EESE 1/2001

Anne Finch Surveys Womankind

Joyce Cornette Palmer (Texas Woman's University)

      Anne Finch on display at the National Portrait Gallery
      NPG 4692 by Peter Cross, ca. 1690

With keen, perceptive eyes poet Anne Finch, Countess of Winchelsea, surveys womankind. Her range extends not from China to Peru as in Samuel Johnson's "Vanity of Human Wishes" but from London to rural Eastwell Park in Kent with occasional glances to ancient lands. Striking portraits of herself as Ardelia, of the slandering London coquette Almeria, of Finch's friend Ephelia, and of wise, aging Clarinda stand in her gallery filled with numerous women. She looks with satiric eyes at shrews who dominate their men and with adoring eyes at friends like Mary of Modena, whom Finch served at court shortly before Mary's husband became King James II.1

In some of her poems, especially those reflecting personal experiences, Anne Finch appears as Ardelia, the pastoral name she chose to replace her first pseudonym of Areta.2 It has been suggested that the "name 'Ardelia' may have been chosen partly in tribute to Katherine Philips, known as 'The Matchless Orinda'."3 By following the popular convention of using literary names for herself and others, Finch gained some distance from her subject and a measure of freedom in expressing her true feelings about herself and her relationships with her beloved husband, her friends, and also some whom she did not admire, such as Almeria. Jean Mallinson notes that Finch's use of poetic names let her align "herself with the conventions of a tradition of love poetry older than and different from the ones which prevailed in her day",4 namely, erotic Restoration love poems. Dorothy Mermin, in her study of Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, and Anne Finch, sees these three women poets as "assuming literary names to transform themselves into women fit for verse." It is important that they do not use names of their fathers or husbands but instead use names that are "genuinely their own."5

In "Ardelia's Answer to Ephelia who had invited her to come to her in town--reflecting on the coquetry and detracting humor of the age," Ardelia contrasts herself with vain, slandering Almeria, who "discerns all failings, but her own."6 Ardelia would much prefer a rural meeting with her friend Ephelia, away from the town which favors passing "a gen'rall censure on mankind" and offers little time for true friendship. Ardelia states that she has "No daz'ling beauty, to attract the gaze" in "that great Town" and that her "little witt" does not conform to the current vogue of satire (47, ll. 13, 10, 12). The coquette Almeria, however, is in her element in London and serves as a mentor to young nymphs. This "gay thing, light as her feather'd dress" (48, l. 45) enjoys her reflections in the glass windows of her coach and the admiring words of one of her foppish beaux who asks why she is alone:

Where are the Nymphs, that round you us'd to croud,
Of your long courted approbation proud,
Learning from you, how to erect their hair,
And in perfection, all their habitt wear,
To place a patch, in some peculiar way,
That may an unmark'd smile, to sight betray,
And the vast genius of the Sex, display?"
                            (49, ll. 56-62)

Almeria, knowledgeable denizen of the town, disdains her country friend Ardelia's love of books, her literary taste, and her rustic appearance and ways. Like Alexander Pope's Belinda in "The Rape of the Lock," Almeria likes to sleep late and resents Ardelia's rousing her before noon. Unlike her unpleasant companion, Ardelia does not want to be judged by her clothes and can generously praise a lovely woman whose face is "Perfect in e'vry thing, but growing years" (50, l. 115). Any praise Ardelia dispenses, envious Almeria cynically turns to criticism or slander even about her supposedly dear friend, young Alinda. Almeria's penchant for meting out harsh criticism even of churchmen sends Ardelia with haste back to "the best seat of fam'd and fertile Kent, "Eastwell Park (54, l. 243). Following the Bloodless Revolution, which resulted in persecution for the Finches , they settled with Heneage Finch's nephew Charles, the current earl of Winchilsea, at this beautiful thousand-acre estate. Anne Finch would spend much of her time for the last thirty years of her life here at this pleasant, but sometimes lonely retreat.7

