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Hannah More

"... the modes of speech are scarcely more variable than the modes of silence."

Hannah More, "Thoughts on Conversation," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"... silence is one of the great arts of conversation ..."

Hannah More, "Thoughts on Conversation," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"[On wit:] ... those who actually possess this rare talent, cannot be too abstinent in the use of it. It often makes admirers, but it never makes friends; I mean, where it is the predominant feature ..."

Hannah More, "Thoughts on Conversation," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"Anger is a violent act, envy a constant habit -- no one can be always angry, but he may be always envious ..."

Hannah More, "On Envy," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"To hint at a fault does more mischief than speaking out; for whatever is left for the imagination to finish will not fail to be overdone ..."

Hannah More, "On Envy," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"Among the many evils which prevail under the sun, the abuse of words is not the least considerable. By the influence of time, and the perversion of fashion, the plainest and most unequivocal may be so altered, as to have a meaning assigned them almost diametrically opposite to their original signification."

Hannah More, "On the Danger of Sentimental or Romantic Connexions," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"Youth has a quickness of apprehension, which it is very apt to mistake for an acuteness of penetration."

Hannah More, "On the Danger of Sentimental or Romantic Connexions," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"... nothing is more common than to mistake the sign for the thing itself; nor is any practice more frequent than that of endeavoring to acquire the exterior mark, without once thinking to labor after the interior grace."

Hannah More, "True and False Meekness," Essays on Various Subjects (1777)

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"... did not God / Sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, / We should be ruin'd at our own request."

Hannah More, "Moses in the Bulrushes," Sacred Dramas (1782)

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"Since trifles make the sum of human things, / And half our mis'ry from our foibles springs."

Hannah More, "Sensibility: An Epistle to the Honorable Mrs. Boscawen," Sacred Dramas (1782)

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"To those who know thee not, no words can paint! / And those who know thee, know all words are faint."

Hannah More, "Sensibility: An Epistle to the Honorable Mrs. Boscawen," Sacred Dramas (1782)

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"The keen spirit / Seizes the prompt occasion, makes the thought / Start into instant action, and at once / Plans and performs, resolves and executes!"

Hannah More, "Daniel," Sacred Dramas (1782)

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"No adulation; 'tis the death of virtue; / Who flatters is of all mankind the lowest, / Save he who courts flattery."

Hannah More, "Daniel," Sacred Dramas (1782)

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"How short is human life! the very breath! / Which frames my words, accelerates my death."

Hannah More, "Reflections of King Hezekiah," Sacred Dramas (1782)

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"Going to the opera, like getting drunk, is a sin that carries its own punishment with it, and that a very severe one."

Hannah More, letter to her sister (1775), in William Roberts, ed., Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Mrs. Hannah More, vol. 1 (1834)

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"... sparks electric only strike / On souls electrical alike; / The flash of intellect expires, / Unless it meet congenial fires ..."

Hannah More, "The Bas Bleu; or Conversation" (1782), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"The idle, life's worst burthens bear, / And, what toil escapes, despair!"

Hannah More, "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"In men this blunder still you find, / All think their little set -- mankind."

Hannah More, "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"Small habits well pursu'd betimes, / May reach the dignity of crimes."

Hannah More, "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"He lik'd those literary cooks / Who skim the cream of others' books, / And ruin half an author's graces, / By plucking bon-mots from their places."

Hannah More, "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"... by one slight insinuation, / One scarce perceiv'd exaggeration; / Sly Ridicule, with half a word, / Can fix her stigma of -- absurd ..."

Hannah More, "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"That night no sleep his eyelids prest, / He thought; and thought's a foe to rest ..."

Hannah More, "Florio" (1786), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"... it is the modern nature of goodness to exert itself quietly, while a few characters of the opposite cast seem, by the rumor of their exploits, to fill the world; and by their noise to multiply their numbers."

Hannah More, introduction, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"... we live in an age which must be amused, though genius, feeling, trust, and principle be the sacrifice."

Hannah More, "Address to Women of Rank and Fortune," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"... it is a most severe trial for those women to be called to lay down beauty, who have nothing else to take up. It is for this sober season of life that education should lay up its rich resources."

Hannah More, "On the Education of Women," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"Activity may lead to evil; but inactivity cannot be led to good."

Hannah More, "On the Religious Employment of Time," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"Who are those ever multiplying authors that with unparalleled fecundity are overstocking the world with their quick succeeding progeny? They are novel-writers ..."

Hannah More, "On Female Study, and Initiation Into Knowledge," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"The misfortune is, that religious learning is too often rather considered as an act of the memory than of the heart and affections; as a dry duty, rather than a lively pleasure."

Hannah More, "On the Manner of Instructing Young Persons in Religion," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"A sound economy is a sound understanding brought into action: it is calculation realized; it is the doctrine of proportion reduced to practice; it is foreseeing consequences, and guarding against them; it is expecting contingencies and being prepared for them."

