This last text which I suggest may be by Anne Finch is found in two places: The Hive, 1724, and in British Library MS Additional 28101. My reasons for the attribution are exactly those I have used all along: it occurs in a series of poems otherwise by Finch; it resembles other poems by her in this genre; it names people close to her circle and places she lived in; it reflects her attitudes, we find her phraseology and tones in it. See Annotated Chronology and Entry No. 224

Since The Hive, 1724 seems unknown, I will preface the poem with a description of both books. The printed one ought to be better known.

It is an astonishingly good volume; its quality reminds me of the sixteenth-century collection England's Helicon; it represents the best and most beautiful songs of the preceding generation. It includes no less than 16 poems which are clearly by Finch, a 17th which may be attributed to her from its place here and in another manuscript, and an 18th ballad also found in MS 28101, there with title. It shows she was valued for lyric gifts; most of the poems are from those in print: 11 could come from 1713 Miscellany (and seem to follow these texts); 1 from 1701 Gilden; 1 from 1711 Manley or 1714 Steele; another from 1714 Steele; that leaves 2 which appear in MS Harleian only ("Ombre and Basset" and "Cosmelia's charms"; and one which appears in MS F-H 283 and Folger ("Whilst Thirsis" become "Whilst Strephon") which 14 from printed versions leads me to suspect these 3 also did appear in print somewhere, although an editor who is careful to build sequences and order his poems in pleasing variety and contrast could have used MS's. The differences and ordering of the poems here also makes me wonder if there wasn't another large manuscript of Finch's poems, one made up of her gay lyrics. It would be a late one as it includes the unknown unattributed poems from the MS Harleian. I wonder if this was the book given Frances Thynne Seymour, Lady Hertford and if she gave it to this anonymous editor. The relative variety of sources shows real interest and effort, real care on the part of this anonymous editor.

The ordering of the poems by Finch in 1724 The Hive is as follows:

    A Table:

    Vol I:

  1. [Untitled: The Phoenix. 1713 Misc] 'A Female Friend advis'd a Swain', p. 40
  2. [Untitled: The Passion Vaincue. 1713 Misc] 'ON the banks of the Severn a desperate maid', p. 59
  3. [Untitled: A Moral Song, F-H 283 & Folger] 'WOULD we attain the happiest state', p. 68
  4. Written in the Year 1720 [Untitled in Lansdowne 852; Harleian 7316] 'OMBRE and BASSET laid aside', p. 96.
  5. [Untitled: A Song, F-H 283 and Folger] 'PERSUADE me not, there is a grace', p. 112.
  6. [Untitled: A Song, F-H 283 and Folger] 'QUICKLY, Delia, learn my passion', p. 185.
  7. [Untitled: The Song, sung by shepherdesses, Lamia and Theata, an interlude or pause in the action after Climander and Herminia have declared their love, Aristomenes, MS Folger squeezed in and 1713 Misc), 'A Young shepherd his life', p. 200.
  8. [Untitled: A Song, F-H 283 and Folger] 'LOVE, thou art best of human joys', p. 236.
  9. [Untitled: A Song, 1701 Gilden] 'The precious hours of flying youth', pp. 251-2.
  10. [Untitled: A Song, F-H 283 and Folger] 'Tis strange, this heart within my breast', p. 255

    Vol II:

  11. A Sigh. GENTLE air, thou breath of lovers, p. 30
  12. [Untitled: A Song, F-H 283 and Folger] 'Whilst Strephon, in his pride of youth' [name changed: from Thirsis]. p. 96
  13. The Wit and the Beau. [F-H 283 and Folger, a song] 'STREPHON, whose person ev'ry grace', p. 120.
  14. Love's Relief [1714 Steele]. 'A wretch long tortur'd with disdain', p. 124
  15. The Cautious Lovers [MS Folger and 1713 Misc] 'SILVIA, let's from the croud retire', pp. 139-41.
  16. On a Gentleman's sitting upon a lady's Cremona fiddle. 'Ye lads and lasses that live at Longleat', pp. 262-4 (in MS 28101)
  17. [Untitled: The following lines ... 1713 Misc] 'Cupid, one day, ask'd his mother', p. 267
  18. [Untitled: MS Harleian 7316] 'COSMELIA's charms inspire my lays', p. 268

I would like to mention that there is a poem in another part of the book that recalls these by Finch; as with Steele's 1714 Poetical Miscellanies, where there is a long translations of one of Sappho's poems as adapted by Madame Dacier in the same book that Ann took two of her poems from, I cannot attribute this one to Ann. It is too far out of order, too stereotypical in its phrasing. Still it would be worth going through manuscripts and collections to see if it occurs again with other poems by Finch: it opens 'Dear Dorinda

weep no more'; it includes a reference to Sylvia, and is on p. 238.

I have, however, taken my text from the manuscript as it is the superior text in every way, and preface the text with a description of the MS Additional 28101, Ashley Cowper's Family Miscellany

A List of titles and provenance:

  1. Written by a Lady in Praise of the Invention of Writing. By L. M. Wortley. 'Blest be the Man! his Memory at Least lines 1-10, lines 17-26. It is not by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, but by Ann Finch. The text is taken from 1713 Miscellany because line 17 prints "wife".
  2. Being an Excellent Ballad the Occasion of which said to have been from an Accident that happn'd at Ld Weymouth at Long-Leat of a Gentleman's setting down upon a Giddle that a Lady had just beforee been playing upon & breaking it. 'Ye Lads and ye Lasses that live at Long-Leat'.

    Followed by a song by Addison on the Countess of Warwick, and then an Epistle by the Rev. Mr. H--n, then an epitaph by Pope

    [p143 Verses sent by D. Wither (?) a Physician to Dr. Cheney at Bath, Tell me from where ... ; with Dr. Cheyney's Answer]


  3. A Ballad to Mrs Catherine Flemming at the Ld Digby's at Coleshill in Warwickshire By the Countess of Winchelsea. 'To Coleshill seat of Noble Peers's', MS Harleian 7316, 44r-46v

There follows the 2 poems by AC dated 1718 on p 167r Melinda's Delight. 'In Answer to Melinda's Complaint'. By a Lady. Shares atttitudes with AF, mentions Windsor Forest. Shows how hard attribution to any individual in a given milieu is. Again here we see that Anne Finch was towards the end of her life admired as a lyric poet.

On p 170v-171r there is a curious poem called The Resurrection in which the speaker plaintively goes on and on, it is said to be by the same hand as several before, which go back to ACowper, these are anacreontic and cynical songs which could be Anne Finch (or Prior or other 17th-18th court poet), the thing about The Resurrection is 1) date of 1715; 2) the versification & tone which recall Finch in her more lugubrious moods and 3) the calling on "Urania" whom the speaker hopes to see in heaven; it follows "On Eternity" and in table is listed as Fol 159 which would pair it with A Ballad ...

Here then is this totally unknown poem..

From MS Additional 28101, Being an Excellent Ballad the Occasion of which said to have been from an Accident that happn'd at Ld Weymouth at Long-Leat of a Gentleman's setting down upon a Fiddle that a Lady had just before been playing upon & breaking it, pp. 116-17

1

Ye Lads and ye Lasses that live at Long-Leat
Where they say there's no end of good Drink and good Meat
Where the Poor fill their Bellies, the Rich receive honour;
So great and so good is the Lord of the manour.
                Derry, down, down, down

2

Ye Nymphs and ye Swains that inhabit the Place,
Give Ear to my Song, a Fiddles hard Case;
For it is of a Fiddle, a sweet Fiddle I sing,
A sweet and softer did never wear String.
                Derry, down, down, down

3

Melpomene lend me the aid of thy Art,
Whilst I the sad Fate of this Fiddle impart;
For never good fiddle had fortune so bad,
Which proves the best Things the worst Fortune have had.
                Derry, down, down down

4

But first I must sing of this Fiddle's Country:
'Twas born and 'twas bred in fair Italy.
In a Place where a marshal of France had the hap
(Fortune de la guerre) to be caught in a Trap.
                Derry, down, down, down

5

But to sing out my Ditty in praise of the Fiddle
That I may not be said to break off in the middle
I'l next gentle Reader the Virtues explain
Then sigh to decay with great Sorrow & Pain
                Derry, down, down, down

6

This Fiddle of Fiddles, when it came to be tri'd,
Was as sweet as the Lark, and as soft as a Bride;
But, oh! when I shall its catastrophe sing,
Your heart it will bleed, and your Hands you will wring.
                Derry, down, down, down

7

Having told you the truth of this fiddle's high Birth,
I shou'd sing of the Fingers that made so much Mirth;
The Fingers so swift, so strait, and so small,
Shou'd be sung by a Poet, or not sung at all.
                Derry, down, down, down

8

For I am, God wot, but a poor Country Swain,
And cannot indite in so lofty a Strain;
For the best I can say which I'll you once more,
I ne'er saw such Hands & such Fingers before.
                Derry, down, down, down

9

For the Hands, & the Fingers & the Fiddle together
Cou'd make heavy Heart as Light as a Feather
Such Light for to see, such Musick to hear
Gave delight to the Eye, while it ravish'd the Ear
                Derry, down, down, down

10

Having sung of the Fingers & Fiddle, I trow,
I hold it fair to sing of the bow
The Bow it was Ebon, whose Virtue was such,
That it wounded your hearts, while our Ears it did touch.
                Derry, down, down, down

11

Cupid fain wou'd have chang'd with this Bow for a while;
To which the Coy nymph to reply with a smile,
Quoth she mine is far better than your's, I'll appeal
For yours only can kill, mine can both kill and heal.
                Derry, down, down, down

12

My Bow does produce such a ravishing Sound
As can cure all Diseaes & heal ev'ry Wound
Lends a Crutch to the Cripple makes the Deaf for to hear
Such Wonders it works that it hath not its Pear.
                Derry, down, down, down

[censored 12a]

This fiddle was laid on a soft easy chair
Taking all for its friends its sweet musick did hear;
When strait there came in a huge masculine bum
I wish the de'el had it to make him a drum.
                [Derry, down, down, down

13

Now Woe to this Bum that this Fiddle demolish'd,
That it has all our Joys and Pastime abolish'd;
Let it never want Birch, to be swing'd and be slash'd,
Forever be itching, & never be scratch'd.
                Derry, down, down, down

14

Let it never break wind in the Cholick so grievous,
A Penance too small for a Crime so mischievous;
Mount on horseback without loss of Leather,
Which brings me almost to the end of my tether.
                Derry, down, down, down

15

Of other Bums scapes may it still bear the blame,
Ne'er shew its bare Face without Sorrow or Shame:
Ne'er find a soft Cushion its anguish to ease,
While all is too little my Wrath to appease.
                Derry, down, down, down

16

And now, shou'd some critick of deep penetration,
Attack our poor ballad with grave Annotation,
The Fop must be told, without speaking in Riddle,
He shou'd first make a better--or kiss my Bum-fiddle.
                Derry, down, down, down

For those interested here also is the text from the 1724 Hive; a comparison shows us how garbled a text can become in transmission. I present it as an argument for my choice to follow the manuscript and the first manuscript in every case for Anne Finch's poetry where her first thoughts are are least censored and strongest.

From The Hive, 1724, On a Gentleman's sitting upon a lady's Cremona fiddle, pp. 262-64.

Ye lads and ye lasses that live at Longleat
Where, they say, there's no end of good drink and good meat
Where the poor fill their bellies, the rich receive honour;
So great and so good is the lord of the manour.

Ye nymphs and ye swains that inhabit the place,
Give ear to my song, a fiddles hard case;
For it is of a fiddle, a sweet fiddle I sing,
A softer and sweeter did never wear string.

Melpomene lend me the aid of thy art,
Whilst I the sad fate of this fiddle impart;
For never had fiddle a fortune so bad,
It shows the best things the worst fortune have had.

This fiddle of fiddles, when it came to be try'd,
Was so sweet as the lark, and as soft as a bride;
This fiddle to see, and its musick to hear
Give delight to the eye, while it ravish'd the ear.

But first I must sing of this fiddle's country:
'Twas born and 'twas bred in fair Italy.
In a town where a marshal of France had the hap
(Fortune de la guerre) to be caught in a trap.

And now, having sung of this fiddle's high birth,
I shou'd sing of the fingers which made so much mirth;
The fingers so strait, so swift, and so small,
Shou'd be sung by a poet, or not sung at all.

Tho' I am, god wot, but a poor country swain,
And cannot indite in so lofty a strain;
So all I can say is to tell you once more,
Such hands and such fingers were ne'er seen before.

Having sung of the fingers of the fiddle, I trow,
You'll hold it meet I shou'd sing of the bow;
The bow it was ebon, whose virtue was such,
It wounded your heart, if your ear it did touch.

Cupid fain wou'd have chang'd with this bow for a while;
To which the coy nymph thus reply'd with a smile,
My bow is far better than your's, I'll appeal,
Your's only can kill, my can both kill and heal.

This fiddle and bow, and its musick together,
Wou'd make heavy hearts light as a feather:
But, alas! when I shall its catastrophe sing,
Your heart it will bleed, and your hands you will ring.

This fiddle was laid on a soft easy chair
Taking all for its friends its sweet musick did hear;
When strait there came in a huge masculine bum
I wish the de'el had it to make him a drum.

Now woe to the bum with that this fiddle demolish'd,
That it has all our musick and pastime abolish'd;
May it never want birch, to be switch'd and be slash'd,
May it ever be itching, and never be scratch'd.

May it never break wind in the cholick so grievous,
A penance too small for a crime so mischievous;
Ne'er find a soft cushion its anguish to ease,
While all is too little my wrath to appease.

Of other bum-scapes may it still bear the blame,
Ne'er shew its bare face without sorrow or shame:
May it ne'er mount on horseback without loss of leather,
Which brings me almost to eh end of my tether.

And now, lest some critick of deep penetration,
Shou'd attack our poor ballad with grave annotation,
The fop must be told, without speaking in riddle,
He must first make a better, or kiss my bum fiddle.

The comparison with MS Additional 28101: numbers all stanzas, includes full title and refrain: Derry, down, down, down

line 8: a sweeter & softer

line 11: For never good fiddle had fortune so bad,

line 12: Which proves the best Things the worst Fortune have had.

lines 13-14 come in later as Stanza 6, lines 21-24; lines 15-6 appear as Stanza 9, lines 35-6; lines 13-16, STanza 4 in MS Additional 28101, are above lines 17-20 are lines 13-16,

line 15 (19): In a Place where a marshal of France had the hap

lines 17-20, following Stanza 5 does not appear in 1724 Hive;

But to sing out my Ditty in praise of the Fiddle
That I may not be said to break off in the middle
I'l next gentle Reader the Virtues explain
Then sigh to decay with great Sorrow & Pain
                Derry, down, down, down

line 27 (23): The Fingers so swift, so strait, and so small,

line 29 (25): For I am, God wot, but a poor Country Swain,

line 31 (27): For the best I can say which I'll you once more,

line 32 (28): I ne'er saw such Hands & such Fingers before.

lines 33-4, Stanza 9 do not appear in 1724 Hive are lines 37-8 above, with 37 showing differences:

For the Hands, & the Fingers & the Fiddle together
Cou'd make heavy Heart as Light as a Feather

line 37 (29): Having sung of the Fingers & Fiddle, I trow,

line 38 (30): I hold it fair to sing of the bow

line 40 (32): That it wounded your hearts, while our Ears it did touch.

line 42 (34): To which the Coy nymph to reply with a smile,

line 43 (35): Quoth she mine is far better than your's, I'll appeal

line 44 (36): For yours only can kill, mine can both kill and heal.

lines 39-42 censored out in MS Additional 28101 and instead we find Stanza 12, lines 45-8 as follows:

My Bow does produce such a ravishing Sound
As can cure all Diseaes & heal ev'ry Wound
Lends a Crutch to the Cripple makes the Deaf for to hear
Such Wonders it works that it hath not its Pear

I have put back the original lines 39-42 after the above for narrative sense (so they become lines 49-52, Stanza 12a) as well as to remain true to the spirit of Ann's original text.

line 53 (45): Now Woe to this Bum that this Fiddle demolish'd,

line 54 (46): That it has all our Joys and Pastime abolish'd;

line 55 (47): Let it never want Birch, to be swing'd and be slash'd,

line 56 (48): Forever be itching, & never be scratch'd.

line 57 (49): Let it never break wind in the Cholick so grievous,

lines 59-60 are lines 55-6 in 1724 Hive

lines 63-4 are lines 51-2 in 1724 Hive

line 65 (57): And now, shou'd some critick of deep penetration,

line 66 (58): Attack our poor ballad with grave Annotation.

It is pleasant to end on such a merry piece.


Page Last Updated: 8 January 2003.