Price Two Shillings.
Occasioned by Reading
Mr. Duncombe’s Feminead.
Self prais’d, and graſping at deſpotic pow’r,
Man looks on ſlav’ry as the female dow’r;
To nature’s boon aſcribes what force has giv’n,
And uſurpation deems the gift of Heav’n.
Printed for Joseph Johnson, No. 72, St. Paul’s Church-Yard.
To A Lady.
As it was in compliance with my Dear Miſs ――’s Steeles requeſt this little Eſſay was finiſhed, to her alone can it now with propriety be inſcribed.
Mr. Duncombe’s Feminead you and I have often read with the moſt grateful pleaſure; and undoubtedly you remember, that we have alſo regretted that it was only on a ſmall number of Female Geniuſes that Gentleman beſtowed the wreath of Fame; and have wiſhed to ſee thoſe celebrated whom he omitted, as well as thoſe who have obliged the world with their literary productions, ſince the publication of his elegant Poem.
Being too well acquainted with the illiberal ſentiments of men in general in regard to our ſex, and prompted by the moſt fervent zeal for their privileges, I took up the pen with an intention of becoming their advocate; but thinking myſelf unequal to the taſk, it was quickly laid aſide, and probably never would have been reſumed,ſumed, vi A3v vi ſumed, had not your partiality to the Author led you to have been pleaſed with the ſpecimen which you ſaw.
It may perhaps be objected that it was unneceſſary to write on this ſubject, as the ſentiments of all men of ſenſe relative to female education are now more enlarged than they formerly were. I allow that they are ſo; but yet thoſe of the generality (of men of ſenſe and learning I mean, for it would be abſurd to regard the opinions of thoſe who are not ſuch) are ſtill very contracted. How much has been ſaid, even by writers of diſtinguiſhed reputation, of the diſtinction of ſexes in ſouls, of the ſtudies, and even of the virtues proper for women? If they have allowed us to ſtudy the imitative arts, have they not prohibited us from cultivating an acquaintance with the ſciences? Do they not regard the woman who ſuffers her faculties to ruſt in a ſtate of liſtleſs indolence, with a more favourable eye, than her who engages in a diſpaſſionate ſearch after truth? And is not an implicit acquieſcence in the dictates of their underſtandings, eſteemed by them as the ſole criterion of good ſenſe in a woman? I believe I am expreſſing myſelf with warmth, but I cannot help it; for when I ſpeak, or write, on this ſubject, I feel an indignation which I cannot, and which indeed I do not wiſh to ſuppreſs: It has folly and cruelty for its objects, and therefore muſt be laudable; folly, becauſe if there really are thoſe advantages reſulting from a liberal education which it is inſinuated they have derived from thence, the wider thoſe vii A4r vii thoſe advantages are diffuſed, the more will the happineſs of ſociety be promoted: And if the pleaſures that flow from knowledge are of all others the moſt refined and permanent, it ſurely is extreme barbarity to endeavour to preclude us from enjoying them, when they allow our ſenſations to be far more exquiſite than their own. But I flatter myſelf a time may come, when men will be as much aſhamed to avow their narrow prejudices in regard to the abilities of our ſex, as they are now fond to glory in them. A few ſuch changes I have already ſeen; for facts have a powerful tendency to convince the underſtanding; and of late, Female Authors have appeared with honour, in almoſt every walk of literature. Several have ſtarted up ſince the writing of this little piece; the public favour has atteſted the merit of Mrs. Chapone’s Letters on the Improvement of the Mind; and of Miſs More’s elegant Paſtoral Drama, intituled, A Search after Happineſs. Poems by Phillis Wheateley, a Negro Servant to Mr. Wheateley of Boſton; and, Poems by a Lady, printed for G. Robinson in Pater-noſter-row, lately publiſhed, alſo poſſeſs conſiderable merit.
If I ſhould be thought to have ſpoken with ſeverity of men in general, I flatter myſelf I have not ſuffered one line to eſcape me, that can give pain to thoſe of a more liberal turn of mind: For ſuch, my heart feels all the eſteem due to their exalted worth: They will approve of my deſign: And did they know how much, 2 years viii A4v viii years of ill health have impaired every faculty of my mind, it might perhaps lead them to be favourable in their cenſures on the execution. My ear will I hope ever be attentive to the dictates of the candid Critic; but, I alſo hope I have ſpirit enough to deſpiſe the ſneers of the narrow-minded Pedant.
But zealous as I really am in the cauſe of my ſex, yet I would not be underſtood to inſinuate that every woman is formed for literature: the greateſt part of both ſexes, are neceſſarily confined to the buſineſs of life. All I contend for is, that it is a duty abſolutely incumbent on every woman whom nature hath bleſt with talents, of what kind ſoever they may be, to improve them; and that that is much oftener the caſe than it is uſually ſuppoſed to be. As to thoſe Ladies whoſe ſituation in life will not admit of their engaging very deep in literary reſearches, it ſurely is commendable in them, to employ, part at leaſt of, their leiſure- hours, in improving their minds in uſeful knowledge: the advantages of an underſtanding in any degree cultivated, are too obvious to need pointing out.
Milborne Port, 1774-05-10May 10th, 1774.
The Female Advocate.
Now, big with ſtorms, rough winter iſſues forth
From the cold boſom of his parent North;
Now, ſcarce a flow’ret rears its beauteous head
Above the ſurface of its native bed;
Stripp’d of its foliage, the late verdant grove,
No more invites my devious feet to rove:
How ſhall I ſoothe the anguiſh of a heart,
Yet bleeding from affliction’s poignant dart?B A heart 2 B1v 2
A heart that long, alas, hath ceas’d to glow,
Dead to each hope of happineſs below!
Propitious come, ye fair Aonian maids,
And guide a wanderer to your hallow’d ſhades;
O, wrap me in your ſolitary cells
Where Silence reigns, and Inſpiration dwells!
