On this date in 1664, the poet Katherine Philips died, aged 32.  She was buried in the church yard of what was then St Benet Sherehog Church (which was also dedicated to St. Osyth), in London.  The church no longer stands, having been one of 86 or 87 parish churches destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, along with St. Paul’s Cathedral. Philips was greatly admired in earlier times, up to at least the time of Keats, who admired her work, but is less remembered in our day.

After seven years of marriage, she gave birth to a son, Hector, who died as an infant and was buried in St. Osyth’s church yard.  Today’s writing is her Epitaph to her son.


On her Son H.P. at St. Syth’s Church where her body also lies interred

What on Earth deserves our trust?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain,
What one moment calls again.
Seven years childless marriage past,
A Son, a son is born at last:
So exactly lim’d and fair,
Full of good Spirits, Meen, and Air,
As a long life promised,
Yet, in less than six weeks dead.
Too promising, too great a mind
In so small room to be confined:
Therefore, as fit in Heaven to dwell,
He quickly broke the Prison shell.
So the subtle Alchemist,
Can’t with Hermes Seal resist
The powerful spirit’s subtler flight,
But t’will bid him long good night.
And so the Sun if it arise
Half so glorious as his Eyes,
Like this Infant, takes a shrowd,
Buried in a morning Cloud.