Alfred H. Miles, ed. Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.
Critical and Biographical Essay by Alfred H. Miles
Dinah Maria Craik (18261887)
LIKE many other successful prose writers, Mrs. Craik sometimes threw her thoughts into the form of verse. These occasional efforts formed the substance of two volumes issued at different times and afterwards of one volume, entitled, Thirty Years, being Poems New and Old. Though lacking in the higher qualities of true poetry, imagination, passion, breadth of experience, and depth of emotion, there is enough true feeling and human interest in many of her poems to entitle them to recognition in these pages, and give her a true if not a very exalted place in any representative anthology of the verse of her countrywomen. Philip my King, the first poem in either volume, ranked high among her own favourites, and has, perhaps, been the most often quoted of her verses. A Silly Song, too, and A Christmas Carol are given in an anthology for which her own selection of her own work was asked. The ballad In Swanage Bay, which is not included in her last volume, has none the less been very popular as a recitation, and shows ability to write a simple and touching story in verse.
Dinah Maria Muloch was born at Stoke-upon-Trent, in the year 1826. Her father, a clergyman of wide learning, superintended her education and encouraged her early efforts. She published her first novel The Ogilvies when in her twenty-third year, a work which was followed in 1850 by Olive, and in 18567 by John Halifax, Gentleman. Other novels, stories for children, essays on ethical and domestic subjects and translations succeeded, including A Life for a Life (1860), in which, perhaps, her strongest work is to be found. In 1864 she received a pension of £60 in consideration of work in literature; and in 1865 she married Mr. George Lillie Craik. Mrs. Craik died in the month of October, 1887.