Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), "The Lover: A Ballad"
- What are the poem's form and meter? Are they appropriate for its subject?
- In particular, why might the poet have chosen the form of a ballad?
- Why has the speaker decided to take a lover? Is she motivated by moral scruples, passivity, or by other factors?
- 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?
- To what literary conventions does this poem appeal? What conventions does it defy?
Montagu, "Epistle from Mrs. Yonge to Her Husband"
- What fate was suffered by the historical Mrs. Yonge? Why do you think Montagu chose this topic as her subject?
- Why do you think the author wrote the poem as a dramatic monologue? Do you think this was a wise choice for this subject?
- Is the poem divided into subsections? What are some features of its language?
- 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?
- How does the speaker explain her own situation and behavior? What are some unusual uses of language to convey her point?
- What is the tone of the ending? Does it provide an effective concluson?
- Do you think the speaker's anger and sarcasm alienate readers or evoke their sympathy?
- How might potential eighteenth-century readers have responded differently from a modern audience?
- What are some reasons the poem may have lain unpublished from 1724 to 1972?
Jean Elliot (1727-1805), "The Flowers of the Forest"
- What is Elliot's nationality? What historic battle does the poem lament? Who are the "flowers of the forest"?
- Is this indirect means of describing the effects of battle effective?
- What is the poem's rhythm? What kinds of descriptions are used to convey desolation? What effects of language heighten the sense of sorrow?
- What does the poem seem to imply about Scottish-English relations?
- 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"
- Is the poem's date of composition significant? What politcal reform might the poem have been intended to support?
- What is the immediate literary inspiration for the speaker's poem? What makes the story of Oronoko important?
- To what principles does More appeal in addressing the issue of human slavery?
- Are there any aspects of her defense of liberty which might be modified today?
- What are the poem's meter and stanza form? Do these assist in conveying her argument?
- What final injustices does the author deplore in the poem's conclusion? What is her own relation to these injustices?
- How is her last example chosen to appeal to her audience? How might her readers have attempted to stop the slave trade?
- To what extent is this an effective poem on its topic? To what audience might it have appealed?