Miss Martha More to Sarah Frowd

Female Geniad;

A Poem.

Inscribed To
Mrs. Crespigny.

By Elizabeth Ogilvy Benger,
Of Portsmouth;
Written at the Age of Thirteen.

Printed for T. Hookham and J. Carpenter, No 147, New, and 15, Old
; and C. and G. Kearsley, No 46, Fleet-Street. 17911791.

A1v A2r

Poetical Dedication to Mrs. Crespigny.

To sue protection for my artless strain

On female geniuses, I mus’d awhile:

Then, trembling, prompted by the voice of Fame,

I dar’d intreat Crespigny’s chearing smile.

Accept the tribute of an humble lay,

That one unknown from veil’d retirement pays;

Who tho’ estrang’d from Fortune’s kindly ray,

Yet heard, and wish’d to sing Crespigny’s praise.

a2 When A2v

When led by Fancy, gaily have you stray’d

Thro’ fair Castalia; whilst the Muse inspir’d;

Or thoughtful, rov’d thro’ Contemplation’s glade,

Oft in delight, my youthful heart admir’d.

To you, inscribed the off’rings of my muse;

To you, whose merits, more than numbers claim,

Oh! condescend acceptance; nor refuse

This willing homage to your honour’d name.

Preface. A3r


Could the pen of a Young Author describe the feelings of the heart, no other apology would be requisite, as the compassion excited by timidity, must disarm of criticism the most fastidious judgement; but in what manner can I, that am yet in a state of childhood, entreat the readers to pardon my offering this imperfect production to their inspection; the presumption had been unpardonable, did not the animating subject befriend me; as zeal for the honour of my sex, and admiration of shining merit, prompted my weak attempt to celebrate the female writers, and induced me to lay this feeble effort at the public mercy, hoping, that with wonted goodness, they will pity, instead of condemning, the number- A3v numberless errors discernable in a juvenile essay, and which cannot but appear conspicuous in a poem that was written originally, at the age of thirteen. It has lain by me several months, having been corrected by some friends. The personæ of Fame, and antient geniuses, was not at first inserted; as the living only were addressed: the introduction of the dead I have recently added. That train being too numerous for general praise, I selected but the principal worthies; and even these are not sufficiently expatiated on, lest the recital by Fame, should become tedious. My youth and ignorance will I hope excuse any omission of those British ladies who now exist. Though foreign countries can boast of many women whose abilities adorn the present age, a consciousness of bounded knowledge, and the A4r the obvious impropriety of lengthening such a piece, deterred me from universal celebration.

To those ladies I have named, and offered my prayers for the acceptance of these tributary lays, which however deficient in genius, were the genuine effusions of the heart, and flowed spontaneously from respect and admiration; may their bright examples animate the rising fair of Britain! studiously to exert their talents in those laudable pursuits which were cultivated by former ladies! may they, led by an illustrious princess, (whom I have presumed to name) whilst embellishing the finest arts, pusue the abstrusest sciences! may their learning rival their elegance, their virtues emulate their genius, and obtain never fading laurels from the acclamations of Fame! those A4v those who shall honour my essay with a perusal, I entreat, in admiring its inspiring themes, to allow for the immaturity of her who attempted reciting their praises.


The Female Geniad.

Canto I.

Hail Female Geniuses! accept these lays,

Which fain would celebrate your worth and praise,

A boundless theme; yet bards neglect to sing,

Oh let this verse a feeble tribute bring,

Where Muses dwell; by Heliconia’s streams,

And where her influence, sacred Science beams;

Where Wit’s gay poignancy applause inspires,

Or Taste accomplish’d, admiration fires:

There aid me, Fancy, wandering queen, to roam,

On wish aerial to thy magic dome:

Transport me in Imagination’s will,

To Pindus’ Mount, or blest Parnassus’ Hill:

Borne on thy wings, my fault’ring steps explore

Where fabled dwelt the tuneful Nine of yore;

B Where B1v 2

Where yet resplendent high-born Merit reigns,

Encircling daughters of the British plains;

Thro’ different tracts, thro’ devious paths, I stray,

Whilst thou, my guide, direct’st my ven’trous way.

Here fraught with knowledge deep Pieria rolls,

Extends our faculties, adorns our souls;

Here Helicons’s dilating fountain flows;

Enthusiasm’s breath the lively current blows;

Poetic symbols bloom around the place,

And bays and laurel spring with mystic grace.

High Genius stands, whom fadeless crowns enclose,

And on each vot’ry gift and name bestows.

Now Britain’s fair, my fancying eye detain,

Whilst varying Science guides the winding train

To Lydian strains; some string the chearful lyre,

And rival Pindar; or Corinna’s fire.

In softer elegy; some weeping rove,

Sweet as the plaintive mourner of the grove;

Or else with pathos tender Pity move,

Or sorrows, with melodious numbers, soothe.

O’er loftier themes sumblimer spirits sway

Grac’d by Calliope’s heroic bay:

On oaten pipe, some touch the rural reed,

And sylvan sounds our willing senses lead;

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While others with Melpomene appear,

And brightly ornament the passion’s sphere:

Or Clio like in antient tale engage,

With truth pursuing the historic page:

Or winging up to gleaming Heaven their flight,

Survey the glories of the awful night.

Contemplate well the spangled azure field,

When glimm’ring lamps benignant lustre yield;

There, as pale Luna shines thro’ darken’d glooms,

With friendly aid the pensive earth illumes,

A British princess marks with studious eyes,

The dancing movements of the starry skies.

While others in philosophy excel,

And o’er the beauties of creation dwell,

Or tracts abstruse, of truths divine, explain,

Or warm the breast with pure religious flame,

But two approach, and led by Genius, join

The sphere that antients gave the fabled nine:

Barbauld, and Seward; Miss Seward unites so many exquisite beauties in her poetry, that it would be difficult to pronounce where she excels the most. In 17791779 she composed the Prize Monody on the death of Mr. Garrick; in 17801780 she publish’d an Elegy on Captain Cooke; with a Hymn to the Sun; the unhappy fate of Major André received the same tribute. She has since written Louisa, her Poetical Novel (a new species of composition) and beside those already mentioned, several miscellaneous pieces. she whose merits claim,

Of verse the homage, and a Muses name;

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On themes sublime, borne high, her pinions rise,

Or waving, gain the sad elegiac prize.

How sweetly mourn’d her lines, when Garrick died,

And won the laurel from the Bards that vied.

Then honour’d Cooke, who dar’d the Indian seas,

Who sought new worlds, and trod untravers’d ways;

Pride of our isle; for him she rears an urn,

Which Time shall brave, and Memory bid return.

Majestic to th’ etherial now she soars,

And Heaven’s auspicious charioteer explores,

Describes the regions of effulgent day,

And marks the glories of the golden ray.

Swift we ascend to hail his wondrous seat,

Whence issues light, whence darts congenial heat:

Nor fails the eye; quick orbs of fancy gaze,

With her we fearless view his dazzling rays.

Undaunted André, that a hero bled,

His blood, too zealous, for his country shed;

Tho’ forc’d in shame to draw his closing breath,

From her receives a triumph in his death;

No polished marble need inscribe his doom,

When Seward points to tell the timeless tomb.

But now invention strikes the path to please,

And charm’d, the mind Louisa’s beauties sees;

There B3r 5

There novelty our admiration wakes,

While busy part suspensive interest takes:

Louisa’s sorrows lull self-cares to sleep,

We joy with Seward; when she grieves, we weep.

Her numbers seem like that feign’d maid endow’d,

On whom each pow’r some charming gift bestow’d;

Nor less excels the fair, who boundless roves

Thro’ all the graces of Castalian groves;

The force of poesy; herself we feel;

Her magic numbers all our senses steal.

Hear Barbauld’s Mrs. Barbauld’s Poems have been applauded for several years. Her Odes to Spring, and Content, the Tale of Pity, and the Beggar’s Petition, are uncommonly beautiful, and inserted in Mr. Enfield’s Speaker, where the Flowers of Verse are selected. Her Hymns for Children, Elegy on Mrs. Rowe, and other charming works, possess the same inimitable genius. voice; whose rapt’ring songs supply

With endless source the intellectual eye:

Rapt in irradiant Meditation’s robe,

She rambles o’er the bounties of the globe;

How sweet she paints the golden days of youth,

Leads on to learning, and attracts to truth:

Thou risest Warrington; no more unsung;

For there her lyre delighting Barbauld hung:

By her the lisping tongues are won to sing

Their grateful thanks to Heaven’s Almighty King:

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Grey dawning reason, by her precepts taught,

Is form’d to wisdom, with religion fraught.

