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she is represented with a Psalter in her hand. There is one, apparently taken from a portrait painted after she had passed the prime of life, in Horace Walpole's Catalogue.'
THE LADY MARY WROTH. Alluding to the sixteen sonnets addressed by Chapman “ to the chief nobility,” Warton remarks, in a note, * “ Lady Mary Wroth, here mentioned, wife of Sir Robert Wroth, was much courted by the wits of this age. She wrote a romance called · Urania,' in imitation of Sir Philip Sydney's • Arcadia ;' see Jonson's · Epigr.' 103, 105.” It would appear from the concluding references, that they were the source from whence Warton derived his knowledge of Lady Mary Wroth and her production. In a note to the previous section, he mentions a Sir Thomas Wroth, Knight, as the translator of the second part of Virgil's ‘Æneid,' April 4, 1620.
Lady Mary Wroth is not mentioned by Walpole, Park, or Granger. Ballard in the preface to his · Memoirs of British Ladies,' mentions Lady Mary Neville, Lady Anne Southwell, Lady Honor Hay, Lady Mary Wroth, and others, as persons of distinguished parts and learning, of whom he has been able to collect little else but that bare fact. Burke's · Book of Extinct Baronetcies' gives the pedigree of the Wroths of Blenden Hall, Kent, only from 1666 to 1722, naming the first baronet as the descendant of an ancient family. To look for one particular Lady Mary among the daughters of peers seemed hopeless labour, but research with another object has happily guided the writer to the parents of Lady Mary Wroth. She was the eldest daughter of Robert Sydney, first Earl of Leicester,
* History of English Poetry,' vol. iii. sect. lix. + See · Memoirs of the Sydneys,' hy Arthur Collins, vol. i. p. 120.
brother and heir to the celebrated Sir Philip Sydney: her mother, his first wife, was Barbara, only daughter and heir of John Gamage, Esq., a Glamorganshire gentleman. Lady Mary had seven sisters and four brothers: of the latter, the youngest succeeded his father as second Earl of Leicester of that family. She was married at Penshurst on the 16th of September, 1602, to Sir Robert Wroth, Knight, of Durants, in the parishes of Enfield and Ed. monton, in the county of Middlesex, and of Loughton Hall in Essex. The military captains under her father's command in the Netherlands testified their respect and admiration towards her on this occasion by subscribing 2001. to buy “ a chain of pearl ” for the bride,* or to be otherwise disposed of at her pleasure. Sir William Browne, writing to her father from Flushing, October 19, 1604, says : “We have all received, by Josias, my Lady Wroth's remembrance of very fair gloves." Her son Robert Wroth is subsequently mentioned in one of Lord Leicester's letters.f It is to be regretted that so meagre an account is all that can be collected from the published records of Penshurst. The marriage of her great-granddaughter, an heiress, conveyed the Essex estates of the Wroths into the family of the Zuleisteins Earls of Rochford.
Lady Mary's attention was probably directed in early youth to the works of her celebrated uncle Sir Philip Sydney, and of her aunt Mary Countess of Pembroke, who was probably her godmother. The date of her death has not been ascertained. She is identified beyond the possibility of mistake by the mention made in the Sydney Memoirs of Ben Jonson's Epigrams in praise of her
* Sydney Letters and Memorials of State,' vol. ii. p. 305.
+ Mention of the Wroths is made in the same volume, pp. 82, 89, 309, and 352.
A Sir Thomas Wroth was her
husband and herself. grandson.
ELIZABETH COUNTESS OF LINCOLN. Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Sir Henry Knevet, of Charlton, Wiltshire, was married to Thomas Clinton, third Earl of Lincoln. She had eighteen children, and on the strength of this experience wrote a book entitled “The Countess of Lincoln's Nursery.' It was first printed in 1621, and again in 1622 and in 1628. The date of her death is uncertain. The Earl, her husband, died in 1618.
ANNE COUNTESS OF ARUNDEL. Anne, sister and coheir of Thomas last Lord Dacre, married Philip Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, who died a prisoner in the Tower in 1595. She wrote many letters to her family in what the first literary Mr. Lodge terms “the best style of that time;" and some verses on the death of her lord, which apparently formed part of a long poem. Lady Arundel died April 30, 1630.
In the year 1613, Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Petre, and widow of Nicholas Wadham, Esq., of Merefield, Somersetshire, founded Wadham College, Oxford, in compliance with the last will and testament of her husband. Granger mentions a mezzotinto engraving of her by Faber.
Remarks on the period 1650-75 — Elizabeth Countess of Kent - Elizabeth
Countess of Bridgwater -- Catherine Philips - Lucy Hutchinson — Margaret Duchess of Newcastle — Anne Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and Montgomery.
“ The writers of this and the succeeding generation understood their own character better than it has been understood by their successors; they called themselves wits, instead of poets, and wits they were—the difference is not in degree but in kind." - SOUTHEY : Preface to 'Specimens of Later English Poets.'
In the period now under review, instruction in the dead languages had ceased to be deemed an essential part of the education of princesses, ladies, and high-born gentlewomen, Books in English and in other modern languages had multiplied, and so many facilities were afforded for female improvement, that educated women generally superseded learned men as the principal teachers of young girls, and the scholar-like culture of the mind gave place to superficial training. The increased means of acquiring information which caused this deterioration in the upper classes, promoted the diffusion of knowledge in those next below, and the daughters of merchants and tradesmen soon began to appear among the literary women of England. The progress of literature among English women resembles what is termed in botany the centrifugal inflorescence of plants ; being not like the spike of the lilac, where the lowermost blossoms first expand, but answering rather to the cyme of the laurustinus, in which the central flowers open before the outer ones.
So distinctly had learning and well directed intelligence been recognised as the peculiar attributes of women of high social rank, that those of inferior position first distinguished for possessing them were readily received as equals among the great and fashionable personages of their day.
ELIZABETH COUNTESS OF KENT. Elizabeth, second daughter of Gilbert Talbot, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury, and wife of Henry Grey, Earl of Kent, compiled · A Choice Manual of Rare and Select Secrets in Physic and Chirurgery,' which passed through sixteen editions. Benevolence, and the blameless vanity of liking to teach small things, are the only qualities manifested in this work. The Countess of Kent died at her house in White Friars, December 7, 1651. An engraved likeness of her in a small oval is prefixed to her book.
ELIZABETH COUNTESS OF BRIDGWATER. Elizabeth, second daughter of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, married John Egerton, Viscount Brackley, afterwards Earl of Bridgwater-the youth who performed at Ludlow Castle, in 1634, the part of the First Brother in Milton's Masque of Comus. Chauncey's History of Hertfordshire,' and Collins' • Peerage' give copies of her monumental inscription in Gaddesden Church, which records that she wrote · Meditations and Contemplations upon every particular chapter in the Bible.' Her beauty, accomplishments, domestic virtues, and deep piety were so thoroughly appreciated by her excellent husband, that he ordered an inscription to be placed over his own grave recording that he “enjoyed almost twenty-two years all the