Born Elizabeth Greenly, daughter of a wealthy lawyer residing near Kingston, southwest of London, Elizabeth Moody grew up surrounded by a fashionable set that included lawyers, politicians, courtiers, and literary dilettantes. A book lover from an early age, she also attained unusual fluency in French and Italian, and with access to several fine libraries among neighbors and relatives, she was well read in English, French, and Italian literature. For many years, she composed and privately circulated verse within a small literary coterie that included poets Edward Lovibond (1724–1775) and George Hardinge (1744–1816). She remained unmarried until 1777, when she wedded dissenting clergyman Christopher Lake Moody, a versatile literary professional. Soon after, Elizabeth Moody began publishing her poetry, first in the General Evening Post and the Gentleman’s Magazine. The following year, Christopher Moody and publisher Ralph Griffiths joined resources to found the St. James’s Chronicle, with the poetry of Elizabeth Moody, now sometimes called the “Muse of Surbiton,” as one of the cornerstones of the new journal’s success.
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- Elizabeth Moody (1737–1814)
Mary A. Waters
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