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This gifted authoress, the daughter of Dr. John and Propriety of Public or Social Worship; and Aikin, was born at Kilworth Harcourt, in Leices. Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation, or a Distershire, on the 20th of June, 1743. Her education course for the Fast, which last appeared in 1793. was entirely domestic, but the quickness of appre. In 1802, she removed, with Mr. Barbauld, to hension, and desire for learning which she mani. Stoke Newington; and in 1804, published selecfested, induced her father to lend her his assist. tions from the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, and ance towards enabling her to obtain a knowledge Freeholder, with a preliminary essay, which is of Latin and Greek. On the removal of Dr. Aikin regarded as her most successful effort in literary to superintend the dissenting academy at Warring. criticism. In the same year, appeared her edition ton, in Lancashire, she accompanied him thither, of The Correspondence of Richardson, in six voin her fifteenth year, when she is said to have lumes, duodecimo; but the most valuable part of possessed great beauty of person and vivacity of this work is the very elegant and interesting life intellect. The associates she met with at War of that novelist, and the able review of his works, rington were in every way congenial to her mind, from the pen of our authoress. In 1808, she beand among others, were Drs. Priestley and En came a widow; and in 1810, appeared her edition field, with whom she formed an intimate acquaint- of The British Novelists, with an introductory ance. In 1973, she was induced to publish a vo- essay, and biographical and critical notices prefixed lume of her poems, which, in the course of the to the works of each author. In the following same year, went through four editions. They year she published a collection of prose and verse, were followed by miscellaneous pieces in prose, under the title of The Female Spectator; and in by J. (her brother) and A. L. Aikin, which con- the same year, appeared that original offspring of siderably added to her reputation.
her genius, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, & In 1774, she married the Rev. Rochemont Bar-poem. This was the last separate publication of baald, with whom she removed to Palgrave, near Mrs. Barbauld, who died on the 9th of March, Dis, in Suffolk, where her husband had charge of 1825, in the eighty-second year of her agn. An a dissenting congregation, and was about to open edition of her works appeared in the same year, a boarding-school. Mrs. Barbanld assisted him in in two octavo volumes, with a memoir, by Lucy the task of instruction ; and some of her pupils, Aikin. who have since risen to literary eminence, among Mrs. Barbauld is one of the most eminent female whom were the present Mr. Denman and Sir writers which England has produced ; and both in William Gell, have acknowledged the value of prose and poetry she is hardly surpassed by any her lessons in English composition, and declama of her sex, in the present age. With respect to the tion. In 1775, appeared a small volume from her style, we shall, perhaps, best describe it, by calling pen, entitled Devotional Pieces, compiled from the it that of a female Johnson ; and her Essay on Psalms of David, &c.; a collection which met Romances is a professed imitation of the manner with little success and some animadversion. In of that great critic. He is himself said to have 1778, she published her Lessons for Children from allowed it to be the best that was ever attempted ; Two to 'Three Years Old; and, in 1781, Hymns in “ because it reflected the colour of his thoughts
, no Prose, for Children; both of which may be said to less than the turn of his expressions.” She is, have formed an era in the art of instruction, and however, not without a style of her own, which the former has been translated into French, by M. is graceful, easy, and natural: alike calculated to
engage the most common, and the most elevated In 1785, Mrs. Barbauld and her husband gave understanding. Her poems are addressed more to up their school and visited the continent, whence the feelings than to the imagination.-more to the they returned to England in June, 1786, and in the reason than the senses; but the language never following year took up their residence at llamp- becomes prosaic, and has sublimity and pathos, stead. Our authoress now began to use her per totally free from bombast and affectation. The on the popular side of politics, and published, suc- spirit of piety and benevolence that breathes sessively. An Address to the Opposers of the Re- through her works pervaded her life, and she is an peal of the Corporation and Test Acts; A Poetical amiable example to her sex that it is possible to Epistle to Mr. Wilberforce on the Rejection of the combine, without danger to its morals or religious Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade ; Remarks on principles, a manly understanding with a feminine Gilbert Wakefield's Inquiry into the Expediency and susceptible heart.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1769.
And shrub of fragrant leaf, that clothes their sides
With living verdure; whence the clustering bee
The prickly juniper, and the green leaf
Which feeds the spinning worm; while glowing or unsubmitting spirit, wise and brave ;
bright Who still through bleeding ages struggled hard
Beneath the various foliage, wildly spreads To hold a generous undiminish'd state;
The arbutus, and rears his scarlet fruit
Luxuriant, mantling o'er the craggy steeps ;
And thy own nalive laurel crowns the scene. Hail, generous Corsica ! unconquer'd isle !
Hail to thy savage forests, awful, deep; The fort of freedom; that amidst the waves
'Thy tangled thickets, and thy crowded woods, Stands like a rock of adamant, and dares
The haunt of herds untamed; which sullen bound The wildest fury of the beating storm.
From rock to rock with fierce unsocial air, And are there yet, in this late sickly age,
And wilder gaze, as conscious of the power Unkindly to the towering growths of virtue,
That loves to reign amid the lonely scenes Such bold exalted spirits ? Men whose deeds,
Of unquell'd nature : precipices huge, To the bright annals of old Greece opposed,
And tumbling torrents; trackless deserts, plains Would throw in shades her yet unrivallid name,
Fenced in with guardian rocks, whose quarries And dim the lustre of her fairest page! And glows the flame of Liberty so strong
With shining steel, that to the cultured fields In this lone speck of earth! this spot obscure,
And sunny hills which wave with bearded grain, Shaggy with woods, and crusted o'er with rock,
Defends their homely produce. Liberty, By slaves surrounded, and by slaves oppressid !
The mountain goddess, loves to range at large What then should Britons feel ?—should they not Amid such scenes, and on the iron soil catch
Prints her majestic step. For these she scorns The warm contagion of heroic ardour,
The green enamell’d vales, the velvet lap And kindle at a fire so like their own ?
or smooth savannahs, where the pillow'd head Such were the working thoughts which swella Of luxury reposes ; balmy gales, the breast
And bowers that breathe of bliss. For these, Of generous Boswell; when with nobler aim
when first And views beyond the narrow beaten track
This isle emerging like a beauteous gem
Rear'd its fair front, she mark'd it for her own, From the gray relics of imperial Rome,
And with her spirit warm’d. Her genuine sons, From her long galleries of laurell’d stone,
A broken remnant, from the generous stock Her chisellid heroes and her marble gods,
Of ancient Greece, from Sparta's sad remains, Whose dumb majestic pomp yet awes the world,
True to their high descent, preserved unquench'd To animated forms of patriot zeal;
The sacred fire through many a barbarous age : Warm in the living majesty of virtue;
Whom, nor the iron rod of cruel Carthage,
Could crush into subjection. Still unquell'd
And claim'd man's dearest birthright, liberty : Stain'd with the blood of heroes. Cyrnus, hail! And long, through many a hard unequal strife, Hail to thy rocky, deep indented shores,
Maintain'd the glorious conflict; long withstood, And pointed cliffs, which hear the chafing deep With single arm, the whole collected force Incessant foaming round thy shaggy sides. or haughty Genoa, and ambitious Gaul. Hail to thy winding bays, thy sheltering ports,
And shall withstand it–Trust the faithful muse! And ample harbours, which inviting stretch It is not in the force of mortal arm, Their hospitable arms to every sail :
Scarcely in fate, to bind the struggling soul Thy numerous streams, that bursting from the That gall’d by wanton power, indignant swells cliffs
Against oppression; breathing great revenge, Down the steep channellid rock impetuous pour Careless of life, determined to be free. With grateful murmur: on the fearsul edge And favouring Heaven approves : for see the of the rude precipice, thy hamlets brown And straw-roof'd cots, which from the level vale Born to exalt his own, and give mankind Scarce seen, amongst the craggy hanging cliffs A glimpse of higher natures : just, as great; Seem like an eagle's nest aërial built.
The soul of council, and the nerve of war; Thy swelling mountains, brown with solemn Of high unshaken spirit, temper'd sweet shade
With soft urbanity, and polish'd grace, of various trees, that wave their giant arms And attic wit, and gay unstudied smiles : O'er the rough sons of freedom; lofty pines, Whom Heaven in some propitious hour endow'd And hardy fir, and ilex ever green,
With every purer virtue : gave him all and spreading chestnut, with each humbler plant, | That lifts the hero, or adorns the man.
Gave him the eye sublime; the searching glance, To after-ages, and applauding worlds
So vainly wish'd, so fondly hoped the muse :
Too fondly hoped. The iron fates prevail,
Her generous sons,
Less vanquish'd than o'erwhelm'd, by numbers O beauteous title to immortal fame!
crush'd, The man devoted to the public, stands
Admired, unaided fell. So strives the moon In the bright records of superior worth,
In dubious battle with the gathering clouds, A step below the skies : if he succeed,
And strikes a splendour through them; till at The first fair lot which earth affords, is his;
length And if he falls, he falls above a throne.
