COWLEY, HANNAH (1743-1809), English dramatist and poet, daughter of Philip Parkhouse, a bookseller at Tiverton, Devonshire, was born in 1743. When about twenty-five years old she married Mr Cowley, of the East India Company's service, who died in 1797. Some years after her marriage, being at the theatre with her husband, she expressed the opinion that she could write as good a piece as the one being performed, and within a fortnight she had written her first play, The Runaway. She sent it to Garrick, who produced it at Drury Lane in 1776. Between then and 1795 she wrote twelve more plays, all of which (with one exception) were produced at Drury Lane or Covent Garden; and The Belle's Stratagem (1782), with one or two others, still survives in the list of acting plays. Among other, pieces were Albina, Countess Raimond, A Bold Stroke for a Husband, More Ways than One, and A School for Greybeards, or The Mourning Bride. Mrs Cowley was the author of a number of indifferent poems, mainly historical, and under the name of "Anna Matilda," which has since become proverbial, she carried on a sentimental correspondence in the World with Robert Merry. She died at Tiverton on the 11th of March 1809.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)