Tag Archives: laboring class

William Hutton, “The Way to Get Married”


 “The Way to Get Married”


Small matters on the stage I’ll bring,
A butcher’s boy is all I sing.
He’ll grace my page as much as any
He earn’d a groat, and sav’d a penny;
Then, rising by degrees, alone,                                                                   5
He purchas’d, slaughter’d, sold, his own:
This proves, that man, with little skill,
May rise to fortune, if he will,
“Get much–spend less,” increase his store;
Dame Fortune ne’er can keep him poor.                                                  10
Now stilliards, cleever, knife, must drop,
He swell’d beyond a butcher’s shop;
His talent had a fortune made,
“He’d try it in the silver trade.”
What man would not rejoice, to feel,                                                         15
To silver turn his greasy steel!
The same stroke which a penny got
Some thousands in his new trade brought.
Joseph was fam’d for doing good;
This art he practis’d all he cou’d,                                                                 20
And made each piece of English coin
Tenants at will, his pocket line;
Each one, in watchful silence lies,
For charity of every size;
What object of necessity                                                                              25
Could ‘scape a man so arm’d as he?
If neighbours quarrell’d, small or great,
Friend Joe stepp’d in to set all strait;
And gain’d, by tramping up and down,
Sometimes a thank, sometimes a frown.                                                  30
He ne’er assum’d the hypocrite,
His actions well would bear the light;
With manners plain, not made to charm,
Such as oft grow upon a farm;
Should Envy’s self his conduct scan,                                                          35
An honest bluntness marks the man.
Whenever he walk’d out abroad
His active gait industry show’d,
As if to Indolence he’d say,
“With safety you may march this way;                                                       40
The road is fine–may fortune speed you,
‘Twill never to repentance lead you”
Should right or wrong ways intervene,
Love prompts the heart, behind the scene:
Joseph, this subtle power can’t flee,                                                          45
Was captivated by Miss C.
A smile, a bow without much grace,
A little flushing in the face,
A tongue, attempting–this–and that–
The only time unfit to chat,                                                                          50
Five broken hems!–not uttered free,
Were introductions to Miss C.
Yet, spite of what the tongue can’t say,
Merit will often find its way:
His suit succeeded, all were eas’d,                                                              55
The mother, daughter, lover, pleas’d–
Till Mr. Kimberley stepp’d in,
A last-man, who shoe’d all the kin–
“Your servant, ladies–I heard say
Young Miss would throw herself away;                                                      60
Upon a Presbyterian too!
A dreadful prospect is in view!
From that vile race the Lord defend you!
He’ll sure a better husband send you.”
“He seem’d, by what we e’er could find,”                                            65
Says madam “sober, honest, kind.”
“Two sides a Presbyterian shows,
Both false, as any wind that blows.
Besides, your family has been
Staunch churchmen, for long ages seen.”                                                 70
When Joseph’s evening-visit came,
Then look’d askance the senior dame;
The daughter too, replete with ire,
Took that chair farthest from the fire;
And both, though Joseph waited long,                                                       75
Had lost the use of lips and tongue.
A working bottle, cork’d up fast,
Must gain some vent, or burst at last;
It then appear’d–O dreadful case!
That Joe a Presbyterian was.                                                                        80
“Pity religion,” Joseph cry’d,
“Meant to unite, should e’er divide.”
Our lover understood his trade,
To Kimberley a visit made;
“I find you work for Mrs. C.                                                                           85
I’ll thank you to make shoes for me.”
“O yes sir, none shall me excel,
Depend upon’t, I serve you well.”
The tide, and shoe-maker, now chang’d,
And backwards, through the channel rang’d;                                           90
He told the ladies, “he was glad
To find the swain the best of bad.”
Thus Kimberley began abusing,
Beause a customer was losing,
But chang’d his tone, when brought to view,                                           95
That marriage was securing two.
Could Joseph better luck betide?
A pair of shoes procur’d a bride!


4  groat  “Taken as the type of a very small sum” (OED).

11  stilliards  Possible variation to “steelyard” a lever with unequal arms that moves on a fulcrum (OED).

22  Tenants at will  Those who hold or rent property at the will or pleasure of the land owner.

46  Miss C–  Possibly a reference to Miss Sarah Cock, before she married William Hutton.

51  hems  A suggestive sound similar to a “hum” and “ha” (OED).

57  Mr. Kimberley  Possibly a reference to Mr. Grace, an acquaintance of Hutton who opposed his relationship with Miss Cock until he unexpectedly received money that was owed to him;  their affections angered Mr. Grace who “tried at separation” (The Life of William Hutton, 167). Only when he received money did he “become good-humoured and promoted the match all in his power” to which Hutton responds with the following: “Such are the wonderful effects of money” (167).

58  shoe’d  “Furnished or protected with a shoe or shoes” (OED).

61  Presbyterian In the eighteenth century, a protestant dissenter or non-conformist.  Presbyterianism in England traces its roots back to the sixteenth century and Presbyterians became powerful during the Commonwealth in their attempt to reform existing church hierarchy.  After the Restoration, the Act of Uniformity (1662) severely curtailed Presbyterianism in England, and lead to over a century of persecution.

