1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Helen Maria Williams

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 2:387-88.



MISS HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS, a fair Democrat of considerable sprightliness and talent. She commenced author in 1782, by publishing, anonymously, Edwin and Eltruda, a legendary tale, in verse, which was edited by Dr. Kippis. This was followed by some other pretty poetical Pieces, which were reprinted in a Collection, in two duodecimo volumes, published by subscription, in 1786; among which the historical poem, entitled Peru, and the Fragment found in a dark passage of the Tower, have peculiar merit. In 1788, Miss Williams published a Poem on the Slave-trade Bill; and two years afterward, a well written novel, entitled, Julia. She went to France, for the second time, in the year 1791, and has, since then, resided at Paris. In the year of her departure, she published a Farewell to England, a poem; which has been followed by Letters from France, relative to the Revolution, in two duodecimo volumes; Letters sketching the Politics of France, relative to the Revolution, in two duodecimo volumes; Letters sketching the Politics of France, from May 31st, 1793, to July 28th, 1794, in four duodecimo volumes; and a Translation of Bernadin St. Pierre's tale, Paul and Virginia, in a duodecimo volume, the amusement of her hours of confinement in Prison at Paris, under the tyranny of Robespierre. Her LETTERS contain much information, but, too plainly exhibit her want of sensibility, and her political phrenzy. John Hurford Stone is said to have contributed largely to the fourth volume.