The characteristic virtues of his noble patroness, James Thomson sang in the opening lines of his Spring,
O Hartford, fitted or to shine in courts
With unaffected grace, or walk the plains
With innocence and meditation joined.
Other poets of country life besides the author of the Seasons enjoyed the patronage of the benevolent Countess of Hertford with her taste for rural landscapes, rural solitudes, and rural verses. Stephen Duck, the “Thresher Poet,” doubtless owed much of his court-favor to the good offices of the Countess, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Caroline. Her country residence he describes familiarly in his poem, A Description of a Journey to Marlborough, etc.; and an unpublished poem by him (preserved among the Alnwick manuscripts) specifically recognizes her aid and beseeches its continuance. John Dyer she may also have known; his Grongar Hill in an early version she transcribed in her commonplace-book. He was one of Aaron Hill's circle, which included Thomson and also Richard Savage, who, according to Dr. Johnson, owed his life to her intercession with the Queen. These young poets were the protegés of Lady Hertford's youth;1 another poet of country life, however, claimed her interest some twenty years after Thomson's fruitful visits to Marlborough and St. Leonard's Hill.