The Grove. Written When I was a Maid of Honor
MS F-H 283, 44-7*
Here will I wait… I may grant
Ah! grateful shades I may not want
That… content when Joyes I see
In all that do inhabit thee
Ah! let me be your guest, and I
In… ease shall live and in… dye
For sure the Paths of this fair grove
Are kinder,… y[...] h[...] to Love
Bl[...]ing,… day… do appeare
Which she… h[...] tempests ne'er… here
He with Large Promiss of Joyes
And Armes [Arrows?] getts,… thou… destroyes
Thy Love did…
And gagg'd… a heart…
The being in pain which I found
. . . thy my Love and… wound
Honour'd i[...] pleasure… ne'er read
By… knowledge… he'd often said
D[...b...]d [a name], I… his temples grac'd
Then all the trophies, in them plac'd.
Promis'd, the chosen heart… speed
Shou'd pay my Sighs, [...f...] 'em bleed.
These are his Soft Deluding wayes,
With hopes and flat'ry he betrayes
To claime it now and make it [word heavily blotted]
To see't with Joy, and hast [word heavily blotted]
Was all I look'd for, when behold
So false is all by… untold
He all his… hee did pay
And…,… honour he did obey
Who Shortly had on pain of all
The Players, that of… [...h...] p[...'...]d fall
Charg'd him, he…
So hearts are us'd, when thoughts…
Thus… the Tyrant [...]'d not sway
Betray'd though y[...]d,… S[...]… ,
And… ,… , shun…
Publick Assemblies, and the Court,
Within… we'll… the Darts
Such to the Temper'd,… from hearts
And knows that in his hand, ther' [...]ne
That I am… , but that alone.
Therefore S[...]d shou'd, his… Stay
And pass…, my Life away.
Since what the World does leasure call
[word heavily blotted], taste finds… all
Since here, that only… k[...h...]t
In all is plac'd or all… ript;
Sir… , h[o...]…
Then H[...]ing these, that own his Pow'r,
To you still C[...]ts, I repair
T...]… all thoughts of Love or care.
1951 Cameron, Ph.D. Diss, Chapter 11, Note 2 attempted a partial reconstruction to which I am indebted; from her unmarried days at court.
Anne Finch copied out this poem during the decade she and Heneage lived at first at Godmersham and then at Wye College (about 1594-1704) into a volume which is sometimes referred to as the Finch- Hatton manuscript but shall here also be called the Godmersham-Wye book to show its provenance; sometime later, perhaps just before they left for Eastwell, someone relentlessly cross-hatched the text so as to prevent reading, yet it did not tear it out or paste another sheet over it (as was done with other of Anne's poems). Entitled "The Grove. Written when I was a Maid of Honour," it is our only text clearly written before Anne's marriage, and she speaks in desperate tones of a betrayal, of falseness everywhere, and her need to get away.
A long series of nearly obliterated lines includes the phrases: "He with Large Promises of Joyes/And ... Armes ... getts, and then destroys;" then "And begg'd him .... a heart/The being in pain which I found..." Then there are some lines in which the cross-hatching has been lighter, in which the censurer allowed many of the letters to be seen. Ann seems to be describing a male figure who was lovely on the outside, but false within: ..... I see his Temples grac'd, Then all the Trophies, in them plac'd Promiss'd, the human heart, .... Speed Shou'd pay my Sighs, or for'em bleed. These are his Soft deluding wayes, With hopes, and flat'ry he betrayes To claim it now, and make it .... e To see't with Joy, and haste ...... Was all I look'd for, when beheld So false is all ...
There follows some talk of the "The Players, that ... charg'd him," and Anne says "So hearts are used, when thought .... [are] Thus [under] The Tyrant's .... Sway/Betray'd through ....... broken away."What we have here is a personal betrayal disguised as an allegory about love. Someone or Love's ""Soft deluding wayes" have "with hopes, and flat'ry" betrayed the poet. She was seduced and then dropped. Others knew about the affair, perhaps it happened at the theatre, and Anne is traumatized both because everyone knows, because she has made a fool of herself, because she never expected this.
The poem closes with a vow that the poet will learn to "Shun [indecipherable] Public assemblies, and the Courts" and "alone [indecipherable] pass [indecipherable] my life away/Since what the world does pleasure call/ [indecipherable] taste finds" awful; she says she will not "own his Pow'r" (the young man), and "to you [the grove] "still "repair (MS F-H 283 44-7)." We have here the first of Anne's many poems motivated by a detestation of and urgent need to retreat from court life--and by extension society.
In April 1682 Anne Kingsmill is made independent of her guardians; on May 27, 1682, Mary of Modena returns from Scotland with Duke of York to take up permanent residence at court.
Page Last Update 6 January 2003