Leapor, Mary

Leapor, Mary
   Born in Northamptonshire, the daughter of a gardener, she was a cook-maid of little education who taught herself to read the works of John Dryden and Alexander Pope and imitated Pope in her poems. Her poetry came to the attention of Bridget Freemantle, a member of the local gentry who encouraged Leapor to publish her work, but she died of measles before the arrangements were completed. Poems on Several Occasions, edited by Isaac Hawkins Browne, was published in two volumes. The first, in 1748, includes "Essay on Friendship" and "Essay on Hope." The second, in 1751, includes a tragedy in blank verse, The Unhappy Father. A selection from her poems appears in Mrs. Barber's Poems by Eminent Ladies, 1755. "Leapor is one of many gifted poets, mainly women and laborers, whose work stands outside the traditional canon of eighteenthcentury verse" (from the jacket of Richard Greene and Ann Messenger's book [see below]). Some of her poems: "Crumble-Hall," "Epistle to Artemisia," "Mira's Picture, a Pastoral," "Silvia and the Bee," "Strephon to Celia: A Modern Love Letter," "The Epistle of Deborah Dough."
   Sources: A Treasury of Minor British Poetry. J. Churton Collins, ed. Edward Arnold, 1896. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Eighteenth Century Women Poets: An Oxford Antholog y. Roger Lonsdale, ed. Oxford University Press, 1989. For the full works of Mary Leapor see (http://www.orgs.muohio.edu/womenpoets/leapor/). Poems by Eminent Ladies, Particularly Mrs. Barber, Mrs. Behn, Miss Carter. George Colman and Bonnell Thornton, eds. 2 vols. R. Baldwin, 1755. Selected Bibliography: Mary Leapor (17221746) by Laura Mandell, Miami University of Ohio (http://www.c18.rutgers.edu/biblio/leapor.html). Poetry by English Women: Elizabethan to Victorian, R.E. Pritchard, ed. Continuum, 1990. Poets' Corner, Mary Leapor (http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/poem-kl.html). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Works of Mary Leapor, Richard Greene and Ann Messenger, eds. Oxford University Press, 2003.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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