Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rose Aylmer

by Walter Savage Landor

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 of sighs
I consecrate to thee.

Walter Savage Landor, who lived a long and active life of eighty-nine years, produced a considerable amount of work in various genres.  While famous for his Imaginary Conversations, his first fame was as a poet.  He had settled in South Wales, returning home to Warwick for short visits. It was at Swansea that he became friendly with the family of Lord Aylmer, including his sister, Rose, whom Landor later immortalized in the poem, "Rose Aylmer". It was she who lent him "The Progress of Romance" by the Gothic authoress Clara Reeve. In this he found the story "The History of Charoba, Queen of Egypt", which inspired his poem "Gebir". Rose Aylmer sailed to India with an aunt in 1798, and two years later died of Cholera.

Imaginary Conversations and Poems by Walter Savage Landor. Everyman's Library, London. 1933

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