A Poem by Margaret Cavendish, who I adore.


I discovered her by chance at work, in one of the thousands of books I’ve worked on there. That job is a goldmine for me.

You may or may not know that I draw heavily upon Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, called the first female scientist, as a role model for Sly’s scientific writing. She liked to publish her theories on natural philosophy in the form of poems and fantasy fiction. My cat does the same.

I have just stumbled on this light-hearted poem in one of those massive surveys of literature. Wow! Perfect for me. It will make it a preface to my novel, or a dedication, something up front, to set the tone of the story from the get-go.

I’m a fool for this woman, I love her to death. Yeah, I’m digging myself deeper into unreadability, I know it. All right, maybe I’ll keep this my private joke.

But, maybe not.


Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)

An Apology for Writing So Much upon This Book*


Condemn me not, I make so much ado

About this book; it is my child, you know.

Just like a bird, when her young are in the nest,

Goes in, and out, and hops, and takes no rest:

But when their young are fledg’d, their heads out-peep,

Lord! What a chirping does the old one keep!

So I, for fear my strengthless child should fall

Against a door, or stool, aloud I call;

Bid have a care of such a dangerous place:

Thus write I much, to hinder all disgrace.


* This poem appeared at the beginning of all three editions of Cavendish’s Poems and Fancies, published during her lifetime in 1652, 1664, and 1668.


I strongly recommend you read history. The fabulous things you find! (That you can twist to your heart’s content.)

I have another – naughty! – idea, lifted from another great book: The History of Perfume. My husband is horrified, forbids me to use it. I, naturally, think it’s hilarious.

OK, he doesn’t forbid me, he knows that’s useless. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do. This is too sweet not to explore. He felt the same way about the priest and the Virgin-Mary-role-playing whore. I believe he’s on board with that now. Or, he sees he’s fighting a losing battle and has given up.



17 thoughts on “A Poem by Margaret Cavendish, who I adore.

  1. mimispeike says:

    We all know about the lack of hygiene in those days, and the vials of perfume hung around the neck to cloak unpleasant odors. In my Perfume book I read that women of my time, particularly upper-class women, often wore an ornament filled with scent hung on a ribbon or chain from the waist.

    Sly catches whiffs from under billowing skirts, his sensitive nose is constantly insulted. The wearing of a scent container at knee level is a godsend to him. This is going to be fun, I haven’t a doubt in the world.

    What turned me on to Cavendish? Swiped from Margaret’s bio, here’s her recorded complaint:

    Aristotle himself would wish he had never been the master of all schools, now to be lectured to, and by a . . .

    The original fretted: ‘and by a woman.’ My version goes: ‘and by a cat.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mimispeike says:

    I have just applied for the Medium.com Partners Program. If you are accepted, your writing has the potential to be seen by a huge number of people.

    I don’t have any idea of what they expect in terms of credentials, etc. I gave them a quick, flip bio and told them to find examples of my POV and style over here.

    Here we have very modest activity. There, the volume of competing content is the problem. But the audience is there, for sure.

    None of this is easy. That’s also for sure.


    Here’s a comment on Scribophile:

    I was accepted into the program and published a Member’s Only short story last week. I earned $19.50 dollars. (The author that earned the most got $1,342.54 in 14 days. 88% of the writers earned money. The average was $68.44.) And, they do not require exclusivity. You are free to post your piece on as many sites as you wish.


    If I get in, I will post my novella chapter by chapter. Anyone who writes short stories (Carl comes to mind) should consider it.


    I post my pieces on Facebook also. I have one dedicated follower, a friend from college. We lost touch in the early eighties. As she became very religious, our views diverged radically. I am courting her attention, easing her into my plot slowly.

    She held an executive position for decades at an important, respected non-profit, and has contacts across the country that (judging from the traffic on her page) she is still close to. If she recommends my thing, many will pay heed.

    She has a marvelous sense of humor, the big question is, will she be offended by my Virgin Mary gambit? We were once very close, and she is very pleased to have reestablished relations, but that may not keep me in her good graces once she realizes Sly is not simply a literary-leaning funny story about a talking cat, but has a real bite to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mimispeike says:

    I have one more thing to say, and I say it with all respect, knowing that life throws up roadblocks. If the energy I see here lately is akin to the energy we put into marketing our books . . . get my drift?

    Damn. Should I post this or not? Oh, what the hell. Maybe I’ll get a conversation going. Are you downhearted? Do you see no point to it?

    I use this site as my marketing training wheels. Anything I write, I write as if I plan to submit it to Salon or Daily Beast.

    Medium.com – here I come. If you’ll have me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GD Deckard says:

      We’re fine. People are busy, is all. We just need many more members.

      I have an idea for “easy” blogs in the meantime: Let’s do “Welcome New Member” and “Member Spotlight” posts to use as filler when needed. We can copy the information off of their website pages to use & call it a blog.
      What do you think?


    • Perry Palin says:

      I haven’t been active here, and I’m sorry for that. In the last two weeks an aunt died, and we’re making arrangements; an uncle (other side of the family) is fading fast and I have power of attorney for medical and financial decisions; we’re busy with the garden and apple harvest, which means picking and cleaning the stuff but also processing (freezing, drying, canning); we’ve harvested and are dealing with much more honey from our bees than we’ve had before; we’re starting a major house repair/renovation with a contractor; I had to build two new barn doors and I’m painting those and the wood fence in the barnyard; I’n nursing a lame horse; I’ve taken a couple of days to meet social and volunteering obligations; the theatre company property manager hurt himself and I was called in to build flats for the next production. Now I’m sick, and I have a hard time just walking out to the barn for morning chores. Crap. I’ll probably have nothing for our next (current) writing challenge.

      Yep, as GD says, we’re busy, and we need more members.

      I’m taking a writing class one evening a week in a town an hour away by car. The homework cuts into the week. The assignments are interesting, but there is no conversation about marketing. Last night the instructor asked me if she could publish my week’s lesson in a regional publication, so there’s that.

      I don’t have anything to offer on marketing, because I haven’t been doing any. I have written that the best marketing in our little towns is personal selling at community events. A friend is taking his books and a table to a harvest festival in the next week or so, and I’ll be interested in hearing about his sales numbers.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. mimispeike says:

    Now I’m depressed. I probably should have said nothing.

    I guess you guys have more interesting/more complicated lives than I do. I garden. I don’t do too much housework, I mean to but never get to it. I have my bad knees as an excuse. I don’t cook too much these days – long story there, I’m not up to telling it right now.

    I don’t watch TV, we have cut the cable. I never watched anything but Rachel Maddow and friends anyway, and the news, and I get that on the internet for free. So I’m on here all the time. It’s my entertainment.

    And, like Curtis has created a bonus publication, Making a Murder, I see my posts about Sly as a supplement to the novel at some point. Maybe to a twenty-fifth anniversary cult-classic edition. Yeah, I’m thinking big. Dreams keep us going, right?

    I’m really depressed. Really, really. I had a hard night at work. Screw it, I’m going to get a second glass of wine. In the dark, because my husband’s last wife is sleeping down there, the usual low light turned off. She’s moved in with us, it seems. I’m fine with that. I like her, and she has left an abusive relationship, she’s vulnerable. She’d been sleeping in Eberhard’s bed, and he with me, until a deck step broke under him and he fell through. He’s in a lot of pain. It’s only a bruised rib (thank God) but I am fearful of bumping in to him at night and causing him more pain. So he’s moved back solo in his own bed and Donna is sleeping on the couch. In the dark. Going down for another glass of wine is a dangerous business.

    OK, the cooking. I hate to cook anyway. She’s a great cook. Problem is, she’s a health fiend. I’m getting damn tired of eating salads. Great salads, don’t get me wrong. Comfort food! I need some comfort food. Pizzas! Cheeseburgers! I’m going to make a spaghetti this weekend and not with whole wheat pasta. And I bought some brie. I’ve had an awful week, and I’m gonna eat as unhealthy as I please this weekend.

    I love my husband to death, but he is one gigantic pain in the ass. He’s totally in the right. We have two disputes going, with the DMV, and with our internet provider. He (we) are totally in the right. But he’s putting me through hell for a hundred dollars with DMV, and one-seventy-five with Frontier. I say, pay the creeps and shut them up. No, it’s a matter of principle.

    I’m off now, for that wine. Talk to you tomorrow. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Perry Palin says:

      I have 10 ounces of wine each night, strictly for medicinal purposes. I weigh 200 pounds, I figure I can handle 10 ounces each night. But if I had your (hopefully temporary) depression and current domestic landscape, I’d carry the bottle to my nightstand.
      I’m the PITA in our household with the traffic court and the internet provider, and I beat them both, eventually, but there was so much stress in the battles that I wonder if it was worth it.
      I’m off now to nurse that lame horse,as best I can. Keep the faith.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. mimispeike says:

    Thanks, guys. Here’s what’s going on with the DMV: Eberhard paid the car registration online. It seemed to him that the payment hadn’t gone through, so he paid again, by check. He perceived finally that the online had worked after all. So he demanded one of the payments back.

    They refunded both payments, then told him he was delinquent and demanded a late fee. He sent the $90 back without the late fee, and letters of complaint. When he went to renew the car insurance he discovered they had suspended his license for an expired registration. He got a lawyer.

    A day later his license was unsuspended, and we have a notice that the case is resolved and the car is registered, but now he owes $500 to the lawyer. So now he’s going to take DMV to small claims court to get the lawyer fee paid. Plus more for pain and suffering.

    The fight with the internet provider is just as nuts, also not our fault. Someone has screwed up with online payments not received, we have the bank records to show they were made. Totally not our fault.

    There’s been a lot of yelling over the telephone this week.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mimispeike says:

    Well, now. I read a piece on Medium by Paul Cantor, and sent him an email telling him how much I had enjoyed it. He emailed me back with thanks.

    Now I see, on Wikipedia, that he has written on Shakespeare and Marlowe, among others. I will bide my time, then drop a hint about my screwball adventure, set in the same period. Who knows? He may be coaxed into looking at it.

    The networking (starting at the top, very iffy, but who knows?) has begun.

    This is one way to assemble an email list.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mimispeike says:

    God, this is exciting. Paul Cantor has sent me another email asking about a comment I made in the previous one. I have composed a carefully worded reply. I am courting my college friend on Facebook, and now I am courting him.

    He lived in Boston about the time I did. I referred to this and that, including the apartment I shared with a bunch of Harvard grads. David Scondras, the first openly gay Boston City councilman, was one of the activist group.

    Maybe, just maybe, Paul will find me amusing and want to hear more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mimispeike says:

    Mysterious! I have commented on two articles on Medium, and my comments have immediately popped up as stand-alone pieces on the front page. Therefore, if you write on there, even in a comment section, don’t embarrass yourself, groom it to a fare-thee-well. (Thank God I did.)

    I have some learning to do. I can’t find a search box so I can locate more by Paul Cantor. Aggravating!


    (Sigh) The Paul Cantor I’m talking to is the son of the professor/media celebrity. So much for my castles-in-the-clouds. But I like him anyway. He has some very interesting things to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mimispeike says:

    This is what I’ve gleaned so far:

    New input of any nature must get an automatic slot on the front page, and is gradually pushed lower and finally retired to subsequent pages by new entries. Therefore, when you post, you have two choices. Post at a time of day that is likely to have the most viewers but be quickly replaced, or post at a slower time, when your piece will be front and center for a longer period.

    Also, no matter how long back you posted your article, any fresh comment will return it to the front page. All that will be shown, however, is your headline (which links to the full article) and their comment. So write interesting banners, to catch the eye the second time at bat. I am now studying headlines: which ones grab me, and why?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hope your tangle of problems and commitments gets sorted out, Perry, and that you emerge soon into cheerfulness, Mimi. Yes, we do need more people, and some form of incentive to draw them. Maybe launch an online magazine. Hmm… whole lotta work there. For the past two months I’ve been saying to myself that in a couple of months I’ll have more time…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Perry Palin says:

      Thanks, Curtis. Update: Lame horse is doing a little better and the farrier returns this week. My uncle passed away and as his administrator I will be dealing with his estate from two states away. That’s going to be a problem. I’m coming slowly out of my cold or flu after sleeping most of yesterday. Everything else is falling into place. It’s raining nicely here this morning.

      There’s tons of online magazines out there. I’ve considered submitting to some of them, but haven’t done it yet. Yes, we need more members.

      Liked by 1 person

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