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Poem of the week: The Epistle of Deborah Dough by Mary Leapor

An Epistle to a Lady

❶With the fourth stanza the tone shifts.

Completely anonymous

Reading Assignment:
Essay on Woman by Mary Leapor

United States of America: Nelson Education Ltd, An Epistle to a Lady. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century.

Joseph Black et al. February 23, 4: The works of these two women deliver a stark contrast to what was the common representation or should we say, mis representation of the peasantry or laboring-class in eighteenth and nineteenth-century art, including pastoral poetry and visual artistry.

In the works of Collier and Leapor, first-hand accounts of the life of not only a rural laborer, but a female rural laborer, it is no surprise that such depictions were critiqued as not only absurdly hyperbolic, but terribly misleading. Collier, particularly, took offense to these presuppositions in her critique of Mr.

Once can probably be sure, however, that Holman Hunt was not the first to draw a peasant-lady on her rump, and if that is the case, it is no wonder where Duck saw many babes-a-bathing, or at least many babes a grazing, gazing, and lazing-around. This is the most disheartening of all losses. These images of idyllic, pastoral life encompassing the day-dreaming peasant maid are precisely the images of which Collier laments there is just no time.

Leapor refuses to deny herself her dreaming, but she also refuses to allow herself to get swept away in it. Dreaming is a necessity, but it should not stop a woman from living and carrying on. What Leapor delivers to her readers in her two poems is a balance of the real and the recreational, of what a peasant maiden can create and what she can do with what is already created before it. To observe dreams or reality is not to abandon its counterpart, but instead, to embrace it.

February 22, If poetry is understood as a place of escape it may contain secrets. Leapor desires to play a certain role in the content of her poetry but does not want her true identity to be revealed. Leapor can therefore live vicariously through Mira. Ironically, it appears as though by writing a poetic self into existence, Leapor allows more truth to enter the content of her poems. In fact, Leapor is able to find comfort in her poetry by turning her woes into something pleasurable and creative, producing a piece of work that is new and exciting.

She is able to describe her hatred of washing day, along with all the domestic chores she is expected to complete, while also finding comfort in the rhyme she is able to create. Her poem concludes in a positive light, noting that: As the achievement of a poet who was both a woman and member of the working class, her writing stands outside the traditional canon of eighteenth-century literature and offers readers a new perspective on British life and ideas during the Augustan age.

Some of the major concerns evident in Leapor's poetry are the injustices suffered by women and the poor, marriage and domestic life, friendship among women, standards of beauty, and male violence and paternalism. Leapor's poetry was briefly renowned in the years following her death, but she remained an obscure literary figure outside her native Northamptonshire until her rediscovery by feminist critics during the late twentieth century. Leapor was born in Marston St. Lawrence, Northamptonshire, to working-class parents.

The facts of her life are not well known, but she most likely attended the Free School in nearby Brackley, where she lived most of her life. At some point in her adolescence, Leapor became a kitchen maid.

Her first employer, Susanna Jennens, was a woman with an interest in literature who encouraged Leapor's verse writing and is thought to have critiqued her work.

After leaving Jennen's employ, Leapor may have worked for several other households. After being dismissed by her last employer in , possibly because of her practice of writing poetry when she was supposed to be doing housework, Leapor returned to Brackley to keep house for her father.

She may have enjoyed some local celebrity as her plays and poems were circulated in manuscript around Brackely. Around this time, Leapor became friends with Bridget Freemantle, an educated and unmarried woman of some means who lived in nearby Hinton.

Freemantle actively promoted Leapor's writing and attempted to have her play The Unhappy Father produced. While Leapor's poems display a wide range of subjects, they consistently reflect her working-class background and the region of England where she was born and lived her entire life. Another recurring figure in Leapor's poems is that of Artemisa, who apparently represents a friend belonging to a higher social class, presumably Bridget Freemantle.

A number of Leapor's poems show the influence of Alexander Pope, particularly those works that satirize Pope's condescending attitude toward women.

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Leapor, Mary. An Epistle to a Lady. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Joseph Black et al. 2 nd .

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An Epistle To A Lady by Mary vain dear Madam yes in vain you strive Alas to make your luckless Mira thrive For Tycho and Copernicus agree No golden Planet bent its Rays on me.. Page.

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Mary Leapor () An Epistle to a Lady. 1 In vain, dear Madam, yes in vain you strive; 2 Alas! to make your luckless Mira thrive, 3 For Tycho and Copernicus agree, 4 No golden Planet bent its Rays on me. 5 'Tis twenty Winters, if. Mary Leapor was christened on 26 Feb at Marston St Lawrence. Her father, Phillip Leapor, was a Brackley man, who was a gardener employed by Sir John Blencowe until Her mother was Anne Sharman from Weston by Weedon.

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