Louisa Stuart Costello (1799-1870)


Life
b. prob. in Ireland [but presumée née in the Seine Department, acc. her death-certificate], 1799; dg. of Col. James Costello, a British Army officer, and his French wife Elizabeth; smuggled across the Channel to safety; lived in Sussex up to death of her father in 1814, when she was taken by her mother to live in Paris, with her yngr brother; Louisa worked as a miniaturist to support the family and remained unmarried; she was successful with her first volume of poetry, The Maid of the Cyprus Isle, and Other Poems (1815) which was noticed by Thomas Moore, to whom she dedicated her Specimens of the Early Poetry of France (1835); she published songs with James Power, Moore’s publisher; she edited Troubador chansons and translated oriental verse in The Rose Garden of Persia (1845), a work published with ornamental borders;
 
in 1841 she issued a first novel, The Poisoner; or, France in the Sixteenth Century: A Romance (1841); also Memoirs of Eminent Englishwomen (1844); also issued several travel works incl. Béarn and the Pyrenees (1844); Falls, Lakes and Mountains of Wales (1845), and A Tour to and from Venice (1846); she suffered the death of her mother, in Germany, in 1846; she drew fashionable attention to medieval illuminations, copying them in Paris and London museums; rewarded by French Govt. for work in preserving heritage, and added to Civil Pension List, 1852;
 
published The Lay of the Stork, mingling fantasy and the Crimean War (17 May 1856); d. 24 April 1870, of cancer of the mouth, at Boulogne-sur-Mer - where her death-certificate is extant; her only br. Dudley, whom she supported at Sandhurst through her painting after their father’s death, served in the West Indies and left army on half-pay, 1828, after which he illustrated several of her books (e.g., The Rose Garden); he became foreign corr. to the Daily News [var. Morning Herald], 1838; and wrote popular travel works incl. Tour through the Valley of the Meuse (1845), which long remained in print; ; she may have been a kinswoman or otherwise associated with of the Hon. John Kennedy-Erskine, who married Lady Augusta Fitzclarence, dg. of William IV and Mrs. Dorothy Bland. ODNB PI DIB DIW SUTH OCIL

 

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Works
Poetry (orig. & trans.)
  • The Maid of the Cyprus Isle, and Other Poems (London: Sherwood, Neely, & Jones 1815), 82pp, and Do. [2nd Edn.] (London: Sherwood, Neely, & Jones 1815), vii, 86pp.;
  • Redwald: A Tale of Mona and Other Poems (Brentford: P. Norbury […] 1819), vi, 70pp., ill. [front.], 12° [available in Chadwyck-Healy English Poetry Full-text Database].
  • Songs of a Stranger (London: Published for the Author by Taylor & Hessey 1825), ix, 158pp. [ded. to Rev. Williamm Lisle Bowles] - see online link;
  • Specimens of the Early Poetry of France from the Time of the Troubadours and Trouvères to the Reign of Henri Quatre (London: William Pickering 1835), xlix, 298pp., ill. [col. copies of ill. MSS in King’s library, Paris, and British Museum], 20 cm.; and Do. [microfiche] (Louisville: Lost Cause Press 19--), ill. [pls. copied from ill. mss. in Lettre à Mademoiselle Louisa Stuart Costello, sur les trouverres françois des XIIIe et XIIIe sècles, signed Francisque Michel, pp.[xxxix]-xlix].
  • The Rose Garden of Persia: A Collection of Translations from the Persian Poets (London : Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1845), xvi, 193pp., ill. [ornamental borders]; Do. [New Edn.] (London: G. Bell [1887]), xvi, 393pp., ill.; Do. [another edn.] (London: John Slark 1888), xvi, 193pp.; Do., with an essay “Of Persian Poetry” by Joseph Jacobs (London: Gibbings & Co. 1899 ), lii, 196; Do. (London: T. N. Foulis 1924), 189pp., ill. [by Frederick Gardner]; [rep. of 1913 Edn.] (London: T. N. Foulis 1924), 189pp., ill. [col.], 20cm;
  • The Lay of the Stork (London: William & Frederick G. Cash 1856), 131pp.
    The Book of French Songs, translated by John Oxenford [prev. London: Ingram 1855] … to which is added Miss Costello’s early French poetry [i.e., Lays of the Troubadours and Early French Songs] (London: F. Warne [1871] ), and Do. [another edn] (London: Frederick Warne [1878]), xxxii, 475pp., ill. [port of Béranger as title vignette];
  • Flowers from Persian poets, ed. by Nathan Haskell Dole & Belle M. Walker, 2 vols. (NY: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. [1901]) [incls. her trans.];
    Lyrical Specimens, of Eminent German and French Composers adapted to English Poetry, Vol. 1: written and selected by L. S. Costello; the music collected and the accompaniment arranged from the scores by John Beale (London: for the editor by the R.H.I. [18--?]), 48pp. [1 score for voice and pianoforte; details];
  • A Set of Six Songs, the words by Miss Costello; music composed and dedicated by permission to Her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta, by Lady Augusta Kennedy-Erskine (London: Published by J. Power [18--?]), 30pp. [1 score; see details];
  • Youthful Devotion: A Sacred Song, written and dedicated to the Rev. Canon W. L. Bowles by Miss Costello; the music by Lady Augusta Kennedy Erskine (London: J. Power [18--?]), 5pp. [1 score];
  • The Captive of Agincourt, sung by Mad[am]e Clara Novello; the poetry translated from the French of Charles Duke of Orleans (a.d.1414), by Louisa Stuart Costello; the music by G. A. Macfarren (London: Cramer, Beale & Chappell [18--]), 5pp. [score].
  • Is she not passing fair?: Lay Written by Charles Duke of Orleans, 1391-1466, trans. Louisa Stuart Costello (London: Boosey & Hawkes 1936), 7p. [score].

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Fiction
  • The Queen’s Poisoner, or, France in the sixteenth century: A Romance, 2 vols. (London: Richard Bentley 1841), and Do. as as Catherine de Medicis; or, The Queen-mother: A Romance [Standard Novels, No. 112; 3rd edn.] (London: Richard Bentley 1848), viii, 470pp., ill. [front.; ‘Preface to third edition’, pp.[vii]-viii].
  • Gabrielle, or the Picture of a Reign: An Historical Novel, 3 vols. in 1 (London : T. C. Newby; T. & W. Boone, 1843), 329, 338, 321pp., 12°;
  • Jacques Cœur, the French Argonaut, and His Times (London: Richard Bentley 1847), xv, 433pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls.; port.], 22cm. [15th c. financier to Charles VII]
    Memoirs of Anne, Duchess of Brittany, Twice Queen of France, 4 vols. (London: Richard Bentley 1844 1855), 12°.
  • Clara Fane, or The Contracts of Life, 3 vols. (London: Richard Bentley 1848), 299, 285, 291pp., 12°;
    Specimens of Early French Poetry (London: Pickering 1835)
Travel
  • A Summer Amongst the Bocages and the Vines, 2 vols. (London: Richard Bentley 1840), ill. [front., pls.], 22cm., and Do. [2nd edn.] (Bentley 1841).
  • A Pilgrimage to Auvergne, from Picardy to Le Velay, 2 vols. (London: R. Bentley 1842) , 23cm., ill. [pls.]
  • Béarn and the Pyrenees: A Legendary Tour of the Country of Henri Quatre, 2 vols. (London: Richard Bentley 1844), ill. [front.], 23cm.
  • The Falls, Lakes, and Mountains, of North Wales […] With illustrations by Thomas and Edward Gilks, from original sketches by D. H. McKewan ( London, Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1845), xviii, 221, [1] p. front., illus., 18 pl., fold. map. 18 cm.
  • A Tour to and from Venice, by the Vaudois and the Tyrol (London: J. Ollivier 1846), vi, 453pp., ill. [front., pls.]; and Do., rep. as Venice and the Venetians: With a Glance at the Vaudois and the Tyrol [New edn.] (London: J. & D. A. Darling 1851), vi, 453pp., ill., [3 lvs. of pls.], 22cm.

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Songs of a Stranger, by Louise Stuart Costello (1825) has been edited by Tamara Holloway (2001) at University of Nebraska-Lincoln - online. [or see Table of Contents and links - attached.]

See also Louisa Costello, Poems [Classic Poetry Series] (Poemhunter 2004) - as .pdf. [Go online or see copy, attached.]

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Bibliographical details
Lyrical Specimens, of Eminent German and French Composers adapted to English Poetry, Vol. 1: written and selected by L.S. Costello […] collected and […] arranged from the scores by John Beale (London: for the editor by the R.H.I. [18--?]), 48pp. CONTENTS: Mozart, Dearest home; Herold, Fair and soft, and gay and young; Himmel, Lament of the savoyard; Mehul, The knight in azure steel is clad; Mozart, When all has faded into rest; A. Romberg, The remembrance; Spohr, Know’st thou the land; Cherubini, Anacreontic duett: the festival; Spohr, Fannys worth; Mozart, Fairy song & chorus, (ad lib.).

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A Set of Six Songs, the words by Miss Costello; music composed and dedicated by permission to Her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta, by Lady Augusta Kennedy Erskine (London: Published by J. Power [18--?]), 30pp. [1 score].

