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FAREWELL, FAIR ARMIDA.
This Song was written on the death of Captain Digby, a younger.
son of the Earl of Bristol, who was killed in the great sea-fight between the English and Dutch, on the 28th May, 1672. The relentless beauty to whom the lines were addressed, was Frances Stuart, Duchess of Richmond ; called in the Memoires de Grammont, La Belie Stuart. Count Hamilton there assures us, that her charms made conquest of Charles II. and were the occasion of much jealousy to the Countess of Castlemaine. Dryden's song is parodied in “ T'he Rehearsal,” in that made by “ Tom Thimble's first wife after she was dead." “ Farewell, fair Armida," is printed in the Covent-Garden Drollery, 1672, p. 16. where there is an exculpatory answer by the Lady, but of little merit.
Farewell, fair Armida, my joy and my grief !
On seas and in battles, in bullets and fire,
But if the kind flood on a wave should convey,
These verses are addressed to Louise de la Querouailles. That lady
came to England with the Duchess of Orleans, when she visited her brother Charles II. in 1670. The beauty of this fair stranger made the intended impression on Charles ; he detained her in England, and created her Duchess of Portsmouth. Notwithstanding the detestation in which she was held by his subjects, on account of her religion, country, and politics, she continued to be Charles's principal favourite till the very hour of his death, when he recommended her and her son to his successor's protection.
Happy and free, securely blest,