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I am not vain enough to boast that I have deserved the value of fo illustrious a line; but my fortune is the greater, that for three descents they have been pleased to distinguish my poems from those of other men; and have accordingly made me their peculiar care. May it be permitted me to say, That as your grandfatherand father were cherished and adorned with honours by two successive monarchs, so I have been esteemed and patronized by the grandfather, the father, and the son, descended from one of the most ancient, most conspicuous, and most deserving families in Europe. It is true, that by delaying the payment of my last fine, when it was due by your Grace's accession to the titles and patrimonies of your house, I may seem, in rigour of law, to have made a forfeiture of
my claim; yet my heart has always been devoted to your service: and since you have been graciously pleased, by your permission of this address, to accept the tender of my duty, it is not yet too late to lay these volumes at your feet.
The world is sensible that you worthily fucceed, not only to the honours of your
ancestors, but also to their virtues. The long chain of magnanimity, courage, ealiness of access, and desire of doing good even to the prejudice of your fortune, is so far from being broken in your Grace, that the precious metal yet runs pure to the newest link of it: which I will not call the last, because I hope and pray, it may descend to late pofterity: and your flourishing youth, and that of your excellent Duchess, are happy omens of
It is observed by Livy and by others, that some of the noblest Roman families retained a resemblance of their ancestry, not only in their shapes and features, buc also in their manners,' their qualities, and the distinguishing characters of their minds: some lines were noted for a stern, rigid virtue, savage, haughty, parsimonious, and unpopular: others were more sweet, and affable; made of a more pliant paste, humble, courteous, and obliging; studious of doing charitable offices, and diffusive of the goods which they enjoyed. The last of there is the proper and indelible character of your Grace's family. God Almighty has endued you with a softness, a
beneficence, an attractive behaviour win. ning on the hearts of others; and so fensible of their misery, that the wounds of fortune seem not inflicted on them, but on yourself. You are fo ready to redress, that you almost prevent their wishes, and always exceed their expectations: as if what was yours, was not your own, and not given you to possess, but to bestow on wanting merit. But this is a topic which I must cast in shades, left I offend your modesty, which is so far from being aftentatious of the good you do, that it blushes even to have it known: and therefore I must leave you to the satisfaction and teltimony of your own conscience, which though it be a silent panegyric, is yet the best.
You are so easy of access, that Poplicolą was not more, whose doors were opened on the outside to save the people even the common civility of asking entrance; where all were equally admitted; where nothing that was reasonable was denied; where misfortune was a powerful recommendation, and where (I can scarce forbear faying) that want itlelf was a powerful mediator, and was next to meri.
The history of Peru assures us, that their Incas, above all their titles, esteemed that the highest, which called them Lovers of the poor: a name more glorious than the Felix, Pius, and Augustus of the Ro. man emperors; which were epithets of flattery, deseryed by few of them: and not running in a blood like the perpetual gentleness, and inherent goodness of the Or. mond Family.
Gold, as it is the purest, so it is the foftest, and most ductile of all metals: iron, which is the hardest, gathers rust, corrodes itself; and is therefore subject to corruption: it was never intended for coins and medals, or to bear the faces and inscrip' țions of the great. Indeed it is fit for armour, to bear off insults, and preserve the wearer in the day of battle: but the danger once repelled, it is laid aside by the brave, as a garment too rough for civil conversa. tion: a necessary guard in war, but tog harsh and cumbersone in peace, and which keeps off the embraces of a more humane life.
For this reason, my lord, though you have courage
in an heroical degree, yet I ascribe it to you, but as your second attri
bute: mercy, beneficence, and compassion, claim precedence, as they are first in the divine nature. An intrepid courage, which is inherent in your Grace, iş at best but a holiday kind of virtue, to be feldom exerciled, and never but in cases of necessity; affability, mildness, tenderness, and a word, which I would fain bring back to its original fignification of virtue, I mean Goodnature, are of daily use: they are the bread of mankind, and staff of life: neither fighs, nor tears, nor groans nor curses of the van. quilhed, follow acts of compassion, and of charity: but a fincere pleasure and serenity of mind, in him who performs an action of mercy, which cannot suffer the misfortunes of another, without redress; left they fhould bring a kind of contagion along with them, and pollute the happiness whịch he enjoys.
Yet fince the perverse tempers of mankind, since opprefsion on one side, and ambition on the other, are fometimes the unavoidable occasions of war; that courage, that magnanimity, and resolution, which is born with you, cannot be too much commended: and here it grieves me that I am fcanted in the pleasure of dwelling