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Lost in a labyrinth of doubts and joys,
Whom now her smiles revived, her scorn destroys;
She will, and she will not, she grants, denies,
Consents, retracts; advances, and then flies.
Approving and rejecting in a breath,

Now proffering mercy, now presenting death! She led Granville on from year to year, till the death of her first husband, Lord New burgh. He then presented himself among the suitors for her hand, confiding, it seems, in former encouragement or promises; but Lady Newburgh had played the same despicable game with others; she had no objection to the poetical admiration of an accomplished young man of fashion, who had rendered her an object of universal attention, by his determined pursuit and tuneful homage, and who was then the admired of all women. She thought, like the coquette, in one of Congreve's comedies,

If there 's delight in love, 'tis when I see

The heart that others bleed for bleed for me! But when free to choose, she rejected him and married Lord Bellew. Her coquettry with Granville had been so notorious, that this marriage caused a great sensation at the time and no little scandal.

Rumour is loud, and every voice proclaims
Her violated faith and conscious flames.

The only catastrophe, however, which her falsehood occasioned, was the production of a long elegy, in imitation of Theocritus, which concludes Lord Lansdown's amatory effusions. He afterwards married Lady Anne Villiers, with whom he lived happily: after a union of more than twenty years, they died within a few days of each other, and they were buried together.

Lady Newburgh left a daughter by her first husband,* and a son and daughter by Lord Bellew; she lived to survive her beauty, to lose her admirers, and to the object in her old age of the most gross and unmeasured satire; the flattery of a lover elevated her to a divinity, and the malice

* Charlotte, Countess of Newburgh in her own right, from whom the present Earl of Newburgh is descended.

of a wit, whom she had ill-treated, degraded her into a fury and a hag—with about as much reason.

Prior's Chloe, the “nut-brown maid," was taken from the opposite extremity of society, but could scarce have been more worthless. She was a common woman of the lowest description, whose real name was, I believe, Nancy Derham,—but it is not a matter of much importance.

Prior's attachment to this woman, however unmerited, was very sincere. For her sake he quitted the high society into which his talents and his political connexions had introduced him; and for her, he neglected, as he tells us

Whate'er the world thinks wise and grave,
Ambition, business, friendship, news,

My useful books and serious muse, to bury himself with her in some low tavern for weeks together. Once when they quarrelled, she ran away and carried off his plate; but even this could not shake his constancy: at his death he left her all he possessed, and she-his Chloe-at whose command and in whose honour he wrote his “Henry and Emma,"-married a cobler !* Such was Prior's Chloe.

Is it surprising that the works of a poet once so popular, should now be banished from a Lady's library ?-a banishment from which all his sprightly wit cannot redeem him. -But because Prior's love for this woman was real, and that he was really a man of feeling and genius, though debased by low and irregular habits, there are some sweet touches scattered through his poetry, which show how strong was the illusion in his fancy :-as in “Chloe Jealous.”

Reading thy verse, “who cares,” said I,

“If here or there his glances flew ? O free for ever be his eye,

Whose heart lo me is always true !" And in his “ Answer to Chloe Jealous."

O when I am wearied with wandering all day

To thee, my delight, in the evening I come.
No matter what beauties I saw in my way,

They were but my visits, but thou art my home!

* Spence's Auecdotes.

The address to Chloe, with which the “Nut-brown Maid” commences,

Thou, to whose eyes I bend, &c. will ever be admired, and the poems will always find readers among the young and gentle-hearted who have not yet learned to be critics or to tremble at the fiat of Dr. Johnson. It is perhaps one of the most popular poems in the language.


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It is difficult to consider Swift as a poet. So many unamiable, disagreeable, unpoetical ideas are connected with his name, that, great as he was in fame and intellectual vigour, he seems as misplaced in the temple of the muses as one of his own yahoos. But who has not heard of “ Swift's Stella ?” and of Cadenus and Vanessa ? Though all will confess that the two devoted women, who fell victims to his barbarous selfishness, and whose names are eternally linked with the history of our literature, are far more interesting, from their ill-bestowed, ill-requited and passionate attachment to him, than by any thing he ever sung or said of them.* Nay, his most elaborate, and his most admired poem-the avowed history of one of his attachments—with its insipid tawdry fable, its conclusion, in which nothing is concluded, and the inferences we are left to draw from it, would have given but an ignominious celebrity to poor Vanessa, if truth and time, and her own sweet nature, had not redeemed her.

I pass over Swift's early attachment to Jane Waryng, whom he deserted after a seven years' engagement; she is not in any way connected with his literary history, and what became of her afterwards is not known. He

* As Swift said truly and wittily of himself:

As when a lofty pile is raised,
We never hear the workmen praised,
Who bring the lime or place the stones,
But all admire Inigo Jones;
So if this pile of scattered rhymes
Should be approved in after-times,
If it both pleases and endures,
The merit and the praise are yours! – Verses to Stella.

excused himself by some pitiful subterfuges about fortune; but it appears, from a comparison of dates, that the occasion of his breaking off with her, was his rising partiality for another.

When Swift was an inmate of Sir William Temple's family at Moor Park, he met with Esther Johnson, who appears to have been a kind of humble companion to Sir William's niece, Miss Gifford. She is said by some to have been the daughter of Sir William's steward; by others we are told that her father was a London merchant, who had failed in business. This was the interesting and ill-fated woman, since renowned as “ Swift's Stella."

She was then a blooming girl of fifteen, with silky black hair, brilliant eyes, and delicate features. Her disposition was gentle and affectionate; and she had a mind of no common order. Swift sometimes employed his leisure in instructing Sir William's niece, and Stella was the companion of her studies. Her beauty, talents, and docility, interested her preceptor, who, though considerably older than herself, was in the vigour of his life and intellectual powers; and she repaid this interest with all the idolatry of a young unpractised heart, mingled with a gratitude and reverence almost filial. When

he took possession of his living in Ireland, he might have married her; for she loved him and he knew it. She was perfectly independent of any family ties, and had a small property of her own: but what were really his views or his intentions, it is impossible to guess; nor at the reasons of that most extraordinary arrangement, by which he contrived to bind this devoted creature to him for life, and to enslave her heart and soul to him forever, without assuming the character either of a husband or a lover. He persuaded her to leave England; and, under the sanction and protection of a respectable elderly woman named Dingley, often alluded to in his humorous poems, to take up her residence near him at Laracor. Subsequently, when he became Dean of St. Patrick's, she had a lodging in Dublin. He was accustomed to spend part of every day in her society, but never without the presence of a third person; and when he was absent, the two ladies took possession of his residence, and occupied it till his return.

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