70  staunch churchmen  That is, long-time Church of England supporters; Anglicans.

72  askance  “To turn away from or oblige a person to avert their gaze” (OED).

72  senior dame  “The eldest and most superior female” (OED).

92  swain  “A young man attending on a knight; hence, a man of low degree” (OED).

97  betide “To happen, befall” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1799), p. 606.

Edited by Adrianna Villasenor

Mary Masters, “To Lucinda”


To Lucinda”

 LUCINDA, you in vain disswade
Two Hearts from mutual Love.
What am’rous Youth, or tender Maid
Could e’er their Flames remove?

What, if the Charms in him I see                                      5
Only exist in Thought:
Yet CUPID’S like the Medes Decree,
Is firm and changeth not.

Seek not to know my Passion’s spring,
The Reason to discover:                                            10
For Reason is an useless Thing,
When we’ve commenc’d the Lover.

Should Lovers quarrel with their Fate,
And ask the Reason why,
They are condemn’d to doat on That,                              15
Or for This Object die?

They must not hope for a Reply,
And this is all they know;
They sigh, and weep, and rave, and die,
Because it must be so.                                                20

LOVE is a mighty God you know,
That rules with potent Sway:
And, when he draws his awful Bow,
We Mortals must obey.

Since you the fatal Strife endur’d,                                     25
And yielded to his Dart:
How can I hope to be secur’d,
And guard a weaker Heart?


1 disswade Variation of dissuade “to give advice against” (OED).

7 CUPID’S The Roman God of love, son of Venus; often appears as an infant with wings carrying a bow, and arrows that have the power to inspire love in those they pierce (Encyclopædia Britannica); Medes Decree Refers to the laws of the Medes and Persians, “Medes” being an ancient Indo-European people whose empire encompassed most of Persia; in the Bible, “laws of the Medes” is a proverbial phrase meaning, “something that is unalterable” (OED).

21 LOVE The God of love, Cupid.

22 Sway “Power” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London: T. Browne, 1733), pp. 151-53.  [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Brittany Kirn

Stephen Duck, “On Music”




MUSIC the coldest Heart can warm,
The hardest melt, the fiercest charm;
Disarm the Savage of his Rage,
Dispel our Cares, and Pains assuage;
With Joy it can our Souls inspire,                                                  5
And tune our Tempers to the Lyre;
Our Passions, like the Notes, agree,
And stand subdu’d by Harmony.
This found the melancholy King,
When David tun’d the trembling String:                                     10
Sweet Music chas’d the fullen Spleen away,
And made his clouded Soul serenely gay.


WHILE Music breathes in martial Airs,
The Coward dares forget his Fears;
Or, if the Notes to Pity sound,                                                     15
Revenge and Envy cease to wound:
The Pow’r of MUSIC has been known,
To raise or tumble Cities down:
Thus Theban Turrets, Authors say,
Were rais’d by MUSIC’s Magick Lay;                                            20
And antient Jericho’s Heav’n-hated Wall,
To sacred MUSIC, ow’d its destin’d Fall.


NOR Mortals only MUSIC love;
It chears celestial Saints above:
Sweet Hallelujahs Angels sing                                                      25
Around their great Ethereal King;
CeaslessCeasless they sound the FATHER’S Praise,
The FATHER too approves their Lays;
For HE (as all Things) MUSIC made,
And SERAPHIMS before Him play’d:                                            30
When over Horeb’s Mount He came,
Array’d in Majesty and Flame;
After the sounding Trump, sublime, He rode;
The sounding Trump proclaim’d the’ approaching GOD.


MUSIC had Being, long before                                                     35
The solemn Organ learnt to roar:
When MICHAEL, o’er the heav’nly Plain,
Advanc’d, to fight the rebel Train;
Loud Trumpets did his Wrath declare,
In MUSIC, terrible to hear:                                                             40
And when the Universe was made,
On golden Harps the Angels play’d:
And when it falls, (as fall it must)
MUSIC shall penetrate the Dust;
The Trump shall sound with the Archangel’s Breath;                       45
And, sweetly dreadful! wake the Dead from Death.


6 Lyre “A stringed instrument of the harp kind, used by the Greeks for accompanying song and recitation” (OED).

9 melancholy King An allusion to King Saul in the Bible.

10 David tun’d the trembling String In the first book of Samuel, David would play the lyre to calm Saul when the evil spirit of God was upon him (1 Samuel 16:23).

11 Spleen “Excessive dejection or depression of spirits; gloominess and irritability.” (OED).

19 Theban Turrets A structure or tower belonging to Thebes, ancient capital of Boeotia in Greece.

20 Lay “A short lyric or narrative poem intended to be sung” (OED).

21 Jericho’s Heav’n-hated Wall In the Bible Joshua is instructed to sound trumpets before taking over the city of Jericho (Joshua 6:20).

