Helen Maria Williams

(1761 - 15 December 1827 / England)

Helen Maria Williams
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Helen Maria Williams was a British novelist, poet, and translator of French-language works. A religious dissenter, she was a supporter of abolitionism and of the ideals of the French Revolution; she was imprisoned in Paris during the Reign of Terror, but nonetheless spent much of the rest of her life in France.

A controversial figure in her own time, the young Williams was favorably portrayed in a 1787 poem by William Wordsworth, but (especially at the height of the French Revolution) she was portrayed by other writers as irresponsibly politically radical and even as sexually wanton.

Life

She was born to a Scottish mother, Helen Hay, and a Welsh army officer ... more »

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Best Poem of Helen Maria Williams

The Bastille: A Vision

I.

"Drear cell! along whose lonely bounds,
Unvisited by light,
Chill silence dwells with night,
Save where the clanging fetter sounds!
Abyss, where mercy never came,
Nor hope the wretch can find;
Where long inaction wastes the frame,
And half annihilates the mind!


II.

"Stretch'd helpless in this living tomb,
O haste, congenial death!
Seize, seize this ling'ring breath,
And shroud me in unconscious gloom.
BRITAIN ! thy exil'd son no more
Thy blissful vales shall see--
Why did I leave thy hallow'd shore,
Ah, land ador'd, where ...

Read the full of The Bastille: A Vision

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