1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charlotte Smith

Francisca Julia, "On Modern Female Writers" Morning Post (25 April 1806).



To beguile the dull hours, when for Novels we seek,
We are charm'd by the well-told light fictions of Meeke;
A tear of soft sorrow we cannot forego,
As we read Charlotte Smith's plaintive hist'ry of woe;
To harrow the soul, and amaze all our fancies,
Admiring we wonder o'er Radcliffe's romances;
Parsons, Bennet, and Hunter, in treasures abound;
In Roche, Helme, and Gunnings, some beauties are found.
Tho' the Lords of Creation in public disdain
Our tales and romances, believe me 'tis vain;
They deal so abundant themselves in queer fiction,
They abuse female writers for mere contradiction;
But where's the male scribbler, with all his pretences,
Like Rosa Matilda, can ravish our senses!

[Rosa Matilda is Charlotte Dacre]