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taire is vexed that the French will see how often he has stolen from Shakspeare. I could have sent you some pretty verses that were made on your humble servant and Miss G- ; but I think satire is always more poignant than praise, and the verses on us were high panegyric.
I am, dear madam, your most affectionate friend, and faithful humble servant,
MRS. MONTAGU TO LORD KAIMES. MY LORD,
Sandleford, October 27th, 1773. With the history of man, I dare say, your lordship has written the history of woman. I beg that, in specifying their characters, you would take notice, that time and separation do not ope. rate on the female heart as they do on that of the male. We need not go back so far as the time of Ulysses and Penelope to prove this. We may pass over the instance of his dalliance with the sole suitor that addressed him, the lovely Calypso, and the constant Penelope's continued disdain of the whole train of pertinacious wooers.
The more near and recent an example is the better; so, my lord, we will take our own times. You feel, you say, when you take up your pen to write to me, the same formality as on our first acquaintance. I, on the contrary, find, that my confidence in you has had time to take root: a long winter cannot blast, dreary seasons cannot wither it. Under its shadow I am protected from VOL. V.
any apprehensions from your genius and learning. You appear to me in no character but that of my friend, and in the sacred character of my old friend. The years of absence, the months of vacation, in our correspondence, come into the account, for I remembered you when I did not hear from you—I thought of, when I did not see you. Esteem, nursed by faithful remembrance, grew up without intermission.
I am most sincerely rejoiced that your lordship has completed your great work. May you long enjoy the fame, and may you see mankind derive advantage as well as pleasure from your labour. The more man understands himself, the less averse will he be to those divine and human laws that restrain his licentious appetites. It is from ignorance of his nature that he misapprehends his interest : not comprehending how he is made, he disputes the will of his Maker.
I am impatient for the publication of your book, and hope your printer will make all possible haste to indulge us with it. I rejoice that it has pleased God to give you life and health to finish this work; and I flatter myself, though you may not again embark in so great an undertaking, that so able a pen will not be consigned to indolent repose. As to my poor goose quill, it is not much to be regretted that, very probably, it will scribble no more. I have neither the force of good health, nor the presumption of good spirits left to animate me, and without the energy of great talents, these are necessary to the task of undertaking something for the public.
I have been for many months teased with a
slow fever; and the loss of my excellent friend, Lord Lyttelton, has cast a cloud over my mind. I remember Sir William Temple says, in one of his essays, that " when he recollects how many excellent men and amiable women have died before him, he is ashamed of being alive.” With much more reason than Sir William (whose merít was equal to that of any of the friends he survived) I feel this very strongly. I have lived in the most intimate connexion with some of the highest characters of the age. They are gone, and I remain : all that adorned me is taken away, and only a cypress wreath is left. I used to borrow lustre from them, but now I seem re. spectable, even in my own eyes, only as the mourner of departed merit.
I agree with your lordship, that I ought not to lament the death of Lord Lyttelton on his own account. His virtue could not have been more perfect in this mortal state, nor his character greater than it was, with all whose praise could be an object to a wise and worthy man. He now reaps the full reward of those virtues, which, when here, though they gave him a tranquil cheerfulness, amidst many vexations, and the sufferings of sickness, yet could not produce a perfect calm to the wounds inflicted on his paternal affection. When I consider how unhappy his former, how blessed his present state, I am ashamed to lament him. The world has lost the best example, modest merit the best protector, mankind its gentlest friend. My loss is unspeak. able ; but as the friendship of such a man is the best gift of God, and I am sensible that I was never deserving of so great a blessing, I ought rather to offer thanks that it was so long bestowed than to repine that it was taken away. I ought also to beg that, by the remembrance of his precepts and examples, I may derive the same helps to doing my duty in all relations of life, and in all social engagements, that I did from his advice. But virtue never speaks with such persuasion as when she borrows the accents of a friend ; moreover, my time in this world will probably be very short, and if it were long, I could never cease to admire so perfect a pattern of goodness. I am ever, my lord, &c. &c.
ANNA SEWARD TO A FRIEND.
Lichfield, Feb. 1763. You tell me that I had but too faithfully conceived the situation of your mind, on going into public circles; and you tell me also, that he whose image thus perpetually intrudes on your imagination, has been repeatedly, by your order, denied admittance on bis morning visits, though you could not see him walk up to the door, and return from it, as you sat reading in the parlour, without very distressing emotion; that, but for my reasoning on the subject, you know not if you could bave kept your resolution. Ah! how it gratifies me to hope that I may have been the means of preserving my friend from a destiny so unworthy of her virtues.
You saw him afterwards at the play, and replied to the regrets he expressed about never finding you at home, only by a distant curtsy. Bravo! my charming heroine ! the victory, seldomest and hardest to be obtained, will be yours.
Of what flowers shall I twine your wreath of triumph? The warrior has his laurel, the poet his bays, and the lovers have their myrtle; but of the amaranth, the unfading amaranth, should her garland be formed, in whose consideration the peace of the future has prevailed over the delights of the present. • You insist upon my saying more of myself in this letter; observe, that you bear I have often written verses, and question me concerning their subjects. There will be po great difficulty in obeying you : self-love, which has neither soulharrowing sorrow, nor cutting mortification to reveal, seldom finds the path of egotism thorny. Your partial estimation of my talents, and your question about my verses, now point to that path. If your attention should grow weary in following me through its mazes, you' must thank yourself.
It is true that I have written verses, but it is not true that I have written them often. A propensity of that sort appeared early in my infancy. At first my father encouraged it, but my mother threw cold water on the rising fires; and even my father ceased to smile encouragement upon these attempts after my sixteenth year, in which Dr. Darwin unluckily told him that his daughter's verses were better than his ; a piece of harsh injustice to my father's muse, which disgusted him with mine.