ON the Banks of the Severn a desperate Maid


La Passion VAincue. Done into English with Liberty.

Primary Text:

No MS; 1713 Misc, 103-4*.

[Page 103]

On the Banks of the Severn a desperate Maid
(Whom some Shepherd, neglecting his Vows, had betray'd,)
Stood resolving to banish all Sense of the Pain,
And pursue, thro' her Death, a Revenge on the Swain.
Since the Gods, and my Passion, at once he defies;
Since his Vanity lives, whilst my Character dies;

[Page 104]

No more (did she say) will I trifle with Fate,
But commit to the Waves both my Love and my Hate.
And now to comply with that furious Desire,
Just ready to plunge, and alone to expire,
Some Reflection on Death, and its Terrors untry'd,
Some Scorn for the Shepherd, some Flashings of Pride
At length pull'd her back, and she cry'd, Why this Strife,
Since the Swains are so Many, and I've but One Life?

Secondary Eds:

Rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 125; rpt of 1903 Reynolds: 1979 Rogers AF, 90.


1724 The Hive I, 59


I couldn't locate one, but in the 1724 The Hive are a number of closely similar epigrammatic and dramatic landscapes on love (e.g., "As he lay in the plain, his arm under his head," "Young Damon, a shepherd of dangerous mien," I, 138, 195), one of which echoes Ann's opening line ("On the Bank of a river, close under the shade," II, 16), so Finch may written with a familiar type rather than a specific text uppermost in her mind.


A betrayed "maid," probably pregnant and abandoned, is about to drown herself and pulls back. Final line has resonance; could be read with profit with Two long had lov'd and now the Nymph desir'd. Emotionally effective.
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Page Last Updated 8 January 2003