Mary Russell Mitford

John Mitford to Dr. Mitford, 4 February 1811; L'Estrange, Friendships of Mary Russell Mitford (1882) 38-39.


I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of a volume of poems which Messrs. Longman transmitted to me a few days since, and for which I am indebted to your politeness. I have been very much pleased with Miss Mitford's poems generally, and many passages I think excellent. In particular I was delighted to see her muse busy in Northumberland, the scenery of which in many parts is well worthy of a poet. The counties near London are now become almost its suburbs, a circumstance which is of considerable disadvantage to some of our old poets, particularly to Thomson and Akenside, whose favorite spot was Richmond Hill — a place that will not, I suppose, be again celebrated in verse till the revival of the City Laureateship. Miss Mitford seems peculiarly to excel in descriptive poetry, which, after all, is the poetry that pleases most and clings closest to the mind. For myself, I would give whole pages of Dryden and Young for one of Milton or Cowper.

I beg my best wishes for Miss Mitford's success, and if anything should lead you or your family to Suffolk, I hope you will do me the favor of not forgetting my address. I am, sir,

Your obedient servant,

J. Mitford.