Storms rolled on storms involve the face of heaven When such their leader, can the brave despair?
And quench her struggling fires. Forgive the zeal Freedom the cause, and Paoli the chief!
That, 100 presumptuous, whisper'd better things, Success to your fair hopes! A British muse,
And read the book of destiny amiss. Thongh weak and powerless, lifts her fervent Not with the purple colouring of success
Is virtue best adorn'd: th' attempt is praise. voice, And breathes a prayer for your success.
There yet remains a freedom, nobler far She scatter blessings as the morn sheds dews,
Than kings or senates can destroy or give; To drop upon your heads! But patient hope
Beyond the proud oppressor's cruel grasp Must wait th' appointed hour; secure of this,
Seated secure, uninjured, undestroy'd ;
Worthy of gods :-the freedom of the mind.
THE MOUSE'S PETITION..
O HEAR a pensive prisoner's prayer,
For liberty that sighs : Dilates with kindling majesty ; her mien
And never let thine heart be shut
Against the wretch's cries !
For here forlorn and sad I sit,
Within the wiry grate ; Her golden harvest; fruits of nobler growth
And tremble at th' approaching morn,
Which brings impending fate.
If e'er thy breast with freedom glow'd,
And spurn'd a tyrant's chain, That feed and ripen minds; 'tis toil and danger;
Let not thy strong oppressive force
A free-born monse detain!
O do not stain with guiltless blood
Thy hospitable hearth; With strong repelling arm the billowy surge;
Nor triumph that thy wiles betray'd The generous courser does not so exult
A prize so little worth. To toss his floating mane against the wind,
The scatter'd gleanings of a feast And neigh amidst the thunder of the war,
My frugal meals supply ; As Virtue to oppose her swelling breast
But if thine unrelenting heart Like a firm shield against the darts of fate.
That slender boon deny,And when her sons in that rough school have learn d
The cheerful light, the vital air, To smile at danger, then the hand that raised,
Are blessings widely given;
The common gifts of heaven.
To all compassion gives;
Casts round the world an equal eye
And feels for all that lives.
• Found in the trap where he had been confined all Endear'd to long posterity, some muse,
night by Dr. Priestley, for the sake of making expsri. More worthy of the theme, shall consecrate
ments with different kinds of air.
If mind,-as ancient sages taught,
Happy old man! who stretch'd beneath the shade A never-dying flame,
or large grown trees, or in the rustic porch Still shifts through malter's varying forms, With woodbine canopied, where linger yet In every form the same;
The hospitable virtues, calm enjoy’st
Nature's best blessings all ;-a healthy age
Ruddy and vigorous, native cheerfulness,
Plain-hearted friendship, simple piety,
The rural manners and the rural joys
Friendly to life. O rude of speech, yet rich
In genuine worth, not unobserved shall pass Or, if this transient gleam of day
Thy bashful virtues ! for the muse shall mark, Be all of life we share,
Detect thy charities, and call to light Let pity plead within thy breast
Thy secret deeds of mercy; while the poor, That little all to spare.
The desolate, and friendless, at thy gate,
A numerous family, with better praise So may thy hospitable board
Shall hallow in their hearts thy spotless name With health and peace be crown'd; And every charm of heartfelt ease Beneath thy roof be found,
Such were the dames of old heroic days,
Which faithful story yet delights to praise ;
Who, great in useful works, hung o'er the loom,May some kind angel clear thy path,
The mighty mothers of immortal Rome:
Obscure, in sober dignity retired,
They more deserved than sought to be admired;
They loved the sacred threshold of their home ;
Yet true to glory, fann'd the generous flame, O BORN to soothe distress and lighten care,
Bade lovers, brothers, sons aspire to fame; Lively as soft, and innocent as fair!
In the young bosoin cherish'd Virtue's seed, Blest with that sweet simplicity of thought
The secret springs of many a godlike deed. So rarely found, and never to be taught;
So the fair stream in some sequester'd glade
With lowly state glides silent through the shade, Of winning speech, endearing, artless, kind, The loveliest pattern of a female mind;
Yet by the smiling meads her urn is blest, Like some fair spirit from the realms of rest,
With freshest flowers her rising banks are drest, With all her native heaven within her breast;
And groves of laurel by her sweetness fed,
High o'er the forest lift their verdant head.
Is there whom genius and whom taste adorn
With rare but happy union; in whose breast Wealth may be courted, Wisdom be revered, And Beauty praised, and brutal Strength be fear’d; With stores of various knowledge, dwell the
Calm, philosophic, thoughtful, largely fraught But Goodness only can affection move, And love must owe its origin to love
Of still domestic leisure breathe the soul
Of friendship, peace, and elegant delight
TIBUL. Beneath poetic shades, where leads the muse Of gentle manners, and of taste refined,
Through walks of fragance, and the fairy groves
Where young ideas blossom ?-Is there one With all the graces of a polish'd mind;
Whose tender hand, lenient of human woes, Clear sense and truth still shone in all she spoke, Wards off the dart of death, and smooths the couch And from her lips no idle sentence broke.
Of torturing anguish? On so dear a name
May blessings dwell, honour and cordial praise ;
Nor heed he be a brother to be loved.
Champion of Truth, alike through Nature's field, So subject all to reason's calm control,
And where in sacred leaves she shines reveal'd, One only passion, strong and unconfined, Disturb'd the balance of her even mind
Alike in both, eccentric, piercing, bold, In every word, and look, and thought confest
Like his own lightnings, which no chains can One passion ruled despotic in her breast,
Neglecting caution, and disdaining art, But that was love; and love delights to bless
He seeks no armour for a naked heart:-
Pursue the track thy ardent genius shows,
Travel the various map of Science o'er,
A mass of heterogeneous matter, Record past wonders, and discover more ;
A chaos dark, nor land nor water ;Pour thy free spirit o'er the breathing page, New books, like new-born infants, stand, And wake the virtue of a careless age.
Waiting the printer's clothing hand ; But O forgive, if touched with fond regret Others, a motley ragged brood, Fancy recalls the scenes she can't forget,
Their limbs unfashion'd all, and rude, Recalls the vacant smile, the social hours
Like Cadmus' half-form'd men appear; Which charm'd us once, for once those scenes
One rears a helm, one lifts a spear,
And feet were lopp'd and fingers torn
Before the head was seen at all,
Which quiet as a mushroom lay While its firm banks repel conflicting tides, Till crumbling hillocks gave it way ; And stately on its breast the vessel glides; And all, like controversial writing, Admiring much the shepherd stands to gaze,
Were born with teeth, and sprung up fighting Awe-struck, and mingling wonder with his praise ;
“ But what is this,” I hear you cry,
ON A LADY'S WRITING.
Her even lines her steady temper show, AN INVENTORY OF THE FURNITURE IN Neat as her dress, and polish'd as her brow; R. PRIESTLEY'S STUDY.
Strong as her judgment, easy as her air ;
Correct though free, and regular though fair: A MAP of every country known,
And the same graces o'er her pen preside, With not a foot of land his own.
That form her manners and her footsteps guide
ON THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
In vain fair Auburn weeps her desert plains, The fathers, ranged in goodly row,
She moves our envy who so well complains ; A decent, venerable show,
In vain has proud oppression laid her low, Writ a great while ago, they tell us,
So sweet a garland on her faded brow. And many an inch o'ertop their fellows.
Now, Auburn, now absolve impartial fate, A Juvenal to hunt for mottoes ;
Which if it made thce wretched, makes thee great ; And Ovid's tales of nymphs and grottoes.
So, unobserved, some humble plant may bloom, The meek-robed lawyers, all in white;
Till crush'd it fills the air with sweet perfume ; Pure as the lamb,—at least to sight.
So, had thy swains in ease and plenty slept, A shelf of bottles, jar and phial,
Thy poet had not sung, nor Britain wept. By which the rogues he can defy all,
Nor let Britannia mourn her drooping bay, All fill'd with lightning keen and genuine, Unhonour'd genius, and her swift decay ; And many a little imp he'll pen you in;
O patron of the poor! it cannot be, Which, like Le Sage's sprite, let out
While one-one poet yet remains like thee! Among the neighbours makes a rout;
Nor can the muse desert our favour'd isle, Brings down the lightning on their houses,
Till thou desert the muse and scorn her smile
HYMN TO CONTENT.
...natura beatis Answer, remark, reply, rejoinder,
Omnibus esse dedit, si quis cognoverit uti.
CLAUDIAN Fresh from the mint, all stamp'd and coin'd here ; Like new-made glass, set by to cool,
O THOU, the nymph with placid eye! Before it bears the workman's tool.
O seldom found, yet ever nigh! A blotted proof-sheet, wet from Bowling.
Receive my temperate vow: "How can a man his anger hold in?"
Not all the storms that shake the pole Forgotten rhymes, and college themes,
Can e'er disturb thy halcyon soul, Wormeaten plans, and embryo schemes ;
And smooth unalter'd brow.