Hannah More, "The Practical Use of Female Knowledge," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"... when these incorrigible talkers are compelled to be quiet, is it not evident that they are not silent because they are listening to what is said, but because they are thinking of what they themselves shall say when they can seize the first lucky interval, for which they are so narrowly watching?"

Hannah More, "Conversation," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"Long habit so reconciles us to almost any thing, that the grossest improprieties cease to strike us when they once make a part of the common course of action."

Hannah More, "On Dissipation," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)

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"Names govern the world."

Hannah More, Hints Towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess (1805)

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"The abuse of terms has at all times been an evil."

Hannah More, Hints Towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess (1805)

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"... I am persuaded that there is no affection of the human heart more exquisitely pure, than that which is felt by a grateful son towards a mother ..."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"I believe she would be jealous of a fine day, if her husband praised it."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"Of two evils, had not an author better be tedious than superficial! From an overflowing vessel you may gather more, indeed, than you want, but from an empty one you can gather nothing."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"'Won't that be delightful?' said she, twitching my arm, rather roughly, by way of recalling my attention, which however had seldom wandered."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"Expectation ... quickens desire, while possession deadens it."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"Commending a right thing is a cheap substitute for doing it, with which we are too apt to satisfy ourselves."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"... parents are too apt to mistake inclination for genius."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"... the uncandid censurer always picks out the worst man of a class, and then confidently produces him as being a fair specimen of it."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"... eternity is a depth which no geometry can measure, no arithmetic calculate, no imagination conceive, no rhetoric describe."

Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)

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"Forgiveness is the economy of the heart. ... Forgiveness saves expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits."

Hannah More, "Christianity a Practical Principle," Practical Piety (1811)

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"The world does not require so much to be informed as to be reminded."

Hannah More, preface, Practical Piety (1811)

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"We are too ready to imagine that we are religious, because we know something of religion. We appropriate to ourselves the pious sentiments we read, and we talk as if the thoughts of other men's heads were really the feelings of our own hearts. But piety has not its seat in the memory, but in the affections, for which however the memory is an excellent purveyor, though a bad substitute."

Hannah More, "The Hand of God," Practical Piety (1811)

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"Anger is the common refuge of insignificance. People who feel their character to be slight, hope to give it weight by inflation: but the blown bladder at its fullest distention is still empty."

Hannah More, "On the Comparatively Small Faults and Virtues," Practical Piety (1811)

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"The ingenuity of self-deception is inexhaustible."

Hannah More, "Self-Love," Practical Piety (1811)

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"There is scarcely any fault in another which offends us more than vanity, though perhaps there is none that really injures us so little."

Hannah More, "Self-Love," Practical Piety (1811)

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"... oblivion has been noticed as the offspring of silence."

Hannah More, "On the Propriety of Introducing Religion in General Conversation," Practical Piety (1811)

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"Pride never sleeps. The principle at least is always awake. An intemperate man is sometimes sober, but a proud man is never humble."

Hannah More, "Insensibility to Eternal Things," Practical Piety (1811)

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"People talk as if the act of death made a complete change in the nature, as well as in the condition of man. Death is the vehicle to another state of being, but possesses no power to qualify us for that state. In conveying us to a new world it does not give us a new heart."

Hannah More, "Happy Deaths," Practical Piety (1811)

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"... we contrive to make revenge itself look like religion. We call down thunder on many a head under pretence, that those on whom we invoke it are God's enemies, when perhaps we invoke it because they are ours."

Hannah More, "On the Sufferings of Good Men," Practical Piety (1811)

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"A corrupt practice may be abolished, but a soiled imagination is not easily cleansed."

Hannah More, "On Habits," Christian Morals (1812)

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"Strange! that what is enjoyed without pleasure cannot be discontinued without pain!"

Hannah More, "On Habits," Christian Morals (1812)

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"Repentance is not completed by a single act, it must be incorporated into our mind, till it become a fixed state, arising from a continual sense of our need of it."

Hannah More, "On Habits," Christian Morals (1812)

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"A faint endeavor ends in a sure defeat."

Hannah More, "On Habits," Christian Morals (1812)

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"A slowness to applaud betrays a cold temper or an envious spirit."

Hannah More, in William Roberts, Memories of the Life of Mrs Hannah More (1835)

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"... no man ever repented of Christianity on his death bed."

Hannah More, in William Roberts, Memories of the Life of Mrs Hannah More (1835)

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"We do not so much want books for good people, as books which will make bad ones better."

Hannah More, letter (1804), in William Roberts, Memories of the Life of Mrs Hannah More (1835)

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"For you'll ne'er mend your fortunes, nor help the just cause, / By breaking of windows, or breaking of laws."

Hannah More, speech (1817), in H. Thompson, The Life of Hannah More (1838)

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"... he fell into the common error of those who begin to read late in life -- that of thinking that what he did not know himself, was equally new to others; and he was apt to fancy that he and the author he was reading were the only two people in the world who knew any thing."

Hannah More, "The History of Mr. Fantom," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"What ascends up in prayer descends to us again in blessings. It is like the rain which just now fell, and which had been drawn up from the ground in vapors to the clouds before it descended from them to the earth in that refreshing shower."

Hannah More, "The Two Wealthy Farmers," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"His cheerfulness, which had arisen from an high opinion of himself, had been confirmed by a constant flow of uninterrupted success; and this is a sort of cheerfulness which is very liable to be impaired, because it lies at the mercy of every accident and cross event in life."

Hannah More, "The Two Wealthy Farmers," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"... she had never yet been guilty of so mean and pitiful a weakness as to forgive any one; for to pardon an injury always showed either want of spirit to feel it, or want of power to resent it."

Hannah More, "The Two Wealthy Farmers," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"As he had always fancied that piety was a melancholy, gloomy thing, and as he felt his own mind really gloomy, he was willing to think that he was growing pious."

Hannah More, "The Two Wealthy Farmers," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"Those who want nothing are apt to forget how many there are who want every thing."

Hannah More, "The Two Wealthy Farmers," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"... it was not so much the comfort of neatness, as the praise of neatness, which she coveted."

Hannah More, "The History of Hester Wilmot," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"He who has once taken to drink can seldom be said to be guilty of one sin only ..."

Hannah More, "The History of Hester Wilmot," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"... he who finds he has wasted a shilling may by diligence hope to fetch it up again; but no repentance or industry can ever bring back one wasted hour."

Hannah More, "The History of Hester Wilmot," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"... it may be in morals as it is in optics, the eye and the object may come too close to each other, to answer the end of vision. There are certain faults which press too near our self-love to be even perceptible to us."

Hannah More, "Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great, to General Society," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"All reformations seem formidable before they are attempted."

Hannah More, "Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great, to General Society," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"... resentment is an evil so costly to our peace that we should find it more cheap to forgive even were it not more right."

Hannah More, "Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great, to General Society," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 (1841)

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"Temptation does not make the sin, it lies ready in the heart."

Hannah More, "Reflection on Prayer," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 2 (1841)

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"All desire the gifts of God, but they do not desire God."

Hannah More, "Reflection on Prayer," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 2 (1841)

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"Pleasure is by much the most laborious trade I know, especially for those who have not a vocation to it."

Hannah More, 1779, The Life of Hannah More (1856)

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"If we commit any crime, or do any good here, it must be in thought; for our words are few and our deeds none at all."

Hannah More, 1781, The Life of Hannah More (1856)

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"The ubiquity of the Divine presence is the only true support, and I am sometimes astonished how persons, who evidently do not possess that grand source of consolation, keep up their spirits under trials and difficulties. It must be owing to careless tempers and nerves of brass."

Hannah More, 1796, in Arthur Roberts, ed., Letters of Hannah More to Zachary Macaulay (1860)

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"It is the large aggregate of small things perpetually occurring that robs me of all my time. The expense of learning to read might have been spared in my education, for I never read."

Hannah More, 1826, in Arthur Roberts, ed., Letters of Hannah More to Zachary Macaulay (1860)

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"Indeed, I have, alas! outlived almost every one of my contemporaries. One pays dear for living long."

Hannah More, 1826, in Arthur Roberts, ed., Letters of Hannah More to Zachary Macaulay (1860)

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"It is a happy and easy way of filling a book that the present race of authors have arrived at -- that of criticizing the works of some eminent poet, with monstrous extracts and short remarks. It is a species of cookery that I begin to grow tired of: they cut up their authors in chops, and by adding a little crumbled bread of their own, and tossing it up a little, they present it as a fresh dish: you are to dine upon the poet; the critic supplies the garnish, yet has the credit as well as the profit of the whole entertainment."

Hannah More, 1775, in Mrs. Helen C. Knight, Hannah More or Life in Hall and Cottage (1862)

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"Absence in love is like water upon fire; a little quickens, but much extinguishes it."

Hannah More, in Maturin Murray Ballou, ed., Notable Thoughts About Women (1882)

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"It is a sober truth that people who live only to amuse themselves work harder at the task than most people do in earning their daily bread."

Hannah More, in George Beckwith et al., Beckwith's Almanac, vols. 49-54 (1896)

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"I'm a strange contradiction; I'm new and I'm old, / I'm often in tatters and oft deck'd in gold; / Though I never could read, yet letter'd I'm found; / Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound -- / I'm always in black, and I'm always in white; / I am grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and light. / In form too I differ -- I'm thick and I'm thin, / I've no flesh, and no bones, yet I'm cover'd with skin; / I've more points than the compass, more stops than the flute -- / I sing without voice, without speaking confute; / I'm English, I'm German, I'm French and I'm Dutch; / Some love me too fondly; some slight me too much; / I often die soon, though sometimes live ages, / And no monarch alive has so many pages."

Hannah More, "A Riddle," The Works of Hannah More (1830)

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Hannah More, English poet, playwright, religious writer, philanthropist
(1745 - 1835)