For once this taſteleſs apathy controul,
And wake each ſprightly paſſion of my ſoul.
But ſay what theme ſhall ſportive Fancy chuſe,
Since nature’s charms no more delight the Muſe?
What theme! and can it then a doubt remain
What theme demands the tributary ſtrain,
Whilſt Lordly Man aſſerts his right divine,
Alone to bow at wiſdom’s ſacred ſhrine;
With tyrant ſway would keep the female mind
In error’s cheerleſs dark abyſs confin’d?
Tell what bright daughters Britain once could boaſt,
What daughters now adorn her happy coaſt.
In ages paſt, when learning’s feeble ray
Firſt ſhone prophetic of a brighter day,
The female boſom caught the ſacred flame,
And on her eagle-pinion ſoar’d to fame.
Emerging from the gloom of mental night,
Illuſtrious Parr Catherine Parr, daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendall, and the ſixth and laſt wife to King Henry VIII. She enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education, and was a woman of great ſenſe, ſingular prudence, and a moſt ſtrenuous friend to the reformation; which ſhe ſtudied to promote to the extent of her power. She frequently argued with the King on the ſubject of Religion, and urged him, as he had already ſeparated from the See of Rome, to accompliſh the glorious work he had begun; and thoroughly to refine the Church from the remains of ſuperſtition that ſtill contaminated it. Impatient as Henry was of controul, ſuch was his opinion of her worth, and ſuch the affection he bore to her perſon, that he ſeldom betrayed the leaſt indications of diſguſt at her freedom. She was very aſſiduous in ſtudying the Sacred Writings, and books of Divinity, and occaſionally had Sermons preached to herſelf, and ſuch of the ladies of her bed-chamber as choſe to be preſent, by ſeveral eminent Proteſtant divines, whom ſhe retained in the character of Chaplains: for ſhe dared to be the patroneſs of truth at a time when its profeſſors were expoſed to the utmoſt danger: After her death a diſcourſe of her’s, found amongſt her papers, was publiſhed, intituled, Queen Catharine Parr’s Lamentations of a Sinner, bewailing the Ignorance of her blind Life. firſt roſe divinely bright,B2 An 4 B2v 4
An inſtrument in Heav’n’s o’er-ruling hand,
To ſuccour truth, and bleſs a guilty land,
The rage of ſuperſtition to controul,
And chaſe the miſts of error from the ſoul.
Next beauteous Dudley Lady Jane Grey, wife to Lord Guildford Dudley. Her virtues, learning, and ſufferings, are ſo well known, that it would be impertinent to particularize them. roſe to grace the ſtage,
The pride and wonder of her ſex and age!
Low bending at the radiant ſhrine of truth,
Her ſoul renounc’d the idle toys of youth:
Impell’d by nobler fires, ſhe boldly ſoar’d,
And every ſcience, every art explor’d:
Religion in its pureſt form array’d,
Her tongue, her manners, and her pen See her letter to Mr. Harding, her Father’s Chaplain, after his renunciation of the Proteſtant faith; and letters to her father and ſiſter, in the 3d vol. of Fox’s Eccleſiaſtical Hiſtory. diſplay’d.1 Rais’d 5 B3r 5
Rais’d to the ſplendid burden of a crown,
But ſoon compell’d to lay that burden down,
Torn ſudden from a huſband, from a throne,
’Twas then the heroine, then the Chriſtian ſhone!
Her ſteady ſoul fate’s fierceſt frown could brave,
Secure of laſting bliſs beyond the grave!
O Faith, whoſe ſacred tranſports never cloy,
Sweet prelibation of immortal joy!
What proud Philoſophy but aims to preach,
’Tis thine with energy divine to teach:
Inſpir’d by thee, we learn to ſmile at pain,
And all the vanities of life diſdain;
Can calmly meet the ſudden ſtroke of fate,
Or wait, if Heav’n approves, a longer date;
Convinc’d, howe’er Eternal Truth decides,
A parent’s love ſtill o’er our weal preſides.And 6 B3v 6
And thou, with nature’s nobleſt gifts endu’d,
(Whom rival Kings with eyes of envy view’d,)
Eliza! Queen Elizabeth. Britain’s ever-fav’rite name,
How vain the Muſe’s wiſh to ſpeak thy fame!
Long, hid beneath the ſpecious maſk of zeal,
Had bigot rage deſtroy’d the public weal;
Red with the blood of martyr’d ſaints, the land
Implor’d relief from Heav’n’s benignant hand:
Heav’n heard her cries, beheld her flowing tears,
And ſent Eliza to avert her fears;
Again, Religion rear’d her radiant head,
And all around her ſacred influence ſpread.
To wiſdom early train’d by adverſe fate,
Eliza knew to guide the helm of ſtate;
Twas her’s to check the haughty power of Spain,
And faction ſtrove againſt her life in vain.
Studious by each endearing art to prove,
Her conduct worthy of her peoples’ love,Yet 7 B4r 7
Yet would she from thoſe glorious cares deſcend,
And with the Muſe The ingenious Dr. Percy, in his Reliques of antient Engliſh Poetry, hath obliged the world with two or three Poems written by Queen Elizabeth. her vacant moments ſpend:
Well ſpoke her verſe her great undaunted ſoul,
Which, form’d for empire, ſcorn’d to brook controul.
Mores, Seymours, Cokes, Three daughters of Sir Thomas More, Margaret, Elizabeth and Cicely; all women of great talents and learning: But Margaret (wife to Mr. Roper of Eltham in Kent) ſeems to have been the moſt diſtinguiſhed. She was a perfect miſtreſs of the Greek and Latin tongues. She wrote two Latin Orations; and a Treatiſe of the Four Laſt Things, with ſo much fervor of devotion, and ſtrength of reaſoning, that her father declared it to be a better performance, than a diſcourſe of the ſame nature written by himſelf. She alſo well underſtood Muſick and Mathematics, and was complimented by the greateſt men of the age, on account of her learning and accompliſhments. She had a daughter little inferior to herſelf in Genius and Learning, who tranſlated into Engliſh part of a Latin work of her grandfather; and alſo Euſebius’s Eccleſiaſtical Hiſtory, out of Greek into Latin. See the Life of Sir Thomas More in the Second vol. of Britiſh Biography. Three Three daughters of Edward Seymour Duke of Somerſet; uncle, and Protector of King Edward VI. who were alſo greatly celebrated for their learning and genius. Five daughters of Sir Anthony Coke, tutor to King Edward VI. who were famous for their knowledge in the learned languages. Ann the eldeſt was married to Sir Nicholas, and mother of the great Lord Bacon. She tranſlated Biſhop Jewel’s Apology for the Church of England out of Latin into Engliſh; and ſent a copy of her tranſlation to the Biſhop for his peruſal, accompanied with a letter written in Greek; who returned her an anſwer in the ſame language, and declared it was ſo correct, that it needed not the leaſt amendment. It was publiſhed in 15641564, by the particular direction of Archbiſhop Parker. See the life of Sir Nicholas Bacon in the third vol. of Britiſh Biography. Among the above mentioned illuſtrious ornaments of that age, may be ranked Lady Catharine Grey, ſiſter to Lady Jane Grey, who is alſo ſaid to have been a woman of conſiderable learning; and the Counteſs of Pembroke, ſiſter to the famous Sir Philip Sidney: A woman of fine accompliſhments, and a great patroneſs of polite literature. How unfaſhionable ſoever ſuch a maxim may be in our days, it ſeems to have been a received one by the ladies in that æra, that virtue and learning were the greateſt ornaments of a woman! a bright aſſemblage ſhone,
And ſhar’d the palm man fondly thought his own.
See, bending o’er Newcastle’s Margaret Dutcheſs of Newcaſtle was the youngeſt daughter of Sir Charles Lucas, and born in the reign of King James I. She is ſaid to have diſcovered covered covered even from her infancy a very ſtrong propenſity to poetry and every kind of polite literature. The uncommon turn of many of her compoſitions, ſhews her to have been poſſeſsed of a luxuriant imagination. In 16431643, ſhe was made one of the Maids of Honour to Henrietta, conſort to King Charles I. And when that Princeſs left England, this Lady attended her to France; where ſhe met with the Marquis of Newcaſtle, to whom ſhe was married during her reſidence there. She died in 16731673. ſacred urn,
The Muſes ſigh, and drooping Fancy mourn!For 9 C1r 9
For well she knew on vent’rous wing to ſoar,
And trace her fair ideal regions o’er.
O, had she liv’d in this more poliſh’d age,
And judgment rein’d imagination’s rage,
What magic ſongs our raptur’d ears had bleſt!
Our paſſions rouz’d, or ſooth’d them all to reſt.
In thee, illuſtrious Killegrew, Mrs. Ann Killegrew, daughter of Henry Killegrew (one of the Prebendaries of Weſtminſter) was born a ſhort time before the reſtoration of King Charles II. Her naturally fine genius being improved by a polite education, ſhe made a great proficiency in the kindred-arts of Poetry and Painting, eſpecially in the latter, in which ſhe probably might have rivalled the greateſt greateſt maſters of her time, had not death arreſted her in the bloom of youth and genius. She died of the ſmall-pox, in the 25th year of her age. Her death was lamented in a long Ode by Mr. Dryden. we find
The Poet’s and the Painter’s arts combin’d:C ’Twas 10 C1v 10
’Twas thine, O all-accompliſh’d maid, to charm
Each breaſt that Virtue, or that Wit could warm:
Though early loſt to earth, thy favor’d name
In Dryden’s verſe ſhall boaſt immortal fame.
O dire diſeaſe! what havock haſt thou made!
What crouds convey’d to death’s impervious ſhade!
By thee our fair Orinda The celebrated Mrs. Catharine Phillips, who alſo died of the ſmall-pox. too expir’d,
Lov’d by the Muſes, by the world admir’d!
(And thou, my Celia, in life’s gayeſt bloom
Felt’ſt its dread ſtroke, and met an early tomb:
Liſtleſs I touch the long-neglected lyre,
Now thy dear name has ceas’d my ſongs t’ inſpire.
No more ſhall Fancy’s glowing page delight,
Or Art’s proud trophies charm my aching ſight,2 Still 11 C2r 11
Still the keen pangs of parting rend my breaſt,
And rob my days of peace, my nights of reſt!)
Be Russell’s Lady Rachel Ruſſell, daughter of Thomas Wriotheſty Earl of Southampton, and wife to William Lord Ruſſell, who was beheaded in the reign of King Charles II. See her letters. name by ev’ry heart approv’d,
Whilſt thou, celeſtial Piety, art lov’d:
In her the ſtrongeſt fortitude combin’d
With all the graces of a female mind:
The nobleſt pattern of connubial love,
’Twas hers the dread extreme of grief to prove.
Yet ſtill convinc’d that providence is juſt,
She made its arm her unabating truſt;
Saw lenient mercy blend her cup of woe,
And deal out all her portion here below:
Forever conſcious of her Heav’nly birth,
And dead to all the vanities of earth,C2 Im- 12 C2v 12
Impatient to attain a purer clime,
With pain her ſoul ſuſtain’d the load of time.
Yet Heav’n long ſpar’d her life to bleſs the age,
And now ſhe charms another by her page.
O, may that page, where all the virtues ſhine
And faith’s ſtrong ardors breathe in every line,
Rouze the lethargic, animate the weak
The ſordid ties of ſenſe and time to break;
Since ev’ry wiſh that centers here below,
Muſt end in diſappointment, pain, or woe!
