Walter Savage Landor Poems

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Walter Savage Landor
Walter Savage Landor (January 30, 1775 – September 17, 1864) was an English writer and poet. His best known works were the prose Imaginary Conversations, and the poem Rose Aylmer, but the critical acclaim he received from contemporary poets and reviewers was not matched by public popularity. As remarkable as his work was his rombustuous character and lively temperament. In a long and active life of eighty-nine years Landor produced a considerable amount of work in various genres. This can perhaps be classified into four main areas – prose, lyric poetry, political writings including epigrams and Latin. His prose and poetry have received most acclaim, but critics are divided in their preference between them. Landor’s prose is best represented by the Imaginary Conversations. He drew on a vast array of historical characters from Greek philosophers to contemporary writers and composed conversations between pairs of characters that covered areas of philosophy, politics, romance and many other topics. These exercises proved a more successful application of Landor’s natural ability for writing dialogue than his plays. Although these have many quotable passages the overall effect suffered because he never learnt the art of drama. Landor wrote much sensitive and beautiful poetry. The love poems were inspired by a succession of female romantic ideals – Ione, Ianthe, Rose Aylmer and Rose Paynter. Equally sensitive are his “domestic” poems about his sister and his children. In the course of his career Landor wrote for various journals on a range of topics that interested him from anti-Pitt politics to the unification of Italy. He was also a master of the epigram which he used to good effect and wrote satirically to avenge politicians and other people who upset him Landor wrote over three hundred Latin poems, political tracts and essays, but these have generally been ignored in the collections of his work. Landor found Latin useful for expressing things that might otherwise have been “indecent or unattractive” as he put it and as a cover for libellous material. Fellow classical scholars of the time put Landor’s Latin work on a par with his English writing. Walter Savage Landor was born in Warwick, England, the eldest son of Dr Walter Landor, a physician, and his second wife, Elizabeth Savage. His father inherited estates at Rugeley, Staffordshire and his mother was heiress to estates at Ipsley Court and Tachbrook in Warwickshire. Landor as the eldest son was heir to these property and looked forward to a life of prosperity. The family tradition was Whig in reaction to George III and Pitt, and although Landor's brother Robert was the only other member to achieve fame there was a strong literary tradition in the family. After attending a school at Knowle, he was sent to Rugby School under Dr James, but took offence at the headmaster's review of his work and was removed at Dr James' request. He then studied privately with Rev. William Langley, headmaster of Ashbourne Grammar School. His temperament and violent opinions caused embarrassment at home - on one occasion he netted and threw in the river a local farmer who objected to his fishing on his property. In 1793 he entered Trinity College, Oxford where he showed rebelliousness in his informal dress and was known as a "mad Jacobin since he was taken with ideas of French republicanism. In 1794 he fired a gun at the windows of a Tory whose late night revels disturbed him and for whom he had an aversion. He was rusticated for a year, and, although the authorities were willing to condone the offence, he refused to return. The affair led to a quarrel with his father in which Landor expressed his intention of leaving home for ever. Landor went to Tenby in Wales where he had a love affair with a local girl, Nancy Evans, for whom he wrote some of his earliest love poems referring to her as "Ione". Landor's father disapproved and he removed for a time to London, lodging near Portland Place. Ione subsequently had a child who died in infancy. In 1795 Landor brought out a small volume of English and Latin verse in three books entitled The Poems of Walter Savage Landor. Landor also wrote an anonymous Moral Epistle in pamphlet form of nineteen pages, respectfully dedicated to Earl Stanhope. It was a satire in heroic verse condemning Pitt for trying to suppress liberal influences. Although Landor subsequently disowned these "'prentice works", Swinburne wrote "No poet at the age of twenty ever had more vigour of style and fluency of verse; nor perhaps has any ever shown such masterly command of epigram and satire, made vivid and vital by the purest enthusiasm and most generous indignation." Landor was reconciled with his family through the efforts of his friend Dorothea Lyttelton. He entered no profession - he did not want the law, and the army did not want him. His father allowed him £150 a year, and he was free to live at home or not, as he pleased.

under milk wood
It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the
cobblestreets sil... [read poem]
fern hill
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the gra... [read poem]
especially when the october wind
Especially when the October wind
With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
Caught by the crabb... [read poem]
on his seventy-fifth birthday
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife;
Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art;... [read poem]
after the funeral (in memory of ann jones)
After the funeral, mule praises, brays,
Windshake of sailshaped ears, muffle-toed tap
Tap ... [read poem]
in my craft or sullen art
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And t... [read poem]
poem in october
It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
... [read poem]
altarwise by owl-light (stanzas i - iv)
Altarwise by owl-light in the half-way house
The gentleman lay graveward with his furies;
... [read poem]
on a wedding anniversary
The sky is torn across
This ragged anniversary of two
Who moved for three years in tune... [read poem]
do not go gentle into that good night
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage,... [read poem]
This day winding down now
At God speeded summer's end
In the torrent salmon sun,
In m... [read poem]
and death shall have no dominion
And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the win... [read poem]
the force that through the green fuse drives the flower
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the ro... [read poem]
acon and rhodope; or, inconstancy
The Year's twelve daughters had in turn gone by,
Of measured pace tho' varying mien all twelve,... [read poem]
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