facility of falling in and out of love; their heart, like a raspberry tart, is covered with crosses.
  • He was wrong, as all are who rouse the passive resistance of a woman's nature. The indignity and violence with which she was treated only made her turn more fondly to the shelter of the loving heart she believed was so truly her own. Kindness might have brought her to her father's feet, ready to give up her dearest hopes for his sake; but his harsh anger only made her tremble at the hopeless future.
  • A woman whose lover resigns her, and as if for her own sake, though without consulting her, is placed in a most awkward situation. What can she do ? Take him at his word ? That is easy to say, but hard to do, when all the hopes and affections are garnered in his love.
  • Always accustomed to wealth, she did not understand its value ; we must want money to really know its worth, and money seemed to her the vilest consideration that could have influence.

An Old Lady of the Last Century (1836-1) Volume 46 page 421

  • In endeavouring to recall a few memorials of Mrs. Lawrence Burgoyne, I do it on the same principle that scientific men collect the bones of a mammoth — the whole exists no longer ; but there are sufficient remains to show that it did exist.
  • Mrs. Burgoyne passed the last twenty years of her life in a large, solemn-looking house at Kensington ; it is now a mad-house. How curiously do these changes in dwelling places, once cheerful and familiar, bring the mutability of our existence home ! It would be an eventful chronicle, the history of even a few of the old-fashioned houses in the vicinity of London. You ascended a flight of steps, with a balustrade and two indescribable birds on either side, and a large hall, which, strange to say, was more cheerful in winter than in summer. In summer the narrow windows, the black wood with which it was panelled, seemed heavy and dull ; but in winter the huge fire gave its own gladness, and had besides the association with old English hospitality which a blazing grate always brings. You passed next through two long drawing-rooms, whose white wainscoting was almost covered with family portraits. There cannot be much said for the taste of Queen Anne's time downwards — bagged, wigged, and hooped ; there was not a picture of which the African's question might not have been asked, "Pray tell me, white woman, if this is all you?”
  • Indeed it is a doubtful fact whether clever people are ever very agreeable ; they are too much absorbed by one particular pursuit, to bound lightly enough over those generalities which are the stepping-stones of conversation ; they feel as if they ought to say something worth remembering.

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed (1836-2) Volume 47 page 41

  • Charles went towards the table, but he had no lady-like powers of filling four sheets with nothing, and the letter was soon sealed.
  • Again he was thrown upon his resources; which have always appeared to me the very worst things on which an unfortunate individual can be thrown in the way of amusement.
  • A will of his own in a young man without a shilling is a superfluity,
  • Three hackney-coaches, and two women in patterns passed by; also a man with an umbrella dripping, which he held rather over a brown paper parcel than himself: at last, a bright spot appeared just above the palace, the rain seemed to melt into luminous streaks on the sky, and the rain-drops that had sprinkled all over the panes of glass began to gather into two or three large drops, and to descend slowly along the surface. They would have done to bet upon, but there was no one to bet with.
  • Now I hold that necessity merits more amiable adjectives;--what a great deal of trouble is saved thereby. To an undecided person like myself, the inevitable is invaluable.
  • Charles coloured, from “a complication of disorders.” First he was quite shy enough to be annoyed at its being supposed that he cared whether there were any young ladies in the world or not; and, secondly, he was quite romantic enough to be shocked at the idea of money supplying the want of a pretty face.
  • Fanshawe began to talk of the weather; and his auditor was fairly astonished to find how much he had to say about it. He had all but counted the rain-drops; and he was quite aware of every gleam of sunshine that they had had since the morning.
  • …that worst bump developed that can adorn the head of a bore--viz., long-story-tellativeness.

