1775 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Samuel Johnson, 1775; Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 2:468.



Too much is expected from precocity, and too little performed. Miss [Aikin ]was an instance of early cultivation, but in what did it terminate? In marrying a little Presbyterian parson, who keeps an infant boarding school, so that all her employment now is "To suckle fools and chronicle small beer." She tells the children, "This is a cat and that is a dog, with four legs and a tail: see there! you are much better than a cat or a dog, for you can speak." If I had bestowed such an education on a daughter, and had discovered that she thought of marrying such a fellow, I would have sent her to the Congress.