Damon, whilst thus, wee nightly watches keep,
Title: A Pastoral. Between Menalcus and Damon On the appearance of the Angels to the Shepherds, on our Saviours Birth Day
Primary Texts: MS's: F-H 283, 73-85* (between "Areta to Melancholy" and "The Consolation"); Folger, 199-203 (in section of religious poetry).
Secondary Eds: 1903 Reynolds prints the Folger text, 215-20 (following Folger, among Ann's religious poetry); rpt of 1903 Reynolds: 1930 Fausset, 97-101.
18C: 1701 Gilden, 70-81.
Comment: Finch alludes to the translation by Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon's of Virgil's Sixth Eclogue which Finch quotes (see 1810 Chalmers 1810; rpt 1970, VIII, 266-7). Finch has here achieved a firm sense of line, passages of real beauty, especially where she recalls and alludes to Milton's Lycidas, Spenser's Epithalamion (cf her refrain with his) and various Biblical passages prophesizing and describing the birth of Christ; poem linked in time and feel to Finch's elegy on Sir William Twysden. In the very early 1700s she was making a transition between the kind of serious verse she wrote and learnt from later 17th century models to something new, as yet unborn, eighteenth century stanzaic poetry.
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