Page:Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea 1903.djvu/59

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INTRODUCTION Iv ���afflict the prudish lady with pride and modesty so stubborn that her verse shall remain unknown: �And last my vengeance to complete, Mayst thou descend to take renown, �Prevailed on by the thing you hate, A Whig! and one that wears a gown! �The verses are, on the whole, playful and gallant and would indicate nothing but friendly relations. But the last lines show that, whatever concessions her nephew Charles felt to be the logical outcome of his necessities, Ardelia's allegiance to the old order was unfaltering and outspoken. It would not, indeed, be difficult to imagine after-dinner conversations in which the statements of that very positive defender of the Whigs, Dr. Swift, might have elicited not only those " flashes of Ardelia's eyes " before which Apollo was abashed, but even more emphatic retorts not contributory to final amity. The evidence is too scanty for an exact state- ment of the attitude of Swift toward Mrs. Pinch, but it would seem to be more friendly than that of Pope. �The actual relationship between Lady Winchilsea and two others of her fellow poets, Pope and Gay, is not easily Alexander Pope determined. In years she was much their and John Gay senior. When she first braved the publicity of Gildon's Miscellany in 1701 Pope was but a lad of thirteen, studying versification under his father's strict tutelage in Binfield, and Gay, a youth of sixteen, in the free grammar school of Barnstaple, was devoting himself to dramatic per- formances under his " rhyming pedagogue," R. Luck, A. M. But the next decade brought great changes. The young men had come to London and were on friendly terms in the same literary coterie. Gay was not yet widely known, but Pope's Pastorals, his Essay on Criticism, and his Rape of the Lock, had made him the most talked-of poet in England. Lady Winchilsea had also advanced. Not only had her ��� �