The Miller, his Son and the Asse. A Fable taken from Monsieur de la Fontaine.
MS's: F-H 283, 114-21; Folger, 24-6.
1713, Misc, 218-23; rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 155- 8.
La Fontaine, "Le Meunier, son Fils, et l'Ane (first printed 1668), 1962 ed. Couton, III, 1, 83-5.
Finch's first attempted fable, a close paraphrase, with only a few original gay and new touches. The opening is by her and shows her setting her poem in a new public poetic context, early 18th century: fables and Horace are now here together with a reference to Apollo. The concluding couplet of the moral closein which the narrator turns to a male "Sir," and tells him he is foolish for trying to decide how to live his life in accordance with what others want of him is completely changed. I suggest the real subject of this poem is the young undecided Charles Finch, as yet only an aspiring poet; it is in effect an epistle to Heneage's nephew disguised through the "cover" of translation: Live single all your days, or take a Wife;/Trust me, a Censure waits each state of Life.
Page Last Updated 7 January 2003