Eastwell Park

In this poem about the contrasting women Almeria and Ardelia, which work Charles Hinnant labels as "Finch's one major contribution to [...] Augustan satire",8, Ardelia looks with disfavor on a poetess who perhaps "Setts out Lampoons, where only spite is seen, / Not fill'd with female witt, but female spleen" (53, ll. 200-01). Finch, in her prose "Preface," asserts, "As to Lampoons, and all sorts of abusive verses, I ever so much detested, both the underhand dealing and uncharitableness which accompanys them, that I never suffer'd my small talent, to be that way employ'd." She states that her only work that tends towards lampoon is "the letter to Ephelia, in answer to an invitation to the Town" but declares "that att the time of composing itt, there was no particular person meant by any of the disadvantageous Caracters" (12-13). Hinnant sees the representation of Almeria "not as a vindictive portrayal of one woman by another woman, but as a critique of a certain ideal of femininity from an implicitly feminist perspective."9 Katharine Rogers states that Finch "satirized empty-headed, empty-hearted women as sharply as any man, but her satire clearly comes from a right-minded woman rather than a male censor of the sex. Thus she avoided patronizing generalizations and expected women to meet a universal human standard rather than a specifically 'feminine' one."10 Barbara McGovern notes the importance of the persona of Ardelia , who is criticized by Almeria and the fop for her positive attributes which "assert the norms that [she] stands for" and by extension those of Finch.11 Katharine Rogers, in her essay in Shakespeare's Sisters, states that Almeria "represents contemporary fashion in contrast to Ardelia's Right Reason"12 Finch never published this satirical poem perhaps because in the section on the rights of proper female poets (unlike the spiteful poetess) to write, "it champions the cause of women writers, perhaps because the sharp edge of the satire might have looked more like female spleen than like wit, perhaps because she knew that even modesty and restraint were insufficient protection against public ridicule."13

In her short poem "Adam Posed," Anne Finch presents a picture of another vain woman who in this case would perplex "our First Father, at his toilsome Plough," who seems to have already fallen from Paradise and must now endure "Thorns in his Path, and Labour on his Brow." Finch asks how Adam, who has recently named "Each several Kind," could find a name for this being and could guess "from what New Element" the following creature had come if he had seen her: "[...] a vain, Fantastick Nymph [...] / In all her Airs, in all her antick Graces, / Her various Fashions, and more various Faces" (104). Mermin sees in this poem, which shows "female folly," also a picture of "Adam's bafflement as bestower of identity, namer of women, initiator of speech." Mermin asserts, "Women poets prefer to name themselves: to speak first."14 Ruth Salvaggio notes that "Eve's 'wav'ring Form' resists his attempts to give 'this Thing a Name'" and asks if this wandering, straying being could "be that fluid, continuous, diffusable 'woman-thing' about whom contemporary feminist theorists are speaking."15

A contrast to the vain Almeria and to the vain woman who would puzzle Adam is the aging Clarinda portrayed in "Clarinda's Indifference at Parting with Her Beauty." Now that age has come on "and all the dismal traine / That fright the vitious and afflicte the vaine," the wise Clarinda asks, "And what , vain beauty, didst thou 'ere atcheive / When at thy height, that I thy fall shou'd grieve?" She accuses beauty of being "vanity's cheife sourse" (86) and proclaims that though she sees the ruin of beauty to be near, she "can't affoard one parting sigh, or tear, / Nor rail at Time, nor quarrell with [her] glasse, / But unconcern'd, can lett thy glories passe" (87) Grave Clarissa, who speaks the moral in "The Rape of the Lock," would certainly approve of Clarinda's attitude towards fading beauty.