Yet is not man unbleſt, nor Heav’n unkind,
True pleaſure dwells with ev’ry virtuous mind!
How falſe the toy that oft aſſumes its name,
For which we hazard honour, health, and fame!
Like the coquette, ſhe on each wooer ſmiles,
And charms his fancy by her ſoothing wiles;
His love obtain’d, his fond embrace ſhe flies,
And meets with cold diſdain his longing eyes.
Eternal wiſdom, with benignant zeal,
Cloſely unites our duty and our weal:
Hence, when we quit the Heav’n-directed way,
And through the beaten paths of folly ſtray,
Peace and contentment wing their haſty flight,
And leave the mind a ſtranger to delight;
Wild anarchy prevails; and dire deſpair,
With tyrant ſway, the ruffled breaſt ſhall tear.
Well do Miranda’s The honourable Mrs. Monk, daughter of Lord Moleſworth, and wife to George Monk Eſquire. So great was her capacity, that ſhe acquired, without the aſſiſtance of a teacher, a perfect knowledge of the Latin, Italian and Spaniſh tongues: ſhe tranſlated ſeveral Poems of the beſt authors in thoſe languages, and wrote many original pieces. She died about the year 17151715; and on her death-bed at Bath, wrote a very pathetic epiſtle in verſe to her huſband in London. Soon after her deceaſe her Poems were publiſhed under the Title of, Miranda, or Poems by a Lady. all-harmonious lays
Demand the Poet’s tributary bays,Who 14 C3v 14
Who trod through learning’s arduous paths alone,
And made the wit of foreign climes our own;
Bleſt by the Muſe in life, nor left in death,
Her panting boſom felt th’ inſpiring breath;
Love nerv’d her hand (ſtill to its object true)
To bid the partner of her cares adieu,
To bid him dry his ſorrow-ſtreaming eyes,
And gratulate her journey to the ſkies!
’Twas thine O Chudleigh Lady Chudleigh was the daughter of Richard Lee Eſquire, of Winſlade in the County of Devon, and wife to Sir George Chudleigh. She ſeems to hint in ſome of her writings that ſhe had not enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education; but her application to ſtudy, and great capacity, enabled her to make a conſiderable figure amongſt her contemporary writers. She wrote many poetical pieces which were then highly approved of, and was a zealous aſſerter of the female right to literature. In 17101710, ſhe publiſhed a volume of Eſſays in Proſe and Verſe dedicated to the Princeſs Sophia of Hanover, Hanover, Mother of King George I, who was ſo well pleaſed with her Ladyſhip’s compliments, that in return ſhe ſent her a letter in her own hand-writing; a copy of which is inſerted in Lady Chudleigh’s Life in the Biographical Dictionary. (name for ever dear
Whilſt wit and virtue claim the lay ſincere!)Boldly 15 C4r 15
Boldly t’aſſert great Nature’s equal laws,
And plead thy helpleſs injur’d ſex’s cauſe:
For that, thy fame ſhall undecaying bloom,
And flow’rs unfading grow around thy tomb.
But ſay, Hibernia, can this humble verſe
Thy own Constantia’s Mrs. Conſtantine Grierſon was born in the county of Kilkenny in Ireland. She was a perfect miſtreſs of the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French languages; and was equally well acquainted with Hiſtory, Divinity, Philoſophy, and Mathematics. She wrote a Dedication of the Dublin Edition of Tacitus to Lord Carteret: to his ſon ſhe wrote a Greek Epigram. She alſo wrote many Poems in Engliſh, but on thoſe ſhe ſet ſo little value, that there are none of them extant, except a few interſperſed amongſt Mrs. Barber’s Poems; and two Epiſtles to Mrs. Pilkington, publiſhed by that Lady, in her Memoirs of her own own Life. To her great accompliſhments Mrs. Grierſon united the moſt fervent piety, and extenſive benevolence. Her wit was not tinctured with illnature, nor her learning ſullied with pride: nor did her attainments in literature, render her neglectful of the humbler duties of domeſtic life. What makes her character the more remarkable is, that ſhe had no aſſiſtance in acquiring the great fund of knowledge which ſhe poſſeſſed, beſides a few accidental inſtructions from a Clergyman, who reſided in the Pariſh in which ſhe lived. Her parents were in too low a ſtation of life to be capable of affording her any advantages of education. Previous to her marriage ſhe was obliged to ſubmit to the drudgery of the needle, to procure herſelf a ſubſiſtence. Her ſhort intervals of leiſure, were the only opportunities ſhe enjoyed for ſtudy. She died at the age of 27. various praiſe rehearſe?
What though her fortune low, her birth obſcure,
Sprung from a race illiterate, rude and poor;To 16 C4v 16
To all th’ emoluments of art unknown,
Yet Wit and Learning mark’d her for their own.
With wond’rous eaſe, her comprehenſive mind
The various ſtores of knowledge all combin’d:
A mind by nature form’d with ſtricteſt care
To teach us what ſuperior beings are.
Of ev’ry virtue, ev’ry grace poſſeſt,
Weary of earth, impatient to be bleſt,
Soon her glad ſpirit broke each feeble tye
That held her here an exile from the ſky;2 For 17 D1r 17
For there, there only, could her ſoul improve;
Such her exalted piety and love!
Thrice glorious hour, when truth’s unclouded ray
Burſts on the mind in all the blaze of day!
For O, what more than pompous trifles, all
Thoſe things we purblind mortals ſcience call!
In youth, when new-born ſpirits fire the breaſt,
Of health, and hope, and vanity poſſeſs’d,
With vigorous ſteps the arduous road we trace,
But ſoon are wearied in the dubious chace:
Errors, on ev’ry ſide, beſet us round,
And ſoon our anxious, ſearching minds confound.
Thrice glorious hour, when truth’s unclouded ray
Burſts on the mind in all the blaze of day!
Thrice glorious hour, her ardent vot’ries cry
And pant for life and immortality!D And 18 D1v 18
And thou, Mrs. Barber, the wife of a reputable tradeſman in Dublin: a very ingenious Poeteſs, a woman of the moſt diſtinguiſhed virtue, and a particular friend of Mrs. Grierſon’s. Hibernia’s other fav’rite name,
Shall’ſt with Constantia’s ever join thy fame.
Thy merit well the charming angel knew,
And plac’d it in the faireſt point of view.
Immortaliz’d by her, ſay, can the Muſe
The well-meant tribute of her praiſe refuſe?
Thy verſe for nobleſt ends was ſtill deſign’d;
To form aright the tender infant mind;
Vice to diſrobe of ev’ry fair diſguiſe,
And paint bright virtue to our raptur’d eyes.
Thee Swift, and noble Orrery approv’d,
And ev’ry friend to modeſt merit lov’d.
Whate’er, in beauty, nature had deny’d
To thee, O Chandler, Mrs. Chandler, ſiſter to the celebrated diſſenting clergyman of that name. Her Poems, the principal of which is A deſcription of Bath, inſcribed to to her Royal Highneſs the Princeſs Amelia, have paſſed through ſeveral editions. ſhe in wit ſupply’d.2 19 D2r 19
No roſy cheek, no lip of Tyrian dye,
No poliſh’d forehead, nor the ſparkling eye,
Taught ſenſeleſs beaus to proſtrate at thy ſhrine,
And hail their blooming idol all-divine:
But virtue reign’d triumphant in thy heart,
And thine was Poetry’s delightful art.
To Oxford next the Muſe tranſported turns,
Where Jones See Eſſays in proſe and verſe by A reader of taſte and candour will not, perhaps, ſcruple to acknowledge, that her Epiſtle on Patience, addreſſed to Lord Maſham, and that on Deſire, to the honorable Miſs Lovelace, are worthy the pen of our celebrated ethic Poet. with all a Poet’s ardour burns;
Jones, in whoſe ſtrains another Pope we view,
Her wit ſo keen, her ſentiments ſo true.
Like him the charming maid, with ſkill refin’d,
Hath pierc’d the deep receſſes of the mind;D2 The 20 D2v 20
The latent principles of action trac’d,
And Truth with Art’s enchanting beauties grac’d.
Ingenious Masters, Mrs. Mary Maſters, a native of Otley near Leeds in Yorkſhire. She herſelf informs us, that her genius for poetry was always diſcountenanced by her parents; that her education roſe no higher than the Spelling-book, and the Writing Maſter; and that, till her merit got the better of her fortune, ſhe was ſhut out from all commerce with the more knowing and polite part of the world. The firſt volume of her Poems and Letters was publiſhed 17331733; the ſecond came out in 17551755. well thy tuneful lays
May claim the tribute of the Muſe’s praiſe;
Whoſe ſoaring mind a parent’s frown depreſs’d,
A mind with virtue, and with genius bleſs’d!
And yet, how ſweetly-ſoothing in thy ſtrains,
The Royal Bard of Palæſtine complains!
Well too thou paint’ſt thoſe envious critics pride
Who, fond to cavil, merit’s charms would hide.
Superior to the labour’d ſongs of Art
The verſe that flows ſpontaneous from the heart!2 But 21 D3r 21
But yet more ſweet, more finiſh’d far the line,
Where Art, and Nature, in fair union ſhine.
Thou See the Muſes Library, a collection of antient Engliſh Poetry, from the times of Edward the Confeſſor, to the reign of James I; with an account of the Lives and Characters of the Writers; by Mrs. Cooper. who did’ſt pierce the ſhades of gothic night,
And bring the firſt faint dawn of wit to light;
Who did’ſt the rude eſſays of genius ſave,
From dark oblivion’s all-devouring grave;
To thee, fair patron of the Muſes ſongs,
To thee each grateful Poet’s praiſe belongs:
Praiſe, the ſole boon a poet can beſtow,
And the ſole meed his arduous labours know.
Precarious meed! for oft alas, the bard
Finds Envy rob him of that ſweet reward:
Her baneful touch his laurels ſoon deſtroys,
And blaſts the harveſt of his promis’d joys.
O, then, ye favor’d few! whom wit inſpires,
Whom taſte refines, or thirſt of glory fires,
To nobler objects turn the dazzled eye,
Than Honour, Fame, or Fortune can ſupply:
For ſure alone in Virtue can ye find,
Enjoyments ſuited to th’ immortal mind.
With ardour then her ſacred paths purſue;
There ſtill new pleaſures ſtrike the raptur’d view:
Give to ambition there its utmoſt ſcope:
Thus ſhall your bliſs ſurpaſs your brighteſt hope.
’Twas Fielding’s Mrs. Fielding, ſiſter to the late Henry Fielding Eſquire, and author of The Adventures of David Simple; Letters between the principal Characters in David Simple; The Governeſs, or, the Female Academy; The Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia; and of a tranſlation, from the Greek, of Xenophon’s Memorabilia of Socrates. talent, with ingenuous Art,
To trace the ſecret mazes of the Heart.
In language tun’d to pleaſe its infant thought,
The tender breaſt with prudent care she taught.Nature 23 D4r 23
Nature to her, her boldeſt pencil lent,
And bleſt her with a mind of vaſt extent;
A mind, that nobly ſcorn’d each low deſire,
And glow’d with pure Religion’s warmeſt fire.
