A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Shepherd Piping to the Fishes" 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. 27-29.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 27]

The Shepherd Piping to the Fishes.

A Shepherd seeking with his Lass
  To shun the Heat of Day;
Was seated on the shadow'd Grass,
Near which a flowing Stream did pass,
  And Fish within it play.

The Phillis he an Angle gave,
  And bid her toss the Line;
For sure, quoth he, each Fish must have,
Who do's not seek to be thy Slave,
  A harder Heart than mine.

Assemble here you watry Race,
  Transportedly he cries;
And if, when you behold her Face,
You e'er desire to quit the Place,
  You see not with my Eyes.

But you, perhaps, are by the Ear,
  More easie to be caught;

[Page 28]

If so, I have my Bagpipe here,
The only Musick that's not dear,
  Nor in great Cities bought.

So sprightly was the Tune he chose,
  And often did repeat;
That Phillis, tho' not up she rose,
Kept time with every thrilling Close,
  And jigg'd upon her Seat.

But not a Fish wou'd nearer draw,
  No Harmony or Charms,
Their frozen Blood, it seems, cou'd thaw,
Nor all they heard, nor all they saw
  Cou'd woo them to such Terms.

The angry Shepherd in a Pett,
  Gives o'er his wheedling Arts,
And from his Shoulder throws the Net,
Resolv'd he wou'd a Supper get
  By Force, if not by Parts.

Thus stated Laws are always best
  To rule the vulgar Throng,

[Page 29]

Who grow more Stubborn when Carest,
Or with soft Rhetorick addrest,
  If taking Measures wrong.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom