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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Jean Ingelow

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To another friend she writes: "I suppose I may take for granted that mine was the poetic temperament, and since there are no thrilling incidents to relate, you may think you should like to have my views as to what that means. I cannot tell you in an hour, or even in a day, for it means so much. I suppose it, of its absence or presence, to make far more difference between one person and another than any contrast of circumstances can do. The possessor does not have it for nothing. It isolates, particularly in childhood; it takes away some common blessings, but then it consoles for them all."

With this poetic temperament, that saw beauty in flower, and sky, and bird, that felt keenly all the sorrow and all the happiness of the world about her, that wrote of life rather than art, because to live rightly was the whole problem of human existence, with this poetic temperament, the girl grew to womanhood in the city bordering on the sea.

Boston, at the mouth of the Witham, was once a famous seaport, the rival of London in commercial prosperity, in the thirteenth century. It was the site of the famous monastery of St. Botolph, built by a pious monk in 657. The town which grew up around it was called Botolph's town, contracted finally to Boston. From this town Reverend John Cotton came to America, and gave the name to the capital of Massachusetts, in which he settled. The present famous old church of St. Botolph was founded in 1309, having a bell-tower three hundred feet high, which supports a lantern visible at sea for forty miles.

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The surrounding country is made up largely of marshes reclaimed from the sea, which are called fens, and slightly elevated tracts of land called moors. Here Jean Ingelow studied the green meadows and the ever-changing ocean.

Her first book, A Rhyming Chronicle of Incidents and Feelings, was published in 1850, when she was twenty, and a novel, Allerton and Dreux, in 1851; nine years later her Tales of Orris. But her fame came at thirty-three, when her first full book of Poems was published in 1863. This was dedicated to a much loved brother, George K. Ingelow:--


The press everywhere gave flattering notices. A new singer had come; not one whose life had been spent in the study of Greek roots, simply, but one who had studied nature and humanity. She had a message to give the world, and she gave it well. It was a message of good cheer, of earnest purpose, of contentment and hope.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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