High in the records of immortal fame
Stands, charming Tollett! Mrs. Elizabeth Tollett, daughter of George Tollett Eſquire, Commiſſioner of the Navy in the reigns of King William and Queen Ann. Her father obſerving her uncommon genius, gave her ſo excellent an education, that, beſides making a great proficiency in the fine Arts, ſhe ſpoke fluently and correctly the Latin, Italian, and French languages; and well underſtood Hiſtory, Aſtronomy, and Mathematics. Theſe attainments were crowned with the moſt fervent piety, and every moral virtue. The former part of her life was ſpent in the Tower of London, (but under what circumſtances her Biographer has not informed us); the latter at Stratford and Weſtham. She died in 1754-02February 1754. Her Poems were publiſhed in 17551755. thy illuſtrious name:
Thee Science led to her ſequeſter’d bow’rs,
And deck’d thy mind with all her faireſt flow’rs:
The charms of verſe, of rapt’rous ſounds, are thine,
The pencil’s magic, and the lore divine.O Lenox, 24 D4v 24
O Lenox, Mrs. Charlotte Lenox, author of Shakeſpear illuſtrated, with critical Remarks; of The Siſter, a Comedy; and of, The Female Quixote. She has alſo tranſlated (from the French) Brumoy’s Greek Theatre. thou in various nature wiſe!
Proceed to paint our follies as they riſe;
Bid the coquette in bluſhes hide her face,
Which affectation robs of every grace:
Bid virtue, to her generous purpoſe true,
Preſs on, and keep perfection ſtill in view.
Thus may ſucceſs thy great deſigns attend,
And fame, and fortune, ſmile on virtue’s friend!
For love, for wit, and ſentiments refin’d,
(Another Sappho with a purer mind!)
Endu’d with ev’ry charm that boaſts to pleaſe,
Good-nature, ſoftneſs, ſprightlineſs, and eaſe;Long 25 E1r 25
Long may’ſt thou, tuneful Frances, See Letters between Henry and Frances. Frances (otherwise Mrs. Griffiths) beſides her ſhare in thoſe ingenious and entertaining Letters, has tranſlated from the French the writings of Ninon de L’Enclos, and written Amana a Dramatic Poem, and A Wife in the Right, a Comedy. be renown’d;
Thy life with honour, as with virtue crown’d.
When X Mrs. Ann Steele of Broughton author of the poems signed Theodosia.— Theodosia See Poems on ſubjects chiefly devotional, by , in two volumes. tunes her Heav’n-taught lyre,
What boſom burns not with ſeraphic fire?
Sweet harmoniſt! in thy extatic lines
Virtue in all her native graces ſhines:
There, each bright hope in tuneful numbers flows,
And there, fair faith! thy ſacred ardour glows:
There, reſignation ſmiles on care and pain,
And rapt’rous joys attunes the grateful ſtrain.
O yet may Heav’n its healing aid extend,
And yet to health reſtore my valued friend:
Long be it ere her gentle ſpirit riſe,
To fill ſome glorious manſion in the ſkies.E But 26 E1v 26
But hark! what ſoftly-plaintive ſtrains I hear!
How ſweet they vibrate on my liſt’ning ear!
Sure Greville’s See Ode to Indifference. beautiful Muſe muſt ev’ry boſom pleaſe
That finds a charm in elegance or eaſe:
Hers were thoſe nice ſenſations of the heart,
Whoſe magic pow’r can pain to joy impart;
A feeling heart, that like the needle true,
Turn’d at each touch, and turning trembled too!
Daughter of Shenstone See original Poems by . hail! hail charming maid,
Well hath thy pen fair nature’s charms diſplay’d!
The hill, the grove, the flow’r-enamell’d lawn,
Shine in thy lays in brighteſt colours drawn:
Nor be thy praiſe confin’d to rural themes,
Or idly-muſing Fancy’s pleaſing dreams;But 27 E2r 27
But ſtill may contemplation This couplet alludes to a fine Poem of that Lady’s, intituled, The Pleaſures of Contemplation. (gueſt divine!)
Expand thy breaſt, and prompt the flowing line.
But thou Macaulay, Mrs. Macaulay the Hiſtorian. ſay, canſt thou excuſe
The fond preſumption of a youthful Muſe?
A Muſe, that, raptur’d with thy growing fame,
Wiſhes (at leaſt) to celebrate thy name;
A name, to ev’ry ſon of freedom dear,
Which patriots yet unborn ſhall long revere.
O Liberty! Heav’n’s nobleſt gift below,
Without thee life were but one ſcene of woe:
Beneath thy ſway, in theſe auſpicious iſles,
Science erects her laurell’d head, and ſmiles;
Our great Augustus lives the friend of Arts,
And reigns unrivall’d in their vot’ries Hearts.
A ſofter theme now claims the Muſe’s praiſe,
She feels the pow’r of Anna’s See Miſcellanies in Proſe and Verſe by . tuneful lays:
Nor fortune’s frowns, nor blindneſs could controul
The noble rage of her aſpiring ſoul.
When penſive o’er the tomb of Grey Stephen Grey, F. R. S. and author of the preſent doctrine of electricity. Mrs. Williams informs us, that ſhe was the perſon who firſt diſcover’d the emiſſion of the electrical ſpark from the human body, as ſhe was aſſiſting Mr. Grey in ſome of his experiments. She has ſince ſuffered a total loſs of ſight. ſhe mourns,
Each heart the ſympathetic ſigh returns.
In poor Florilla’s varying fate we view,
How vain the toys our eager hopes purſue:
Nor wealth, nor wit, nor beauty can impart
One tranquil moment to the anxious heart.
Virtue! thou only ſmooth’ſt the brow of woe,
And thou alone can’ſt laſting bliſs beſtow!
Whilſt o’er life’s various ſea my bark ſhall glide,
Do thou a pilot at the helm preſide:When 29 E3r 29
When gathering clouds the changing ſkies o’ercaſt,
When rough the ſurge, and loud the furious blaſt;
Or when the Heav’ns ſhall ſmile ſerenely fair,
Each wave roll ſmooth, and mild each breath of air;
Teach her one ſteady, glorious courſe to ſteer,
Not raſhly bold, nor yet reſtrain’d by fear;
And may thy faithful compaſs guide her way,
To the bright regions of Eternal Day!
What various pow’rs in Pennington See letters on different ſubjects by the Author of The Unfortunate Mother’s Advice to her abſent Daughters. (Lady Pennington.) we find!
Taſte, ſpirit, learning, elegance combin’d.
All-muſing now in Contemplation’s ſhades,
Her ſearch the intellectual world pervades:
Now led by Fancy’s viſionary ray,
She ſoars unfetter’d through th’ aërial way.The 30 E3v 30
The tender mind form’d by her foſt’ring hand,
It’s weak ideas quickly learns t’expand:
’Tis Hers to charm in ev’ry varied ſcene,
Though witty modeſt, and though warm ſerene.
Say Montagu Mrs. Montagu, Author of the Eſſay on the Genius and Writings of Shakeſpeare, compared with the Greek and French Dramatic Poets. can this unartful verſe
Thy Genius, Learning, or thy Worth rehearſe?
To paint thy talents juſtly ſhould conſpire
Thy taſte, thy judgment, and thy Shakespeare’s fire.
Well hath thy Pen with nice diſcernment trac’d
What various pow’rs the Matchleſs Poet grac’d;
Well hath thy Pen his various beauties ſhown,
And prov’d thy ſoul congenial to his own.
Charm’d with thoſe ſplendid honours of thy Name,
Fain would the Muſe relate thy nobler Fame;Dear 31 E4r 31
Dear to Religion, as to Learning dear,
Candid, obliging, modeſt, mild, ſincere,
Still prone to ſoften at another’s woe,
Still fond to bleſs, ſtill ready to beſtow.
O, ſweet Philanthropy! thou gueſt divine!
What permanent, what heart-felt joys are thine!
Supremely bleſt the maid, whoſe generous ſoul
Bends all-obedient to thy ſoft controul:
Nature’s vaſt theatre her eye ſurveys,
Studious to trace Eternal Wiſdom’s ways;
Marks what dependencies, what different ties,
Throughout the ſpacious ſcale of beings riſe;
Sees Providence’s oft-myſterious plan,
Form’d to promote the general good of man.
With noble warmth thence her expanded mind
Feels for the welfare of all human-kind:
Thence flows each lenient art that ſooths diſtreſs,
And thence the unremitting wiſh to bleſs!Th’ 32 E4v 32
Th’ aſpiring Muſe now droops her trembling wings,
Whilſt, Indolence, See Indolence a Poem, by the Author of Almida a Tragedy. ( Mrs. Celeſia, daughter of the late Mr. Mallett.) thy tranquil pow’r ſhe ſings;
Not ſordid ſloth, the low-born mind’s diſeaſe,
But calm retirement, and poetic eaſe.
Ah! let me ever live with thee immur’d,
From Folly’s laugh, from envy’s rage ſecur’d,
In ev’ry ſcene of changeful life the ſame,
Not fondly courting, nor deſpiſing Fame.
Talbot, Mrs. Catherine Talbot, only daughter of the Reverend Edward Talbot, Archdeacon of Berks, and Preacher at the Rolls; (younger ſon of Dr. Talbot Bishop of Durham.) This truly excellent Lady was bleſt with the happieſt natural talents: her underſtanding was vigorous, her imagination lively, and the her taſte refined. Her virtues were equal to her genius, and rendered her at once the object of univerſal love and admiration. She was the Author of Reflections on the Seven Days of the Week; and of Eſſays on various Subjects, 2 volumes. Her writings breathe the nobleſt ſpirit of Chriſtian benevolence; and diſcover a more than common acquaintance with human nature. did e’er mortality enſhrine
A mind more gen’rous, meek, or kind, than thine?
Delightful moraliſt! thy well-wrote page
Shall pleaſe, correct, and mend the riſing age;Point 33 F1r 33
Point out the road the thoughtleſs many miſs,
That leads through virtue to the realms of bliſs.
Fain would my ſoul thy ſentiments imbibe,
And fain thy manners in my own tranſcribe:
Genius and Wit were but thy ſecond praiſe,
Thou knew’ſt to win by ſtill ſublimer ways;
Thy Angel-goodneſs, all who knew approv’d,
Honour’d, admir’d, applauded too, and lov’d!
Fair ſhall thy fame to lateſt ages bloom,
And ev’ry Muſe with tears bedew thy tomb.
And thou See Sermons by A Lady, The Tranſlatreſs of four ſelect Tales from Marmontel. whoſe pen, congenial to thy breaſt,
Hath ſhown us Virtue by the Graces dreſt;F Hath 34 F1v 34
Hath ſtigmatiz’d the miſer’s narrow aim,
And bid our youth revere a parent’s claim;
Taught us that nought beneath yon radiant ſky,
The mind’s unbounded wiſhes can ſupply;
Still in the glorious race, O let thy ſoul
Preſs boldly on, Eternal Life’s the goal!
Nor ſhalt thou See Poems by A Lady, printed for Walter in 17711771. be forgot whoſe tuneful tongue
So well the charms of Strawberry-hill hath ſung;
Long ſhall thy wit in Walpole’s numbers live,
When dead the little honours mine can give.
Fir’d with the Muſic, Aikin, See Poems and Miſcellaneous Pieces in Proſe, by , (daughter of the Reverend Mr. Aikin, one of the tutors to the Academy at Warrington) lately married to the Reverend Mr. Rochemont Barbauld. of thy lays,
To thee the Muſe a joyful tribute pays;Tranſported 35 F2r 35
Tranſported dwells on that harmonious line,
Where taſte, and ſpirit, wit, and learning ſhine;
Where Fancy’s hand her richeſt colourings lends,
And ev’ry ſhade in juſt proportion blends.
How fair, how beauteous to our gazing eyes
Thy vivid intellectual paintings riſe!
We feel thy feelings, glow with all thy fires,
Adopt thy thoughts, and pant with thy deſires.
