From Miscellanea Sacra, pp 107-112, one of six poems, which have been overooked by scholars and which are clearly by Anne Finch. See Annotated Chronology No. 64. This poem has the same theme as Anne's Affliction and towards the end On Greif. For a full listing of poems in 1696 see "How far the sweets…"
SOLILOQUY. By the same Hand (as The Enquiry).
DOuble Allegiance, Lord, to thee I owe,
Both as they Subject and they Creature too;
'Twere then in me the most ungrateful Guilt,
Not to perform or suffer what thou wilt.
My place is to obey, and not dispute
A Will so good, a Power so absolute.
Shall my REnonstrances to Heav'n be sent
To plead the Justice of my Discontent!
For Life and Enjoyments here I stand
Indebted to the Bounty of thy Hand.
What thou art pleas'd to take I must resign,
Yet thence sustain no Wrong, since Nothing's mine,
My Fortune's mean; the wisest and the best
Of Soul that now in Heav'n outshine the rest,
Liv'd in tis vale of Tears despis'd and poor,
Some wanted Necessaries, few had ore.
And shall I quarrel with my Fate, when God
Afflicts me but to guide me with his Rod
The Sacred Path which all the Blest have trod?
Sure, Toil and Weariness must needs become
The Lot of Travellers remote from Home.
Pilgrims, as I am, while abroad they stay,
Must quit th'Ambition to seem Rich and Gay.
Amidst my Foes I'm now a Stranger, where
What's tolerable, is accounted rare.
And that, what e'er I miss, I'm sure to have.
All Suff'rings here that can my Fears alarm,
Afflict the Flesh, but work no further harm.
Distress and Shame make not Heav'ns Servants seem
More base or wretched in their Lord's Esteem.
These can't his Favor from my Soul remove,
Nor intercept the Pleasures of his Love.
And Happiness to Him is quite unknown,
Who cannot find it in that Love alone.
From Riches free, I'm free too from their Cares
Safe by my distance from their fatal Snares,
An humble Fortune knidly does deny
Th'Incentives of our ride and Luxury.
My weaker Vertue may be here secure,
Which might not all th'Assaults of Wealth endure
So little VEssels may securely ride
On a small River's smooth and gentile Tide;
Where weaker Winds with soft and easy Gales
Scarce heave the Bosom of their humble Sails.
But if they put to Sea, too late they find
Their Sail unequal for a fiercer Wind
Hopeless they're with impetuous Fury born,
Split on the Rocks, or with the Tempest torn.
Thus meaner Fortunes Vertue most befriend,
Giving what's fit, and more would but offend.
Here we our Innocence can best ensure,
And that's the happyst State, that's most secure.
If now to Heav'n's so difficult the Road,
What must it be with Wealth's incumbring Load?
Do my Endeavours now succeed so well,
And all Temptations with such ease repell,
That my Ambition any harder Task
Should crave, and for Herculean Labours ask,
That I with Care and Toil should purchase Foes,
And seek that Place that thickest dangers shews.
Are those I cannot shun so few or slight,
That fond of Ruin I would more invite?
This were to ravish Death it self, and scale
The Gates of Hell, lest milder ARts should fail.
I'm born for Heav'n, and shall I chuse to stray
And shun the plainest and the safest way,
That I a longer Journey may endure
Through Roads more troublesome, and less secure?
Still meaner Fortunes are the safest found,
Free from he snares which Wealthy and Pomp surround.
The humble ground needs but a small defence,
We ought to dread the rising Eminence,
Where Sin does it's victorious Forces post,
And dying Souls are in such numbers lost.
That glut the Grave, and greedy Death o'er cloy.
The greatest danger that my fear should move,
Is lest the World should to obliging prove.
She's then most dang'rous when her smiling Art,
And splendid Dress invite my yielding heart.
But when she frowns, her Charms are lost, unless
We're fond of Misery, and court Distress.
The Worlds unkindness may abate our love
Teach us to seek for Hapiness above.
Make us for high Eternal Joys enquire,
And Seek for Heav'n with more inflam'd desire.
For still our wishes after Home and Rest,
Are by the badness of their way increast.
'Tis then from disbelief, and want of love
To God, and those pure Joys prepar'd above.
That in the meanest State we can't rejoice,
And make not humble POverty our Choice.
That Wealth and Greatness we so little dread,
Sought by the Living, curst so by the Dead.
Blest with the hopes of Heav'n tho' I've no more,
'Tis Atheism to complain my Fortune's poor.
The Man rich with these hopes may well imploy
His saddest Hours in calm Delights and Joy.
Who when a sfew short Hours are past, will know
What Heav'n to make Men happy can bestow,
For ever blest, if God can make them so.
May I have these transporting hopes of Heav'n,
And let me know that Happiness when given;
I'll praise Heav'ns Godness, tho opprest I ly
With what mistaken Men call Misery.
What should I grieve for what I suffer here?
All these slight Troubles soon will disappear;
And what is not Eternal, is below my Fear.
Comment: she protests too much; the skip in "by the same hand" was to make less obvious the literal interpretation of "Affliction," her flesh is not afflicted, but her pride; the rod is humiliation. References to her orphaned childhood are interesting; most women still preferred to remain in sorrowful imagery; here the meaning is made explicit. This does not mean this is a good poem; it is interesting to the biographer of AF. Also how atheism was real or a real fear in this period.
Page Last Updated: 8 January 2003.