Nutta Al Faris


Poetical Research

Katherine Phillips

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.