But the chief entertainment of the week, at least what was so to the Princess, was an arch, which Lord Temple has erected to her honour in the most enchanting of all picturesque scenes. It is inscribed on one side, ‘Amelia Sophia Aug.,’ and has a medallion of her on the other. It is placed on an eminence at the top of the Elysian fields, in a grove of orange-trees. You come to it on a sudden, and are startled with delight on looking through it: you at once see, through a glade, the river winding at the bottom; from which a thicket arises, arched over with trees, but opened, and discovering a hillock full of haycocks, beyond which in front is the Palladian bridge, and again over that a larger hill crowned with the castle. It is a tall landscape framed by the arch and the overhovering trees, and comprehending more beauties of light, shade, and buildings, than any picture of Albano I ever saw. Between the flattery and the prospect the Princess was really in Elysium: she visited her arch four or five times every day, and could not satiate herself with it. statues of Apollo and the Muses stand on each side of the arch. One day she found in Apollo’s hand the following lines, which I had written for her, and communicated to Lord Temple:—
T’other day, with a beautiful frown on her brow,
To the rest of the gods said the Venus of Stowe,
“What a fuss is here made with that arch just erected,
How our temples are slighted, our antirs neglected!
Since yon nymph has appear’d, We are noticed no more,
All resort to her shrine, all her presence adore;
And what’s more provoking, before all our faces,
Temple thither has drawn both the Muses and Graces.”
“Keep your temper, dear child,” Phoebus cried with a smile,
“Nor this happy, this amiable festival spoil.
Can your shrine any longer with garlands be dress’d?
When a true goddess reigns, all the false are suppress’d.”
If you will keep my counsel, I will own to you, that originally the two last lines were much better, but I was forced to alter them out of decorum, not to be too pagan upon the occasion; in short, here they are as in the first sketch,—
“Recollect, once before that our oracle ceased, When a real divinity rose in the East.”
So many heathen temples around had made me talk as a Roman poet would have done: but I corrected my verses, and have made them insipid enough to offend nobody. Good night! I am rejoiced to be once more in the gay solitude of my own little Temple. Yours ever.
(12) Lady Anne Howard, daughter of Henry fourth Earl, and sister of Frederick fifth Earl of Carlisle.-E.