Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

noblewoman; writer and poet from England, editor (1689-1762)

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (15 May 168921 August 1762) was an English aristocrat and writer, chiefly remembered today for her letters.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1725
Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, 1800

Quotes edit

  • Let this great maxim be my virtue’s guide,—
    In part she is to blame that has been tried:
    He comes too near that comes to be denied.
    • "The Lady’s Resolve" (1713)
      • A fugitive piece, written on a window by Lady Montagu, after her marriage. Compare: "In part to blame is she, Which hath without consent bin only tride: He comes to neere that comes to be denide", Sir Thomas Overbury (1581–1613), A Wife, stanza 36.
  • Good madam, when ladies are willing,
      A man must needs look like a fool;
    For me I would not give a shilling
      For one who would love out of rule.
    You should leave us to guess by your blushing,
      And not speak the matter so plain;
    ’Tis our’s to write and be pushing,
      ’Tis yours to affect disdain.
    That you’re in a terrible taking,
      By all these sweet oglings I see,
    But the fruit that can fall without shaking,
      Indeed is too mellow for me.
    • "To a Lady Making Love"
  • Thou silver deity of secret night,
      Direct my footsteps through the woodland shade;
    Thou conscious witness of unknown delight,
      The Lover’s guardian, and the Muse’s aid!
    By thy pale beams I solitary rove,
      To thee my tender grief confide;
    Serenely sweet you gild the silent grove,
      My friend, my goddess, and my guide.
    E’en thee, fair queen, from thy amazing height,
      The charms of young Endymion drew;
    Veil’d with the mantle of concealing night;
      With all thy greatness and thy coldness too.
    • "A Hymn to the Moon (Written in an Arbour)"
  • Cease, fond shepherd! Cease desiring
      What you never must enjoy;
    She derides your vain aspiring,
      She, to all your sex is coy.
    Cunning Damon once pursued her,
      Yet she never would incline;
    Strephon too, as vainly wooed her,
      Though his flocks are more than thine.
    At Diana’s shrine, aloud,
      By the zone around her waist,
    Thrice she bowed, and thrice she vowed,
      Like the Goddess, to be chaste.
    • "The Advice"
  • Though I never get possession,
      ’Tis a pleasure to adore;
    Hope, the wretch’s only blessing,
      May, in time, procure me more.
    Constant courtship may obtain her,
      Where both wealth and merit fail;
    And the lucky minute gain her—
      Fate and fancy must prevail.
    At Diana’s shrine, aloud,
      By the bow and by the quiver,
    Thrice she bowed, and thrice she vowed,
      Once to love—and that forever.
    • "The Answer"

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919) edit

Quotes reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Be plain in dress, and sober in your diet;
    In short, my deary, kiss me, and be quiet.
    • A Summary of Lord Lyttelton’s Advice to a Lady.
      • Original spelling:
        Be plain in Dress and sober in your Diet;
        In short my Dearee, kiss me, and be quiet.
  • Satire should, like a polished razor keen,
    Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen.
    • To the Imitator of the First Satire of Horace, Book ii.
  • But the fruit that can fall without shaking
    Indeed is too mellow for me.
    • The Answer.

About edit

  • What say you to such a supper with such a woman? ... Is not her 'champagne and chicken' worth a forest or two? Is it not poetry?
  • Lord Byron, in response to Lady Mary Montague's line 'And we meet, with champagne and a chicken at last' (from "The Lover: A Ballad"), reported in Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: with Notices of his Life, ed. Thomas Moore (Paris: A. and W. Gaglinani, 1830), p. 391

External links edit

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