30 Seraphims Biblical angels.

31 Horeb’s Mount The mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

32 Majesty and Flame Allusion to the Burning bush that the Lord appeared as to give Moses the Ten Commandments.

37 MICHAEL, o’er the heav’nly Plain Michael was an archangel who fought the Devil in heaven.

45 The Trump shall sound with the Archangel’s Breath An allusion to the archangel Michael sounding his triumph after defeating the Devil in heaven (Jude 1:9 and Revelation 12:7-9).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, (3rd Edition) (London, 1753), pp. 49-51. [Google Books]

 Edited by Noelle Gallagher

Mary Masters, “The Female Triumph”


“The Female Triumph”

 SWELL’D with vain Learning, vainer man conceives,
That ‘tis with him the bright Minerva lives;
That she descends to dwell with him alone,
And in his Breast erects her Starry throne:
Pleas’d with his own, to Female Reason blind,                                     5
Fansys all Wisdom in his Sex confin’d.
Proudly they boast of Philosophick rules,
Of Modes and Maxims taught in various Schools,
And look on Women as a Race of Fools.
But if CALISTA’s perfect soul they knew,                                                10
They’d own their Error, and her Praise pursue.
Centered in her the brightest Graces meet,
Treasures of Knowledge and rich mines of Wit.
Her Thoughts are beautiful, refin’d and new,
Polish’d her language and her Judgment true;                                    15
Each Word deliver’d with that soft address,
That as she speaks the melting Sounds we bless.
O! I could praise her without doing wrong,
Could to the subject raise my daring Song;
Were I enrich’d with PRIOR’s Golden Vein,                                           20
Her I would Sing in an exalted Strain;
Her Merit in the noblest Verse proclaim,
And raise my own upon CALISTA’s fame:
Her elevated Sense, her Voice, her Mien,
Her innate Goodness, and her Air Serene,                                          25
Should in my Lays to future Ages shine,
And some new Charm appear in ev’ry Line.

Fir’d with the Theme how great would be the Flight?
In what unbounded Numbers should I write!
Each Line, each Word, would more majestic grow,                             30
And ev’ry Page with finished Beauty glow.

But me alas the tuneful Nine disdain,
Scorn my rude Verse, and mock my feeble Strain:
No kind Poetick Pow’rs descend to fill
My humble breast, and guide my trembling Quill:                              35
My Thoughts, in rough and artless Terms exprest,
Are incorrect and negligently drest.
Yet sure my just ambition all must own
The well-chose Subject has my Judgment shown
And in the weak Attempt my great Design is known.                         40


2 Minerva Ancient Roman goddess of wisdom and war (www.newworldencyclopedia.org).

10 Calista Potential reference to a female contemporary or companion of the author; Latin feminine form of the Greek name ‘Calisto’ (www.theoi.com).

20 Prior Contemporary poet Matthew Prior (1664-1721), known in the period for his facility with meter and rhyme.

24 MienThe look, bearing, manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood” (OED).

32 Tuneful Nine The Greek muses.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 8-10.

Edited by Taryn Osborne

Thomas Poynton, “A Ballad written by Thomas Poynton, a Pauper…after he had read Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland”


“A Ballad written by THOMAS POYNTON, a Pauper… after he had read Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland”

 The beauties I sing of my Jane,
No damsel her charms can outvie;
At wake, rural feast, or beltein,
She eclipses all others when by.
Thus when Phoebus his glory displays,                                             5
The lustre of stars quickly fade,
O’erwhelm’d in the glittering blaze,
To shine they must wait the dun shade.
At the quern, luaghahb, or the wheel,
Her music enraptures my ear;                                                            10
What emotions my bosom must feel,
When with transport her sweet voice I hear!
The deeds of the mighty Fingal
‘Tis pleasure to hear her repeat;
But Crimera and Connald’s sad fall                                                    15
To hear her lament is more sweet.
T’other day as she work’d at her wheel,
She sang of fair Eleanor’s fate,
Who fell by stern jealousy’s steel,
As on Kirtle’s smooth margin she sate.                                              20
Her lover to shield from the dart,
Most eagerly she interpos’d;
The arrow transpierc’d her fond heart,
The fair in his arms her eyes clos’d.
O, Fleming! how wretched thy doom,                                                25
Thy love to see wounded to death;
No wonder that, stretch’d on her tomb,
In grief thou surrender’st thy breath.
Yet one consolation was thine,
To soften fate’s rigid decree,                                                               30
Thy mistress her life did resign,
A martyr to love and to thee.
Would Jenny, should I haply die
A victim to love in youth’s bloom,
Heave o’er my remains a soft sigh,                                                     35
And shed a fond tear on my tomb?
Would she at my Coranick weep,
Transported I’d yield up my breath,
Contented I surely should sleep,
Delighted and happy in death,                                                           40
If my bones they were earth’d in cold clay,
And my spirit in heavenly bowers,
Delighted I’d look down each day,
To see Jenny my grave shew with flowers.
Inthron’d ‘midst immortals above,                                                     45
Transported I’d lift from my sphere,
To hear from the lips of my love,
“The dust of my Jammie lies here.”


Title Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland The Scottish poet and book collector William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649) whose prose work, The History of Scotland, from the year 1423 until the Year 1542, was first published in 1655.  The text was republished several times in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

2 outvie “To outdo in a context or in rivalry; to compete successfully against” (OED).

3 beltein Alternative spelling of “beltane,” the Gaelic May Day festival, widely observed in both Scotland and Ireland.

5 Phoebus Another name for Apollo, the Greek God of the Sun (Encyclopedia Britannica).

8 dun “Of a dull or dingy brown color, esp. dull grayish brown” (OED).

9 quern “A simple, typically hand-operated, device for grinding corn, etc., consisting of two stones, the upper of which is rotated or rubbed on the lower” (OED); luaghahb [Unable to trace]

13 Fingal A Celtic warrior famous for uniting different clans to defend Scotland against invaders, widely popularized by James MacPherson’s book The Works of Ossian, Son of Fingal (1796).

15 Crimera and Connald’s [Unable to trace]

18 fair Eleanor’s fate A reference to the story of Ellen who, according to Scottish balladry, chose between two suitors only to sacrifice herself to save her lover when her spurned suitor sought revenge. The story may be grounded in historical fact, though the nature of those facts was much in dispute in the late eighteenth century (see, for example, letters sent to the GM in 1797 (vol. 81, pp. 202, 293). Drummond’s text does not appear to be a source for this story.

20 Kirtle  A small river in the historical county of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The tragedy is said to have unfolded at Kirkconnell Chapel, located on the bank of the Kirtle, where the lovers were supposedly buried.

23 Transpierced “To pierce through from side to side” (OED).

26 Fleming A reference to Ellen’s chosen lover, who appears as “William” or “Adam” in various ballads. He is said to have returned from successful military feats on the Continent and died on Ellen’s grave at Kirkconnell Chapel.

37 Coranick [Unable to trace]

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1783), p. 607.

Edited by: Karinna Seward


Ann Yearsley, “Thoughts on the Author’s Own Death. Written when very Young”


Thoughts on the Author’s Own Death. Written when very Young”


Thus, when the fatal stroke of Death’s design’d,
On oozy banks th’ expiring swan reclin’d,
Her own sad requiem sings in languid note,
While o’er the stream the dying echoes float.

But, ah! can youth dwell on the tragic part?                                  5
Can I describe the trembling, panting heart?
In Fancy’s frolic age can I relate
The pangs, the terrors of a dying state?
Yes—tho’ unskill’d, I’ll the grim shade pursue,
And bring the distant terror to my view;                                               10
Dwell on the horrors of that gloomy hour;
Death, made familiar, loses half his power.
Peace then, ye passions of ungovern’d youth,
Foes to reflection, enemies to the truth!
Let me, unruffled by your clamorous voice,                                          15
Make the drear regions of the tomb my choice;
And while sad Fancy paints the dismal scene,
Where reflects ghosts by midnight moons are seen
Stalk o’er the gloomy grave, Muse! be it thine
To rouse the vain, the giddy, and supine,                                              20
Who Pleasure’s rounds pursue; while young Desire
Wakes the gay dream, and feeds the dangerous fire:
From these I fly—and now, my pensive soul
Mark the harsh scream of yon death-bonding owl;
Perhaps she calls some lingering, tardy ghost                                     25
To smell the world, ere the dread hour be loft
That parts the night from morn. Come, restless souls,
Relax from torture; you whom Fate controuls
To purge your earthly crimes in liquid fire,
In anguish plung’d, till ages shall expire;                                               30
(This, ROME’S grand tenet) sin thus wash’d away,
Pure, bright, and cleans’d, you’ll wing to endless day.
Presumption, hold! Lo, o’er yon misty tomb
Leans a sad spectre, and bemoans the doom
Of never-erring Justice; heavenly power!                                               35
Support and guard me in this gloomy hour
Of dread inquiry!—”Say, thou wretched soul,
O teach a young, rash, inexperienced fool,
What ‘tis to die, and where thou wing’dst thy way,
When turn’d a wanderer from thy house of clay?                                40
Did’st tread soft lawns, or seek Elysian groves,
Where Poets feign lover’s spirit roves?
Or, on light pinions cut the closing air,
And to each planetary world repair?
Or, guideless, stray where dismal groans rebound,                             45
And forked lightnings quiver on the ground?
Or did sad fiends thy unhous’d spirit meet,
And with shrill yellings the poor trembler greet
To the dark world? Describe that scene of woe
Which thou hast felt, and may I ever know!”                                         50
“Thou’lt know, indeed,” it answers with a groan,
“The pangs of death too sure shall by thy own;
Pains yet unfelt must seize thy every part,
And Death’s cold horrors hover round thy heart;
Thy dying eyes fix’d on some darling friend,                                          55
While strong convulsions their wild orbs extend;
One gasp, and deep eternity in view,
The soul shoots forth, and groans a last adieu.
I dare no more—but Oh! too curious maid,
Seek not to pierce th’impenetrable shade                                             60
Which wraps futurity; thou‘rt sure to die;
Rest there, nor farther search, nor question why;
Scan not Omnipotence—of that beware;
Oft the too curious eye is dimm’d by blank despair.”

Farewel, poor Ghost! ye horrors of the night,                                 65
Begone, nor more my shudd’ring soul affright;
The question unresolv’d I soon shall know,
Then let me haste from this sad scene of woe.

