Anna Letitia Barbauld

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Will power is to the mind like a strong blind man who carries on his shoulders a lame man who can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer
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Anna Letitia Barbauld (June 20, 1743March 9, 1825) was an English poet and miscellaneous writer.


  • Child of mortality, whence comest thou? Why is thy countenance sad, and why are thine eyes red with weeping?
    • Hymns in Prose for Children, Hymn 10 (1781).

The Mouse's Petition (1776)

Full text at Wikisource
  • OH! hear a pensive captive's prayer,
    For liberty that sighs ;
    And never let thine heart be shut
    Against the prisoner's cries.
  • If e'er thy breast with freedom glow'd,
    And spurn'd a tyrant's chain,
    Let not thy strong oppressive force
    A free-born mouse detain.
  • The chearful light, the vital air,
    Are blessings widely given ;
    Let nature's commoners enjoy
    The common gifts of heaven.


  • Man is the nobler growth our realms supply,
    And souls are ripened in our northern sky.
    • The Invitation.
  • This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
    And Wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
    • A Summer's Evening Meditation.
  • It is to hope, though hope were lost.
    • Come here, Fond Youth. Compare: "Who against hope believed in hope", Romans iv, 18; "Hope against hope, and ask till ye receive", James Montgomery, The World before the Flood.
  • Life! we've been long together
    Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
    'T is hard to part when friends are dear,—
    Perhaps 't will cost a sigh, a tear;
    Then steal away, give little warning,
    Choose thine own time;
    Say not "Good night," but in some brighter clime
    Bid me "Good morning."
    • Life.
  • So fades a summer cloud away;
    So sinks the gale when storms are o’er;
    So gently shuts the eye of day;
    So dies a wave along the shore.
    • The Death of the Virtuous. Compare: "The daisie, or els the eye of the day", Geoffrey Chaucer, Prologue of the Legend of Good Women, line 183.

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