August 14 1812: Barbauld the "Fatidical spinster"

On August 14, 1812, the Quarterly Review publishes a savage review of  Anna Letitia Barbauld's poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven. Barbauld had published the poem earlier in the year. She was a well known writer. The review in the Quarterly was written anonymously but it is likely the work of John Wilson Croker, a Tory member of parliament and frequent contributor to the Quarterly. The criticism that Barbauld received for her poem, including this review, it is said, effectively silenced her as a writer. Many found her poem objectionable because it did not seem sufficiently patriotic. The poem praises America and seems to have some sympathy for Napoleonic France. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth disliked Barbauld and her poetry. Coleridge, at the beginning of the year, was critical of Barbauld's poetry in one of his lectures. Henry Crabb Robinson thought  Coleridge was "unmanly" for criticizing her in public. Croker is even more savage in his criticism of Barbauld calling her a "fatidical spinster." I do not have the time to  examine in detail her poem or the review but both deserve a close reading. Barbauld remains an important writer, in the sense that her disappearance or banishment from the literary canon sheds an important light on the political and literary changes in the early nineteenth century. Barbauld's poem can be found below followed by Crocker's  review.

Still the loud death drum, thundering from afar,
O'er the vext nations pours the storm of war:
To the stern call still Britain bends her ear,
Feeds the fierce strife, the alternate hope and fear;
Bravely, though vainly, dares to strive with Fate,
And seeks by turns to prop each sinking state.
Colossal Power with overwhelming force                  [2]
Bears down each fort of Freedom in its course;
Prostrate she lies beneath the Despot's sway,
While the hushed nations curse him--and obey,

Bounteous in vain, with frantic man at strife,
Glad Nature pours the means--the joys of life;
In vain with orange blossoms scents the gale,
The hills with olives clothes, with corn the vale;
Man calls to Famine, nor invokes in vain,
Disease and Rapine follow in her train;
The tramp of marching hosts disturbs the plough,
The sword, not sickle, reaps the harvest now,
And where the Soldier gleans the scant supply.
The helpless Peasant but retires to die;
No laws his hut from licensed outrage shield,           [3]
And war's least horror is the ensanguined field.

Fruitful in vain, the matron counts with pride
The blooming youths that grace her honoured side;
No son returns to press her widow'd hand,
Her fallen blossoms strew a foreign strand.
--Fruitful in vain, she boasts her virgin race,
Whom cultured arts adorn and gentlest grace;
Defrauded of its homage, Beauty mourns,
And the rose withers on its virgin thorns.
Frequent, some stream obscure, some uncouth name
By deeds of blood is lifted into fame;
Oft o'er the daily page some soft-one bends
To learn the fate of husband, brothers, friends,
Or the spread map with anxious eye explores,            [4]
Its dotted boundaries and penciled shores,
Asks _where_ the spot that wrecked her bliss is found,
And learns its name but to detest the sound.

And thinks't thou, Britain, still to sit at ease,
An island Queen amidst thy subject seas,
While the vext billows, in their distant roar,
But soothe thy slumbers, and but kiss thy shore?
To sport in wars, while danger keeps aloof,
Thy grassy turf unbruised by hostile hoof?
So sing thy flatterers; but, Britain, know,
Thou who hast shared the guilt must share the woe.
Nor distant is the hour; low murmurs spread,
And whispered fears, creating what they dread;
Ruin, as with an earthquake shock, is here,             [5]
There, the heart-witherings of unuttered fear,
And that sad death, whence most affection bleeds,
Which sickness, only of the soul, precedes.
Thy baseless wealth dissolves in air away,
Like mists that melt before the morning ray:
No more on crowded mart or busy street
Friends, meeting friends, with cheerful hurry greet;
Sad, on the ground thy princely merchants bend
Their altered looks, and evil days portend,
And fold their arms, and watch with anxious breast
The tempest blackening in the distant West.

Yes, thou must droop; thy Midas dream is o'er;
The golden tide of Commerce leaves thy shore,
Leaves thee to prove the alternate ills that haunt      [6]
Enfeebling Luxury and ghastly Want;
Leaves thee, perhaps, to visit distant lands,
And deal the gifts of Heaven with equal hands.

Yet, O my Country, name beloved, revered,
By every tie that binds the soul endeared,
Whose image to my infant senses came
Mixt with Religion's light and Freedom's holy flame!
If prayers may not avert, if 'tis thy fate
To rank amongst the names that once were great,
Not like the dim cold Crescent shalt thou fade,
Thy debt to Science and the Muse unpaid;
Thine are the laws surrounding states revere,
Thine the full harvest of the mental year,
Thine the bright stars in Glory's sky that shine,       [7]
And arts that make it life to live are thine.
If westward streams the light that leaves thy shores,
Still from thy lamp the streaming radiance pours.
Wide spreads thy race from Ganges to the pole,
O'er half the western world thy accents roll:
Nations beyond the Apalachian hills
Thy hand has planted and thy spirit fills:
Soon as their gradual progress shall impart
The finer sense of morals and of art,
Thy stores of knowledge the new states shall know,
And think thy thoughts, and with thy fancy glow;
Thy Lockes, thy Paleys shall instruct their youth,
Thy leading star direct their search for truth;
Beneath the spreading Platan's tent-like shade,         [8]
Or by Missouri's rushing waters laid,
"Old father Thames" shall be the Poets' theme,
Of Hagley's woods the enamoured virgin dream,
And Milton's tones the raptured ear enthrall,
Mixt with the roar of Niagara's fall;
In Thomson's glass the ingenuous youth shall learn
A fairer face of Nature to discern;
Nor of the Bards that swept the British lyre
Shall fade one laurel, or one note expire.
Then, loved Joanna, to admiring eyes
Thy storied groups in scenic pomp shall rise;
Their high soul'd strains and Shakespear's noble rage
Shall with alternate passion shake the stage.
Some youthful Basil from thy moral lay                  [9]
With stricter hand his fond desires shall sway;
Some Ethwald, as the fleeting shadows pass,
Start at his likeness in the mystic glass;
The tragic Muse resume her just controul,
With pity and with terror purge the soul,
While wide o'er transatlantic realms thy name
Shall live in light, and gather _all_ its fame.

Where wanders Fancy down the lapse of years
Shedding o'er imaged woes untimely tears?
Fond moody Power! as hopes--as fears prevail,
She longs, or dreads, to lift the awful veil,
On visions of delight now loves to dwell,
Now hears the shriek of woe or Freedom's knell:
Perhaps, she says, long ages past away,                 [10]
And set in western waves our closing day,
Night, Gothic night, again may shade the plains
Where Power is seated, and where Science reigns;
England, the seat of arts, be only known
By the gray ruin and the mouldering stone;
That Time may tear the garland from her brow,
And Europe sit in dust, as Asia now.

Yet then the ingenuous youth whom Fancy fires
With pictured glories of illustrious sires,
With duteous zeal their pilgrimage shall take
From the blue mountains, or Ontario's lake,
With fond adoring steps to press the sod
By statesmen, sages, poets, heroes trod;
On Isis' banks to draw inspiring air,                   [11]
From Runnymede to send the patriot's prayer;
In pensive thought, where Cam's slow waters wind,
To meet those shades that ruled the realms of mind;
In silent halls to sculptured marbles bow,
And hang fresh wreaths round Newton's awful brow.
Oft shall they seek some peasant's homely shed,
Who toils, unconscious of the mighty dead,
To ask where Avon's winding waters stray,
And thence a knot of wild flowers bear away;
Anxious enquire where Clarkson, friend of man,
Or all-accomplished Jones his race began;
If of the modest mansion aught remains
Where Heaven and Nature prompted Cowper's strains;
Where Roscoe, to whose patriot breast belong            [12]
The Roman virtue and the Tuscan song,
Led Ceres to the black and barren moor
Where Ceres never gained a wreath before[1]:
With curious search their pilgrim steps shall rove
By many a ruined tower and proud alcove,
Shall listen for those strains that soothed of yore
Thy rock, stern Skiddaw, and thy fall, Lodore;
Feast with Dun Edin's classic brow their sight,
And visit "Melross by the pale moonlight."

