Hannah More, 1745-1833: this lady had a flowing, agreeable style, but produced no great work. She wrote for her age and pleased it; but posterity disregards what she has written. Her principal plays are: Percy, presented in 1777, and a tragedy entitled The Fatal Falsehood. She was a poet and a novelist also; but in neither part did she rise above mediocrity. In 1782 appeared her volume of Sacred Dramas. Her best novel is entitled Caelebs in Search of a Wife, comprehending Observations on Domestic Habits and Manners, Religion and Morals. Her greatest merit is that she always inculcated pure morals and religion, and thus aided in improving the society of her age. Something of her fame is also due to the rare appearance, up to this time, of women in the fields of literature; so that her merits are indulgently exaggerated.
Joanna Baillie, 1762-1851: this lady, the daughter of a Presbyterian divine, wrote graceful verses, but is principally known by her numerous plays. Among these, which include thirteen Plays on the Passions, and thirteen Miscellaneous Plays, those best known are De Montfort and Basil—both tragedies, which have received high praise from Sir Walter Scott. Her Ballads and Metrical Legends are all spirited and excellent; and her Hymns breathe the very spirit of devotion. Very popular during her life, and still highly estimated by literary critics, her works have given place to newer and more favorite authors, and have already lost interest with the great world of readers.
OTHER WRITERS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS.
Thomas Warton, 1728-1790: he was Professor of Poetry and of Ancient History at Oxford, and, for the last five years of his life, poet-laureate. The student of English Literature is greatly indebted to him for his History of English Poetry, which he brings down to the early part of the seventeenth century. No one before him had attempted such a task; and, although his work is rather a rare mass of valuable materials than a well articulated history, it is of great value for its collected facts, and for its suggestions as to where the scholar may pursue his studies farther.
Joseph Warton, 1722-1800: a brother of Thomas Warton; he published translations and essays and poems. Among the translations was that of the Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil, which is valued for its exactness and perspicuity.
Frances Burney, (Madame D’Arblay,) 1752-1840: the daughter of Dr. Burney, a musical composer. While yet a young girl, she astonished herself and the world by her novel of Evelina, which at once took rank among the standard fictions of the day. It is in the style of Richardson, but more truthful in the delineation of existing manners, and in the expression of sentiment. She afterwards published Cecilia and several other tales,