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I know the court, with all its treach'rous wiles,
Mr. DALLAWAY fays, this Eclogue was written in the year 175, and he gives very fatisfactory reasons for attributing it to Lady Mary Montagu. I am inclined to think, by Roxana was meant the Duchefs of Marlborough. It is well known, that after the acceffion of George the Firft, the Duke was among the diffa. tisfied; for, though he was appointed Commander in Chief, yet he did not enjoy the smallest share of confidence or power. 'The Duchefs, no doubt, partook of his fpleen. The "Princess" was Caroline, then Princefs of Wales; and Cockatilla, Mrs. Howard, made bed-chamber woman to the Princess. This is my idea, but it is of little confequence to illuftrate a poem, which Pope, perhaps, never wrote.
TO LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU.
N beauty, or wit,
No mortal as yet
To question your empire has dar'd;
Have thought that in learning,
To yield to a Lady was hard.
Have reading to females deny'd :
The Bible to use,
Left flocks fhou'd be wife as their guide.
"Twas a woman at first,
(Indeed fhe was curst)
In knowledge that tafted delight,
And fages agree
The laws fhou'd decree
To the firft poffeffor the right.
Then bravely, fair dame,
Which to your whole fex does belong;
From a fecond bright Eve,
The knowledge of right and of wrong.
But if the first Eve
Hard doom did receive,
When only one apple had she,
What a punishment new
Shall be found out for
Who tafting, have robb'd the whole tree?
VER. 30. Who tafling, have robb'd the whole tree ?] This extraordinary Lady, the object of Pope's attachment in his early years, and of his most virulent invective afterwards, was indeed a Lady of sense, spirit, and talents, as well as of great beauty. Her letters, in unaffected language, good fenfe, and natural humour, are as much fuperior to Pope's, as his verses are fuperior to her's. Her maiden name was Mary Pierrepoint; fhe was the daughter of Evelyn, Duke of Kingston, and Lady Mary Fielding, daughter of William Earl of Denbigh. She was born at Thoresby, in Nottinghamshire, about the year 1690.
"The firft dawn of her genius opened fo aufpicioufly, that her Father refolved to cultivate the advantages of Nature by a fedulous attention to her early education. Under the fame preceptors as her brother, Viscount Newark, fhe acquired the elements of the Greek, Latin, and French languages with the greatest fuccefs.
Her ftudies were afterwards fuperintended by Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, and her translation of Epictetus received his emenda. tion."
Dallaway's Memoirs of Lady
Her husband was an intimate friend of Addison and of Steel. She went with him on his embaffy to Conftantinople, and, after his re. call, lived at Twickenham. Pope's admiration ended in difgut and averfion. Her latter years were passed in Italy, and her letters from thence are very interefting, though there is no fatisfactory account given why she was separated from her country fo many years.
On the Picture of Lady MARY W. MONTAGU by
[From Dallaway's Life of Lady Mary.]
VER. 1. The playful fmiles, c.] Her face and appearance were fo altered by age, that she fays for many years she never looked in a glass. She received her travelling countrymen, who paid their respects to her in Italy, veiled, or in a mask.
She lived to fee the Nobleman who married her daughter, highest in the confidence of his present Majesty; and whatever might have been her faults, her tender and affectionate correfpondence with her daughter, no one can read without a tear of refpect and fympathy.