1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah More

Anonymous, in "The Crowning of the Living British Poetesses" The Literary Gazette (30 June 1827) 412.



But whose is that gradual approach that we hear,
The motion infirm that scarce silence can stir,
That invalid face, worn as autumn's sear leaves,
That reverend figure, with length of lawn sleeves.
In one hand a book, in the other a staff,
With an eye that still shines, and with lips that still laugh.
Calliope sees it advance, with surprise
No less than with pleasure, and hastens to rise
And welcome the elderly lady (for such
It proved, though its garb with the church fitted much);
"Though seldom of late to our regions you roam,"
Cried the Muse, "yet I hoped that you'd settle to come,
If years and ill-health did not keep you at home;
And I were as recreant to taste as civility,
If I did not thus greet her that wrote 'Sensibility.'
What book have you there? Is it any thing new
From your own finished pencil? allow me to view."
"'Tis intended for you," with a sparkling eye
And a gratified smile, did the authoress reply.
"A work of my own, it is true, but its date
Rather ancient, my 'Thoughts on the Ways of the Great:'
If I had not aspired to do somewhat of good,
I had scarce, at this age, left my cot in the wood,
From shining a sun, to rise here like a star
And brought my own coachmen and horses so far;
But th' occasion seem'd fair for me just to advert
To the life you all lead on the hill — to the hurt
Of your credit, no less than the general scandal—
E'en Phoebus himself (now don't deem me a Vandal)—
Yes — Phoebus himself, you'll allow me to say,
Though we wink'd at his youth, is still desperately gay—
And think how the poets his example must sway!
So I venture to beg you will take an occasion,
Upon your return, to direct conversation,
On the ills, from such pattern, that oft may befall,
And show him my book, which is meant for you all—
You doubt if he'll read it, I see, by your smile,
But, at least, he might not be displeased with the style."

The lecture concluded, the good Hannah More.—
(Though the reader has guess'd who it was long before)—
Her offering presented, and bent her adieu,
When the Muse, who'd been thoughtful a moment or two,
Reverting to action, cried, "Ne'er shall you go,
My excellent friend! till a boon I bestow
In my turn, not e'en your acceptance beneath"—
And bound her gray locks with the genuine wreath.