CONTENTS: “Linger not my bark”; “We meet!”; “Art thou not yet forgotten?”; “If I should meet thee ever”; “I left my home” (Song of Chatelar to Mary Stuart); “My bride, my bride, I’ve won thee.” [Note: Power was the publisher of Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies; and see remarks on John Kennedy-Erskine, infra.]

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Memoirs of Eminent Englishwomen, 4 vols. (1844; rep. edn.] (Cambridge UP 2010), 1998pp. [4 vol. set]. CONTENTS - Volume 1: Introduction; 1. Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury; 2. Arabella Stuart; 3. Catherine Grey; 4. Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke; 5. Penelope, Lady Rich; 6. Magdalen Herbert; 7. Frances Howard, Duchess of Richmond. Volume 2: 8. Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia; 9. Lucy Harrington, Countess of Bedford; 10. Frances Howard, Countess of Somerset; 11. Margaret Elizabeth, Countess of Essex; 12. Christian, Countess of Devonshire; 13. Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset; 14. Mary Evelyn; 15. Lady Fanshawe. Volume 3: 15. Anastasia Venetia Stanley, Lady Digby; 16. The Countess of Desmond; 17. Elizabeth Cromwell and her daughters; 18. Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson; 19. Frances Stuart, Duchess of Richmond; 20. Dorothy Sidney, Countess of Sunderland; 21. Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Somerset; 22. Lady Rachel Russell; 23. Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle; 24. Anne, Countess of Winchelsea; 25. Mrs. Katherine Philips; 26. Jane Lane; 237 Anne Killigrew; 28. Frances Jennings, Duchess of Tyrconnel; 29. Mary Beale; 30. Anne Clarges, Duchess of Albemarle; 31. Lady Mary Tudor; 32. Anne Hyde, Duchess of York; 33. Anne Scott, Duchess of Monmouth; 34. Stella and Vanessa; 35. Susannah Centlivre. Volume 4: 36. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough; 37. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. [See Orlando Women Writers Project at Cambridge UP [online] > Costello [online].)

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Criticism
  • Clare Broome Saunders, ‘“Venice has not been wanting in female learning among its other distinctions, to render it illustrious”: Louisa Stuart Costello, Venice, and the scholarly travel writer’, at “Ruskin, Venice, and 19th Century Cultural Travel” [Conference in Venice, 25–27 September 2008].
  • ‘Mrs Costello’s The Soldier’s Orphan and the Gothic Inheritance’, in “Women and Gothic” [conference at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge] (23 January 2010) [conference paper];
  • Clare Broome Saunders, ‘The Individual Traveller vs. The Guidebook: Louisa Stuart Costello’s Venice’, in Studies in Travel Writing [Special Issue: Travel Writing and Italy] (Summer [forthcoming] 2012), q.pp.

Note also, Diane Van Poelgeest is working on a biography of Costello [2011].

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Quotations

“To My Mother”

Yes, I have sung of others’ woes,
     Until they almost seem’d mine own,
And fancy oft will scenes disclose
Whose being was in thought alone:

Her magic power I’ve cherished long,
And yielded to her soothing sway;
Enchanting is her syren song,
And wild and wond’rous is her way.

But thou—whene’er I think on thee,
Those glittering visions fade away;
My soul awakens, how tenderly!
To pleasures that can ne’er decay.

There’s not an hour of life goes by
But makes thee still more firmly dear;
My sighs attend upon thy sigh,
My sorrows wait upon thy tear:

— Tamara Holloway, ed., Songs of a Stranger [1825] (2002), p.23 - online.

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References
John William Cousin, A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature (London: J. M. Dent & Sons; NY: E. P. Dutton 1910), contains a 3-line entry of Costello - assigning her birthplace to Ireland. (See further at Wikisource - online; accessed 15.12.2010.)  

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D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912); The Maid of the Cypress Isle And Other Poems (Lon. 1815); Redwald, A Tale of Mona, And Other Poems (1819), Songs of a Stranger (Lon 1825), Specimens of the Early Poetry of France (London 1835); The Lay of the Stork, a poem (London. 1856) &c., d. 1870.

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There is an entry on L. S. Costello in the Cambridge UP / Orlando Project (Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present) - online.

There are no entries on L. S. Costello in neither The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Vols. 1-3, 1992; Vols. 4 & 5 2002), nor the RIA Dictionary of Irish Biography (2204), nor Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction 1650-1900 (2006).

