7 Poemas de Katherine Philips

To my Antenor

My dear Antenor now give o’re,
for my sake talk of Graves no more;
Death is not in our power to gain,
and is both wish’d and fear’d in vain
let’s be as angry as wee will,
grief sooner may distract then kill,
and the unhappy often prove
death is as coy a thing as Love.
Those whose own sword their death did give,
afraid were or asham’d to Live;
And by an act so desperate,
did poorly run away from fate;
‘Tis braver much t’out-ride the storm,
endure its rages and shun his harm;
Affliction nobly undergone,
more Greatness shews than having none.
But yet the Wheel in turning round,
at last may lift us from the ground,
and when our Fortune’s most severe,
the less we have, the less we fear.
And why should we that grief permit,
which can nor mend nor shorten it?
Let’s wait for a succeeding good,
woes have their Ebb as well as flood:
And since Parliament have rescu’d you,
believe that Providence will do so too.

The World

Wee falsely think it due unto our friends,
That we should grieve for their too early ends:
He that surveys the world with serious eys,
And stripps Her from her grosse and weak disguise,
Shall find ’tis injury to mourn their fate;
He only dy’s untimely who dy’s Late.
For if ’twere told to children in the womb,
To what a stage of mischief they must come
Could they foresee with how much toile and sweat
Men court that Guilded nothing, being Great;
What paines they take not to be what they seem,
Rating their blisse by others false esteem,
And sacrificing their content, to be
Guilty of grave and serious Vanity;
How each condition hath its proper Thorns,
And what one man admires, another Scorns;
How frequently their happiness they misse,
And so farre from agreeing what it is,
That the same Person we can hardly find,
Who is an houre together in a mind;
Sure they would beg a period of their breath,
And what we call their birth would count their Death.
Mankind is mad; for none can live alone
Because their joys stand by comparison:
And yet they quarrell at Society,
And strive to kill they know not whom, nor why,
We all live by mistake, delight in Dreames,
Lost to ourselves, and dwelling in extreames;
Rejecting what we have, though ne’re so good,
And prizing what we never understood.
compar’d to our boystrous inconstancy
Tempests are calme, and discords harmony.
Hence we reverse the world, and yet do find
The God that made can hardly please our mind.
We live by chance, and slip into Events;
Have all of Beasts except their Innocence.
The soule, which no man’s pow’r can reach, a thing
That makes each women Man, each man a King.
Doth so much loose, and from its height so fall,
That some content to have no Soule at all.
“Tis either not observ’d, or at the best
By passion fought withall, by sin deprest.
Freedome of will (god’s image) is forgot;
And if we know it, we improve it not.
Our thoughts, thou nothing can be more our own,
Are still unguided, verry seldom known.
Time ‘scapes our hands as water in a Sieve,
We come to dy ere we begin to Live.
Truth, the most suitable and noble Prize,
Food of our spirits, yet neglected ly’s.
Errours and shaddows ar our choice, and we
Ow our perdition to our Own decree.
If we search Truth, we make it more obscure;
And when it shines, we can’t the Light endure;
For most men who plod on, and eat, and drink,
Have nothing less their business then to think;
And those few that enquire, how small a share
Of Truth they fine! how dark their notions are!
That serious evenness that calmes the Brest,
And in a Tempest can bestow a rest,
We either not attempt, or elce [sic] decline,
By every triffle snatch’d from our design.
(Others he must in his deceits involve,
Who is not true unto his own resolve.)
We govern not our selves, but loose the reins,
Courting our bondage to a thousand chains;
And with as man slaverys content,
As there are Tyrants ready to Torment,
We live upon a Rack, extended still
To one extreme, or both, but always ill.
For since our fortune is not understood,
We suffer less from bad then from the good.
The sting is better drest and longer lasts,
As surfeits are more dangerous than fasts.
And to compleat the misery to us,
We see extreames are still contiguous.
And as we run so fast from what we hate,
Like Squibs on ropes, to know no middle state;
So (outward storms strengthen’d by us) we find
Our fortune as disordred as our mind.
But that’s excus’d by this, it doth its part;
A treacherous world befits a treacherous heart.
All ill’s our own; the outward storms we loath
Receive from us their birth, or sting, or both;
And that our Vanity be past a doubt,
‘Tis one new vanity to find it out.
Happy are they to whom god gives a Grave,
And from themselves as from his wrath doeth save.
‘Tis good not to be born; but if we must,
The next good is, soone to return to Dust:
When th’uncag’d soule, fled to Eternity,
Shall rest and live, and sing, and love, and See.
Here we but crawle and grope, and play and cry;
Are first our own, then others Enemy:
But there shall be defac’d both stain and score,
For time, and Death, and sin shall be no more.

