Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2017

Quaker Alphabet Blog 2015-2017 - V for Verses

As I said in a much earlier post, Friends in the past have felt ambivalent about both reading and writing poetry. Some, like Mary Southworth Mollineux, did write in this form but only on serious subjects and they hesitated to publish their work widely or under their own name.

In the 18th century poetry was often copied by Friends into commonplace books for their own use. This might be written by Quakers but works such as James Thomson's The Seasons were also popular. As the century progressed a few Friends ventured into the public domain with their poetry. In 1794 Catherine Payton Phillips published The Happy King; a sacred poem which was addressed to George III. The main subject of the poem is to urge the monarch to do away with slavery and was part of mainstream Quaker campaigning at this time. In her Memoirs Catherine states that when she became a minister she stopped any reading other than the Bible, but perhaps towards the end of her life she allowed herself more latitude, as …