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Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

A Nocturnal Reverie

In such a night, when every louder wind
Is to its distant cavern safe confined;
And only gentle Zephyr fans his wings,
And lonely Philomel, still waking, sings;
Or from some tree, famed for the owl's delight,
She, hollowing clear, directs the wand'rer right:
In such a night, when passing clouds give place,
Or thinly veil the heav'ns' mysterious face;
When in some river, overhung with green,
The waving moon and trembling leaves are seen;
When freshened grass now bears itself upright,
And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite,
Whence springs the woodbind, and the bramble-rose,
And where the sleepy cowslip sheltered grows;
Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes,
Yet checkers still with red the dusky brakes
When scattered glow-worms, but in twilight fine,
Shew trivial beauties watch their hour to shine;
Whilst Salisb'ry stands the test of every light,
In perfect charms, and perfect virtue bright:
When odors, which declined repelling day,
Through temp'rate air uninterrupted stray;
When darkened groves their softest shadows wear,
And falling waters we distinctly hear;
When through the gloom more venerable shows
Some ancient fabric, awful in repose,
While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks conceal,
And swelling haycocks thicken up the vale:
When the loosed horse now, as his pasture leads,
Comes slowly grazing through th' adjoining meads,
Whose stealing pace, and lengthened shade we fear,
Till torn-up forage in his teeth we hear:
When nibbling sheep at large pursue their food,
And unmolested kine rechew the cud;
When curlews cry beneath the village walls,
And to her straggling brood the partridge calls;
Their shortlived jubilee the creatures keep,
Which but endures, whilst tyrant man does sleep;
When a sedate content the spirit feels,
And no fierce light disturbs, whilst it reveals;
But silent musings urge the mind to seek
Something, too high for syllables to speak;
Till the free soul to a composedness charmed,
Finding the elements of rage disarmed,
O'er all below a solemn quiet grown,
Joys in th' inferior world, and thinks it like her own:
In such a night let me abroad remain,
Till morning breaks, and all's confused again;
Our cares, our toils, our clamors are renewed,
Or pleasures, seldom reached, again pursued.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Adam Posed

Could our first father, at his toilsome plow,
Thorns in his path, and labor on his brow,
Clothed only in a rude, unpolished skin,
Could he a vain fantastic nymph have seen,
In all her airs, in all her antic graces,
Her various fashions, and more various faces;
How had it posed that skill, which late assigned
Just appellations to each several kind!
A right idea of the sight to frame;
T'have guessed from what new element she came;
T'have hit the wav'ring form, or giv'n this thing a name.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |


 Do you believe, in what you see
do you believe in reality
do you believe in the sun that’s bright
do you believe in the stars in the night

Do you believe in the birds that fly
do you believe in clouds and the sky
do you believe in wind that flows
do you believe in moon that glows
do you believe in light

Do you believe the spoken word
do you believe the things you’ve heard
do you believe in the final answer
do you believe in the swirling dancer

Do you believe in sound and sight
do you believe in moments bright
do you believe in taste and touch
do you believe that much

Do you believe in the soul inside
do you believe in ecstasy and delight
do you believe in glory and god
do you believe in that thought

Do you believe in the sky above
do you believe in love 

Do you believe in the heaven and the earth 
do you believe in death and birth
do you believe in life

open your eyes with hope within
open the door, let light reach in
if you believe, then you'll win

More great poems below...

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Three Songs

 Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands:
Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd,--
The wild waves whist--
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burthen bear.
Hark, hark! Bow, wow, The watch-dogs bark: Bow, wow.
Hark, hark! I hear The strain of strutting chanticleer Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow! --from The Tempest Tell me where is Fancy bred, Or in the heart or in the head? How begot, how nourishèd? Reply, reply.
It is engender'd in the eyes; With gazing fed; and Fancy dies In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring Fancy's knell: I'll begin it,--Ding, dong, bell! All.
Ding, dong, bell! --from The Merchant of Venice Where the bee sucks, there suck I: In a cowslip's bell I lie; There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly After summer merrily: Merrily, merrily, shall I live now, Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
-from The Tempest

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

The Tree

 I stood still and was a tree amid the wood,
Knowing the truth of things unseen before;
Of Daphne and the laurel bow
And that god-feasting couple old
that grew elm-oak amid the wold.
'Twas not until the gods had been Kindly entreated, and been brought within Unto the hearth of their heart's home That they might do this wonder thing; Nathless I have been a tree amid the wood And many a new thing understood That was rank folly to my head before.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |


 Thou bidst me come away,
And I'll no longer stay,
Than for to shed some tears
For faults of former years;
And to repent some crimes
Done in the present times;
And next, to take a bit
Of bread, and wine with it;
To don my robes of love,
Fit for the place above;
To gird my loins about
With charity throughout;
And so to travel hence
With feet of innocence;
These done, I'll only cry,
'God, mercy!' and so die.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |


 The Tree of Knowledge we in Eden prov'd; 
The Tree of Life was thence to Heav'n remov'd: 
Hope is the growth of Earth, the only Plant, 
Which either Heav'n, or Paradise cou'd want.
Hell knows it not, to Us alone confin'd, And Cordial only to the Human Mind.
Receive it then, t'expel these mortal Cares, Nor wave a Med'cine, which thy God prepares.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Friendship Between Ephelia And Ardelia

What Friendship is, ARDELIA shew.
'Tis to love, as I love You.
This Account, so short (tho' kind) Suits not my enquiring 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.
This indeed, tho' carry'd 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 shew: But 'tis to love, as I love you.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Adam Posd

 Cou'd our First Father, at his toilsome Plough,
Thorns in his Path, and Labour on his Brow,
Cloath'd only in a rude, unpolish'd Skin,
Cou'd he a vain Fantastick Nymph have seen,
In all her Airs, in all her antick Graces, 
Her various Fashions, and more various Faces;
How had it pos'd that Skill, which late assign'd
Just Appellations to Each several Kind!
A right Idea of the Sight to frame;
T'have guest from what New Element she came; 
T'have hit the wav'ring Form, or giv'n this Thing a Name.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

A Pastoral Dialogue Between Two Shepherdesses

 [Silvia] Pretty Nymph! within this Shade, 
Whilst the Flocks to rest are laid,
Whilst the World dissolves in Heat,
Take this cool, and flow'ry Seat: 
And with pleasing Talk awhile
Let us two the Time beguile; 
Tho' thou here no Shepherd see, 
To encline his humble Knee, 
Or with melancholy Lays 
Sing thy dangerous Beauty's Praise.
[Dorinda] Nymph! with thee I here wou'd stay, But have heard, that on this Day, Near those Beeches, scarce in view, All the Swains some Mirth pursue: To whose meeting now I haste.
Solitude do's Life but waste.
[Silvia] Prithee, but a Moment stay.
[Dorinda] No! my Chaplet wou'd decay; Ev'ry drooping Flow'r wou'd mourn, And wrong the Face, they shou'd adorn.
[Silvia] I can tell thee, tho' so Fair, And dress'd with all that rural Care, Most of the admiring Swains Will be absent from the Plains.
Gay Sylvander in the Dance Meeting with a shrew'd Mischance, To his Cabin's now confin'd By Mopsus, who the Strain did bind: Damon through the Woods do's stray, Where his Kids have lost their way: Young Narcissus iv'ry Brow Rac'd by a malicious Bough, Keeps the girlish Boy from sight, Till Time shall do his Beauty right.
[Dorinda] Where's Alexis? [Silvia] –He, alas! Lies extended on the Grass; Tears his Garland, raves, despairs, Mirth and Harmony forswears; Since he was this Morning shown, That Delia must not be his Own.
[Dorinda] Foolish Swain! such Love to place.
[Silvia] On any but Dorinda's Face.
[Dorinda] Hasty Nymph! I said not so.
[Silvia] No–but I thy Meaning know.
Ev'ry Shepherd thou wou'd'st have Not thy Lover, but thy Slave; To encrease thy captive Train, Never to be lov'd again.
But, since all are now away, Prithee, but a Moment stay.
[Dorinda] No; the Strangers, from the Vale, Sure will not this Meeting fail; Graceful one, the other Fair.
He too, with the pensive Air, Told me, ere he came this way He was wont to look more Gay.
[Silvia] See! how Pride thy Heart inclines To think, for Thee that Shepherd pines; When those Words, that reach'd thy Ear, Chloe was design'd to hear; Chloe, who did near thee stand, And his more speaking Looks command.
[Dorinda] Now thy Envy makes me smile.
That indeed were worth his while: Chloe next thyself decay'd, And no more a courted Maid.
[Silvia] Next myself! Young Nymph, forbear.
Still the Swains allow me Fair, Tho' not what I was that Day, When Colon bore the Prize away; When– [Dorinda] –Oh, hold! that Tale will last, Till all the Evening Sports are past; Till no Streak of Light is seen, Nor Footstep prints the flow'ry Green.
What thou wert, I need not know, What I am, must haste to show.
Only this I now discern From the things, thou'd'st have me learn, That Woman-kind's peculiar Joys From past, or present Beauties rise.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |


 While Monarchs in stern Battle strove 
For proud Imperial Sway; 
Abandon'd to his milder Love, 
Within a silent peaceful Grove, 
Alcidor careless lay.
Some term'd it cold, unmanly Fear; Some, Nicety of Sense, That Drums and Trumpets cou'd not hear, The sullying Blasts of Powder bear, Or with foul Camps dispense.
A patient Martyr to their Scorn, And each ill-fashion'd Jest; The Youth, who but for Love was born, Remain'd, and thought it vast Return, To reign in Cloria's Breast.
But oh! a ruffling Soldier came In all the Pomp of War: The Gazettes long had spoke his Fame; Now Hautboys his Approach proclaim, And draw in Crouds from far.
Cloria unhappily wou'd gaze; And as he nearer drew, The Man of Feather and of Lace Stopp'd short, and with profound Amaze Took all her Charms to view.
A Bow, which from Campaigns he brought, And to his Holsters low, Herself, and the Spectators taught, That Her the fairest Nymph he thought, Of all that form'd the Row.
Next day, ere Phoebus cou'd be seen, Or any Gate unbarr'd; At hers, upon th' adjoining Green, From Ranks, with waving Flags between, Were soften'd Trumpets heard.
The Noon do's following Treats provide, In the Pavilion's Shade; The Neighborhood, and all beside, That will attend the amorous Pride, Are welcom'd with the Maid.
Poor Alcidor! thy Hopes are cross'd, Go perish on the Ground; Thy Sighs by stronger Notes are toss'd, Drove back, or in the Passage lost; Rich Wines thy Tears have drown'd.
In Women's Hearts, the softest Things Which Nature cou'd devise, Are yet some harsh, and jarring Strings, That, when loud Fame, or Profit rings, Will answer to the Noise.
Poor Alcidor! go Fight or Dye; Let thy fond Notions cease: Man was not made in Shades to lie, Or his full Bliss, at ease, enjoy, To Live, or Love in peace.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

On Myselfe

 Good Heav'n, I thank thee, since it was design'd
I shou'd be fram'd, but of the weaker kinde,
That yet, my Soul, is rescu'd from the Love
Of all those Trifles, which their Passions move.
Pleasures, and Praise, and Plenty haue with me But their just value.
If allow'd they be, Freely, and thankfully as much I tast, As will not reason, or Religion wast.
If they're deny'd, I on my selfe can Liue, And slight those aids, unequal chance does give.
When in the Sun, my wings can be display'd, And in retirement, I can bless the shade.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

An EPISTLE From A Gentleman To Madam Deshouliers

 URANIA, whom the Town admires, 
Whose Wit and Beauty share our Praise; 
This fair URANIA who inspires 
A thousand Joys a thousand ways, 
She, who cou'd with a Glance convey 
Favours, that had my Hopes outdone, 
Has lent me Money on that Day, 
Which our Acquaintance first begun.
Nor with the Happiness I taste, Let any jealous Doubts contend: Her Friendship is secure to last, Beginning where all others end.
And thou, known Cheat! upheld by Law, Thou Disappointer of the craving Mind, BASSETTE, who thy Original dost draw From Venice (by uncertain Seas confin'd); Author of Murmurs, and of Care, Of pleasing Hopes, concluding in Despair: To thee my strange Felicity I owe, From thy Oppression did this Succour flow.
Less had I gained, had'st thou propitious been, Who better by my Loss hast taught me how to Win.
Yet tell me, my transported Brain! (whose Pride this Benefit awakes) Know'st thou, what on this Chance depends? And are we not exalted thus in vain, Whilst we observe the Money which she lends, But not, alas! the Heart she takes, The fond Engagements, and the Ties Her fatal Bounty does impose, Who makes Reprisals, with her Eyes, For what her gen'rous Hand bestows? And tho' I quickly can return Those useful Pieces, which she gave; Can I again, or wou'd I have That which her Charms have from me borne? Yet let us quit th' obliging Score; And whilst we borrow'd Gold restore, Whilst readily we own the Debt, And Gratitude before her set In its approved and fairest Light; Let her effectually be taught By that instructive, harmless Slight, That also in her turn she ought (Repaying ev'ry tender Thought) Kindness with Kindness to requite.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Cupid And Folly

 CUPID, ere depriv'd of Sight, 
Young and apt for all Delight, 
Met with Folly on the way, 
As Idle and as fond of Play.
In gay Sports the time they pass; Now run, now wrestle on the Grass; Their painted Wings then nimbly ply, And ev'ry way for Mast'ry try: 'Till a Contest do's arise, Who has won th' appointed Prize.
Gentle Love refers the Case To the next, that comes in Place; Trusting to his flatt'ring Wiles, And softens the Dispute with Smiles.
But Folly, who no Temper knows, Words pursues with hotter Blows: 'Till the eyes of Love were lost, Which has such Pain to Mortals cost.
Venus hears his mournful Crys, And repeats 'em, in the Skys, To Jupiter in Council set, With Peers for the Occasion met; In her Arms the Boy she bears, Bathing him in falling Tears; And whilst his want of Eyes is shown, Secures the Judges by her Own.
Folly to the Board must come, And hear the Tryal and the Doom; Which Cytherea loudly prays May be as heavy as the Case: Which, when All was justly weigh'd, Cupid's Wings now useless made, That a staff, his Feet must guide, Which wou'd still be apt to slide; This Decree at last was read, That Love by Folly shou'd be lead.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Ardelia to Melancholy

 At last, my old inveterate foe,
No opposition shalt thou know.
Since I by struggling, can obtain Nothing, but encrease of pain, I will att last, no more do soe, Tho' I confesse, I have apply'd Sweet mirth, and musick, and have try'd A thousand other arts beside, To drive thee from my darken'd breast, Thou, who hast banish'd all my rest.
But, though sometimes, a short repreive they gave, Unable they, and far too weak, to save; All arts to quell, did but augment thy force, As rivers check'd, break with a wilder course.
Freindship, I to my heart have laid, Freindship, th' applauded sov'rain aid, And thought that charm so strong wou'd prove, As to compell thee, to remove; And to myself, I boasting said, Now I a conqu'rer sure shall be, The end of all my conflicts, see, And noble tryumph, wait on me; My dusky, sullen foe, will sure N'er this united charge endure.
But leaning on this reed, ev'n whilst I spoke It peirc'd my hand, and into peices broke.
Still, some new object, or new int'rest came And loos'd the bonds, and quite disolv'd the claim.
These failing, I invok'd a Muse, And Poetry wou'd often use, To guard me from thy Tyrant pow'r; And to oppose thee ev'ry hour New troops of fancy's, did I chuse.
Alas! in vain, for all agree To yeild me Captive up to thee, And heav'n, alone, can sett me free.
Thou, through my life, wilt with me goe, And make ye passage, sad, and slow.
All, that cou'd ere thy ill gott rule, invade, Their uselesse arms, before thy feet have laid; The Fort is thine, now ruin'd, all within, Whilst by decays without, thy Conquest too, is seen.