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A Letter To The Same Person

Anne Kingsmill Finch 1661 – 1720 (Westminster)

Sure of Success, to You I boldly write,
Whilst Love do's ev'ry tender Line endite;
Love, who is justly President of Verse,
Which all his Servants write, or else rehearse.
Phoebus (howe'er mistaken Poets dream)
Ne'er us'd a Verse, till Love became his Theme.
To his stray'd Son, still as his Passion rose,
He rais'd his hasty Voice in clam'rous Prose:
But when in Daphne he wou'd Love inspire,
He woo'd in Verse, set to his silver Lyre.

The Trojan Prince did pow'rful Numbers join
To sing of War; but Love was the Design:
And sleeping Troy again in Flames was drest,
To light the Fires in pitying Dido's Breast.

Love without Poetry's refining Aid
Is a dull Bargain, and but coarsely made;
Nor e'er cou'd Poetry successful prove,
Or touch the Soul, but when the Sense was Love.

Oh! cou'd they both in Absence now impart
Skill to my Hand, but to describe my Heart;
Then shou'd you see impatient of your Stay
Soft Hopes contend with Fears of sad Delay;
Love in a thousand fond Endearments there,
And lively Images of You appear.
But since the Thoughts of a Poetick Mind
Will never be to Syllables confin'd;
And whilst to fix what is conceiv'd, we try,
The purer Parts evaporate and dye:
You must perform what they want force to do,
And think what your ARDELIA thinks of you.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Anne Kingsmill Finch

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (née Kingsmill), was an English poet and courtier. Finch's works often express a desire for respect as a female poet, lamenting her difficult position as a woman in the literary establishment and the court, while writing of "political ideology, religious orientation, and aesthetic sensibility". Her works also allude to other female authors of the time, such as Aphra Behn and Katherine Phillips. Through her commentary on the mental and spiritual equality of the genders and the importance of women fulfilling their potential as a moral duty to themselves and to society, she is regarded as one of the integral female poets of the Restoration Era. Finch died in Westminster in 1720 and was buried at her home at Eastwell, Kent.  more…

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