1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah Cowley

C. H. Timperley, in Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:870n.



Mrs. Hannah Cowley, author of the Belle's Strategem, and other comedies, was the daughter of Mr. Parkhurst, and was born at Tiverton, in 1743. In 1772 she married Mr. Cowley, in the service of the East India Company at Bengal, by whom she had several children. It was not until the year 1776 that Mrs. Cowley appeared as a dramatic writer, but such was the success of her first piece that she was induced to proceed, and produced many comedies and farces in quick succession. In all, with considerable elegance and variety of style, she combines that happy observation of natural life and manners which furnishes well-discriminated characters, and apposite humour and satire, free from the unreal exaggerations of imagination. Mrs. Cowley was the "Anna Matilda" of the "Della Crusca" school. She died at Tiverton, March 11, 1809.