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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

"[On her political writings:] It is, I confess, very possible that these my Labours may only be destined to line Trunks, or preserve roast Meat from too fierce a Fire; yet in that Shape I shall be useful to my Country."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Nonsense of Common-Sense (1738)

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"I have often observ'd the loudest Laughers to be the dullest Fellows in the Company."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Nonsense of Common-Sense (1738)

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"And when the long hours of our parting are past and we meet with champagne and a chicken at last ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Six Town Eclogues (1747)

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"Mrs. D. is resolved to marry the old greasy curate. She was always High Church to an excessive degree."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Letters Written During Her Travels in Europe, Asia and Africa (1779)

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"At the age of forty she is very far from being cold and insensible: her fire may be covered with ashes, but it is not extinguished."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Letters Written During Her Travels in Europe, Asia and Africa (1779)

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"I have never had any great esteem for the generality of the fair sex, and my only consolation for being of that gender has been the assurance it gave me of never being married to any one among them."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, letter (1723), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 1 (1803)

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"The last wedding is that of Peg Pelham, and I think I have never seen so comfortable a prospect of happiness; according to all appearance she cannot fail of being a widow in six weeks at farthest, and accordingly she has been so good a housewife to line her wedding-clothes with black."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, letter (1727), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 1 (1803)

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"'Tis the established custom [in Vienna] for every lady to have two husbands, one that bears the name, and another that performs the duties."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, letter (1716), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 2 (1803)

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"Satire should, like a polish'd razor keen, / Wound with a touch, that's scarcely felt or seen."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "Verses Address'd to the Imitator of Horace" (1733), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 (1803)

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"Thine is an oyster knife that hacks and hews -- / The rage but not the talent to abuse."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "Verses Address'd to the Imitator of Horace" (1733), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 (1803)

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"But the fruit that can fall without shaking, / Indeed is too mellow for me."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "Answer, for Lord William Hamilton" (1768), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 (1803)

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"Be plain in dress, and sober in your diet, / In short, my deary, kiss me! and be quiet."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "A Summary of Lord Lyttleton's Advice to a Lady" (1768), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 (1803)

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"Solitude begets whimsies ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"I am afraid we are little better than straws upon the water; we may flatter ourselves that we swim, when the current carries us along."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"... forgive what you can't excuse ... "

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"Our sex's weakness you expose and blame, / Of every prating fop the common theme; / Yet from this weakness you suppose is due / Sublimer virtue than your Cato knew. / From whence is this unjust distinction shown? / Are we not formed with passions like your own? / Nature with equal fire our souls endued: / Our minds as lofty, and as warm our blood."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"The familiarities of the gaming-table contribute very much to the decay of politeness ... The pouts and quarrels that naturally arise from disputes must put an end to all complaisance, or even good will towards one another."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"... I despise the pleasure of pleasing people whom I despise ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1712, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"... a man that is ashamed of passions that are natural and reasonable, is generally proud of those that are shameful and silly."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1712, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"No modest man ever did or ever will make his fortune."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1714, in Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, ed., The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1876)

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"My health is so often impaired that I begin to be as weary of it as mending old lace; when it is patched in one place, it breaks out in another."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1709, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"... people never write calmly but when they write indifferently."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1709, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"Miserable is the fate of writers: if they are agreeable, they are offensive; and if dull, they starve."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1709, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"General notions are generally wrong."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1710, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"In short I will part with anything for you but you."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, letter to her future husband (1712), in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"You can be pleased with nothing when you are not pleased with yourself."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1712, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"... to be reasonable one should never complain but when one hopes redress."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1712, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"I have never in all my various travels seen but two sorts of people, and those very like one another; I mean men and women, who always have been and ever will be the same."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1747, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1747, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"I am in perfect health, and hear it said I look better than ever I did in my life, which is one of those lies one is always glad to hear."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1747, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"Making verses is almost as common as taking snuff, and God can tell what miserable stuff people carry about in their pockets, and offer to all their acquaintances, and you know one cannot refuse reading and taking a pinch."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1747, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"It was formerly a terrifying view to me that I should one day be an old woman. I now find that Nature has provided pleasures for every state."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1747, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1753, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"True knowledge consists in knowing things, not words."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1753, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"Remember my unalterable maxim, where we love, we have always something to say ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1755, in Octave Thanet, ed., The Best Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1901)

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"Gardening is certainly the next amusement to reading."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1748, in Adrian Ross, ed., Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Select Passages From Her Letters (1908)

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"... as the world is, and will be, 'tis a sort of duty to be rich, that it may be in in one's power to do good ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1714, in Adrian Ross, ed., Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Select Passages From Her Letters (1908)

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"How many thousands ... earnestly seeking what they do not want, while they neglect the real blessings in their possession -- I mean the innocent gratification of their senses, which is all we can properly call our own."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1761, in Adrian Ross, ed., Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Select Passages From Her Letters (1908)

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"As I ... have always (at least from fifteen) thought the reputation of learning a misfortune to a woman, I was resolved to believe that these stories were not meant at me ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Adrian Ross, ed., Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Select Passages From Her Letters (1908)

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"My dear Smollett ... disgraces his talent by writing those stupid romances called history."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1758, in Adrian Ross, ed., Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Select Passages From Her Letters (1908)

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"... one would suffer a great deal to be happy."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Adrian Ross, ed., Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Select Passages From Her Letters (1908)

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"... Nature is indeed a specious ward, nay, there is a great deal in it if it is properly understood and applied, but I cannot bear to hear people using it to justify what common sense must disavow. Is not Nature modifed by art in many things? Was it not designed to be so? And is it not happy for human society that it is so? Would you like to see your husband let his beard grow, until he would be obliged to put the end of it in his pocket, because this beard is the gift of Nature?"

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, letter (1715), in Dorothy Van Doren, ed., The Lost Art (1929)

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"It has all been very interesting."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, last words (1762), in Barnaby Conrad, Famous Last Words (1961)

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"I believe more follies are committed out of complaisance to the world, than in following our own inclinations -- Nature is seldom in the wrong, custom always ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1709, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"Tis a Maxim with me to be young as long as one can. There is nothing can pay one for that invaluable ignorance which is the companion of youth, those sanguine groundlesse Hopes, and that lively vanity which makes all the Happinesse of Life. To my extreme Mortification I grow wiser every day ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1712, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"He left a world he was weary of with the cool indifference you quit a dirty inn, to continue your journey to a place where you hope for better accommodation."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"... if twas the fashion to go naked, the face would be hardly observ'd."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1717, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"I give my selfe sometimes admirable advice but I am incapable of taking it."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1725, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"The knowledge of Numbers is one of the chief distinctions between us and Brutes."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1753, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"No body can deny but Religion is a comfort to the distress'd, a Cordial to the Sick, and sometimes a restraint on the wicked; therefore whoever would argue or laugh it out of the World without giving some equivalent for it ought to be treated as a common Enemy."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1754, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"People are never so near playing the Fool as when they think themselves wise."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1754, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"Civility costs nothing, and buys everything."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1756, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"It is eleven Year since I have seen my Figure in a Glass. The last Refflection I saw there was so disagreable, I resolv'd to spare my selfe such mortifications for the Future ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1757, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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" Whatever is clearly expressed is well wrote ..."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Robert Halsband, ed., The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1965)

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"People wish their enemies dead -- but I do not; I say give them the gout, give them the stone!"

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in Horace Walpole (1778), Horace Walpole's Correspondence, vol. 35 (1973)

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"A soldier worthy of the name he bears, / As brave and senseless as the sword he wears. "

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1759, in Isobel Grundy, ed., Selected Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1997)

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"Men are vile inconstant toads."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1710, in Isobel Grundy, ed., Selected Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1997)

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"It's all been very interesting."

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in Laura Ward, ed., Famous Last Words (2004)

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, English letterwriter, society figure, poet, traveler
(1689 - 1762)

Born: Lady Mary Pierrepont. She also published at least one book as “Sophia, A Person of Quality” (see quotations under that name).