Proceed, bright maid! and may thy poliſh’d page
Refine the manners of a trifling age:
Thy ſex apprize of pleaſure’s treach’rous charms,
And woo them from the Syren’s fatal arms;
Teach them with thee on Fancy’s wing to ſoar,
With thee, the paths of ſcience to explore;
With thee, the open book of Nature ſcan,
Yet nobly ſcorn the little pride of Man.
Man, ſeated high on Learning’s awful throne,
Thinks the fair realms of knowledge his alone;
But you, ye fair, his Salic Law diſclaim:
Supreme in Science ſhall the Tyrant reign!
When every talent all-indulgent Heav’n
In laviſh bounty to your ſhare hath giv’n?
With joy ineffable the Muſe ſurveys
The orient beams of more reſplendent days:
As on ſhe raptur’d looks to future years,
What a bright throng to Fancy’s view appears!
To them ſee Genius her beſt gifts impart,
And Science raiſe a throne in ev’ry heart!
One turns the moral, one th’ hiſtoric page;
Another glows with all a Shakespeare’s rage!
With matchleſs Newton now one ſoars on high,
Loſt in the boundleſs wonders of the ſky;
Another now, of curious mind, reveals
What treaſures in her bowels Earth conceals;2 Na- 37 F3r 37
Nature’s minuter works attract her eyes;
Their laws, their pow’rs, her deep reſearch deſcries.
From ſenſe abſtracted, ſome, with arduous flight,
Explore the realms of intellectual light;
With unremitting ſtudy ſeek to find,
How mind on matter, matter acts on mind:
Alike in nature, arts, and manners read,
In ev’ry path of knowledge, ſee they tread!
Whilſt men, convinc’d of Female Talents, pay
To Female Worth the tributary lay.
Yet now there ſure are ſome of nobler kind,
From all their ſex’s narrow views refin’d,
Who, truly wiſe, attempt not to controul
The generous ardor of th’ aſpiring ſoul:
Such, tuneful Duncombe, The Reverend John Duncombe M.A. Fellow of Corpus Chriſti College Cambridge, Rector of St. Andrew’s and St. Mary Bredman’s, one of the Six Preachers at the Cathedral at Canterbury, and Author of the Feminead, or Female Female Genius, a Poem. The Ladies there celebrated are Mrs. Catherine Philips, Anne Counteſs of Winchelſea, Mrs. Cockburn, Mrs. Rowe, Frances Dutcheſs Dowager of Somerſet, Anne Viſcounteſs Irwin, Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Madan, Mrs. Leapor, Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Brooke, Miſs Ferrar, (now Mrs. Peckard); Miſs Pennington, (ſince dead); Miſs Mulſo, (now Mrs. Chapone); and Miſs Highmore (ſince married to the Author). thou, whoſe Attic lays
Demand the warmeſt ſtrains of grateful praiſe:38 F3v 38
Fearleſs of cenſure, boldly thou ſtood’ſt forth
An able Advocate for Female Worth!
For that! may the far-ſounding Voice of Fame,
To lateſt Ages bear thy honour’d Name;
For that! may Fancy ſtill her aid impart,
And ſtill the Muſe’s ſmile dilate thy heart;
For that! may Hope ſtill ſtrew thy path with flow’rs,
And ev’ry bleſſing crown thy circling hours!
Such he See a Poem in Dodſley’s Miſcellanies, intituled, The Female Right to Literature, in a Letter to a Young Lady from Florence, written by the Reverend Mr. Seward, Canon of Litchfield. who dared againſt a World decide,
And ſtem the rage of Cuſtom’s rapid tide;1 Who 39 F4r 39
Who kindly bade Athenia’s growing mind,
Take ev’ry knowledge in of ev’ry kind.
And ſuch art thou, my ever-valued friend;
Ah! ſtill thy candour to the Muſe extend:
Permit that honour’d Name to grace her page,
Which ſhames the manners of a ſelfiſh age!
(That name, whoſe merit ſtill this heart muſt feel,
Yet vainly ſtrive that merit to reveal!)
Mrs Steele of Broughton Hants: Philander! generous, affable, ſincere,
His taſte as poliſh’d as his judgment clear,
Bleſt with the tendereſt feelings of the Heart,
Wiſe without Stiffneſs, prudent without Art,
Form’d with like eaſe t’ enjoy a proſp’rous ſtate
Or bear the ſtorms of unpropitious fate.
Such he, who, when I firſt attun’d the lay,
With his own candour view’d the faint eſſay;En- 40 F4v 40
Enjoin’d me ſtill to court the Muſe’s ſmile,
The tireſome hours of languor to beguile.
O could this pen, which gratitude impells,
But tell how ――Paltney a well known physician who lives at Blandford in each ſcene excels!
O could ſhe but ſome glowing colours find,
To paint each feature of his finiſh’d mind!
A mind, unſtain’d with vanity, or art,
The gentleſt manners, and the kindeſt heart!
A mind where prudence, judgement, taſte unite,
Though learn’d yet humble, though ſincere polite;
His paſſions calm’d, his wiſhes all ſubdu’d,
But theſe (the nobleſt!) to be wiſe and good.
Ye generous pleaders of the female cauſe,
Ye friends to Nature’s (her’s are Reaſon’s laws)
For you the Muſe ſhall raiſe her drooping wing,
And Peans echo from each trembling ſtring.
Though ſunk with languor, and unceaſing pains,
Life’s purple current ſtagnates in my veins;
Though Fancy mourns her fairy viſions fled,
And all the fond, fond hopes of youth are dead!
Still next to virtue, ſcience charms my eye,
And frequent prompts the unavailing ſigh.
But O would Heav’n my faded health renew,
Unwearied I’d the glorious toils purſue;
Well-pleas’d in ſweet retirement’s ſhady bow’rs,
In ſtudious eaſe, to ſpend my remnant hours.
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