A Celebration of Women Writers

"On the Death of the Honourable Mr. James Thynne" 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. 156-162.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

On the Death of the Honourable Mr. James Thynne, younger Son to the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Weymouth.

Farewel, lov'd Youth! since 'twas the Will of Heaven
So soon to take, what had so late been giv'n;
And thus our Expectations to destroy,
Raising a Grief, where we had form'd a Joy;

[Page 157]

Who once believ'd, it was the Fates Design
In Him to double an Illustrious Line,
And in a second Channel spread that Race
Where ev'ry Virtue shines, with every Grace.
But we mistook, and 'twas not here below
That this engrafted Scion was to grow;
The Seats above requir'd him, that each Sphere
Might soon the Offspring of such Parents share.
Resign him then to the supream Intent,
You, who but Flesh to that blest Spirit lent.
Again disrob'd, let him to Bliss retire,
And only bear from you, amidst that Choir,
What, Precept or Example did inspire,
A Title to Rewards, from that rich store
Of Pious Works, which you have sent before.
Then lay the fading Reliques, which remain,
In the still Vault (excluding farther Pain);
Where Kings and Counsellors their Progress close,
And his renowned Ancestors repose;

[Page 158]

Where {1} COVENTRY withdrew All but in Name,
Leaving the World his Benefits and Fame;
Where his Paternal Predecessor lies, {2}
Once large of Thought, and rank'd among the Wise;
Whose Genius in Long-Leat we may behold
(A Pile, as noble as if he'd been told
By WEYMOUTH, it shou'd be in time possest,
And strove to suit the Mansion to the Guest.)
Nor favour'd, nor disgrac'd, there ESSEX sleeps, {3}
Nor SOMERSET his Master's Sorrows weeps, {4}
Who to the shelter of th' unenvy'd Grave
Convey'd the Monarch, whom he cou'd not save;
Though, Roman-like, his own less-valu'd Head
He proffer'd in that injur'd Martyr's stead.
Nor let that matchless {5} Female 'scape my Pen,
Who their Whole Duty taught to weaker Men,
And of each Sex the Two best Gifts enjoy'd,
The Skill to write, the Modesty to hide;

[Page 159]

Whilst none shou'd that Performance disbelieve,
Who led the Life, might the Directions give.
With such as These, whence He deriv'd his Blood,
Great on Record, or eminently Good,
Let Him be laid, till Death's long Night shall cease,
And breaking Glory interrupt the Peace.
Mean-while, ye living Parents, ease your Grief
By Tears, allow'd as Nature's due Relief.
For when we offer to the Pow'rs above,
Like You, the dearest Objects of our Love;
When, with that patient Saint in Holy Writ,
We've learnt at once to Grieve, and to Submit;
When contrite Sighs, like hallow'd Incense, rise
Bearing our Anguish to th' appeased Skies;
Then may those Show'rs, which take from Sorrow birth,
And still are tending tow'rd this baleful Earth,
O'er all our deep and parching Cares diffuse,
Like Eden's Springs, or Hermon's soft'ning Dews.

[Page 160]

But lend your Succours, ye Almighty Pow'rs,
For as the Wound, the Balsam too is Yours.
In vain are Numbers, or persuasive Speech,
What Poets write, or what the Pastors teach,
Till You, who make, again repair the Breach.
For when to Shades of Death our Joys are fled,
When for a Loss, like This, our Tears are shed,
None can revive the Heart, but who can raise the Dead.
But yet, my Muse, if thou hadst softer Verse
Than e'er bewail'd the melancholy Herse;
If thou hadst Pow'r to dissipate the Gloom
Inherent to the Solitary Tomb;
To rescue thence the Memory and Air
Of what we lately saw so Fresh, so Fair;
Then shou'd this Noble Youth thy Art engage
To shew the Beauties of his blooming Age,
The pleasing Light, that from his Eyes was cast,
Like hasty Beams, too Vigorous to last;

[Page 161]

Where the warm Soul, as on the Confines, lay
Ready for Flight, and for Eternal Day.
Gently dispos'd his Nature shou'd be shown,
And all the Mother's Sweetness made his Own.
The Father's Likeness was but faintly seen,
As ripen'd Fruits are figur'd by the Green.
Nor cou'd we hope, had he fulfill'd his Days,
He shou'd have reach'd WEYMOUTH's unequal'd Praise.
Still One distinguish'd plant each Lineage shews,
And all the rest beneath it's Stature grows.
Of Tully's Race but He possess'd the Tongue,
And none like Julius from the Caesars sprung.
Next, in his harmless Sports he shou'd be drawn
Urging his Courser, o'er the flow'ry Lawn;
Sprightly Himself, as the enliven'd Game,
Bold in the Chace, and full of gen'rous Flame;
Yet in the Palace, Tractable and Mild,
Perfect in all the Duties of a Child;

[Page 162]

Which fond Reflection pleases, whilst it pains,
Like penetrating Notes of sad Harmonious Strains.
Selected Friendships timely he began,
And siezed in Youth that best Delight of Man,
Leaving a growing Race to mourn his End,
Their earliest and their Ages promis'd Friend.
But far away alas! that Prospect moves,
Lost in the Clouds, like distant Hills and Groves,
Whilst with encreasing Steps we all pursue
What Time alone can bring to nearer View,
That Future State, which Darkness yet involves,
Known but by Death, which ev'ry Doubt resolves.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Notes:

Notes originally by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1713) are preceded by the notation [AF]. Notes by Myra Reynolds (1903) are credited with the notation [MR]. Uncredited notes are the addition of the page maintainer.

  1. [AF] Lord Keeper Coventry. [MR] Lord Keeper Coventry's second wife had four daughters, one of whom, Mary, married Sir Henry Frederick Thynne, the grandfather of the young James Thynne of the poem.
  2. [MR] Sir John Thynne, who bought Longleat in 1541, and was occupied in the years 1567-79 in building the mansion, said to have been the first well-built house in the kingdom. The whole of the outside and the interior from the hall to the chapel court were completed by him.
  3. [MR] Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, had a daughter, Frances, who was married (April, 1618) to Sir William Seymour, afterward Marquis of Hertford and Duke of Somerset. Their daughter, Mary Seymour, the second wife of Heneage Finch, the second Earl of Winchilsea, was the mother of Frances Finch, who married Viscount Thynne.
  4. [MR] The Sir William Seymour of the preceding note. He was one of the three lords who prayed the court to lay upon them, as the advisors of Charles I., the entire responsibility for his acts. Upon his execution, they gained permission to bury his body at Windsor. At the Restoration the dukedom of Somerset and the barony of Seymour (declared forfeit in 1552) were revived and conferred upon Sir William Seymour by act of Parliament September 13, 1660. He died October 24 of the same year.
  5. [AF] The Lady Packington supposed by many to be the Author of The Whole Duty of Man. [MR] Dorothy Coventry, daughter of Lord Keeper Coventry and wife of Sir John Packington, a lady of great learning and piety. The tradition connecting her name with The Whole Duty of Man was persistent. Her grandson caused to be engraved on her monument, "justly reputed the author of The Whole Duty of Man," but the proof seems strong that the book was really written by Richard Allestree. See Journal of Sacred Literature, July, 1864.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom