December 29 , 2009

Poems (1686)


After her untimely death, Dr. Killigrew worked to produce a memorial edition of her papers, and invited Dryden to write the prefatory poem. The publication was swift: less than three months after her death the volume was licensed to be printed (30 September, 1685) and listed in the Stationers' Register (2 October). It was listed in the Term Catalogue for November, and advertised in The Observator on 2 November, 1685. [3] The date of 1686 on the title page must have been anticipated by actual publication. The poetry in the volume can be described in Dryden's terms: Art she had none, yet wanted none: For Nature did that Want supply. The individuality of her works lies in their firm, evangelical moral tone, which is clearly distinguishable from the genteel piety of her contemporaries. Dryden's comment: So cold herself, whilst she such Warmth exprest, 'Twas Cupid bathing in Diana's Stream, The present text is reproduced, by kind permission, from the beautiful copy in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. This volume, originally in Dr. Philip Bliss's collection, is listed in the Huth Catalogue (1913), p. 1207, and described by W. C. Hazlitt, Second Series of Bibliographical Collections and Notes (1882), p. 328. It contains on the flyleaf a MS poem by E. E., transcribed below. The Rev. Joseph Hunter, British Museum Add. MSS. 24492, Vol. VI, p. 100, suggests that E. E. was Edmund Elys, [4] the learned and contentious author of occasional poems (Verses on Several Occasions, 1699) and theological pamphlets (for example, Epistola ad Sam. Parkerum S.T.P., 1680). The generally vivacious style of the verse and the reference to the debate with Dr. Parker suggest that the identification is just, but the relationship between Mrs. Elys and the Killigrews is not known. Pages 72 and 73 are skipped, and pages 68 and 69 are misnumbered 60 and 61
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