THINK not a partial fondness sway'd my mind


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.

Primary Text:

No MS; 1714 Steele, (according to McGovern, 240 n7, this poem is found in 1714 Steele); 1717 Pope's Own (rpt 1935/75 Ault), 123-5*.
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


Finch defends herself for having appeared to favor Mary ("Maria") over Francis Thynne ("Aspasia") when she suggested a bust be made of the one child and not the other; there is an intense sensuality in Ann's description of the young Mary.


Francis is said to be "two lustres (10 years) short of female prime (15-16)," so perhaps she is 5-6, so the year is then 1704-5.
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