A Celebration of Women Writers

"A Pastoral Dialogue" 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. 179-183.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 179]

A Pastoral DIALOGUE between Two Shepherdesses.

Silvia.] Pretty Nymph! within this Shade,
Whilst the Flocks to rest are laid,
Whilst the World dissolves in Heat,
Take this cool, and flow'ry Seat:
And with pleasing Talk awhile
Let us two the Time beguile;
Tho' thou here no Shepherd see,
To encline his humble Knee,
Or with melancholy Lays
Sing thy dangerous Beauty's Praise.

  Dorinda.] Nymph! with thee I here wou'd stay,
But have heard, that on this Day,
Near those Beeches, scarce in view,
All the Swains some Mirth pursue:
To whose meeting now I haste.
Solitude do's Life but waste.

[Page 180]

  Silvia.] Prithee, but a Moment stay.

  Dorinda.] No! my Chaplet wou'd decay;
Ev'ry drooping Flow'r wou'd mourn,
And wrong the Face, they shou'd adorn.

  Silvia.] I can tell thee, tho' so Fair,
And dress'd with all that rural Care,
Most of the admiring Swains
Will be absent from the Plains.
Gay Sylvander in the Dance
Meeting with a shrew'd Mischance,
To his Cabin's now confin'd
By Mopsus, who the Strain did bind:
Damon through the Woods do's stray,
Where his Kids have lost their way:
Young Narcissus iv'ry Brow
Rac'd by a malicious Bough,
Keeps the girlish Boy from sight,
Till Time shall do his Beauty right.

[Page 181]

  Dorinda.] Where's Alexis?

  Silvia.]              He, alas!
Lies extended on the Grass;
Tears his Garland, raves, despairs,
Mirth and Harmony forswears;
Since he was this Morning shown,
That Delia must not be his Own.

  Dorinda.] Foolish Swain! such Love to place.

  Silvia.] On any but Dorinda's Face.

  Dorinda.] Hasty Nymph! I said not so.

  Silvia.] Nobut I thy Meaning know.
Ev'ry Shepherd thou wou'd'st have
Not thy Lover, but thy Slave;
To encrease thy captive Train,
Never to be lov'd again.

[Page 182]

But, since all are now away,
Prithee, but a Moment stay.

  Dorinda.] No; the Strangers, from the Vale,
Sure will not this Meeting fail;
Graceful one, the other Fair.
He too, with the pensive Air,
Told me, ere he came this way
He was wont to look more Gay.

  Silvia.] See! how Pride thy Heart inclines
To think, for Thee that Shepherd pines;
When those Words, that reach'd thy Ear,
Chloe was design'd to hear;
Chloe, who did near thee stand,
And his more speaking Looks command.

  Dorinda.] Now thy Envy makes me smile.
That indeed were worth his while:
Chloe next thyself decay'd,
And no more a courted Maid.

[Page 183]

  Silvia.] Next myself! Young Nymph, forbear.
Still the Swains allow me Fair,
Tho' not what I was that Day,
When Colon bore the Prize away;
When

  Dorinda.] Oh, hold! that Tale will last,
Till all the Evening Sports are past;
Till no Streak of Light is seen,
Nor Footstep prints the flow'ry Green.
What thou wert, I need not know,
What I am, must haste to show.
Only this I now discern
From the things, thou'd'st have me learn,
That Woman-kind's peculiar Joys
From past, or present Beauties rise.

[Page 184]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom