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

By Peter Beal | Go to book overview

APPENDIX VI
John Taylor's verse satire on Katherine Philips

The text is printed here verbatim et literatim, with no emendation of the ambiguous or erratic punctuation and spelling, from the transcript in University College London MS Ogden 42, pp. 225-6 (see Plates 78 and 79 above). It is printed by permission of University College London.

To Mrs K:P: from Mr J.T.

You dame of Corinth,1 (save the shape.
Committ no Rape.
Vpon the Muses be not bold.
To make them scold,

Whose purer breasts, did never deigne 5
To rage in vayne.2
But Bedlam ffuries, native hate.
Only create,
The fetterd follies of thy Rhymes
Like ill tun'd chymes. 10
The jangling of bells backward rung So is thy tongue.
Snatcht from Vipers dryd' in Hell
Alecto's3 Cell
Ownes thee, the mistresse of her Schoole. 15
Priapus4 toole
Stole by Cherill5 gave thee Lyfe
On Priams wyfe.
But not while she was Hecuba,
But turnd' to A. 620

____________________
The following notes are based partly on information supplied by the OED and by the classical dictionaries of John Lempriere ( 1788), 3rd revised edn. by F. A. Wright and R. Willets ( London 1984), and of Sir William Smith ( 1842), enlarged edn. revised by G. E. Marindinet al. ( London, 1894), and The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd edn., ed. Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth ( Oxford, 1996).
1
You dame of Corinth] i.e. 'You Corinthian woman': Corinthian meaning lascivious, whore-like. Taylor accuses Philips of being a prostitute except that ('save the shape') she does not have the figure for the job.
2
To rage in vayne] a possible reflection on Philips' 'raging' against the 'libell' by J. Jones in her poems on the subject addressed to 'Lucasia' and, more especially, to her husband 'Antenor', as well as perhaps in her poem attacking Vavasor Powell (which started the controversy) (see Thomas, i. 69-70, 114-17).
3
Alecto] Alecto, one of the furies, represented with a flaming torch, her head covered with serpents, and breathing vengeance, war and pestilence.
4
Priapus] Priapus, son of Venus by Mercury or Adonis, a licentious god with a large penis.
5
Cherill] i.e. presumably a 'churl' (cherelle, cherle, etc.: see OED): a lower-class man, husband, serf, peasant.
6
Priams wyfe . . . Hecuba . . . turnd' to A] Hecuba, second wife of Priam, King of Troy, was noted for chastity and for being an inconsolable mother; after the fall of Troy, when pursued by Greek tormentors, she metamorphosed into a bitch who could only bark; thus 'turnd' to A' perhaps means 'turn'd to A [bitch]'. The implication is that Philips is the daughter of a bitch.

-282-

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