Virtue and Fame, the other day

First Line Virtue and Fame, the other day
Author George Lyttelton
Author Philip Yorke


Date 1761

Dialogue; Answer. [Conduct, morality; Celebrity.]

Transcribed from "VIRTUE and FAME. to the Ct—Ss of E—Gr—t." The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, vol. 31, March 1761, p. 135. British Periodicals, [ProQuest document ID:] 8577580.

Sometimes includes an extempore by Earl Hardwicke. 



Virtue and Fame, the other day,

Happen'd to cross each other's way.

Said Virtue, "Hark ye, madam Fame,

Your ladyship is much to blame;

Jove bids you always wait on me,

And yet your face I seldom see. 

The Paphian queen employs your trumpet, 

And bids it praise some handsome strumpet;

Or, thund'ring thro' the ranks of war,

Ambition ties you to her car."


Saith Fame, "Dear madam, I protest,

I never think myself so blest

As when I humbly wait behind you;

But 'tis so mighty hard to find you!

In such obscure retreats you lurk!

To seek you, is an endless work."


"Well, answer'd Virtue, I allow

Your plea. But hear, and mark me now,

I know (without offence to others)

I know the best of wives and mothers;

Who never pass'd an useless day

In scandal, gossiping, or play;

Whose modest wit, chastis'd by sense,

Is lively chearful innocence.

Whose heart nor envy knows, nor spite,

Whose duty is her sole delight;

Nor rul'd by whim, nor slave to fashion,

Her parent's joy, her husband's passion."


Fame smil'd and answer'd, "On my life,

This is some country parson's wife,

Who never saw the court nor town,

Whose face is homely as her gown,

Who banquets upon eggs and bacon"—

"No madam, no—You're much mistaken—

I beg you'll let me set you right—

'Tis one with ev'ry beauty bright;

Adorn'd with ev'ry polish'd art

That rank or fortune can impart;

'Tis the most celebrated toast

That Britain's spacious isle can boast;

'Tis princely Petworth's noble dame; 

'Tis EGREMONT—Go, tell it, Fame!"


[Addition extempore, by EARL HARDWICKE.

Fame heard with pleasure—strait reply'd,

"First on my roll stands Wyndham's bride;

My trumpet oft I've rais'd to sound

Her modest praise the world around;

But notes were wanting —Can'st thou find

A Muse to sing her face, her mind?

Believe me, I can name but one,

A friend of your's— 'tis LITTLETON."]