Now spring allures us with the vernal scene;

Now calm content invites with brow serene;

We love her pity, tho’ in tears suffus’d;

We love the nymph, and are with grief amus’d:

Her mild effusions in our breasts prevail,

Our wand’rings visit, dreary Misery’s vale;

The aged beggar bent with weight of years,

Worn sick with want, oppress’d by troublous cares

Engages there, compassions wish to rise

And moves the heaving sympathetic sighs.

To Rowe’s remembrance now she pays her verse,

And hangs new laurels on the sable herse;

Whilst from her lofty temple echoing Fame

Translates to Rowe, deserving Barbauld’s name.

Here as I pause reflecting, to admire,

Methinks I view the goddess o’er her spire:

Surprising structure! whose impinion’d tow’r,

Each age, each sex, and every rank, adore.

Majestic palace! that sublimely stands,

Mid seats of war, and peaceful Muses’ lands;

The shining portals, reigning Genius guards,

With praises, Fame, his gifted train rewards;

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To spread renown, expansive winds she breathes,

Which swiftly bear her, with the laurel wreathes:

Wing’d by these pinions, Glory’s Queen reclines,

Her course speeds rapid to remotest climes:

Thus was her fav’rite, Homer’s name convey’d,

From shore to shore, resounding to his shade.

Thus honour’d Maro; thus applause returns

To Cooke and Milton, Locke and Shakespeare’s urns;

In bloom ne’er fading youth attends the fane,

Immortal springs, perpetual to remain,

Crown’d with the verdure of eternal green,

Fresh vigour sits upon his graceful mien;

His ruddy face the breeze of morn inhales,

From mountains breathing o’er the dewy dales;

His vivid robe round sounding Fame is thrown,

By him renew’d, high worth is ever shown.

Daughters of Genius The works of Sappho, the Lesbian Poetess, have ever been esteemed the sweetest verse. Five cities disputed the honour of her birth; after her death the Greeks paid celestial honours to her image, with which they stampt their coin. thus her voice proclaims;

Thus keeps their mem’ry with their honour’d names:

In Greece, the Muses, and the warriors reign,

Sung sweetest Sappho, of the Lesbian plain;

Persuasive harmony her numbers mov’d;

Her magic verse the polish’d graces smooth’d;

Each kindling breast the lyric strain approv’d:

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With softest touch her lute could sooth to peace;

As raptur’d all at Eolus’ harp will cease;

The Grecians hail’d her as their country’s pride;

To boast her birth, five vying cities try’d:

These, when a void her timeless death had made,

Celestial honours to her image paid.

I blew my trumpet with reboundings shrill,

And the Tenth Muse remains soft Sappho still.

Next rises Corinna, the Theban Corinna of Thebes improved Pindar, whom she five times foiled; she wrote Forty- five Books of Epigrams. dame,

Who Pindar oft, the lyric prince, o’ercame;

Her lofty lays with joy sublimely swell’d,

And even him, the Grecian boast, excell’d:

With wit, with force, and strength of mind endu’d,

Untir’d her skill the science long pursu’d;

Tho’ time her labours in oblivion veil’d,

My voice her praise to every age reveal’d.

What eloquence from fair Aspasia Aspasia was an Athenian lady; she instructed the celebrated Pericles in eloquence; was a learned, ingenious, and universal patroness of letters. flow’d,

Whose manner won while language brilliant glow’d:

In Pericles, her charming talents shone,

Taught by her aid, her words became his own:

Matchless C1r 9

Matchless in him, the graceful tut’ress sway’d,

When Athens, mute, his soothing voice obey’d.

Against the tyranny of Roman laws,

Hortensia Hortensia was the eloquent daughter of the orator Hortensius. The senate having (during some civil dissentions) enacted a rigid tax on the estates of women, Hortensia with four hundred ladies petitioned its repeal: she pleaded thei rr cause so successfully, that a great part of the intended sum was remitted. Her speech is yet extant. rose to save the female cause:

By truth, by justice, and by freedom, warm’d,

Her reasoning speech the senate’s frown disarm’d;

With glowing zeal, on sacred ties, she dwelt,

Oppression then could frozen bosoms melt;

To argue firm, and feminine to plead,

Her winning accents soon o’er power succeed;

Softer they flow’d than drops the melting comb,

And won the proudest of imperial Rome.

But hence I found, from Afric’s torrid clime,

Where spoke Hypatia, Hypatia was the governess of Alexandria in Egypt. She taught Astromony and Philosophy every day in a public hall. She ws universally honoured for her spotless life, and as universally regretted at her death. lofty and sublime;

How splendent stars in blazing orbits roll;

And how to guide the ever-wav’ring soul:

Each rising day Hypatia’s lectures taught,

When hoary students for instruction sought;

With solid knowledge and with precepts wise

She told the wonders of celestial skies;

C Her C1v 10

Her learnings aid, enrich’d the heart, and join’d

The polish of philosophy refin’d.

I on my wings applause responsive bore

To Wisdom’s words along the Afric shore:

Nor I forget that sage Cornelia Cornelia was the illustrious mother of the Gracchi. drew

The vital breath belov’d by all she knew;

How veneration, long her merits rung,

And how, her lyre, the pure Sulpicia Sulpicia was an ingenious Roman poetess. strung;

How just and nobly wise Valeria felt

When weeping, pray’rs before her son she knelt:

These, and a train incite my echoing praise,

But hence I pass to tell of later days:

At Padua, the learn’d Cassandra Cassandra-del-sides lived in the fourteenth century. She was the most learned woman of Italy; taught Theology publicly, and harangued before the Pope, Kings, and Princes. rose,

Wit, ease, persuasion, every lecture shows;

Her eloquence, delight and wonder fir’d,

While pontiffs, princes, potentates, admir’d.

Thus Spanish Isabel at Rome declaim’d, Isabella, a Spanish lady, preached in the church of Barcelona, came to Rome, and converted several Jews by her eloquence. Issona of Verona was no less celebrated.

And preach’d to Jews, that Jews no more remain’d.

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At Naples then Soltaria homage paid

To Scanderberg; his worth and acts display’d; Soltaria, at Naples, composed a poem on Scanderberg, which was compared to Boyardo and Tasso.

Compar’d to Tasso, her heroic lays

Unite the hero and the poet’s bays:

The learned Moore’s with erudition stor’d,

Abstrusest science, truths profound, explor’d;

And gentle Gray, of poesy the child,

Who join’d to fortitude, the graces mild,

Unruffled patience, feelings fears combin’d,

With innate greatness of a virtuous mind;

In death serene the lovely martyr smil’d,

And Torture’s pangs with pious verse beguil’d:

Meekly she bow’d to stern Affliction’s rod,

Resign’d, adoring to a gracious God. Lady Jane Gray was as ingenious as unfortunate; her premature death made a vacuity in literature, which she had already adorned by several excellent pieces. She knew the French, Italian, Greek, Latin, Chaldean, Syriac, and Arabic languages, and had a great genius for poetry: during her torture she composed some verses; her letter to her sister (Lady Catharine Gray) and a conversation with Mr. Feckonam, previous to her execution, are still extant. Vide Popish Persecution.

Ill fated Mary The unhappy Mary, Queen of Scots, possessed an uncommon degree of learning and elegance. She composed French poems that were much admired: and after she was imprisoned in England, devoted herself to piety, study, and poetry. She wrote Advice Royal, to her son, two volumes, and other miscellaneous works. with the Muses reign’d,

And in their gifts a sweet’ning solace gain’d;

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Confin’d within some dreary castle’s walls,

Flown chearing friends, and left to hollow halls;

Tho’ pale stole light, thro’ grated bars disclos’d,

Her breast a sad serenity compos’d;

The swelling waves of high emotions cease,

By Resignation tranquilliz’d to peace.

No more a queen, no more roll’d grandeur’s tide,

Of cots the aim, of glaring courts the pride:

While peaceful solitude becalm’d her hours

And led her oft to contemplation’s bow’rs:

As mem’ry there revolv’d o’er fortunes rude,

Her fancying eyes the direful scenes pursu’d,

Till tir’d by sorrow, worn with haggard grief,

In hope, and poesy, she sought relief.

Thus could the royal captive tune the knell,

That hollow ton’d, around her lonely cell.

Untutor’d Newcastle, by Heaven adorn’d, Margaret Duchess of Newcastle left numberless productions, several of which are transmitted to posterity. Many of her poems have been admired. She was endowed with a fertile fancy, which, had it been corrected by learning, might have produced excellence. With all her wildness and inaccuracy, she is however allowed uncommon genius and merit by the best judges and most impartial Biographers; her voluminous works fill some folios; part of them are yet read, though all were undeservedly censured in Mr. Pope’s Dunciad.

With choicest gifts that artless Nature form’d,

In rambles wild thro’ fair Arcadia stray’d,

Simply she touch’d, and rustic measure play’d.

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What, tho’ the judgment of fastidious Taste

Condemn her lay, with natal sweetness grac’d;

Tho’ ears refin’d more polish’d sounds require,

The hand of Genius strung her woodland lyre;

Let the nice florist Art’s arrangements prize,

And rural dale’s spontaneous bloom despise:

Yet some prefer the briar’s fragrant sweet

To rows where formal ranks opposing meet;

These hawthorns court, and violets of the vale,

The flaunting woodbine, and the primrose pale;

These love creation, when by Nature drest,

Nor scorn her wilder and romantic vest.

From Wharton’s thought religious precepts flow’d,

That fairest purity and virtue show’d:

With brilliant genius, warm devotion join’d;

This kindled first, and that the lay sublim’d.

So smiles the youthful dawn; but Phœbus shines

His brighter rays, and op’ning light refines : Elizabeth Lady Wharton (wife to Bishop Burnet) wrote the Paraphrase on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and many other religious poems; all are distinguished by a peculiar energy and sublimity for the age she lived in.

Fair rises morn, but his diffusive flame

Irradiates lustre o’er the vital frame.

Next turn to Packington, whose soul endow’d Lady Packington was undoubtedly author of the Whole Duty of Man, and other philosophical treaties.

With happiest gifts, knew all our duty ow’d:

She C3v 14

She compass’d life, and mark’d the devious ways,

Thro’ which misguided, blindfold Error strays:

Then strikes the path, then leads us to pursue

What God and man demand for tribute due.

The pen of Gethin, tho’ in bloom of youth , Lady Grace Gethin wrote an excellent book on religion: she died aged 21. Congreve honoured her memory with an elegant Elegy. Vide his works.

Enforc’d religion, and embellish’d truth.

Poetic Phillips, bright Orinda Mrs. Catherine Phillips was an ingenious poetess, called Orinda; her works were in a thin quarto volume. nam’d,

At once esteem and admiration gain’d.

The lively Pilkington Mrs. Lætitia Pilkington produced several ingenious poems, besides the history of her own life. She was an acquaintance of Dr. Swift, and commended by Mr. Pope; she was a friend to Constantia Grierson, an extraordinary linguist; and knew the celebrated Stella. With all the endowments of Nature, her life proved very unhappy: she died in a prison for debt, aged 39 years. replete with wit,

Uniting elegance and reason, writ;

To dictate wise, and easy to persuade,

Each sprightly touch a quick impression made;

True sense, true humour, lightly breathing mov’d

Thro’ numbers free, by graceful sweetness smooth’d;

And yet the glooms a mournful prison cast,

Immur’d Lætitia where she breath’d her last.

In early years the drama Cockburn chose,

And pity melted for the fancied woes,

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More solid studies when maturer ag’d,

The depth capacious of her thoughts engag’d;

With wisest Locke, who lent her friendship’s aid, Mrs. Cockburn formed Seven Dramatic Pieces with Poems; but Philosophy and Divinity appeared her peculiar excellence. She corresponded with Locke.

Were reason and philosophy display’d;

Reflection, Genius, all conspir’d to form

A brilliant mind and emulation warm.

Winchelsea’s Lady Winchelsea’s best poem was the Spleen. She was celebrated by Pope. wit might soothe to peace serene

The rending winds that burst from baleful spleen;

The verse of Monk Mrs. Monk, daughter of Lord Molesworth, composed a volume of very elegant Poetry, which was found after her death, and published, inscribed to the late Queen Caroline. She was mistress of the French, Latin, and Spanish languages. effus’d with graceful ease,

And sweetness flow’d as mov’d by softest breeze.

Astill and Mashham Mary Astill and Damaris Lady Masham, were adepts in Philosophy, Divinity, &c. and discussed the abstrusest subjects; they were both great advocates for female learning, tho’ they differed in opinion. Mr. Morris coincided with Miss Astill, and Mr. Locke with Lady Masham. Nor were these the only ladies of science and genius; the Ladies Hastings, Chudleigh, and Mrs. Thomas, Grierson, Johnson, Barnes, Manley, and many others who lived in the reigns of King William and Queen Anne; Mrs. Behn possessed uncommon wit; and had she tempered it with virtue, might have been stiled justly the ornament of her age. female learning fir’d,

Their bright example every breast inspir’d.

What vivid fancy, what seraphic glow,

Breath’d thro’ the bosom of unrival’d Rowe;

Angelic C4v 16

Angelic goodness seem’d to cloath her breast,

Of genius much, of virtue more possest:

Her smiling wit ill-nature’s sway despis’d

Alone for purity and friendship priz’d.

Enthusiasm, soul of poesy, that soar’d

In raptrous songs, turn’d all to heaven ador’d

Thus could imagination’s rapid flight

Ascend to mansions of eternal light:

Thus could she holy Joseph’s griefs recite

The epic hero with the saint unite; Mrs. Rowe was as much distinguished for piety as literature; she seemed to be a being of a superior order. Her genius and devotion combine in Letters from the Dead to the Living; with the Moral, Entertaining, and Poetical Miscellanies. Joseph is an Epic Poem in Ten Books. Beside these her Posthumous Works were published by Dr. Watts,. Her exalted character and elevated abilities are done justice in Mrs. Barbauld’s charming Elegy.

Thus endless fame with heavenly bliss secure,

And shine as brilliant as her heart was pure;

How gayly Wortley writ of Asia’s clime,

The land to paint, the manners to define;

Her splendid talents with each other vied,

Exhaustless wit for grave remarks supply’d;

By Genius warm’d, her sprightly lyre to string.

And crown’d a linguist from Pieria’s spring; Lady Mary Wortley Montague was eminently distinguished for her Asiatic Travels, sprightly letters and elegant poems. She engaged Voltaire in defence of the English language, and Pope on an Ode of Horace; several pamphlets in verse and prose, were published on the classic quarrel, as it was termed; most of Lady Mary’s poems are in Dodsley’s collection.

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Wide I diffus’d her name, whose pen could cope

With attick Voltaire and with learned Pope.

Repining sad regrets continual gloom

Might ever mourn o’er pious Talbot’s tomb; The learned and ingenious Miss Talbot was authoress of excellent Fragments in Verse and Prose. Many of her productions were inserted in the Adventurer. She died from a cold she took in a garden while writing some verses. A few of her letters are preserved in Lambeth library.

Desbhoulier, Lambert, Sevigne are dead,

But far my trumpet has their labours spread:

The living now demand a just applause,

A breathing fair from shades attention draws:

Yet first pay reverence to great Shakespeare’s shade,

Who ages since the debt of Nature paid:

Not lost his genius, which o’er Death survives,

In matchless Montague again revives.

Thus utters Fame, when my unpolish’d lay,

Attempts the homage of respect to pay,

Methinks on Mount of Science high she stands,

Triumphant reigns, Pieria’s fount commands:

There she explores the bard’s immortal lines,

And a clear meteor thro’ his pages shines:

Her radiant light his obscure age unfolds,

To years remote a brilliant taper holds.

D Hail D1v 18

Hail honour’d Montague! to thee we bend,

The female glory, and the Muses’ friend: The excellent Mrs. Montague is well known from the applauses paid to her incomparable talents and exemplary virtues; her illustration of Shakespeare has long received the universal approbation entitled by its merits.

Oh! were more perfect my imbecile lays,

With joy these numbers should rehearse your praise.

Now Moore as grave Melepomene appears,

The sable crown of Tragic Genius wears;

Born to adorn the wise instructive stage,

Of art possest each passion to engage,

Whilst purest precepts to improve combine,

And ease and elegance the whole refine;

Or else she wins by Gothic tales of yore,

When liv’d those wights that doubty armour wore;

Or else attracts us with an air sublime, Miss Hannah Moore has written three Tragedies; Percy, Fatal Falshood, and Inflexible Islander; a Search after Happiness; one Volume of Sacred Dramas; with a Poem on Sensibility; Miscellanies for young Ladies; Legend Tales; and several other pieces in Prose and Verse.

And gains attention to the page divine.

In sacred drama’s warm enthusiasm glows,

While with simplicity each cital flows,

As she expatiates o’er the holy themes,

With smiles, instruction glides in silver streams;

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Nor only here the heart improvement reaps,

When led by Wisdom, Happiness she seeks;

She points the road, all human pleasures fail,

But joys arise from Hope’s auspicious gale;

Here bids us rest and learn; resign’d to know,

Virtue alone is happiness below. Popes Essay on Man.

On William’s worth; ah! who can tune the lyre,

Unwarm’d who sing the bard and patriot’s fire?

In her we hear exalted Freedom’s voice;

Freedom, whose accents every breast rejoice;

Hail virtuous Freedom! hail delighting name!

Thrice blest the ardor of thy gen’rous flame!

Thrice blest each land in whom thy spirit burns,

Inspir’d by thee that forc’d oppression spurns

Those souls that vulgar prejudice despise,

And breathe for slav’ry sympathetic sighs;

Who kindly Ethiops with the Briton place,

Their rights allowing to the sable race;

Thy happiest gift by gracious Heaven’s design,

As friendly stars their influence shed benign;

Dear Liberty by all alike is sought,

Howe’er in wilds sequester’d, and untaught;

D2 No D2v 20

No difference is from the complexion’s dye,

And Williams teaches sad Peruvians’ sigh:

Tho’ Heathen errors their religion sway’d,

The laws of virtue they, and peace, obey’d,

When from Iberia proud Pizarro strides

And each delight its lovely aspect hides;

Long since these scenes of devastation past,

Which tuneful Williams Miss Williams has described the Invasion and Conquest of Peru in so inimitable a manner, that her Poem, in 8 Cantos, is esteemed a master piece. Miss Williams has produced Edward and Eltruda, and other elegant works. has unveil’d at last,

And with such pathos brings their woes to view,

We feel their sorrows, weep their fate anew.

Who charms us now, who sings from yon green bow’r,

Whose pensive notes beguile the silent hour,

Round whom the verdant border’d willows weep,

And bubbling billows murmuring rivulets creep;

’Tis winning Smith; to whose melodious song Mrs. Smith published in 17841784, one volume of Elegiac Sonnets exquisitely beautiful and pathetic. She has since produced the admired novel of Emmeline, Orphan of the Castle; and Ethelinda, Recluse of the Lake.

Each magic and pathetic grace belong:

With her we oft could tread the fancied glades,

And list to whispers of ideal shades;

With her were Mirth’s enliv’ning smile disdain’d,

More pleasure felt when tongues and eyes complain’d;

Her D3r 21

Her plantive strains the sweetest thoughts transfuse;

And more the heart than livelier themes amuse;

Like the soft hue that tints autumnal eves

When nature hush’d, serenest influence breaths;

The sun retiring from his orb of day,

Shed his most mild and most enchanting ray.

See Cowley, wonted Thalia to advance,

The grace and mistress of the comic dance,

Assumes Melepomene’s majestic rein,

And treads the foremost of the serious train.

Albina’s sorrows wake the kindling breast,

And anxious terrors vivid hopes suggest:

Historical her genius then relates

The wond’rous chances of the Spartan fates:

Thus ardent she the tragic path pursues,

At ev’ry effort warm applause ensues:

Now rural pipe on oaten reed she plays,

And chaunts the villa’s rustic roundelays.

Thou dreary Pitcairn, on the northern coast, Mrs. Cowley has written Albina, and the Fates of Sparta, tragedies; Belle Stratagem, Which is the Man, Runaway, More Ways than One, School for Greybeards, Comedies; and Who’s the Dupe, with three other Farces; Pitcairn, or the Scottish Village, a poem, &c. &c. This lady is mentioned in the Third Canto.

Mayst immortality from Cowley boast;

Of swains she tells, but not of swains alone

Who feed their flocks, and see their furrow’s sown;

Thro’ D3v 22

Thro’ all the tides of bright ideas roll

We mark the tow’ring genius of her soul:

How sweet, how airy, charming Greville sings,

How gay! she moves on sprightly Fancy’s wings;

To Oberon benignant fairy pow’r,

(Against the storms that oft on int’rest low’r)

She offers for indifference her pray’r;

Ease born alike a foe, to joy or care,

But whilst she thus the kindly spirit woos,

With her who would the careless being chuse?

Her winning songs expel the frigid sprite,

We read and know the force of true delight,

Nor longer at a cold indifference aim,

Since even Greville then might sing in vain. Among the Poems of Mrs. Greville, her Ode to Indifference is much admired; It is deemed a masterpeice. (Vide the Batchelor, where it is inserted.)

Wit, ease, and elegance, in Ryves are join’d,

Her measure perfect and her art refind’d; Miss Ryves published her Poems twice by subscription. She has since produced an Eulogiac Epistle (in verse) to Mr. Mason, and another to Lord Cavendish.

Her genius now to tuneful Mason bends,

And to the bard eulogiac lustre lends;

To him she dedicates her polish’d lays;

She sounds his merit, and her own displays.

’Tis piety that gentle Steele inspires,

And filial love imagination fires;

In D4r 23

In Danesbury tale Danesbury Tale, the productions of Miss Steele, printed in 17791779, with two Odes. behold the heroic maid;

An amazon, to save her sire, array’d:

Affection animates the works of Steele,

Her bosom breaths the genial glow we feel:

Now Howel wonted pleasing prose resigns,

That path she quits in more exalted shines; Mrs. Howel, of Portsmouth, wrote the admired Novel of Mount Farnham. She has since published a volume of elegant Poems.

Ascended from the fab’ling novel plain

She follows Poesy’s superior strain;

And rising to Parnassus’ lofty spheres,

She wins our judgment, as she sooth’d our ears.

With wonder we untutor’d Kearsley Mrs. KYearsley was originally a milk-woman, and lived in an obsure village, where she was discovered by Miss Moore in the year 17861786. Her Poems have since been published by a very respectable subscription.—Duck (alluded too) was an humble Thresher at Charlton, in Wilts, where he had probably continued in seclusion, but his surpising poetical talents procured him the patronage of Lady Abington, and her late Majesty (Queen Caroline) having previously had him ordained, presented him with a living of £300 per annum. She afterwards conferred on him a place of (Yeoman of the Guards) £100 a year more. In 17381738 he married Mrs. Biggs, a housekeeper of her Majesty. Stephen Duck had been remarkably fortunate, but being unhappily too intent on his studies, he became deranged in his intellects, and at last ended his existence by his own hands. His three daughters yet survive him. Mrs. Kearsley has not experienced such good fortune; she resides at Bath, and has six children. To the honour of Miss Moore, a considerable sum was collected for her encouragement. hear,

Her offsprings in an artless garb appear.

Sweetly she tunes her rustic woodland lays

And gains uncultivated talents bays:

Bestowing D4v 24

Bestowing heaven her untaught lines inspir’d,

Her gifted soul to poesy aspir’d;

To her the simbple garlands wreathes belong,

She intuitive chaunts her rural song.

Rude Nature’s state her genius could disclose,

Unbounded fancy in the cottage glows:

Like Duck unlearn’d, tho’ not like him caress’d,

Oh may her end be more serene and blest.

Religious Deverell Mrs. Mary Deverell published in 17821782 two volumes of Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. She had written two volumes of Sermons before. at improvement aims,

Her labour most deserving worth proclaims,

Whilst Cooper’s Mrs. Cooper has produced several excellent Pieces. Among her Poetic works, an Ode to Solitude is much admired, which is that alluded to in the foregoing lines. pen on solitude displays,

From Reason’s voice we seem to hear its praise.

Internal truth in madding folly’s spite,

Convince us that the honour’d fair is right.

In her apt sense and numbers smooth, we find

Resources for the vacuum of the mind.

All hail! ye fair, whose merit brilliant beams,

Fain I’d aspire to the transporting themes;

Warm admiration my low song inspires,

Excelling triumph my idea fires:

Yet E1r 25

Yet vain my fancy to Parnassus flies

When Genius’ scanty gift the wish denies.

My thoughts with animated praises glow,

Tho’ harsh these numbers, and in measure slow.

Ye Muses, whom ne’er fading laurel crowns,

To whose sweet harps loud echoing Fame rebounds;

Who string the lyre with soft melodious skill,

And vibrate tuneful thro’ Parnassus’ hill:

Ye fair, whom feebly I presum’d to name,

A smile propitious on my efforts deign:

To other science now my fancy wings,

To other fair an humble homage brings.

To magic regions for enchantment blest,

Infusing warmth seraphic to the breast,

I bid adieu, and with admiring eye,

Survey the females of Pieria’s sky.

E Canto E1v 26

Canto II.

Imagination, aid, with lofty wing,

In strains sublime my verse the fair should sing,

When to celestial globes of light I’d fly,

And trace the sacred science of the sky;

To know from whom the invention first arose,

From what great patriarch female learning flows;

It’s origin from pagan age conceal’d,

By inspiration holy pens reveal’d;

And thou bright Mem’ry, in revolving years

Each fleeting moment o’er again appears,

Immortal lamp; that shin’st within our souls,

Whose light refulgent in idea rolls;

Whose dart irradiant brings flown hours to view,

And makes us breathe the infant wish anew

That warms the breast with fervid Fancy’s fires,

And wisest wish and noblest arts inspires:

Hail! mem’ry, hail! thy voice bespeaks sublime

A heavenly guest, an attribute divine:

Thro’ E2r 27

Thro’ thee alone can wisdom form the heart,

Thro’ thee alone can knowledge aught impart.

Parent of Muses, guide to every age

That whispers o’er the counsel of the sage,

Say from what mortal lunar science came,

Whose lofty thought immortaliz’d his name;

Again the tale revives within my breast,

Prompt answer thus; her accents won suggest:

Long e’er the fair deluvian world was drown’d,

Long e’er its habitants soft lux’ry found,

E’er trumpets’ sound proclaim’d the din of war

Or hapless captives drew the victor’s car,

When pleasing smiles embellish’d Nature’s face,

And Peace serene diffus’d angelic grace,

When sweet Simplicity, with radiant Truth,

In Beauty’s form, reign’d crown’d by blooming youth,

Thrice happy days, how blissful were the hours,

That virtue dwelt amid the friendly bow’rs;

Ah! golden age; ’twas then low hamlet stood,

In safety shelter’d by the lonely wood;

Then spread the leafy trees their branching shade,

Nor wav’d their tops o’er mortals’ vain parade;

No lofty structure rear’d by folly built,

Nor base born gold allur’d the thief to guilt;

E2 No E2v 28

No exile then to barren mountains fled,

True liberty her sweetest influence shed;

Devotion, justice, gratitude, prevail’d,

From incens’d altars odours scents exhal’d;

Arabia’s blessings then spontaneous flow’d,

And the fair land delicious gifts endow’d;

While Gasswan’s Mount, with copious fountains bless’d,

The balmy spice and pleasant fruit possess’d,

Od’riferous sweets the breathing air perfum’d,

With plants ambrosial mild Sephara bloom’d;

Then all delectable appeard the scene,

Elysian beauties deck’d the sylvan green:

Oh golden age! when man his God obey’d,

And gain’d by toil the humble bread he pray’d;

Content to till, on simple herbs to feed,

Watch sleeping flocks, and touch the artless reed;

When, sweetly smil’d the hills, the founts, the dales,

Tall grots a while respons’d to warblous vales;

When breezes mild breath’d o’er the flow’ry plains,

Soft echoes whisp’ring to gay Jubal’s strains,

When innocence with pure Astrea sway’d,

Each swain his pipe beneath the plantain play’d,

The harp divine was taught the tuneful thrill

E’er with her lute was feign’d Euterpe’s skill;

Long E3r 29

Long e’er the produce of the fruitful vine

Fill’d sumpt’ous goblets with the flowing wine,

(Whence rose red Bacchus, fabled God of Mirth)

And long e’er rains o’er whelm’d the guilty earth;

Seth, Adam’s son, by heavenly genius fir’d,

T’ observe the movements of the stars aspir’d;

He, first of men, rais’d high terrestial eyes,

To mark the revolutions of the skies:

A blazing comet now the world alarms,

And proves the prelude of descending storms: Some writers assert that there had never been any rain till after the deluge, and that a Comet alarmed the inhabitants of the earth long before it commenced. (Vide William’s Mineral Kingdom.)

Prophetic patriarchs their works engrav’d

On iron, which the raging waters brav’d;

And when the torrent, with impetuous sweep,

Hurl’d craggy rocks and mountains to the deep,

The ark of wisdom floating on the sea,

Securely glided thro’ the stormy way,

The winds obedient to their God’s command,

Safe wafted Noah to Armenia’s land; The ark, in which Noah and family were preserved, is supposed to have rested on the Mount Ararat, in Armenia.

With faith and knowledge on his high behest,

Next, righteous Abram roves an eastern guest;

Astronomy E3v 30

Astronomy to powerful kings expounds,

Their words by eloquence and truth confounds;

And whilst he shews the system of the sky

The power evinces of a God most high;

The lofty study thus to Egypt brought,

The Hours and Zodiac, learned Hermes taught:

Thou Babylonia, antient empire, hail! Babylon is one of the most antient cities in the world; it gave birth to numberless arts and sciences. The celestial observations were begun (after the deluge) in this renowned city, where reigned the celebrated Semiramis; the vestiges of whose grandeur are now almost reduced to ruins.

Well might thy monarchs o’er the world prevail;

Here form’d the cube, invention’s pow’rs display’d,

In flights eatherial meditation stray’d.

Ill-fated country! hapless was thy fate,

Ah! where is now thy once exalted state.

Where now are Shushan’s gay illusions flown;

Why sleeps that grandeur by its princess shown;

From heaven proceeds thy fall, by none bewail’d,

For here first tyranny our rights assail’d;

Dissolv’d in luxury, yet vainly proud,

To idols low thy blinded sov’reigns bow’d;

Tho’ Thales here explor’d with mighty aim,

And hence the Grecians’ matchless knowledge came,

Again E4r 31

Again the Afric shores for wisdom vied, Ptolemy the Egyptian introduced the Ptolemaic system, which continued prevalent till Copernicus of Poland suggested the present system, and the other became exploded as inaccurate. Thales was the first astronomer of Greece; he travelled into Babylon.

With Greece, in Ptolemy, their country’s pride;

But half illumin’d, long his students err’d,

While numbers in the misled train appear’d:

Unheeded then the science ages past,

For error clouds o’er weeping genius cast;

By war, by faction, was the chaos made,

And lov’liest arts with smiling peace decay’d:

At length the Pole astronomy reviv’d, Copernicus, the Pole already mentioned, Tycho Brahæ the Dane, Galileo of Italy, Kepler of Germany, Descartes and Mallebranche of France, were eminent for Astronomy; in England, Mr. Flamstead was famous; but the immortal Newton excelled them all.

Nor time, nor death, his name of worth depriv’d;

In Denmark next its way the study finds;

Thence to Ausona’s more harmonious climes;

Next German Kepler; then Descartes rose,

Heaven wond’rous genius on the Gaul bestows;

Whilst Britain triumphs in her Flamstead’s name,

And boasts great Newton of immortal fame.

Late Turner to etherial objects soar’d,

The stars like Ferguson or Keil explor’d: Messrs. Ferguson and Keil were Astronomers, as was the late Mr. Turner.

Tho’ E4v 32

Tho’ Albion deaths relentless wrest complains,

A female tutor to instruct remains;

Hail Herschell! thou, whose elevated eye Miss Herschell was the first discerner of a Volcano in the Moon, and has since discovered two Comets.

Observes the lamps of the nocturnal sky;

When silent Night, in darkness veil’d, prevades,

And chearful Day with sable mantle shades,

Resplendent Cynthia thro’ the ambient plain,

Refulgent glides amid the twinkling train,

Who move encircling in a solemn round,

And gleam as airy shadows on the ground;

Her pale form glances o’er reflecting waves,

Awhile the sea its curling billows laves,

(On whose smooth mirror Light her quivers play)

When ardent, you, the gilded arch survey;

The Moon’s volcano you the first espy,

And blazing comets now attract your eye:

To thee, Urania must her seat resign,

Her fabled merit is surpass’d by thine.

But wing me, Fancy, to a varied scene,

The Linnæan system and inspective green,

Where each sweet plant aspiring walls enclose,

That rear’d by Art in chilly Winter blows;

Secur’d F1r 33

Secur’d its graces from the winds which bend,

Or rains, that o’er its beauteous form descend:

Here too is human skill at nature try’d,

The creeping insect thro’ the glass espi’d:

Here each refin’d fantastic image sports,

Created excellence attention courts;

The wond’rous hoard awakes the raptur’d soul

With admiration, to observe the whole,

Religious Trimmer to the task impels,

And untir’d search incites where all excels;

Our willing steps with charming views she leads,

Thro’ rural vallies and delightsome meads;

We seem to wander with the infant pair, Mrs. Trimmer, in her knowledge of nature, adapting her language to the capacity of youth, explains in the most easy and agreeable manner, the nature of plants, birds, insects, flowers; at the same time introducing the abstruser subject of the globes, which she has meliorated with equal address. Her works are too numerous to mention. She wrote Annotations on Sacred History (in six volumes) dedicated by permission to her Majesty.

And flow’ry wreathes, and rustic garlands wear.

The curious reptile now our thoughts explore,

Or else we mark delicious orchards’ store,

Or from the silk-worm trace the glossy loom,

Or ramble thro’ the vegetable bloom,

Or rove thro’ downy beds of fragrant flow’rs,

Near murm’ring bees that sip their balmy show’rs,

F Or F1v 34

Or fleet, mid parks, and British beasts, our time,

Or hear the birds that harmonize our clime,

While Trimmer still her pious moral joins

Instructive with amusive charms combines.

Now loftier tasks, from holy writ, invite

The mind on sacred hist’ry to delight;

Her just remark each heavenly tale improves,

A Briton writes, and Britain’s queen approves.

See Packington in Trimmer’s works revive,

And both for worth appear in one alive;

But hence ascend, where Clio homage gains,

For there a rival, British Graham reigns:

See her the fabled Muse’s form assume,

And public judgment with her light illume,

Quick Penetration’s active force resolves,

Where Error’s mist in dark disguise involves;

Reflection from a rapid fountain flows

Of Wisdom mov’d by gales that Freedom blows;

Deep roll her thoughts from Judgment’s boundless source,

And Liberty’s enthusiastic force;

Read age unborn in yet unfolded days,

Oh! read and celebrate Macaulay’s praise:

Hence shall ye learn how faction could create

Such jarring discord in our church and state,

Of F2r 35

Of obscure eras, periods sad to know,

Of slaughter’d heroes, and of nation’s throw,

Learn Hobbes’s moral reas’ning to confute,

And infidelity with truth strike mute;

Ascended thus the high polemic throne,

From depths of learning histry’s made her own. Mrs. Macauly Graham favoured the world with the History of England, in three volumes; and had the satisfaction of finding it received with the warmest applause. She has since written Remarks on Mr. Hobbes; a Treatise on the Immutability of Human Truth; a Letter to Signor Paoli on a Democratic Government; and other polemical pieces. When this was first written, Mrs. Graham was living; and it is but lately that the literary world had to regret the loss of this ornament to letters.

Now tuneful Murray, wonted sweet to sing,

With lofty lays, her lyre sublimely string,

Majestic rambles thro’ the boundless fields,

The wondrous paths that sacred hist’ry yields;

And whilst she tells from what dire cause arose,

(Deserv’d too well) the holy empires’ woes, Miss Murray composed an excellent piece on the Elements of the Sciences, entitled Mentoria, in two volumes, presented in manuscript to the Princess Royal; (to whom it was dedicated) in 1779 she published one volume of Poems on various subjects, and in 1783 appeared an historian on sacred events, in the History of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. This learned and ingenious lady is now a Preceptress in the Royal Nursery.

Back to remembrance calls almighty laws;

Our hearts from guilt by just reflection awes;

What plagues were suffer’d in the hallow’d place,

By guilty children of the chosen race;

F2 Where F2v 36

Where thou Josephus first beheld the earth,

Her sons illumin’d by thy spirit’s birth;

Illustrious patriarch! by true wisdom led,

To mark the acts, and manners, of the dead,

Thy mighty genius high empinion’d soar’d,

And earliest ages’ thoughts abstruse explor’d:

A general then thou led’st thy troops afar

Thro’ fertile plains, the horrid scene of war;

Ah! truly qualified those griefs to tell,

Unequall’d mis’ries which thou felt’st too well;

When meagre famine, The most horrid circumstances distinguished the siege of Jerusalem, the history of which is given in the wars of that ill-fated country, by the celebrated Josephus, who was likewise their general. ghastly spectre, rag’d,

When civil discord swift destruction wag’d,

When vainly mourning innocence bewail’d,

O’er reason still the blazing fiend prevail’d;

From Sin these plagues, these madd’ning horrors came,

Till nature seem’d no longer to remain,

And Clement Titus stretch’d an angry hand,

By heaven ordain’d to scourge the guilty land;

Thus Murray with a pious art displays

Th’ incentive to the Jews’ disgraceful days.

Mentoria anxious to improve our minds,

Religion’s precepts to her knowledge joins.

United F3r 37

United both a pleasing influence dart,

To charm the fancy and improve the heart.

Now learning triumphs in a female form,

Whose matchless talents all the sex adorn;

’Tis Carter; she who claims Pieria’s crown, The celebrated Miss Carter is one of the most distinguished characters that British literature can boast. She translated Epictetus from the Greek, being perfectly acquainted with the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Chaldean, Syriac, Arabic, and other languages; several excellent poems were written by the same lady. The road to wisdom is alluded to; it concludes with the following line; The road to wisdom is the way to peace. In the Oriental and Classical Languages, she even instructed her brothers.

Whom classic lore and eastern worth renown;

Whom solid judgment sways, the Muse inspires,

Whom genius graces and whom virtue fires;

Oh let the praises of that fair ne’er cease,

Who sung the road to wisdom and to peace;

Who to pure Plato’s venerable shade,

The rapt’rous songs of meditation paid:

Live, happy spirit! live, while Carter dwells,

On thoughts sublime, herself with thee, excels;

The Greek philosopher employ’d her pen,

And Epictetus seems reviv’d again.

Next Dobson with Pierian treasures blest,

By antique chivalry has fame possest,

Her F3v 38

Her knowledge in biography delights, The ingenious Mrs. Dobson translated from the French, Memoirs of Antient Chivalry; Life of Petrarch; and History of the Troubadours (provencal poets.)

And Petrarch’s merit to the task incites;

Untir’d she now the bards of Gaul translates,

Their lives, their customs, and their worth relates;

Again the champion, clad in antient arms,

Our wonder raising, admiration warms;

The beating heart with martial glory bounds,

And gladly hears the trumpets’ warlike sounds:

Again the musing Troubadours may please,

While Dobson wins with elegance and ease.

Learning and Johnson far Piozzi fame,

With genius, universal homage claim;

With erudition, sense, and humour, join,

Uniting wit, and judgment to refine;

Empinion’d thus she o’er Pieria reigns

And shines an ornament to British plains;

But tho’ first tribute is the parent’s due, Mrs. Piozzi was the intimate friend of Dr. Johnson; a regular correspondence subsisted between them. Since his demise she has published their letters; likewise her Travels into France, Italy, and Germany. This ingenious lady unites a knowledge of modern and antient languages; her daughters (Miss Thrales) having received an excellent education, are esteemed, the most learned young ladies in England.

Warm celebration to the Thrales ensue;

Those fair whose talents cast unrival’d light,

Who skill in science with the tongues unite,

Possess F4r 39

Possess the blessings education gives,

(Thrice happy gift, which sown by wisdom, lives)

That warm’d by genius flourish’d in their mind,

And bright examples for the sex design’d.

Enchanting Collier charms our wondr’ing hearts,

And Gesner’s beauties to our soul imparts: Mrs. Collier translated the inimitable Gesner’s Death of Abel from the German.

She moves the passions while his spirit fires,

And nature tears of sympathy requires;

At blissful visions fancy gayly glows,

But soon, too soon, laments succeeding woes;

When the first pair their hapless tale relate,

How anxious are we for the wand’rers fate;

How glad we thrill, when warm’d, his sons embrace,

Delighting prospect to each sister grace;

Now petrify’d, we seem to hear the yell

Of envious fiends, the race accurst of hell;

We start, when Cain a daring murd’rer stands,

And wrings (embru’d in brother’s blood) his hands;

What animation chears the gladden’d soul,

What forms benignant in idea roll,

When bright celestials Abel’s spirit wing,

His hymnal praise to lutes of rapture sing,

Their F4v 40

Their golden harps harmonious seraphs play,

And tune the righteous to the realms of day;

In exstacy imagination flies

And views the glories of eternal skies;

We float on azure clouds ethereal spheres,

Mellifluous symphonies delight our ears,

Our fancy lifts, to melody divine;

That vibrates joy, then swells to sounds sublime

From lofty flights idea soon descends,

Again the wish to sooth affliction bends;

Again we mourn; thus Gesner, thus the fair

Transfusers of each genial thought appear;

But now gay Thalia, and the moral train,

Demand the tribute of my feeble strain;

Lost in delight the feats of wit I view,

Then bid these elevated heights adieu.

Canto G1r 41

Canto III.

Ye airy graces, sprightly Thalia’s train,

On comic themes your prompting influence deign,

Inspire my numbers swift and free to flow

With vigorous spirit and with pleasure’s glow;

Thou Fancy, with thy gayest powers amuse,

For Cowley rises as the Comic Muse;

With laughing Humour at her side she writes,

Whilst brilliant Wit’s vivacious face delights;

Keen Satire in a sportive form she veils,

To charm when Ridicule our faults assails,

The arrows smooth’d awhile she points the dart,

At once amusement, and reproof, impart;

Her light but poignant touch incites applause,

Peculiar beings true to life she draws:

Sense gives the moral, wit the smile affords;

Attention, fiction calls by endless hoards;

For complex fables waken feeling cares,

Create gay mirth, and raise uneasy fears; Mrs. Cowley being mentioned in the first Canto, an account is there given of her writings.

G But G1v 42

But see, applauded Inchbald now appears;

Satiric excellence her aspect wears;

Each piece her penetrating powers displays,

To sound her genius in yet distant days;

Even Gallic Moliere, known for talents far, Several excellent dramatic pieces are written by Mrs. Inchbald; Married Man, I’ll tell you what, Widow’s Vow, Midnight Hour, Child of Nature, (translated from the French) Appearances are against them, and Such Things Are, in which the character of Haswell is supposed to be taken from Mr. Howard’s, whose philanthropy and benevolence are no less the subjects of our admiration than regret for his recent death.

Might proudly glory in her Such Things Are!

To Nature’s self the coward soul she paints,

True Tremor he at needless danger faints;

Then shows the blessings of domestic strife,

The petty quarrels ’twixt Sir Luke and wife;

Now stalks the Gascon with his proud grimace,

Now meanly apes the coxcomb for a place;

As honesty in each a fool confounds,

A mirthful peal thro’ all the roof rebounds;

This lively scene for sorrow then recedes,

Kind sympathy to dreary mansions leads;

There she describes the prison’s gloomy shade,

Where horror, and distraction wild, pervade.

In vain their fate the hapless slaves deplore,

Despair from want, and hope for joy no more;

Repining misery in these chearless cells,

Sad response murmurs to the doleful knells;

Filial G2r 43

Filial affection from Elvirus flows,

And virtuous grief in Arabella’s woes;

But who enough can noble Haswell praise?

Like Inchbald, he’s above my worthless lays,

Yet has she more our admiration won

For honour’d Howard, mild Compassion’s son;

With awe our thoughts must Haswell’s worth surprize,

His goodness brings great Howard to our eyes:

If a frail human being e’er could gain

By ev’ry virtue an immortal name,

By a philanthropic illumin’d breast,

With charity and Christian zeal imprest;

To thee, oh Howard! to thy honour’d shade,

The grateful rites must be for ever paid;

Ingenious Inchbald’s merits homage claim,

To draw great Howard was her plauded aim;

Let join’d then, both arise to endless fame.

Of learning Griffiths is, and wit, possest; Mrs. Griffiths has been long an admired dramatic writer; The School for Rakes, and The Times, received universal applause. She likewise wrote a very learned book on Shakespeare; the celebrated Letters of Henry and Frances were the productions of Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths; they have produced several Novels. The other lady alluded to, on Shakespeare, is Mrs. Montague, mentioned in the First Canto.

Her genius heaven with gifts peculiar blest;

A polish’d elegance her language smoothes,

While pure morality the mind improves;

G2 Nor G2v 44

Nor only wit and elegance combine,

The taste to please and manners to refine:

Just satire, wisdom, erudition join,

The unborn age (and far and foreign climes)

May view the present in her comic Times;

And as they ridicule their parents’ days,

Charm’d critics shall resound the author’s praise;

Vice to correct and virtue to engage,

To lash our follies, dares bright Griffiths’ page;

Her future homage Fancy’s eye discerns,

For utterance the prophetic spirit burns.

See Criticism on throne of Judgment plac’d,

His lofty seat with studious quarto’s grac’d,

Bent looks and knitted brows his aspect wears;

But Merit’s head o’er bounds fastidious rears;

Then hear the sage (with pleasing smiles) declare,

There liv’d an ornament to ye, oh fair!

Whose pen depicted idle Fashion’s fool,

Who rakes abash’d in her instructive school;

Nor yet content in Comedy to shine,

She sketched the modern, knew the antient time,

Well might great Shakespeare crowns of triumph wear,

When female champions in his cause appear;

E’en G3r 45

E’en nature’s bards indebted to their aid,

They gleam’d resplendent o’er his hoary shade:

And whilst they his reviving laurels wreath’d,

On both the spirit of the poet breath’d:

Let then their mem’ries in ne’er fading bloom,

Immortal flourish on their Shakespeare’s tomb.

Oh! say what tribute can to Brookes Mrs. Brookes is distinguished in the poetic division as author of the Siege of Simonides. Lady Julia Mandeville, Emily Montague, Charles Mandeville, Lady Catesby’s Letters (translated from the French) are all extremely admired. Mrs. Brookes has written many miscellaneous pieces; Rosina, a Musical Piece, was presented in 17831783. be paid?

Unless her own surpassing genius aid.

Such excellence in Brookes’ pieces meet,

That even novels are with sense replete:

A tale of woes pathetic now she cites,

And pity with anxiety unites:

Void of romance her fables yet have pow’r,

To gild with pleasure the instructive hour:

When she describes, we see the rural plains,

In Canada imagination reigns.

Swiftly transported there, we mark the store;

What earth conceals, with curious eye explore.

Now gay she paints the summer’s ripen’d bloom,

Her view now changes to cold winter’s gloom:

When on bleak winds the shiv’ring spectre borne,

Sends forth rude blasts, and nature makes forlorn,

When G3v 46

When at the trees wild whistling gales he bends,

And gloomy rain low’ring clouds descends;

When flowers die, when autumn’s beauties fade;

And notes no longer warble in the shade;

When from the rigid north crude frost he blows,

Or steeps the ground with chilly creeping snows!

When frozen ices glaze each verdant place,

And inauspicious every land deface;

Thus Brookes’s animated pencil shows:

The winter’s sadness and the summer’s glows,

But soon again these frigid blasts retire,

Serener skies more chearful scenes inspire;

Again with joy to Silleri we wing:

And view the graces of the vernal spring:

Then rove thro’ provinces and lands remote,

The Gallic customs, laws and manners note:

Thus ev’n her novels can our minds inform,

And knowledge with pure sentiment adorn:

Let then be added to her well known name

Both wit and judgment, fancy, virtue, fame.

Now rises Lee, Miss Lee’s first dramatic production was the Chapter of Accidents, introduced in 17811781: she has since written the Recess, a novel. Her sister, Miss H. Lee’s first performance, (the New Peerages) was acted in 17871787. with mild persuasive mien,

She moves enchanting in gay Thalia’s train:

Our G4r 47

Our interest winning with a magic wand,

To touch the feelings, and the thoughts command.

With sprightly humour now she warms applause;

And now a just improving moral draws.

Her complex fables hopes and fears excite,

Whilst sense and elegance our taste delight.

But lively see a junior Lee appears,

The elder follows in the comic spheres;

Both we admire, for both improve and please:

Two British graces are the sister Lees.

Behold a woman sits on Judgment’s throne,

Discernment, wit, and sentiment her own:

Tis Lennox; Mrs. Lennox wrote an Illustration of Shakespeare, in which she translated the novels that had given birth to the fables of his plays, and made comments on what manner he had used them; with critical reflexions upon the incidents and probability of each play. This ingenious lady is authoress of the Female Quixote, Euphemia, and other novels. she whose penetration shines,

Thro’ Britain’s bard, immortal Shakespeare’s lines:

Observe ingenious her impartial quill,

Detect his errors, and declare his skill:

Correct his fancy, prune his flowers, that need

Some friendly hand to prune the spreading weed.

We thank great Shakspeare for his pleasing faults!

Since these employ’d a female critics’ thoughts.

Long had proud man with an usurping pride,

The right of judgment to our sex deny’d;

But G4v 48

But now no longer can exclude our claim;

Which finds protection in a Lennox’s name

Nor more presume our just demand to slight,

When female genius beams such radiant light.

