"And as in Palaces the outmost, worst / Rooms entertain our wonder at the first; / But once within the Presence-Chamber door, / We do despise what e're we saw before: / So when you with her Mind acquaintance get, / You'l hardly think upon the Cabinet."
— Philips [née Fowler], Katherine (1632-1664)
They only should her Character relate.
Truth shines so bright there, that an Enemy
Would be a better Oratour then I.
Love stifles Language, and I must confess,
I had said more if I had loved less.
Yet the most critical who that Face see
Will ne're suspect a partiality.
Others by time and by degrees perswade,
But her first look doth every heart invade.
She hath a Face so eminently bright,
Would make a Lover of an Anchorite:
A Face where conquest mixt with modesty
Are both compleated in Divinity.
Not her least glance but sets a heart on fire,
And checks it if it should too much aspire.
Such is the Magick of her Looks, the same
Beam doth both kindle and refine our flame.
If she doth smile, no Painter e're would take
Another Rule when he would Mercy make.
And Heav'n to her such splendour hath allow'd,
That no one posture can her Beauty cloud:
For if she frown, none but would phansie then
Justice descended here to punish Men.
Her common looks I know not how to call
Any one Grace, they are compos'd of all.
And if we Mortals could the doctrine reach,
Her Eyes have language, and her Looks do teach.
And as in Palaces the outmost, worst
Rooms entertain our wonder at the first;
But once within the Presence-Chamber door,
We do despise what e're we saw before:
So when you with her Mind acquaintance get,
You'l hardly think upon the Cabinet.
Her Soul, that Ray shot from the Deity,
Doth still preserve its native purity;
Which Earth can neither threaten nor allure,
Nor by false joys defile it, or obscure.
The Innocence which in her heart doth dwell,
Angels themselves can only parrallel.
More gently soft then is an Evening-shower:
And in that sweetness there is coucht a Power,
Which scorning Pride, doth think it very hard
That Modesty should need so mean a Guard.
Her Honour is protected by her Eyes,
As the old Flaming Sword kept Paradise.
Such Constancy of Temper, Truth and Law,
Guides all her actions, that the World may draw
From her one Soul the noblest Precedent
Of the most safe, wise, vertuous Government.
And as the highest Element is clear
From all the Tempests which disturb the Air:
So she above the World and its rude noise,
Above our storms a quiet Calm enjoys.
Transcendent things her noble thoughts sublime,
Above the faults and trifles of the Time.
Unlike those Gallants which take far less care
To have their Souls, then make their Bodies fair;
Who (sick with too much leisure) time do pass
With these two books, Pride, and a Looking-glass:
Plot to surprize Mens hearts, their pow'r to try,
And call that Love, which is meer Vanity.
But she, although the greatest Murtherer,
(For ev'ry glance commits a Massacre)
Yet glories not that slaves her power confess,
But wishes that her Monarchy were less.
And if she love, it is not thrown away,
As many do, onely to spend the day;
But her's is serious, and enough alone
To make all Love become Religion.
And to her Friendship she so faithful is,
That 'tis her onely blot and prejudice:
For Envy's self could never errour see
Within that Soul, 'bating her love to me.
Now as I must confess the name of Friend
To her that all the World doth comprehend
Is a most wild Ambition; so for me
To draw her picture is flat Lunacy.
Oh! I must think the rest; for who can write
Or into words confine what's Infinite?
Text from Poems: By the most deservedly Admired Mrs Katherine Philips: The matchless Orinda. To which is added Monsieur Corneille's Pompey & Horace Tragedies. With several other Translations out of French (London: Printed by J. M. for H. Herringman, 1667). <Link to EEBO>