This poem occurs in two places. One (from which this text is taken as it is more clearly written, in a larger firmer hand) is in Harleian 7316 pp. 58v-59v. It is there the eighth in a series of poems of which five are known to be by Anne Finch and two are by or to friends of hers or people she admired. It is there attributed to Elizabeth Tollet; the heading reads as follows: A New Ballad To the Tune of All You Ladies now at Land &c [by Mrs Eliz Tollet] . However, it also occurs in MS Portland, Vol 20, pp. 5-7 where it is not attributed to Tollet in a series of four poems, three of which are known to be by Anne Finch; there is also a fifth in this volume, written in her own hand, "The long the long expected Hour is come.
Until I was informed by Susanne Dunlap (see her "Politics and Polite Society" cited in my bibiography) of a ballad written in this same meter with the same tone and mood "An Accidental Discovery A BALLAD. / Tune of ˜Twas when the Seas were roaring. / ----Amor omnius idem. Virg., in the earlier anonymous miscellany of Tollet's poetry printed in 1724 (pp. 34-36), almost all the poems by Tollet I had come across (which includes the full 1756 Miscellany) were in heroic couplets, elegant, pointed, intense or they were brief stanzaic lyrics. If "To All You Sparkling Whiggs" is by Tollet, then it is one of only two poems in this style and mood while we have a number of such poems by Anne Finch. One would also have to find evidence to show why one of Tollet's poems should show up in two manuscript miscellanies amidst those of Anne Finch. This could be evidence of a friendship, which the "An Ode to the Memory of the Countess of Winchilsea" might sustain but that it seems so impersonal. I do not argue for a certain attribution to either woman, but rather place it before the interested reader as a poem worth studying. For full listing of series, see 'To Coleshill Seat of Noble Pen'.
The Harleian manuscript does include poems by a whole set of people who we otherwise know were really friends. For example, there is a poem by Nicholas Rowe who knew Anne Finch; in a number of cases there are real people's names next to the pseudonym so in Anne Finch's 'A Ballad. To Mrs Catharine Fleming in London from Malshanger Farm places real people's names in the margins. There are poems here to Prior and by Prior; there is no evidence that he knew Anne Finch, but he did know -- and very well -- Elizabeth Singer Rowe and she knew Finch very well. And so it goes.
Several of the other manuscripts I take poems from for my site in this and other sections show the same predilection; that is, there appears to be a circle of friends who either know one another directly or know people who know the author or person to whom the poem is dedicated. These also have names set against pseudonyms. Of great interest here is British Library MS Additional 28101, which, as well as a volume of non-attributed poetry, 1724, The Hive, ought to be better known. The poems in The Hive are so felicitious, they remind me of England's Helicon (from the Elizabeth period); this anonymous volume is made up of poems taken from manuscripts like MS Additional 28101, MS Portland and MS Harleian 7316.
If "To All You Sparkling Whiggs" is by Anne Finch, then it could be this poem Anne hints at when she writes to Catherine Fleming in "For Mrs Catherine Flemming at ye Lord Digby's at Coleshill in Warwickshire," "To Coleshill Seat of Noble Pen": "But of the court no more but mum," copied out with this "New Ballad" and other poems by AF in MS Portland Vol 20, pp 10-11; first of sequence of 4 poems by AF in this MS; the form & attitudes are those of AF's other two ballads to Catherine Fleming; the model here is revealed to be Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset's 1665 "Song,Written at Sea, in the First Dutch War, 1665, the Night before an engagement, "To all you ladies now at land," a somewhat improbable stance for Elizabeth Tollet, but typical for AF who never wholly stopped writing in the modes of the court of Charles II. Late 1718 - early 1719, time of her other ballads to Catherine Fleming. Reference is also made to all the Tories now in the Tower; this is the period of the trials of Harley and other Tories. If it is by Elizabeth Tollett, it could throw light on the relationship of these women which led Tollett to write a eulogy of Anne Finch.
See Annotated Chronology No. 250.
A New Ballad To the Tune of All You Ladies now At Land &c [by Mrs Eliz Tollet.] To all you sparkling Whiggs at Court, p68v - 69v
To all you sparkling Whiggs at Court
We Torys in the Tower
Declare we mean to Spoile your Sport
By Mustring up our Power.
For tho' you'vre laid us fast in hold
Yet Beauty bids defiance bold with a fa la &c
And first the fair of Villiers Race*
A Race to Beauty borne,
The freshest bloom, the Sweetest Grace,
Her Matchless face adorne
Our Land no Poet can afford
To praise Her justly but her Lord with a fa la &c
The Neighbouring Realm for beauties fame
Her Antient Right revives,
Nor can She plead a Stronger Claime
Than what Emilia gives,
For Artless Charmes & Native Mirth
Records the Bonny Maids of Perth with a fa la &c
Tho thus Maintain'd with Native Arms,
We call in foreign Aid,
May he be blind to British Charms
That dares resist the Swede
United forces Arm the fair,
Her Lovely Shape & Charming Air with a fa la &c
Fair Blackler Conquers by Surprise
And double Arms She bears
For while her form invades our Eyes
Her Musick Charms our Ears
Nature in her has Joyn'd to please
Good Natur'd Witt & Gracefull ease with a fa la &c
Tho Lovely Harley's early Ray**
Now Shine in Youthfull bloom,
The Genial Influence of the Day
Shall brighen Charms to Come
So does the smiling morne arise
And Radiant Glories paint the Stars with a fa la la &c
Such force drawne up at our Command
We bravely take the feild
Whoever does our Arms withstand
Prepare to dye or Yeild.
Do you Appoint the Time & Place
We dare you bring a better face with a fa la &c
*Lady Mary Villiers, daughter to Edward Villiers, Earl of Jersey, a Tory, famously complimented in verse by Matthew Prior, was also first married or bethrothed to a Henry Thynne in 1710 (he died) and then married to Lord Lansdowne; AF could have known her in both relationships easily. This Lady Mary Villiers is to be distinguished from Mary Villiers Herbert Stuart Howard, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox (1622 - 1685).
**Daughter to Lady Harriet and Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer?
Comment: Finch writes of the Swede in other political/patriotic verse.