La Solitude de St. Amant…

O! Solitude, my sweetest choice
Places devoted to the night,
Remote from tumult, and from noise,
How you my restless thoughts delight!
O Heavens! what content is mine,
To see those trees which have appear’d
From the nativity of Time,
And which hall ages have rever’d,
To look to-day as fresh and green,
 As when their beauties first were seen!

A cheerful wind does court them so,
And with such amorous breath enfold,
That we by nothing else can know,
But by their hieght that they are old.
Hither the demi-gods did fly
To seek the sanctuary, when
Displeased Jove once pierc’d the sky,
To pour a deluge upon men,
And on these boughs themselves did save,
When they could hardly see a wave.

Sad Philomel upon this thorn,
So curiously by Flora dress’d,
In melting notes, her case forlorn,
To entertain me, hath confess’d.
O! how agreeable a sight
These hanging mountains do appear,
Which the unhappy would invite
To finish all their sorrows here,
When their hard fate makes them endure
Such woes, as only death can cure.

What pretty desolations make
These torrents vagabond and fierce,
Who in vast leaps their springs forsake,
This solitary Vale to pierce.
Then sliding just as serpents do
Under the foot of every tree,
Themselves are changed to rivers too,
Wherein some stately Nayade,
As in her native bed, is grown
A queen upon a crystal throne.

This fen beset with river-plants,
O! how it does my sense charm!
Nor elders, reeds, nor willows want,
Which the sharp steel did never harm.
Here Nymphs which come to take the air,
May with such distaffs furnish’d be,
As flags and rushes can prepare,
Where we the nimble frogs may see,
Who frighted to retreat do fly
If an approaching man they spy.

Here water-flowl repose enjoy,
Without the interrupting care,
Lest Fortune should their bliss destroy
By the malicious fowler’s snare.
Some ravish’d with so bright a day,
Their feathers finely prune and deck;
Others their amorous heats allay,
Which yet the waters could not check:
All take their innocent content
In this their lovely element.

Summer’s, nor Winter’s bold approach,
This stream did never entertain;
Nor ever felt a boat or coach,
Whilst either season did remain.
No thirsty traveller came near,
And rudely made his hand his cup;
Nor any hunted hind hath here
Her hopeless life resigned up;
Nor ever did the treacherous hook
Intrude to empty any brook.

What beauty is there in the sight
Of these old ruin’d castle-walls
Of which the utmost rage and spight
Of Time’s worst insurrection falls?
The witches keep their Sabbath here,
And wanton devils make retreat.
Who in malicious sport appear,
Our sense both to afflict and cheat;
And here within a thousand holes
Are nest of adders and of owls.

The raven with his dismal cries,
That mortal augury of Fate,
Those ghastly goblins ratifies,
Which in these gloomy places wait.
On a curs’d tree the wind does move
A carcase which did once belong
To one that hang’d himself for love
Of a fair Nymph that did him wrong,
Who thought she saw his love and truth,
With one look would not save the youth.

But Heaven which judges equally,
And its own laws will still maintain,
Rewarded soon her cruelty
With a deserv’d and mighty pain:
About this squalid heap of bones,
Her wand’ring and condemned shade,
Laments in long and piercing groans
The destiny her rigour made,
And the more to augment her right,
Her crime is ever in her sight.

There upon antique marbles trac’d,
Devices of past times we see,
Here age ath almost quite defac’d,
What lovers carv’d on every tree.
The cellar, here, the highest room
Receives when its old rafters fail,
Soil’d with the venom and the foam
Of the spider and the snail:
And th’ivy in the chimney we
Find shaded by a walnut tree.

Below there does a cave extend,
Wherein there is so dark a grot,
That should the Sun himself descend,
I think he could not see a jot.
Here sleep within a heavy lid
In quiet sadness locks up sense,
And every care he does forbid,
Whilst in arms of negligence,
Lazily on his back he’s spread,
And sheaves of poppy are his bed.

Within this cool and hollow cave,
Where Love itself might turn to ice,
Poor Echo ceases not to rave
On her Narcissus wild and nice:
Hither I softly steal a thought,
And by the softer music made
With a sweet lute in charms well taught,
Sometimes I flatter her sad shade,
Whilst of my chords I make such choice,
They serve as body to her voice.

