From the sweet pleasure of a rural seat


A Letter to the Hon: ble Lady Worseley at Long-Leat, Lewston August the 10th 1704.

Primary Text:

MS Wellesley, 87-8*.

Secondary Ed:

1988 Ellis d'Alessandro prints Wellesley, 117-8; McGovern & Hinnant, 54-55.


1929 Hughes prints Wellesley, 630-1.


Anne Finch has come to Lewston, the family home of Grace Strode Thynne; Lady Worseley left Long-Leat before Anne and Anne hoped to meet her at Lewston; she is disappointed, but hopes to see Lady Worseley at Chilton [Candover, one of the Hampshire seats of her husband Robert Worsley, not far from the Kingsmill estates]. It may be that Lady Worseley, once the accommodating loving and supporting Utresia now avoided Ardelia. See "The long long expected Hour is come".

In this fragmentary poem Finch compares Long-Leat to Tasso's bower for Armida from Jerusalem Delivered. Finch also says she wrote Lady Weymouth upon awakening at Long-Leat, verses Lady Weymouth has been kind enough to accept despite their unfinished state (see directly below "Absence in love effects the same"). In the poem Finch calls Lady Worseley "Utresia:" this suggests Finch used the pseudonyms consistently, so Ephelia is Lady Worseley's mother, Anne's sister-in-law. She signs herself "Ann" too -- no "e" once again.

This fragment and letter are important because Finch says this is way she has composed this and many of her poems, upon awakening, in a kind of reverie, out of "an irresistible impulse" (her phrase in her "Preface," see 1703-6, Eastwell) which cannot be hurried or forced. Here are the important lines in the prose letter:

"the fantasticalness of my muse not allowing me to finish any thing out of the proper season for which it was designed . . . [Lady Weymouth] so easily excused those trivial verses with which I troubled her Ladiship before I was well awake after a journy which had very much discompos'd my thoughts . . . "
There are two poems about travel in MS Harleian 7316 which show the writer much discomposed: "We did attempt to travell all Last night;" "This dismal Morn when East Winds blow."
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Page Last Updated 7 January 2003