Anne Finch: Poems


Anne Finch (née Kingsmill), Countess of Winchilsea (April 1661 – 5 August 1720), was an English poet, the third child of Sir William Kingsmill of Sydmonton Court and his wife, Anne Haslewood. She was well-educated as her family believed in good education for girls as well as for boys.

In 1682, Anne Kingsmill went to St James's Palace to become a maid of honour to Mary of Modena (wife of James, Duke of York, who later became King James II). There she met the courtier Heneage Finch whom she married on 15 May 1684. It was a happy marriage and Anne wrote several love poems to her husband, most famous perhaps A Letter to Dafnis, though her most well-known works speak on her bouts of depression and her fervent belief in social justice for women. Finch's works often express a desire for respect as a female poet, lamenting her difficult position as a woman in the literary establishment and the court, while writing of an intense artistic impulse to write despite the difficulties.

On 4 August 1712, Charles Finch, 4th Earl of Winchilsea, died childless. This made Anne's husband, his uncle, the 5th Earl of Winchilsea, and Anne, the Countess of Winchilsea.

She died in Westminster in 1720 and was buried at her home at Eastwell, Kent.

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