Venus who did her Bird impart


To the Lord March upon the death of his sparrow

Primary Texts:

MS's: Wellesley, 102; MS Portland XX, 34r.

Secondary Ed:

1988 Ellis d'Alessandro prints Wellesley, 133; McGovern & Hinnant, 77.


Finch attempts an anacreontic upon a demand (see "To a Lady who having desired me to compose somthing ... "). Venus snatched away March's bird because she was jealous of their love; she tells Lord March not to grieve since a youth "so blooming" can find "a thousand ways" to relieve his sorrows. That "Young Ismena" did "deride" him further and said he'd be further tried leads Venus to advise the young man to fortify himself. Finch is identifying with Venus. In 1705 William Douglas succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of March; he later married Jean, daughter of John Hay, 1st Marquess Tweedale; but Ismena could also easily be another lady he was flirting with on the day "Celia" demanded a poem.


Between April and June 1715.
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