Joy from a zealous pen Ardelia sends


To the Countess of Hartford on her Lord's Birthday

Primary Text:

MS Additional 4457, 59r-v*

Joy from a zealous pen Ardelia sends
And hails this Day with all devoted friends
The Birth of Hartford each returning year
Should in the Muses Calendar appear
Nor by superfluous Heralds be proclaim'd
Seymour & Percy ask but to be nam'd
Who more expands where such high blood unites
But cloggs the stream & his own Toil recites
Whil 'tis the Muse's part to tell what Grace
Adorns the Heir of their illustrious Race
Who while that dignity he well supports
Softens the Grandeur with Address of Courts
Whose well bred Easiness his form refines
Where unaffected each Advantage shines
Whose even Temper mov'd but by Distress
Is only agitated to redress
Those Camps his martial Virtues saw compleat
From Hotspur's Heart without unruly Heat
His Love superior passion of the mind
To the best Object stedily inclin'd
You Madam whom this Day does most regard
Warmly possess, to yours, the just Reward
Vain were those Charms you to his Bosom bring
That Bloom from which each day new Beauties spring
That pleasing Smile which on your Speech attends
Cheers your domestics, & indears your Friends
Brightens your Features regularly made
And gives the Light by which they are display'd
Were Hartford blind like most whom wedlock ties
To the sweet Influence of his Lady's Eyes
Long may this equal Ardor rule your Thoughts
And marriage when ovserv'd devoid of Faults
No more by Libertines be made a Jest
But of all States from you be own'd the Best


This is the first of Anne's poems to the older daughter of Henry and Grace Strode Thynne (Theanor and Cleone), who became, as her father had been, a patron of poets. Frances Thynne Seymour, Lady Hertford encouraged her aunt, Anne Finch, to write and wrote poetry herself. Finch's lines are filled with sense of intangible light. The allusion to Shakespeare (Lord Hertford has a "Hotspur's Heart") includes Lord Hertford, by then Heneage's friend too. See Apollo's Muse, Epilogue; also the poems by Anne: "Prithee Friend that Hedge behold" and "Of sleepless nights, and days with cares o'ercast", two further poems copied out from manuscripts which include other members of the Frome/Longleat and Hertford circles.


Algernon Seymour, Lord Hertford was born on November 11, 1684. He married Frances Thynne married on July 4, 1715, upon which he took a house on Albemarle Street, a few minutes walk from Cleveland Row where Heneage and Anne lived in London. November 24, 1716 was the day their eldest daughter, Elizabeth (Lady Betty, later to marry Henry Percy Smithson, Count of Northumberland), of whom there is no mention as yet (which would be natural and whom Heneage and Ann were very fond of and and Heneage wrote about about while she was still very small). Thus I date this between Lord Hertford's two birthdays after his marriage and before the birth of Lady Betty.
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Page Last Updated 8 January 2003