To Her Excellence The Lady Marchioness of Newcastle


You are not only the first English poet of your sex, but the first that ever wrote this way: therefore, whosoever2 writes afterwards must own you for their pattern, from whence they take their sample, and a line by which they measure their conceits and fancies. For whatsoever is written afterwards will3 be but a copy of your original, which can be no more honor to them than to laboring men that draw water from another man’s spring for their own use; neither can there be anything writ that your Honor4 hath5 not employed your pen in, as there are6 poetical fictions, moral instructions, philosophical opinions, dialogues, discourses, poetical romances.7 But truly, Madam, this book is not the only occasion I have to admire you,8 for having been brought up from my childhood in your honorable family, and always in your Ladyship’s9 company, seeing the course of your life, and honoring your Ladyship’s10 disposition, I have admired nature more in your Ladyship11 than in any other works besides. First, in the course of your life you were always circumspect by nature, not by art; for naturally your Honor12 did hate to do anything that was mean and unworthy, or anything that your Honor13 might not own to all the world with confidence. And yet your Ladyship14 is naturally bashful, and apt to be out of countenance that your Ladyship15 could not oblige all the world. But truly, Madam, Fortune hath not so much in her power to give as your Honor16 hath to bestow, which apparently shineth in all places, especially where your Ladyship17 hath been, as France,18 Flanders, Holland, etc., to your everlasting honor and fame, which will manifest this relation to be the truth, as well as I, who am,

Your Honor’s19 most humble and obedient servant,
E. Toppe

  1. The title “To Her Excellence The Lady Marchioness of Newcastle” does not exist in 1653. In 1668 it reads, “To Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle”.
  2. whosoever] whosoever that 1653
  3. will] it will 1653
  4. that your Honor] which your Excellence 1664; which your Grace 1668
  5. hath] have 1653
  6. are] is 1653
  7. romances.] Romancies. 1664
  8. I have to admire you,] to Admire you; 1653, 1664
  9. Ladyship’s] Grace’s 1668
  10. Ladyship’s] Grace’s 1668
  11. Ladyship] Grace, 1668
  12. Honor] Excellence 1664; Grace 1668
  13. your Honor] your Excellence 1664; You 1668
  14. Ladyship] Excellence 1664; Grace 1668
  15. your Ladyship] you 1664, 1668
  16. Honor] Excellence 1664; Grace 1668
  17. Ladyship] Excellence 1664; Grace 1668
  18. as France,] France, 1668
  19. Honor’s] Excellencies 1664; Grace’s 1668