Helen Maria Williams

WILLIAMS, Helen Maria. b. London, 17 June 1759; d. Paris, 15 December 1827. Her father, Charles Williams, died in 1762, and her widowed mother brought up Helen Maria and two other children in Berwick upon Tweed, on the Scottish border. The family returned to London in 1781, where Helen Maria began to make a name for herself as a young poet, encouraged by Andrew Kippis*, her Presbyterian/Unitarian minister. Her Poems were published in 1786, containing the two hymns noted in JJ (see below). She was the subject of one of William Wordsworth*’s earliest poems, ‘Sonnet on seeing Miss Helen Maria Williams weep at a tale of distress’ (published in The European Magazine, XL, March 1787, under the...

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