Now, spent the alter'd King, in am'rous cares


The Poor man's Lamb or Nathan's Parable to David, After the murther of Uriah, and his mariage with Bathsheba. Turn'd into Verse, and Paraphrase.

Primary Text:

MS Folger, 212-7 (placed 11th in a series of religious poems which begins with "Psalm the 137th," see above).

Secondary Ed:

1713 Misc, 73-83 (precedes "Part of the Fifth Scene in the Second Act of Athalia," which may also be read as poetry on a royal court); rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 229-35 (following Folger order, in her series of religious poems).


2 Samuel:2-27; 12:1-24.


David was a common identifying pseudonym for Charles II; and this is one of those satires inspired by the 1679 anonymous Roman Catholic Naboth's Vineyard (Dryden's 1681 Absalom and Achitophel "derives" from 2 Samuel 13-18), though reference may be to either of the Stuart brothers' courts; Ann not distanced enough; highly uneven.


It must be admitted that to a modern reader this is one of the most tedious of Finch's poems. One can say on Finch's behalf that the polish and sophistication in the landscape looks forward to her acknowledged "A Pastoral, between Menalcus and Damon ...; the mood and allegory, to "The Epistle from Alexander to Ephestion". I suggest this is one of the many poems Anne continually rewrote: by not publishing, you can rewrite continually. Somes of the verse is uneven, some embarrassinly bad ( at once erotic and lugubrious). So this may be a poem begun when Ann was still at court, but satiric and witty lampoon was not for the serious and perhaps naive and over-solemn maid of of honor; it was perhaps revised for the 1701 Gilden volume, rejected for publication as anti-Stuart, and then later added into the later part of the Folger MS as a "religious" or moral piece. Where it sits in Reynolds's volume erases any identification of its original context or interest.
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