An Apology for Her Poetry

By, Margaret Cavendish

Margaret Cavendish

Cavendish was born into a wealthy family, although untitled. As a child she was tutored privately and when she turned nineteen was sent to attend English court with her older sister. Cavendish soon became the maid of honor to Queen Henrietta Maria. In 1644 Queen Henrietta was exiled to Paris and Cavendish went with her. In Paris Cavendish met her future husband, William Cavendish, and was married a year later. Cavendish and her husband both went back to England, where she was known as being eccentric and having an unusual sense of fashion. Cavendish is most well known her works in literature as an author, poet, play write, literary critique, observationist, and natural philosopher.
Margaret Cavendish

An Apology for Her Poetry

I language want to dress my fancies in,

The hair's uncurled, the garment's loose and thin.

Had they but silver lace to make them gay,

They'd be more courted than in poor array;

Or, had they art, would make a better show;

But they are plain; yet cleanly do they go.

The world in bravery doth take delight,

And glistering shows do more attract the sight:

And every one doth honor a rich hood,

As if the outside made the inside good.

And every one doth bow and give the place,

Not for the man's sake but the silver lace.

Let me intreat in my poor book's behalf,

That all will not adore the golden calf.

Consider, pray, gold hath no life therein,

And life, in nature, is the richest thing.

Be just, let Fancy have the upper place,

And then my verses may perchance find grace.

In this poem Cavendish is saying that in her writing she does not believe in making it "showy", she believes that it should be blunt and straight forward. Although Cavendish lived a wealthy, extravagant lifestyle, she did not want that to shape her poetry. The title of her poetry ties it all together by making a sarcastic remark that she does not have make her poems showy and falter the point she is trying to make. Overall I think the poem is a statement and explanation that she will not conform to what other people believe her writing should be.
Margaret Cavendish and her poetry

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