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agains general rules; and though one of them has deserved a greater commendation than I could give her, they have taken care that I should not tire my pen with frequent exercise on the like subjects; that praises, like taxes, should be appropriated, and left almost as individual as the person. They say, my talent is satire; if it be so, it is a fruitful age, and there is an extraordinary crop to gather. But a single hand is insufficient for such a harvest: they have sown the dragon's teeth themselves, and it is but just they should reap each other in lampoons. You, my lord, who have the character of honour, though it is not my happiness to know you, may stand aside, with the small remainders of the English nobility, truly such, and, unhurt yourselves, behold the mad combat. If I have pleased you, and some few others, I have obtained my end. You see I have disabled myself, like an elected Speaker of the House; yet, like him, I have undertaken the charge, and find the burden sufficiently recompensed by the honour. Be pleased to accept of these my unworthy labours, this paper monument; and let her pious memory, which I am sure is sacred to you, not only plead the pardon of my many faults, but gain me your protection, which is ambitiously sought by,
TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE
COUNTESS OF ABINGDON.
From the Marginal Notes of the First Edition. The introduction. Of her charity. Of her prudent management.
Of her humility. Of her piety. Of her various virtues. Of her conjugal virtues. Of her love to her children. Her care of their education. Of her friendship. Reflections on the shortness of her life. The manner of her death. Her preparedness to die. Apostrophe to her soul. Epiphonema, or close of the роет.
As when some great and gracious monarch dies,
So slowly, by degrees, unwilling fame
The nation felt it in the extremest parts,
Such multitudes she fed, she clothed, she nurst, That she herself might fear her wanting first. Of her five talents, other five she made; Heaven, that had largely given, was largely paid; And in few lives, in wonderous few, we find A fortune better fitted to the mind. Nor did her alms from ostentation fall, . Or proud desire of praise—the soul gave all : Unbribed it gave; or, if a bribe appear, No less than heaven, to heap huge treasures there.
Want passed for merit at her open door : .. Heaven saw, he safely might increase his poor, * And trust their sustenance with her so well,
As not to be at charge of miracle.
As to some holy house the afflicted came, segons
Sure she had guests sometimes to entertain,
Yet was she not profuse; but feared to waste, And wisely managed, that the stock might last; That all might be supplied, and she not grieve, When crowds appeared, she had not to relieve: Which to prevent, she still increased her store; Laid up, and spared, that she might give the more. So Pharaoh, or some greater king than he, Provided for the seventh necessity;t Taught from above his magazines to frame, That famine was prevented ere it came. Thus heaven, though all-sufficient, shews a thrift In his æconomy, and bounds his gift; Creating for our day one single light, And his reflection too supplies the night. Perhaps a thousand other worlds, that lie Remote from us, and latent in the sky,
raises, and ise; but fear might last
+ In allusion to the provision made in Egypt, during the seven years of plenty, for the succeeding seven years of famine,
Are lightened by his beams, and kindly nurst,
Now, as all virtues keep the iniddle line,
These virtues raised her fabric to the sky; For that which is next heaven is charity. But as high turrets for their airy steep Require foundations in proportion deep, And lofty cedars as far upward shoot As to the nether heavens they drive the root; So low did her secure foundation lie, She was not humble, but humility. Scarcely she knew that she was great, or fair, Or wise, beyond what other women are, Or, which is better, knew, but never durst compare. For, to be conscious of what all admire, And not be vain, advances virtue higher.
But still she found, or rather thought she found, · Her own worth wanting, others' to abound;
Ascribed above their due to every one,
Such her devotion was, as might give rules
Her every day was sabbath; only free From hours of prayer, for hours of charity.