Archive for the ‘Griffitts, Hannah’ Category

“Leave me to enjoy the sweet Freedom I love”

I wish I had kept a commonplace book. I could never muster enough discipline or time to do so although there are bits and pieces of things I found interesting—from magazine articles to photos, from odd words to poems, from recipes to DYI columns—scattered here and there in physical notes or on my computer. MILCAH MARTHA MOORE (1740-1829), however, did keep a commonplace book: copying poems she found interesting, letters from friends, items from newspapers and passages from books, usually for her own pleasure, but often with the intention of sharing them with friends or relatives in the Philadelphia area. Poems she copied were frequently by women who had not been able to publish them but who were able to achieve some recognition by having them circulated among women friends.

What follows is a poem titled “To Sophronia” by HANNAH GRIFFITTS (1727-1817), Moore’s second cousin, signing herself “Fidelia.” The name “Sophronia” was often used to refer to an unmarried woman so the title is apt for this poem praising the single life.

I’ve neither Reserve or aversion to Man,
(I assure you Sophronia in jingle)
But to keep my dear Liberty, long as I can,
Is the Reason I chuse to live single,
My Sense, or the Want of it—free you may jest
And censure, dispise, or impeach,
But the Happiness center’d within my own Breast,
Is luckily out of yr. reach.
The Men, (as a Friend) I prefer, I esteem,
And love them as well as I ought
But to fix all my Happiness, solely in Him
Was never my Wish or my Thought,
The cowardly Nymph, you so often reprove,
Is not frighted by Giants* like these,
Leave me to enjoy the sweet Freedom I love
And go marry—as soon as you please.

Fidelia

[Marginal note:]
* The satyrical Sneers thrown on the single Life.—

Illustration: Anonymous manuscript, mid seventeenth century, containing poems by various authors, in various hands. Includes Shakespeare’s second sonnet. James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, found HERE. The poem appears in Milcah Martha Moore’s Book: A Commonplace Book from Revolutionary America edited by Catherine La Courreye Blecki and Karen A. Wulf (University Park, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 1997), pp 173-74.

posted July 23rd, 2018 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Griffitts, Hannah,Moore, Milcah Martha,Philadelphia,Poetry,Primary sources

“the female Patriots”

April is National Poetry Month. In keeping with this observance this blog will feature several poems from In the Words of Women during the month of April. Philadelphia Quaker Hannah Griffitts was a prolific writer of letters and poetry. Involved in the religious and political concerns of her day, she was in favor of moderation and condemned extremism. She did not wish to publish her poems; she usually signed them with a pseudonym and shared them with friends and family. Her cousin, Milcah Martha Moore, copied this one in her Commonplace Book.

The female Patriots
Address’d to the Daughters of Liberty in America, 1768

Since the Men from a Party, on fear of a Frown,
Are kept by a Sugar-Plumb, quietly down,
Supinely asleep, and depriv’d of their Sight
Are strip’d of their Freedom, and rob’d of their Right.
If the Sons (so degenerate) the Blessings despise,
Let the Daughters of Liberty, nobly arise,
And tho’ we’ve no Voice, but a negative here,
The use of the Taxables, let us forbear,
(Then Merchants import till yr. Stores are all full
May the Buyers be few and yr. Traffick be dull.)
Stand firmly resolved and bid Grenville* to see
That rather than Freedom, we’ll part with our Tea
And well as we love the dear Draught when adry,
As American Patriots,—our Taste we deny,
Sylvania’s, gay Meadows, can richly afford
To pamper our Fancy, or furnish our Board,
And Paper sufficient (at home) still we have,
To assure the Wise-acre, we will not sign Slave.
When this Homespun shall fail, to remonstrate our Grief
We can speak with the Tongue or scratch on a Leaf
Refuse all their Colours, the richest of Dye,
The juice of a Berry—our Paint can supply,
To humour our Fancy—and as for our Houses,
They’ll do without painting as well as our Spouses,
While to keep out the Cold of a keen winter Morn
We can screen the Northwest, with a well polish’d Horn**.
And trust Me a Woman by honest Invention,
Might give this State Doctor a Dose of Prevention.
Join mutual in this, and but small as it seems
We may jostle a Grenville and puzzle his Schemes
But a motive more worthy our patriot Pen,
Thus acting—we point out their Duty to Men,
And should the bound Pensioners, tell us to hush
We can throw back the Satire by biding them blush.

* George Grenville, British Prime Minister, whose best known policy was the Stamp Act.
** Horn was a substitute for glass and was used in windows. It was made by boiling the horns of cattle to make them flexible, then pressing them into transparent sheets.

The poem appears on pages 6-7 of In the Words of Women.

posted April 1st, 2013 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Griffitts, Hannah,Moore, Milcah Martha,Patriots,Resistance to British

   Copyright © 2018 In the Words of Women.