1860 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Katherine Philips

George Gilfillan, in Specimens with Memoirs of the less-known British Poets (1860) 2:164.



Very little is known of the life of this lady-poet. She was born in 1631. Her maiden name was Fowler. She married James Phillips, Esq., of the Priory of Cardigan. Her poems, published under the name of "Orinda," were very popular in her lifetime, although it was said they were published without her consent. She translated two of the tragedies of Corneille, and left a volume of letters to Sir Charles Cotterell. These, however, did not appear till after her death. She died of small-pox — then a deadly disease — in 1664. She seems to have been a favourite alike with the wits and the divines of her age. Jeremy Taylor addressed to her his Measures and Offices of Friendship; Dryden praised her; and Flatman and Cowley, besides imitating her poems while she was living, paid rhymed tributes to her memory when dead. Her verses are never commonplace, and always sensible, if they hardly attain to the measure and the stature of lofty poetry.