Anne Kingsmill Finch

Fragment

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 orientati…






SO here confin'd, and but to female Clay,
ARDELIA's Soul mistook the rightful Way:
Whilst the soft Breeze of Pleasure's tempting Air
Made her believe, Felicity was there;
And basking in the warmth of early Time,
To vain Amusements dedicate her Prime.
Ambition next allur'd her tow'ring Eye;
For Paradice she heard was plac'd on high,
Then thought, the Court with all its glorious Show
Was sure above the rest, and Paradice below.
There plac'd too soon the flaming Sword appear'd,
Remov'd those Pow'rs, whom justly she rever'd,
Adher'd too in their Wreck, and in their Ruin shar'd.
Now by the Wheels inevitable Round,
With them thrown prostrate to the humble Ground,
No more she takes (instructed by that Fall)
For fix'd, or worth her thought, this rolling Ball: {1}
Tow'rds a more certain Station she aspires,
Unshaken by Revolts, and owns no less Desires.
But all in vain are Pray'rs, extatick Thoughts,
Recover'd Moments, and retracted Faults,
Retirement, which the World Moroseness calls,
Abandon'd Pleasures in Monastick {2} Walls:
These, but at distance, towards that purpose tend,
The lowly Means to an exalted End;
Which He must perfect, who allots her Stay,
And That, accomplish'd, will direct the way.
Pity her restless Cares, and weary Strife,
And point some Issue to escaping Life;
Which so dismiss'd, no Pen or Human Speech
Th' ineffable Recess can ever teach:
Th' Expanse, the Light, the Harmony, the Throng,
The Bride's Attendance, and the Bridal Song,
The numerous Mansions, and th' immortal Tree,
No Eye, unpurg'd by Death, must ever see,
Or Waves which through that wond'rous City roll.
Rest then content, my too impatient Soul;
Observe but here the easie Precepts given,
Then wait with chearful hope, till Heaven be known in Heaven.

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