1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

William Wordsworth to Alexander Dyce, 10 May 1830; Letters of the Wordsworth Family, ed. Knight (1907) 2:428.



If a second edition of your Specimens should be called for, you might add from Helen Maria Williams the Sonnet to the Moon, and that to Twilight; and a few more from Charlotte Smith, particularly

I love thee, mournful, sober-suited night.

At the close of a sonnet of Miss Seward's are two fine verse:

Come, that I may not hear the winds of night,
Nor count the heavy eave-drops as they fall.

You have well characterized the poetic powers of this Lady — but after all, her verses please me with all their faults better than those of Mrs. Barbauld, who, with much higher powers of mind, was spoiled as a poetess by being a dissenter, and concerned with a dissenting academy.