1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Leapor

John Duncombe, "Molly Leapor" Gentleman's Magazine 54 (1784) 806-07.



Molly Leapor, p. 752, according to the account of her prefixed to some pieces of hers, inserted in the Collection of Poems by eminent Ladies, in two volumes 12mo, 1755, was born at Marston St. Laurence, Northamptonshire, in 1722, and died of the meazles at 24 years old, which must have been in the year 1746. Her poems have been collected and published by subscription, in two volumes 8vo. Her father was a gardener, and she was some time cook-maid to a gentleman's family in the neighbourhood. Her fondness for writing verses there displayed itself by her sometimes taking up her pen while the jack was standing still, and the meat scorching. The editor of the Poems by Eminent Ladies cautions the reader against forming an idea of her person from the poem called "Mira's Picture;" and says, though she has made free with herself, it was by no means disagreeable. But the description, I remember the gentleman, in whose house she lived as servant, once gave me of it, was still harsher. He represented her as having been extremely swarthy, and quite emaciated, with a long crane-neck, and a short body, much resembling, in shape, a base-viol. However, the talents of her mind amply compensated her for the defects of her person; and if, with so few advantages, she was capable of writing with so much credit to herself, there can be no doubt but, if her career has been prolonged, she would have greatly distinguished herself in the annals of female literature.

W.