Upon Ardelia's return home (after to long a walk in Eastwell Park) in a Water Cart driven by one of the Under-Keepers in his Green Coat, with a Hazle-Bough for a Whip. July, 1689.
MS Folger, 251-3.*
Here is an excerpt:
By the alluring Muse betrayed
By fancies light of nymphs and faeries,
Romantic notions and vagaries,
Of fawns and sylvan dark abodes,
Of heroes rushing from the Woods
'Till length of way no strength had left her
And both of feet and breath bereft her,
Who now must take for bed and lover
Cold earth and boughs which dangled over,
Nor could return in sheets to slumber.
Nor more then she the stars could number
Yet loath this wretched course to follow,
For once resolved to move Apollo,
Misled by him and his vain rabble
To try his courtesy and stable.
She then implored that for this time,
And, to be sure, she sued in rhyme,
That he his chariot would but spare her
Which in a moment home might bear her
Scarce missed by him or his nine Lasses.
But he replied she'd break the glasses
That late he saw such fate attend her
And vowed that his he ne'er would lend her
That fitter 'twere she took the air
Like country doll to neighb'ring fair
Like harvest Gill or strolling player…
1903 Reynolds prints Folger text, 24-7; rpt of 1903 Reynolds: 1979 Rogers AF, 34-7.
In form this one resembles the poetry of Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. The point of view is that of someone who regards her life as a comic catastrophe; she suddenly sees herself apart from the hierarchies and comforting apparatuses of the royal court; she is in fact no different from another country person walking on the road. The self-depreciation is charming. The poem also bears witness to her discomfort at Eastwell. She is no one, has no money; never produced children (the 1688 trip to Somerset was probably to try to get her pregnant).
Page Last Updated 7 January 2003