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To the Countefs of BURLINGTON +.
July 21, 1714. HUMBLY defire your Ladyfhip would for
presenting you with this book. I do it from the high honour and veneration I have for your great merit and virtue. It cannot, I know, furnish your Ladyfhip with new reflections; and the Ladies of whom you are the happy mother have an example before them more prevalent to form them to every thing praife-worthy than any precepts they can find in the works of the beft writers. But as there is much curiofity in these papers, and great strength and force in the reasonings of them; give me leave to offer this collection for the ufe of female life as a testimony of the refpect which I, with all who are honoured with the leaft acquaintance with you, must pay to your Ladyfhip, for the eminent example you have given the world in the im portant characters of a wife and a mother.
To command with the mien of making a requeft, to oblige with the aspect of receiving fa
*Prefixed to the first volume of "The Ladies Library."
Juliana, daughter and fole heirefs to Henry Noel, fecond fon of Edward Viscount Campden; fhe was married to Charles the fec ad Earl of Burlington, who left her a widow in 1703-4; and was mother to Richard the third and laft Earl of Burlington.
vours, and to win affection without other defign than making all people happy who converse with her, or depend upon her, are excellencies peculiar to my Lady Burlington. But as there is a complaifance which, like fincere friendship, fpeaks our good opinion in our ordinary looks and actions, more than any language can do it, I here fhall go no farther than juft to declare myself, with great deference, among the admirers of your great goodness and virtue; and beg of your Ladyfhip to forgive my faying thus much, for the forbearance of faying more, on a fubject of which I am so very fond, as that of expreffing myself, Madam, your Ladyfhip's most devoted, moft obedient, and most humble fervant, RICHARD STEELE.
To Mrs. BoVEY.
July 21, 1714.
T is an undisputed privilege writers are pof feffed of, to produce examples to the pre
*Prefixed to the fecond volume of "The Ladies Library."
+ On a fplendid monument in Weftminster-abbey, under that of Lord Viscount Howe, and next to Bp. Pearce, is a buft of the Lady on a fmall medallion, placed between two large emblematic figures, defigned by Gibbs, with the following infcription:
"To the memory of Mrs. KATHARINA BOVEY, whofe perfon and understanding would have become the higheft rank in female life, and whofe vivacity would have recommended her in the best converfation; but, by judgement, as well as inclination,
cepts they would enforce from the living cha racters of their contemporaries. You cannot, The chofe fuch a retirement as gave her great opportunities for reading and reflection, which the made ufe of to the wisest purpofes of improvement in knowledge and religion. Upon other fubjects, the ventured far out of the common way of thinking; but in religious matters, she made the Holy Scriptures, in which fhe was well killed, the rule and guide of her faith and actions; efteeming it more fafe to rely upon the plain Word of God, than to run into any freedoms of thought upon revealed truths. The great share of time allowed to the clofet was not perceived in her economy, for fhe had always a well-ordered and well-instructed family, from the happy influence as well of her temper and conduct, as of her uniform and exemplary Chriftian life. It pleafed God to bless her with a confiderable estate, which, with a liberal hand, guided by wisdom and piety, fhe employed to his glory, and the good of her neighbours. Her domeftic expences were managed with a decency and dignity fuitable to her fortune, but with a frugality that made her income abound to all proper objects of charity, to the relief of the neceffitous, the encouragement of the induftrious, and the inftruction of the ignorant. She diftributed not only with chearfulness, but with joy, which upon fome occafions of raifing and refreshing the fpirit of the afflicted, he could not refrain from breaking forth into tears, flowing from a heart thoroughly affected with compaffion and benevolence. Thus did many of her good works, while fhe lived, go up as a memorial before God; and fome fhe left to follow her.
She died January 21, 1726, in the 57th year of her age, at Flaxley, her feat in Gloucestershire, and was buried there, where her name will be long remembered, and where feveral of her benefactions at that place, as well as others, are more particularly recorded."
At the top of the monument are the family arms; and at the bottom thefe lines:
"This monument was erected with the utmost respect to her memory, and juftice to her character, by her executrix, Mrs. MARY POPE, who lived with her near forty years in perfect friendship, and never once interrupted till her much lamented death."
therefore, expect for ever to be doing laudable things, and for ever to escape applause. It is in vain, you find, that you have always concealed greater excellencies than others induftriously present to view; for the world will know that your beauty, though in the highest degree of dignity and sweetness, is but a faint image of the spirit which inhabits the amiable form which Heaven has bestowed on you. It is ob. served, by all who know you, that, though you have an aspect and mien which draw the attention and expectation of all who converfe with you, and a wit and good fenfe which furmount the great conceptions your perfon raises in your beholders, those perfections are enjoyed by you like gifts of common acceptation; that lovely and affable air expreffes only the humility of a great and generous heart; and the most shining accomplishments, ufed by others to attract vulgar admiration, are ferviceable to you only as they adorn piety and charity.
Though your person and fortune equally raife the admiration and ambition of our whole sex to move your attention to their importunities; your equal fpirit entertains itself with ideas of a very different kind, and is folicitous to fearch for imperfections where it were the utmost injustice for any other to imagine any, and applauses only awaken you to an inquifition for errors.
It is with this turn of mind that, instead of affemblies and converfations, books and folitude have been your choice, and you have gone on in the study of what you should be, rather than attended to the celebration of what you are. Thus, with the charms of the fairest of your own fex, and knowledge not inferior to the more learned of ours, a clofet, a bower, or fome beauteous fcene of rural nature, has constantly robbed the world of a Lady's appearance, who never was beheld but with gladness to her vifitants, nor ever admired but with pain to herself.
But a conftant diftribution of large charities, a fearch for objects of new bounty, and a skilful choice of modeft merit, or fuffering virtue, touch the fouls of those who partake your goodness too deeply to be borne without enquiring for, and celebrating their benefactress. I fhould be loth to offend your tenderness in this particular; but I know, when I fay this, the fatherless and the widow, the neglected man of merit, the wretch on the fick bed, in a word, the diftreffed under all forms, will from this hint learn to trace the kind hand which has fo often, as from Heaven, conveyed to them what they have afked in the anguifh of foul, when none could hear, but He who has bleffed you with so ample a fortune, and given you a foul to employ it in his fervice.