In Praise of Scribes: Manuscripts and Their Makers in Seventeenth-Century England

By Peter Beal | Go to book overview

APPENDIX V
Katherine Philips's letter to Lady Fletcher

The text is printed here verbatim et literatim from the transcript which appears in a miscellany of Royalist verse, copied in a single hand in the mid-1650s, now at University College London, MS Ogden 42, p. 221. It is printed by permission of University College London.

The same1
To the noble Parthenia
The Lady ffletcher/2

Madam

Ther were no excuse for such a presumption as this from a person so vnworthy & so unknowne, were it possible for me to be a stranger, where ever my dearest Rosamia3 hath an Interest. or for any one to want some

kind of worth where she will recommend. All I can pretend 5
is a Sympathy with her noble Soule. & an admiration of it. & both these speake me yr servant, though at so great a distance., ffor if I either love Rosamia, or honor goodnesse (wch indeed is all one) I must be yr votary,
who are Mistresse of a double happynesse. a freindship 10
from the paragon of the world, & a vertue to give you title to it. Now since my devotion is as impossible to be concealed as supprest. be pleased to accept an Offering wch hath nothing can challenge so much as
a pardon, but the relegion that tenders it, & ye Subject. 15
for no language can be barbarous that speakes Rosamia though the fancye that gave these lines a birth, is really as barren as the Rocks & Mountaynes4 it inhabitts.

Yr most humble servant
Orinda

____________________
1
The same] this epistle follows the poem (on pp. 217-20 of the MS) headed 'Orinda, To Parthenia. A shaddow of Rosamia' and signed 'Ka: Ph:'.
2
Lady ffletcher] Elizabeth Hageman suggests that Lady Fletcher might be identified as either (i) Alice (d. early 1663/4), daughter of Hugh, Viscount Colerain, who on 27 February 1654/5 married Sir George Fletcher (c. 1633-1700); or else (ii) Catherine, daughter of Sir George Dalton, wife of Sir Henry Fletcher who died fighting for the King in 1645, this Lady Fletcher later marrying (after 1655) Thomas Smith ( 1615-1702), who became Bishop of Carlisle.
3
Rosamia] Rosania: i.e. Mary Aubrey ( 1631-1700), who married Sir William Montagu ( 1619?-1706). 'The spelling 'Rosamia' recalls the spelling 'Rosannia' which occurs repeatedly in the 1664 edition of Poems by the Incomparable, Mrs. K.P. and which is corrected to 'Rosania' in an inserted errata slip: 'For Rosannia read Rosania throughout'.
4
as barren as the Rocks & Mountaynes] i.e. the mountains of Wales, around Cardigan. Philips alludes to the Welsh mountains and their remoteness and barrenness in certain of her letters to Cotterell and Dorothy Osborne: see, for example, Thomas, ii. 88, 128, 138.

-281-

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