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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Jean Ingelow

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O fair dove! O fond dove!
Till night rose over the bourne,
The dove on the mast as we sailed past,
Did mourn, and mourn, and mourn."

Edmund Clarence Stedman, one of the ablest and fairest among American critics, says: "As the voice of Mrs. Browning grew silent, the songs of Miss Ingelow began, and had instant and merited popularity. They sprang up suddenly and tunefully as skylarks from the daisy-spangled, hawthorn-bordered meadows of old England, with a blitheness long unknown, and in their idyllic underflights moved with the tenderest currents of human life. Miss Ingelow may be termed an idyllic lyrist, her lyrical pieces having always much idyllic beauty. High Tide, Winstanley, Songs of Seven, and the Long White Seam are lyrical treasures, and the author especially may be said to evince that sincerity which is poetry's most enduring warrant."

Winstanley is especially full of pathos and action. We watch this heroic man as he builds the lighthouse on the Eddystone rocks:--

"Then he and the sea began their strife,
And worked with power and might:
Whatever the man reared up by day
The sea broke down by night.

* * * * *

"A Scottish schooner made the port
The thirteenth day at e'en:
'As I am a man,' the captain cried,
'A strange sight I have seen;

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"'And a strange sound heard, my masters all,
At sea, in the fog and the rain,
Like shipwrights' hammers tapping low,
Then loud, then low again.

"'And a stately house one instant showed,
Through a rift, on the vessel's lea;
What manner of creatures may be those
That build upon the sea?'"

After the lighthouse was built, Winstanley went out again to see his precious tower. A fearful storm came up, and the tower and its builder went down together.

Several books have come from Miss Ingelow's pen since 1863. The following year, Studies for Stories was published, of which the Athenaeum said, "They are prose poems, carefully meditated, and exquisitely touched in by a teacher ready to sympathize with every joy and sorrow." The five stories are told in simple and clear language, and without slang, to which she heartily objects. For one so rich in imagination as Miss Ingelow, her prose is singularly free from obscurity and florid language.

Stories told to a Child was published in 1865, and A Story of Doom, and Other Poems, in 1868, the principal poem being drawn from the time of the Deluge. Mopsa the Fairy, an exquisite story, followed a year later, with A Sister's Bye-hours, and since that time, Off the Skelligs in 1872, Fated to be Free in 1875, Sarah de Berenger in 1879, Don John in 1881, and Poems of the Old Days and the New, recently issued. Of the latter, the poet Stoddard says: "Beyond all the women of the Victorian era, she is the most of an Elizabethan.... She has tracked the ocean journeyings of Drake, Raleigh, and Frobisher, and others to whom the Spanish main was a second home, the El Dorado of which Columbus and his followers dreamed in their stormy slumbers.... The first of her poems in this volume, Rosamund, is a masterly battle idyl."

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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