Also unlike Almeria, Ephelia does gain the love and friendship of Ardelia. In the short poem "Friendship Between Ephelia and Ardelia," which Rogers describes as "an Augustan version of 'How do I love thee'",16 Ephelia asks what friendship is. Ardelia's answer of "'Tis to love, as I love you" does not satisfy Ephelia, who, somewhat like Lear, wants exaggerated descriptions of love (55). Hinnant suggests that in this dialogue, Finch "seems to question the verbal extravagances of the seventeenth-century tradition of Platonic-friendship poetry."17 Ephelia still cannot be satisfied even with the answer that ends with the words "'Tis to die upon a Grave, / If a Friend therein do lie." She complains that although these lofty descriptions of loving actions are more than have ever been done by friends, they have "all been said before." Ardelia returns to her first answer, saying, "Words indeed no more can shew: But 'tis to love, as I love you" (55).

Ardelia in the role of wife is generous with her words of love for her husband, Heneage Finch, whom she as Anne Kingsmill met at court where they served James, the Duke of York, and his second wife, Mary of Modena. The year after she and Heneage Finch wed, Anne Finch addresses "A Letter to Dafnis April: 2d 1685" to "the Crown and blessing of my life, / The much lov'd husband, of a happy wife." He had had to persist in his courtship, however, "To win a stubborn, and ungratefull heart" (27). Four years later, in "To Mr. F. Now Earl of W," Ardelia writes to her absent Flavio, another poetic name for her loving husband. The poet asks help from Parnassus to fulfil the task Flavio has given her of writing some verses on a topic of her choosing. Praise of a husband, her topic, is so out of fashion in this world that despises "Hymen's Endearments and its ties" (31) that only Urania, the Muse of heavenly love, likes her subject and whispers the following advice to her: "They need no Foreign Aid invoke, / No help to draw a moving Stroke, / Who dictate from the Heart" (30). Ardelia, pleased with this counsel, looks in her heart and composes her private verses for her beloved Flavio to hear when he returns that evening.

In this time period when marriages of the upper class were often merely business arrangements, McGovern notes that a marriage like that of Anne and Heneage Finch, "which was based upon companionship, mutual respect, and love, was, as Lawrence Stone has found, still a rarity during the Restoration."18 Heneage Finch was a rare husband indeed who encouraged his wife to write and even to publish her poems. He would in the years to come transcribe and edit the poems of his wife, whose handwriting is described as "nearly illegible."19 Rogers notes the rarity, too, of the tone of these two poems to Finch's husband:

Always preserving Augustan form and Augustan restraint in these poems to her husband, Winchilsea achieved an unusually personal, genuine tone simply by looking at their actual relationship directly. Her expression of uncomplicated wholehearted pleasure in the company of a loved spouse, free of pretentiousness in feeling or diction, is unique in her period.20

The Wellesley Manuscript of poems by Anne Finch which were not published until 1988 in a private printing in Florence and in 1998 in a critical edition edited by McGovern and Hinnant contains a number of verse epistles praising primarily some of her female friends. McGovern and Hinnant describe these works as follows:

Women friends figure prominently in these poems - exchanging frequent visits with her, encouraging her in her writing, sharing in a variety of domestic joys, comforting one another in times of illness or misfortune, and offering mutual support and love. Poem after poem pays tribute to the resourcefulness, wit, and sensitivity of Finch's female friends. (W. Ms. xxxii)

The women portrayed in Finch's poetry are "primarily aristocratic friends and family members with whom she shared common political, cultural, and religious sensibilities."21

Longleat House

In "A Ballad to Mrs Catherine Fleming in London from Malshanger farm in Hampshire," Finch describes the recipient of this poem as her "pleasing friend" (W. Ms. 58) and in a poetic letter to her "dear Lady Worseley" describes this friend as "the chiefest of [the] ornaments" of Long-Leat.22 After her description in verse of the lovely Long-Leat, where in 1704 she had renewed her acquaintance with her friend - "the best ingredient of [her]felicity" - the messenger's untimely return caused her to write the rest of her thank you in prose rather than in poetry (W. Ms. 54). In "On my being charged with writing a lampoon at Tunbridge," even as she defends herself against this charge, Anne Finch praises her female friends, one who is "Fair without Pride and charming without art" and another "Whose sprightly thoughts are spoke with such an air / The sound may almost with the sense compare" (W. Ms. 75-76). In "An Epistle to Mrs Catherine Fleming at Coleshill in Warwickshire but hastily performed and not corrected. London October the 18th: 1718," Ardelia commends the "lively conversation" of this "dearest friend" and in contrast states that "of all ills with which our time is curst / Unpolish't conversation is the worst" (W. Ms. 42- 43). She goes on to praise this same friend for her true wit which, among other qualities, is "rallery which never flings / The ridicule but on fantastick things" (44).

In the Wellesley Manuscript poems Finch also sings the praises of Valleria, Arrabella, and Lady Margaret Tufton for their superior qualities. In "The agreeable" the poet asks what it is in Valleria, who is not beautiful, that makes her so agreeable that "whenso'er she speaks or looks or moves / Th' observer listens sighs admires and loves." Her conclusion is that "What is this charm but something from the Soul / Which warms us whilst it shines and influences the whole" (66). In the hostile political climate for Jacobites like the Finches after the Glorious or Bloodless Revolution in 1688, Finch regrets that censorship of the mail makes it difficult to reveal her true feelings and Arrabella's charms. Nine lines of prose begin her verse epistle entitled "A letter to Mrs Arrabella Marow" and explain her delay in acknowledging the "favour of such an agreeable and most obliging letter as I received from dear Mrs Marow." She states, "[I]t has been my daily intention tho' still detain'd by reflecting on the great cautiousness with which we must write to our friends under the present posture of affairs and I was very unwilling when addressing my self to you to be under that necessity of being dull which that great reserve imposes" (47). She mourns the absence of this "indearing maid" and wishes for her to return to "Releive her wishing friends" (48). In "A Contemplation" Finch pictures Heaven and among its inhabitants places Lady Margaret Tufton. This virtuous woman is praised for her piety and generous actions towards captives, children, missions, and Finch herself (140-41).

A special friend to Finch was Mary Beatrice, Mary of Modena , who married James the Duke of York on November 21, 1673, and later was exiled with him in France. After Finch became twenty-one years old in 1682, she served as a maid of honor to Mary of Modena at court until she wed Heneage Finch on May 14, 1684.23 Following their marriage, Heneage Finch continued as gentleman of the bedchamber to James and had the honor of carrying the canopy for Queen Mary at her husband's inauguration on April 23, 1685.24 The Finches remained loyal supporters of James II and Mary of Modena in spite of adversities that came to them as a consequence of their loyalty to the deposed monarch and his family. "On the Death of the Queen" combines lofty, but sincere, words of praise for the religious Queen with personal remembrance of the youthful Anne's service in her "Domestick train" (W. Ms. 26). Finch describes herself as this young maid of honor in the following lines:

Recall'd be days when ebon locks o'erspread
My youthfull neck my cheeks a bashfull red
When early joys my glowing bosom warm'd
When trifles pleas'd and every pleasure charm'd
Then eager from the rural seat I came. (26)

Ardelia mourns the loss of Urania, her name for Mary, and "speaks with conscious sense / Of Real Worth and matchless excellence." She describes her beloved Queen in glowing terms:

Never such lustre strove against the light
Never such beauty satisfied the sight
Never such Majesty on earth was found
As when URANIA worthyly was crown'd. (27)

Ardelia also likens the Italian Urania to the noted Roman women Livia and Portia and to innocent Eve before the Fall. The effectiveness of Ardelia's praise of her lost Queen is seen in the reaction of Lamira to Ardelia's anguish. The beginning of the poem shows Lamira's pity and her attempt to understand Ardelia's great grief. By the concluding lines of the poem, "Lamira thinks it just / Such pious tears shou'd wait such Royal Dust" (29).

Not all of the Wellesley Manuscript poems feature praise of women. A delightful narrative poem called simply "A Tale" describes a wager made over "a cheerful cup" to test the bachelor's claim that "never yet was married man / Ungovern'd by his wife" (103, ll. 1, 7-8). The bachelor describes some of the techniques of the wives as follows: "By force by fraud by smiles by frowns / By mirth or sullen fits / Down from the Title to the Clowns / Each married man submits" (103, ll. 9-12). When an espoused man disputes the claim and unties his purse, the bachelor tells his plan. He will provide four horses to pull a cart filled with apples. Any man who rules over his wife will gain a horse, but anyone ruled by his wife will only gain an apple. When all "masters" surveyed have admitted to yielding for "Peace of life" to women like the "fierce scolds" or "gay Coquets" the wagerer described, only one apple remains (105, ll. 56, 53-54). A woman complaining of her surly, unyielding husband seems destined to gain a horse for her governing spouse until the bachelor tells her to notify her husband and to let him choose which horse he will receive. She begs for the dappled mare and vows to fight for her choice in spite of his wanting the gelding. When she grabs her "Jockey whip / And snap't it in the air" (108, ll. 131-32), her husband tries to avoid strife by giving her the mare. Of course, what he gains then is the last apple and no horse. Finch says, "All Wives forgive me who am one / That I this tale have told" (109, ll. 145-46) and urges women to quit their contention and instead to submit. She concludes that "Eve when she made herself a slave / Determin'd all our fate" (110, ll. 167-68).

The Wellesley Manuscript includes many religious, contemplative poems which show a grateful Finch, who has been spared after serious illnesses and who is a woman who looks to Heaven for solace. Ardelia appears in some poems as a retiring soul who suffers from the spleen at times and who values solitude and her rural retreats. In "A Ballad to Mrs. Catherine Fleming" from a Hampshire farm, she states that one should not "look for sharp satyrick wit" there since "The country breeds no thorny bays, / But mirth and love and honest praise" (59).

Finch inspires mirth herself in her description of her fear at the firing of her chimney at Wye College in 1702. Her self-deprecating tone appears at the start of this burlesque poem as she proclaims that she is not like brave female leaders such as Boadicia, Joan of Arc, and the Queen of the Amazons, Thalestriss. She then declares,

Yet can't I understand the merit
In Females of a daring spirit
Since to them never was imparted
In manly strengh (sic) tho' manly hearted
Nor need that sex be self defending
Who charm the most when most depending. (W. Ms. 71)

The poet cites Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen, as one example of a woman who succeeded with this kind of charm. About halfway through her poem, Finch finally gets to her story of how her fear of a fire led her to awaken people and get everyone out of the house needlessly.

The portrayal of Finch (sometimes as Ardelia) as a woman poet is likely the one that gets the most attention from modern readers. Anne Finch took offense at Pope's depiction of women writers in four lines of "The Rape of the Lock" when Umbriel addresses Spleen as follows:

Parent of Vapors and of Female Wit,
Who give th' Hysteric, or Poetic Fit,
On various Tempers act by various ways,
Make some take Physick, others scribble Plays. (Quoted in W. Ms. xxxvii)

