Susanna Blamire

Susanna Blamire
Other names
Muse of Cumberland and the Poet of Friendship
Birth and death
1747 - 1794
Profession details
Related place
Alistair Grant

Susanna Blamire, (1747-1794), poet, known as the Muse of Cumberland and the Poet of Friendship. While visiting a relative Blamire attracted the attention of Charles Bennet, Lord Ossulston (1743-1822). Although Ossulston's father, the 3rd earl of Tankerville, initially encouraged her to write her poems in Cumberland dialect, he eventually thwarted Blamire and Ossulston's love affair in 1767, sending Ossulston away to prevent their marriage. The lovers it seems had an angry confrontation some 12 years later, when Susanna and Lord Ossulston (now the 4th earl of Tankerville and married), which Blamire allegoried in her poem 'Hope', a paean to the picturesque, set at Painshill Park. Their later meeting probably occurred at Painshill, which is close to the earl's house at Walton-on-Thames. Little of Blamire's verse was published during her lifetime. But the great Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid did much to establish her critical reputation, claiming her lyric genius bridged the gulf between Scotland and England. Blamire is now credited as a precursor to the Romantic view expounded by Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Walter Scott. In the 1980s and 90s there was a renewed critical interest in her work, and her collected poems appeared in 1994. A biography, 'A Passionate Poet: Susanna Blamire, 1747-94' by Christopher Maycock, was published in 2003.

'See, from yonder hill descending,
Hope, with all her train attending!
...Fancies light that tread on air,
Building fairy castles there;
...With rose-ting'd cheeks and clear blue eye
Looking though another sky,
Till we reach th' enamell'd lawn
Round which a river journeys on,
Where many a bridge is taught to please
Gothic eyes, or gay Chinese,
Thrown in every point of view
Arch can add a beauty to
...And though thy promises deceive,
Bless my kind stars that I believe;
Thy cranks and wiles who would not see!
For happy they who doubt not thee.'

(Extract from 'Hope' by Susanna Blamire)

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