Bess of Hardwick: Four Times a Lady

Four times the nuptial bed she warm’d,
And every time so well perform’d,
That when death spoil’d each husband’s billing,
He left the widow every shilling.
Fond was the dame, but not dejected;
Five stately mansions she erected
With more than royal pomp, to vary
The prison of her captive
When Hardwicke’s towers shall bow their head,
Nor mass be more in Worksop said;
When Bolsover’s fair fame shall tend,
Like Olcotes, to its mouldering end;
When Chatsworth tastes no Can’dish bounties,
Let fame forget this costly countess.

From The Letters of Horace Warpole:

On Bess of Hardwick: She was daughter of John Hardwicke, of Hardwick in Derbyshire.  Her first husband was Robert Barley, Esq. who settled his large estate on her and her heirs.  She married, secondly, Sir William Cavendish; her third husband was Sir William St. Lo; and her fourth was George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, whos daughter, Lady Gracek married her son Sir William Cavendish

 

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— Adam Smith