Elegy to the Memory of the Late Duke of Bedford (1802)

Within a year of the enormous success of her brief sentimental tale, The Father and Daughter (1801), Opie published An Elegy to the Memory of the Duke of Bedford: Written on the Evening of His Interment (1802). In offering an extended formal elegy on the death of such a prominent political figure as Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford (1765-1802), Opie claimed recognition as a writer engaged in public literary expression, one who dealt with affairs of state as well as the affairs of the heart for which she was better known. An Elegy to the Memory was, however, Opie’s first and last attempt at such extended overt participation as the voice of public political elegy. Although much of her verse remained political, its commentary was increasingly masked in the personal and affective, conforming to both the Romantic emphasis on subjective experience and the accepted prerogatives of the woman writer.


An Elegy to the Memory of the Duke of Bedford: Written on the Evening of
His Interment, 
 London: T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1802.


Critical Review, series 2, vol. 36, Dec.1802, pp. 475-6.

Monthly Review, vol. 38, May 1802, p. 99.

New Annual Register, vol. 23, 1802, p. [317].

Poetical Register, vol. 2, 1802, pp. 440-1.

Modern Edition 

Elegy to the memory of the late Duke of Bedford; Mary Tighe Psyche,With other poems.  With an introduction by Donald H. Reiman, New York: Garland Pub., 1978.