Mussulman's Dream

Anne Kingsmill Finch 1661 – 1720 (Westminster)

Where is that World, to which the Fancy flies,
When Sleep excludes the Present from our Eyes;
Whose Map no Voyager cou'd e'er design,
Nor to Description its wild Parts confine?
Yet such a Land of Dreams We must allow,
Who nightly trace it, tho' we know not how:
Unfetter'd by the Days obtruded Rules,
We All enjoy that Paradise of Fools;
And find a Sorrow, in resuming Sense,
Which breaks some free Delight, and snatches us from thence.

Thus! in a Dream, a Musselman was shown
A Vizir, whom he formerly had known,
When at the Port he bore deputed Sway,
And made the Nations with a Nod obey.
Now all serene, and splendid was his Brow,
Whilst ready Waiters to his Orders bow;
His Residence, an artful Garden seem'd,
Adorn'd with all, that pleasant he esteem'd;
Full of Reward, his glorious Lot appear'd,
As with the Sight, our Dreamer's Mind was chear'd;
But turning, next he saw a dreadful Sight,
Which fill'd his Soul with Wonder and Affright,
Pursu'd by Fiends, a wretched Dervis fled
Through scorching Plains, which to wide Distance spread;
Whilst every Torture, gloomy Poets paint,
Was there prepar'd for the reputed Saint.
Amaz'd at this, the sleeping Turk enquires,
Why He that liv'd above, in soft Attires,
Now roll'd in Bliss, while t'other roll'd in Fires?
We're taught the Suff'rings of this Future State,
Th' Excess of Courts is likeliest to create;
Whilst solitary Cells, o'ergrown with Shade,
The readiest way to Paradise is made.
True, quoth the Phantom (which he dream'd reply'd)
The lonely Path is still the surest Guide,
Nor is it by these Instances deny'd.
For, know my Friend, whatever Fame report,
The Vizier to Retirements wou'd resort,
Th' ambitious Dervis wou'd frequent the Court.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:36 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,692
Words 296
Stanzas 2
Stanza Lengths 10, 29

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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