Nutta Al Faris
1632 – 1664
Of Katherine Phillips I wrote a verse
to discuss her life and her poetry,
so I shall try not to disperse
the information about, carelessly.
In hope that in the end
I would have something rigid,
that I can look at again
and see information that’s solid.
So I shall start off with the year that
she opened her eyes, ears, mouth and nose too,
the year she was born was in fact
sixteen thirty two.
She was the best known female poet
as “The Matchless Orinda” she was honored, [p.1679]
and of politics, elegies, and epitaphs she wrote
to ‘Ideal Female Friendship’ she often wandered.
She loved reading Donne’s love lyrics
so you see a lot of alliteration in hers,
there’re also some of Sappho’s erotic
poems, that talk about women lovers
She married James Phillips at seventeen
Who was a member of the parliament
(I think that was only to feign
that she was interested in men) ;)
She only gave birth to two children
the first was a boy called Hector, who died,
while the second, a girl called Katherine
who till adulthood survived.
Now the poem that really strikes the core
was when she wrote about her son’s death
and on sixteen sixty four
Katherine Phillips held her breath
The first poem I shall debate
and would give only one blame,
since she wrote “A Married State” [page.1679]
why then did she marry James?
But that is of no use to me
because the poem has a message
that I agree with totally.
So let’s discuss the passage
She talks about how it’s better not to marry
that even “The best of husbands are hard to please.” [page.1679, line.2]
that a virgin state can be more merry
and without a husband to boss, life would be an ease.
Then how pregnancy is so painful
and how it attracts your tears in haste,
also, an innocent woman is a woman single
and there’s no such thing as a spinster’s fate
The second poem is a political one
“Upon the Double Murder of King Charles” [page. 1680]
is an answer to Vavasour Powell’s poem
about Christ’s return, she quarrels.
To make this easier I’ll show you a quote
“Christ will be king, but I ne’er understood” [page. 1680, line. 29]
then Katherine Phillips carried on and wrote
“His subjects built his kingdom up with blood” [page 1680, line. 30]
After politics, onto the third poem I’ll move
“Friendship’s Mystery: To My Dearest Lucasia” is the title [page 1690]
This poem is about friendship, and complex love
about the religious, loving, bond, that is so vital.
This bond she shared with one of her friends
where she described and explained so intimately,
the actual name of the friend though was Anne Owen
and was in Phillips Friendship Society
The next poem that I shall speak about
is a valediction one called “To Mrs. M.A. at parting” [page. 1682]
it has some ideas that were copied out
from Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning.” [page. 1248]
John Keats thought it was so beautiful
he was affected by the feeling it sends,
so in an early letter he wrote it in full
and then sent it to one of his friends
The last poem that I will add in this research is this:
“On the Death of My First and Dearest Child, Hector Phillips” [page.1683]
talks about sorrow all way through, and doesn’t mention bliss
and has the general feel of the dreaded R.I.P.
Though my favorite lines in this poem are
so sad, they are the ones that really affected me
they are “Tears are my muse and sorrow all my art” [page. 1683, line 11]
and of course “So piercing groans must be thy elegy.” [page. 1683, line 12]
Unfortunately I have come to the end
of this honest work about Ms. Phillips
where poetry and research blend
to give me an educative fillip.
I hope that I achieved my prior purpose
which was to have concrete facts
but it is alright this way I suppose
so I think I shall leave it at that.