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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 |

For the Better

 A Quack, to no true Skill in Physick bred, 
With frequent Visits cursed his Patient's Bed; 
Enquiring, how he did his Broths digest, 
How chim'd his Pulse, and how he took his Rest:
If shudd'ring Cold by Burnings was pursu'd,
And at what time the Aguish Fit renew'd.
The waining Wretch, each day become more faint, In like proportion doubles his Complaint; Now swooning Sweats he begs him to allay, Now give his Lungs more liberty to play, And take from empty'd Veins these scorching Heats away: Or if he saw the Danger did increase, To warn him fair, and let him part in Peace.
My Life for yours, no Hazard in your Case The Quack replies; your Voice, your Pulse, your Face, Good Signs afford, and what you seem to feel Proceeds from Vapours, which we'll help with Steel.
With kindled Rage, more than Distemper, burns The suff'ring Man, who thus in haste returns: No more of Vapours, your belov'd Disease, Your Ignorance's Skreen, your What-you-please, With which you cheat poor Females of their Lives, Whilst Men dispute not, so it rid their Wives.
For me, I'll speak free as I've paid my Fees; My Flesh consumes, I perish by degrees: And as thro' weary Nights I count my Pains, No Rest is left me, and no Strength remains.
All for the Better, Sir, the Quack rejoins: Exceeding promising are all these Signs.
Falling-away, your Nurses can confirm, Was ne'er in Sickness thought a Mark of Harm.
The want of Strength is for the Better still; Since Men of Vigour Fevers soonest kill.
Ev'n with this Gust of Passion I am pleas'd; For they're most Patient who the most are seiz'd.
But let me see! here's that which all repels: Then shakes, as he some formal Story tells, The Treacle-water, mixt with powder'd Shells.
My Stomach's gone (what d'you infer from thence?) Nor will with the least Sustenance dispense.
The Better; for, where appetite endures, Meats intermingle, and no Med'cine cures.
The Stomach, you must know, Sir, is a Part– But, sure, I feel Death's Pangs about my Heart.
Nay then Farewel! I need no more attend The Quack replies.
A sad approaching Friend Questions the Sick, why he retires so fast; Who says, because of Fees I've paid the Last, And, whilst all Symptoms tow'rd my Cure agree, Am, for the Better, Dying as you see.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |


 VAIN Love, why do'st thou boast of Wings, 
That cannot help thee to retire! 
When such quick Flames Suspicion brings, 
As do the Heart about thee fire.
Still Swift to come, but when to go Thou shou'd'st be more–Alas! how Slow.
Lord of the World must surely be But thy bare Title at the most; Since Jealousy is Lord of Thee, And makes such Havock on thy Coast, As do's thy pleasant Land deface, Yet binds thee faster to the Place.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

The Change

 POOR River, now thou'rt almost dry, 
What Nymph, or Swain, will near thee lie? 
Since brought, alas! to sad Decay, 
What Flocks, or Herds, will near thee stay? 
The Swans, that sought thee in thy Pride, 
Now on new Streams forgetful ride: 
And Fish, that in thy Bosom lay, 
Chuse in more prosp'rous Floods to play.
All leave thee, now thy Ebb appears, To waste thy sad Remains in Tears; Nor will thy mournful Murmurs heed.
Fly, wretched Stream, with all thy speed, Amongst those solid Rocks thy Griefs bestow; For Friends, like those alas! thou ne'er did'st know.
And thou, poor Sun! that sat'st on high; But late, the Splendour of the Sky; What Flow'r, tho' by thy Influence born, Now Clouds prevail, will tow'rds thee turn? Now Darkness sits upon thy Brow, What Persian Votary will bow? What River will her Smiles reflect, Now that no Beams thou can'st direct? By watry Vapours overcast, Who thinks upon thy Glories past? If present Light, nor Heat we get, Unheeded thou may'st rise, and set.
Not all the past can one Adorer keep, Fall, wretched Sun, to the more faithful Deep.
Nor do thou, lofty Structure! boast, Since undermin'd by Time and Frost: Since thou canst no Reception give, In untrod Meadows thou may'st live.
None from his ready Road will turn, With thee thy wretched Change to mourn.
Not the soft Nights, or chearful Days Thou hast bestow'd, can give thee Praise.
No lusty Tree that near thee grows, (Tho' it beneath thy Shelter rose) Will to thy Age a Staff become.
Fall, wretched Building! to thy Tomb.
Thou, and thy painted Roofs, in Ruin mixt, Fall to the Earth, for That alone is fixt.
The same, poor Man, the same must be Thy Fate, now Fortune frowns on thee.
Her Favour ev'ry one pursues, And losing Her, thou all must lose.
No Love, sown in thy prosp'rous Days, Can Fruit in this cold Season raise: No Benefit, by thee conferr'd, Can in this time of Storms be heard.
All from thy troubl'd Waters run; Thy stooping Fabrick all Men shun.
All do thy clouded Looks decline, As if thou ne'er did'st on them shine.
O wretched Man! to other World's repair; For Faith and Gratitude are only there.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

