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Wallis, Hannah

Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405156691.2011.x


Wallis, Hannah (active 1787), poet, known only from a single volume, The Female's Meditations; or, Common Occurrences Spiritualized, in Verse , which was printed at her own expense in 1787. She was then evidently living in London. The book contains some 85 short poems, mostly in simple ballad or lyric meters. A verse preface disclaims any benefit from education. It might be deduced from the contents that she grew up in Essex, that she had lost most of her family by 1787, and that she was unmarried. Among the poems are a prayer of thanksgiving for the preservation in 1786 of George III from his would-be assassin, Margaret Nicholson (1750?–1828); pieces on courtship, marriage, and death; several pieces located precisely in Bond Street or St. James's Park; and others lamenting vices such as alcohol, profane swearing, and wife-beating. Some describe journeys in the countryside. Virtually all the poems “spiritualize” their subjects by an automatic recourse to God's love and wisdom: thus “On the Balloon being steer'd by Eagles, which was to have gone off from Ranelagh-Gardens” contrasts the hazards of ballooning with the safety of God's support. The volume was dismissed as “Methodist” in tendency by The *Monthly Review in March 1789. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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