When from these ruins I retire,
This horrid rock I do invade,
Whose lofty brow seems to inquire
Of what materials mists are made:
From thence descending leisurely
Under the brow of this steep hill
It with great pleasure I descry
By waters undermin’d, until
They to Palaemon’s seat did climb,
Compos’d of sponges and of slime.

How highly is the fancy pleas’d
To be upon the Ocean’s shore,
When she begins to be appeas’d
And her fierce billows cease to roar!
And when the hairy Tritons are
Riding upon the shaken wave,
With what strange sounds they strike the air
Of their trumpets hoarse and brave,
Whose shrill reports does every wind
Unto his due submission bind!

Sometimes the sea dispels the sand,
Trembling and murmuring in the bay,
And rolls itself upon the shells
Which it both brings and takes away.
Sometimes exposed on the strand,
Th’effect of Neptune’s rage and scorn,
Drown’d men, dead monsters cast on land,
And ships that were in tempests torn,
With diamonds and ambergreece,
And many more such things as these.

Sometimes so sweetly she does smile,
A floating mirror she might be,
And you would fancy all that while
New Heavens in her face to see:
The Sun himself is drawn so well,
When there he would his picture view,
That our eye can hardly tell
Which is the false Sun, which the true;
And lest we give our sense the lie,
We think he’s fallen from the sky.

Bernieres! for whose beloved sake
My thoughts are at a noble strife,
This my fantastic landskip take,
Which I have copied from the life.
I only seek the deserts rough,
Where all alone I love to walk,
And with discourse refin’d enough,
My Genius and the Muses talk;
But the converse most truly mine,
Is the dear memory of thine.

Thou mayst in this Poem find,
So full of liberty and heat,
What illustrious rays have shin’d
To enlighten my conceit:
Sometimes pensive, sometimes gay,
Just as that fury does control,
And as the object I survey
The notions grow up in my soul,
And are as unconcern’d and free
As the flame which transported me.

O! how I Solitude adore,
That element of noblest wit,
Where I have learnt Apollo’s lore,
Without the pains to study it:
For thy sake I in love am grown
With what thy fancy does pursue;
But when I think upon my own,
I hate it for that reason too.
Because it needs must hinder me
From seeing, and from serving thee.

La Soledad de St. Amant…(fragmento)

¡Oh soledad! mi dulce elección

espacio consagrado a la noche,

lejos del tumulto, y del ruido,

cómo te deleitas en mi sentir anhelante

¡Oh Cielos! lo en mi contenido,

para mirar los árboles que han resurgido

desde el nacimiento del Tiempo,

y el umbral de las edades que se ha estremecido

para mirar el día, ahora fresco y verde,

como cuando sus bellezas fueron vistas por primera vez

To My Excellent Lucasia, On Our Friendship

I did not live until this time
Crown’d my felicity,
When I could say without a crime,
I am not thine, but thee.

This carcass breath’d, and walkt, and slept,
So that the world believe’d
There was a soul the motions kept;
But they were all deceiv’d.

For as a watch by art is wound
To motion, such was mine:
But never had Orinda found
A soul till she found thine;

Which now inspires, cures and supplies,
And guides my darkened breast:
For thou art all that I can prize,
My joy, my life, my rest.

No bridegroom’s nor crown-conqueror’s mirth
To mine compar’d can be:
They have but pieces of the earth,
I’ve all the world in thee.

Then let our flames still light and shine,
And no false fear controul,
As innocent as our design,
Immortal as our soul.

A Lucasia, por nuestra amistad

Yo no viví hasta este día

que corona mi felicidad,

cuando puedo decir sin pecado

que no soy tuya, sino tú.


Esta carcasa respiraba, caminaba y dormía,

para que el mundo creyera

que un alma mantenía el movimiento.

Pero todos estaban engañados.


Porque como un reloj que por arte

es puesto en movimiento, así fui yo:

nunca Orinda había hallado un alma

hasta que encontró la tuya.


Que ahora inspira, cura, alimenta,

y guía mi pecho ensombrecido.

Porque tú eres todo lo que aprecio,

mi alegría, mi vida, mi descanso.


Ni alegría de novio ni corona de guerrero

pueden compararse a la mía:

no tienen mas que pedazos de tierra,

yo tengo todo el mundo en ti.


