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BLESSINGTON Countess of - Autograph Letter Signed 1835 to a poet

  • £595.00

Margaret, Countess of BLESSINGTON (1789-1849)

Autograph Letter Signed (“M Blessington”) to the poet Henry Austin Driver, thanking him for his volume of poems, praising them, informing him that she has “this day presented the Copy you designed for the Countess Guiccioli, to that Lady . . .” and asking him to “write a few lines” of poetry to accompany some portraits.

7 pages 8vo, part of the letter cover and the seal laid down on the last leaf, Seamore Place, 28 July 1835.   

I beg to thank you for the Splendid Copies of your Poems . . . They required not “the foreign aid of ornament”, though they certainly are “Digna Cedro”, and shall be preserved by me as precious treasures.

I this day presented the Copy you designed for the Countess Guiccioli, to that Lady, and she has promised to write a note of acknowledgement, in italian – She ought to be delighted with the poem, for in it you have inserted the character of her, and Byron, with a grace, and dignity, such as only a true Poet could bestow – I have not yet had time to peruse “The Arabs” as attentively as it merits, but the parts I have read gratified me exceedingly “Harold de Burun” is the most remarkable work that I have met with for many a year, and one that will secure for its Author, and elevated niche in the Temple of Fame. Religion, true, pure, and holy, Philosophy, wise, calm and contemplative, are joined to passion, purified from all its earthly dross, and sentiment, freed from its puerility, in this admirable work. I return the first Copy, and am flattered that you think my marginal marks worth your attention. The Oriental Beauty that I wished you to immortalize, has been appropriated to an Eastern prose Tale. May I ask you to write a few lines to each of the two Portraits of which I inclose the first rude etchings, in so unfinished a state as to give but a faint idea of the beauty of the originals. Lady A Baring is the daughter of the Earl of Cardigan, and is considered one of the finest specimens of Aristocratic beauty, that England can boast. She is faultless as a wife, and Mother, and so dignified . . . and irreproachable in Conduct, that the breath of Slander has never assailed her. There is something to me very poetical, in so young and beautiful a woman being so faultless in beauty, and being, though highly dignified, perfectly simple, and feminine. The other Portrait is that of the Countess of Buckinghamshire who sings like an Angel, and looks like one. A few lines to each would infinitely oblige me, and I trust I am not trespassing too much on your kindness, in asking this favour. . . .P.S. My book, that is to say, several pages of it, are going to press, so that we have no time to lose. I hope you will favour me with a call in Seamore Place.”

Henry Austin Driver was considered by some to be an excellent poet in his day. His admirers included not only Lady Blessington, but Thomas Moore, Letitia Elizabeth Landon and John Cam Hobhouse. Driver was a great admirer of Lord Byron, whom Lady Blessington had known well, and spent a great deal of time and effort attempting to have a proper memorial erected to the poet. Driver’s reputation and poetry have not, alas, been quite so enthusiastically endorsed by later generations.

The book mentioned in Lady Blessington’s postscript was her Book of Beauty, an annual which she edited.

Minor traces of mounting to the last (blank) page.


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