1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

Anonymous, "Anecdotes of the Author" European Magazine 1 (April 1782) 288.



She could lisp the L'Allegro il Penseroso of Milton, at three years old, before she could read; and at nine was able to repeat the three first books of the Paradise Lost, with a spirit and propriety of emphasis, which shewed she felt and understood their beauties. We have been informed by a lady, who knew her in her infancy, when the family lived at Eyam in Derbyshire, and who used to walk out with her on a summer's evening, that when she was not more than five years old, in the midst of that childish playfulness with which she bounded amongst the rocks and over the Alpine heights of her native mountains, she would frequently stop, and with eyes swimming in delight, and an air of the most animated enthusiasm, repeat poetical passages from her memory, and apply them to every smiling, or awful grace of prospect which met her young and wandering attention.