Ryves, Elizabeth (DNB00)

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RYVES, ELIZABETH (1750–1797), author, descended from an old Irish family connected with that of Bruno Ryves [q. v.], was born in Ireland in 1750. She owned some property, but, being cheated out of it, fell into poverty, and went to London to earn a living by her pen. She wrote political articles for newspapers, verses, plays, and learned French in order to make translations; she turned into English Rousseau's ‘Social Contract,’ Raynal's ‘Letter to the National Assembly,’ and Delacroix's ‘Review of the Constitutions of the Principal States of Europe,’ 1792; she attempted Froissart, but gave it up as too difficult. For some time she is doubtfully said to have conducted the historical department of the ‘Annual Register’ (cf. Gent. Mag. 1795 ii. 540, 734, 1797 i. 522; and Baker, Biogr. Dramat. i. 619).

Her dramatic efforts, ‘The Prude,’ a comic opera in three acts (cf. ib. ii. 185), and ‘The Debt of Honour,’ were accepted by a theatrical manager, but were never acted; she received 100l. as compensation. She wrote one novel, ‘The Hermit of Snowden,’ said to be an account of her own life, and seven small volumes of poems. She died in poverty in April 1797 in Store Street, London. Isaac D'Israeli, to whom she was personally known, expends much pity on her fate (cf. Calamities of Authors, p. 95).

[Webb's Irish Biography, p. 461; O'Donoghue's Poets of Ireland, iii. 221; Hale's Woman's Record, p. 497; Gent. Mag. 1797, i. 445.]

E. L.