1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ann Yearsley

Anonymous, "Miss More and Ann Yearsley" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (23 June 1785).



The Bristol Milk-woman, Ann Yearsley, the poet, newly-discovered by Hannah More, bids fair to fill, for a little time to come, some place in the vacuity of London. And, like Chatterton, the Pseudo-Rowley, may, if there should be a Dean and Chapter with more than ordinary dullness, become an argument for some solemn coxcomb of a critic in quarto. Her poems, of which Hannah More appears with such very laudable zeal the Editor and Patroness, are in the following order and amount;

Night — to Stella, the poetical name of Miss More — blank verse above 300 lines.

On the author's own death, 80 lines in rhyme.

Two Valentine Days — a fragment — in blank verse.

On the sudden Death of a Friend.

An Address to Mr. Raikes the Printer and his sensible scheme of Sunday Schools.

To Miss More — to Mrs. Montagu — to Mr. Walpole on his Otranto — to the D. Dowager of Portland — and on Clifton Hill.

Such is the number of these poems: — as to their value, if our judgment is sought after, the report is very favourable — with much that is inaccurate, obscure, tame, there is much more the opposite of all this, perspicuous, just and forcible. She has a musical ear — and to all appearance those constitutional peculiarities of mind which, when she improved in science and language, she will unquestionably make a poetical use of.

As unquestionably also, if not perverted and overlaid by the clumsy applications of The Blue Stockings, &c. she promises to be right in morals, as well as noticeable for her talents.

Hitherto we are free and happy to say, she seems as Hannah More says her conduct is, very reasonable and well meaning. Her temper is susceptible — but of no impressions which are not innocent, and indeed when need is, they indicate virtue and religion.