"To the Painter of an Ill-drawn Picture Of Cleone, the Honourable Mrs. Thynne" by Anne Kingsmill Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661 - 1720)
And strange it is, thou hast not made her wield
A mortal Dart, or penetrating Shield,
Giving that Hand of disproportion'd size
The Pow'r, of which thou hast disarm'd her Eyes:
As if, like Amazons, she must oppose,
And into Lovers force her vanquish'd Foes.
Had to THEANOR thus her Form been shown
To gain her Heart, he had not lost his own;
Nor, by the gentlest Bands of Human Life,
At once secur'd the Mistress and the Wife.
For still CLEONE's Beauties are the same,
And what first lighten'd, still upholds his Flame.
Fain his Compassion wou'd thy Works approve,
Were pitying thee consistent with his Love,
Or with the Taste which Italy has wrought
In his refin'd and daily heighten'd Thought,
Where Poetry, or Painting find no place,
Unless perform'd with a superior Grace.
Cou'd but my Wish some Influence infuse,
Ne'er shou'd the Pencil, or the Sister-Muse
Be try'd by those who easily excuse:
But strictest Censors shou'd of either judge,
Applaud the Artist, and despise the Drudge.
Then never wou'd thy Colours have debas'd
CLEONE's Features, and her Charms defac'd:
Nor had my Pen (more subject to their Laws)
Assay'd to vindicate her Beauty's Cause.
A rigid Fear had kept us both in Awe,
Nor I compos'd, nor thou presum'd to draw;
But in CLEONE viewing with Surprize
That Excellence, to which we ne'er cou'd rise,
By less Attempts we safely might have gain'd
That humble Praise which neither has obtain'd,
Since to thy Shadowings, or my ruder Verse,
It is not giv'n to shew, or to rehearse
What Nature in CLEONE's Face has writ,
A soft Endearment, and a chearful Wit,
That all-subduing, that enliv'ning Air
By which, a sympathizing Joy we share,
For who forbears to smile, when smil'd on by the Fair?
Notes originally by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1713) are preceded by the notation [AF]. Notes by Myra Reynolds (1903) are credited with the notation [MR]. Uncredited notes are the addition of the page maintainer.