URANIA, whom the Town admires


An EPISTLE from a Gentleman to Madam Deshouliers, returning Money she had lent him at Bassette, upon the first Day of their Acquaintance. Translated with Liberty from the French.

Primary Texts:

No MS; 1713 Misc, 171-3.
[Page 171]

URANIA, whom the Town admires,
  Whose Wit and Beauty share our Praise;
This fair URANIA who inspires
  A thousand Joys a thousand ways,
She, who cou'd with a Glance convey
  Favours, that had my Hopes outdone,
Has lent me Money on that Day,
  Which our Acquaintance first begun.

[Page 172]

Nor with the Happiness I taste,
  Let any jealous Doubts contend:
Her Friendship is secure to last,
  Beginning where all others end.

And thou, known Cheat! upheld by Law,
  Thou Disappointer of the craving Mind,
BASSETTE, who thy Original dost draw
  From Venice (by uncertain Seas confin'd);
Author of Murmurs, and of Care,
  Of pleasing Hopes, concluding in Despair:
To thee my strange Felicity I owe,
  From thy Oppression did this Succour flow.
Less had I gained, had'st thou propitious been,
  Who better by my Loss hast taught me how to Win.
Yet tell me, my transported Brain!
  (whose Pride this Benefit awakes)
Know'st thou, what on this Chance depends?
  And are we not exalted thus in vain,

[Page 173]

Whilst we observe the Money which she lends,
  But not, alas! the Heart she takes,
The fond Engagements, and the Ties
  Her fatal Bounty does impose,
Who makes Reprisals, with her Eyes,
  For what her gen'rous Hand bestows?

And tho' I quickly can return
  Those useful Pieces, which she gave;
Can I again, or wou'd I have
  That which her Charms have from me borne?

Yet let us quit th' obliging Score;
And whilst we borrow'd Gold restore,
Whilst readily we own the Debt,
And Gratitude before her set
  In its approved and fairest Light;
Let her effectually be taught
  By that instructive, harmless Slight,
That also in her turn she ought
  (Repaying ev'ry tender Thought)
Kindness with Kindness to requite.

Secondary Ed:

Rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 126-7.


Deshouliers, "Lettre de Mr. de Senece, Premier Valet de Chamber de la Reine", 1801 Oeuvres, "En lui envoyant de l'argent qu'elle lui avoit prete a la Bassette," I, 112-3.


A close paraphrase in which she reenacts social encounter in playful light manner of her source.


This may have been begun earlier and have at its core a real incident; the version we have, however, is impersonal, and meant for publication. Other of Finch's poems show that she liked to see herself as writing in a tradition of "badinage" associated with Deshouliers. Perhaps she wanted in this published book to impress her readers with her versatility in her imitations from the French as well as her original English poetry. Here is an example of Finch using the same pastoral name for a second woman: Urania is still also Mary of Modena to her in 1718: "Dark was the shade where only cou'd be seen"
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