If you think I am going to make an anagram for "Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea," well then… you’re going to have to wait until I can recline on a couch with a glass of Bushmills and a notepad, which may take a couple days. Nonetheless, Anne Finch (1661-1720) was from an esteemed Hampshire family, and served in the court of Charles II. There she benefited from the inflluence of other women poets such as Sarah Churchill and Anne Killigrew. There she met the 5th Earl of Winchilsea, Heneage Finch, who courted her. The couple’s steadfast support of James II made for an exciting early part of the marriage, which survived James’ deposition and the installation of William and Mary. They lost their government posts, but Anne’s interest in writing took off. Her work not only copied and mastered the established forms, but participated in the movements of her day, with novel vocabulary and metaphysical preoccupations.
Today’s poem celebrates 2 long-time MVers, long-time friends themselves, who happened to meet quite by serendipity in Orlando over the weekend! -ed.
FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN EPHELIA AND ARDELIA
Eph. What Friendship is, Ardelia show.
Ard. ’Tis to love, as I love you.
Eph. This account, so short (tho’ kind)
Suits not my inquiring mind.
Therefore farther now repeat:
What is Friendship when complete?
Ard. ’Tis to share all joy and grief;
’Tis to lend all due relief
From the tongue, the heart, the hand;
’Tis to mortgage house and land;
For a friend be sold a slave;
’Tis to die upon a grave,
If a friend therein do lie.
Eph. This indeed, tho’ carried high,
This, tho’ more than e’er was done
Underneath the rolling sun,
This has all been said before.
Can Ardelia say no more?
Ard. Words indeed no more can show:
But ’tis to love, as I love you.