Lawrence Lipking and Samuel Holt Monk, editors of The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century volume of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, note that although Finch as the author of the popular poem "The Spleen" and of two plays could have taken these lines by Pope personally, she chose instead to defend women poets in general (2590). McGovern feels that "Being herself a sufferer of melancholy and noted for her poem 'The Spleen,' Finch must have bristled at the relationship between writing, female gender, and affected mental illness that this passage evokes." McGovern does note that "the debate was conducted in good humor."25 Pope wrote a brief poem praising Ardelia as one who outshines those she tries to defend. In the manuscript version of "To Mr. Pope In answer to a coppy of verses occasion'd by a little dispute upon four lines in the Rape of the Lock," Finch affectionately calls him "Alexander" and warns him to "shock the sex no more." She asserts that "We rule the World, our Lives whole race" and later adds, "We're born to Wit, but to be wise / By Admonitions Taught" (W. Ms. 68-69). It is unclear whether she means women or Pope who should be taught. McGovern describes this poetic response to Pope as "a testament to the confident, if gently bantering, nature of their friendship"and notes several similarities between these two displaced figures.26 McGovern and Hinnant mention the close relationship of Pope and the Finches and note that he included them "in a letter of 1717 to John Caryll as among the several friends he regularly visits, commenting that 'All these have indispensable claims to me'" (W. Ms. xxxvii). Anne Finch, twenty-seven years Pope's senior, revised her poem "To Mr. Pope," omitting the references to "Alexander," and permitted Pope to publish it with his poem to her, now called "The Impromptu," in his 1717 volume of miscellany poems (W. Ms. xxxvii). The idea held by some of Finch's contemporary and later readers that she was particularly singled out for satire by Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot in Three Hours After Marriage as Phoebe Clinket, a foolish woman writer, has been discredited by modern scholarship.27 A key published by Pope's enemies to make it seem that he was hateful to his friends "falsely identified several of the satirical characters in the play with well-known friends of Pope, including Anne Finch."28

Finch's picture of a woman poet frustrated by the restrictions society places on her is seen clearly in "The Introduction," a poem which she chose not to publish but instead to attach to manuscripts that "she circulated privately among her friends."29 This female poet begins by anticipating what critics would say about her lines: "And all might say, they're by a Woman writt." A woman writer is viewed as "an intruder on the rights of men" and a "presumptuous Creature" who should desire woman's proper accomplishments, namely, "Good breeding, fassion, dancing, dressing, play." In fact, the public would feel that "To write, or read, or think, or to enquire / Wou'd cloud our beauty, and exaust our time, / And interrupt the Conquests of our prime." This early feminist rejects the idea that "the dull mannage, of a servile house" is woman's "outmost art, and use" (5).

To support her idea that women can accomplish more than the public's limited view of the female role, Finch looks to ancient Israel for examples of women who excelled and includes them in "The Introduction." To the Biblical account of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Israel (1 Chron. 15), she adds "holy Virgins" to the crowds of people who sang joyfully and speaks of these virgins' completing "the Hymn Devine" with their soft notes. When victorious David returned from battle (1 Sam. 18), the women greeted him with songs and with applause which made King Saul feel "itts mighty thunder shake the Crown." Saul's time on the throne is limited because "Half of the Kingdom is already gone; / The fairest half, whose influence guides the rest, / Have David's Empire o're their hearts confess't." The poet's last example from ancient Israel, the famous Deborah also had a song to sing, again one of victory (Judg. 4, 5). Finch describes her as follows: "A Woman here, leads fainting Israel on, / She fights, she wins, she tryumphs with a song." After the victory has been won, Deborah the judge "rules the rescu'd Nation, with her laws." Mallinson speaks of this "appeal to antique precedent" as "lengthy, substantial, and vigorous",30 and Rogers notes that Biblical examples "seemed called for in an age when the Bible was constantly used to keep woman in her place."31

Unfortunately, women in Finch's society are not expected to lead as these earlier women had done but instead have been hampered by poor education and by opposition from others if they desire to "Soar above the rest, / With warmer fancy, and ambition press't." Women are "Debarr'd from all improvements of the mind / And to be dull, expected and dessigned" (6). Because of these negative conditions, this woman poet cautions her Muse to be content with just a small audience of friends. Mallinson interprets the phrase "with contracted wing" (7) as including "a narrow range of song" .32 Robert W. Uphaus and Gretchen M. Foster claim that "No other early woman poet explores as thoroughly the hostile conditions--literary, social, and psychological--for women writers as Finch does in "The Introduction" and other poems by her.33

As a young woman at Court, Anne Finch had not shown any of her early attempts at poetry lest she be ridiculed as "a Versifying Maid of Honour" ("The Preface " 9). Later, she would allow some of her poetry to be published. Messenger analyzes the criteria Finch used to decide which poems to print:

The genres are common [...]. The topics and attitudes are conventional [...]. The tones range from light to fairly heavy, but never approach the merely frivolous or the licentious. She says very little that is personal or that concerns herself as a poet, and that little is guarded, hedged, and undercut in such ways that it fits her own requirements of modesty. (31)

Messenger feels that Finch coped with her lot as a woman poet in the Augustan climate by "cautiously withholding from publication poems which express rebellion against or suffering caused by that climate."34 Rogers also discusses how Finch adapts to the male-oriented Augustan period, sharing many of its attitudes and writing in the traditional genres but writing as a woman with a "distinctively personal tone." This Finch editor and scholar notes some of the advantages that Finch had over other women writers of the day, advantages in social class, leisure (position as childless, retirement from public life to a retreat in nature), and supportive, loving family and friends and states that possibly Finch's "isolation from the masculine tradition, [...] freeing her from conventional thought and feeling, helped her to develop her unique poetic voice."35 Elsewhere, Rogers groups Finch with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu asserting that they "were the best women literary artists of their time, partly because they did not have to rely on public approval."36

A later feminist, Virginia Woolf, lists in A Room of One's Own some of Lady Winchilsea's advantages and states, "One has only to open her poetry to find her bursting out in indignation against the position of women." Of this early poet, Woolf says, "men are hated and feared, because they have the power to bar her way to what she wants to do - which is to write." Woolf feels that if Lady Winchilsea could have "freed her mind from hate and fear and not heaped it with bitterness and resentment, the fire was hot within her" and that "Now and again words issue of pure poetry."37

Could Woolf have read many of Anne Finch's poems that have only been published near the end of the twentieth century and have known more about Anne Finch the woman as well as the writer, her assessment of Finch's attitudes perhaps would have changed. Within the poetry of this versatile, remarkable writer, we see a wide range of treatments of women both fictional and real, and we see a poet who can view herself as Ardelia and with her own identity with a sense of humor as well as with serious eyes.


Works Cited

"Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661-1720)." A Celebration of Women Writers. Ed. Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

Finch, Anne. The Anne Finch Wellesley Manuscript Poems: A Critical Edition. Ed.Barbara McGovern and Charles H. Hinnant. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998.

---. Selected Poems of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea. Ed. Katharine M. Rogers. New York: Ungar, 1979.

Hinnant, Charles H. The Poetry of Anne Finch: An Essay in Interpretation. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1994.

Lipking, Lawrence, and Samuel Holt Monk, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. Vol. 1 C. M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt, gen. eds. New York, Norton, 2000.

Mallinson, Jean. "Anne Finch: A Woman Poet and the Tradition." Gender at Work: Four Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Ann Messenger. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990, 34-76.

McGovern, Barbara. Anne Finch and Her Poetry: A Critical Biography. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992.

---. "Finch, Pope, and Swift: The Bond of Displacement." Pope, Swift, and Women Writers. Ed. Donald C. Mell. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1996, 105-24.

Mermin, Dorothy. "Women Becoming Poets: Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, Anne Finch." ELH 57 (1990), 335-55.

Messenger, Ann. "Publishing Without Perishing: Lady Winchilsea's Miscellany Poems of 1713." Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 5 (1981), 27-37.

Rogers, Katharine. "Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea: An Augustan Woman Poet." Shakespeare's Sisters: Feminist Essays on Women Poets. Ed. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979, 32-46.

---. Feminism in Eighteenth-Century England. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982.

Salvaggio, Ruth. Enlightened Absence: Neoclassical Configurations of the Feminine. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

Uphaus, Robert W., and Gretchen M. Foster, eds. The "Other" Eighteenth Century: English Women of Letters 1660-1800. East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1991.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. London: Hogarth Press, 1929.


1 I wish to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Mr. Andy Tucker, a Reference Librarian at Texas Woman's University's Blagg-Huey Library, in finding appropriate illustrations for this article.

2 Barbara McGovern, Anne Finch and Her Poetry: A Critical Biography (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992), 69-70.

3 "Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661-1720)." A Celebration of Women Writers. Ed. Mary Mark Ockerbloom, 6 n. 4.

4 "Anne Finch: A Woman Poet and the Tradition." Gender at Work: Four Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Ann Messenger (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990), 74-75.

5 "Women Becoming Poets: Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, Anne Finch." ELH 57 (1990), 347.

6 All references to Finch's poetry and to "The Preface" are to Selected Poems of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea. Ed. Katharine M. Rogers or else to The Anne Finch Wellesley Manuscript Poems: A Critical Edition. Ed. Barbara McGovern and Charles H. Hinnant, hereafter referred to as W. Ms. Number references will be to page numbers; for lengthy poems, line numbers will also be given.

7 McGovern, Anne Finch, 64-65.

8 The Poetry of Anne Finch: An Essay in Interpretation (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1994), 86.

9 Ib., 96.

10 Selected Poems of Anne Finch, xxi.

11 McGovern, Anne Finch, 141.

12 "Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea: An Augustan Woman Poet." Shakespeare's Sisters: Feminist Essays on Women Poets. Ed. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979), 38.

13 Ann Messenger. "Publishing Without Perishing: Lady Winchilsea's Miscellany Poems of 1713." Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 5 (1981), 28.

14 Dorothy Mermin. "Women Becoming Poets: Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, Anne Finch." ELH 57 (1990), 347.

15 Ruth Salvaggio. Enlightened Absence: Neoclassical Configurations of the Feminine (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 110

16 "Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea", 321 n. 19.

17 The Poetry of Anne Finch, 81.

18 Anne Finch, 38.

19 Ib., 68.

20 "Ann Finch", 35.

21 McGovern, Anne Finch, 109.

22 The Finches had family ties with Longleat House. Lady Worsley is the daughter of Henry Finch's sister Frances Thynne, Vicountess of Weymouth. McGovern and Hinnant note that "Longleat House in Wiltshire [is] generally regarded as one of the finest instances of English architecture in the age of Elizabeth I" (W. Ms. 164).

23 Cf. McGovern and Hinnant, eds., W. Ms. 152).

24 Cf. McGovern, Anne Finch, 29-30.

25 "Finch, Pope, and Swift: The Bond of Displacement." Pope, Swift, and Women Writers. Ed. Donald C. Mell (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1996), 111-12, 113.

26 Ib., 114, 120-21.

27 For discussions of the target of satire in the portrayal of Phoebe Clinket, see Messenger 35-36, 37 n.21; Rogers, "Anne Finch", 321 n. 15; McGovern, "Finch, Pope, and Swift", 110; and McGovern, Anne Finch, 102-07. The satire is now usually considered to be aimed at women writers in general rather than at one (Finch) in particular.

28 McGovern, "Finch, Pope, and Swift", 110.

29 McGovern, Anne Finch, 33.

30 "Anne Finch: A Woman Poet and the Tradition." Gender at Work: Four Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Ann Messenger (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990), 38.

31 "Anne Finch", 32.

32 "Anne Finch: A Woman Poet", 39.

33 The "Other" Eighteenth Century: English Women of Letters 1660-1800 (East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1991), 9.

34 "Publishing Without Perishing", 36 n. 4.

35 "Anne Finch", 45.

36 Feminism in Eighteenth-Century England (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982), 97.

37 A Room of One's Own (London: Hogarth Press, 1929), 88, 89.