Give me, oh! indulgent Fate


The Petition for an Absolute Retreat, Inscribed To the Right Honorable Catharine Countess of THANET, mention'd in the Poem, under the name of ARMINDA

Primary Text:

MS Folger, 220-7*. Here is an excerpt with the spelling modernized:
Give me, oh! indulgent fate,
Give me yet, before I die,
A sweet, but absolute retreat,
'Mongst paths so lost, and trees so high,
That the world may never invade
Through such windings, and such shade,
My unshaken liberty.

No intruders, thither come
Who visit, but to be from home . . .
Courteous Fate, then give me there,
Only plain, and wholesome fare,
Fruits indeed, would Heaven bestow,
All that did in Eden grow,
All, but the forbidden tree,
Would be coveted by me.
Grapes, with juice so crowded up
As breaking through the native cup:
Figs (yet growing) candy'd over
By the sun's attracting power;
Cherries, with the downy peach,
All within my easy reach,
Whilst creeping near the humble ground
Should the strawberry too, be found,
Springing wheresoe'er I strayed,
Through those windings, and that shade . . .

(MS Folger, pp. 220-27)

Secondary Eds:

1713 Misc, 33-49 (but with two passages omitted, one of which is replaced by much less revealing and complacent references to Anne Finch's life at Eastwell); rpts of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 68-77; rpts of 1903 Reynolds: 1928 Murray, 74-83; 1930 Fausset 41-8; 1979 Rogers AF, 59-68; 1987 Thompson, 53-61.


Rpt of 1713/1903: 1905 Tutin, 5-13; 1905 Wordsworth (compiled 1819), 32-47, lines 1-25, 32-47, 104-25; 1926 Nichol Smith (via 1819 Wordsworth), 40-3, lines 1-25, 32-47, 104-25, plus 258-93; 1972 Stanford (via 1928 Murray and 1819 Wordsworth/1926 Nichol Smith), 72-7, lines 1-75, 86-151, 258-end; 1975 Kaplan, 65-70; 1990 Lonsdale, 15-7, lines 1-125; 1991 Fowler, 782-5, lines 1-125.


Catherine Cavendish Tufton, Countess of Thanet was a close friend and neighbor to Anne Finch after Anne Finch began to reside at Eastwell. Although this poem is a personal sincerely felt text, it follows the outline and reworks lines and ideas impersonally expressed in John Pomfret's "The Choice," first published 1700 and again in 1702. Brower demonstrates that Finch in one passage imitates lines in Andrew Marvell's "The Garden," and McGovern suggests that Finch may also in another have remembered the closing lines of Herrick's "Delight in Disorder;" nonetheless, the development, and many more of the details of her poem show Pomfret's poem is her basic model. The pirated 1709 edition of Finch's "The Spleen" printed it with Promfret's "A Prospect of Death," suggesting 18th century readers would have emphasized the similarity between the two contemporary poets.
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated 7 January 2003