Mary Howitt, whose maiden name was Botham, was of Quaker descent, and born in Uttoxeter, England, in 1804. In 1823 she was married to William Howitt, and the same year they published in conjunction The Forest Minstrel, a series of poems. But William, though the author of some clever verses, is known chiefly for his prose writings. Mary has shown genuine poetical feeling and ability, especially in her verses for children. Her observation of nature is accurate and intense; and a true enthusiasm gives vitality to her descriptions. Her ballads are among the best. That of New-year's-eve is founded on a prose story by the Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson.