Tag Archives: Mary Leapor

Mary Leapor, “A Summer’s Wish”


“A Summer’s Wish”


My Guardian, bear me on thy downy Wing
To some cool Shade where infant Flow’rs spring;
Where on the Trees sweet Hony-suckles blow,
And ruddy Daisies paint the Ground below :
Where the shrill Linnet charms the solemn Shade,                                         5
And Zephyrs pant along the cooler Glade,
Or shake the Bull-rush by a River Side,
While the gay Sun-beams sparkle on the Tide:
O for some Grot whose rustick Sides declare,
Ease, and not Splendor, was the Builder’s Care;                                               10
Where Roses spread their unaffected Charms,
And the curl’d Vine extends their clasping Arms;
Where happy Silence lulls the quiet Soul,
And makes it calm as Summer Waters roll.
Here let me learn to check each growing Ill,                                                       15
And bring to Reason disobedient Will;
To watch this incoherent Breast, and find
What fav’rite Passions rule the giddy Mind.

Here no Reproaches grate the wounded Ear;
We see delighted, and transported hear,                                                            20
While the glad Warblers wanton round the Trees,
And the still Waters catch the dying Breeze,
Grief waits without, and melancholy Gloom:
Come, cheerful Hope, and fill the vacant Room;
Come ev’ry Thought, which Virtue gave to please;                                            25
Come smiling Health with thy Companion Ease:
Let these, and all that Virtue’s self attends,
Bless the still Hours of my gentle Friends:
Peace to my Foes, if any such there be,
And gracious Heav’n give Repose to me.                                                             30


1 downy “Covered in fine, soft hair or feathers” (OED).

5 Linnet “A common and well-known song-bird” (OED).

6 Zephyrs Gentle breezes.

7 Bull-rush “A tall reed-like water plant with strap-like leaves and a dark brown velvety cylindrical head of numerous tiny flowers” (OED).

30 Repose “Give rest to” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1748), p. 21. [Google Books]

Edited by Krishna Manne

Mary Leapor, “The Beauties of the Spring”


“The Beauties of the Spring”


Hail happy Shades, and hail thou cheerful Plain,
Where Peace and Pleasure unmolested reign;
And the cool Rivers murmur as they flow:
See yellow Crowfoots deck the gaudy Hills,                          5
While the faint Primrose loves the purling Rills:
Sagacious Bees their Labours now renew,
Hum round the Blossoms, and extract their Dew:
In their Liv’ries the green Woods appear,
And smiling Nature decks the Infant Year;                             10
See yon proud Elm that shines in borrow’d Charms,
While the curl’d Woodbines deck her aged Arms.

When the streak’d East receives a lighter Gray,
And Larks prepare to meet the early Day;
Through the glad bowers the shrill Anthems run,                   15
While the Groves glitter to the rising Sun:
Then Phillis hastens to her darling Cow,
Whose shining Tresses wanton on her Brow,
While to her Cheek enliv’ning Colours fly,
And Health and Pleasure sparkle in her Eye.                          20
Unspoil’d by Riches, nor with Knowledge vain,
Contented Cymon whistles o’er the Plain;
His Flock dismisses from the nightly Fold,
Observes their Health, and fees their Number told.
Pleas’d with its Being, see the nimble Fawn                           25
Sports in the Grove, or wantons o’er the Lawn,
While the pleas’d Coursers frolick out the Day,
And the dull Ox affects unwieldy Play.

Then haste, my Friend, to yonder Sylvan Bowers,
Where Peace and Silence crown the blissful Hours;               30
In those still Groves no martial Clamours sound;
No streaming Purple stains the guiltless Ground;
But fairer Scenes our ravish’d Eyes employ,
Give a soft Pleasure, and quiet Joy;
Grief flies from hence, and wasting Cares subside,                35
While wing’d with Mirth the laughing Minutes glide.
See, my fair Friend, the painted Shrubs are gay,
And round thy Head ambrosial Odours play;
At Sight of thee the swelling Buds expand,
And op’ning Roses seem to court thy Hand;                          40
Hark, the shrill Linnet charms the distant Plain,
And Philomel replies with softer Strain;
See those bright Lilies shine with milky Hue,
And those Fair Cowslips drop with balmy Dew;
To thee, my fair, the cheerful Linnet sings,                             45
And Philomela warbles o’er the Springs;
For thee those Lilies paint the fertile Ground,
And those fair Cowslips are with Nectar crown’d;
Here let us rest to shun the scorching Ray,
While curling Zephyrs in the Branches play.                           50
In these calm Shades no ghastly Woe appears,
No Cries of Wretches stun our frighted Ears;
Here no gloss’d Hate, no sainted Wolves are seen,
Nor busy Faces throng the peaceful Green;
But Fear and Sorrow leave the careful Breast,                        55
And the glad Soul sinks happily to Rest.


5  Crowfoot  “A name for various species of Ranunculus or Buttercup” (OED).

6  Primrose  “An early flowering European primula” (OED).

11  yon  “A demonstrative word used in concord with a noun to indicate a person or thing” (OED).

12  Woodbines  Name for a climbing plant.

14  Larks  “A name generally used for any bird in the family of alaudidae” (OED).

18  Tresses  Braids on a woman.

22  Cymon  A swain, or young man.

 25  nimble  Quick.

27 Coursers  Horses.

29  Sylvan  “Consisting of or formed by woods or trees” (OED).

32 Purple A reference to blood.

42  Philomel  “A poetic/literary name for the nightingale” (OED).

50  Zephyrs  God of the west wind.

Source: Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1748), p. 15. [Google Books]

 Edited by Samantha Yankiling

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