The Equipage

 Since the Road of Life's so ill; 
I, to pass it, use this Skill, 
My frail Carriage driving home 
To its latest Stage, the Tomb.
Justice first, in Harness strong, Marches stedfastly along: Charity, to smooth the Pace, Fills the next adjoining Trace: Independance leads the Way, Whom no heavy Curb do's sway; Truth an equal Part sustains, All indulg'd the loosen'd Reins: In the Box fits vig'rous Health, Shunning miry Paths of Wealth: Gaiety with easy Smiles, Ev'ry harsher Step beguiles; Whilst of Nature, or of Fate Only This I wou'd intreat: The Equipage might not decay, Till the worn Carriage drops away.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

The Executor

 A Greedy Heir long waited to fulfill, 
As his Executor, a Kinsman's Will; 
And to himself his Age repeated o'er, 
To his Infirmities still adding more; 
And nicely kept th' Account of the expected Store: 
When Death, at last, to either gave Release, 
Making One's Pains, the Other's Longings cease: 
Who to the Grave must decently convey, 
Ere he Possession takes the kindred Clay, 
Which in a Coach was plac'd, wherein he rides, 
And so no Hearse, or following Train provides; 
Rejecting Russel, who wou'd make the Charge 
Of one dull tedious Day, so vastly Large.
When, at his Death, the humble Man declar'd, He wished thus privately to be Interr'd.
And now, the Luggage moves in solemn State, And what it wants in Number, gains in Weight.
The happy Heir can scarce contain his Joy, Whilst sundry Musings do his Thoughts employ, How he shalt act, now Every thing's his Own, Where his Revenge, or Favour shall be shown; Then recollecting, draws a counterfeited Groan.
The Avenues, and Gardens shall be chang'd, Already he the Furniture has ranged.
To ransack secret Draw'rs his Phancy flies, Nor can th' appearing Wealth his Mind suffice.
Thus he an Age runs o'er betwixt the Porch Of his Friend's House, and the adjacent Church: Whilst the slow Driver, who no reck'ning kept Of what was left, indulging Nature, slept; Till on a Bank, so high, the Wheel was borne That in a Moment All must overturn: Whilst the rich Heir now finds the giving Dead Less weighty in his Gold, than in his Lead; Which falling just on his contriving Breast, Expell'd the Soul, leaving the corpse to rest In the same Grave, intended for his Friend.
Then why shou'd We our Days in Wishes spend, Which, e'er we see fulfill'd, are often at an End?

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 |

The Shepherd And The Calm

 Soothing his Passions with a warb'ling Sound, 
A Shepherd-Swain lay stretch'd upon the Ground;
Whilst all were mov'd, who their Attention lent,
Or with the Harmony in Chorus went,
To something less than Joy, yet more than dull Content.
(Between which two Extreams true Pleasure lies, O'er-run by Fools, unreach'd-at by the Wise ) But yet, a fatal Prospect to the Sea Wou'd often draw his greedy Sight away.
He saw the Barques unlading on the Shore, And guess'd their Wealth, then scorn'd his little Store.
Then wou'd that Little lose, or else wou'd make it more.
To Merchandize converted is the Fold, The Bag, the Bottle, and the Hurdles sold; The Dog was chang'd away, the pretty Skell Whom he had fed, and taught, and lov'd so well.
In vain the Phillis wept, which heretofore Receiv'd his Presents, and his Garlands wore.
False and upbraided, he forsakes the Downs, Nor courts her Smiles, nor fears the Ocean's Frowns.
For smooth it lay, as if one single Wave Made all the Sea, nor Winds that Sea cou'd heave; Which blew no more than might his Sails supply: Clear was the Air below, and Phoebus laugh'd on high.
With this Advent'rer ev'ry thing combines, And Gold to Gold his happy Voyage joins; But not so prosp'rous was the next Essay, For rugged Blasts encounter'd on the way, Scarce cou'd the Men escape, the Deep had all their Prey.
Our broken Merchant in the Wreck was thrown Upon those Lands, which once had been his own; Where other Flocks now pastur'd on the Grass, And other Corydons had woo'd his Lass.
A Servant, for small Profits, there he turns, Yet thrives again, and less and less he mourns; Re-purchases in time th'abandon'd Sheep, Which sad Experience taught him now to keep.
When from that very Bank, one Halcyon Day, On which he lean'd, when tempted to the Sea, He notes a Calm; the Winds and Waves were still, And promis'd what the Winds nor Waves fulfill, A settl'd Quiet, and Conveyance sure, To him that Wealth, by Traffick, wou'd procure.
But the rough part the Shepherd now performs, Reviles the Cheat, and at the Flatt'ry storms.
Ev'n thus (quoth he) you seem'd all Rest and Ease, You sleeping Tempests, you untroubl'd Seas, That ne'er to be forgot, that luckless Hour, In which I put my Fortunes in your Pow'r; Quitting my slender, but secure Estate, My undisturb'd Repose, my sweet Retreat, For Treasures which you ravish'd in a Day, But swept my Folly, with my Goods, away.
Then smile no more, nor these false Shews employ, Thou momentary Calm, thou fleeting Joy; No more on me shall these fair Signs prevail, Some other Novice may be won to Sail, Give me a certain Fate in the obscurest Vale.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

The Tradesman and the Scholar

 A Citizen of mighty Pelf, 
But much a Blockhead, in himself 
Disdain'd a Man of shining Parts, 
Master of Sciences and Arts, 
Who left his Book scarce once a day 
For sober Coffee, Smoak, or Tea; 
Nor spent more Money in the Town 
Than bought, when need requir'd, a Gown; 
Which way of Living much offends 
The Alderman, who gets and spends, 
And grudges him the Vital Air, 
Who drives no Trade, and takes no Care.
Why Bookworm! to him once he cry'd, Why, setting thus the World aside, Dost thou thy useless Time consume, Enclos'd within a lonely Room, And poring damnify thy Wit, 'Till not for Men, or Manners fit ? Hop'st thou, with urging of thy Vein, To spin a Fortune from thy Brain? Or gain a Patron, that shall raise Thy solid State, for empty Praise? No; trust not to your Soothings vile, Receiv'd per me's the only Stile.
Your Book's but frown'd on by My Lord; If Mine's uncross'd, I reach his Board.
In slighting Yours, he shuts his Hand; Protracting Mine, devolves the Land.
Then let Advantage be the Test, Which of us Two ev'n Writes the best.
Besides, I often Scarlet wear, And strut to Church, just next the Mayor.
Whilst rusty Black, with Inch of Band, Is all the Dress you understand; Who in the Pulpit thresh to Please, Whilst I below can snore at Ease.
Yet, if you prove me there a Sinner, I let you go without a Dinner.
This Prate was so beneath the Sence Of One, who Wisdom cou'd dispense, Unheard, or unreturn'd it past: But War now lays the City waste, And plunder'd Goods profusely fell By length of Pike, not length of Ell.
Abroad th' Inhabitants are forc'd, From Shops, and Trade, and Wealth divorc'd.
The Student leaving but his Book, The Tumult of the Place forsook.
In Foreign Parts, One tells his Tale, How Rich he'd been, how quick his Sale, Which do's for scanty Alms prevail.
The Chance of War whilst he deplores, And dines at Charitable Doors; The Man of Letters, known by Fame, Was welcom'd, wheresoe'er he came.
Still, Potentates entreat his Stay, Whose Coaches meet him on the Way: And Universities contest Which shall exceed, or use him best.
Amaz'd the Burgomaster sees On Foot, and scorn'd such Turns as these; And sighing, now deplores too late His cumb'rous Trash, and shallow Pate: Since loaded but with double Chest Of learned Head, and honest Breast, The Scholar moves from Place to Place, And finds in every Climate Grace.
Wit and the Arts, on that Foundation rais'd, (Howe'er the Vulgar are with Shows amaz'd) Is all that recommends, or can be justly prais'd.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

To Death

 O King of Terrors, whose unbounded Sway 
All that have Life, must certainly Obey; 
The King, the Priest, the Prophet, all are Thine, 
Nor wou'd ev'n God (in Flesh) thy Stroke decline.
My Name is on thy Roll, and sure I must Encrease thy gloomy Kingdom in the Dust.
My soul at this no Apprehension feels, But trembles at thy Swords, thy Racks, thy Wheels; Thy scorching Fevers, which distract the Sense, And snatch us raving, unprepar'd from hence; At thy contagious Darts, that wound the Heads Of weeping Friends, who wait at dying Beds.
Spare these, and let thy Time be when it will; My Bus'ness is to Dye, and Thine to Kill.
Gently thy fatal Sceptre on me lay, And take to thy cold Arms, insensibly, thy Prey.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

The Owl Describing her Young Ones

 Why was that baleful Creature made, 
Which seeks our Quiet to invade, 
And screams ill Omens through the Shade? 

'Twas, sure, for every Mortals good, 
When, by wrong painting of her Brood, 
She doom'd them for the Eagle's Food: 

Who proffer'd Safety to her Tribe, 
Wou'd she but shew them or describe, 
And serving him, his Favour bribe.
When thus she did his Highness tell; In Looks my Young do all excel, Nor Nightingales can sing so well.
You'd joy to see the pretty Souls, With wadling Steps and frowzy Poles, Come creeping from their secret Holes.
But I ne'er let them take the Air, The Fortune-hunters do so stare; And Heiresses indeed they are.
This ancient Yew three hundred Years, Has been possess'd by Lineal Heirs: The Males extinct, now All is Theirs.
I hope I've done their Beauties right, Whose Eyes outshine the Stars by Night; Their Muffs and Tippets too are White.
The King of Cedars wav'd his Power, And swore he'd fast ev'n from that Hour, Ere he'd such Lady Birds devour.
Th' Agreement seal'd, on either part, The Owl now promis'd, from her Heart, All his Night-Dangers to divert; As Centinel to stand and whoop, If single Fowl, or Shoal, or Troop Should at his Palace aim or stoop.
But home, one Evening without Meat, The Eagle comes, and takes his Seat, Where they did these Conditions treat.
The Mother-Owl was prol'd away, To seek abroad for needful Prey, And forth the Misses came to play.
What's here ! the hungry Monarch cry'd, When near him living Flesh he spy'd, With which he hop'd to be supply'd.
But recollecting, 'twas the Place, Where he'd so lately promis'd Grace To an enchanting, beauteous Race; He paus'd a while, and kept his Maw, With sober Temperance, in awe, Till all their Lineaments he saw.
What are these Things, and of what Sex, At length he cry'd, with Vultur's Becks, And Shoulders higher than their Necks? These wear no Palatines, nor Muffs, Italian Silks, or Doyley Stuffs, But motley Callicoes, and Ruffs.
Nor Brightness in their Eyes is seen, But through the Film a dusky Green, And like old Margery is their Mien.
Then for my Supper they're design'd, Nor can be of that lovely Kind, To whom my Pity was inclin'd.
No more Delays; as soon as spoke, The Plumes are stripped, the Grisles broke, And near the Feeder was to choak.
When now return'd the grizly Dame, (Whose Family was out of Frame) Against League-Breakers does exclaim.
How! quoth the Lord of soaring Fowls, (Whilst horribly she wails and howls) Were then your Progeny but Owls? I thought some Phoenix was their Sire, Who did those charming Looks inspire, That you'd prepar'd me to admire.
Upon your self the Blame be laid; My Talons you've to Blood betray'd, And ly'd in every Word you said.
Faces or Books, beyond their Worth extoll'd, Are censur'd most, and thus to pieces pulled.

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.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

The Hog The Sheep And Goat Carrying To A FAIR

 Who does not wish, ever to judge aright, 
And, in the Course of Life's Affairs, 
To have a quick, and far extended Sight, 
Tho' it too often multiplies his Cares? 
And who has greater Sense, but greater Sorrow shares? 

This felt the Swine, now carrying to the Knife; 
And whilst the Lamb and silent Goat 
In the same fatal Cart lay void of Strife, 
He widely stretches his foreboding Throat, 
Deaf'ning the easy Crew with his outragious Note.
The angry Driver chides th'unruly Beast, And bids him all this Noise forbear; Nor be more loud, nor clamorous than the rest, Who with him travel'd to the neighb'ring Fair.
And quickly shou'd arrive, and be unfetter'd there.
This, quoth the Swine, I do believe, is true, And see we're very near the Town; Whilst these poor Fools of short, and bounded View, Think 'twill be well, when you have set them down, And eas'd One of her Milk, the Other of her Gown.
But all the dreadful Butchers in a Row, To my far-searching Thoughts appear, Who know indeed, we to the Shambles go, Whilst I, whom none but Belzebub wou'd shear, Nor but his Dam wou'd milk, must for my Carcase fear.
But tell me then, will it prevent thy Fate? The rude unpitying Farmer cries; If not, the Wretch who tastes his Suff'rings late, Not He, who thro' th'unhappy Future prys, Must of the Two be held most Fortunate and Wise.