Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), "The Lover: A Ballad"

  1. What are the poem's form and meter? Are they appropriate for its subject?
  2. In particular, why might the poet have chosen the form of a ballad?
  3. Why has the speaker decided to take a lover? Is she motivated by moral scruples, passivity, or by other factors?
  4. What are some traits of her ideal male paartner? (sts. 2-4) Which modes of behavior does she dislike in men? (st. 6) How does the final allusion to Ovid's Metamorphoses provide closure?
  5. To what literary conventions does this poem appeal? What conventions does it defy?

Montagu, "Epistle from Mrs. Yonge to Her Husband"

  1. What fate was suffered by the historical Mrs. Yonge? Why do you think Montagu chose this topic as her subject?
  2. Why do you think the author wrote the poem as a dramatic monologue? Do you think this was a wise choice for this subject?
  3. Is the poem divided into subsections? What are some features of its language?
  4. What is the speaker's most general complaint about the effect of marriage laws on women? What evidence does she give for the existenceof a double standard?
  5. How does the speaker explain her own situation and behavior? What are some unusual uses of language to convey her point?
  6. What is the tone of the ending? Does it provide an effective concluson?
  7. Do you think the speaker's anger and sarcasm alienate readers or evoke their sympathy?
  8. How might potential eighteenth-century readers have responded differently from a modern audience?
  9. What are some reasons the poem may have lain unpublished from 1724 to 1972?


Jean Elliot (1727-1805), "The Flowers of the Forest"

  1. What is Elliot's nationality? What historic battle does the poem lament? Who are the "flowers of the forest"?
  2. Is this indirect means of describing the effects of battle effective?
  3. What is the poem's rhythm? What kinds of descriptions are used to convey desolation? What effects of language heighten the sense of sorrow?
  4. What does the poem seem to imply about Scottish-English relations?
  5. Set to music, this has been a popular song since first written; what features have made it suitable for a musical setting?


Hannah More (1745-1833), from "The Slave Trade"

  1. Is the poem's date of composition significant? What politcal reform might the poem have been intended to support?
  2. What is the immediate literary inspiration for the speaker's poem? What makes the story of Oronoko important?
  3. To what principles does More appeal in addressing the issue of human slavery?
  4. Are there any aspects of her defense of liberty which might be modified today?
  5. What are the poem's meter and stanza form? Do these assist in conveying her argument?
  6. What final injustices does the author deplore in the poem's conclusion? What is her own relation to these injustices?
  7. How is her last example chosen to appeal to her audience? How might her readers have attempted to stop the slave trade?
  8. To what extent is this an effective poem on its topic? To what audience might it have appealed?