A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Cautious Lovers" by Anne Kingsmill Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661 - 1720)
From Winchilsea, Anne (Kingsmill) Finch, Countess of. Miscellany Poems, on Several Occasions, London: printed for J[ohn] B[arber] and sold by Benj. Tooke at the Middle-Temple-Gate, William Taylor in Pater-Noster-Row, and James Round, in Exchange-Alley, Cornhil, 1713. pp. 118-122.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


Silvia, let's from the Croud retire;
  For, What to you and me
(Who but each other do desire)
  Is all that here we see?

[Page 119]

Apart we'll live, tho' not alone;
  For, who alone can call
Those, who in Desarts live with One,
  If in that One they've All?

The World a vast Meander is,
  Where Hearts confus'dly stray;
Where Few do hit, whilst Thousands miss
  The happy mutual Way:

Where Hands are by stern Parents ty'd,
  Who oft, in Cupid's Scorn,
Do for the widow'd State provide,
  Before that Love is born:

Where some too soon themselves misplace;
  Then in Another find
The only Temper, Wit, or Face,
  That cou'd affect their Mind.

[Page 120]

Others (but oh! avert that Fate!)
  A well-chose Object change:
Fly, Silvia, fly, ere 'tis too late;
  Fall'n Nature's prone to range.

And, tho' in heat of Love we swear
  More than perform we can;
No Goddess, You, but Woman are,
  And I no more than Man.

Th' impatient Silvia heard thus long;
  Then with a Smile reply'd;
Those Bands cou'd ne'er be very strong,
  Which Accidents divide.

Who e'er was mov'd yet to go down,
  By such o'er-cautious Fear;
Or for one Lover left the Town,
  Who might have Numbers here?

[Page 121]

Your Heart, 'tis true, is worth them all,
  And still preferr'd the first;
But since confess'd so apt to fall,
  'Tis good to fear the worst.

In ancient History we meet
  A flying Nymph betray'd;
Who, had she kept in fruitful Crete,
  New Conquest might have made.

And sure, as on the Beach she stood,
  To view the parting Sails;
She curs'd her self, more than the Flood,
  Or the conspiring Gales.

False Theseus, since thy Vows are broke,
  May following Nymphs beware:
Methinks I hear how thus she spoke,
  And will not trust too far.

[Page 122]

In Love, in Play, in Trade, in War
  They best themselves acquit,
Who, tho' their Int'rests shipwreckt are,
  Keep unreprov'd their Wit.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom