Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Critical and Biographical Notice
Jane Turell (1708–1735)
 
MRS TURELL, was the only daughter of the Rev. Dr Colman, of whom we have already spoken, and was born in Boston, A. D. 1708. Her devotedness to literary pursuits was remarkable, even in her childhood, and she was distinguished for sobriety of demeanor and sweetness of disposition, as well as for an ardent desire to attain those mental treasures which it was once deemed expedient to put beyond the reach of the gentler sex. The powers of Mrs Turell’s mind were highly extolled by some of her contemporaries; but their encomiums must be cautiously received, for educated ladies were, in her days, so rarely to be found in New England, that the results of careful tuition were generally mistaken for evidences of a brilliant genius, and as the fashionable code seemed to favor Mohammed’s doctrine, that women were born without the gift of soul, every female, who, in the course of her reading, had advanced beyond the spelling-book and accidence, was regarded as little less than a prodigy.  1
  Jane Colman, when a girl of eleven, made some feeble efforts in verse, and as her father frequently wrote to her in rhymes suited to her capacity, and encouraged her to peruse the English poets, she became ready in composition, and often employed her hours of recreation in writing humorous essays, which displayed ingenuity and quickness of comprehension. On entering her nineteenth year she was married to the Rev. Mr Turell of Medford. She had then read and digested all the works on Divinity, History and Philosophy to which she could gain access, and was familiarly acquainted with the modern literature of a lighter kind. She died in 1735, at the age of twenty-seven, having faithfully fulfilled those duties which shed the brightest lustre upon woman’s name—the duties of the friend, the daughter, the mother, and the wife.  2
  Her poems are collected in a pamphlet, published by her husband immediately after her death.  3
 
 
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