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Katharine Philips

Born: 1-Jan-1631
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 22-Jun-1664
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Female
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Bisexual
Occupation: Poet

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Letters of Orinda to Poliarchus

English poet, daughter of John Fowler, a merchant of Bucklersbury, London, was born on the 1st of January 1631. Her father was a Presbyterian, and Katharine is said to have read the Bible through before she was five years old. On arriving at years of discretion she broke with Presbyterian traditions in both religion and politics, became an ardent admirer of the king and his church policy, and in 1647 married James Philips, a Welsh royalist. Her home at the Priory, Cardigan, became the center of a "society of friendship", the members of which were known to one another by fantastic names, Mrs. Philips being "Orinda", her husband "Antenor", Sir Charles Cotterel "Poliarchus." The matchless Orinda, as her admirers called her, posed as the apostle of female friendship. That there was much solid worth under her affectations is proved by the respect and friendship she inspired. Jeremy Taylor in 1659 dedicated to her his "Discourse on the Nature, Offices and Measures of Friendship", and Cowley, Henry Vaughan the Silurist, the Earl of Roscommon and the Earl of Cork and Orrery all celebrated her talent. In 1662 she went to Dublin to pursue her husband's claim to certain Irish estates, and there she completed a translation of Pierre Corneille's Pompée, produced with great success in 1663 in the Smock Alley Theatre, and printed in the same year both in Dublin and London. She went to London in March 1664 with a nearly completed translation of Corneille's Horace, but died of smallpox on the 22nd of June. The literary atmosphere of her circle is preserved in the excellent Letters of Orinda to Poliarchus, published by Bernard Lintot in 1705 and 1709. "Poliarchus" (Sir Charles Cotterel) was master of the ceremonies at the court of the Restoration, and afterwards translated the romances of La Calprenède. Mrs. Philips had two children, one of whom, Katharine, became the wife of Lewis Wogan of Boulston, Pembrokeshire. According to Mr. Gosse, this lady may have been "Joan Philips", the author of a volume of Female Poems... written by Ephelia, which are in the style of Orinda, and display genuine feeling with very little reserve.

Husband: James Philips (one son, one daughter)
Girlfriend: Lucasia (presumed relationship, dated 1652-62)



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