A Celebration of Women Writers

"Reformation." 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. 227-229.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 227]


A Gentleman, most wretched in his Lot,
A wrangling and reproving Wife had got,
Who, tho' she curb'd his Pleasures, and his Food,
Call'd him My Dear, and did it for his Good,
Ills to prevent; She of all Ills the worst,
So wisely Froward, and so kindly Curst.
The Servants too experiment her Lungs,
And find they've Breath to serve a thousand Tongues.
Nothing went on; for her eternal Clack
Still rectifying, set all Matters back;
Nor Town, nor Neighbours, nor the Court cou'd please,
But furnish'd Matter for her sharp Disease.
To distant Plains at length he gets her down,
With no Affairs to manage of her own;
Hoping from that unactive State to find
A calmer Habit, grown upon her Mind:

[Page 228]

But soon return'd he hears her at his Door,
As noisy and tempestuous as before;
Yet mildly ask'd, How she her Days had spent
Amidst the Quiet of a sweet Content,
Where Shepherds 'tend their Flocks, and Maids their Pails,
And no harsh Mistress domineers, or rails?
Not rail! she criesWhy, I that had no share
In their Concerns, cou'd not the Trollops spare;
But told 'em, they were SlutsAnd for the Swains,
My Name a Terror to them still remains;
So often I reprov'd their slothful Faults,
And with such Freedom told 'em all my Thoughts,
That I no more amongst them cou'd reside.
Has then, alas! the Gentleman reply'd,
One single Month so much their patience try'd?
Where you by Day, and but at Seasons due,
Cou'd with your Clamours their Defects pursue;

[Page 229]

How had they shrunk, and justly been afraid,
Had they with me one Curtain Lecture heard!
Yet enter Madam, and resume your Sway;
Who can't Command, must silently Obey.
In secret here let endless Faults be found,
Till, like Reformers who in States abound,
You all to Ruin bring, and ev'ry Part confound.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom