Negative Evidence


Conspicuous, but explainable, negative evidence exists in "My Fate," an autobiographical lyric in which "Ephelia" laments the loss of both parents, "snatch'd" by Fate "in their tender age." Both parents of the present candidate were not young when Lady Mary 'lost' them to circumstance: Buckingham was 36 years old when he was murdered by Felton, and "Kate" Manners was in her mid-30s when she was ordered by Charles I to surrender her children to his care. In accordance with the present case, the poet's original line was most likely, "Thou snatch'd my Parents in my tender Age" (emphasis added); but because this disclosed too much, "my" was changed to "their"in order to deflect attention from the author of the book, one of the most famous young orphan-wards of her day.