Henceforth, vain Pleasure, I renounce thy joy,
Enchanting Fair, who tempt’st but to destroy;                                        70
Ye thoughtless maids who transient dreams pursue,
No more my moments must be lost with you;
No more my soul in empty mirth shall share,
Or fondly relish pleasures ting’d with care.

And thou, all-merciful! omniscient Power!                                       75
O teach me to redeem each mis-spent hour;
In youth the mind’s best gifts most strongly shine,
Ah! let them not too suddenly decline!
In mercy add a few remaining years,
The grave shall lose its sting, my soul shall lose its fears.                     80


2 expiring swan reclin’d Greek mythological “swan-song;” “a song like that fabled to be sung by a dying swan; the last work of a poet or musician, composed shortly before death; any final performance, action, or effort” (OED).

20 supine Lying on one’s back (OED).

24 Harsh scream of yon death-bonding owl Roman mythology denotes the owl as an omen of ill-fortune or death; contrarily, the Greeks thought owls to bring imminent good fortune.

31 tenet A doctrine, dogma, principle, or opinion, in religion, philosophy, politics, or the like, held by a school, sect, party, or person (OED).

40 house of clay Colloquially this means, “of the Earth”; see also King James Bible, Job 4:19, “How much more them that dwell in houses of clay….”

41 Elysian Of the nature of, or resembling, what is in Elysium (The supposed state or abode of the blessed after death in Greek mythology.); beatific, glorious (OED).

43 pinions A bird’s wing; esp. the wing of a bird in flight (OED).

61 futurity The quality, state, or fact of being future (OED).

63 Omnipotence As an abstract concept: all-powerfulness, almightiness; force, person, or being representing or embodying this quality; God (OED).

71 transient Passing by or away with time; not durable or permanent; temporary (OED).

73 mirth Pleasurable feeling; enjoyment, gratification; joy, happiness (OED).

Source: Poems, on Several Occasions, 4th edn. (London, 1786), pp. 15-20. [Google Books]

Edited by Abby Bergman

Anna Seward, “Written by Miss Anna Seward in the blank Leaves of her own Poems presented by her to William Newton…”


 “Written by Miss ANNA SEWARD in the blank Leaves of her own Poems, presented by her to WILLIAM NEWTON, Native of a Village upon Tideswell Moor, near Monsaldale in the Peak”


Thou gentle Bard, on whose internal sight
Genius has pour’d her many – colour’d light;
With whom the loveliest of the Virtues dwell,
And wave their halcyon plumes around thy cell,
Tho’ wayward Fortune has not deign’d to throw                           5
One gaudy trophy on thy pensive brow,
With conscious dignity thy tree-born soul
Disdains to court her insolent controul;
And tho’ proud Fame no sunny glance has shed
On the low roof that screens thy modest head,                             10
The same exalted spirit scorns to wail
Her echoes silent in thy lonely vale.

Yet, while one votary of the Muses blames
Th’ unjust neglect of the capricious dames,
Still may she stimulate that noble pride,                                          15
Which rather seeks in humblest roof to hide
The shining gifts that lavish Genius gave,
Than, courting Fortune’s smile, commence her slave;
Than climb Parnassus’ steep and thorny ways,
And drop the rose of Peace to grasp the bays.                               20

Thy quiet haunts Reflection loves to trace
Thro’ walks of savage, or of smiling, grace;
And pleas’d she finds the scenes, that gave thee birth,
Types of thy lot, thy talents, and thy worth.

As conscious Memory, with reverted glance,                             25
Roves o’er the wild and mountainous expanse,
Her faithful traces to my sight restore
The long, long tracts of Tideswell’s naked Moor;
Strech’d on vast hills, that far and near prevail,
Bleak, stony, bare, monotonous, and pale.                                       30
Wide o’er the waste, in noon-tide’s sultry rays,
The frequent lime-kiln darts her umber’d blaze;
Her suffocating smoke incessant breathes,
And shrouds the sun in black convolving wreaths;
And here, with pallid ashes heap’d around,                                      35
Oft sinks the mine, and blots the dreary ground.
In vain warm Spring demands her robe of green,
No sheltering hedge-rows vivify the scene;
O’er its grey breast no undulating trees
With lavish foliage court the lively breeze;                                         40
But from the Moor the rude stone walls disjoin,
With angle sharp, and long unvaried line,
The cheerless field, — where slowly wandering feed
The lonely cow, and melancholy steed,
Expos’d abide the summer’s ardent breath,                                      45
And wintry storm that yells along the heath.

At length benigner mountains meet the eyes;
Their shrubby heights in rounder grace arise;
And, from the first steep summit, pleas’d I throw
My eager glances on the depths below,                                             50
As sinks abrupt the sylvan Monsaldale
From the swart sun-beam and the howling gale.

