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Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Летиция Элизабет Лэндон)

The Village of the Lepers

Taken from the Account in the Literary Gazette.

There was a curse on the unhappy race—
They dwelt apart from all their fellow men—
Sad weary solitude! and every eye
Was turn'd away in loathing. I did pass
Thro' their lone village: silence brooded round,
And misery had set her withering stamp
On every brow; rayless and dim each eye.
And a wan sickly hue was on each face:
They had a look of hopeless wretchedness.
To them the voice of kindness was a sound

Unheard, unwish'd for; no one came to soothe
Their days of bitterness; proscribed, and left
Alone, to struggle with despair and pain:
Riven asunder all the blessed ties
Which are the hope and happiness of life;
Polluted, desolate, the cup of wrath
Had pour'd its utmost fury on their heads.
And there was one, whose image long hath dwelt,
Like to a thought of sorrow on my soul:
She had been beautiful, but now her cheek
Was deadly pale; and from her parched lip
The rose had fled, and left it colourless;
And in her eye, one same expression dwelt,
Of heartless, comfortless despondency!
Her brow was care-worn, blighted by the scathe
Of fell disease, which had destroy'd her prime,
And wither'd youth, when youth is loveliest.
She turn'd her from my look—the curious gaze,
To sorrow is a piercing mockery.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon's other poems:
  1. Portrait
  2. To Sir John Doyle, Bart
  3. The Nameless Grave
  4. Age and Youth
  5. The Tournament

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