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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 |

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 |


 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 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 |

The LORD and the BRAMBLE

 To view his stately Walks and Groves, 
A Man of Pow'r and Place
Was hast'ning on; but as he roves,
His Foe the slighted Bramble proves, 
And stops his eager Pace.
That Shrub was qualify'd to Bite; And now there went a Tale, That this injurious partial Wight Had bid his Gard'ner rid it quite, And throw it o'er the Pail.
Often the Bry'r had wish'd to speak, That this might not be done; But from the Abject and the Weak, Who no important Figure make, What Statesman does not run? But clinging now about his Waste, Ere he had time to fly, My Lord (quoth he) for all your haste, I'll know why I must be displac'd, And 'mongst the Rubbish lie.
Must none but buffle-headed Trees Within your Ground be seen? Or tap'ring Yews here court the Breeze, That, like some Beaux whom Time does freeze, At once look Old and Green? I snarl, 'tis true, and sometimes scratch A tender-footed Squire; Who does a rugged Tartar catch, When me he thinks to over-match, And jeers for my Attire.
As to Yourself, who 'gainst me fret, E'en give this Project o'er: For know, where'er my Root is set, These rambling Twigs will Passage get, And vex you more and more.
No Wants, no Threatnings, nor the Jail Will curb an angry Wit: Then think not to chastise, or rail; Appease the Man, if you'd prevail, Who some sharp Satire writ.

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 |

The Critick and the Writer of Fables

 Weary, at last, of the Pindarick way, 
Thro' which advent'rously the Muse wou'd stray; 
To Fable I descend with soft Delight, 
Pleas'd to Translate, or easily Endite: 
Whilst aery Fictions hastily repair 
To fill my Page, and rid my Thoughts of Care, 
As they to Birds and Beasts new Gifts impart, 
And Teach, as Poets shou'd, whilst they Divert.
But here, the Critick bids me check this Vein.
Fable, he crys, tho' grown th' affected Strain, But dies, as it was born, without Regard or Pain.
Whilst of his Aim the lazy Trifler fails, Who seeks to purchase Fame by childish Tales.
Then, let my Verse, once more attempt the Skies, The easily persuaded Poet cries, Since meaner Works you Men of Taste despise.
The Walls of Troy shall be our loftier Stage, Our mighty Theme the fierce Achilles Rage.
The Strength of Hector, and Ulysses Arts Shall boast such Language, to adorn their Parts, As neither Hobbes, nor Chapman cou'd bestow, Or did from Congreve, or from Dryden flow.
Amidst her Towers, the dedicated Horse Shall be receiv'd, big with destructive Force; Till Men shall say, when Flames have brought her down.
" Troy is no more, and Ilium was a Town.
Is this the way to please the Men of Taste, The Interrupter cries, this old Bombast? I'm sick of Troy, and in as great a Fright, When some dull Pedant wou'd her Wars recite, As was soft Paris, when compell'd to Fight.
To Shades and Springs shall we awhile repair, The Muse demands, and in that milder Air Describe some gentle Swain's unhappy Smart Whose folded Arms still press upon his Heart, And deeper drive the too far enter'd Dart? Whilst Phillis with a careless pleasure reigns The Joy, the Grief, the Envy of the Plains; Heightens the Beauty of the verdant Woods, And softens all the Murmurs of the Floods.
Oh! stun me not with these insipid Dreams, Th' Eternal Hush, the Lullaby of Streams.
Which still, he cries, their even Measures keep, Till both the Writers, and the Readers sleep.
But urge thy Pen, if thou wouldst move our Thoughts, To shew us private, or the publick Faults.
Display the Times, High-Church or Low provoke; We'll praise the Weapon, as we like the Stroke, And warmly sympathizing with the Spite Apply to Thousands, what of One you write.
Then, must that single Stream the Town supply, The harmless Fable-writer do's reply, And all the Rest of Helicon be dry ? And when so many choice Productions swarm, Must only Satire keep your Fancies warm? Whilst even there, you praise with such Reserve, As if you'd in the midst of Plenty starve, Tho' ne'er so liberally we Authors carve.
Happy the Men, whom we divert with Ease, Whom Opera's and Panegyricks please.

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

La Passion Vaincue

 On the Banks of the Severn a desperate Maid 
(Whom some Shepherd, neglecting his Vows, had betray'd,) 
Stood resolving to banish all Sense of the Pain, 
And pursue, thro' her Death, a Revenge on the Swain.
Since the Gods, and my Passion, at once he defies; Since his Vanity lives, whilst my Character dies; No more (did she say) will I trifle with Fate, But commit to the Waves both my Love and my Hate.
And now to comply with that furious Desire, Just ready to plunge, and alone to expire, Some Reflection on Death, and its Terrors untry'd, Some Scorn for the Shepherd, some Flashings of Pride At length pull'd her back, and she cry'd, Why this Strife, Since the Swains are so Many, and I've but One Life?

Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch |

Lifes Progress

 How gayly is at first begun 
Our Life's uncertain Race! 
Whilst yet that sprightly Morning Sun, 
With which we just set out to run 
Enlightens all the Place.
How smiling the World's Prospect lies How tempting to go through ! Not Canaan to the Prophet's Eyes, From Pisgah with a sweet Surprize, Did more inviting shew.
How promising's the Book of Fate, Till thoroughly understood! Whilst partial Hopes such Lots create, As may the youthful Fancy treat With all that's Great and Good.
How soft the first Ideas prove, Which wander through our Minds! How full the Joys, how free the Love, Which do's that early Season move; As Flow'rs the Western Winds! Our Sighs are then but Vernal Air; But April–drops our Tears, Which swiftly passing, all grows Fair, Whilst Beauty compensates our Care, And Youth each Vapour clears.
But oh! too soon, alas, we climb; Scarce feeling we ascend The gently rising Hill of Time, From whence with Grief we see that Prime, And all its Sweetness end.
The Die now cast, our Station known, Fond Expectation past; The Thorns, which former Days had sown, To Crops of late Repentance grown, Thro' which we toil at last.
Whilst ev'ry Care's a driving Harm, That helps to bear us down; Which faded Smiles no more can charm, But ev'ry Tear's a Winter-Storm, And ev'ry Look's a Frown.
Till with succeeding Ills opprest, For Joys we hop'd to find; By Age too, rumpl'd and undrest, We gladly sinking down to rest, Leave following Crouds behind.

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 |

Mans Injustice Towards Providence

 A Thriving Merchant, who no Loss sustained, 
In little time a mighty Fortune gain'd.
No Pyrate seiz'd his still returning Freight; Nor foundring Vessel sunk with its own Weight: No Ruin enter'd through dissever'd Planks; No Wreck at Sea, nor in the Publick Banks.
Aloft he sails, above the Reach of Chance, And do's in Pride, as fast as Wealth, advance.
His Wife too, had her Town and Country-Seat, And rich in Purse, concludes her Person Great.
A Dutchess wears not so much Gold and Lace; Then 'tis with Her an undisputed Case, The finest Petticoat must take the Place.
Her Rooms, anew at ev'ry Christ'ning drest, Put down the Court, and vex the City-Guest.
Grinning Malottos in true Ermin stare; The best Japan, and clearest China Ware Are but as common Delft and English Laquar there.
No Luxury's by either unenjoy'd, Or cost withheld, tho' awkardly employ'd.
How comes this Wealth? A Country Friend demands, Who scarce cou'd live on Product of his Lands.
How is it that, when Trading is so bad That some are Broke, and some with Fears run Mad, You can in better State yourself maintain, And your Effects still unimpair'd remain! My Industry, he cries, is all the Cause; Sometimes I interlope, and slight the Laws; I wiser Measures, than my Neighbors, take, And better speed, who better Bargains make.
I knew, the Smyrna–Fleet wou'd fall a Prey, And therefore sent no Vessel out that way: My busy Factors prudently I chuse, And in streight Bonds their Friends and Kindred noose: At Home, I to the Publick Sums advance, Whilst, under-hand in Fee with hostile France, I care not for your Tourvills, or Du-Barts, No more than for the Rocks, and Shelves in Charts: My own sufficiency creates my Gain, Rais'd, and secur'd by this unfailing Brain.
This idle Vaunt had scarcely past his Lips, When Tydings came, his ill-provided Ships Some thro' the want of Skill, and some of Care, Were lost, or back return'd without their Fare.
From bad to worse, each Day his State declin'd, 'Till leaving Town, and Wife, and Debts behind, To his Acquaintance at the Rural Seat He Sculks, and humbly sues for a Retreat.
Whence comes this Change, has Wisdom left that Head, (His Friend demands) where such right Schemes were bred? What Phrenzy, what Delirium mars the Scull, Which fill'd the Chests, and was it self so full? Here interrupting, sadly he Reply'd, In Me's no Change, but Fate must all Things guide; To Providence I attribute my Loss.
Vain-glorious Man do's thus the Praise engross, When Prosp'rous Days around him spread their Beams: But, if revolv'd to opposite Extreams, Still his own Sence he fondly will prefer, And Providence, not He, in his Affairs must Err!

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 |

The Tree

 Fair tree! for thy delightful shade 
'Tis just that some return be made;
Sure some return is due from me
To thy cool shadows, and to thee.
When thou to birds dost shelter give, Thou music dost from them receive; If travellers beneath thee stay Till storms have worn themselves away, That time in praising thee they spend And thy protecting pow'r commend.
The shepherd here, from scorching freed, Tunes to thy dancing leaves his reed; Whilst his lov'd nymph, in thanks, bestows Her flow'ry chaplets on thy boughs.
Shall I then only silent be, And no return be made by me? No; let this wish upon thee wait, And still to flourish be thy fate.
To future ages may'st thou stand Untouch'd by the rash workman's hand, Till that large stock of sap is spent, Which gives thy summer's ornament; Till the fierce winds, that vainly strive To shock thy greatness whilst alive, Shall on thy lifeless hour attend, Prevent the axe, and grace thy end; Their scatter'd strength together call And to the clouds proclaim thy fall; Who then their ev'ning dews may spare When thou no longer art their care, But shalt, like ancient heroes, burn, And some bright hearth be made thy urn.