Chudleigh, Lady Mary

, who had the character of a very philosophic and poetic lady, was born in 1656, and was the daughter of Richard Lee, of Winsloder, in Devonshire, esq. She was married to sir George Chudleigh, bart. by whom she had several children; among the rest, Eliza-Maria, who dying in the bloom of life, was lamented by her mother in a poem entitled “A Dialogue between Lucinda and Marissa.” She wrote another poem called “The Ladies Defence,” occasioned by an angry sermon preached against the fair sex. These, with many others, were collected into a volume in 1703, and printed a third time in 1722. She published also a volume of Essays upon various subjects in verse and prose, in 1710, which have been much admired far delicacy of style. These were dedicated to her royal highness the princess Sophia, electress and duchess dowager of Brunswick; on which occasion that princess, then in her eightieth year, honoured her with a very polite epistle.

This lady is said to have written other things, as tragedies, operas, masques, &c. which, though not printed, are preserved in her family. She died in 1710, in her fifty-fifth year. She was a woman of a sound understanding, but as a poetess, cannot be allowed to rank very high. It was her merit, however, that although she had an education in which literature seemed but little regarded, being taught no other than her native language, her fondness for books, great application, and uncommon abilities, enabled her to figure among the literati of her time. Amidst | the charms of poetry, in which she took great delight, she dedicated some part of her time to the severer studies of philosophy. This appears from her Essays, in which she discovers a great degree of piety and good sense. Several of her letters are in the “Memoirs of -Richard Gwinnett and Mrs. Thomas,1731, 2 vols. 8vo, and in Curll’s Collection of Letters, vol. III. 1

1

Ballard’s Memoirs. Cibber’s Lives.