A Celebration of Women Writers

"A Letter to the Same Person" 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. 278-279.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 278]

A LETTER to the same Person.

Sure of Success, to You I boldly write,
Whilst Love do's ev'ry tender Line endite;
Love, who is justly President of Verse,
Which all his Servants write, or else rehearse.
Phoebus (howe'er mistaken Poets dream)
Ne'er us'd a Verse, till Love became his Theme.
To his stray'd Son, still as his Passion rose,
He rais'd his hasty Voice in clam'rous Prose:
But when in Daphne he wou'd Love inspire,
He woo'd in Verse, set to his silver Lyre.

  The Trojan Prince did pow'rful Numbers join
To sing of War; but Love was the Design:
And sleeping Troy again in Flames was drest,
To light the Fires in pitying Dido's Breast.

  Love without Poetry's refining Aid
Is a dull Bargain, and but coarsely made;

[Page 279]

Nor e'er cou'd Poetry successful prove,
Or touch the Soul, but when the Sense was Love.

  Oh! cou'd they both in Absence now impart
Skill to my Hand, but to describe my Heart;
Then shou'd you see impatient of your Stay
Soft Hopes contend with Fears of sad Delay;
Love in a thousand fond Endearments there,
And lively Images of You appear.
But since the Thoughts of a Poetick Mind
Will never be to Syllables confin'd;
And whilst to fix what is conceiv'd, we try,
The purer Parts evaporate and dye:
You must perform what they want force to do,
And think what your ARDELIA thinks of you.

  October 21, 1690.

[Page 280]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom