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other sex are, in general, so devoted to the sordid pursuit of interest, that I give them up: but I hope the love of well-deserved fame is still the ruling passion in many female breasts ; and what a glory will it be to them, that when the fire of genius was, by the carelessness and insensibility of the men, just expiring, it was revived by the favour of the women.
Since my country-women are so fond of imitating a neighbouring nation, let it not be said they borrow nothing from them but their follies. A French woman of distinction would be more ashamed of wanting a taste for the belles-lettres, than of being ill dressed ; and it is owing to the neglect of adorning their minds, that our travelling English ladies are at Paris the objects of unspeakable contempt, and are honoured with the appellation of handsome savages.
I am too sincere a lover of my country to suppose we are all inferior to our enemies in understanding; and, was this laudable ambition once awaked amongst us, am confident the females of England would soon outstrip the French as much in literary accomplishments, as they do in beauty.
I leave it to the consideration of my fair readers, whether the protection of true genius of our own would not do them more honour
than the ill-judged patronage some of them lavish on Italian singers and dancers, for which we have been deservedly laughed at all over Europe, and which I am sorry to see likely to rise much higher than ever. Farinelli, it is true, was paid extravagantly; but he was paid for singing; but we have now a female at the Opera, who, with a salary near double to what the best theatrical performer ever had, dares to absent herself from the stage whenever she chooses to be out of humour, and notwithstanding this, is sure to be applauded whenever she condescends to honour us with her appearance. I will suppose the ladies who protect these people imagine they are encouraging arts; and that it is only for want of having had their thoughts early turned to proper subjects, that they give their approbation to trifling accomplishments, to the neglect of real merit. However this may be, I myself know many who are as good judges of polite literature, at least, as most men; and I advise all poets for the future to seek patronesses instead of patrons. After what I have said I cannot finish this paper with more propriety, than by inserting an Ode which I received from a correspondent, and which, I am told, is written by one of my own sex. The gentleman who sent it tells me the author of it never yet appeared in print, and with great reluctance and fear consented to suffer this to be conveyed to me for that purpose. Whether it ought to have been published or not, the town must determine; for I shall never take upon me to give my opinion of any thing which may appear in this paper.
O, far remov'd from my retreat
OLD MAID, No. 2
That the present age is not the age of genius, has been a complaint in almost every period, and has been repeated as frequently during the course of the last ten years as at any former æra. Were Mrs. Singleton, however, to revisit the light of day, she would no longer have to lament the dearth of female talent, or the neglect manifested for poetic powers. The productions of Southey, of Campbell, and Scott, have met with the encouragement due to their- merit; and, among the fair disciples of the muses, how would she have gloried in selecting the names of Seward, of Smith, of Baillie, of Bannerman, of Radcliffe, and of many others, who form a constellation of uncommon brilliancy in the female world of letters !
The decent Graces
CELEBRATED French critic has given it for a rule, that every author should from time to time sacrifice to the Graces; thereby beautifully insinuating, that writers should endeavour to fashion their minds into an elegant way of thinking, which will be always sure to transpire into their compositions, and will be manifested by a delicate choice of sentiment and expression. Inest facundis gratia dictis is the phrase by which an author of taste has signified a polish and refinement in a performance; and, indeed, among
the ancients in general, it is this peculiar grace, this genteel manner of conceiving and expressing their thoughts, that has made their productions the admiration of ages; and those have been accounted classic writers among the moderns, who have succeeded best in imitating the Greek and Roman originals.
Full of these reflections, I retired to rest a