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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

In Praise of Laurelled Women

By John Blair Linn (1777–1804)

[Born in Shippensburg, Penn., 1777. Died in Philadelphia, Penn., 1804. The Powers of Genius. A Poem in Three Parts. Revised Edition. 1802.]

BY Fancy crowned, to every bosom known,

Amid those scenes which Truth and Nature own,

See Burney move, with her creative wand,

And bind our passions with her silken band!

Draw Evelina from her native shade,

In artless innocence and love arrayed!

Bid us to follow all her devious way,

To own and feel the impulse of her sway.

While Nature howls, and Mirth’s gay whispers die,

Her eye on fire—her soul in ecstacy!

See bolder Radcliffe take her boundless flight,

Clothed in the robes of Terror and of Night!

O’er wilds, o’er mountains, her high course extends,

Through darkened woods, and through banditti’s dens!

At length she lights within some ruined tower,

While from the turret tolls the midnight hour!

A thousand phantoms follow at her call,

And groans ascend along the mouldering wall!

Dim shadows flutter o’er the sleeping vale,

And ghostly music comes upon the gale!

A light appears—some hollow voice is near—

Chill terror starts—and every pulse is fear!

To man not only has kind Nature given

Genius, which rolls her piercing eye on Heaven,

Enchanting woman bears an equal claim,

To her unfold the golden doors of Fame.

This truth, those names which we have past declare,

Whom Fiction wafts transported through the air.


How sweet and musically flows that lay,

Which now in murmurs softly dies away;

Colonna bending o’er her husband’s bier,

Breathes those sad numbers hallowed with her tear.

With active zeal, with honest thirst of fame,

Hear Dacier vindicate her Homer’s name.

Hear Montague repel light Voltaire’s rage,

Who like a butcher mangled Shakespeare’s page.

Hear from the bosom of the pious Rowe

The tender strain and warm devotion flow.

In Wollstonecraft’s strong lines behold confest

The fatal errors of the female breast.

Behold enforced in More’s instructive page,

Lessons of virtue for this careless age.

Hear Seward weeping over André’s grave;

And call for Cook the spirit of the wave.

To Smith’s romances fairy scenes belong

And Pity loves her elegiac song.

Carter both Science and Invention own

And Genius welcomes from her watchful throne.

On Barbauld’s verse the circling muses smile,

And hail her brightest songstress of the British isle.