Blest is the Soul which loos'd from sordid Earth


The happynesse of a departed Soul

Primary Text:

MS Wellesley, 111-2.

Secondary Ed:

1988 Ellis d'Alessandro prints Wellesley text, 143-4; McGovern & Hinnant, 94-95.


1640 A Pretious Booke, Saint Augustine's Manuall, Chap 6: "The happinesse of that soule which is delivered out of the earthly prison of the bod,", 16-19.


Just as when Finch was young, she identifies with a bird, this time one who breaks from "prison" (here Christianized into the soul) where "she lived confin'd," filled with "still aspireing love" to "draw her to th'inamour'd spouse above." At the same time she cannot forget or simply sees paradise against background of world where "bitterness is nurst," where "anger brawles out some injurious name" and "punishment to violence succeeds." The poem recalls Milton's "At a Solemn Musick": devotional music/poetry renews the self and poetry; it has a touching simplicity towards the end: "Jesus tune my harp and heart. . . with true Poetick art."
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