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Selected Poetry of Isabella Whitney (ca. 1540-after 1580)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. The Admonition by the Author to all Young Gentlewomen: And to all other Maids being in Love
  2. I. W. To her Unconstant Lover
  3. An Order Prescribed, by Is. W., to two of her Younger Sisters Serving in London
  4. A Sweet Nosegay, or Pleasant Poesy, Containing a Hundred and Ten Philosophical Flowers
  5. To her Sister Mistress A. B.
  6. Will and Testament


Notes on Life and Works

Very little is known of Isabella Whitney's life, other than what she says in her poems. She was a sister of Geoffrey Whitney, who came of a Cheshire family. Having published two volumes of non-religious verse, she is the first secular woman poet in England.

Biographical information

Given name: Isabella
Family name: Whitney
Birth date: ca. 1540
Death date: after 1580
Nationality: English
Occupation: lady-in-waiting
Residence: London
First RPO edition: 2003