Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/366



earthquake! Yet so it was, that, not satisfied with the sudden and total demolition of the immense commendations which the doctor had accumulated upon her both in English and in Latin, both in prose and in verse, with the comfortable hope of exalting her to the pinnacle of glory, my beloved Hester Lynch took it into her wise consideration utterly to shame her panegyrist, as soon as she heard that he had departed for a better worid, and strove with might and main to render herself a proper subject, not of British heroics and Lesbian lyrics, but of humorous street-ballads and laugh-provoking barn-farces.

To bring about a purpose so worthy of herself, quite easily did she yield to the triple impulse of avarice, vanity and another passion not be named, which ought early to bave been resisted by a matron of her years, the prolific productress at that time of twelve or fourteen fruits, partly abortive and partly well-ripe. On this her third passion I may possibly expatiate anon. Let US now only stick to the other two, her vanity and her avarice. To comply with these two, she turned author with ali celerity as soon as she heard that Johnson was no more; and after having sent, as her harbinger, a small book of Anecdotes of her own penning from Italy to England, there to be printed and sold for her emolument, though already wallowing in riches, she quitted in a hurry the banks of the Arno, among whose flags and sedges she ought to bave hidden her degraded self for the remainder of her days, and boldly presented again her charming shoeraised figure to her native country, that she might more easily and more advantageously manage the sale of another performance, which piany motives of propriety and decency ought to bave induced her, if not totally to suppress, to lop and trim in such a manner, as to render the perusal of it not offensive to many, not ignominious to herself, and, above ali, not opprobrious in many parts to its chief composer. Of that performance I intend to speak abundantly more in the subsequent strictures, than I bave already done in the two precedent; but, letting it aside for the present moment, that I may, in humble imitation of her present husband, vary the movements of my