Anna Letitia Barbauld

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It is to hope, though hope were lost.

Anna Letitia Barbauld (June 20, 1743March 9, 1825) was an English poet and miscellaneous writer.


  • Flowers, the sole luxury which nature knew,
    In Eden's pure and guiltless garden grew—
    Gay without toil, and lovely without art,
    They spring to cheer the sense, and glad the heart.
    • Poems (1773), "To a Lady, with some painted Flowers", p. 96.
  • I read his awful name, emblazon'd high
    With golden letters on th' illumin'd sky.
    • Poems (1773), "An Address to the Deity", p. 128.
  • 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).
  • Life! we've been long together
    Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
    Tis hard to part when friends are dear,—
    Perhaps 'twill 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."
  • Come calm content serene and sweet,
    O gently guide my pilgrim feet
    To find thy hermit cell.
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 161.
  • With Thee in shady solitudes I walk,
    With Thee in busy, crowded cities talk;
    In every creature own Thy forming power,
    In each event Thy providence adore.
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 433.

The Mouse's Petition (1773)[edit]

Dedicated to Joseph Priestley - 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.
  • The well-taught philosophic mind
    To all compassion gives;
    Casts round the world an equal eye,
    And feels for all that lives.
  • If mind, as ancient sages taught,
    A never dying flame,
    Still shifts thro' matter's varying forms,
    In every form the same,

    Beware, lest in the worm you crush
    A brother's soul you find;
    And tremble lest thy luckless hand
    Dislodge a kindred mind.

  • So when unseen destruction lurks,
    Which men like mice may share,
    May some kind angel clear thy path,
    And break the hidden snare.

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)[edit]

Quotes reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • 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.
  • 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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