From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
During the summer of 1746 society was much amused by a sprightly poem written by Horace Walpole, called " The Beauties," a eulogy of some of the most lovely women in the land, such as Lady Caroline Fitzroy, Lady Sophia Fermor, Mrs George Pitt, and Miss Chudleigh. Nearly everyone approved of the poet's selection, but Richard Rigby made a jocular protest, and declared that he had chosen a set of belles far handsomer than any of those mentioned by the master of Strawberry Hill. Further than this, the jovial " Bloomsbury Dick" insisted that no list of fair ladies could be complete unless it included the name of Fanny Murray !
The BEAUTIES. An EPISTLE to Mr.
[By the Same.]
DEsponding artist, talk no more
Of Beauties of the days of yore,
Of Goddesses renown'd in Greece
And ZEUXIS' composition-piece,
Where every nymph that could at most
Some single grace or feature boast,
Contributed her favourite charm
To perfect the ideal form.
'Twas CYNTHIA's brow, 'twas LESBIA's eye,
'Twas CLOE's cheeks vermilion dye;
ROXANA lent the noble air,
Dishevell'd flow'd ASPASIA's hair,
And CUPID much too fondly press'd
His mimick mother THAIS' breast.
Antiquity, how poor thy use!
A single Venus to produce!
Friend Eckardt, ancient story quit,
Nor mind whatever Pliny writ;
Felibien and Fresnoy declaim,
Who talk of Raphael's matchless fame,
Of Titian's tins, Corregio's grace,
And Carlo's each Madonna face,
As if no Beauties now were made,
But Nature had forgot her trade.
'Twas Beauty guided Raphael's line
From heavenly Women, styl'd divine;
They warm'd old Titian's fancy too,
And what he could not taste he drew:
Think you Devotion warm'd his breast
When Carlo with such looks express'd
His virgins, that her vot'ries feel
Emotions—not, I'm sure, of zeal?
In Britain's isle observe the Fair,
And curious chuse your models there;
Such patterns as shall raise your name
To rival sweet Corregio's fame:
Each single piece shall be a test,
And Zeuxis' patchwork be a jest;
Who ransack'd Greece, and cull'd the age
To bring one Goddess on the stage:
On your each canvass we'll admire
The charms of the whole heav'nly choir.
Majestick Juno shall be seen
Miss Harvey, now Mrs. Phipps.
HARVEY's glorious awful mien.
Lady Caroline Fitzroy.
FITZROY moves, resplendent Fair;
So warm her bloom, sublime her air;
Her ebon tresses, form'd to grace,
And heighten while they shade her face:
Such troops of martial youth around,
Who court the hand that gives the wound;
'Tis Pallas, Pallas stands confess'd,
STANHOPE's more than Paris bless'd.
The Duchess of Cleveland like Pallas among the beauties at Windsor.
CLEVELAND shone in warlike pride,
By Lilly's pencil deify'd:
The Duchess of Grafton, among the beauties at Hampton-Court.
GRAFTON, matchless dame, commands.
The fairest work of Kneller's hands:
The blood that warm'd each amorous court,
In veins as rich still loves to sport:
And George's age beholds restor'd,
What William boasted, Charles ador'd.
For Venuses the Trojan ne'er
Was half so puzzled to declare:
Ten Queens of Beauty, sure I see!
Yet sure the true is
Lady Emily Lenox, now Countess of Kildare.
Such majesty of youth and air,
Yet modest as the village fair:
Attracting all, indulging none,
Her beauty like the glorious Sun
Thron'd eminently bright above,
Impartial warms the world to love.
Lady Mary Capel.
CAPEL's bounteous look
Rich Autumn's Goddess is mistook,
With poppies and with spiky corn,
Eckardt, her nut-brown curls adorn;
And by her side, in decent line,
Countess of Berkley.
Mild as a summer sea, serene,
In dimpled beauty next be seen,
Countess of Aylesbury.
AYLESBURY like hoary Neptune's Queen.
With her the light-dispensing Fair,
Whose beauty gilds the morning air,
And bright as her attendant sun,
The new Aurora,
Guido's Aurora in the Respiglio
i Palace at Rome.
Guido's pencil beauty-tip'd,
And in etherial colours dip'd,
In measur'd dance to tuneful song
Drew the sweet Goddess, as along
Heaven's azure 'neath their light feet spread,
The buxom Hours she fairest led.
The crescent on her brow display'd,
In curls of loveliest brown inlaid,
With every charm to rule the night,
Countess of Strafford.
STRAFFORD wooes the sight;
The easy shape, the piercing eye,
The snowy bosom's purity,
The unaffected gentle phrase
Of native wit in all she says;
Eckardt, for these thy art's too faint:
You may admire, but cannot paint.
How Hebe smil'd, what bloom divine
On the young Goddess lov'd to shine,
CARPENTER we guess, or see
MANNERS beam from thee.
How pretty Flora, wanton maid,
By Zephyr woo'd in noon-tide shade,
With rosy hand coquetly throwing
Pansies, beneath her sweet touch blowing;
How blithe she look'd, let
Miss Fanny Maccartney.
Let Zephyr own if half so well.
Goddess of the year,
Fair Queen of summer, see, appear;
Her auburn locks with fruitage crown'd,
Her panting bosom loosely bound,
Etherial beauty in her face,
Rather the beauties of her race,
Whence ev'ry Goddess, envy-smit,
Must own each Stonehouse me
Miss Atkins, now Mrs. Pitt.
Exhausted all the heav'nly train,
How many Mortals yet remain,
Whose eyes shall try your pencil's art,
And in my numbers claim a part!
Our sister Muses must describe
CHUDLEIGH, or name her of the tribe;
JULIANA with the Nine
Shall aid the melancholy line,
To weep her dear
L. Sophia Farmor, Countess of Granville.
Where all these beauties met in One.
Sad fate of beauty! more I see,
Afficted, lovely family!
Two beateous Nymphs, here, Painter, place,
Lamenting o'er their
Miss Mary Evelyn.
One, matron-like, with sober grief,
Scarce gives her pious sighs relief;
Miss Elizabeth Evelyn.
t'other lovely Maid appears
In all the melting pow'r of tears;
The foftest form, the gentlest grace,
The sweetest harmony of face;
Her snowy limbs, and artless move
Contending with the Queen of Love,
While bashful beauty shuns the prize,
Which EMILY might yield to EVELYN's eyes.