Happy World Poetry Day!

To celebrate, I’m sharing some lines from Hannah More’s 1786 text The Bas Bleu: or, Conversation, which I go back to over and over again in my research. In it, More celebrates conversation as central to friendship, curiosity and female knowledge, specifically the Bluestocking Circle.

So, not only good for World Poetry Day, but Women’s History Month too!⁠

“Enlighten’d spirits! you, who know⁠
What charms from polish’d converse flow⁠
Speak, for you can, the pure delight⁠
When kindred sympathies unite;⁠
When correspondent tastes impart⁠
Communion sweet from heart to heart”⁠

Plus, it was a great excuse to share this silhouette of Hannah More, which I love. It was by Augustin Edouart in 1827. (Courtesy NPG London, NPG 4501).⁠

You can find The Bas Bleu here if you’d like to read more.


  1. Thanks for posting this snippet of verse, perfect for this time of social distancing and, for some, self-isolating. I really should should, as an ex-Bristolian, find out more about Hannah More who was born and died here and after whom the city’s teachers centre was named. I do know that she held very contradictory views on class and education and that not all of her reforming ideas would be acceptable today. Still, an interesting figure, from what little I gleaned when I lived in Bristol.

  2. Reforming or otherwise, how many opinions are acceptable to later generations ?

    Living in Bristol for years, first as a postgrad student, then working in a uni department, I too should have learned more about Hannah More, not just for her campaigning against the slave trade .

    Recently, I found a fascinating Jane Austen post, on Jane Austen,Hannah More, Mary Crawford and Jane Fairfax. https://janeausten.co.uk › Jane Austen’s Work

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