Chandler, Mary (DNB00)

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CHANDLER, MARY (1687–1745), poetess, born at Malmesbury, Wiltshire, in 1687, was the eldest daughter of Henry Chandler, a dissenting minister, afterwards settled at Bath, her mother having been a Miss Bridgman of Marlborough, and one of her brothers being Dr. Samuel Chandler [q. v.] In her youth her spine became crooked, and her health suffered, yet she set up a shop in Bath about 1705, when not yet out of her teens, and enlivened her hours by writing rhyming riddles and poems to friends (ib. p. 353), and by reading poetry. The neighoouring gentry had her to visit them, among them being Mrs. Boteler, Mrs. Moor, Lady Russell, and the Duchess of Somerset. She was asked so frequently for copies of her verses that she at last resolved to print them. She was permitted to inscribe her book to the Princess Amelia. Swift's Mrs. Barber was her literary friend and neighbour, and she was also a friend of Elizabeth Rowe. Her volume is called 'A Description of Bath,' and going speedily through two editions, a third was issued m 1736, a fourth in 1738, and a fifth in 1741. A wealthy gentleman of sixty, struck with one of her poems, travelled eighty miles to see her, and, after buying a pair of gloves of her, offered to make her his wife, Miss Chandler turned the incident into verse, and a sixth edition of her book being called for in 1744, it appeared with a sub-title, 'To which is added a True Tale, by the same Author.' Soon afterwards Miss Chandler was able to retire from business; and she commenced a poem 'On the Attributes of God,' but this was never finished, for she died on 11 Sept. 1745.

A seventh edition of her poems was issued in 1755, and an eighth in 1767. She dedicated her book to her brother John, and her 'Life,' in Theophilus Cibber's 'Lives of the Poets,' was written by her brother Samuel.

[Th. Cibber's Poets, v. 345-63; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. v. 304, 308; Mary Chandler's Description of Bath, 3rd ed. 1736, p. 21 et seq., and 6th ed. 1744, pp. 79-84.]

J. H.