This dismal Morn when East Winds blow


The Hyp In a Letter to W: C--Esq.

Primary Text:

MS Harleian 7316, 70v*.

Dear C--

This dismal Morn when East Winds blow
And Ev'ry languid Pulse beats Low,
With Face most Sorrowfully grim,
And Head oppress'd with Wind and Whim,
Grave as an Owl and just as Witty,
To thee I twang my dolefull Ditty,
And in mine own dull Rhimes wou'd find
Musick to Sooth my restless Mind.
But Oh! (my Friend) I sing in Vain,
No Dogrel can relieve my pain
Since thou art gone my hearty Desire
And Heav'n and Earth and Sea, conspire
To make my Miseries compleat:
Where shall a Wretched Hyp retreat?
What shall a dropping Mortal doe
Who pines for Sunshine, and for you?
If in the Dark Alcove I dream
And you or Phillis is my Theme--
While Love or Friendship warms my Soul
My shinnns are burning to a Coal
If rais'd to Speculations high,
With Heart devout, and Wondring Eyes,
I gaze the Stars and Spangled Skie
Amaz'd I view Strange Globes of Light,
Meteors with horrible Lustre bright,
My guilty trembling Soul affright,
To Mothers Earth's prolifick Bed,
Pensive I stoop my giddy head,
From thence too all my hopes are fled.
Nor Flowers, nor Grass, nor Shrubs appear
To Deck the Smileing infant yeare
But Blasts my tender Blossoms wound
And Desolation reigns around,
If Seaward my dark Thoughts I bend
Oh! Where will my Misfortunes End?
My Loyal Soul distracted meets
Attainted Dukes, and Spanish Fleets,
Thus jarring Elements Unite
Pregnant with Wrongs, and Arm'd with Spite
Successive Mischiefs ev'ry Hour
On my devoted Head thy pour
What'ere I doe, where'ere I goe
'Tis still an Endless Scene of Woe
'Tis thus Disconsolate I mourn
I faint I die till thy Return
Till thy brisk Wit, and hum'rous Vein
Restore me to my Self again
Let others vainly Seek for Ease
From Galen, and Hippocrates
I Scorn Such nauseous Aids as these
Haste then (my Deare) unbrib'd attend,
The best Elixir is a Friend.


I attribute this to Finch as the eleventh in the above-referred to series of 14 poems in the MS Harleian 7316; it follows "We did attempt to travell all last night" and precedes Finch's epistle to Catherine Fleming, "To Flavia," "Oh! ffriendship how prevailing is thy fforce".

It seems to me utterly like Anne Finch: we have a private half-laughing, self-deprecating letter in which the writer expresses her profound sadness. The narrator a woman who lives in solitude and has long listened to the wind (like trees and birds a favorite natural phenomenon with Finch). She says she needs to write verses (with a "Heart devout, and Wondring Eyes") on the landscape which in this mood seems desolating ("Nor Flowers, nor Grass, nor Shrubs appear ... Desolation reigns around"). She also listens to musick to "sooth my restless Mind"; she describes her state that of a "loyal" soul who everywhere sees her friends "attainted"--the state of non-juring Tories was worse than ever. The writer scorns "nauseous Aids" from "Galen" and "Hippocrates" (just as Finch did in her early years and concludes: "Haste then (my Deare) unbrib'd attend,/The best Elixir is a Friend."

In some ways, this plea for a visit recalls Finch's farewell to Lady Worseley ("The long the long expected Hour". This is a better poem than the unfinished pindaric because of its octosyllabic prosody, easy language, and relative restraint and simplicity.


This is very late, after Finch's 1718-1719 trips; it appears to be written in the country.
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