Sarah Fyge Egerton's “The Emulation”

An Annotated Hypertext

By: Brandy Woodruff


Sarah Fyge, English poet, writer, and feminist, born in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, 1670. Egerton is reported to be one of the youngest feminists in history. Egerton was fourteen years old when she began writing a response to Robert Gould's misogynist tract A Late Satyr Against the Pride, Lust, and Inconstancy, etc. of Woman . Her work, published in 1686 without her consent, the only major feminist polemical tract of the 1680s, caused her to be banished from her parent's home. Shortly after publishing that work she married an attorney in 1687.

In 1700, by now widowed, she married her much older widowed second cousin whose children were already grown, the Rev. Thomas Egerton, but was involved in a useless petition for divorce, on the grounds of cruelty, only three years later. Her second volume of work, Poems on Several Occasions , was published in 1703

From the mid 1680s until the mid 1710s, women wrote on "the woman question" as never before and Fyge was a fearless and staunch supporter of women from her childhood until her death. Along with other great feminists of the period, Bathsua Reginald Makin, Mary Astell and Lady Mary Chudleigh in England and Marie de Gournay in France . These women all railed against the claims of intellectual inferiority on the part of females and argued for equal educational opportunities. In these poems we often see the women speaking out against the unfair treatment of women by their husbands and the unfairness of the marriage contract. They also argued that religion kept women as morally inferior creatures. All of this we can see in the following poem of Egerton's, “The Emulation.” Egerton died in 1723.


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Throughout the poem text you will see links that you can click on to get my detailed analysis of this poem. The annotations will appear in a box on the right side of the screen, so you will not be guided to a new window. Below there is a link to my hypertext version of "The Emulation," which will open up into a new window.



All of my annotations are provided courtesy of my 18th Century Restoration Literature Course.

Poem text courtesy of

Biographical Information on Egerton courtesy of: