Barker, Jane

(1652-?1727)
   Novelist, convert to Roman Catholicism, political poet, and alleged Jacobite spy, she wrote prolifically on a variety of subjects. She was born at Wilsthorpe, Lincolnshire, the daughter of Thomas, a former Royalist soldier. Many of her male relations died young, fighting against James Scott, Protestant Duke of Monmouth at Sedgemoor ("The Pitchfork Rebellion") (1685). A staunch Jacobite, after the 1688 Revolution she followed the Stuart family into exile. Back in England, and with failing eyesight, her late years were spent in Richmond and at Wilsthorpe, under the patronage of the Countess of Exeter. A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies (1723) and The Lining of the Patch-Work Screen (1726) include realistic stories and romances interspersed with poems, hymns, odes, recipes, and religious and philosophical reflections. Her long poem "On the Death of My Brother" portrays her grief and may reflect all her other losses. Some of her other poems: "A Bacchanalian Song," "A Virgin Life," "The Complaint," "The Contract with the muses writ on the bark of a shady ash-tree," "The Necessity of Fate," "To My Friends Who Praised My Poems," "To My Young Lover."
   Sources: British Women Writers: An Anthology from the Fourteenth Century to the Present. Dale Spender and Janet Todd, eds. Peter Bedrick Books. 1989. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. ChadwyckHealey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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