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The other inscription, altered from one written by Walter Savage Landor, is as follows:-
“ Hic est depositum
Quod superest mulieris
The original inscription, by W. S. Landor, is certainly, in all respects but one, preferable to the substituted : and that one is the absence of all reference to a future state : “ Infra sepvltvm est id omne qvod sepeliri potest
mvlieris qvondam pvlcherrimæ.
aliorvm pari adjvvit.
Erga omnis erat largâ bonitate
peregrinis eleganter hospitalis.
The following English version of the above inscription has been given by Mr. Landor :
TO THE MEMORY OF MARGUERITE, COUNTESS OF
BLESSINGTON, “ Underneath is buried all that could be buried of a woman once most beautiful. She cultivated her genius with the greatest zeal, and fostered it in others with equal assiduity. The benefits she conferred she could conceal,-her talents not. Elegant in her hospitality to strangers, charitable to all, she retired to Paris in April, and there she breathed her last, on the 4th of June, 1849."*
There is an epitaph on the tomb of a daughter-in-law of Dryden, who died in 1712, and was buried in Kiel church, in Staffordshire—(see “Monumenta Anglicana," p. 154)— where some expressions occur, somewhat similar to those which Mr. Landor has taken exception to, in the substituted inscription. It runs thus :
“ Hæc quo erat, forma et genere illustrior, eo se humiliorem præbuit maritum honorando
familiam præcipue Liberos fovendo
ut neminem reperisses decidentum :
et honesta morum suavitate.”
age of Lady Blessington has been a subject of some controversy. She was born, we are informed by her niece (on the authority, I have reason to believe, of her aunt), the
* On the subject of this inscription, Mr. Landor addressed a long letter to the “ Athenæum,” complaining of the alterations which had been made in the Latin lines he had written, from which I will only extract the concluding paragraphs.
" It may be thought superfluous to remark, that epitaphs have certain qualities in common; for instance, all are encomiastic. The main difference and the main difficulty lie in the expression, since nearly all people are placed on the same level in the epitaph as in the grave. Hence, out of eleven or twelve thousand Latin ones, ancient and modern, I find scarcely threescore in which there is originality or elegance. Pure latinity is not uncommon, and is perhaps as little uncommon in the modern as in the ancient, where certain forms ex. clude it, to make room for what appeared more venerable. Nothing is now left to be done but to bring forward in due order and just proportions the better peculiarities of character composing the features of the dead, and modulating the tones of grief.
" Walter SAVAGE LANDOR."
1st of September, 1790. She died the 4th of June, 1849 ; hence it would appear her age was fifty-eight years and nine months. From inquiries that were made by me in Clonmel, and examination of the marriage registry, it was ascertained that Lady Blessington had been married the 7th of March, 1804. She must then have been about fifteen years of age; but, according to the former account, she would have been only fourteen years of age the 1st of September, 1804.*
Lady Blessington stated to me that when she was married in 1804, she was then under fifteen years of age. Had she been born on the 1st of September, 1789, she would not have been fifteen years of age till the 1st of September, 1804.
The probability then, is, that she was born in 1789, and not in 1790; and was therefore sixty years of age, less by two months, when she died.
Ellen, Lady Canterbury (her younger sister), in the account of her death, in " the Annual Register," is stated to have died in her fifty-fourth year, the 16th of November, 1845. From this, it would appear that she was born in the latter part of 1791.
Mary Ann, Countess St. Marsault, the youngest of all the children of Edmond Power, I am informed was fifteen years younger than Lady Blessington. If this be the case, and Lady Blessington was born in 1789, the Countess of St. Marsault must have been born in 1804, and would be now fifty-one years of age.
But if I might hazard an opinion on so delicate a subject * A person intimately acquainted with Lady Blessington's family is the editor of a Clonmel paper, in which the following paragraph appeared :
“ A Dublin solicitor has just been in Clonmel, for the purpose of exactly ascertaining the age of the late Countess of Blessington, in reference to an insurance claim. She was not so old at her death as the newspapers said, having been married in 1804, at the early age of fifteen years, so that she was only sixty years old at her decease.”
as a lady's age, I would venture to set down the date of that event as 1801, and not 1804.
In a letter from Miss Power, dated 12th of July, 1849, then residing at Chambourcy Près de St. Germain-en-Laye (the seat of the Duchess de Grammont, the sister of Count D'Orsay), the loss of Lady Blessington is thus referred to :
“ Count D'Orsay would himself have answered your letter, but had not the nerve or the heart to do so; although the subject occupies his mind night and day, he cannot speak of it but to those who have been his fellow-sufferers; it is like an image ever floating before his eyes, which he has got, as it were, used to look upon, but which he cannot yet bear to grasp and feel that it is real : much that she was to us, we cannot but feel that to him she was all; the centre of his existence, round which his recollections, thoughts, hopes, and plans turned ; and just at the moment she was about to commence a new mode of life, one that promised a rest from the occupation and anxieties that had for some years fallen to her share, death deprived us of her.”
On D'Orsay's first visit to the tomb where the remains of Lady Blessington had been deposited, his anguish is said to have been most poignant and heart.rending. He seemed almost frenzied at times, bewildered and stupified; and when awakened to a full consciousness of the great calamity that had taken place, he would lament the loss he had sustained as if it occurred only the day before.
His state of mind might be described in the words of an Arabic poem :
“ Torn from lov'd friends, in Death's cold caverns laid,
I sought their haunts with shrieks that pierced the air ;-
* Tran: lation from an Arabic poet, by the late Sir William Jones.
A notice of the death of Lady Blessington appeared in the Athenæum," of June 9th, 1849, written by one who appears to have known her well, and to have appreciated fully her many excellent qualities :
“Only a fortnight since, the journa's of London were laying open to public gaze the relics of a house which for some dozen years past has been an object of curiosity, and a centre of pleasurable recollection to many persons distinguished in literature and art, abroad and at home.
“The Countess of Blessington, it appears, lived just long enough to see her gates closed and her treasures dispersed; for on Tuesday arrived from Paris, tidings, that within a few hours after establishing herself in her new mansion there, she died suddenly of apoplexy, on Monday last.
Few departures have been attended by more regrets than will be that of this brilliant and beautiful woman, in the circle to which her influences have been restricted. It is unnecessary to sum up the writings published by Lady Blessington within the last eighteen years, commencing by her ‘Conversations with Lord Byron,' including her lively and natural French and Italian journals, half a score of novels, the most powerful among which is 'The Victims of Society,' detached thoughts, and fugitive verses,—since these are too recent to call for enumeration.
“As all who knew the writer will bear us out in saying, they faintly represent her gifts and graces-her command over anecdote, her vivacity of fancy, her cordiality of manner, and her kindness of heart. They were hastily and slightly thrown off by one with whom authorship was a pursuit assumed rather than instinctive in the intervals snatched from a life of unselfish good offices and lively social intercourse.
“From each one of the vast variety of men of all classes, all creeds, all manner of acquirements, and all colour of political opinions whom Lady Blessington delighted to draw