Section I, with five linked images and fifteen linked notes, is an abridged overview of the essential discourse on the Ephelia subject, discourse which engages with problematics of identity, authorship, and textual authenticity.
Section II, with three linked images and nine linked notes, offers a first biographical profile and character profile of my candidate for Ephelia's authorship, Lady Mary Villiers, a quietly-powerful member of the royal Stuart circle. Villiers biographers and contemporary memoirists mention her pre-eminent beauty, patronal ties to Stuart literary culture, and talents in trickery, masquerade, dueling, and high intrigue. If my case is accepted in the fullness of time, Ephelia will occupy a distinguished niche as the most highly placed English woman writer at the second Caroline court and as an important voice in the history of English literary feminism. This section also brings fresh attention to selected features in portraits of the new candidate by the official Stuart portraitist, Sir Anthony Van Dyck. As I show, Mary Villiers exploited the pictorial medium as an adjunct to her work in print. Writ large on several full-length canvases, she left a personal history of her life. In two of Van Dyck's most poetic renderings of this Stuart duchess, the alert eye observes the play of iconographical allusions to the sitter's coterie identity and also to what may have been the modus operandi of her manuscript transmission within an exclusive clique of Stuart royals, nobles, courtiers, and courtesans.
Section III, with seven linked images and ten linked notes, reconstructs my discovery of the eureka! piece in the Ephelia puzzle, a search which engaged with Sir Thomas Muffet (the butterfly-man of the 17th century) and the ornament stock of the famous Elzevier printers of Holland and their imitators.
Section IV, with eight linked images and six linked notes, deconstructs the curious frontispiece portrait in Female Poems...by Ephelia (1679) and also uncovers the precipitating occasions and colorful cast of characters in this unusual collection of verse, transmitted perhaps in m' lady's gloves and by m' lady's dwarf. This section concludes with a vigorous reclamation of Ephelia's best love poem from the canon of Sir George Etheridge.
Section V documents the popularity of Ephelia's songs in Stuart musical culture. The essay closes with an audio clip, being a recent sonic portrait of Ephelia by English soprano, Georgina Anne Colwell, Albany Road, Hersham, Surrey, from one of her recent compact discs, This Scepter'd Isle (1993)
Breaking developments in the project appear in seven appendices:
Appendix A, a first Key to Female Poems...by Ephelia, offers readers first access to the heretofore faceless personages and precipitating occasions in this intriguing poetry book; with one linked image.
Appendix B, my graphic representation of Mary Villiers's literary lineage, configures her links, by birth or marriage, to other seventeenth-century English families which produced women writers, such as the lines of Manners, Knyvet, Herbert, Wroth, Sidney, Stuart, Howard, and Felton.
Appendix C, an exercise in reading Stuart faces, considers the two most important men in the life of Mary Villiers: her father, George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, in a chalk drawing by Rubens; and her longstanding lover, evidently Henry Jermyn (Germyn), first Earl of St Albans (most probably the "J.G." of her book project of 1679, Female Poems...by Ephelia), in an engraving by Scriven of a portrait after Van Dyck.
Appendix D, the printed presentation copy of Ephelia's (Mary Villiers's) broadside to Charles II on the Popish Plot (privately printed 1679), with a decorative woodcut initial depicting Charles II and the poem's author: the "brisk and jolly" 'Mall' Villiers.
Appendix E, Ephelia's Grand Spotted Moth, the poet's first entomological patronym, named and entered into the universal taxonomy by Dr. John B. Heppner, Director, Association for Tropical Lepidoptera, and Fellow, Royal Entomological Society, London.
Appendix F, Ephelia's Orange Tip, the first butterfly patronym for Mary Villiers, known as the "Butterfly" of the Restoration court. This new entry in the global catalogue of lepidoptera is discussed by Heppner in Antenna (London, January, 2001), and Lepidoptera News (June, 2000; www.troplep.org).
Appendix G, Title-page of the Defensio Regia (Amsterdam, 1649) by "Salmasius" (Claude de Saumaise), the most famous scholar of his day in Europe. This important book was commissioned by Charles II in defense of the Stuart monarchy and answered by John Milton in his Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio (1651). The Salmasius text interests us because of the typographical mark on its title-page and its strong implications for a fuller, more political reading of the butterfly-and-swords mark on the title-page of Female Poems...by Ephelia (1679).