Katherine Philips Poems

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Katherine Philips
Katherine Philips, the Matchless OrindaKatherine Philips (1 January 1631 22 June 1664), was an Anglo-Welsh poet. Born in London, she was daughter of John Fowler, a Presbyterian, and a merchant of Bucklersbury, London. Philips is said to have read the Bible through before she was five years old. Additionally, she acquired remarkable fluency in several languages. She broke with Presbyterian traditions in both religion and politics, and became an ardent admirer of the king and his church policy. In 1647, when she was sixteen, she married a Welsh Parliamentarian named James Philips who was fifty-four years old. Her home at the Priory, Cardigan, Wales became the centre of a literary coterie, a "society of friendship", the members of which were known to one another by pastoral names: Philips was "Orinda", her husband "Antenor", and Sir Charles Cotterel "Poliarchus". "The Matchless Orinda", as her admirers called her, was regarded as the apostle of female friendship, and inspired great respect. She was widely considered an exemplar of the ideal woman writer: virtuous, proper, and chaste. She was frequently contrasted to the more daring Aphra Behn, to the latter's detriment. Her poems, frequently occasional, typically celebrate the refined pleasures of platonic love. Jeremy Taylor in 1659 dedicated to her his Discourse on the Nature, Offices and Measures of Friendship, and Cowley, Henry Vaughan the Silurist, the Earl of Roscommon and the Earl of Cork and Orrery all celebrated her talent. In 1662 she went to Dublin to pursue her husband's claim to certain Irish estates; there she completed a translation of Pierre Corneille's Pompe, produced with great success in 1663 in the Smock Alley Theatre, and printed in the same year both in Dublin and London. She went to London in March 1664 with a nearly completed translation of Corneille's Horace, but died of smallpox. The literary atmosphere of her circle is preserved in the excellent Letters of Orinda to Poliarchus, published by Bernard Lintot in 1705 and 1709. Poliarchus (Sir Charles Cotterel) was master of the ceremonies at the court of the Restoration, and afterwards translated the romances of La Calprende. Philips had two children, one of whom, Katharine, became the wife of a "Lewis Wogan" of Boulston, Pembrokeshire. According to Gosse, Philips may have been the author of a volume of Female Poems ... written by Ephelia, which are in the style of Orinda, though other scholars have not embraced this attribution. There is speculation about whether, and in what way, her work could be described as "lesbian." Certainly her representations of female friendship are intense, even passionate. She herself always insisted on their platonic nature and characterizes her relationships as the "meeting of souls," as in these lines from "To my Excellent Lucasia, on our Friendship": For as a watch by art is wound To motion, such was mine; But never had Orinda found A soul till she found thine; Which now inspires, cures, and supplies, And guides my darkened breast; For thou art all that I can prize, My joy, my life, my rest. (9-16)

epitaph on her son h. p. at st. syth's church wher her body also lies interred
What on Earth deserves our trust ?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are w... [read poem]
the guards came through
Men of the Twenty-first
Up by the Chalk Pit Wood,
Weak with our wounds and our thirst,... [read poem]
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