Under the picture of Marshall Turenne taken from his epitaph written in French.

Turenne with sleeping Monarchs lies interr’d
For loud valour justly so prefer’d                                                                                    
Whilst this to future ages carried down             3}
Shall prove ’tis equal in renown
To wear or to support the Crown                        

About the poem

Finch’s admiration for Turenne was undoubtedly strengthened by his connection to James II. She referred to Turenne in her poem “All is Vanity,” in a list that included Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar (line 100 in the Folger MS copy); and in “Upon the Death of King James the Second” she defined James’s military achievients as “By Turene form’d and Stamp’d with Turene’s praise” (line 50 in the Folger MS copy).

Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, Marshal of France (1611-1675), was commander of the French royal armies under whom James, then Duke of York, served from 1652-1655 while in exile. James enjoyed success under Turenne, who promoted him to lieutenant general. James admired Turenne’s support of Louis XIV and his personal qualities as commander, and James’s conversion to Catholicism in 1672 was likely influenced by the Huguenot Turenne’s conversion in 1668. After his death, Turenne was buried in St. Denis cathedral in Paris, traditional burial site of French kings (Sources: John Miller, James II [1978; rpt. Newhaven: Yale University Press, 2000]; W. A. Speck, James II [London: Longman, 2002]; James II, The Mioirs of James II: His Campaigns as Duke of York, 1652-1660, trans. A Lyttleton Sells [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962]).

Among the images of Turenne’s portrait that circulated in print is this from Les augustes représentations de tous les rois de France. . . (Paris, 1690), engraved by Nicolas de Larmessin (1638?-1694) (at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, départient Estampes et photographie, digitized image from Gallica.fr) show image . Finch’s poem translates an epitaph composed for Turenne’s tomb by the poet Urbain Chevreau (1613-1701). Both the French text and English translation were printed in James Heath’s A chronicle of the late intestine war in the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland (London, 1676, p. ) :

Turenne a son Tombeau parmy ceux de nos Roys
C’est le fruit glorieus de ses fameux Exploits.
L’on a par cet Honneur couronné sa vaillance,
A fin qu’ aux siecles a venir
Il n’ait point de différence
De Porter la Couronné, ou de la Soûtenir.

Turenne among our Kings entombed lies,
The glorious fruit of his great Victories.
Such fair rewards thus honour his Renown,
That after-times may learn from hence,
How little is the difference
’Twixt those that wear, and that support a Crown.

Dates and Sources

The composition date is unknown. Our copy-text is from the manuscript held in the Special Collections of Margaret Clapp Library, at Wellesley College: Poems [given title] in the ENGLISH POETRY COLLECTION. This MS, transcribed shortly before or after Finch’s death in 1720, holds the one copy of the poem known to have survived. The poem was first printed in the twentieth century (see The Wellesley Manuscript Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea, ed. Jean M. Ellis D’Alessandro [Florence, 1988, p. 135] and The Anne Finch Wellesley Manuscript Poems: A Critical Edition, ed. [Athens: The Univ. of Georgia Press, 1998, p. 81]). Our transcription follows these conventions: i/j and u/v are altered to reflect modern use, superscript letters and numbers are lowered, and abbreviations no longer current are expanded.