The Anne Finch Wellesley Manuscript Poems
The publication of the Wellesley manuscript marks the first complete edition of fifty-three poems by the most talented and significant woman poet of the Restoration and eighteenth century. Anne Finch (1661-1720) wrote most of these poems in the last decade of her life, and they are essential to a complete evaluation of her work.
This authoritative edition, edited by Barbara McGovern and Charles H. Hinnant, is useful for scholars as well as general readers of eighteenth-century poetry and women's literature. It contains textual notes, commentary, and an introduction that examines many of the issues relevant to Finch's poetry, including political climate, literary milieu, personal circumstances, and gender awareness. The editors also discuss Finch's devotional verse and her poetry in praise of female friendship, offering new insight into her attitudes toward these themes.
These poems were not published during Finch's lifetime nor in a posthumous collection and subsequently fell into obscurity until the manuscript resurfaced in the twentieth century. McGovern and Hinnant suggest that this had to do with the dangerous political environment in England, particularly following the Jacobite rebellion of 1715.
Not only do these poems help to define Finch's stature as a poet, they also provide a valuable perspective on the politics of the early woman writer.
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On Lady Cartret drest like a shepherdess
A Letter from Sr A F to Ardelia
On the Death of the Queen
who engaged Mr Eusden to write upon a wood
An Hymn of Thanksgiving after a Dangerous
his epitaph written in French
A Suplication for the joys of Heaven
Thou hast hedgd
An Ode Written upon Christmasse Eve in the year 1714 Upon
Upon an improbable undertaking
He Mrs Thynnes
occasiond by four verses
A Prayer for Salvation
Textual Notes and Commentary