The fifth of this series of poems in Steele's 1714 Poetical Miscellanies This also is probably by Finch. It may be addressed to her friend, Catherine Fleming, whom Finch elsewhere teases about her looks, here saying it is well Mrs. Fleming is not too beautiful for then everyone would be her slave. Reynolds concurs,p. lxxxviii
See Annotated Chronology No. 164. There is evidence the friendship between Catherine Fleming and Anne Finch went back to at least 1700 (e.g., Nicholas's Rowe's epistle to Flavia in 1701 Gilden, in which Rowe thanks Flavia for showing him Ann's two pindarics); this is a compliment in the vein of Finch's later epigram to Valeria ("She is not fair you criticks of the Town"): Flavia was denied physical beauty ("Shape") because otherwise her inner soul ("radiant Aspect") would enslave all mortals "At sight."
To Flavia, p. 44
Nature, in Pity, has deny'd you Shape,
Else how should Mortals Flavia's Chain escape?
Your radiant Aspect, and your rosie Bloom
Without this Form would bring a Gen'ral Doom;
At once our Ruin and Relief we see,
At sight are Captives, and at sight are Free
Comment: This shows all marks of middle period impersonal style so-to-speak. Perhaps there is some in-joke here for the similarity between Finch's best male friend, Heneage, her husband, Flavio, and Catherine Fleming, which goes back to Flavian emperors of Rome. Both learned?
Page Last Updated: 8 January 2003.