Behold in front the lucid river spread
His bankless waters o’er the sunny mead;
As of his broad and sheety shallows proud,                                     55
Shine the clear mirror of the passing cloud;
Then to the left along the valley glide,
With smooth meander, and with narrower tide,
Thro’ banks, where thick the spreading alders grow,
And deep calm waves reflect their pendent bough.                        60
Refreshing sweets the breathing hay-cocks yield,
That richly tuft the long and narrow field,
As gently to the right it curves away
Round the green cliffs with scatter’d nut-trees gay;
Cliffs, whose smooth breast, above the silver stream,                   65
Swells to the sun, and yellows in his beam,
While on th’ opposing shore dwarf foliage hides,
Sombrous, and soft, the mountain’s lofty sides,
And throws its latest fringe upon the flood,
That laves the concave of the pensile wood;                                    70
Till down the rocks, rude, broken, mossy, steep,
In parted tides the foaming waters leap;
Then thro’ the mazes of the rambling dale
With silent lapse they flow, or rush with tuneful wail.

The self-taught Edwin, in his lowly state,                                   75
Feels this sweet glen an emblem of his fate;
For as it glows with beauty rich and rare,
Near healthy hills, unsightly, bleak, and bare,
So, ‘midst unletter’d hinds as rude as those,
He, pensive minstrel of the mountains, rose;                                   80
Who, like devoted Chatterton, was born
In Nature’s triumph, and in Fortune’s scorn;
With kindred talents, and in happier mind,
By prudence guarded, as by taste refin’d;
Whom industry preserves from woes fevere,                                   85
Which ill the noble spirit knows to bear;
Saves from those pains that Wealth’s mean sons deride,
Dependent hopes, and heart corroding pride,
When, for with’d amity, and ow’d respect,
It meets the chilling air of base neglect;                                             90
The stingy Patron’s contumelious aid;
The taunt of Envy, studious to upbraid;
Those thousand ills, by which the Great are prone
To crush the talents that eclipse their own.

Be thine the blessings, Edwin, that reward                                95
Ev’n manual labour to th’ enlighten’d bard!
Energic health, and, in rare union join’d
The melting heart, and philosophic mind;
Genius is thine — before her solar state,
O fly, ye mists of inauspicious fate!                                                     100
Hers is the flood of cloudless day, that shows
The charms that Nature, and that Art bestows;
And she has given thee wealth, that shames the toys
Which Fortune grants, and Vanity enjoys;
The toys of groveling souls, empower’d to seize                              105
On the soft splendors of luxurious ease;
Whom yet with scorn discerning eyes behold
Pleas’d with life’s tinsel, reckless of her gold;
Gold richer far than India’s mine affords,
Th’ internal wealth of intellectual hoards;                                          110
Which buy, disdaining Fortune’s bounded plain,
Creative Mind’s illimitable reign.

O! if in that wide range my Muse’s powers
May lure thy tarrience in her cypress bowers,
Should’st thou perceive that genuine sweets belong                       115
To the pale flowrets of her pensive song,
The thought, that they have sooth’d thy toils, shall dwell
Warm with the bosom joys that Fame’s bright meed excel.



Title WILLIAM NEWTON, Native of a Village upon Tideswell Moor, near Monsaldale in the Peak William Newton (1750–1830), a laboring-class poet often referred to as ‘the Peak Minstrel’ was a friend of Anna Seward, who encouraged him in his writing and corresponded with him until her death. He lived near the village of Tideswell in the valley of Monsal Dale in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England.

3 the loveliest of the Virtues The seven Christian virtues consisting of four cardinal virtues from ancient Greek philosophy which are prudence, justice, temperance (meaning restriction or restraint), and courage (or fortitude) and three theological virtues which are faith, hope, and charity (or love). We do not know which virtues Anna Seward considered “the loveliest.”

4 halcyon Calm, tranquil, prosperous, joyful.

13 Muses In Greek Mythology, nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who are the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science, and the arts.

19 Parnassus The home of the Muses; a mountain in Greece that became known as the home of poetry, music, and learning.

28 Moor A tract of open uncultivated upland area characterized by low growing vegetation.

32 lime-kiln A furnace, used for making quicklime for making plaster and cement.

43 convolving Rolling or winding together.

61 hay-cocks Conical mounds of hay.

68 Sombrous Gloomily dark; shadowy; dimly lighted, somber.

70 pensile “Situated on a steep downward slope” (OED).

75 Edwin Anna Seward’s poetic epistolary name for William Newton.

81 Chatterton Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), English poet who came from an underprivileged background, similar to William Newton. Chatterton, who was unable to find a patron for his art, lived in extreme poverty and took his life by drinking arsenic before his eighteenth birthday.

91 contumelious Scornful and insulting.

114 tarrience Delay, lingering.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (March, 1785), p. 213.

