painted flowers note

  A Note on "To a Lady, with some painted Flowers"

McCarthy and Kraft translate the motto from Eclogues II.45-6, "See, for you the Nymphs bring lilies in heaped-up baskets" (267n). First published in Poems and reprinted in 1792 and 1825, the poem is cited in a footnote near the end of the fourth paragraph of Chapter 4 of Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Wollstonecraft prefaces the poem with lines 101-2 of "To Mrs. P[riestley], with some Drawings of Birds and Insects"-- "Pleasure's the portion of th'inferior kind; / But glory, virtue, Heaven for man design'd."-- and asks, "After writing these lines, how could Mrs. Barbauld write the following ignoble comparison?" She follows quotation of the poem with the wry comment, "So the men tell us; but virtue, says reason, must be acquired by rough toils, and useful struggles with worldly cares."