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Lysander was the poetic name Judith Madan used for her husband, Martin Madan.
Letter to the Honorable Mrs. Knight
This is addressed to Henrietta Knight by her close friend, Frances Seymour, daughter of Henry Thynne, Viscount Weymouth; she married the Earl of Hertford in 1715. For an account of this friendship, see Helen Sard Hughes, The Gentle Hertford: Her Life and Letters ( New York, 1940). The poem is taken from Hughes, and she gives her source as "Alnwick MS. No. 116, fols. 176‐ 178," but does not say the manuscript includes any more lines than those quoted.
Down. Refers to the topography of an area in southeast England known as the Marlborough Downs.
Marlborough Castle was the country seat of the Earl of Hertford.
Babylon's sad willow. Probably a reference to the willows of Babylon in Psalm 137.
tent. An embroidery stitch.
Clavering. Identified by Hughes as the parish minister.
Beachy. The Hertford's only son, Lord Beachamp, born in 1725. He died of smallpox in 1744 while on the grand tour. According to Hughes, the book he is studying is Isaac Watts' Divine Songs ... for the Use of Children ( 1715).
the Mount. An artificial mound in the castle grounds.