Now Barclay’s works admir’d for wisdom long,

(The statesman’s counsel and the muses’ song,

Viel’d closely in the antient tongue of Rome,)

Had slumber’d mould’ring in Oblivion’s tomb;

Till learned Reeves Miss Clara Reeves translated the celebrated Barclay’s Argenis from the Latin into English; its new title was the Phœnix, or Poliarchus and Argenis. The English Baron, Two Mentors, and the Progess of Romance, &c. were written by the same lady. thro’ time the sage explor’d,

To just applause his policy restor’d;

No longer we lament Argenis dies,

Whilst with the old, the new-born Phoenix vies.

By wit and humour comic Craven’s Lady Craven wrote the Miniature Picture, a comedy; Silver Tankard, a farce, &c. Her ladyship has since published her Journal to Constantinople. warmed;

By wit and humour are our senses charm’d;

Her picture wears the airy attic vest:

The Silver Tankard is in drollness drest;

Nor is to Britain her remarks confin’d,

Nor are they only foster’d from the mind;

For the fair traveller in distant climes,

For observation foreign manners finds:

Remote H1r 49

Remote she roam’d to grace the northern courts,

Thence wider travers’d to the Turkish ports:

To where far fam’d Byzantium once appear’d,

Its Roman structure once majestic rear’d;

To where (that famous but ill-fated shore)

Where British beauty had been shown before,

To boasted Montague add Craven’s name,

Wide journey’d each, and far their praise proclaim.

Hail, gentle Hayley! Mrs. Hayley translated Madame de Lambert’s Advice to her Son from the French which occasioned some complimentary verses, by her poetic consort. teach my lays to rove,

From wand’ring scenes to thy sequester’d grove;

How priz’d, how valu’d that serene retreat,

Genius, the Muses, and the Graces seat;

Where poesy to melody attunes,

The pensive whisp’ring contemplative glooms;

Where in retirement’s secluded shade,

Their accents harmonize the laurel’d glade;

For Hayley there strikes sweet his sounding lyre;

Mellifluous echoes from his touch respire:

Whilst female Hayley with a polish’d taste;

From Lambert teaches elegance and grace,

The bard her worth in tribute verse acclaims:

His lay, united admiration gains:

H Thus H1v 50

Thus may in friendly concord genius join’d,

Evince the genrous feelings of the mind:

In unison let rapid moments roll,

Refine each sense, and elevate each soul,

Till emblematic of Castalia’s train,

In Gordian knots the sister choir shall reign,

And Envy, banish’d, loud applause engage,

Towards the females’ bright Augustan age.

Now Cartwright to maternal feeling pleads,

The parent thro’ the infant stages leads, Mrs. Cartwright is authoress of Letters on Female Education, and two Novels.

Her friendly system’s with instruction fraught,

To prune by virtue each puerile thought,

Each noxious weed in earliest growth repress,

Each budding wish with cultivation bless;

T’ incite attendance Cartwright’s labours tend,

Her maxims aid to education lend.

To Bonhote next I bring my yielding lay,

And willing homage to our tut’ress pay ; The Parental Monitor was written by Mrs. Bonhote, who has also produced some Novels.

Her precepts awe and animate by turns;

Now glows the heart, and vice indignant spurns;

Now venerates immortal virtue’s charms;

Now zeal inspiring pure religion warms;

Kindly H2r 51

Kindly our guide from pleasure warns to fly,

How glad the task, when she directs, to try;

Gently on sense her moral essays steal,

We read her page, and genuine pleasure feel.

See there united ease, precision, truth,

The sages’ tutor, and the friend of youth;

A mild companion without fiction’s aid;

Nor in fastidity austere array’d,

But joins improvement with amusement’s pow’r,

To fleet the social or retired hour.

Delighting Burney’s charming novel art

Engages interest, and affects the heart,

By varying characters her page excels,

With varying elegance, their lives she tells;

When they appear in gay vivacious scenes,

To cheer their presence mirthful humour beams,

Wit animates them with an air refin’d,

By Satire next the sprightly ring is join’d;

Our faults, our foibles, all appear reveal’d,

And Fielding seems in female form conceal’d;

But not like him by vulgar jests disgrac’d,

No wortheless thoughts her beauties have effac’d;

Throughout the whole morality presides, Miss Burney wrote the celebrated Novels of Cecilia and Evelina; Anna the Welch Heiress, and Juvenile Indiscretions, are ascribed to her.

Fair purity, the pen of Burney guides.

H2 In H2v 52

In rambling fancy freely Pococke strays,

And fiction’s guise instructive truth conveys. Miss Pococke’s Rambles of Fancy were published in 17801780.

Methinks I now behold the artist fair

Incite my tribute with commanding air;

See Kauffman; she who all alike can please,

On rocks romantic or smooth surfac’d seas,

On the lone woodlands or the social scene,

The barren desert or the fertile green;

On summer, when the cooling Zephyr blows,

Or autumn, when the horn of plently flows,

On pastoral meads, or blooming flow’ry dale,

Or fountains fann’d by breath of evening’s gale,

Or when on history her pencil draws

Enchanting still, of all she gains applause;

Bell, Damer, Moser, Mrs. Damer, Bell, Moser, &c. are all eminently distinguished as celebrated artists. too transport each soul,

While orbs of sight in wondering rapture roll,

Meek Knight and Coote, who deck the college walls,

With portraits grace the academic halls;

With North and Singleton, Torene and White,

And Flaxman, all the praise of taste invite;

Some show the morn, and some the even tide,

When limpid streams in dimpled current glide

The H3r 53

The spangled arch appears serenely mild,

And floating cloud the rainbow’s ether gild,

Others revolve to Gothic days of yore,

And point to battles fought on Albion’s shore;

Dire retrospect of war’s unpolish’d years,

When doubty kings engag’d with fierce compeers;

How Britain’s heroes for their glory fought;

By Britain’s fair with softer art is taught.

Now music sounds; Euterpe’s tuneful train,

With matchless Sheridan, these numbers claim,

But how could I these trembling pinions raise, The incomparable Mrs. Sheridan has composed several musical pieces; she wrote also Sidney Biddulph, an ingenious novel, and Nourjahad, a tale.

How dare to sing the female Handel’s praise!

Untaught by melody to string the lyre,

Far, far beneath Ausonia’s rap’trous choir,

Nor more to celebrate presume these lays,

No more my verse on female worth essays:

Yet may some bard, whom happier talent fire,

Successful to the envied task aspire;

And may the fair accept my votive strain,

A smile propitious on my efforts deign;

Whilst wak’d by Hope, on Fancy’s wings I rise,

And in idea view Elysian skies,

Where heavenly Science rears her lofty head,

O’er Britain in effulgent lustre spread;

Here H3v 54

Here Judgment on majestic seat appears,

The train of Genius to his law refers;

Beneath the shade of wreathing laurel boughs

(There myrtle blooms and Heliconia flows)

Merit attends, and Fame obedient stands,

His praise to echo to remotest lands;

Her voice o’er Death, oblivious Death, prevails,

While wafting Merit blows diffusive gales;

She Judgment’s mandate thus impels to Fame,

Resound ne’er ceasing British Seward’s name.

Around whose chaplet with luxuriance sweet

Let every beauty of Castalia meet;

Thy Barbauld’s garland twist from rural groves,

The haunt of melody, when there she moves,

Peruvia’s cypress Williams will adorn,

She sung their woes, and drew their fates forlorn;

O’er Montague in brightest lustre shine,

To her thy Shakespeare’s honour’d name resign;

For Carter’s crown the olive branches suit,

Minerva’s plant will bear perpetual fruit

Moore, Starke, Mrs. Starke is not mentioned in any other part of the poem; it was finished before that lady’s Tragedy, the Widow of Malabar, was published; those lines that allude to her were, And Moore, and Cowley tragic habits wear; but I afterwards changed them to Moore, Starke, and Cowley. and Cowley, tragic habits wear,

Let unborn ages pay the tributary tear,

While H4r 55

While Smith enchanting with her plantive strains,

The simplest, yet the lov’liest garland gains;

To distant isles thy trumpet loud resound,

On foreign strands these muses’ power rebound,

Nor cease with life, as on the Grecian’s urn, See Aristonous, printed with Telemachus.

E’er budding myrtles with each spring return,

As Delphian laurels shall their labours bloom,

Strew by immortal genius, wrought their tomb;

Thus when ag’d Time dear Mem’ry’s aid deprive,

Their worth shall ever in their name revive,

Their praises long as arts, or thou shrill Fame survive.

The End.