Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

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Rating: 4.67

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Poems

Is it to me this sad lamenting strain?
Are Heaven's choicest gifts bestow'd in vain?
A plenteous fortune and a beauteous bride,
Your love rewarded, and content your pride;
...

L'Homme qui ne se trouve point, et ne se trouvera jamais.


The man who feels the dear disease,
...

Written in July, in an arbour


Thou silver deity of secret night,
...

Read, lovely nymph, and tremble not to read,
I have no more to wish, nor you to dread;
I ask not life, for life to me were vain,
And death a refuge from severer pain.
...

See how the pair of billing doves
With open murmurs own their loves;
And, heedless of censorious eyes,
Pursue their unpolluted joys;
...

Cease, fond shepherd -- cease desiring
What you never must enjoy;
She derides your vain aspiring,
She to all your sex is coy.
...

You little know the heart that you advise:
I view this various scene with equal eyes;
In crowded courts I find myself alone,
And pay my worship to a nobler throne.
...

How happy you! who varied joys pursue;
And every hour presents you something new!
Plans, schemes, and models, all Palladio's art,
For six long months have gain'd upon your heart;
...

To that dear nymph, whose pow'rful name
Does every throbbing nerve inflame
(As the soft sound I low repeat,
My pulse unequal measures beat),
...

In two large columns on thy motley page
Where Roman wit is strip'd with English rage;
Where ribaldry to satire makes pretence,
And modern scandal rolls with ancient sense:
...

Think not this paper comes with vain pretense
To move your pity, or to mourn th'offense.
Too well I know that hard obdurate heart;
No softening mercy there will take my part,
...

Ungodly papers ev'ry week
Poor simple souls persuade
That courtiers good for nothing are,
Or but for mischief made.
...

FLAVIA.

The wretched FLAVIA on her couch reclin'd,
Thus breath'd the anguish of a wounded mind ;
...

At length, by so much importunity press'd,
Take, C----, at once, the inside of my breast;
This stupid indiff'rence so often you blame,
Is not owing to nature, to fear, or to shame:
...

SILLIANDER and PATCH.

THOU so many favours hast receiv'd,
Wondrous to tell, and hard to be believ'd,
...

If age and sickness, poverty and pain,
Should each assault me with alternate plagues,
I know mankind is destin'd to complain,
And I submit to torment and fatigues.
...

Written January 1718 in the Chiosk at Pera, overlooking Constantinople


Give me Great God (said I) a Little Farm
...

Confess, dear Laelius! pious, just, and wise,
Some self-content does in that bosom rise,
When you reflect, as sure you sometimes must,
What talents Heaven does to thy virtue trust,
...

What could luxurious woman wish for more,
To fix her joys, or to extend her pow'r?
Their every wish was in this Mary seen,
Gay, witty, youthful, beauteous, and a queen.
...

20.

How happy is the harden'd heart,
Where interest is the only view!
Can sigh and meet, or smile and part,
Nor pleas'd, nor griev'd, nor false, nor true --
...

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Biography

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (15 May 1689 – 21 August 1762) was an English aristocrat and writer. Montagu is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from Turkey, as wife to the British ambassador, which have been described by Billie Melman as “the very first example of a secular work by a woman about the Muslim Orient”.

Lady Mary Pierrepont was born in London on 15 May 15 1689; her baptism took place on 26 May at St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden. She was a daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, 5th Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull, and his first wife, Lady Mary Fielding.

Her mother had three more children before dying in 1692. The children were raised by their Pierrepont grandmother until Mary was 9. Lady Mary was then passed to the care of her father upon her grandmother's death. She began her education in her father's home. Family holdings were extensive, including Thoresby Hall and Holme Pierrepont Hall in Nottinghamshire, and a house in West Dean in Wiltshire. She used the library in her father’s mansion, Thoresby Hall in the Dukeries of Nottinghamshire, to “steal” her education, teaching herself Latin. Thoresby Hall had one of the finest private libraries in England, which she loved, but it was lost when the building burned in 1744. By about fourteen she had written two albums filled with poetry, a brief epistolary novel, and a prose-and-verse romance modeled after Aphra Behn's Voyage to the Isle of Love (1684). She also apparently corresponded with two bishops, Thomas Tenison and Gilbert Burnet, who supplemented the instructions of a governess she despised. Lady Mary would later describe her governess' teachings as "the worst in the world".

By 1710 Lady Mary had two possible suitors to choose from: Edward Wortley Montagu and Clotworthy Skeffington. Mary's father, now Marquess of Dorchester, rejected Wortley Montagu as a prospect because he refused to entail his estate on a possible heir. Her father pressured her to marry Clotworthy Skeffington, heir to an Irish peerage. Although Lady Mary had fallen in love with another unidentified man, in order to avoid marriage to Skeffington, she eloped with Wortley. They were married on 23 August 1712 in Salisbury.

The early years of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's married life were spent in seclusion in the country. She had a son, Edward Wortley Montagu the younger, on 16 May 1713, in London. Her husband became Member of Parliament for Westminster in 1715, and shortly afterwards was made a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury. When Lady Mary joined him in London, her wit and beauty soon made her a prominent figure at court. She was among the society of George I and the Prince of Wales, and counted amongst her friends Molly Skerritt, Lady Walpole, John, Lord Hervey, Mary Astell, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, Alexander Pope, John Gay, and Abbé Antonio Conti.

In December 1715, Lady Mary contracted smallpox. She survived, but while she was ill someone circulated the satirical “court eclogues” she had been writing. One of the poems was read as an attack on Caroline, Princess of Wales, in spite of the fact that the "attack" was voiced by a character who was herself heavily satirized. Disgraced and unable to return to court, Lady Mary left London in August 1716 to accompany her husband on his embassy to Istanbul.

The Best Poem Of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

An Answer To A Love-Letter, In Verse

Is it to me this sad lamenting strain?
Are Heaven's choicest gifts bestow'd in vain?
A plenteous fortune and a beauteous bride,
Your love rewarded, and content your pride;
Yet, leaving her, 'tis me that you pursue,
Without one single charm -- but being new.
How vile is man! How I detest the ways
Of covert falsehood and designing praise!
As tasteless, easier happiness you slight,
Ruin your joy, and mischief your delight.
Why should poor pug (the mimic of your kind)
Wear a rough chain, and be to box confin'd?
Some cup, perhaps, he breaks, or tears a fan,
While moves, unpunish'd, the destroyer man;
Not bound by vows, and unrestrain'd by shame,
In sport you break the heart, and rend the fame.
Not that your art can be successful here,
Th' already plunder'd need no robber fear.
Nor sighs nor charms, nor flattery, can move,
Too well secur'd against a second love.
Once, and but once, that devil charm'd my mind,
To reason deaf, to observation blind,
I idly hop'd (what cannot Love persuade!)
My fondness equall'd and my truth repaid:
Slow to distrust, and willing to believe;
Long hush'd my doubts, I would myself deceive.

But oh! too soon -- this tale would ever last --
Sleep on my wrongs, and let me think them past.
For you, who mourn with counterfeited grief,
And ask so boldly, like a begging thief,
May soon some other nymph inflict the pain
You know so well with cruel art to feign.
Though long you've sported with Dan Cupid's dart,
You may see eyes, and you may feel a heart.
So the brisk wits who stop the evening coach,
Laugh at the fear that follows their approach;
With idle mirth and haughty scorn despise
The passenger's pale cheek and staring eyes;
But seiz'd by justice, find a fright no jest,
And all the terror doubled in their breast.

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Life is too short for a long story.

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