Grimston, Elizabeth (DNB00)

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GRIMSTON or GRYMESTON, ELIZABETH (d. 1603), poetess, was the daughter of Martin Bernye of Gunton, Norfolk, and married Christopher, the youngest son of Thomas Grimston of Grimston, Yorkshire. Her married life appears to have been rendered miserable by the cruelty of her mother, whereby she became a chronic invalid. Reduced, as she described it, to the condition of 'a dead woman among the living,' she 'resolved to break the barren soil of her fruitless brain,' and devoted herself to the compilation of a moral guide-book for the benefit of her son Bernye Grymeston, the only survivor of her nine children. She died in 1603 before the publication of her work, which appeared under the title of 'Miscelanea : Meditations : Memoratives,' by Elizabeth Grymeston, London, 1604, 4to. The book is divided into fourteen so-called chapters, most of which are brief essays on religious topics. The eleventh chapter is headed 'Morning Meditation, with sixteen sobs of a sorrowful spirit, which she used for a mentall prayer, as also an addition of sixteen staves taken out of "Peter's Complaint" (Southwell's), which she usually played on the winde instrument,' and the twelfth is 'a Madrigall made by Bernye Grymestone upon the conceit of his mother's play to the former ditties.' The thirteenth chapter consists of 'Odes in imitation of the seven pœnitentiall psalms in seven severall kindes of verse.' The 'Memoratives' are a number of moral maxims, which, if not original, are at least pointed and well chosen. The dedication, addressed to the author's son, is a quaint piece of composition, containing good advice for moral guidance and on the choice of a wife; it is reprinted in W. C. Hazlitt's 'Prefaces, Dedications, and Epistles,' 1874. Two later and undated editions of the 'Miscelanea' were published, enlarged by the addition of six other short essays.

[Dedication to Miscelanea; Corser's Collect. Anglo-Poetica, vii. 100; Brydges's Cens. Lit. vi. 161; Parkin's Hist. of Norfolk, viii. 305; Catalogue of Huth Library.]

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