Happy world poetry day: “To Mrs Eliza Haywood”

I’ve been looking at the poetry both by Eliza Haywood and about her that is  featured in Miscellaneous Poems and Translations. By Several Hands. Publish’d by Richard Savage, Son of the Late Earl Rivers (1726).  My next chapter will feature representations of Eliza Haywood as an author featured in paratextual material, and commendatory poetry like this makes a great case for showcasing how others helped form (or tried to change) a particular image of Haywood’s authorship.  Here’s a poem by Richard Savage about Haywood’s amatory novel entitled The Rash Resolve, which was published in 1723:


“Doom’d to a Fate, which Damps the Poets Flame”–“Fate” here refers, I think, to the negative attention that Haywood’s salacious novels would have garnered; dampening, as Savage suggests, Haywood’s poetic “flame,” or natural talent.


Continuing to elevate Haywood’s status as prose writer, Savage commends her ability to apply a certain realism in sketching her characters and scenes: “in thy full Figures, Painting’s Force we find/ As Music fires, Thy Language lifts the Mind.”  Savage is clearly making a case for the value of Haywood’s writing.


Savage then pairs his value judgement with diction that directly reflects Haywood’s reputation as Arbitress of Passion: words such as “yields,” “luxuriant,” “warm,” “heat,” “passion,” “sway,” “transport,” “rage,” and “pain” are all common amatory terminology and would have been very familiar to readers.


“Can love from love retire?” I.e., can Eliza write anything else? The image of the female author at the end is especially interesting to me.  The writer (presumably female?) is sitting in a garden setting, with a cock to her left, and a lamp on her right.  I’ll let you guys unpack that symbolism.

The images are from Eighteenth Century Collections online.  The full citation is as follows:

Miscellaneous poems and translations. By several hands. Publish’d by Richard Savage, Son of the late Earl Rivers. London,  MDCCXXVI. [1726]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. Simon Fraser University. 21 Mar. 2013

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