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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

(1802-1838 / England)

Furness Abbey


I WISH for the days of the olden time,
When the hours were told by the abbey chime,
When the glorious stars looked down through the midnigh dim,
Like approving saints on the choir's sweet hymn:
I think of the days we are living now,
And I sigh for those of the veil and the vow.

I would be content alone to dwell
Where the ivy shut out the sun from my cell,
With the death's-head at my side, and the missal on my knee,
Praying to that heaven which was opening to me:
Fevered and vain are the days I lead now,
And I sigh for those of the veil and the vow.

Silken broidery no more would I wear,
Nor golden combs in my golden hair;
I wore them but for one, and in vain they were worn;
My robe should be of serge, my crown of the thorn:
'Tis a cold false world we dwell in now,
And I sigh for the days of the veil and the vow.

I would that the cloister's quiet were mine;
In the silent depths of some holy shrine.

I would tell my blessed beads, and would weep away
From my inmost soul every stain of clay:
My heart's young hopes they have left me now,
And I sigh for the days of the veil and the vow.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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