"The Description of Cooke-ham" praises the estate of her patroness, Margaret, countess of Cumberland, as being a lost Eden for women. In this poem, she uses the conventions of pastoral poetry and farewell to a place poems.
She employs the pathetic
fallacy, wherein she imagines that nature
shares her feelings.
|2||Grace has 2 meanings
|3||"the muses gave their full consent," i.e., women were allowed to write
with no opposition. In that time, writing was considered men's work.
Women should tend to their knitting.
|23-25||An Edenic paradise.
|31||Philomela - the presence of this bird (the nightingale) in the garden
reminds us of the violence often perpetrated against women.
|64||"Phoebus" = Apollo, god of the sun. The oak's shade protected
the ladies against the assault of the sun.
|83||"holy Writ" = the Bible
"in some fair tree" = God reveals himself in nature. The idea that God does this is sometimes called "natural revelation" or "general revelation," God's revelation to everybody in general. The Bible is special revelation that comes to some people in a supernatural manner.
|126||"blind Fortune" - Fortune was often pictured as being blind, as well
as having the famous wheel. Fortune turned against them by making
leave their paradise. They weren't expelled for their own sin, as
happend to Adam and Eve.
|133||The trees lost their leaves when Margaret left. This is an example
of the pathetic fallacy.
|195||"The sun grew weak" - in the winter, the sun is weak. The green plants lost their color.|