Yet did these Eyes a dying Parent see,
Loos'd from all Cares except a Thought for me,
Without a Tear resign her short'ning Breath,
And dauntless meet the ling'ring Stroke of Death.
(An Epistle to a Lady, 49-52)
Brought up in Brackley, Northamptonshire, the daughter of a gardener, and educated only within her family, Mary Leapor worked as her father's housekeeper after her mother's death in 1742. She wrote poetry that came to the attention of Bridget Freemantle, a member of the local gentry. Freemantle encouraged Mary to publish in London, but she died of the measles before her only book, Poems upon Several Occasions (1748, reissued in 1751), came out. Edmund Blunden published her biography in A Northamptonshire Poetess: Mary Leapor (1936; del pam B558 N66 1936 Fisher Rare Book Library); and Richard Greene's Mary Leapor: A Study in Eighteenth-century Women's Poetry (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993; PR 3539 L49 Z66 Robarts Library) fully treats both her life and work.
Given name: Mary
Family name: Leapor
Birth date: 26 February 1722
Death date: 12 November 1746
Literary period: Augustan
Brackley, Northamptonshire to 12 November 1746
Marston St. Lawrence, Northamptonshire: 26 February 1722
Cause of death: Measles
First RPO edition: 1998