Finch, Anne, Countess Of Winchilsea

(1661-1720)
   The daughter of Sir William Kingsmill, she married Colonel Heneage Finch in 1684; he became the 4th earl of Winchilsea in 1712. Orphaned when young, she was possibly reared by her uncle. Finch was gentleman of the bedchamber to James II when Duke of York, and his niece Anne was maid of honor to Mary of Modena the duchess. She was a friend of many other poets; her poem "The Spleen: A Pindaric Poem" inspired Nicholas Rowe (see entry) to compose "An Epistle to Flavia" in her honor. In Alexander Pope's Miscellanies (1727), he included "An Impromptu to Lady Winchilsea." Her nature poetry was greatly admired by Wordsworth. The only collected edition of her poems, A New Miscellany of Original Poems, was published in 1713, containing a tragedy never acted, called Aristomenes, or the Royal Shepherd. Some of her other poems: "A Nocturnal Reverie," "A Pastoral Dialogue between Two Shepherdesses," "A Song on the South Sea," "Ardelia's Answer to Ephelia," "Caesar and Brutus," "Enquiry after Peace: A Fragment," "The Greater Trial," "The Hog, the Sheep and Goat, Carrying to a Fair," "The Petition for an Absolute Retreat."
   Sources: A Treasury of Great Poems: English and American. Louis Untermeyer, ed. Simon and Schuster, 1955. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). Selected Poems of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea. Denys Thompson, ed. Carcanet Press, 1987. The Women Poets in English: An Antholog y. Ann Stanford, ed. McGraw-Hill, 1972.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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