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up to the historians of your country the names of so many generals and heroes which croud their annals ; and to our own, the hopes of those which you are to produce for the British chronicle. I can yield, without envy, to the nation of poets, the family of Este, to which Ariosto and Tasso have owed their patronage, and to which the world has owed their poems; but I could not, without extreme reluctance, resign the theme of your beauty to another hand. Give me leave, Madam, to acquaint the world, that I am jealous of this subject; and let it be no dishonour to you, that after having raised the admiration of mankind, you have inspired one man to give it voice. But with whatsoever vanity this new honour of being your poet has filled my mind, I confess myself too weak for the inspiration ; the priest was always unequal to the oracle ; the god within him was too mighty for his breast. He laboured with the sacred revelation, and there was more of the mystery left behind, than divinity itself could enable him to express. I can but discover a part of your excellencies to the world ; and that too according to the measure of my own weakness. Like those who have surveyed the moon by glasses, I can only tell of a new and shining world above us, but not relate the riches and glories of the place ; it is therefore that I have already waved the subject of your greatness, to resign myself to the contemplation of what is more peculiarly your's. Greatness is indeed communicated to some few of both

sexes; but beauty is confined to a more narrow compass : it is only in your sex; it is not shared by many, and its supreme perfection is in you alone. And here, Madam, I am proud that I cannot flatter. You have reconciled the differing judgments of mankind; for all men are equal in their judgment of what is eminently best. The prize of beauty was disputed only till you were seen ; but now all pretenders have withdrawn their claims ; there is no competition but for the second place; even the fairest of our island, which is famed for beauties, not daring to commit their cause against you to the suffrage of those who most partially adore them. Fortune has, indeed, but rendered justice to so much excellence, in setting it so high to publick view; or rather Providence has done justice to itself, in placing the most perfect workmanship of heaven where it may be admired by all beholders. Had the sun and stars been seated lower, their glory had not been communicated to all at once; and the Creator had wanted so much of his praise, as he had made your condition more obscure ; but he has placed you so near a crown, that you add a lustre to it by your beauty. You are joined to a Prince who only could deserve you; whose conduct, courage, and success in war, whose fidelity to his royal brother, whose love for his country, whose constancy to his friends, whose bounty to his servants, whose justice to merit, whose inviolable truth, and whose magnanimity in all his actions,

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seem to have been rewarded by heaven by the gift of you. You are never seen but you are blest ; and I am sure you bless all those who see you, We think not the day is long enough when we behold you ; and you are so much the business of our souls, that while you are in sight, we can neither look nor think on any else. There are no eyes for other beauties; you only are present, and the rest of your sex are but the unregarded parts that fill your triumph. Our sight is so intent on the object of its admiration, that our tongues have not leisure even to praise you ; for language seems too low a thing to express your excellence, and our souls are speaking so much within, that they despise all foreign conversation. Every man, even the dullest, is thinking more than the most eloquent can teach him how to utter. Thus, Madam, in the midst of crowds, you reign in solitude; and are adored with the deepest veneration, that of silence. It is true, you are above all mortal wishes; no man desires impossibilities, because they are beyond the reach of nature. To hope to be a god, is folly exalted into madness; but by the laws of our creation, we are * obliged to adore him, and are permitted to love him at human distance. It is the nature of perfection to be attractive, but the excellency of the object refines the nature of the love. It strikes an impression of awful reverence; it is indeed that love which is more properly a zeal than passion. It is the rapture which anchorites find in prayer

when a beam of the Divinity shines upon them ; that which makes them despise all worldly objects; and yet it is all but contemplation. They are seldom visited from above ; but a single vision so transports them, that it makes up the happiness of their lives. Mortality cannot bear it often : it finds them in the eagerness and height of their devotion; they are speechless for the time that it continues, and prostrate and dead when it departs. That ecstacy had needs be strong, which, without any end but that of admiration, has power enough to destroy all other passions. You render mankind insensible to other beauties, and have destroyed the empire of love in a court which was the seat of his dominion. You have subverted (may I dare to accuse you of it ?) even our fundamental laws, and reign absolute over the hearts of a stubborn and free-born people, tenacious almost to madness of their liberty. The brightest and most victorious of our ladies make daily complaints of revolted subjects, if they may be said to be

revolted, whose servitude is not accepted ; for • your Royal Highness is too great and too just a monarch either to want or to receive the homage of rebellious fugitives. Yet, if some few among the multitude continue steadfast to the first pretensions, it is an obedience so lukewarm and languishing, that it merits not the name of passion. Their addresses are so faint, and their vows so hollow to their sovereigns, that they seem only to maintain their faith out of a sense of honour; they are

ashamed to desist, and yet grow careless to obtain; like despairing combatants, they strive against you, as if they had beheld unveiled the magical shield of your Ariosto, which dazzled the beholders with too much brightness ; they can no longer hold up their arms; they have read their destiny in your eyes :

Splende lo scudo, a guisa di piropo,
E luce altra non é tanto lucente:
Cader in terra a lo splendor fu di vopo,

Con gli occhi abbacinati, e senza mente. And yet, Madam, if I could find in myself the power to leave this argument of your incomparable beauty, I might turn to one which would equally oppress me with its greatness ; for your conjugal virtues have deserved to be set as an example to a less-degenerate, less-tainted age. They approach so near to singularity in ours, that I can scarcely make a panegyrick to your Royal Highness without a satire on many others; but your person is a paradise, and your soul a cherubin within to guard it. If the excellency of the outside invite the beholders, the majesty of your mind deters them from too bold approaches, and turns their admiration into religion. Moral per


• 4 Who would imagine that the conjugal virtues here

praised had only been displayed for twelve months, and that this wife of approved constancy was scarce fifteen years old! Such, however, was the fact.

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