The Bride of Lindorf (1836-2) Volume 47 page 449

  • Midnight is a wonderful thing in a vast city—and midnight was upon Vienna. The shops were closed, the windows darkened, and the streets deserted—strange that where so much of life was gathered together there could be such deep repose; yet nothing equals the stillness of a great town at night. Perhaps it is the contrast afforded by memory that makes this appear yet more profound. In the lone valley, and in the green forest, there is quiet even at noon—quiet, at least, broken by sounds belonging alike to day and night. The singing of the bee and the bird, or the voice of the herdsman carolling some old song of the hills—these may be hushed; but there is still the rustle of the leaves, the wind murmuring in the long grass, and the low perpetual whisper of the pine. But in the town—the brick and mortar have no voices of their own. Nature is silent—her soft, sweet harmonies are hushed in the great human tumult—man, and man only, is heard. Through many hours of the twenty-four, the ocean of existence rolls on with a sound like thunder—a thousand voices speak at once. The wheels pass and re-pass over the stones—music, laughter, anger, the words of courtesy and of business, mingle together—the history of a day is the history of all time. The annals of life but repeat themselves.
  • The generality labour under the delusion, that when they have lighted and filled their rooms, they have done their all. They never were more in error. Lighting is much—crowding is much also—but there lacks “something more exquisite still.” This something the countess possessed in its perfection. Any can assemble a crowd, but few can make it mingle.
  • [From Ernest von Hermanstadt]; Action—action in the sunshine—passion—but little feeling, and less thought: such was meant to be our existence. But we refine—we sadden and we subdue—we call up the hidden and evil spirits of the inner world—we wake from their dark repose those who will madden us. The heart is like the wood on yonder flickering hearth: green and fresh, haunted by a thousand sweet odours, bathed in the warm air, and gladdened by the summer sunshine—so grew it at first upon its native soil. But nature submitteth to art, and man has appointed for it another destiny: it is gathered, and cast into the fire. It seems, then, as if its life had but just begun. A new spirit has crept into the kindled veins—a brilliant light dances around it—it is bright—it is beautiful—and it is consumed! What remains?—A warmth on the atmosphere soon passing away, and a heap of blackened ashes! What more will remain of the heart?
  • The influence of a woman's first love is felt on her whole after-existence: never can she dream such dream again. For a woman there is no second-love—youth, hope, belief, are all given to her first attachment; if unrequited, the heart becomes its own Prometheus, creative, ideal, but with the vulture preying upon it for ever.—If deceived, the whole poetry of life is gone; the very essence of poetry is belief, and how can she, whose sweet eager credulity has once learnt the bitter truth—that its reliance was in vain, how can she ever believe again?
  • Huge bodies of vapour—a storm in each—were hurrying over a sky, dashed alike with the hues of the tempest and the morning; some of the vapours were of inky blackness, others spread like a scroll of royal purple; some undulated with the light struggling through, others were of transparent whiteness; but those upon the east were of a deep crimson—and the round, red sun had just mounted above an enormous old cedar. Red hues were cast upon everything; even the lilies blushed, and the waters of the little fountain were like melted rubies…
  • But the words of lovers are a language apart; their melody is a fairy song departing with the one haunted hour; to repeat it is to make it commonplace—cold, yet we can all remember it.
  • [From Minna after stabbing Pauline von Lindorf to death]: Yes, I have killed her at last. They thought I did not know her, but I did. She took away my father's heart from me, and would have taken away my husband’s; but I have killed her at last.

The Criticism of Chateaubriand (1836-3) Volume 48 page 62

  • Take the actions of our nearest friends, and how little do we know of the hopes that instigated, or of the fears that prevailed ! We sometimes cannot avoid owning that we ourselves have committed a fault, but how we gloss it over—how we take temperament and temptation into account, till at length it appears to be a thing inevitable redeemed by the regret it has occasioned, and the lesson it has given. Not so do we reason for others—then we look to the isolated fact, not to the causes: the error shuts out the excuse. The truth is, we know nothing of each other excepting by the aid of philosophy and of poetry; philosophy, that analyzes our thoughts, and poetry that expresses our feelings.
  • Time is the great leveller, but he is also the sanctifier and the beautifier.
  • Communication is in itself civilization; we wear away our own prejudices only by contact with those of others. We are forced into making allowances, by seeing how much we need that they should be made for ourselves.
  • Now a nation’s character is in its literature.
  • He was an enthusiast—enthusiasm is needed for action; calculation never acts—it is a passive principle.
  • Why, the very element of poetry is faith—faith in the beautiful, the divine, and the true.
  • No one can deny—no one would think of denying—the vast benefit which literature has conferred on mankind; and with what ingratitude has it ever been received!
  • Fame is but a beautiful classic delusion. The inspiration of the poet is like the inspiration of the Delphic oracles: what was once held divine is now confessed the promptings of an evil spirit mocking the votaries of whom it made victims. We firmly believe that the time is fast approaching when no more books will be written. The once writers: will say—“Why should we sacrifice our whole existence to obtain a vain praise, which, after all, never comes sufficiently home to us to be enjoyed? Why should we devote, to this most barren pursuit, industry and talent, which, in any other line, would be certain of that worldly success, which, as we live in the world, is the only success to be de sired?” Even poets must at last learn wisdom. The bitterness and the hollowness of praise will be perceived; and then who will be at the trouble of writing a book? Again we repeat, the time is fast approaching when no more books will be written.

First Love; or, Constancy in the Nineteenth Century (1836-3) Volume 48 page 326

  • The assertion that “What is everybody’s business is nobody’s,” is true enough; but the assertion that “What is nobody’s business is everybody’s,” is still truer. Now, a love affair, for example, is, of all others, a thing apart--an enchanted dream, where “common griefs and cares come not.” It is like a matrimonial quarrel--never to be benefited by the interference of others: it is a sweet and subtle language, “that none understand but the speakers;” and yet this fine and delicate spirit is most especially the object of public curiosity. It is often supposed before it exists: it is taken for granted, commented upon, continued and ended, without the consent of the parties themselves; though a casual observer might suppose that they were the most interested in the business.
  • I own that I have known greater misfortunes in life than that a young gentleman and lady of twenty should have to wait a twelve-month before they were married; but every person considers their own the worst that ever happened…
  • ... but a man has a natural antipathy to shopping, and even the attraction of a blush, and a blush especially of that attractive sort, one on your own account--even that was lost in the formidable array of ribands, silks, and bargains—
  • It is amazing how much our admiration takes its tone from the admiration of others; and when to that is added an obvious admiration of ourselves, the charm is irresistible.


  • Hope is a timid thing,
    Fearful, and weak, and born in suffering;
    At least, such Hope as human life can bring.
    • (1834-1, page 303) The Future. Re-used in 'Ethel Churchill' Vol. I, Chapter 31

Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Books[edit]


  • Few save the poor feel for the poor,
    The rich know not how hard
    It is to be of needful food
    And needful rest debarred.
    • The Widow's Mite. Re-used in Ethel Churchill (1837), Vol III Chapter 5


The Forget-Me-Not, 1824 - The Indian Orphan

  • No one can say farewell with indifference.
  • The voyage appeared short, for I had nothing to anticipate.
  • There is truth and certainty in our first impressions. First impressions are natural monitors, and nature is a true guide.
  • It may seem fanciful, but to me the violet is the very emblem of woman's love; it springs up in secret; it hides its perfume even when gathered ; how timidly its deep blue leaves bend on their slight stem ! The resemblance may be carried yet further — woman's love is but beautiful in its purity ; let the hot breath of passion once sully it, and its beauty is departed — thus as the summer advances, the violet loses its fragrance ; June comes, but its odours are fled — the heart too has its June ; the flower may remain, but its fragrance is gone for ever.
  • Faintly coloured like a dream of bliss, a half formed rainbow hung on the departing storm, as fearful of yet giving promise of peace.
  • It is strange, though true, that the happiest part of our life is the shortest in detail. We dwell on the tempest that wrecked, the flood that overwhelmed — but we pass over in silence the numerous days we have spent in summer and sunshine.
  • They say women are more constant than men : it is the constancy of circumstance ; the enterprise, the exertion required of men continually force them out of themselves, and that which was at first necessity soon becomes habit — whereas the constant round of employments in which a woman is engaged requires no fatigue of mind or body; the needle is, generally speaking, both her occupation and amusement, and this kind of work leaves the ideas full play ; hence the imagination is left at liberty to dwell upon one subject, and hence habit, which is an advantage on the one side, becomes to her an additional rivet.
  • A letter then, breathing of home and affection, is a treasure ; it is like a memento from the dead, for absence is as death in all but that its resurrection is in this life.

The Forget-Me-Not, 1833 - Giulietta

  • But youth is as a flowing stream, on whose current the shadow may rest but not remain.

