Anne Killigrew Background

Anne Killigrew Background

The poem To The Pious Memory of the Accomplish'd Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew, published in 1686, is an elegy written by John Dryden in the memory of Anne Killigrew, a British poet who lived between 1660 and 1685.

Even if Anne Killigrew is probably best known for being a subject in one of Dryden’s odes, she was a poet and a painter, her poems being published after her death in 1686 by her father.

Anne Killigrew came from a wealthy family and thus received an education fit for a lady for her time, studying most likely the Bible, Greek mythology, and philosophy, elements which can be seen in her poems.

Dryden uses his ode to praise Anne Killigrew, with references being made to her beauty, virtue, and talent. Dryden was one of Anne’s admirers and praised her literary aptitude, comparing her to Sapho, a Greek writer commonly regarded as one of the greatest lyric poets in antiquity.

Dryden was so impressed by Anne Killigrew’s talent that he wrote this poem to honor her memory, and in it, he mentions other female poets, such as Sappho and Lucretia, to emphasize her importance. His admiration for Killigrew can be seen in the words he chose to describe her: “so bright a mind”, “such virtues”, “divine”, “bright”, “and immortal”.

Dryden also mentions that Anne Killigrew’s beauty was “beyond all painting”, which shows how he saw her as a perfect example of virtue and beauty. He also talks about her paintings and her skill in that field, “such Art/As Nature could not give, but only teach”.

The poem is a great example of a eulogy, Dryden’s words expressing his admiration for Killigrew and his sadness for her death, as he regrets that she passed away so young. He wrote it to immortalize Anne Killigrew so that her memory could be kept alive.

The poem is also an example of the traditional style of the time, with Dryden using poetic devices such as similes and metaphors to emphasize his admiration for Anne Killigrew. It is a great example of how poets from the time-honored individuals, and of the admiration that female poets of the time were receiving, as Anne Killigrew was praised by one of the greatest British poets of the time.

Dryden’s work on the poem To The Pious Memory of the Accomplish'd Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew is a lasting testament to the life and accomplishments of Anne Killigrew, and a reminder of the admiration female poets of the time were receiving, as Dryden was inspired by her talent and decided to immortalize her in his poem. His words praising her beauty, talent, and virtue will continue to be a reminder of the importance of her work and her life, even after she is gone.

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