This poem in praise of Anne Finch's poetry by William Shippen is the first to appear in the MS Folger
To the most Ingenious Mrs Finch On her incomperable [sic] Poems.
Madam accept, at least excuse This private homage from an unknown Muse.
A Muse, which clogg'd with her own weight,
In vain wou'd immitate the soaring Pindar's flight,
In vain persue your fancy's nobler flight.
So sweet, so wond'rous sweet your accents move,
They tune our Souls to Harmony and Love.
And yett no finer spun, than strongly wrought,
Are all the rich Idea's of your ample thoughts.
If you describe the Spleen,
(Whether itts hidden Cause you trace,
Or wou'd itts strange effects expresse)
Your Song, like David's Lyre,
Does Magick sounds inspire,
And calm the raging fiend within.
Or if Great Alexander is your theam,
So well you paint his martial flame,
His tender kindnesse for his Friend,
In ev'ry breast you raise
A thirst of high Heroick praise,
An emulation of the Friendship you comend[sic].
But when your Muse, displaid on heavenly wings
Surveys the World below,
The gaudy Scene of humane woe,
The universal vanity of sublunary things, You fix our thoughts on high
Raising the Souls celestial Energy
To itts own native sky.
Such the effects of Poetry we find,
When Manly Art with woman's nature's join'd.
This poem provides evidence that Anne Finch participated in her husband's friendships, wrote poetry which competed with those of male poets, that she was respected by male writers, and that her work appeared with theirs. See the description of 1696 Tate's Sacra Miscellany, 1701 Gilden's A New Miscellany, Miscellany, and 1717 Pope's [Own] Miscellany.
Shippen was a parliamentary Jacobite; his career as a politician and what poetry he wrote was on behalf of conservative Toryism; he was on several occasions uncorruptible, brave, and was celebrated by Sheffield in Sheffeld's "Poem on the Election of a Poet Laureate". In the later 1710s he became a leader of the Jacobite squires in the house, and is described as frank, brave, good-humoured, an effective speaker when roused. To see his poem in Anne's Folio MS book is to link her with Jacobitism and the details of political maneuvring in her day. See DNB, Vol 18, pp. 117-119; also Poems on Affairs of State: Augustan Satirical Verse, 1660-1714, ed. Frank Ellis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970 and 1975, Volume 6, pp. 648-673 (on "Faction Display'd" with an annotated reprint) and Volume 7, pp. 19-41 (on "Moderation Display'd" with an annotated reprint).
Page Last Updated 8 January 2003