The Historical Birthday-Tea Party 17th January


I’ve not found anyone with the 17th as their birthday, so another of my 16th Century muses. Catherine Cooke Killigrew 1530-1583. ‘A learned lady’ proficient in several languages, and a poet.

There’s not much information on Catherine, apart from her father Anthony Cooke and husband Henry Killigrew, and that she died in childbirth. Apparently Bathsua Makin thought that all the Cooke sisters (Anne was the mother of Frances Bacon, and Elizabeth married Thomas Hoby, Mildred married Lord Burleigh) were excellent poets.

This little snippet of poetry it would appear was sent to her sister Mildred, trying to get her to intercede with Cecil to prevent Catherine’s husband  being sent overseas. I have to say I didn’t know that when I found it, and was happy to consider it a possible lesbian missive. I’m disappointed that it’s purpose was so prosaic. But who cares, it’s a sweet little snippet.

In thee my soul shall own combined
the sister and the friend
if from my eyes by thee detained
the wanderer cross the seas
no more thy love shall soothe
no more as sister please

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Author: Cherry Potts

Cherry Potts is a published fiction writer, publisher, event organiser, photographer, cardmaker, NLP master practitioner, life coach and trainer. She is an enthusiastic singer. Through Arachne Press she publishes fiction and non fiction and runs spoken word events and cross-arts workshops for writers at interesting venues. Always interested in new opportunites to perform, write or explore writing.

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