Ah! fare thee weel dear Sutton Toon


Sullen Green or Wully's farewell Tune Moggy Lauder.

Primary Text:

MS Harleian 7316, 48v - 51v.


Possibly by Finch as the 4th in the above-referred to series of 14 poems in MS Harleian 7316 (see "For Mrs Catherine Flemming at ye Lord Digby's at Coleshill," December 24th, 1718, from Cleveland Row).

This is also the third in a series of ballads, the first the ballad to Catherine Fleming at Coleshill, the second, the one which occurs in the MS Wellesley ("A Ballad to Mrs Catherine Fleming in London from Malshanger farm in Hampshire"). It is another ballad in the same stanzaic pattern and simple language, this time using a somewhat unconvincing "Scots" dialect.

It includes references to many members of Finch's circle: Kitty and Nan, the "sisters" who sing and play the lyre are Catherine and Ann Fleming; "lovely Fanny," "Lord Digby's daughter," Lady Frances Digby Scudamore, mentioned in two of Ann's poems (which include references to the Flemings) and in Gay's poem to Pope upon his finishing his Iliad, which couples Anne with Scudamore ("See the decent Scudamore advance,/With Winchilsea, still mediating song"). There is a lovely "Lady Betty" whose dimples suggest a child (Lady Hertford's little daughter?); the group is pictured at Sutton, a seat and park nearby Coleshill, in Warwickshire, the home of Lord Robert Digby, Lady Scudamore's cousin, to whose house we know from Finch's other ballads Catherine Fleming had gone in 1718).

Finch's love of music comes through; Finch is bidding a gay farewell to the Digby circle, using the latest trend: Scots dialect.


Close in time to Finch's other two ballads to Catherine Fleming (1718-1719); perhaps written after Finch left London for Hampshire, she visited her friends; the evidence of the MS Wellesley and various letters shows that Anne and Heneage liked to travel to their friends in the country in their later years. A number of Finch's poems meant only for her friends' eyes (to Catherine Fleming, to Francis Thynne Seymour, Lady Hertford) from these years describe their home as "lonely" and "sad."
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