An EPISTLE From A Gentleman To Madam Deshouliers

Anne Kingsmill Finch 1661 – 1720 (Westminster)

URANIA, whom the Town admires,
 Whose Wit and Beauty share our Praise;
This fair URANIA who inspires
 A thousand Joys a thousand ways,
She, who cou'd with a Glance convey
 Favours, that had my Hopes outdone,
Has lent me Money on that Day,
 Which our Acquaintance first begun.

Nor with the Happiness I taste,
 Let any jealous Doubts contend:
Her Friendship is secure to last,
 Beginning where all others end.

And thou, known Cheat! upheld by Law,
 Thou Disappointer of the craving Mind,
BASSETTE, who thy Original dost draw
 From Venice (by uncertain Seas confin'd);
Author of Murmurs, and of Care,
 Of pleasing Hopes, concluding in Despair:
To thee my strange Felicity I owe,
 From thy Oppression did this Succour flow.
Less had I gained, had'st thou propitious been,
 Who better by my Loss hast taught me how to Win.
Yet tell me, my transported Brain!
 (whose Pride this Benefit awakes)
Know'st thou, what on this Chance depends?
 And are we not exalted thus in vain,
Whilst we observe the Money which she lends,
 But not, alas! the Heart she takes,
The fond Engagements, and the Ties
 Her fatal Bounty does impose,
Who makes Reprisals, with her Eyes,
 For what her gen'rous Hand bestows?

And tho' I quickly can return
 Those useful Pieces, which she gave;
Can I again, or wou'd I have
 That which her Charms have from me borne?

Yet let us quit th' obliging Score;
And whilst we borrow'd Gold restore,
Whilst readily we own the Debt,
And Gratitude before her set
 In its approved and fairest Light;
Let her effectually be taught
 By that instructive, harmless Slight,
That also in her turn she ought
 (Repaying ev'ry tender Thought)
Kindness with Kindness to requite.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Anne Kingsmill Finch

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (née Kingsmill), was an English poet and courtier. Finch's works often express a desire for respect as a female poet, lamenting her difficult position as a woman in the literary establishment and the court, while writing of "political ideology, religious orientation, and aesthetic sensibility". Her works also allude to other female authors of the time, such as Aphra Behn and Katherine Phillips. Through her commentary on the mental and spiritual equality of the genders and the importance of women fulfilling their potential as a moral duty to themselves and to society, she is regarded as one of the integral female poets of the Restoration Era. Finch died in Westminster in 1720 and was buried at her home at Eastwell, Kent.  more…

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