A Celebration of Women Writers

"To the Painter of an Ill-drawn Picture Of Cleone, the Honourable Mrs. Thynne" 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. p. 176-178.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

To the Painter of an ill-drawn Picture of CLEONE, the Honourable Mrs. Thynne. {1}

Sooner I'd praise a Cloud which Light beguiles,
Than thy rash Hand which robs this Face of Smiles;
And does that sweet and pleasing Air controul,
Which to us paints the fair CLEONE's Soul.
'Tis vain to boast of Rules or labour'd Art;
I miss the Look that captivates my Heart,
Attracts my Love, and tender Thoughts inspires;
Nor can my Breast be warm'd by common Fires;
Nor can ARDELIA love but where she first admires.
Like Jupiter's, thy Head was sure in Pain
When this Virago struggl'd in thy Brain;

[Page 177]

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:

[Page 178]

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?

[Page 179]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Notes:

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.

  1. [MR] The "Theanor" of this poem, Henry Thynne (cf. A Description of one of the Pieces of Tapestry at Longleate), son of Viscount Weymouth, died, vita patris, 1708.; "Cleone" is his wife Grace, the daughter of Sir George Stroud. This poem was apparently written not long after the marriage of Henry Thynne and Grace Stroud, which took place in 1695.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom