Quoth the Swains who got in at the late Masquerade


On Lady Cartret drest like a shepherdess at Count Volira's ball.

Primary Text:

MS Wellesley, 49-50.

It begins:

Quoth the Swains who got in at the late Masquerade
And never before left their flocks or their shade
What people are here who with splendor amaze
Or but with their antick variety please
Who talk to each other in voices unknown
And their faces are worse than their Vizors when shown ...

Secondary Ed:

1988 Ellis d'Alessandro prints Wellesley text, 82-3.


1992 McGovern prints Wellesley text, 193-4; McGovern & Hinnant, 3-4.


The poem testifies to Anne's agreement with distrust of masquerades. It seems that all was false ("thier faces are worse than their vizors when shown"), cold ("to the men who no title cou'd show/As our fields when the flocks are not seen for the snow"), and sexually unchaste (on offer, "as easily won/As our apples are mellowed by age or the sun") until Francis Worsley, Lady Carteret (Utresia's daughter, Ephelia's granddaughter and thus a great-niece to Anne; also Granville's wife) came on the scene. Innocent she, as "Strephon" observed, was only Cartret's; her presence, though, has taught the shepherds how inferior the nymphs they had been looking at, so they return to beauty of spring, and home-y places like private houses with "chimnies" where they may revive the tale of Lady Cartret . The poem is on the surface light and playful, but as with just about all Finch's poetry it has an undertow of seriousness. Ironically the best lines are those describing the rejected nymphs in masquerade:
" . . . Phillis they said in her holiday cloaths
With a pink in her hat in her bosom a rose
Nor Silvia who with the best cream in her bowl
Set a glass on her forehead and breeded her role
Or light hearted Cloe who laugh't ere she spoke . . .


Lady Carteret (see "Cupid one day ask'd his mother") was almost continually pregnant from early one in her marriage to Granville (she produced eight children who survived to adulthood, only Granville's trips abroad lessened the number of pregnancies). This poem was probably written very soon after the young girl was married at age 15-6, 1716. We don't know if this piece of tinsel pleased this female lamb (to keep up Finch's metaphor).
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Page Last Updated 9 January 2003