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Frederic Rowton.

The female poets of Great Britain, chronologically arranged, with copious selections and critical remarks online

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P/e

l.rr O.- CAUi-OiiNiA, SAN D1EGQ _

IA JQIM. CAUKSHUt III



THE



FEMALE POETS



OF



GREAT BRITAIN,



CHRONOLOGICALLY ARRANGED:



WITH



BY



FREDERIC ROWTON.

WITH ADDITIONS BY AN AMERICAN EDITOR,



AND ELEGANTLY ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATIONS
BY CELEBRATED ARTISTS.



PHILADELPHIA:
HENRY C. B A I R D,

(SUCCKSSOn TO E. L. CAREY,)
No. 7 HAKT8 BUILDINGS, SIXTH STRKKT ABOVE CHESTNUT.

1854.



Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1843, by CARET AND HART, in the
Clerk's Office, of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



Printed by T. K. & P. O. Colim*.



PREFACE.



THE design of the Author, in writing the following pages, is to
supply a want which must have been frequently experienced by
every student of our literary annals ; the want of a History of
our Female Poets. Of our male Poets there are (to say the
least of it) histories enough. Johnson, Campbell, Aiken, Ander-
son, Southey, and others, have done due honour to the genius of
the rougher sex ; and have left us so far as they have gone
nothing to be desired.

But where are the memorials of the Female mind ? In the re-
cords above alluded to, the Poetesses of Britain are either left
unnoticed altogether, or mentioned with a flippant carelessness
which is even more contemptuous than total silence. One or
two small works (among which Mr. Dyce's Specimens of British
Poetesses is the only one of merit and research) have been devo-
ted to the subject, it is true ; but even the worthiest of these produc-
tions is at best but, incomplete. It cannot surely be pretended
that this neglect of our Female Poets is attributable to any lack
of genius in the sex. In these enlightened days it may certainly
be taken for granted that women have souls : and further, that
their souls have no small influence upon the world of thought
and action. This admission made, it will follow that the mental
efforts of woman have as good a claim as man's to be recorded ;
and that we should be deeply ashamed of ourselves for so long
withholding from them that prominent place in the world's esteem
which is so undoubtedly their due.

To tell the truth, we have already suffered severely for our folly
in this matter. Had the soul of woman been allowed to operate
more widely in the world, it cannot be doubted that humanity
would have been far wiser, and better, and happier than it is.

iii



iv PREFACE.

Man's coarser spirit has preponderated in the universe of life, and
has made us much too gross, material, sensual, and violent. Our
passions, sentiments, and beliefs, have all been too strong, too
rough, too vehement ; and we have gone through much strife
and sorrow on this account. They should have been tempered,
harmonised, smoothed down, softened by contact with the mind
of woman. Our mental atmosphere has contained too large a
proportion of one of its elements ; and hence, it has neither been
so pure nor so wholesome as it might have been. Only one-half
of the human soul has yet had a fair scope for development,
and that the coarser half; the other has been circumscribed in its
operations, and thus has been left to run to waste.

The Author confidently hopes that the work which he here
presents to the reader will justify the position which he has as-
sumed, and at least prove that the Poetical Faculty is not confined
to one of the sexes. If it should only serve to direct critical atten-
tion to the subject, he will be fully satisfied ; for he will know,
that in such case our Female Poets will soon be as honourably
appreciated as they unquestionably deserve to be.

The Author takes this opportunity to return his grateful thanks
to those of our living Poetesses whose names occur in this volume,
for the permission which they have so readily given him to make
extracts from their works, and for the kind interest which tLey
have, without exception, manifested in his undertaking.

London, 1848.



%* The publishers have had this work revised, and the present
edition contains many important additions, which are distinguished
by being marked in the table of contents wiith an asterisk [*].

Philadelphia, June, 1848.



CONTENTS.



PREFACE .... p AQE . rfi
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER - v

LADY JULIANA BERNERS - 25
Extract from Hunting - - 26
To have a Faithful Friend - 26

QUEEN ANNE BOLEYNE - - 28
Defiled is my Name full sore - 23

MRS. ANNE ASKEWE ... 30

Ballad written in Newgate - 31

QUEEN ELIZABETH ... 34

Sonnet written at Woodstock - 34

Mary, Queen of Scots - - 35

Stanzas ..... 36

MARY, COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE 38
A Dialogue between two Shepherds 38
Chorus from Antony 41

Epitaph 43

MISS ELIZABETH MELVILLE - 44
Ane Godlie Drame - 44



LADY ELIZABETH CAREW
Extract from Miiriam

LADY MARY WROTH -

Song

Song



ANNE, COUNTESS OF ARUNDEL 52
Verses 52



MRS. DIANA PRIMROSE - - 54

Extract from A Chain of Pearl 54

MRS. MARY FACE ... 56

Anagram - .... 50

Anagram ..... 57

MISS ANNA HUME - - 58

From The, Triumph of Death - 58

MRS. ANNE BRADSTREET - 60



MISS ANN COLLINS -
Song ...



MISS MARY MORPETH - - 64

To William Drummond 64

MRS. {CATHERINE PHILIPS - 67

Ode against Pleasure 67

A Country Life ... 68

To my Antenor 71

PRINCESS ELIZABETH, (QUEEN

OF BOHEMIA) ... 73

Verses . - - 73

MRS. FRANCES BOOTHBY - 78

Song 73

MARGARET, DUCHESS OF

NEWCASTLE .... 79

Of the Theme of Love - 79

The Elfin Queen ... 79

Melancholy 80

Dwelling of Melancholy - - 80

The Funeral of Calamity - - 81

Queen Mab's Dinner Table - 81

MISS ANNE KILLIGREW - - 83

The Complaint of a Lover - 83

Epitaph 85

Herodia's Daughter - 85

ANNE, MARCHIONESS OF

WHARTON - ... 87

Verses on the Snuff of a Candle 87

Song 88

MRS. TAYLOR .... 90

Song 90

ToMertill 91

Song 91

MRS. APHARA BEHN - 93

Love in Fastastic Triumph sat 94
The Difference between Hymen

and Cupid - 94

The Return 95

The Invitation of Horace - 96



LADY MARY CHUDLEIGH -
The Resolve -
To the Ladies ...
V



CONTENTS.



THE HONOURABLE MARY


MISS MARY MASTERS


139


MONK


100


To Lucinda - - - -


139


Epistle to Marinda


100


MRS. MADAN -


141


On Providence -


101


Verses written in her Brother's




Verses written on her Deathbed


101


Coke upon Littleton


141


ANNE. COUNTESS OF WIN-
CHELSEA - - - - -


103


LADY ANNE IRWIN


142


A Nocturnal Reverie - - -


103


* Defence of Woman - - .


142


Reply to Pope -


105


LADY MARY WORTLEY MON-




The Atheist and the. Acorn


106


TAGU


145


Life's Progress - - - -


107


The Lady's Resolve -


145


Song


108
109


Hymn to the Moon -


145

Idfi


MISS ESTHER VANHOMRIGH -


110


An Answer to a Lady


mo

146


Ode to Spring - ...


110


MRS. FRANCES SHERIDAN


148






Ode to Patience ...


148


MRS. SUSANNA CENTLIVRE -


111






Prologue to a Bold Stroke for a




MISS MARY JONES - ...


151


Wife


111


Epistle to Lady Bowyer -


151


MRS. CATHERINE COCKBURN


113


To Stella


152


The Caution - - -


114


* MRS. ANNE STEELE


154


The Vain Advice ...


114


* To my Watch .....


154


MRS. ELIZABETH THOMAS -


115


MRS. FRANCES BROOKE -


155


Predestination - - - -


115


Song from Marian


155


MRS. MARY BARBER
On sending my Son to Dr. Swift


117
117


ftrttirr


156
156
157


Song from Rosina ...
Ode to Health ....


MRS. ELIZABETH ROWE


119






Hymn - - -


119


MRS. GREVILLE ... -


158


Despair - - - - -


120


Prayer for Indifference -


158


MRS. JANE" BRERETON


122


MISS CONSTANTIA GRIERSON -


161


To Damon ....


122


Lines to Miss Van Lewen


161


To Philotinus ....


123






On Beau Nash's Picture -


124


MRS. HENRIETTA O'NEIL -


163


MISS MARY CHANDLER - -
Temperance


125
125


Ode to the Poppy -
Verses on seeing her Sons at Play


163
165


MISS ELIZA HEYWOOD -


126


MRS. MARY ROBINSON


166


Extract from The Tea Table -


126


Sonnet - - - - -


166


MISS ELIZABETH TOLLET


128


The Snow Drop ....
MRS. HESTER CHAPONE


167

169


On a Death's Head ...


129


Lines written during a Storm


169






Ode to Solilude ...


170


MRS. L^ETITIA PILKINGTON


130






Ode in Imitation of Horace


130


GEORGIANA, DUCHESS OF DE-




MRS. MARY LEAPOR


132


VONSHIRE - -
The Passage of the Mount St.


173


The Temple of Love -


132


Gothard -


173


HENRIETTA, LADY LEXBO-




MISS ELIZABETH CARTER


178


ROUGH - - - -


IOC


f\ 1 t 1XT" A


1 7O


The Bullfinch in Town -


loo
135


Uue to wisdom . . -
Lines written at Midnight -


JL/U

182


MRS. PENMNGTON -


137


MRS. ANN YEARSLEY -


1S4


Ode to Morning ...


137


From Clifton Hill ....


184



CONTENTS.



From a Poem on Mrs. Montagu


196


Sonnet to Twilight -


229


MISS CAROLINE SYMONDS


187


Song ......


230


The Harebell ....


187


Sonnet to the Moon -


231




188


Habitual Devotion -


232


Sonnet to Lady Lucy Foley


189 MRS. ELEANOR ANNE FRANK-




The Blighted Rosebud - - -


189




233


MRS. CHAKLOTTE SMITH


191


Extract from Ccsur dc Lion


233


Sonnet. The Close of Spring


191


MISS SUSANNA BLAMIRE -


2:37


Sonnet .....


192


c


__


Sonnet The Glow Worm -


193


The Siller Crown ....


233


Sonnet. To the Moon


193






Sonnet. The Nightingale -


194


MRS. MARY BRUNTON -


240


Sonnet .....


194


Stanzas for Music ...


240


MISS ANN SEWARD -


195


ANNA LJETITIA BARBAULD -


242


Sonnet. December Morning -


195


To a Lady with some Flowers -


243


Time Past .....


196


Ode to Spring ....


244


~




Hymn to Content ...


246


The Grave of Youth -


193


On the Diety ....


243






Hymn . - .-.


249


MISS SCOTT (of Ancram) -
The Owl


199
199


MRS. LADY ANNE BARNARD -


252






Auld Robin Gray -


252


MRS. MARY TIGHE -


200






Extract from Psyche *
The Lily


200
203


MRS. ANNE GRANT (of Laggan) -
Extract from The Highlanders


251
265


MISSES MARIA AND HARRIET




MRS. ANNE HUNTER -
To-morrow . - -


257
257


FALCONAR


206






Extract from M. Falconars Poem


206


The Lot of Thousands


258


Extract from H. Falonar's Poem


207


The Ocean Grave ...


259


MISS ELIZABETH TREFUSIS -


209


Song - .....


200


The Boy and Butterfly


209


Song .-. - .


260


Eudora's Lamentation


210


To my Daughter on her Marriage


261


MISS JANE ELLIOTT - -


212


MRS. HESTER LINCH PIOZZI


262


The Flowers of the Forest -


212


The Three Warnings - - -


262


MISS ALICIA COCKBURN


214


MRS. ANN RADCLIFFE - -


266


The Flowers of the Forest -


214


To the Winds ....


266


MRS. HANNAH COWLEY -

On the Death of Chutterton -


216
216


The Glow Worm - - -

Song of a Spirit - - - -


207
269






MRS. HENRY ROLLS - -


271


ISABELLA. COUNTESS OF CAR-




Sinhs ......


L>71


LISLE


218


c " ..


272


Answer to Mrs. Greville


218


The Warrior's Song . . -


273


MRS. LEICESTER


221


LADY BURRELL ....


275


The Mock Hero -


221


Chloe and Myra -


275


MRS. HANNAH MORE


222


To Emma


276


Extract from Sensib-lity


223


MISS LUCY AIKIN -


277


The Two Weavers ...


224


The Beggar Man - - - -


277


Extract from Daniel ...


220


Arabia - ...


279


Passion, the Source of Misery -


226


MRS AMELIA OPIE -


280


MISS HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS


223


The Orphan Boy's Tale -


2^0


Snnilpt to Hnnp


223


g


282


Paraphrase ....


228


Hymn .....


282




B





Till



CONTENTS.



On War 2S3

Remembrance - 284

A Lament ..... 284

MISS JOANNA BAILLIE - - 287

To a Child 283

A Mother to her Waking Infant 289

Song from the Beacon - - 291

Song 29-2

Hymn 292

Hymn 293

The Grave of Columbus - - 294

Extract from De Monfart - - 297

Extract from Henriquez - - 303

MRS. MARGARET HODSON - 307

The Dream of Graeme - - 307

On Memory ..... 310

Extract from Margaret of Anjou - 312

MISS MARY RUSSELL MITFORD 327

Infant Love - 323

The March of Mind 328

The Voice of Praise - - - 329

Jerusalem - - - - - 331

Antigone - - - 332

To my Mother Sleeping - - 336

The Masque of llie Seasons - - 337

Bridal Song .... 340

Extract from Rienzi - 343

MRS. MARY HOWITT - - 350

Tyre 350

The Children .... 353

Birds in Summer .... 355

Mountain Children ... 357

Pauper Orphans .... 353

A City Street 360

The Sale of the Pet Lamb - - 360

Thoughts of Heaven - - 3G3

English Churches - - - 301

The Seven Temptations 3C6

MRS. CAROLINE SOUTHEY - 374

The Pauper's Deathbed - - 374

The Dying Mother to her Infant - 375

The River 378

The Death of the Flowers - - 379

Mariner's Hymji ... 380

* The Last Journey - 381

* I Never Cast a Flower Away 383

* To Death 384

MRS. FELICIA HEMANS - - 386
Extract from The Burial of the

Forest 389

Extract from llie Sceptic - 391



* The American Forest Girl - - 392
*The Landing of the Pilgrim

Fathers 395
*The Traveller at the Source

of the Nile - ... 396

* Mozart's Requiem - 398

* The Hour of Death ... 400

* The Adopted Child- - - 402

*MRS. TONNA, (CHARLOTTE

ELIZABETH) .... 404

* To a Horse 404

* A Night Storm at Sea 406

* The Millenium - - . - 407

THE HONOURABLE MRS. NOR-
TON 409

The Mother's Heart 410

The Arab's Farewell to his Steed 411

To the Dutchess of Sutherland - 413

*The Visionary Portrait - - 416

* To the Lady H. O. - - - 418

* The Blind Man's Bride - - 420

* Weep not for Him that Dieth 422

MRS. L^TTITIA ELIZABETH

MACLEAN, (MISS LANDON) - 424

Extract from the Improvissutrice 425

Song 427

Song 423

Song - - % - - - - 429

Change - - 430

The Soldier's Funeral - - 432

The Grasp of the Dead - - 433

Crescentius - - - 435

Sir Walter Manny - - - 436

*The Awakening of Endymion 433

* We Might Have Been - - 440

* Stanzas on the Death of Mrs.

Hemans .... - 442

MRS. ABDY 446

The Destiny of Genius- - - 446

The Child in a Garden - - 447

Where shall I die? ... 443
Lines on the Death of Mrs. Hemar.s 449

The Builders of the Ark - - 451

The Darkness of Egypt - - 452

The White Poppy 454

The Language of Flowers - - 455

MRS. ELLIS, (SARAH STICKNEY) 457

*The Pilgrim's Rest - - - 458

* Love's Early Dream - - 460

*MISS JEWSBURY, (MRS.

FLETCHER) ... 462

* The Lost Spirit - - - - 402

* The Dying Girl to her Mother 404



CONTENTS.



* LA DYTl.ORA HASTINGS

* The Cross of Vasco de Gama

* The Swan Song -

*MARY ANNE BROWNE (MRS.
GRAY)

* The Embroideress at Midnight



470
470
471

472

472



*Tlie Bridegroom to his Bride - 474

MRS. SARA COLERIDGE - 477

* Love Song 477

False Love .... 478

* One Face Alone - - - 478

MISS ELIZA COOK ... 480

The Gipsey's Tent - - - 481

The World . ... 489
We'll Sing another Christmas Song 484

The Mourners .... 485

He that is without Sin - - 488

Love 491

The Old Arm Chair - - 493
Washington .... 434

The Loved One was not There 495



MRS. FRANCES ANNE BUTLER
Autumn .....



