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HER GRACE ISABELLA,
DUCHESS DOWAGER OF RUTLAND. (1)
THE dedication of works of literature to persons of superior worth and eminence appears to have been a measure early adopted, and continued to the present time; so that, whatever objections have been made to the language of dedicators, such addresses must be considered as perfectly consistent with reason and propriety; in fact, superior rank and elevated situation in life naturally and justly claim such respect; and it is the prerogative of greatness to give countenance and favour to all who appear to merit and to need them: it is likewise the prerogative of every kind of superiority and celebrity, of personal merit when peculiar or extra
(1) [See antè, Vol. I. p. 114.]
ordinary, of dignity, elegance, wealth, and beauty; certainly of superior intellect and intellectual acquirements: every such kind of eminence has its privilege, and being itself an object of distinguished approbation, it gains attention for whomsoever its possessor distinguishes and approves.
Yet the causes and motives for an address of this kind rest not entirely with the merit of the patron; the feelings of the author himself having their weight and consideration in the choice he makes: he may have gratitude for benefits received (1), or pride not illaudable in aspiring to the favour of those whose notice confers honour; or he may entertain a secret but strong desire of seeing a name in the entrance of his work, which he is accustomed to utter with peculiar satisfaction, and to hear mentioned with veneration and delight.
Such, Madam, are the various kinds of eminence for which an author on these occasions would pro
(1) [On the death of the Duke of Rutland, in 1787, the Duchess, desirous of retaining in the neighbourhood the protégé of her lamented husband, gave Mr. Crabbe a letter to the lord chancellor, earnestly request ing him to exchange two small livings held by the poet in Dorsetshire, for wo of superior value in the vale of Belvoir. Mr. Crabbe proceeded to London, but was not, on this occasion, very courteously received by Lord Thurlow. "No," he growled ; " by G-d, I will not do this for any man in England." But he did it, nevertheless, for a woman in England. The good Duchess, on arriving in town, waited on him personally, to renew her request; and he yielded. See antè, Vol. I. p. 137.];
bably seek, and they meet in your Grace; such too are the feelings by which he would be actuated, and they centre in me: let me therefore entreat your Grace to take this book into your favour and protection, and to receive it as an offering of the utmost respect and duty, from,