'Tis true I write and tell me by what Rule


The Appology

Primary Text:

MS Folger, 250.
Tis true I write and tell me by what Rule
I am alone forbid to play the fool
To follow through the Groves a wand'ring Muse
And fain'd Idea's for my pleasures chuse
Why shou'd it in my Pen be held a fault
Whilst Mira paints her face, to paint a thought
Whilst Lamia to the manly Bumper flys
And borrow'd Spiritts sparkle in her Eyes
Why shou'd itt be in me a thing so vain
To heat with Poetry my colder Brain?
But I write ill and there-fore shou'd forbear
Does Flavia cease now at her fortieth year
In ev'ry Place to lett that face be seen
Which all the Town rejected at fifteen
Each Woman has her weaknesse; mind [sic] indeed
Is still to write tho' hopelesse to succeed
Nor to the Men is this so easy found
Ev'n in most Works with which the Witts abound
(So weak are all since our first breach with Heav'n)
Ther's lesse to be Applauded than forgiven.

Secondary Eds:

1903 Reynolds prints Folger text, 13; rpts of 1903 Reynolds: 1928 Murray, 23; 1930 Fausset, 4-5; 1979 Rogers AF, 15; 1987 Thompson, 61-2.


Rpts of 1713/1903: 1973 Goulianos, 73; 1975 Kaplan, 1975; 1991 Uphaus/Foster, 172-3.


Another justification of Finch's vocation, this time in a new eighteenth-century couplet style ("Whilst Mira paints her face, to paint a thought"). It connects to Adam Pos'd as Finch is defending her desire to write by arguing why should women be permitted to act out their egoistic vanities in flirtation, cosmetics, and drink (alcohol) and she not be permitted to write. If she writes badly (if there's little to be applauded), like other people, she deserves to be forgiven. When the poem is placed where it comes in the Folger arrangement, both it and "Adam Pos'd" make more sense.
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Page Last Updated 8 January 2003