1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah More

William Henry Ireland, in Scribbleomania (1815) 247-50 & n.



In praise of Morality — soul saving manna,
Peruse we the pages of far-renown'd Hannah,
Who proffers her theme to all ranks in the nation,
Commencing with system of pure Education;
From whence she takes flight to illumine a sphere,
Where Faith, Virtue, Honour, transcendent appear.
Last Coelebs salutes us in search of a wife,
Who looks for a gem far above human life;
Thus the pages, though pure, rarely pourtray a feature
Descriptive of Truth, and the dictates of Nature;
Still pure in its moral, it claims high commending,
Corrective of trash through our Novels extending.
This writer, to rectitude's principles true,
Hath ever kept Porteus, Blair, Paley, in view,
Alluring with truths, which are sanction'd by Heaven,
Such precepts as tend to correct mundane leaven;
For the theme of Redemption ne'er puzzles our sense,
We are taught to prepare for our journey from hence.
Omniscience inculcates no rules with the rod,
The lesson of tenderness flows from our God;
And those who feel most for humanity's thrall
Approximate nearest the Great Judge of All.

The productions of this writer are very numerous, and uniformly characterized by an undeviating attention to the principles of religion and morality. Her system of female education is certainly one of the best now extant; and if, as it is asserted, a very high ecclesiastical dignitary frequently lent his aid to further the literary views of this writer, it confers the greater honour upon her endeavours, as the sanction of the good and the learned is the surest test of the sincerity of this lady's professions. If we regard the style of this author's writings, it will be found extremely flowing, while the strictest attention is paid to render the subject comprehensible to the meanest capacity; in which effort she is the more happy, as the end is completely answered, without infringing upon the principles of chaste and elegant literature.