ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Helen Maria Williams
W. Upton, "To Miss Helen Maria Williams, Authoress of Peru, a Poem" Public Advertiser (24 March 1786).
Helen Maria Williams:
1782: Charlotte Anne Burney
1783: William Hayley
1784: Samuel Johnson
1784: Anna Seward
1786: W. Upton
1787: J. B-o
1787: Anna Seward
1790 ca.: George Hardinge
1790: E. J.
1791: E. J.
1793: Elizabeth Carter
1793: Anna Seward
1800: Rev. Richard Polwhele
1801: Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe
1801: Alexander Thomson
1803: Francis William Blagdon
1815: Isaac D'Israeli
1822: James Harley
1855: Sarah Josepha Hale
1882: Epes Sargent
1887: P. W. Clayden
1786: Helen Maria Williams
Peru's rich mines by captive slaves explor'd,
Where Plutus reigns supreme, by all ador'd,
'Tis not his treasures, Williams' pen impart,
Her subject's nature, glowing from the heart;
To her the Muse, the daring task consign,
Expanded thought, gave energy divine,
Unfolded nature's secrets to her view,
And form'd the line her conduct should pursue;
And well the maid's perform'd the mighty task,
The deed was great — no more the Muse could ask.
Peru unbosoms, all the Nine foretold
Where nature forms the universal mould,
Whose true impressions, proves superior skill,
Subdues the heart, and conquers e'en the will.
So sweet Maria pleads a parent's cause,
That echo vibrates back its Muse, applause;
So lively paints the lovers ardent flame,
That doubts will rise, but Williams feels the same,
Each scene she tints, such beaming truth displays,
That envy's self unwilling gives her praise.
In vain to trace o'er Peru's vast domain,
Her boundless fancy boundless praises claim.
Peruvia's woes, when time shall bear no date,
Will stand recorded in the page of fate;
And while Zamor's and Aciloe's fates are read,
Shall Helen's fame be rescu'd from the dead.
Strand, March 17.