1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lady Mary Chudleigh

Anonymous, "Female Sketches: Lady Chudleigh" The Minerva [New York] NS 2 (27 November 1824) 120.



A very philosophical and poetic lady, was born in the year 1656. She was the daughter of Richard Lee, of Winsloder, in the county of Devon, Esq., and married to Sir George Chudleigh, Bart., by whom she had seven children; among the rest, Eliza Maria, who, dying in the bloom of life, caused her mother to pour out her grief, in a poem entitled "A Dialogue between Lucinda and Marissa." She wrote another poem, called — "The Ladie's Defence," occasioned by an angry sermon preached against the fair sex. These, with many others, were collected into a volume, and printed a third time in the year 1722. She published also a volume of essays upon various subjects, in verse and prose, in 1710, which have been much admired for their delicacy of style.

This lady, it is said, wrote several other things, as tragedies, operas, masques, &c. which, though not printed, are preserved in her family. She died in 1710, in the 55th year of her age. She was a lady of great virtue, as well as understanding, and made the latter subservient to the former. She had an education in which literature seemed but little regarded, being taught no other than her native language; but her fondness for books, her great application, and her uncommon abilities, enabled her to make a considerable figure among the literati of her time. However, though she was perfectly in love with the charms of poetry, she devoted some part of her time to the severer study of philosophy. This appears from her excellent essays upon knowledge, pride, humility, and many other subjects, in which she discovers an uncommon degree of piety and knowledge, with a noble contempt for those vanities which the generality of her sex so much regard, and so ardently pursue.