Edited by Irina Auerbuch

Mary Leapor, “The Genius in Disguise”

“The Genius in Disguise”

As I Fidelia and my Sire,
Sat musing o’er a smoky Fire,
We heard a Knocking at the Door,
Rise, something is the Matter sure.
The little Turret seem’d to quake,                              5
The Shelves, the Chairs and Tables shake;
Fidelia cries, O, what’s the Matter?
And Mira’s Teeth began to chatter:
The frighted Door (as what could choose)
Flew open (pray believe the Muse)                           10
A hollow Voice for Entrance calls,
And soon – Although the dirty Walls
Were stain’d with Ignorance and Sin
Yet Mira’s Genius ventur’d in,
Not in a Cherub’s Form enshrin’d,                             15
Nor in the shape of human kind:
But Locks and Hinges round him glow,
In Figure like a neat Buroe;
Like Brambles in a thorny Gap
Stood Mira’s Hair beneath her Cap:                           20
Her frighted Senses gone astray,
She bent her Knees in act to pray;
But the presuming Priest drew near
As void of Piety as Fear,
And by its Side undaunted stood,                              25
And wou’d persuade us it was Wood:
With Rev’rence then we did presume
To place him in the little Room;
The Priest excluded with the rest,
The Stranger Mira thus address’d,                             30
(Tho’ shaking with Surprise and Fear)
‘O say what Power sent thee here,
‘Not Fortune, for I ne’er cou’d see
‘As yet her Favours bent on me:
‘Nor Chance although we often find                           35
‘She governs most of human kind;
‘Or can, against the Maid’s Desire,
‘Throw Madam’s Caudle in the Fire;
‘Can light a Candle, or can miss,
‘She never brought a thing like this.                            40

This said, pale Mira gazing stood,
And thus reply’d the seeming Wood;
‘Canst thou behold me and not find
‘The Picture of the Giver’s Mind?
‘Behold the Lock and shining Key,                            45
‘That ne’er its Mistress shall betray,
‘Not blemish’d with a Spot of Rust,
‘And always faithful to its Trust.

‘The rest may be to you consign’d,
‘For in this narrow Space you’ll find                           50
‘No Emblem large enough to fit
‘Her Bounty, Judgment, and her Wit.

‘But, Mira, since I have begun,
‘The Thread of my Discourse shall run,
‘Explaining how I am to you                                      55
‘A Monitor and Table too.
‘My hollow Spaces you may fill
‘With all your Verses good and ill;
‘One small one for your Wit may do,
‘But then your Faults will take up two.                     60
‘And from the rest I pray exclude
‘One sacred Place for Gratitude:
‘And what our Patron yours and mine
‘Shall to my trusty Care consign,
‘For those lov’d Strangers I’ll secure                          65
‘The Closest with its tiny Door.

‘And now I’ve prattl’d long, my Dear,
‘Yet you are list’ning still to hear,
‘Expecting that I shou’d supply
‘At once Advice and Prophesy;                                 70
‘But that’s not right for me nor you
‘To dive so deeply – tho’, ‘tis true,
‘Without Divining I can see
‘You’ll ne’er deserve the Gift of me:
‘More wou’d you know – why, may be then            75
‘Within these Mornings nine or ten,
‘Propitious Jet may trudge before,
‘And lead his Mistress to your Door;
‘And when the Sun (whose distant Wheels
‘But faintly warm the icy Fields)                               80
‘Shall gild your Cot with brighter Ray,
‘I hope to see her ev’ry Day.

‘But turn away thy stedfast Eyes,
‘That stare so ghastly with Surprise:
‘Go seek your Pillow and be still,                              85
‘And dream of me or what you will.

‘This said (which Mira hop’d was true)
‘The Lid shut up, and cries Adieu.”
Then gave a Crack, and spoke no more,
And all was silent as before.                                      90



5 Turret  A room or chamber (OED).

8 Mira Mary Leapor’s poetic name for herself.

15 Cherub’s Form A winged being or symbolic representations often mentioned throughout the Bible (OED).

18 Buroe A chest of drawers (OED).

26 Wood “A Hebrew word which designates a certain type of idol throughout the context of the Bible” (OED).

38 Caudle A warm drink of thin gruel usually mixed with wine, often given to sick people, usually women (OED).

51 Emblem Heroic device or symbolic object (OED).

62 sacred Place for Gratitude Biblical allusion centered on finding light amidst the darkness (Oxford Scholarship Online).

77 Jet Name for a dog (OED).

81 Cot A small house (OED).

88 Adieu To take one’s leave (OED).

Source: Poems Upon Several Occasions (1748), 131-135. [Google Books]

Edited by Magdalena Becerra

Janet Little, “From Snipe, a favourite Dog, to his Master”


“From Snipe, a favourite Dog, to his Master”

O best of good masters, your mild disposition
Perhaps may induce you to read my petition:
Believe me in earnest, though acting the poet,
My breast feels the smart, and mine actions do shew it.
At morn when I rise, I go down to the kitchen,                       5
Where oft I’ve been treated with kicking and switching.
There’s nothing but quiet, no toil nor vexation,
The cookmaid herself seems possess’d of discretion.
The scene gave surprise, and I could not but love it,
Then found ’twas because she had nothing to covet.               10
From thence to the dining-room I took a range sir,
My heart swells with grief when I think of the change there;
No dishes well dress’d, with their flavour to charm me,
Nor even so much as a fire to warm me.
For bread I ransack ev’ry corner with caution,                            15
Then trip down the stair in a terrible passion.
I go with old James, when the soss is a dealing,
But brutes are voracious and void of all feeling;
They quickly devour’t: not a morsel they leave me,
And then by their growling ill nature they grieve me.                 20
My friend Jenny Little pretends to respect me,
And yet sir at meal-time she often neglects me:
Of late she her breakfast with me would have parted,
But now eats it all, so I’m quite broken hearted.
O haste back to Loudoun, my gentle good master,                    25
Relieve your poor Snipy from ev’ry disaster.
A sight of yourself would afford me much pleasure,
A share of your dinner an excellent treasure,
Present my best wishes unto the good lady,
Whose plate and potatoes to me are ay ready:                           30
When puss and I feasted so kindly together;
But now quite forlorn we condole with each other.
No more I’ll insist, lest your patience be ended;
I beg by my scrawl, sir, you’ll not be offended;
But mind, when you see me ascending Parnassus,                    35
The need that’s of dogs there to drive down the Asses.