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John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Harlow: Longmans 1988) - biog.: b. England, dg. Irish officer; verse known to Scott and Moore; miniatures and copied illum. mss; spinster, providing for her mother and brother, less competent than she as a writer; rewarded by French Govt. for work in preserving heritage, and Civil Pension List, 1852; novels drawing on cosmopolitan experience incl. French hist. settings and trans. of old poets, incorporated in her narrative; The Queen’s Poisoner (1841), set in 16th c. Paris, regarded as her best work; Clara Fane, or the Contrasts of A Life (1848) has a contemp. governoress recalling her own experience; Gabrielle (1843), set in France in reign of Louis XIV. Costello died of cancer of the mouth. Dudley, son of colonel [d. 1814, inference], b. Sussex; Sandhurst, served in West Indies till 1828; half-pay; copied illuminated MSS; foreign corr. for Morning Herald from 1838; depended on his sister for support; his serial fiction, approved by W. H. Ainsworth, Herald editor, incl. Stories from A Screen (1855), The Joint Stock Bank (1856); The Millionaire of Mincing Lane (1858); Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady (1859). ODNB NCBEL RLF Wol BL4.

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Notes
Mrs Costello: The Soldier’s Orphan, 3 vols. (London 1809) [copy in Oxford UL [Bodleian] - attrib. to Louisa Stuart]; rep. as The Soldier’s Orphan: A Tale / by Mrs Elizabeth Costello, ed. by Clare Broome Saunders [Chawton House Library Ser.; Women’s novels, 10] (London: Pickering & Chatto 2011), xxii, 226pp. [24cm.] Note: Clare Saunders is Research Fellow in Wolfson Coll., Oxon.

See COPAC notice: ‘This is a novel forgotten by modern readers, but one that deserves critical reassessment and a wider audience. Raised by guardians, Louisa’s fate is intertwined with the neighbouring Stanley family, including the jealous younger daughter, Armida, whose husband Lord Belmour admires Louisa and which propels the plot forward.’ (A Soldier’s Orphan by Mrs. Costello, ed., C. B. Saunders, Pickering & Chatto 2011; see COPAC - online; accessed 09.11.2011)

A Soldier’s Orphan / A Tale // By Mrs Costello // in Three Volumes (London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, [at] Paternoster Row 1809): a copy in the Bodleian Library (Oxon.) is available at Google Books - online; accessed 09.11.2011.

Vol III - Chap. ‘And moody madness laughing wild, / Amid severest woe’ (Epigraph from Gray). Text: ‘They followed the man through a long gloomy passage into a parlour tolerably well furnished; but, as Louisa thought, very different from what might be expected in a house of the Countess of Delville’s. A certain air of desolation seemed to reign around [...]’ (p.[1]). ‘She felt a chilling sensation of horror creep around her veins; her spirits, lately so exhilarated, were suddenly depressed, and her whole frame shook with the apprehension of approaching evil.’ (p.2.) [See longer extract - attached.]

Ricorso correspondence - Diane van Poelgeest writes: ‘[...] I do know that the recent republication of “Soldier’s Orphan” has been attributed to her, though it was written by a Mrs. Costello. Louisa’s mother’s name was Elizabeth, she was French and she died in Germany in 1846. There was, however, a Mrs. Costello who kept company with Sir Walter Scott who published a few works, and this might have been something of hers [...]’. (Email to Ricorso, 09.11.2011.)

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Edward Costello, Adventures of a soldier / written by himself. Being the memoirs of Edward Costello ... comprising narratives of the campaigns in the Peninsula under the Duke of Wellington, and the subsequent civil wars in Spain (London: Colburn & Co. 1841), 410pp.; Do. [2nd edn.] (London: Colburn 1852), xiv, 275pp., ill. port.], 18cm., and Do. [rep. edn.] (Swanage: Shinglepicker [1997]), 378pp., ill. [maps, plans, ports.], 24 cm. [being the texts of 1841 and 1852 edited and modified, with Bibl., pp.359-62].

Tom Costello: “Soldier’s Farewell” is a song by T. W. Connor, sung by one Tom Costello (London: Francis, Day and Hunter, c1913), score (‘No yesterday was my first day out ...’; chorus: ‘I went walking with a soldier ...’.)

John Kennedy-Erskine: Hon. John Kennedy-Erskine (b. 4 June 1802; d. 16 March 1831), son of Sir Archibald Kennedy, 1st Marquess of Ailsa and Margaret Erskine, m. Lady Augusta Fitz-Clarence, daughter of William IV and Dorothea Bland (5 July 1827); given the name of John Kennedy at birth; lived at Dun, Angus, Scotland; changed his name legally to John Kennedy-Erskine. His children were Millicent Anne Mary; Capt. William Henry Kennedy-Erskine; and Wilhelmina Kennedy-Erskine. Lady Augusta remarried Admiral Lord John Frederick Halyburton in 1854. (See The Peerage, online.)

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