Deja que nuestras llamas se enciendan y brillen,

y que ningún falso temor nos domine,

tan inocentes como nuestro deseo,

inmortales como nuestras almas.

Philips as “Orinda,” from the frontispiece to her posthumously-published 1667 collection.

To Mrs. M. A. at Parting

I Have examin’d and do find,
Of all that favour me
There’s none I grieve to leave behind
But only only thee.
To part with thee I needs must die,
Could parting sep’rate thee and I.

But neither Chance nor Complement
Did element our Love ;
‘Twas sacred Sympathy was lent
Us from the Quire above.
That Friendship Fortune did create,
Still fears a wound from Time or Fate.


Our chang’d and mingled Souls are grown
To such acquaintance now,
That if each would resume their own,
Alas ! we know not how.
We have each other so engrost,
That each is in the Union lost.


And thus we can no Absence know,
Nor shall we be confin’d ;
Our active Souls will daily go
To learn each others mind.
Nay, should we never meet to Sense,
Our Souls would hold Intelligence.


Inspired with a Flame Divine
I scorn to court a stay ;
For from that noble Soul of thine 
I ne’re can be away.
But I shall weep when thou dost grieve ;
Nor can I die whil’st thou dost live.


By my own temper I shall guess
At thy felicity,
And only like my happiness
Because it pleaseth thee.
Our hearts at any time will tell
If thou, or I, be sick, or well.


All Honour sure I must pretend,
All that is Good or Great ;
She that would be Rosania’s Friend,
Must be at least compleat.
If I have any bravery,
‘Tis cause I have so much of thee.


Thy Leiger Soul in me shall lie,
And all thy thoughts reveal ;
Then back again with mine shall flie,
And thence to me shall steal.
Thus still to one another tend ;
Such is the sacred name of Friend.


Thus our twin-Souls in one shall grow,
And teach the World new Love,
Redeem the Age and Sex, and shew
A Flame Fate dares not move :
And courting Death to be our friend,
Our Lives together too shall end.


A Dew shall dwell upon our Tomb
Of such a quality,
That fighting Armies, thither come,
Shall reconciled be.
We’ll ask no Epitaph, but say

Epitaph on her Son H. P.

WHat on Earth deserves our trust ?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain,
What one moment calls again.
Seven years childless, marriage past,
A Son, a son is born at last :
So exactly lim’d and fair.
Full of good Spirits, Meen, and Air,
As a long life promised,
Yet, in less than six weeks dead.
Too promising, too great a mind
In so small room to be confin’d :
Therefore, as fit in Heav’n to dwell,
He quickly broke the Prison shell.
So the subtle Alchimist,
Can’t with Hermes Seal resist
The powerful spirit’s subtler flight,
But t’will bid him long good night.
And so the Sun if it arise
Half so glorious as his Eyes,
Like this Infant, takes a shrowd,
Buried in a morning Cloud.

Epitafio a su hijo H.P.

¿Qué diablos merece nuestra confianza?

la juventud y la belleza son polvo.

Durante mucho tiempo nos reunimos con dolor,

lo que un momento llama de nuevo.

Siete años de matrimonio sin hijos,

un hijo, al fin nace un hijo:

tan exactamente limitado y justo,

lleno de buen espíritu, mente y aire,

como prometia una larga vida

sin embargo, en menos de seis semanas muere.

Demasiado prometedor, una mente demasiado grande

en una habitación tan pequeña para ser confinado:

por tanto, como apto para habitar en el Cielo,

rápidamente rompió el caparazón de la prisión.

Entonces el alquimista sutil,

no puedo resistirme con el sello de Hermes

el vuelo más sutil del poderoso espíritu,

pero le desearé buenas noches.

Y así como el sol surge

la mitad de glorioso que sus ojos,

como este infante, lleva una mortaja,

enterrado en una nube matutina.

