1800 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To a Friend.

The Works of Anna Laetitia Barbauld. With a Memoir by Lucy Aikin. 2 Vols.

Anna Laetitia Barbauld


One Prior stanza; a lyric of undetermined date. Women writers composed number of Spenserian poems of the "advice-giving" sort; compare, for instance, Anna Seward's "To Miss Catherine Mallet" (ca. 1805) and "To a young Friend" by Elizabeth Trefusis (ca. 1807). Like much of Barbauld's occasional verse, this poem was posthumously published in 1825.

Christian Examiner [Boston]: "Her poetry, if not sublime, was often very elevated in character. She never forced her talent. Her genius and inclination were never at variance. Her taste led her to the selection of subjects, which did not afford room for much display of grandeur, ut she gave evidence enough that she possessed the power of being great" 3 (July-August 1826) 306.

H. Barton Baker: "Her poetry belongs to that artificial didactic school of the eighteenth century which is so antipathetic to the present age, and must remain in oblivion until the wheel of Time brings round again its fashion. Her prose style, however, is admirable, being modelled upon our best writers; both Macaulay and Mackintosh were warm in their praise of it" "Mrs. Barbauld" The Argosy 31 (1881) 308; in Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 5:25.

Herbert E. Cory: "Augustan Spenserianism died hard even when hemmed in by foes. It lived well through the Renaissance of Wonder. For instance, Mrs. Barbauld, the sentimental Sappho of the late Augustans, perpetuated Stanzas: In the Manner of Spenser as late as 1814. She also employed the Prior-Spenserian stanzas in To a Friend. Besides some surviving members of the old school the leaders of the romanticists themselves showed occasional striking relics of the Augustan-Spenserian mode" "Spenser, Thomson, and Romanticism" PMLA 26 (1911) 72.



May never more of pensive melancholy
Within my heart, beneath thy roof appear,
Than just to break the charm of idle folly,
And prompt for other's woes the melting tear;
No more than just that tender gloom to spread
Where thy beloved Muses wont to stray,
To lift the thought from this low earthly bed,
Or bid hope languish for a brighter day;
And deeper sink within thy feeling heart
Love's pleasing wounds, or friendships polished dart!

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