Katherine Philips

Katherine Philips Poems


Hence Cupid! with your cheating toys,

Wee falsely think it due unto our friends,
That we should grieve for their too early ends:
He that surveys the world with serious eys,
And stripps Her from her grosse and weak disguise,

COme, my Lucasia, since we see
That Miracles Mens faith do move,
By wonder and by prodigy

Adieu dear object of my Love's excess,
And with thee all my hopes of happiness,
With the same fervent and unchanged heart
Which did it's whole self once to thee impart,

I did not live until this time
Crown'd my felicity,
When I could say without a crime,
I am not thine, but thee.

Twice forty months of Wedlock did I stay,
Then had my vows crown'd with a Lovely boy,
And yet in forty days he dropt away,

O! Solitude, my sweetest choice
Places devoted to the night,
Remote from tumult, and from noise,

Come, my Ardelia, to this bowre,
Where kindly mingling Souls a while,
Let's innocently spend an houre,
And at all serious follys smile

WHat on Earth deserves our trust ?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain,
What one moment calls again.

Forbear, bold youth; all 's heaven here,
And what you do aver
To others courtship may appear,
'Tis sacrilege to her.

Content, the false World's best disguise,
The search and faction of the Wise,
Is so abstruse and hid in night,
That, like that Fairy Red-cross Knight,

Soule of my soule! my Joy, my crown, my friend!
A name which all the rest doth comprehend;
How happy are we now, whose sols are grown,
By an incomparable mixture, One:

Soule of my soule! my Joy, my crown, my friend!
A name which all the rest doth comprehend;
How happy are we now, whose sols are grown,
By an incomparable mixture, One:

We will not like those men our offerings pay
Who crown the cup, then think they crown the day.
We make no garlands, nor an altar build,
Which help not Joy, but Ostentation yield.

Had I ador'd the multitude, and thence
Got an antipathy to wit and sence,
And hug'd that fate, in hope the world would grant
'Twas good -- affection to be ignorant;

My dear Antenor now give o're,
For my sake talk of Graves no more;
Death is not in our power to gain,
And is both wish'd and fear'd in vain

Whom does this stately Navy bring?
O! ‘tis Great Britain's Glorious King,
Convey him then, ye Winds and Seas,
Swift as Desire and calm as Peace.

I CANNOT hold, for though to write were rude,
Yet to be silent were Ingratitude,
And Folly too; for if Posterity
Should never hear of such a one as thee,

If I could ever write a lasting verse,
It should be laid, deare Sainte, upon thy herse.
But Sorrow is no muse, and doth confesse
That it least can what most it would expresse.

Tis now since I began to die
Four months, yet still I gasping live;
Wrapp'd up in sorrow do I lie,

Katherine Philips Biography

Katherine Fowler was born on New Year's day, 1631 in London, England. Her father, John Fowler, was a Presbyterian merchant. Katherine was educated at one of the Hackney boarding-schools, where she became fluent in several languages. After the death of John Fowler, Katherine's mother married a Welshman, Hector Philips, and, in 1647, at the age of sixteen, Katherine was married to fifty-four-year old James Philips, Hector's son by his first wife. In spite of the difference in their ages, there appears to have been little conflict between Katherine and James. What division there was, was political in nature: she was a Royalist; he supported Oliver Cromwell. This difference in their views is recorded in Katherine's poetry. However, James continued to reside on the coast of Wales, while his wife spent much of her time in London. He encouraged her literary activities and left her largely to her own devices. Her time was not idly spent. Besides bearing two children (a son, Hector, who lived only forty days, and a daughter, Katherine, who lived to be married), Philips founded The Society of Friendship, wrote some hundred and sixteen poems, completed five verse translations, and translated two plays by Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) from the French. The earlier of these dramatic translations, a rendering of Pompey, was produced in 1663, the first play by a woman to be performed on the London stage. It was also performed, to great acclaim, in Dublin in the same year. The later translation, Horace, was not finished in her lifetime. Sir John Denham (1615 - 1669) completed her work, and the play was produced in 1668. The Society of Friendship (1651-1661) was a semi-literary correspondence circle composed primarily of women, though men were also involved. The membership, however, is somewhat in question, as its members took pseudonyms from Classical literature (Katherine Philips, for instance, took the name Orinda, to which other members appended the accolade "Matchless." It is as "Matchless Orinda" that Philips is most often known, as this was her usual signature.) Poet Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) was probably a member, and in some degree a personal friend to Philips. It was as a preface to his poems that hers were first published, in 1651. (The only other publication of Philips' work in her lifetime was an unauthorized edition in 1664). More important are the female members of the circle, especially Anne Owen, known in Philips's poems as Lucasia. Fully half of Philips's poetry is dedicated to this woman; the two seem to have been lovers in an emotional, if not in a physical, sense for about ten years. Also significant as correspondents and lovers and Mary Awbrey (Rosania) and Elizabeth Boyle (Celimena). Boyle's relationship with Philips, however, was cut short by Philips' death in 1664. These loves are prominent in Philips's poetry. Because she used the language of courtly love to describe her relationships, their extent and nature are not entirely certain, but the love between these women was most likely platonic. Philips remarked at time that love between women was pure, uncorrupted by the sexual. The poetry does not overtly suggest physical relationships. In fact, Philips' contemporaries often praised her modest, properly feminine subject matter. Katherine Philips died of smallpox June 22, 1664, in London. She was thirty-three years old. Her death was mourned in verse by the metaphysical poet Abraham Cowley. The first authorized collection of her verse was not published until 1667. A century and a half later, the Romantic poet John Keats admired her work in a letter to a friend.)

The Best Poem Of Katherine Philips

Against Love


Hence Cupid! with your cheating toys,
Your real griefs, and painted joys,
Your pleasure which itself destroys.
Lovers like men in fevers burn and rave,
And only what will injure them do crave.
Men's weakness makes love so severe,
They give him power by their fear,
And make the shackles which they wear.
Who to another does his heart submit,
Makes his own idol, and then worships it.
Him whose heart is all his own,
Peace and liberty does crown,
He apprehends no killing frown.
He feels no raptures which are joys diseased,
And is not much transported, but still pleased.


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Agnes 19 October 2020

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