To Mr. Vaughan, Silurist on His Poems

Had I ador’d the multitude, and thence
Got an antipathy to wit and sence,
And hug’d that fate, in hope the world would grant
‘Twas good — affection to be ignorant;
Yet the least ray of thy bright fancy seen
I had converted, or excuseless been:
For each birth of thy muse to after-times
Shall expatiate for all this age’s crimes.
First shines the Armoret, twice crown’d by thee,
Once by they Love, next by Poetry;
Where thou the best of Unions dost dispence:
Truth cloth’d in wit, and Love in innocence.
So that the muddyest Lovers may learn here,
No fountains can be sweet that are not clear.
Then Juvenall reviv’d by thee declares
How flat man’s Joys are, and how mean his cares;
And generously upbraids the world that they
Should such a value for their ruine pay.
But when thy sacred muse diverts her quill,
The Lantskip to design of Zion-Hill;32
As nothing else was worthy her or thee,
So we admire almost t’Idolatry.
What savage brest would not be rapt to find
Such Jewells insuch Cabinets enshrind’?
Thou (fill’d with joys too great to see or count)
Descend’st from thence like Moses from the Mount,
And with a candid, yet unquestioned aw,
Restorlst the Golden Age when Verse was Law.
Instructing us, thou so secur’st thy fame,
That nothing can distrub it but my name;
Nay I have hoped that standing so near thine
‘Twill lose its drosse, and by degrees refine …
“Live, till the disabused world consent
All truths of use, or strength, or ornament,
Are with such harmony by thee displaid,
As the whole world was first by number made
And from the charming rigour thy Muse brings
Learn there’s no pleasure but in serious things.

Katherine Fowler Philips (Londres, Inglaterra, 1 de enero de 1632- Londres, 22 de junio de 1664), llamada la «incomparable Orinda». Poeta, dramaturga y traductora. Es considerada como la primera poeta inglesa.

Era hija del comerciante presbiteriano John Fowler. Muy amante de la lectura, se dice que concluyó de leer la Biblia entera a los cinco años y adquirió un dominio notable de varios idiomas. Después de la muerte de su padre, se mudó a Gales con su madre recién casada. Estudió en un internado, el College of Hackney de 1640 a 1645, donde comenzó a escribir versos dentro de un círculo de amigos y a apreciar los romances franceses y las obras de Cavalier. En el internado conoció a Mary Aubrey, la “Rosania” de sus poemas. Con apenas dieciséis años, en 1647, se casó con el parlamentario galés James Philips de Cardigan. Tuvieron tres hijos, uno de ellos, Hector, fallecido muy pequeño. La muerte de Héctor fue el tema de algunos de los poemas posteriores de Philips, como “Epitafio sobre Héctor Philips” y “Sobre la muerte de mi primer y querido hijo”.

La pareja creó en su casa una especie de círculo literario o academia pastoril, la “Sociedad de la amistad“, cuyos miembros tomaron nombres de pastores; James Philips de Cardigana, era “Antenor”, a ella le dieron el de “Orinda“, que más tarde usó como pseudónimo y se incluyó en la edición póstuma de 1705 de las Cartas de Orinda a Poliarchus.  Poliarchus era el nombre pastoril de Sir Charles Cotterel quien se habría de convertir en maestro de ceremonias de la corte tras la restauración de la monarquía. Aparte del poeta metafísico Henry Vaughan, también Abraham Cowley formaba parte de los amigos de esa academia y el poeta y dramaturgo William Cartwright (1611-1643) para el cual compuso alguna obra.

Hizo algunas traducciones del francés, las más celebrada una de Pierre CorneilleLa Mort de Pompée / La muerte de Pompeyo, que completó durante un viaje a Irlanda que hizo en 1662 para reclamar una tierras; se estrenó con gran éxito en lo que ahora es el Royal Theatre de Dublín en 1663. En ese mismo año la pieza se publicó en Dublín y Londres. Fue la primera versión rimada de una tragedia francesa en inglés y la primera obra en inglés escrita por una mujer que fue presentada en un escenario profesional

The Matchless Orinda“, como la llamaban sus admiradores, era considerada la apóstol de la amistad femenina e inspiraba un gran respeto. Se la consideraba un ejemplo de la escritora ideal: virtuosa, correcta y casta. Con frecuencia se la contrastaba con la más osada y transgresora Aphra Behn , en detrimento de esta última. Sus poemas, a menudo ocasionales, suelen celebrar los refinados placeres del amor platónico. 

El poeta John Keats en una carta a una amigo fechada en julio de 1817, se quejaba de la calidad de muchas de las poetas mujeres de su época, sin embargo alaba La impar Orinda, de Katherine Philips, y en la carta Keats señala: “Debes haber oído hablar de ella y seguramente leído su poesía; pero me agradaría que no, para tener el placer de sorprenderte con algunas estancias. Lo hago a la ventura. No lamentarás leerlas otra vez”.

Enlaces de interés :



Manuscript poems by Katherine Philips : https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/9051

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