Cowley, Mrs. (Hannah), 1743-1809. The Maid of Arragon; a Tale. By Mrs. Cowley. Part I. London: printed by T. Spilsbury, for L. Davis, T. Longman, J. Dodsley, T. Cadell, W. Owen, S. Crowder, T. Davies, T. Becket, G. Kearsley, C. Dilly, T. Evans, Richardson and Urquhart, and R. Faulder. M,DCC,LXXX., 1780. ,46,p.; 4⁰. (ESTC T38853; OTA K039355.000)
- THE MAID OF ARRAGON; A TALE.
- TO MR. PARKHOUSE, Of TIVERTON, DEVON.
- THE MAID OF ARRAGON.
- LINES IN IMITATION OF COWLEY.
- A MONOLOGUE.
By MRS. COWLEY.
LONDON: Printed by T. SPILSBURY, For L. DAVIS, T. LONGMAN, J. DODSLEY, T. CADELL, W. OWEN, S. CROWDER, T. DAVIES, T. BECKET, G. KEARSLEY, C. DILLY, T. EVANS, RICHARDSON and URQUHART, and R. FAULDER. M, DCC, LXXX.
I ENTREAT the Reviewers to have compassion on me. From the beginning of my literary warfare, these unmerciful Wits have pursued me with the sharpest arrows of Criticism; and I have had nothing to console me, alas! — but the approbation of the Public. How shall I escape now, when to all my other faults are added, so many outrages in Geography? With what triumph of critical sagacity will they say, (after the necessary strictures on the story, thoughts, and verses) "If our Author was determined to send her Pegasus into Spain, in quest of adventures, she ought to have consulted Salmon about the situation of its provinces. She would there have found that Arragon is fifty miles from the sea; and that the Moors could not possibly have debarked on its confines, unless, like fish to the London markets, their fleet had arrived by land-carriage. With equal facility, the troops of the King of Leon are brought across Old Castile to Saragossa in about thirty hours — another miracle; which was doubtless accomplished by the interposition of a friendly necromancer, who furnished the army with wings, in exchange for some chaste damsel, or beautifull princess. Had this Lady-Writer's reading extended to a translation of the Iliad, she would have found no examples of such liberties there. Homer gives an exact map of the countries he carries us through; and from Ithaca to Troy, not a village or river is misplaced."[Page]
True: but Homer (I name him as a modern Painter mentions a Correggio, and a Raphael) Homer united the Historian with the Poet — I deal entirely in fiction. It was enough for me, that Spain, through a succession of ages, had been subject to the ravages of Africa; and that during this period, sovereigns had been robbed of their crowns, and been obliged to resign their sceptres to their swarthy conquerors. The relation of the particular events of these remote times, the Historic Muse has generally left to her creative Sister, who never fails to profit by their obscurity, in relating them to the world in her own manner; the geography of the heart, and the history of the passions, are the only realities to which she attends. If, in describing these, I shall be found deviating from the laws of Truth, and Nature, I shall have failed in my intention; but I protest, if the cacoethes scribendi should continue on me, or if I should ever wander again into the regions of Romance, I shall treat oceans and provinces with as little ceremony as rivulets and meadows: I will avail myself of the established privileges, and raise mountains, seas, or kingdoms, in any part of the habitable globe that hits my fancy; or, if it strikes me, build a temple to Dullness — in the chamber of a Reviewer.