Nature, in Pity, has deny'd you Shape


To Flavia.

Primary Text:

No MS; 1714 Steele, 44*.
Nature, in Pity, has deny'd you Shape,
Else how should Mortals Flavia's Chain escape?
Your radiant Aspect, and your rosie Bloom
Without this Form would bring a Gen'ral Doom;
At once our Ruin and Relief we see,
At sight are Captives, and at sight are Free


Another probably by Finch from 1714 Steele; Reynolds thought this too by Finch. The tone is is softer and kinder than the anacreontics which are not addressed to a friend. Flavia was Anne's consistent pseudonym for Catherine Fleming, and there is evidence their friendship went back to at least 1700 (e.g., Nicholas's Rowe's epistle to Flavia in 1701 Gilden thanking her for showing him Finch's two pindarics). This is a compliment in the vein of Finch's later epigram to Valeria ("She is not fair you criticks of the Town"); Flavia was denied physical beauty ("Shape") because otherwise her inner soul ("radiant Aspect") would enslave all mortals "At sight."
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