Winter - - ...

Ballad

To

MRS. ELIZABETH BARRETT
BROWNING ....
Chorus of Edn Spirits
Extracts from A Drama of Exile
The Measure -

The Sleep

Victoria's Tears - -

* Catarina to Camoens -

* The Cry of the Human -

* Uowper's Grave ...



*MISS LOWE

Extract from Cephalus and
Procris ....
Hour of Night Departing -

MISS CHARLOTTE YOUNG -
The Bird and the Fountain -
Every-day Heroes -
Extract from The World's Com-
plaint

Oh ! ever thus do Sun and Shade
Evening .....
The Poor Man's Flower -



497
493
439



500
502
503
505
506
508
509
514
518

522

532
523

524
524

528

528
529
530
631



INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.



IN presenting to the reader a History of the Female Poets of
Great Britain, the author feels called upon to make a few general
remarks upon the subject.

First, he would express his profound conviction that the Poet-
esses of our country have displayed a richness and depth of ge-
nius which may challenge the admiration, and demand the serious
attention, of the world. The following pages offer, in the hum-
ble opinion of their Compiler, undeniable evidence in support of
this belief; and further show that the female soul contains inex-
haustible mines of precious jewels, the existence of which has as
yet been scarcely recognised. The fact that this is almost the first
book expressly devoted to the poetical productions of the British
Female mind, tends strongly to prove that woman's intellect has
been overlooked, if not despised, by us hitherto ; and that it is
high time we should awake to a sense of our folly and injustices
We have practically, if not professedly, avowed our belief that
the thoughts of the feminine soul are not worth preserving : with
how little reason we have done so, this work aims to show.

It may be true that woman's verse is less exciting than man's ;
and less " interesting" to the mass of readers: but I am inclined
to think that this is so only because the mind of the world
has been hitherto unduly stimulated, and therefore can only relish
highly-seasoned food. War, Passion, Glory, and Sensual Plea-
sures have been the chief subjects of verse down to a compara-
tively recent period; and not until this false excitement has alto-
gether passed away, can the gentler glow of woman's unobtrusive
spirit be fairly felt. The qualities of woman's mind are the stars
of the mental hemisphere : and during the time that is past, they

* xi



xii INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

have been outblazed by fiercer fires; but the heaven is now
clearing, and the soft starlight is becoming visible.

I would go on to observe that other influences have tended to
repress the poetical faculty of woman, and to keep it in the back-
ground of the universe. Our system of educating females has
narrowed their sphere of observation, contracted their experience,
and done its best to chain their intellects to the mere frivolities of
life. Further, their poetical attempts have met with discourage-
ments. I do not mean to say that they have not been flattered
and applauded, every Poetess has found her little coterie of
admirers, who have fed her to surfeit with their unwholesome
adulation; but I mean that the world has on the whole disre-
garded the mental efforts of woman, or else has looked upon them
as something out of the proper sphere of the sex, and therefore
to be petted and protegeed and lionized, rather than honesily
welcomed and carefully cultivated. If I am asked for proof of
this assertion, I point to the fact that our female versifiers, though
always applauded highly by cotemporaries, have never yet been
included in the list of our national Poets.

I know that of late this fault of neglect has been, in part,
amended. During the last half-century our Poetesses have
received a far healthier kind of regard : indeed their claim to
distinction has been so far admitted as to make our wise men
ask one another whether they should any longer permit such a
word as Poetess at all ? But this in no degree disproves the as-
sertion which I have made, that, on the whole, woman's intel-
lectual efforts have been in effect discouraged. Nay, even the
present day, with all its boasted gallantry, has done much to
repulse and retard woman's advancement. Have we not seen
that when young Female Poets have by their genius placed them-
selves prominently before the public, they have been met with
shameful malice and slander, and bidden back, wounded in heart,
into privacy and retirement ? Critics who could not deny their
talents, have belied their characters ; and a gossiping world has
only been too ready to believe the calumniators.

Indeed, considering the hindrances in woman's way, the won-
der is, not that she has done so little, but that she has done so
much. To me there could not be a clearer proof of the strength



INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.



and excellence of the female intellect, than is found in the fact
that woman has persevered so long, and accomplished such great
things, in spite of the difficulties she has had to encounter : and
I cannot but think that the superior place which woman now
holds in the world's esteem, as compared with her relative posi-
tion in past ages, is due, not to man's justice, but to her own
determination.

But, not to speculate further upon what woman's literary
efforts might have been under more favourable circumstances, let
us now speak of her works as we find them exemplified in the
pages before us.

It may be at once admitted that woman has not soared so high
as man has done in the realm of Poetry. We certainly have no
female Shakspere. We have Poetesses who resemble him :
Joanna Baillie is often like him ; so is Miss Holford ; so is Miss
Mitford ; so are many others who could be named ; but the
similarity is in single features, not in the whole character. We
have no female Milton, either. Many of our lady Poets are sub-
lime, many devotional : Mrs. Barbauld has Milton's solemn sense
of adoration ; Mrs. Rowe has his meditative calmness ; Mrs.
Hemans has his gentle, confiding humility: but where is the
female imagination that has mounted such stupendous heights, or
penetrated such awful depths ? We must remember, however,
that there is but one Shakspere, but one Milton ; and that men
seem as little likely as women to furnish their counterparts.

But what other great British Poets are there with whom we
have not Poetesses to compare? Have we not a Byron in Miss
Landon, a Cowper in the Countess of Winchelsea, a Spenser in
Mrs. Tighe, a Goldsmith in Mrs. Grant, a Johnson in Hannah
More, a Wycherly in Mrs. Centlivre, a Collins in Mrs. RadclifFe,
a Coleridge in Mrs. Browning, a Wordsworth in Mary Howitt, a
Scott (and more) in Joanna Baillie ? Or if it will still be main-
tained that some, or even all, of these ladies fail to reach the full
height of the Poets they resemble, where is to be found the
dogmatist daring enough to say that the difference is sufficiently
great to be set up as a mark of distinction between the one sex
and the other? I cannot doubt that if woman had been permitted
the enjoyment of the same opportunities as man, she would have



INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.



presented to the world works as lofty in imagination and as noble
in sublimity as any that have proceeded from the greatest of the
other sex.

The doctrine of woman's intellectual inferiority is one which
I cannot think upon without an impatience bordering on indigna-
tion. That our mothers, wives, sisters that one half of the
human race should be deemed to be endowed with an inferior
kind, or degree, of intelligence to that which animates the
remaining portion of the species, is a theory so monstrous, that
I can only wonder at even a savage age believing it. Woman
intellectually inferior to man ! Woman, who is man's helpmeet;
woman, who has the care of the infant mind, and can impress it
as she will ; woman, who from the cradle to the grave has power
to command, to enslave, to direct, man's intellect at her pleasure !
Is it credible that a belief so absurd should have gained footing in
the world at all ? It may be. But it is incredible that it should
form a subject for debate in this, the nineteenth century. It is at
least a satisfaction to think that, in addition to the immense
amount of testimony which the records of all arts and sciences
bear to woman's mental equality, the present volume furnishes a
further overpowering proof to the same effect.

I am quite prepared to grant that the mental constitutions of the
sexes are different ; but I am not at all prepared to say that
" difference" means " inferiority." It is easy enough to under-
stand that the sphere of woman's duty requires powers altogether
dissimilar from those which are needed by man ; but that this is
any proof of a smaller development of mind, I beg leave emphati-
cally to deny. Woman's qualities may be less conspicuous, but
they are quite as important; they may be less apparent, but they
are quite as influential. Man has to bear outward, tangible, rule;
and his faculties are necessarily of an authoritative, evident,
external, commanding order. Woman has to bear invisible sway
over the hidden mechanism of the heart ; and her endowments
are of a meek, persuasive, quiet, and subjective kind : seen rather
in result than in action. Man rules the mind of the world :
woman its heart.

To man belongs the sway of FORGE. To direct and use actual
strength, whether it be of the intellect or of the body, is his pro-



Online LibraryFrederic RowtonThe female poets of Great Britain, chronologically arranged, with copious selections and critical remarks → online text (page 1 of 28)