Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Critical and Biographical Essay by Alexander Hay Japp
Mary M. Singleton (“Violet Fane”) (1843–1905)
 
MRS. MARY MONTGOMERIE SINGLETON, better known to the public as “Violet Fane,” was born in 1843. She was a daughter of the late C. J. S. Montgomerie Lamb—only child of Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb, Bart., by Mary Montgomerie, daughter and heiress of Archibald, 11th Earl of Eglinton. She has written much, and has in some lines of work received the best proof of public acceptance—her books have sold. She was the author of several novels, some of which are exceptionally attractive by their fresh views of life and careful delineations of character. She was the author, too, of a drama titled “Anthony Babington,” which, if it is ambitious in its scheme and aim, contains passages of remarkable power. “Denzil Place: A Story in Verse” shows uncommon facility and resource, and has here and there pictures and lyrical turns that tell of real imagination, while it escapes the somewhat broad, almost Hudibrastic boldness of such tales in verse as “Mrs. Jerningham’s Journal”—which, though very original, err, by failing to mark off definitely enough the lines of verse from those of prose. Mrs. Singleton also published several volumes of poetry pure and simple.  1
  From a study of these, we come to the conclusion that “Violet Fane” was a singer, and a thinker as well. Her muse not only treasured up observations of life and nature, and turned them to good account; but the “painful riddle of the earth” was much with her. She brooded over inequalities in the lot of man—the fortune that deals out wealth to one and poverty to another, with which merit apparently has nought to do. The sorrow for which there is no anodyne, the regret for which there is no remedy, the pain for which there is no salve, and the remorseful remembrance for which there is no nepenthe, insisted on being present with her and colouring her life, and consequently her poetry. The ministry of the past to the present—as though the present was the inevitable full-flower of the past—is an idea that comes out in many of her poems. It is the burden of the first of our Selections, titled “Time.” Inevitably, therefore, much of “Violet Fane’s” poetry is set in a minor key: she was artist enough to relieve this by many devices of metre (of which she had considerable command), her poems flowing with a sense as of easy freedom. Occasionally she essayed blank verse, and with more success than has fallen to the lot of many women. Her poems were published in two volumes, 1902.  2
  “Violet Fane,” whose maiden name was Mary Montgomerie Lamb, became afterwards Mrs. Singleton and subsequently Lady Currie, and died in October, 1905.  3
 
 
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