Read by Denise Riley
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was well known as a wit, as an ambitious, diplomatic traveller, and as a keen observer of Turkish life. She was also an early advocate of inoculation against smallpox. She often makes use of a mock-heroic code, indeed she corresponded for a while with Alexander Pope. In her poem 'The Resolve' the ambiguities of being approached by a man are sternly pursued. Written on a window soon after her marriage, 1713.
Whilst thirst of praise and vain desire of fame,
In every age is every woman’s aim;
With courtship pleas’d, of silly toasters proud,
Fond of a train, and happy in a crowd;
On each proud fop bestowing some kind glance,
Each conquest owing to some loose advance;
While vain coquets affect to be pursued,
And think they’re virtuous, if not grossly lewd:
Let this great maxim be my virtue’s guide;
In part she is to blame that has been try’d –
He comes too near, that comes to be deny’d.