Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anne Dowriche and The French Historie

The view from Mount Edgcumbe built by Anne Dowriche's father Richard Edgcumbe in the 1550's
In 1589, 520years ago this year, Anne Dowriche living in Honiton and the wife of the then Rector Hugh Dowriche, was in the process of writing a long epic poem, The French Historie. The poem was published in July that year. It had more or less been forgotten, being out of print long ago - but has recently begun to attract critical interest. The poem is very long and complex but based on the C16 French Wars of religion. I have written about Dowriche elsewhere and my poem about her is published in The Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry, 23. Here I have tried to present the poem as originally created/designed - so that there are two layers, the under-layer taken from writing inspired from a visit to her childhood home - which was Mount Edgecumbe - and seeing the tapestries and a desk - which were supposed to date from her period. My poem is deliberately half-hidden like secret/invisible writing and suggestive of secrets, mystery, history and the palimpsest. You may need to click on it to view it - which perhaps adds to the mystery!