A Celebration of Women Writers

"To Mr. Barbauld, November 14, 1778." by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743 - 1825)

First Publication: The Works of Anna Lætitia Barbauld, with a Memoir by Lucy Aikin. London: Longman, 1825. I:134-36.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

To Mr. Barbauld, November 14, 1778

     Come, clear thy studious looks awhile,
       'Tis arrant treason now
       To wear that moping brow,
     When I, thy empress, bid thee smile.

       What though the fading year
       One wreath will not afford
       To grace the poet's hair,
       Or deck the festal board;

     A thousand pretty ways we'll find
     To mock old Winter's starving reign;
     We'll bid the violets spring again,
     Bid rich poetic roses blow,
     Peeping above his heaps of snow;
     We'll dress his withered cheeks in flowers,
       And on his smooth bald head
       Fantastic garlands bind;
       Garlands, which we will get
   From the gay blooms of that immortal year,
     Above the turning seasons set,
Where young ideas shoot in Fancy's sunny bowers.

     A thousand pleasant arts we'll have
   To add new feathers to the wings of Time,
     And make him smoothly haste away:
       We'll use him as our slave,
     And when we please we'll bid him stay,
   And clip his wings, and make him stop to view
     Our studies, and our follies too;
How sweet our follies are, how high our fancies climb.

     We'll little care what others do,
     And where they go, and what they say;
     Our bliss, all inward and our own,
   Would only tarnished be, by being shown.
     That talking restless world shall see,
     Spite of the world we'll happy be;
       But none shall know
       How much we're so,
     Save only Love, and we.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom