“The Matchless Orinda”, was born on January 1, 1631 .
She was the precocious child of a respectable Presbyterian
London merchant. Early in life she became a strong Royalist,
and by the time she was seventeen she married a worthy
Welsh gentleman, James Philips of the Cardigan Priory.
Her earliest poem
was an address to Henry Vaughan, the Silurist, on the
appearance of his “Olor Iscanus”. About the time she seems
to have assumed her pen name of Orinda .
Orinda is the earliest
English sentimental writer, and she was known to be a
woman of many tears. She was a worthy woman and a good
wife, despite her overstrained sentimentality, to whom
Jeremy Taylor dedicated his “Measures and Offices of Friendship”.
She was well- known and well-received in the noblest of
Dublin , she translated Corneille’s “Pompey” and in her
last year she translated the greater part of “Horace”.
Her poems were secretly printed in London , in 16632,
but an authoritative edition was issued in 1667, after
On a visit to London
in 1664, Orinda contracted smallpox and died on June 22,
1664 . The matchless Orinda ’s poetry has long since faded
into forgetfulness, despite the chorus of contemporary
praise from Cowley and every poet of note. Keats found
her poems in 1817 while writing “Endymion”, and in a letter
to Reynolds speaks of them as showing “a most delicate
fancy of the Fletcher kind.” Her daughter, Joan, was a