1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah More

Moreami, "Lines written on returning The Works of Hannah More" Ladies' Literary Port Folio [Philadelphia] 1 (26 August 1829) 294.



Dear friend excuse me that before
I've not returned your "Hannah More;"
How could I its departure speed,
While there was yet one word to read?

Morals so pure, wit so refin'd,
How sweetly, yet how rarely join'd!
Such language, or in prose or verse,
So strong, so fluent, and so terse;
Where can we find such excellence,
With learning and experience?

Such a warm feeling, friendly heart,
So zealous for the better part?
Her various powers with equal ease
Can a lord, or a peasant please.
She to the simple, gay, and wise,
Has taught the science of the skies.

One of our great most learned men,
The pious Dwight,* whose fertile pen
Enrich'd the world with classic lore,
Was ask'd, "what think you of Miss Moore!"
He answer'd not, again 'twas said,
"Sir, is not hers a noble head?"

Still he was silent, but his smile
Convinc'd the querist of some wile;
"Pray doctor, are not great her powers,
Equal almost, to those of ours?"
At length he said, "I must defer
My judgment, till I write like her."

* A president of Yale College.