The Keepsake, 1833 - One Peep was Enough; or The Post-Office

  • … what could have brought him to Dalton. There were no chalybeate-springs, warranted to cure every disease under the sun; no ruins in the neighbourhood, left expressly for antiquarians and pic-nic parties; no fine prospects, which, like music, people make it matter of conscience to admire; no celebrated person had ever been born or buried in its environs; there were no races, no assizes—in short, there was “no nothing."

The Keepsake, 1834 - The Head

    • Part 1
  • Time past on as lightly as he always steps over flowers, Brussels carpets, marble terraces, green turfs, or whatever simile may best express a path without an impediment.
  • There is nothing in nature so impracticable as the obstinacy of your true husband; it is the insurmountable obstacle—the Alps no female vinegar can melt.
  • But the knowledge of the library is not that of the world; a youth of solitude is bad preparation for a manhood of action; from the earliest age we need to mingle with our kind; the child corrects and instructs the child more than their masters; our equals are the tools wherewith experience works out its lessons; and the play-ground, with its rival interests, its injustices, its necessity for the ready wit and the curbed temper is both miniature and prophesy of the world, which will but bring back the old struggles only with a sterner aspect, and the same successes, but with more than half their enjoyment departed.
  • Youth suffers but for a season; the bowed but unbroken spirit resumes its elasticity; the future, unknown and beautiful, wins the present to itself, and the past waits for that dark and overwhelming influence which sooner or later will darken our whole horizon.
  • But the tyranny of custom, like all other tyrannies, when grown quite unbearable—for it is wonderful what people will endure-;had already sown the seeds of its own dissolution. Out of the hardship had grown the repining, and to repine at the exercise of an alleged right is soon to question its authority, and the first question asked shakes the whole ancient and time-honoured fabric of privilege.
  • Perfect equality, and perfect despotism, are theories equally unreducible to practice; but there are many fine sentiments belonging to the first, and there is singular fascination in a fine sentiment—we pay ourselves a compliment by uttering it.
  • There is one conviction at which, though forced upon us by daily experience, we never arrive, namely, the conviction that Nobody in reality cares for Anybody; but this truth is so cold that we fence it out by all sorts of cloaks and coverings, delusions and devices.
    • Part 2
  • The evil spirit of love left his soul for a moment, but returned, though with a strange and lurid aspect, bringing with him other and worse spirits than himself—hate, revenge, blood-thirstiness—all merged in and coloured by the excited and fanatic temper of the time.

The Cabinet of Modern Art, and Literary Souvenir, 1837 - Two Scenes in the Life of Anna Boleyn

  • The city and the crowd unidealise love; and love, in the young warm heart of a girl, should be a dream apart from all commoner emotions — as sweet and as ethereal as the blush with which it is born and dies. Beauty gives its own gracefulness to love — there must be romance blended with the passion inspired by the very lovely face which the mirror reflected.
  • Hope deferred is sickness to the heart — and she was now suffering that sickness, at its worst.

Heath’s Book of Beauty, 1837 - A Scene in the Life of Nourmahal

  • The startled terror of remorse that dares not think of what it fears, is as inconsistent as all other human feelings.
  • Can loveliness lose its power ? Ah, yes ! when love can lose its truth. Weak and impetuous, yielding to temptation, but trembling to enjoy the reward of the committed crime ; such is the man of whom my heart made its divinity, — for whose sake I would have toiled as a slave; ay, and do ; but with far other aim now. Let us but once meet again, Jehanghire, and thou art mine ! but I — I can never be thine again. Life, throne, fortunes, we will yet share together ; but my heart, never, never more !
  • None but an ear, quickened as the mind can quicken the faculties of the body, could have heard a step that hesitated on the threshold.
  • I have won him, and shall keep him ; for to his weak temper habit will be as fetters of iron. I have won him — but how? He remembered not the earnest and devoted love of the young heart, which was his, and his only. Even my beauty failed to influence his selfish carelessness : but he is mine by a more potent spell. Love may be given in vain,— beauty may be powerless ; but I have mastered by the deeper magic of flattery.


  • I wrote my name upon the sand;
    I thought I wrote it on thine heart.
    I had no touch of fear, that words,
    Such words, so graven, could depart.
    • Friendship's Offering, 1827 (1826) Song
  • The same, yet not the same — her face
    Has still that Grecian line ;
    The sculptured perfectness whose grace
    Has long been held divine.
    • The Amulet, 1831 (1830), The Legacy

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