A Poem Occasion'd by the sight of the 4th Epistle Lib. Epist. 1 of Horace; Immitated and Inscrib'd to Richard Thornhill, Esq. by Mr Rowe, who had before sent heither, another Translation from Horace
MS Folger, 260-2*.
1903 Reynolds prints Folger text, 98-100; rpt of 1903 Reynolds: 1979 Rogers AF, 77-9.
The poem has three distinct sections: Finch first writes in defense of solitude (lines 1-21 which include the couplet: "Whilst Babel's scattered streames unite again/ Beneath the conduct of th'industrious Pen"); then she praises Orania (Francis Coell, newly married to Richard Thornhill) whom she likens to Otway's idealized heroines, Belvedere and Monimia (lines 22-50); finally she defends Thornhill for his choice of retirement although here she yearns to be more like male poets who go to taverns, drink, enjoy themselves and in general associate freely with one another in public meetings, social ways not open to "respectable wives" of the time (lines 51-73).
Finch thanks Nicholas Rowe, a respected poet (and soon to be famous dramatist), for his praise of her poetry in his "Epistle to Flavia, and writes in response to Rowe's "The Fourth Epistle of Horace, Book I, Epistle IV" and An Imitation of the 21st Ode of Horace, Book III" ("To His Cask"), which last depicts men drinking together cheerfully in social settings, all of which were printed in 1701 Gilden, 7-11, 16-21, 53-60. Her poem is as much a response to this book (which contains many Horatian imitations) as to Rowe's poems. Gilden's book first appeared in July 1701.
Page Last Updated 7 January 2003