A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Prevalence of Custom" 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. 22-24.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 22]

The Prevalence of Custom.

A Female, to a Drunkard marry'd,
When all her other Arts miscarry'd,
Had yet one Stratagem to prove him,
And from good Fellowship remove him;
Finding him overcome with Tipple,
And weak, as Infant at the Nipple,
She to a Vault transports the Lumber,
And there expects his breaking Slumber.
A Table she with Meat provided,
And rob'd in Black, stood just beside it;
Seen only, by one glim'ring Taper,
That blewly burnt thro' misty Vapor.
At length he wakes, his Wine digested,
And of her Phantomship requested,
To learn the Name of that close Dwelling,
And what offends his Sight and Smelling;

[Page 23]

And of what Land she was the Creature,
With outspread Hair, and ghastly Feature?
Mortal, quoth she, (to Darkness hurry'd)
Know, that thou art both Dead and Bury'd;
Convey'd, last Night, from noisie Tavern,
To this thy still, and dreary Cavern.
What strikes thy Nose, springs from the Shatters
Of Bodies kill'd with Cordial Waters,
Stronger than other Scents and quicker,
As urg'd by more spirituous Liquor.
My self attend on the Deceas'd,
When all their Earthly Train's releas'd;
And in this Place of endless Quiet,
My Bus'ness is, to find them Diet;
To shew all sorts of Meats, and Salades,
Till I'm acquainted with their Palates;
But that once known, then less suffices.
Quoth he (and on his Crupper rises)
Thou Guardian of these lower Regions,
Thou Providor for countless Legions,

[Page 24]

Thou dark, but charitable Crony,
Far kinder than my Tisiphony,
Who of our Victuals thus art Thinking,
If thou hast Care too of our Drinking,
A Bumper fetch: Quoth she, a Halter,
Since nothing less thy Tone can alter,
Or break this Habit thou'st been getting,
To keep thy Throat in constant wetting.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom