Anna Laetitia Barbauld was an English poet from the school of Romanticism. She is now largely forgotten, but at the time she was writing, she was one of the most famous authors of the Romantic Era. Sadly, she is now forgotten, but at the time, she was compared to Samuel Johnson and Joseph Addison. She was a professional author at a time when such women were rare.
Her reputation suffered after her time for a variety of reasons, most of which had nothing to do with her ability as an author and had more to do with politics, ego and fads.
Romanticism was a great literary movement.
The Big Six of English language romantic poetry were:
William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats.
Other great Romantic authors include:
Others included Mary Shelley, Robert Southey, John Clare, George Crabbe, Thomas Hood, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, (England); Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Edgar Allan Poe (US); Robert Burns, Walter Scott and James Macpherson (Scotland); Aleksandr Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov (Russia); Ugo Foscolo, Giacomo Leopardi (Italy); Rabindranath Tagore (India); Novalis, Friedrich Hölderlin, Heinrich Heine, Heinrich von Kleist, Clemens Brentano, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Friedrich Schelling (Germany); Adam Mickiewicz (Poland); Almeida Garrett (Portugal); Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier, Alfred de Musset, Charles Baudelaire, Alfred de Vigny, Gérard de Nerval, Stendhal, Leconte de Lisle (France); Álvares de Azevedo, Castro Alves, Gonçalves Dias (Brazil); and Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Rosalía de Castro and Jacint Verdaguer (Spain).
The following two excerpts are undated, but they were probably written around 1770-1800 (around the time of the American Revolution).
But passion’s wild, impetuous sea
Hurries me far from peace and thee
‘T were vain to struggle more.
Thus the poor sailor slumbering lies
While swelling tides around him rise
And push his bark from shore.
In vain he spreads his helpless arms
His pitying friends with fond alarms
In vain deplore his state
Still far and farther from the coast
On the high surge his bark is tost
And foundering yields to fate.
As near a weeping spring reclined
The beauteous Araminta pined
And mourned a false, ungrateful youth
While dying echoes caught the sound
And spread the soft complaints around
Of broken vows and altered truth
An aged shepherd heard her moan
And thus in pity’s kindest tone
Addressed the lost, despairing maid:
“Cease, cease, unhappy fair, to grieve
For sounds, though sweet, can ne’er relieve
A breaking heart by love betrayed.
Why shouldst thou waste such precious showers
That fall like dew on withered flowers
But dying passion ne’er restored?
In Beauty’s empire is no mean,
And woman, either slave or queen,
Is quickly scorned when not adored.
Those liquid pearls from either eye
Which might an Eastern empire buy
Unvalued here and fruitless fall
No art the season can renew
When love was young and Damon true
No tears a wandering heart recall.”
Cease, cease to grieve
thy tears are vain
Should those fair orbs in drops of rain
Vie with a weeping southern sky:
For hearts o’ercome with love and grief
All nature yields but one relief
Die, hapless Arami…