1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Amelia Opie

M., "Memoirs of Mrs. Opie" Lady's Monthly Museum 6 (March 1801) 169-70.



While we sketch the biography of those women whom learning and genius have rendered illustrious, but who disdain not to mingle the modest wreath of domestic duty with the proud laurel of public fame; while we behold them practical examples of the utility of mental cultivation, and living arguments as proof of the equality of mind, how warmly do we exult! — The amiable subject of this short Memoir has an undoubted claim to such an eulogium.

Mrs. Opie is the daughter of Dr. Alderson, of Norwich, a Physician of eminence, and a man of brilliant reputation. She early distinguished herself by the composition of Poems, Novels, and Plays, many of which have been published without a name.

Some years back, the Plays of Miss Alderson were acted under her father's eye at Norwich, in a theatre which that indulgent parent had fitted up for his daughter's amusement: the principal performers in these interesting dramas were Miss Alderson, the Miss Plumtrees, their brother, and several gentlemen distinguished for merit and talents.

But not to theatrical exhibitions alone does Mrs. Opie confine her genius: she unites to a most melodious voice the highest skill of science and taste. Mrs. Opie is considered the best private performer upon the piano-forte and harp, and is deeply read in the French, Italian, and German authors.

To praise this Lady's poetical Works would be superfluous; the public require no guide to point out the beautiful simplicity of their style, the tenderness of their thoughts, and the melody of their verse.

Miss Alderson became the wife of Mr. Opie three or four years ago; and if an union with genius, sense, and virtue, can bestow happiness, we may safely call her happy.

In her person Mrs. Opie is tall, and uncommonly graceful; and her animated features, more than pretty, and rather less than beautiful, display with peculiar expression the energies of mind, and the luxuriance of youth. Mrs. Opie is often acknowledges handsome, but always allowed to be charming.