This facsimile edition reproduces the extant works of the seventeenth-century poet, 'Ephelia'. By tradition, the identity of 'Ephelia' has been a long-contested debate in English letters. In her extended Introductory Note, Maureen Mulvihill culls evidence from the 'Ephelia' texts and from contemporary sources to show that the most likely candidate is Mary Villiers, later Stuart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox (1622-1685). The volume opens with the reproduction of A Poem To His Sacred Majesty, On the Plot... (1678) from the copy held at the Bodleian Library. This is a large broadsheet poem prompted by The Popish Plot, expressing support for King Charles II. A new addition to the corpus of 'Ephelia's work is a variant of this 1678 parent-text, displaying a woodcut printer's ornament (factotum, with inset typepiece 'H'), which may hold special significance. This volume reproduces the copy preserved at the Huntington Library, and supplies with the facsimile an enlarged image of the ornament. Female Poems on several Occasions (1679) offers a rich variety of material: political verse, excerpted material from the poet's 'lost' play, love poetry and coterie verse critical of the moral decline of the Stuart court. The copy of the book reproduced here is that preserved at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The final printed work in the volume is Advice To His Grace () in which 'Ephelia' admonishes the Duke of Monmouth and advocates the purity of the Stuart line and the integrity of the Stuart succession. The copy reproduced here is preserved at the Beinecke Library. The volume concludes with three appendices: two Van Dyck portraits of Lady Mary Villiers; a signed manuscript elegy, preserved at Nottingham, with an enlarged image of its armorial watermark; and the title-page of the poet's Female Poems (1682).
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface by the General Editors; Introductory note; A poem to his sacred majesty, on the plot, written by a gentlewoman (1678); A poem as it was presented to his sacred majesty, on the discovery of the plott, written by a lady of quality (1679), with an enlarged image of the poem's woodcut initial; Female poems on several occasions. Written by Ephelia (1679); Advice to his grace (c. June, 1681); Appendices: Appendix A. Two portraits of Lady Mary Villers, by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (c. 1630s); Appendix B. 'A funerall elegie on Sr. Thomas Isham Barronet' (c. 9 August 1681; Nottingham Library), with an enlarged image of the manuscript's armorial watermark and the volume editor's unedited transcription; Appendix C. Title page, Female poems on several occasions. Written by Ephelia. The second edition, with large additions (1682).
'Ephelia now takes her clear place in the Age and the canon, and remains a symbol for all those contemporary women writers... Some Ephelia scholars have wondered if she was a man, or a group of men and women, hiding behind not just a pseudonym but a skirt. One of the few who did not give up on the mystery is Maureen E. Mulvihill of the Princeton Research Forum... It seems just that Mall Villiers will now get her due, and be rightfully acknowledged, thanks to Mulvihill, in such official places as the authoritative ESTC (now online, for library subscribers).' Today In Literature website 'This pseudonymous poet, songwriter, and playwright of late-seventeenth-century London has been the subject of a longstanding and hotly contested debate in the academic community ... In the judgment of some bibliophiles and area specialists, the Villiers case for ’Ephelia’ is an exciting new attribution in the canon of early-modern English poetry, and Mulvihill is to be commended for enviably cracking such a complex case, owing to her broad multimedia methodology.' Seventeenth-Century News, now online 'The [Villiers] attribution has been accepted by all standard reference sources and has had no serious printed counter-identification.' The Orlando Project, online, 'Ephelia' chapter, 'Overview'. Cambridge University Press, 2010 ’The subject of Ephelia authorship has been the subject of extensive scholarly debate, which has yielded intriguing results, if not a highly probable identification.’ Reading Early Modern Women (Routledge, 2004) p362 ’Several poems by the anonymous Stuart poetess known as Ephelia (whose works were published in 1679 as Female Poems... by Ephelia’) were dedicated to her [Mary Villiers], and it has been established in the last decade by Maureen E. Mulvihill of the Princeton Research Forum, NJ, that Ephelia was in fact Lady Mary herself. This poet produced an intriguing set of texts, some privately printed, being bold political broadsheets agai