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But above all, away vile jealousy
The evil of evils, just cause to be unjust,
How can she love, where love cannot win trust?
Where open hearts do hold so constant place,
Muses grant gifts, nymphs long and joined life, Pan store of babes, virtue their thoughts well staid,
Cupid's lust gone, and gone is bitter strife,
Nor yet shall yield to loathsome sluttishnessy
My true love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given ;
My true love hath my heart, and I have his. His heart in me keeps me and him in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides ; He loves my heart, for once it was his own, I cherish his, because in me it bides;
My true love hath my heart and I have his.
MARY, COUNTESS OF PEM
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother!
Of the family of this illustrious lady, Sidney's sister, enough has been said. Of the place and time of her birth, the writer is reluctantly obliged to confess his ignorance,--several volumes having been referred to in vain. Mr. Park, one of the most accurate of our antiquarian writers, in his additions to the “ Royal and Noble Authors," says merely, that she was born about the middle of the sixteenth century. If so, it is most probable that Penshurst, in Kent, then the residence of ber father, may lay claim to the honour of her birthplace.
She received a learned education, under the direction of her excellent mother, of whom honourable mention has been already made, and about the year 1576, married Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, very much to the satisfaction of her family. Of her private history, little more is known, than that she survived her husband more than twenty years, and died at an advanced period of life, in Aldersgate Street, London, September the 25th, 1621,
Mary, Countess of Pembroke, ranks deservedly high in the catalogue of learned British ladies; and affords probably the first example of that small but illustrious band of female worthies which has been distinguished of late years by the whimsical appellation of " Blue Stockings," (bas-bleus.) She was learned, and she patronized learning. Surrounding herself with men of genius, she received the incense of their praise while living, and has secured herself an honourable immortality in the literary monuments of the age in which she lived. Spenser, and Daniel, and Jonson, and Donne, her own illustrious brother, and a host of inferior names, have united in celebrating the beauty of her person, and the accomplishments of her mind.
The works of this learned lady, are not of easy attainment, several of them appear yet to exist only in
manuscript, and those which have been committed to > the press are valuable from their rarity. It would be
uncandid from the few specimens we have seen to offer any opinion of their merits, they shall speak for themselves, and make their own appeal to the judgment of our readers.
The following specimen of her prose composition is selected by Mr. Park from a volume which he describes
no less estimable than rare," entitled “ A Discourse of Life and Death, written in French by Phil. Mornay.-Done in English by the Countess of Pembroke. London: Printed for W. Ponsonby, 1600, 12 mo," - from the exordium.
“It seemeth to me strange, and a thing much to be marvelled, that the labourer to repose himself hasteneth as it were the course of the sun; that the mariner rows
with all force to attain the port, and with a joyful cry salutes the descried land; that the traveller is never quiet nor content, till he be at the end of his voyage; and that we, in the mean while, tied in this world to a perpetual task, tossed with continual tempests, - tired with a rough and cumbersome way, cannot yet see the end of our labour but with grief, nor behold our port but with tears, nor approach our home and quiet abode but with horror and trembling. This life is but a Penelope's web, wherein we are always doing and undoing; a sea open to all winds, which, sometimes within, sometimes without, never cease to torment us; a weary journey through extreme heats and colds, over high mountains, steep rocks, and theivish deserts. And so we term it, in weaving this web, in rowing at this oar, in passing this miserable way. Yet lo, when death comes to end our work; when she stretcheth out ber arms to pull us into this port; when, after so many dangerous passages and loatlısome lodgings, she would conduct us to our true home and resting place; instead of rejoicing at the end of our labour, of taking comfort at the sight of our land, of singing at the approach of our happy mansion ; we would fain, (who would believe it?) retake our work in hand, we would again hoist sail to the wind, and willingly undertake our journey anew. No more then remember we our pains; our shipwrecks and dangers are forgotten; we fear no more the travels nor the thieves. Contrariwise, we approach death as an extreme pain, we doubt it as a rock, we fly it as a thief. We do as little children, who all the day complain, and when the medicine is brought them, are no longer sick; as they who all the
week run up and down the streets with pain of the teeth, and seeing the barber coming to pull them out, feel no more pain. We fear more the cure than the disease; the surgeon than the pain. We have more sense of the medicine's bitterness, soon gone, than of a bitter languishing, long continued ; more feeling of death, the end of our miseries, than the endless misery of our lives. We fear that we ought to hope for, and we wish for that we ought to fear.”
If this be not a partial specimen, we may very safely pronounce the Countess to have been a correct, nervous, and spirited writer of prose; who wielded her native language with the ease and dignity of a veteran scholar, and far excelled her brother in this department of literature. Almost every writer who has incidentally mentioned Lady Pembroke, bas compared her with Sir Philip Sidney, for personal resemblance, and similarity of taste, of talent, and of disposition. A contempory, whose name is not at hand, relating an incident in the life of her younger son, in which he failed to resent an insult offered to him, remarks, that the Countess, then at an advanced age, on hearing of this want of spirit in her offspring, tore her hair; that she possessed the lofty character of her brother, who had no advantage over her, but by the chance of nature in being a man, which was more than compensated by the feminine beauty of her person. Of the truth of this latter remark, we can only judge by the portraits which have been handed down to us.
From these, we should be led to suppose that her features, though strongly marked, and full of expression, were of too masculine a character to be consistent with female grace.