1855 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Ann Browne

Sarah Josepha Hale, Woman's Record; or, Sketches of all Distinguished Women (1852; 1855) 228.



MARY ANNE BROWNE was born in 1812, at Maiden Head, Berkshire, England. She began to publish at the age of fifteen, and her poems even then showed great genius. Her father removed to Liverpool in 1830: and in 1842, Miss Browne was married to James Gray, a Scotch gentleman, and a nephew of James Hogg, the shepherd-poet. She died at Cork, in 1844. Her first work was "Mont-Blanc;" her others were, "Ada," "Repentance," "The Coronal," "Birth-Day Gift," "Ignatia," volume of "Sacred Poetry," and a great number of fugitive pieces, in prose as well as verse. She was as well known by those among whom she lived for her active benevolence, as for her poetical talents, being eminently pious, gentle, and benevolent. There is very little display of that sort of tender and flowery description, which may be termed "sentimentalism," in the poetry of Miss Browne. She is reflective, serious, and, at times, sublime. Human nature, as its passions and changes, hopes, fears and joys, are displayed in books and in social life, seems to have been her study, rather than "running brooks," or "flowery meads." Hence, her style is modelled on the manner of the old bards; and though her poetry never reaches the height she evidently sought to attain, it is excellent for its pure taste and just sentiment; while a few instances of bold imagination show vividly the ardour of a fancy, which prudence and delicacy always controlled.