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Fanscomb Barn

In Fanscomb Barn (who knows not Fanscomb Barn?)
Seated between the sides of rising Hills,
Whose airy Tops o'erlook the Gallick Seas,
Whilst, gentle Stower, thy Waters near them flow,
To beautify the Seats that crown thy Banks.
–In this Retreat
Through Ages pass'd consign'd for Harbour meet,
And Place of sweet Repose to Wand'rers poor,
The weary Strolepedon felt that Ease,
Which many a dangerous Borough had deny'd
To him, and his Budgeta lov'd Compeer;
Nor Food was wanting to the happy Pair,
Who with meek Aspect, and precarious Tone,
Well suited to their Hunger and Degree,
Had mov'd the Hearts of hospitable Dames,
To furnish such Repast as Nature crav'd.
Whilst more to please the swarthy Bowl appears,
Replete with Liquor, globulous to fight,
And threat'ning Inundation o'er the Brim;
Yet, ere it to the longing Lips was rais'd
Of him who held it at its due Desert,
And more than all entreated Bounty priz'd,
Into the strong Profundity he throws
The floating Healths of Females, blith and young,
Who there had rendezvouz'd in past Delight,
And to stol'n Plenty added clamorous Mirth,
With Song and Dance, and every jovial Prank
Befitting buxom Crew, untied by Forms:
Whilst kind Budgeta nam'd such sturdy Youths,
As next into her tender Thoughts revolv'd,
And now were straggling East, and West, and South,
Hoof-beating, and at large, as Chance directs,
Still shifting Paths, lest Men (tho' stil'd of Peace)
Should urge their calmer Thoughts to Iron War,
Or force them to promote coercive Laws,
Beating that Hemp which oft entraps their Lives;
Or into Cordage pleated, and amass'd,
Deprives unruly Flesh of tempting Skin.
Thus kind Remembrance brought the Absent near
And hasten'd the Return of either's Pledge:
Brown were the Toasts, but not unsav'ry found
To Fancies clear'd by Exercise and Air,
Which the spirituous Nectar still improves,
And gliding now thro' every cherish'd Vein,
New Warmth diffus'd, new Cogitations bred,
With Self-conceit of Person, and of Parts.
When Strolepedon (late distorted Wight,
Limb-wanting to the View, and all mis-shap'd)
Permits a pinion'd Arm to fill the Sleeve,
Erst pendant, void, and waving with the Wind,
The Timber-Leg obsequiously withdraws,
And gives to that of Bone Precedence due.
Thus undisguis'd that Form again he wears,
Which Damsel fond had drawn from houshold Toils,
And strict Behests of Parents, old and scorn'd;
Whilst farther yet his Intellects confess
The bouzy Spell dilated and inhans'd,
Ripe for Description, and sett Turns of Speech,
Which to Conjugal Spouse were thus addrest.
My Wife (acknowledg'd such thro' maunding Tribes,
As long as mutual Love, the only Law,
Of Hedge or Barn, can bind our easy Faiths)
Be thou observant of thy Husband's Voice,
Sole Auditor of Flights and Figures bold;
Know, that the Valley which we hence descry
Richly adorn'd, is Fanscomb-Bottom call'd:
But whether from these Walls it takes the Name,
Or they from that, let Antiquaries tell,
And Men, well-read in Stories obsolete,
Whilst such Denomination either claims,
As speaks Affinity contiguous–
Thence let thy scatter'd Sight, and oft-griev'd Smell
Engulf the Sweets, and Colours free dispos'd
To Flowers promiscuous, and redundant Plants.
And (if the drouzy Vapour will admit,
Which from the Bowl soon triumphs o'er thy Lidds,
And Thee the weaker Vessel still denotes)
With Looks erect observe the verdant Slope
Of graceful Hills, fertile in Bush and Brake,
Whose Height attain'd, th' expatiated Downs
Shall wider Scenes display of rural Glee;
Where banner'd Lords, and fair escutcheon'd Knights,
With gentle Squires, and the Staff-griping Clown,
Pursue the trembling Prey impetuous;
Which yet escaping, when the Night returns,
And downy Beds enfold their careless Limbs,
More wakeful Trundle (Knapsack-bearing Cur)
Follows the Scent untrac'd by nobler Hounds,
And brings to us the Fruit of all their Toil.

Thus sung the Bard, whom potent Liquor rais'd,
Nor so contented, wish'd sublimer Aid.
Ye Wits! (he cry'd) ye Poets! (Loiterers vain,
Who like to us, in Idleness and Want
Consume fantastick Hours) hither repair,
And tell to list'ning Mendicants the Cause
Of Wonders, here observ'd but not discuss'd:
Where, the White Sparrow never soil'd her Plumes,
Nor the dull Russet cloaths the Snowy Mouse.
To Helicon you might the Spring compare,
That flows near Pickersdane renowned Stream,
Which, for Disport and Play, the Youths frequent, <
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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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