1775 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Montagu

Samuel Jackson Pratt to Elizabeth Montagu, 1775; Reginald Blunt, Mrs. Montagu, 1762-1800 (1923) 1:296.



Of the whole human race I believe I am the least mercenary, and revolt at the idea of a slight that seems to arise from a notion that I have written to you for money. The true (and not the distorted) history of my life, which one day the world may know) would easily prove how incapable I am of such shabby importunities, and how often I have, in far sorer times than I have now to combat with, maintained the decent pride of character, almost to starving, rather than resort to methods of relief which sullied the feeling which bore me through such clustering difficulties. Adieu, Madam, I have only to beg you will acquit me of a despicable, time-serving principle. I inscribed a poem to you, because I admired your abilities and had felt your delicate liberality in a more affecting period of my life.