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Selected Poetry of Mary Howitt (1799-1888)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Image of Mary Howitt

Index to poems

We were a race of mighty things;
The world was all our own.
I dwelt with the Mammoth large and strong,
And the giant Mastodon.
        (The Fossil Elephant)
  1. The Fossil Elephant
  2. The Sparrow's Nest
  3. The Spider and the Fly
  4. The Wood-mouse


Notes on Life and Works

Mary Botham, born at Coleford, Gloucestershire, was daughter of Samuel Botham, a Quaker, and in 1821 married William Howitt. They turned to joint-authoring for a living and made a success of their many interests. She wrote novels such as Wood Leighton, a history of the United States, and many poems and stories for children; and she translated both the Swedish novels of Frederica Bremer and Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales (as Wonderful Stories for Children). They lived abroad at Heidelberg and Rome, where she died in 1888, having converted from Quakerism and spiritualism to Roman Catholicism in 1882. Her daughter Margaret edited the Autobiography of her mother (London: W. Isbister, 1889; PR 4809 H2Z52 Robarts Library). Mary's books of verse include Sketches of Natural History (1834) and Ballads and other Poems (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1847; PR 4809 H2A6 Robarts Library).

Howitt's photograph comes from Carl Ray Woodring's Victorian Samplers: William and Mary Howitt (Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 1952): opposite p. 36 (source unattributed).

Biographical information

Given name: Mary
Family name: Howitt
Birth date: 12 March 1799
Death date: 30 January 1888
Nationality: English
Literary period: Victorian
Cause of death: Bronchitis