Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch

Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch
To the Nightingale
Exert thy voice, sweet harbinger of spring!
This moment is thy time to sing,
This moment I attend to praise,
And set my numbers to they lays.
Free as thine shall be my song;
As they music, short, or long.
Poets, wild as thee, were born,
Pleasing best when unconfined,
When to please is least designed,
Soothing but their cares to rest;
Cares do still their thoughts molest,
And still th' unhappy poet's breast,
Like thine, when best he sings, is placed against a thorn.
She begins, Let all be still!
Muse, they promise now fulfill!
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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!
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The Answer
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Friendship between Ephelia and Ardelia
Eph. What Friendship is, Ardelia show.
Ard. ’Tis to love, as I love you.
Eph. This account, so short (tho’ kind)
Suits not my inquiring mind.
Therefore farther now repeat:
What is Friendship when complete?
Ard. ’Tis to share all joy and grief;
’Tis to lend all due relief
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The Introduction
Did I, my lines intend for public view,
How many censures, would their faults pursue,
Some would, because such words they do affect,
Cry they’re insipid, empty, and uncorrect.
And many have attained, dull and untaught,
The name of wit only by finding fault.
True judges might condemn their want of wit,
And all might say, they’re by a woman writ.
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A Letter to Daphnis
This to the crown and blessing of my life,
The much loved husband of a happy wife;
To him whose constant passion found the art
To win a stubborn and ungrateful heart,
And to the world by tenderest proof discovers
They err, who say that husbands can’t be lovers.
With such return of passion as is due,
Daphnis I love, Daphnis my thoughts pursue;
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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;
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On Myself
Good Heav’n, I thank thee, since it was designed
I should be framed, but of the weaker kind,
That yet, my Soul, is rescued from the love
Of all those trifles which their passions move.
Pleasures and praise and plenty have with me
But their just value. If allowed they be,
Freely, and thankfully as much I taste,
As will not reason or religion waste,
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A Song
Love, thou art best of Human Joys,
Our chiefest Happiness below;
All other Pleasures are but Toys,
Musick without Thee is but Noise,
And Beauty but an empty show.

Heav’n , who knew best what Man wou’d move,
And raise his Thoughts above the Brute;
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The Spleen
A Pindaric Poem What art thou, Spleen, which ev’ry thing dost ape?
Thou Proteus to abused mankind,
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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 would ev’n God (in flesh) thy stroke decline.
My name is on thy roll, and sure I must
Increase thy gloomy kingdom in the dust.
My soul at this no apprehension feels,
But trembles at thy swords, thy racks, thy wheels;
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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.
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