The third of eight poems by Finch which appear in the 1717 anonymous Poems on Several Occasions, or as it has come to be known since Norman Ault's 1935 reprint Pope's Own Miscellany. For full details and the list of poems by Ann see "Now blow, ye Southern winds…"
See Annotated Chronology No. 128 (1704-7). Ann at Longleat for one of her longer visits.
An Epistle to the honourable Mrs. THYNNE, persuading her to have a Statue made of her youngest Daughter, now Lady BROOKE. By the same Hand (as An Invocation), pp. 124-25.
THINK not a partial fondness sway'd my mind,
When dear Cleone! I of late enclin'd
To give my voice that your Maria's face
More than her sisters would the sculpture grace.
Or by that choice a preference was confest
Whilst both are with such known perfections blest.
But to that softer youth some praise we give
In which Maria does this instant live;
And that first dawn of life's fresh morning wears,
Which each succeeding moment still impairs.
For as the softness of Aurora flies,
Whence once the sun enflames the dazling skies.
Or as the bloom which does but colour own,
Looses remembrance when the fruit is grown.
So her strong beauties will o'recome the mild,
When the fair woman shall efface the child.
Refuse not then the Statuary's art,
To fix what present nature does impart:
But let the marble take what she must quit,
And so each grace thro' every change transmit.
Though Parian marbles white can scarcely show,
Her skin unsoil'd by accidents below,
New to the tarnish'd world as falling snow,
Yet let his genius who attempts the peice,
Revive the memory of ancient Greece.
Whilst the enliven'd figure shall express,
The gentle manner of her soft address:
And that peculiar air he shall infuse,
With which she supplicates whilst she subdues,
Let sleeping Cupids indolently doze,
Whilst he Maria's features shall disclose.
And their less polish'd arms contracted be,
Whilst in some active posture hers we see,
O're them obtain, and haile the victory.
Superior beauty let each part possess,
And only decent be the shadowing dress.
Now vail the age of innocent desires,
With all that cloathing which our guilt requires,
Expos'd be every limb, her bosom bare,
In the smooth calmness of unripen'd care,
And give deluded Winds her imitated hair.
Expand her brow, and let the statue keep
The plump resemblance of her infant cheek.
And if his art such tender stroaks displays,
Still let her eye-lids keep those seeming rays,
Which gently temper the too radiant sight,
And make th'inclosed orbs more sufferably bright.
To her dimensions suited be the frame;
And let th'appearing softness be the same,
As I've experienc'd when my arms have prest
Her living sweetness to my doating breast;
Extracting easy, but unequall'd bliss,
From her yet milky breath in ev'ry soothing kiss.
Indearing tender as her self appears,
In all the blandishment of early years.
In charms too num'rous and too nice for praise,
Let but his hand this darling figure raise.
Then should his Flora less his art adorn,
And less his Ceres with her useful corn.
This shou'd o're all his valued works have place,
And in revolving years, Maria's race
Shall bless the artist, and affect the face.
Whilst fair *Aspasia more advanc'd in time,
Tho' yet two lustres short of female prime,
Shall as her ripening sense does now presage,
All pens and poets in her praise engage.
The sister arts those sisters shall divide,
And to their service every Muse be ty'd.
*Now Lady Hartford
This is a defense of herself to Mrs Grace Strode Thynne for having appeared to favor Mary Thynne in suggesting that a statue be made of one sister and not the other. Mary still a sort of baby or very young child who appeals deeply to Ann Finch. Accurate and candid description of frank statue to immortalize this stage of young girl. My feeling is that the intensity of Ann's love for these daughters of Grace Thynne and other younger women in her family stemmed from her desire for a daughter. As sometimes her poems become cloying when she cannot control herself so in life she may have made the mothers of these girls uncomfortable too.
Page Last Updated: 8 January 2003.