17 soss A sloppy mess or mixture; a dish of food having this character (OED).

25 Loudoun A castle where Little was employed by Frances Dunlop and took charge of dairy, a position that offered financial stability and the means to publish her volume of poems, with the help of her patron.

31 puss A conventional proper or pet name for a cat, freq. (sometimes reduplicated) used as a call to attract its attention (OED).

35 Parnassus A mountain in Greece that, according to Greek mythology, was sacred to the several gods and serves as a metaphor for the the home of poetry, literature, and by extension, learning.

36 The need that’s of dogs there to drive down the Asses Allusion to Robert Burns’s “Epistle to J. L*****k, An Old Scotch Bard” (ll. 67-72).

Source:  Janet Little, The Poetical Works of Janet Little, the Scotch Milkmaid (Air, 1792). [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Kent Congdon

John Frizzle, “An Irish Miller, to Mr. Stephen Duck”


“An Irish Miller, to Mr. Stephen Duck”   

O Stephen, Stephen, if thy gentler Ear
Can yet a rustick Verse unruffled hear,
Receive these Lines, but look not for much Skill
Nor yet for Smoothness, from a Water-mill.
I near the Hopper stand with dusty Coat,                                     5
And, if my Mouth be open, dusty Throat.
The Stones, the Wheels, the Water make a Din;
Hogs grunt without, or squeeks a Rat within.
To meditate sweet Verse is this a Place?
Or will the Muses such a Mansion grace?                                   10
Think when thy Flail rebounded from the Floor
Was’t then you made the Shunamite?–no sure.
And can I write? ah! make my Case your own,
A Miller Poet let a Thrasher own.
Smooth gliding Thames now bids thy Notes refine,                    15
And Royal Richmond’s Shades and Caroline.
The wond’rous Grotto may thy Song inspire,
And Foundress influence like Celestial Fire.
Where I awhile from Noise and Dust releas’d,                 
And Sacks, and Horses, and the mooter Chest;                          20
And I could see the Hermitage, even I,
As well as you, my little Skill might try,
The splendid Scene attempting to recite,
Princes can build–and shall not Poets write?
But the good Queen, as Fame acquaints us here,                      25
Does ev’ry way so excellent appear,
Around her such Diffusive Bounty sheds,
So constant in the path of Glory treads,
That they who know her Nobleness of Mind,
Not much t’admire in works of Art can find.                                30
Should she build Palaces that charm the sight,
Her Godlike virtues would give more delight.
Should she command high Pyramids to frame,
Her fair Perfections would more wonder claim.
The Grotto, Stephen, no hard Task has been,                              35
But where’s an equal Pen to such a Queen?


11 Flail A Flail was a tool used to thresh grain. This line alludes to lines 36-37 of “The Thresher’s Labour,” Duck’s most well known and breakthrough work: “From the strong Planks our Crab-Tree Staves rebound,/ And Echoing Barns return the rattling Sound.”

12 Shunamite  Another allusion to one of Duck’s poems, “The Shunammite,” a poem of some few hundred lines and recounting a biblical tale about the prophet Elisha.

12 no sure  Most likely, the phrase is an archaic variant of the modern, “surely not,” but with the order reversed in order to complete the couplet with “Floor” from line eleven.

15-17 Duck published a panegyric to Queen Caroline, his patron, titled, “On the Queen’s Grotto, in Richmond Gardens.”  Line fifteen of Frizzle’s work parallels line seven of the Duck poem: “Flow swiftly, THAMES; and flowing, still proclaim” (Duck, Poems on Several Occasions, 1736 [ECCO]).

18 Foundress  “Female founder” (OED). Another allusion to Duck’s “On the Queen’s Grotto, in Richmond Gardens”, wherein he refers to the Queen in line 29: “And You, Imperial Foundress! deign to smile” (Duck, Poems on Several Occasions, 1736 [ECCO]).

20 mooter Chest  A variant of “Multure-chest,” the receptacle where a miller collects his portion of what a mill produces (EDD).

21 Hermitage  An allusion to the Duck poem “Verses on the Hermitage,” which was an earlier version of “On the Queen’s Grotto, in Richmond Gardens” ostensibly published without Duck’s consent (See Jennifer Batt, “From the Field to the Coffeehouse: Changing Representations of Stephen Duck,” Criticism 47:4 [Fall, 2005]: pp. 460.)

33 Frame  To give structure to, shape, or construct” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 3 (February 1733), p. 95

Edited by Joseph Watkins