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my conduct, or find me behave otherwise than as an
Mons. de Torcy has very severe, and I fear very exact accounts of us; we are all frightened out of our wits, upon the Duke of Marlborough's going into England.
RIGHT HONOURABLE LIONEL, EARL OF DORSET AND MIDIDLESEX.”
It looks like no great compliment to your Lordship, that I prefix your name to this epistle; when, in the preface, I declare the book is published almost against my inclination. But, in all cases, my Lord, you have an hereditary right to whatever may be called mine. Many of the following pieces were written by the command of your excellent father; and most of the rest, under his protection and patronage. The particular felicity of your birth, my Lord ; the natural endowments of your mind, which, without suspicion of flattery, I may tell you, are very great; the good education with which these parts have been improved; and your coming into the world, and seeing men very early ; make us expect from your Lordship all the good, which our hopes can form in favour of a young nobleman. Tu Marcellus eris-Our eyes and our hearts are turned on you. You must be a judge and master of polite learning; a friend and patron to men of letters and merit; a faithful and able counsellor to your prince ; a true patriot to your country; an ornament and honour to the titles you possess; and, in one word, a worthy son to the great Earl of Dorset.” It is as impossible to mention that name, without desiring to commend the person, as it is to give him the commendations which his virtues de
* Afterwards created Duke of Dorset.
1 Born 24 January, 1637, died 29 January, 1705-6. Mr. Walpole observes that “he was the finest gentleman in the voluptuous court of Charles the Second, and in the gloomy one of King William: he had as much wit as his first master, or his contemporaries, Buckingham and Rochester, without the royal want of feeling, the Duke's want of principles, or the Earl's want of thought. The latter said with astonishment, ‘That he did not know how it was, but Lord Dorset might do any thing, and yet was never to blame."—It was not that he was free from the failings of humanity, but he had the tenderness of it too, which made every body excuse whom every body loved, for even the asperity of his verses seems to have been forgiven to ‘The best good of man, with the worst natur'd Muse.”—This line is not more familiar than Lord Dorset's own poems, to all who have a taste for the genteelest beauties of natural and easy verse, or than his Lordship's own bon mots; of which I cannot help repeating one of singular humour. Lord Craven was a proverb for officious whispers to men in power. On Lord Dorset's promotion, King Charles having seen Lord Craven pay his usual tribute to him, asked the former what the latter had been saying: the Earl replied gravely, 'Sir, my Lord Craven did me the honour to whisper, but I did not think it good manners to listen.” When he was dying, Congreve, who had been to visit him, being asked how he had left him, replied, “faith, he slabbers more wit than other people do in their best health.” Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, vol. ii. p. 96.