1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Tighe

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 317.



The daughter of the Rev. Mr. Blackford, Wicklow County, Ireland, Mary was born in 1773, and died in 1810. Her principal poem, Psyche, in six cantos, shows a very skillful command of the Spenserian measure, and contains many graceful and elegant stanzas. Sir James Macintosh says of the last three cantos: "They are beyond all doubt the most faultless series of verses ever produced by a woman." The value of the praise depends on the meaning we give to the word faultless. Moore's song, "I saw thy form in youthful prime," was written in recollection of Mrs. Tighe. The longer piece we publish [On Receiving a Branch of Mezeron], written within the year preceding her death, was the last she ever produced, and perhaps the best. Her husband, Henry Tighe, M.P., edited an edition of her poems after her death.