Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stuart-Wortley, Emmeline Charlotte Elizabeth

STUART-WORTLEY, Lady EMMELINE CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH (1806–1855), poetess and authoress, second daughter of John Henry Manners, fifth duke of Rutland, K.G., and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, fifth daughter of Frederick, fifth earl of Carlisle [q. v.], was born on 2 May 1806. She married, on 17 Feb. 1831, the Hon. Charles Stuart-Wortley, second son of James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, first baron Wharncliffe [q. v.], by whom she had three children: Archibald Henry Plantagenet (b. 26 July 1832, d. 30 April 1890), Adelbert William John (d. 1847), and Victoria Alexandrina, who married, on 4 July 1863, Sir William Earle Welby-Gregory.

Lady Emmeline's earliest poems appeared in 1833, and for the next eleven years she published annually a volume of verse. Some were the outcome of her experiences of travel, as ‘Travelling Sketches in Rhyme’ (1835); ‘Impressions of Italy, and other poems’ (1837); and sonnets, written chiefly during a tour through Holland, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Hungary (1839). In 1837 and 1840 she edited the ‘Keepsake,’ for which she wrote many poems. Among the contributors was Tennyson, who published in the ‘Keepsake’ for 1837 his ‘St. Agnes’ (afterwards republished under the title of ‘St. Agnes' Eve’ in the volume of 1842). Others of Lady Emmeline's associates were the Countess of Blessington, Theodore Hook, Richard Monckton Milnes, the Hon. Mrs. Norton, and Mrs. Shelley. In 1849–50 Lady Emmeline visited the United States, and published an account of her travels in three volumes in 1851, and ‘Sketches of Travel in America’ in 1853. Her last production, also a book of travel, ‘A Visit to Portugal and Madeira,’ appeared in 1854.

While riding in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem on 1 May 1855, her leg was fractured by the kick of a mule. She was not in good health at the time, yet persisted in journeying from Beyrout to Aleppo, and in returning by an unfrequented road across Lebanon. She died at Beyrout in November 1855.

In the quality and quantity of her literary work Lady Emmeline has been compared to Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle [q. v.], and to Letitia Elizabeth Landon [q. v.]; but, although she possessed their facility of memory, she had far less literary capacity. Many of her poems first appeared in ‘Blackwood's Magazine.’

Other works by her are:

  1. ‘London at Night, and other Poems,’ 1834.
  2. ‘Unloved of Earth, and other Poems,’ 1834.
  3. ‘The Knight and the Enchantress, with other Poems,’ 1835.
  4. ‘The Village Churchyard, and other Poems,’ 1835.
  5. ‘The Visionary, a Fragment, with other Poems,’ 1836.
  6. ‘Fragments and Fancies,’ 1837.
  7. ‘Hours at Naples, and other Poems,’ 1837.
  8. ‘Lays of Leisure Hours,’ 2 vols. 1838.
  9. ‘Queen Berengaria's Courtesy, and other Poems,’ 3 vols. 1838.
  10. ‘Jairah: a Dramatic Mystery, and other Poems,’ 1840.
  11. ‘Eva, or the Error,’ a play in five acts in verse, 1840.
  12. ‘Alphonso Algarves,’ a play in five acts in verse, 1841.
  13. ‘Angiolina del Albino, or Truth and Treachery,’ a play in verse, 1841. 14. ‘The Maiden of Moscow,’ a poem, 1841.
  14. ‘Lillia Branca, a Tale of Italy,’ in verse, 1841.
  15. ‘Moonshine,’ a comedy,’ 1843.
  16. ‘Adelaide,’ 1843.
  17. ‘Ernest Mountjoy,’ a comedietta in three acts in prose, 1844.
  18. Two poems on the Great Exhibition, 1851.

[Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Gent. Mag. 1856, i. 183; Burke's Peerage; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

E. L.