The Petition for an Absolute Retreat

 Give me, O indulgent Fate! 
Give me yet before I die
A sweet, but absolute retreat,
'Mongst paths so lost and trees so high
That the world may ne'er invade
Through such windings and such shade
My unshaken liberty.
No intruders thither come Who visit but to be from home! None who their vain moments pass Only studious of their glass; News, that charm to list'ning ears, That false alarm to hopes and fears, That common theme for every fop, From the statesman to the shop, In those coverts ne'er be spread, Of who's deceas'd, and who's to wed.
Be no tidings thither brought, But silent as a midnight thought Where the world may ne'er invade Be those windings and that shade! Courteous Fate! afford me there A table spread, without my care, With what the neighb'ring fields impart, Whose cleanliness be all its art.
When of old the calf was drest (Though to make an angel's feast) In the plain unstudied sauce Nor truffle nor morillia was; Nor could the mighty patriarchs' board One far-fetch'd ortolan afford.
Courteous Fate! then give me there Only plain and wholesome fare; Fruits indeed (would heaven bestow) All that did in Eden grow, All but the forbidden Tree Would be coveted by me; Grapes with juice so crowded up As breaking through the native cup; Figs yet growing candied o'er By the sun's attracting power; Cherries, with the downy peach, All within my easy reach; Whilst creeping near the humble ground Should the strawberry be found Springing wheresoe'er I stray'd Through those windings and that shade.
For my garments: let them be What may with the time agree; Warm when Ph{oe}bus does retire And is ill-supplied by fire: But when he renews the year And verdant all the fields appear, Beauty every thing resumes, Birds have dropp'd their winter plumes, When the lily full-display'd Stands in purer white array'd Than that vest which heretofore The luxurious monarch wore, When from Salem's gates he drove To the soft retreat of love, Lebanon's all burnish'd house And the dear Egyptian spouse.
Clothe me, Fate, though not so gay, Clothe me light and fresh as May! In the fountains let me view All my habit cheap and new Such as, when sweet zephyrs fly, With their motions may comply, Gently waving to express Unaffected carelessness.
No perfumes have there a part Borrow'd from the chemist's art, But such as rise from flow'ry beds Or the falling jasmine sheds! 'Twas the odour of the field Esau's rural coat did yield That inspir'd his father's prayer For blessings of the earth and air: Of gums or powders had it smelt, The supplanter, then unfelt, Easily had been descried For one that did in tents abide, For some beauteous handmaid's joy, And his mother's darling boy.
Let me then no fragrance wear But what the winds from gardens bear, In such kind surprising gales As gather'd from Fidentia's vales All the flowers that in them grew; Which intermixing as they flew In wreathen garlands dropp'd again On Lucullus and his men; Who, cheer'd by the victorious sight, Trebled numbers put to flight.
Let me, when I must be fine, In such natural colours shine; Wove and painted by the sun; Whose resplendent rays to shun When they do too fiercely beat Let me find some close retreat Where they have no passage made Through those windings, and that shade.

Poem by
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - The Petition for an Absolute RetreatEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...

Top Anne Kingsmill Finch Poems

Analysis and Comments on The Petition for an Absolute Retreat

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem The Petition for an Absolute Retreat here.