By Hannah F. Gould 1789–1865
‘Oh! sister, he is so swift and tall,
Though I want the ride, he will spoil it all,
For, when he sets out, he will let me fall,
   And give me a bump, I know!
Mamma, what was it I heard you say,
About the world’s hobbies, the other day,
How some would get on and gallop away,   
   To end with an overthrow?’

‘I said, little prattler, the world was a race,
That many would mount with a smile on the face,
And ride to their ruin, or fall in disgrace:
   That him, who was deaf to fear,
And did not look our for a rein or a guide,
His courser might cast on the highway side,
In the mud, rocks and brambles, to end his ride,
   Perchance with a sight and a tear!’

‘Oh! sister, sister! I fear to try;
For Brutus’s back is so live and high!
It creeps at my touch – and he winks his eye—   
   I’m sure he is going to jump!
Come! dear mother, tell us some more
About the world’s ride, as you did before,
Who helped it up – and all how it bore
   The fall, and got over the bump!’

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

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Poet Hannah F. Gould 1789–1865

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Coming of Age


Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, poet Hannah Flagg Gould moved with her family to Newburyport in 1808. Her mother died while Gould was a child, and Gould took over caring for her father, Benjamin Gould, a veteran who had led Union soldiers in the Battle of Lexington.

Gould began composing poems in her 30s, and her first book, Poems (1832), was published by friends without her knowledge. Gould published another 10 volumes of . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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