British poet, novelist, and schoolteacher Eliza Kirkham Mathews was the daughter of an Exeter physician. She began her writing career as a novelist, with Simple Facts; or, The History of an Orphan (1793). This novel and her first collection of poetry, Poems (1796), were published under her maiden name, Eliza Kirkham Strong.

In 1797 she married Charles Mathews, an actor and comedian. He traveled frequently, and in his absence Mathews completed several novels and children’s books as well as numerous uncollected poems. Her final publication, the 1801 novel What Has Been, concerns a woman’s inability to support her family by writing fiction.

Mathews died of consumption in York in 1802. Her second poetry collection, Poems (1802), gathered and published posthumously, is mainly composed of sonnets, elegies, and odes.

Poems by Elizabeth Kirkham Mathews
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