Be Loved No More: The Life and Environment of Fanny Burney

Be Loved No More: The Life and Environment of Fanny Burney

Be Loved No More: The Life and Environment of Fanny Burney

Be Loved No More: The Life and Environment of Fanny Burney

Excerpt

The precept employed as the title of this book, being Alexander Pope's parting admonition in his Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady, implies more happily than could any especially designed phrase the dominant temper of Fanny Burney's life. Brought up in one of the most picturesque and arresting of eighteenth-century households, and in one of the most gracious that have ever figured in the annals of English literature, Miss Burney was plucked by the ambition of others from its charm, and was deposited in the chill environment of her Queen's court. Simultaneously, she was cut off by death and change from those great literary lights of Johnson's circle --almost as though the lexicographer's orthodox ghost had, on discovering her in tears in her father's once happy study, bid her be no more loved by the old, but turn for friendship to new faces. Thus she went, moved partly by ambition and perhaps no little by restlessness, to the court of Queen Charlotte and George III, where she early gained the affection of all the royal family--only, as the years passed and she could bear the confinement no longer, to relinquish it. Later she married a man to whom she was devoted, and with him and their son she knew brief happiness. Both husband and son, however, were survived by Fanny, whose sad lot was to live too long.

For Time, despite our calm division of it into hours and years and our more sentimental symbol of the old man with hour-glass and scythe, is ultimately nothing but a synonym for Change. And if one is young and there is more hope for the morrow than memory for the past, he calls Change by his alias, Progress. But if his happiest years are gone and the morrow is merely a void, then he calls Change by its other pseudonym, which is The Destroyer. Time the Destroyer was unkind to Fanny Burney. Before her eighty-eight years of life . . .

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