But who their mingled feelings shall pursue
When London's faded glories rise to view?
The mighty city, which by every road,                   [13]
In floods of people poured itself abroad;
Ungirt by walls, irregularly great,
No jealous drawbridge, and no closing gate;
Whose merchants (such the state which commerce brings)
Sent forth their mandates to dependant kings:
Streets, where the turban'd Moslem, bearded Jew,
And woolly Afric, met the brown Hindu;
Where through each vein spontaneous plenty flowed,
Where Wealth enjoyed, and Charity bestowed.
Pensive and thoughtful shall the wanderers greet
Each splendid square, and still, untrodden street;
Or of some crumbling turret, mined by time,
The broken stair with perilous step shall climb,
Thence stretch their view the wide horizon round,       [14]
By scattered hamlets trace its antient bound,
And, choked no more with fleets, fair Thames survey
Through reeds and sedge pursue his idle way.

With throbbing bosoms shall the wanderers tread
The hallowed mansions of the silent dead,
Shall enter the long isle and vaulted dome
Where Genius and where Valour find a home;
Awe-struck, midst chill sepulchral marbles breathe,
Where all above is still, as all beneath;
Bend at each antique shrine, and frequent turn
To clasp with fond delight some sculptured urn,
The ponderous mass of Johnson's form to greet,
Or breathe the prayer at Howard's sainted feet.

Perhaps some Briton, in whose musing mind               [15]
Those ages live which Time has cast behind,
To every spot shall lead his wondering guests
On whose known site the beam of glory rests:
Here Chatham's eloquence in thunder broke,
Here Fox persuaded, or here Garrick spoke;
Shall boast how Nelson, fame and death in view,
To wonted victory led his ardent crew,
In England's name enforced, with loftiest tone[2],
Their duty,--and too well fulfilled his own:
How gallant Moore[3], as ebbing life dissolved,
_But_ hoped his country had his fame absolved.
Or call up sages whose capacious mind                   [16]
Left in its course a track of light behind;
Point where mute crowds on Davy's lips reposed,
And Nature's coyest secrets were disclosed;
Join with their Franklin, Priestley's injured name,
Whom, then, each continent shall proudly claim.

Oft shall the strangers turn their eager feet
The rich remains of antient art to greet,
The pictured walls with critic eye explore,
And Reynolds be what Raphael was before.
On spoils from every clime their eyes shall gaze,
Ægyptian granites and the Etruscan vase;
And when midst fallen London, they survey
The stone where Alexander's ashes lay,
Shall own with humbled pride the lesson just            [17]
By Time's slow finger written in the dust.

There walks a Spirit o'er the peopled earth,
Secret his progress is, unknown his birth;
Moody and viewless as the changing wind,
No force arrests his foot, no chains can bind;
Where'er he turns, the human brute awakes,
And, roused to better life, his sordid hut forsakes:
He thinks, he reasons, glows with purer fires,
Feels finer wants, and burns with new desires:
Obedient Nature follows where he leads;
The steaming marsh is changed to fruitful meads;
The beasts retire from man's asserted reign,
And prove his kingdom was not given in vain.
Then from its bed is drawn the ponderous ore,           [18]
Then Commerce pours her gifts on every shore,
Then Babel's towers and terrassed gardens rise,
And pointed obelisks invade the skies;
The prince commands, in Tyrian purple drest,
And Ægypt's virgins weave the linen vest.
Then spans the graceful arch the roaring tide,
And stricter bounds the cultured fields divide.
Then kindles Fancy, then expands the heart,
Then blow the flowers of Genius and of Art;
Saints, Heroes, Sages, who the land adorn,
Seem rather to descend than to be born;
Whilst History, midst the rolls consigned to fame,
With pen of adamant inscribes their name.

The Genius now forsakes the favoured shore,             [19]
And hates, capricious, what he loved before;
Then empires fall to dust, then arts decay,
And wasted realms enfeebled despots sway;
Even Nature's changed; without his fostering smile
Ophir no gold, no plenty yields the Nile;
The thirsty sand absorbs the useless rill,
And spotted plagues from putrid fens distill.
In desert solitudes then Tadmor sleeps,
Stern Marius then o'er fallen Carthage weeps;
Then with enthusiast love the pilgrim roves
To seek his footsteps in forsaken groves,
Explores the fractured arch, the ruined tower,
Those limbs disjointed of gigantic power;
Still at each step he dreads the adder's sting,         [20]
The Arab's javelin, or the tiger's spring;
With doubtful caution treads the echoing ground.
And asks where Troy or Babylon is found.

And now the vagrant Power no more detains
The vale of Tempe, or Ausonian plains;
Northward he throws the animating ray,
O'er Celtic nations bursts the mental day:
And, as some playful child the mirror turns,
Now here now there the moving lustre burns;
Now o'er his changeful fancy more prevail
Batavia's dykes than Arno's purple vale,
And stinted suns, and rivers bound with frost,
Than Enna's plains or Baia's viny coast;
Venice the Adriatic weds in vain,                       [21]
And Death sits brooding o'er Campania's plain;
O'er Baltic shores and through Hercynian groves,
Stirring the soul, the mighty impulse moves;
Art plies his tools, arid Commerce spreads her sail,
And wealth is wafted in each shifting gale.
The sons of Odin tread on Persian looms,
And Odin's daughters breathe distilled perfumes;
Loud minstrel Bards, in Gothic halls, rehearse
The Runic rhyme, and "build the lofty verse:"
The Muse, whose liquid notes were wont to swell
To the soft breathings of the' Æolian shell,
Submits, reluctant, to the harsher tone,
And scarce believes the altered voice her own.
And now, where Cæsar saw with proud disdain            [22]
The wattled hut and skin of azure stain,
Corinthian columns rear their graceful forms,
And light varandas brave the wintry storms,
While British tongues the fading fame prolong
Of Tully's eloquence and Maro's song.
Where once Bonduca whirled the scythed car,
And the fierce matrons raised the shriek of war,
Light forms beneath transparent muslins float,
And tutored voices swell the artful note.
Light-leaved acacias and the shady plane
And spreading cedar grace the woodland reign;
While crystal walls the tenderer plants confine,
The fragrant orange and the nectared pine;
The Syrian grape there hangs her rich festoons,         [23]
Nor asks for purer air, or brighter noons:
Science and Art urge on the useful toil,
New mould a climate and create the soil,
Subdue the rigour of the northern Bear,
O'er polar climes shed aromatic air,
On yielding Nature urge their new demands,
And ask not gifts but tribute at her hands.

London exults:--on London Art bestows
Her summer ices and her winter rose;
Gems of the East her mural crown adorn,
And Plenty at her feet pours forth her horn;
While even the exiles her just laws disclaim,
People a continent, and build a name:
August she sits, and with extended hands                [24]
Holds forth the book of life to distant lands.

But fairest flowers expand but to decay;
The worm is in thy core, thy glories pass away;
Arts, arms and wealth destroy the fruits they bring;
Commerce, like beauty, knows no second spring.
Crime walks thy streets, Fraud earns her unblest bread,
O'er want and woe thy gorgeous robe is spread,
And angel charities in vain oppose:
With grandeur's growth the mass of misery grows.
For see,--to other climes the Genius soars,
He turns from Europe's desolated shores;
And lo, even now, midst mountains wrapt in storm,
On Andes' heights he shrouds his awful form;
On Chimborazo's summits treads sublime,                 [25]
Measuring in lofty thought the march of Time;
Sudden he calls:--"'Tis now the hour!" he cries,
Spreads his broad hand, and bids the nations rise.
La Plata hears amidst her torrents' roar,
Potosi hears it, as she digs the ore:
Ardent, the Genius fans the noble strife,
And pours through feeble souls a higher life,
Shouts to the mingled tribes from sea to sea,
And swears--Thy world,  Columbus, shall be free.



[1] The Historian of the age of Leo has brought into cultivation
the extensive tract of Chatmoss.

[2] Every reader will recollect the sublime telegraphic dispatch,
"England expects every man to do his duty."

[3] "I hope England will be satisfied," were the last words of
General Moore.

Our old acquaintance Mrs. Barbauld turned satirist! The last thing we should have expected, and, now that we have seen her satire, the last thing that we could have desired.

May we (without derogating too much from that reputation of age and gravity of which critics should be so chary) confess that we are yet young enough to have had early obligations to Mrs. Barbauld; and that it really is with no disposition to retaliate on the fair pedagogue of our former life, that on the present occasion, we have called her up to correct her exercise?

But she must excuse us if we think that she has wandered from the course in which she was respectable and useful, and miserably mistaken both her powers and her duty, in exchanging the birchen for the satiric rod, and abandoning the superintendence of the ' ovilia' of the nursery, to wage war on the 'reluctantes dracones,' statesmen, and warriors, whose misdoings have aroused her indignant muse. 

We had hoped, indeed, that the empire might have been saved without the intervention of a lady-author: we even flattered ourselves that the interests of Europe and of humanity would in some degree have swayed our public councils, without the descent of (dea ex machina) Mrs. Anna Letitia Barbauld in a quarto, upon the theatre where the great European tragedy is now performing. Not such, however, is her opinion; an irresistible impulse of public duty—a confident sense of commanding talents— have induced her to dash, down her shagreen spectacles and her knitting needles, and to sally forth, hand in hand with her renowned compatriot, in the magnanimous resolution of saving a sinking state, by the instrumentality of a pamphlet in prose and a pamphlet in verse.

The poem, for so out of courtesy we shall call it, is entitled Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, we suppose, because it was written in the year 1811 ; but this is a mere conjecture, founded rather on our inability to assign any other reason for the name, than in any particular relation which the poem has to the events of the last year. We do not, we confess, very satisfactorily comprehend the meaning of all the verses which this fatidical spinster has drawn from her poetical distaff; but of what we do understand we very confidently assert that there is not a topic in ' Eighteen Hundred and Eleven' which is not quite as applicable to 1810 or 1812," and which, in our opinion, might not, with equal taste and judgment, have been curtailed, or dilated, or transposed, or omitted, without any injustice whatever to the title of the poem, and without producing the slightest discrepancy between the frontispiece and the body of the work.

The poem opens with a piece of information, which, though delivered in phraseology somewhat quaint andobscure, we are not disposed to question, namely, that this country is still at war; but it goes on to make ample amends for the flat veracity of this commonplace, by adding a statement, which startled, as much as the former assertion satisfied; our belief. Mrs. Barbauld does not fear to assert, that the year 1811 was one of extraordinary natural plenty, but that, with a most perverse taste,
'Man called to Famine, nor invoked in vain.'
We had indeed heard that some mad and mischievous partisans had ventured to charge the scarcity which unhappily exists, upon the political measures of government:—but what does Mrs. Barbauld mean? Does she seriously accuse mankind of wishing for a famine, and interceding for starvation? or does she believe that it is in the power of this country, of what remains of independent Europe, nay, of herself, to arrest the progress of war, and, careless of what Buonaparte or his millions may be about, to beckon back peace and plenty, and to diffuse happiness over the reviving world?

But let us select a specimen of her poetry, which shall be also one of her veracity, prophecy, and patriotism. It is the description of the fallen state of this poor realm.

Thy baseless wealth dissolves in air away, 
Like mists that melt before the morning ray; 
No more in crowded mart or busy street, 
Friends meeting friends with cheerful hurry greet. 
Yes, thou must droop; thy Midas dream is o'er, 
The golden tide of commerce leaves thy shore, 
Leaves thee to prove th' alternate ills that haunt 
Enfeebling luxury and ghastly want.'—p. 5. 

We do not know where Mrs. Anna Letitia now resides, though we can venture to assert that it is not on Parnassus: it must, however, be in some equally unfrequented, though less classical region; for the description just quoted is no more like the scene that is really before our eyes, than Mrs. Barbauld's satire is like her * Lessons for Children,' or her ' Hymns in Prose.'

England, in her prophetic vision, is undone; soon, it seems, 

'________to be only knownBy the gray ruin and the mouldering stone.'
while America is to go on increasing and improving in arts, in arms, and even, if that be possible, in virtue! Young Americans will cross the Atlantic to visit the sacred ruins of England, just as our young noblemen go to Greece.

'Then the ingenuous youth, whom fancy fires  
With pictured glories of illustrious sires,  
With duteous zeal their pilgrimage shall take,  
From the blue mountains or Ontario's lake'—p. 10. 

and pay sentimental visits to Cambridge and Stratford-upon-Avon. These 'ingenuous' Americans are also to come to London, which they are to find in ruins: however, being of bold and aspiring dispositions,

'They of some broken turret, mined by time,  
The broken stair with perilous step shall climb, 
Thence stretch their view the wide horizon round,  
By scatter'd hamlets trace its ancient bound,  
And choked no more with Reets, fair Thames survey  
Through reeds and sedge pursue his idle way.' 

This is a sad prospect! but while all our modern edifices are to be in such a lamentable state of dilapidation, Time is to proceed with so cautious and discriminating a step, that Melrose Abbey, which is now pretty well in ruins, is not to grow a bit older, but to continue a beautiful ruin still; this supernatural longevity is conferred upon it in honour of Mr. Scott.

But let not Mr. Scott be too proud of a distinction which h« possesses in a very humble degree, compared with him, to whom

'____________________belongThe Roman virtue and the Tuscan song.'

Which of the virtues, the (xaf sfo^tjv) Roman virtue is, Mrs, Barbauld does not condescend to inform us, nor does our acquaintance with Mr. Roscoe enable us to guess- any virtue for which he is more particularly famous: so great, however, is to be the enthusiastic reverence which the American youth are to feel for him, that, after visiting the scenes which are to remind them of General Moore, Mr. Clarkson, Lord Chatham, Doctor Davy, Mr. Garrick, and Lord Nelson, they are to pay a visit,

'Where Roscoe, to whose patriot breast belong  
The Roman virtue and the Tuscan song,  
Led Ceres to the black and barren moor,  
Where Ceres never gained a wreath before'— 

Or, in other words, (as the note kindly informs us,) to Mr. Roscoe's farm in Derbyshire, where, less we apprehend, by the Roman virtue and the Tuscan song, than by the homely process of drainage and manuring, he has brought some hundred acres of Chatmoss into cultivation. O the unequal dispensations of this poetical providence! Chatham and Nelson empty names! Oxford and Cambridge in ruins! London a desert, and the Thames a sedgy brook! while Mr. 'Roscoe's barns and piggeries are in excellent repair, and objects not only of curiosity but even of reverence and enthusiasm.

Our readers will be curious to know how these prodigies are to be operated: there is, it seems, a mysterious Spirit or Genius who is to do all this, and a great deal more, as we shall presently see; but who or what he is, or whence he comes,1 does not very clearly appear, even from the following description:

There walks a Spirit o'er the peopled earth,
Secret his progress is, unknown his birth,
Moody and viewless as the changing wind,
No force arrests his foot, no chains can bind.'—p. 17. 

This extraordinary personage is prodigiously wise and potent, but withal a little fickle, and somewhat, we think, for so wise a being, unjust and partial. He has hitherto resided in this country, and chiefly in London; Mrs. Barbauld, however, foresees that he is beginning to be tired of us, and is preparing to go out of town: on his departure that desolation is to take place in reality, which is so often metaphorically ascribed to the secession of some great leader of the ton. 

But the same Genius has far more extensive powers even than these ; the 'changes nature,' he 'absorbs the Nile,' (we had not heard of the Nile's being absorbed,) and he has of late taken it into his head to travel' northward,' among the ' Celtic nations,' with a mercantile venture of Turkey carpets, of which speculation the immediate effects are, that the ' vale of Arno' and the ' coast of Baia' are not near so pleasant as the dykes of Batavia; that the Pontine marshes have lately become extremely unwholesome, and that Venice is no longer, as she was a short time since, the mistress of the sea. (p. 20, 21.)

This wonderful person is also so condescending as to assist us in divers little offices, in which we are hardly aware of his interference; he is the real author of Dryden's Virgil and Middleton's Cicero, (p. 22,) he dresses 'light forms' in ' transparent muslins,' he 'tutors' young ladies ' to swell the artful note,' and he builds verandas to our balconies; he is, besides, an eminent nursery man, and particularly remarkable for ' acacias' and 'cedars,' and the 'chrystal walls' of his hothouses produce the best grapes and pines about London; (p. 23;) in short, there is nothing good, bad, or indifferent that this Genius does not do: but, alas! good upou England hef intends no longer to confer; our muslins, pines, acacias, and even our forte-pianos are in jeopardy;

For fairest flowers expand but to decay,
The worm is in thy core, thy glories fade away; 
Arts, arms, and wealth destroy the fruits they bring, 
Commerce, like beauty, knows no second spring;  
Crime walks the streets, fraud earns her unblest bread, 
O'er want and woe thy gorgeous robe is spread.'—p. 24. 

Upon this melancholy night, however, a bright day dawns, and all the little sense with which Mrs. Barbauld set out, now dissolves away in blissful visions of American glory. This Genius of her's which ' walks the peopled earth/ ' viewless and secret,' suddenly appears walking on the summit of Chimboraco, (which never was .nor can be peopled,) displays his 'viewless' form on the Andes, and 'secretly arouses, by loud exclamations, all the nations of the western continent.
'Ardent the Genius fans the noble strife,  
And pours through feeble souls a higher life;
Shouts to the mingled tribes from sea to sea, 
And swears—Thy world, Columbus, shall be free.'—p. 25. 

And with this oath concludes 'Eighteen Hundred and Eleven,' upon which we have already wasted too much time. One word, however, we must seriously add. Mrs. Barbauld's former works have been of some utility; her 'Lessons for Children' her ' Hymns in Prose' her 'Selections from the Spectator/ et id genus omne, though they display not much of either taste or talents, are yet something better than harmless: but we must take the liberty of warning her to desist from satire, which indeed is satire on herself alone'; and of entreating, with great earnestness, that she will not, for the sake of this ungrateful generation, put herself to the trouble of writing any more party pamphlets in verse. We also assure her, that we should not by any means impute it to want of taste or patriotism on her part, if, for her own country, her fears were less confident, and for America her hopes less ardent; and if she would leave both the victims and the heroes of her political prejudices to the respective judgment which the impartiality of posterity will not fail to pronounce


  1. I thought Wordsworth did like her poetry?

    1. I think you are right. The sentence in my post is a bit too categorical. Wordsworth did tell Henry Crabb Robinson that he wished he had written her poem `Life`. At the same time, he calls her an `Old Snake` in letters to Mary Wordsworth in May, 1812.