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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.


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.


by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

A Tale of the Miser and the Poet

 A WIT, transported with Inditing, 
Unpay'd, unprais'd, yet ever Writing; 
Who, for all Fights and Fav'rite Friends, 
Had Poems at his Fingers Ends; 
For new Events was still providing; 
Yet now desirous to be riding, 
He pack'd-up ev'ry Ode and Ditty 
And in Vacation left the City; 
So rapt with Figures, and Allusions, 
With secret Passions, sweet Confusions; 
With Sentences from Plays well-known, 
And thousand Couplets of his own; 
That ev'n the chalky Road look'd gay, 
And seem'd to him the Milky Way.
But Fortune, who the Ball is tossing, And Poets ever will be crossing, Misled the Steed, which ill he guided, Where several gloomy Paths divided.
The steepest in Descent he follow'd, Enclos'd by Rocks, which Time had hollow'd; Till, he believ'd, alive and booted, He'd reach'd the Shades by Homer quoted.
But all, that he cou'd there discover, Was, in a Pit with Thorns grown over, Old Mammon digging, straining, sweating, As Bags of Gold he thence was getting; Who, when reprov'd for such Dejections By him, who liv'd on high Reflections, Reply'd; Brave Sir, your Time is ended, And Poetry no more befriended.
I hid this Coin, when Charles was swaying; When all was Riot, Masking, Playing; When witty Beggars were in fashion, And Learning had o'er-run the Nation, But, since Mankind is so much wiser, That none is valued like the Miser, I draw it hence, and now these Sums In proper Soil grow up to {1} Plumbs; Which gather'd once, from that rich Minute We rule the World, and all that's in it.
But, quoth the Poet,can you raise, As well as Plumb-trees, Groves of Bays? Where you, which I wou'd chuse much rather, May Fruits of Reputation gather? Will Men of Quality, and Spirit, Regard you for intrinsick Merit? And seek you out, before your Betters, For Conversation, Wit, and Letters? Fool, quoth the Churl, who knew no Breeding; Have these been Times for such Proceeding? Instead of Honour'd, and Rewarded, Are you not Slighted, or Discarded? What have you met with, but Disgraces? Your PRIOR cou'd not keep in Places; And your VAN-BRUG had found no Quarter, But for his dabbling in the Morter.
ROWE no Advantages cou'd hit on, Till Verse he left, to write North-Briton.
PHILIPS, who's by the Shilling known, Ne'er saw a Shilling of his own.
Meets {2} PHILOMELA, in the Town Her due Proportion of Renown? What Pref'rence has ARDELIA seen, T'expel, tho' she cou'd write the Spleen? Of Coach, or Tables, can you brag, Or better Cloaths than Poet RAG? Do wealthy Kindred, when they meet you, With Kindness, or Distinction, greet you? Or have your lately flatter'd Heroes Enrich'd you like the Roman Maroes? No–quoth the Man of broken Slumbers: Yet we have Patrons for our Numbers; There are Mecænas's among 'em.
Quoth Mammon,pray Sir, do not wrong 'em; But in your Censures use a Conscience, Nor charge Great Men with thriftless Nonsense: Since they, as your own Poets sing, Now grant no Worth in any thing But so much Money as 'twill bring.
Then, never more from your Endeavours Expect Preferment, or less Favours.
But if you'll 'scape Contempt, or worse, Be sure, put Money in your Purse; Money! which only can relieve you When Fame and Friendship will deceive you.
Sir, (quoth the Poet humbly bowing, And all that he had said allowing) Behold me and my airy Fancies Subdu'd, like Giants in Romances.
I here submit to your Discourses; Which since Experience too enforces, I, in that solitary Pit, Your Gold withdrawn, will hide my Wit: Till Time, which hastily advances, And gives to all new Turns and Chances, Again may bring it into use; Roscommons may again produce; New Augustean Days revive, When Wit shall please, and Poets thrive.
Till when, let those converse in private, Who taste what others don't arrive at; Yielding that Mammonists surpass us; And let the Bank out-swell Parnassus.


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.


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.


by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Friendship Between Ephelia And Ardelia

 Eph.
What Friendship is, ARDELIA shew.
Ard.
'Tis to love, as I love You.
Eph.
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.
Eph.
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.


by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

Hope

 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.


by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

TO DEATH

 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.


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.


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