A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Tradesman and the Scholar" 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. 204-208.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

The Tradesman and the Scholar.

A Citizen of mighty Pelf,
But much a Blockhead, in himself
Disdain'd a Man of shining Parts,
Master of Sciences and Arts,
Who left his Book scarce once a day
For sober Coffee, Smoak, or Tea;

[Page 205]

Nor spent more Money in the Town
Than bought, when need requir'd, a Gown;
Which way of Living much offends
The Alderman, who gets and spends,
And grudges him the Vital Air,
Who drives no Trade, and takes no Care.
Why Bookworm! to him once he cry'd,
Why, setting thus the World aside,
Dost thou thy useless Time consume,
Enclos'd within a lonely Room,
And poring damnify thy Wit,
'Till not for Men, or Manners fit ?
Hop'st thou, with urging of thy Vein,
To spin a Fortune from thy Brain?
Or gain a Patron, that shall raise
Thy solid State, for empty Praise?
No; trust not to your Soothings vile,
Receiv'd per me's the only Stile.
Your Book's but frown'd on by My Lord;
If Mine's uncross'd, I reach his Board.

[Page 206]

In slighting Yours, he shuts his Hand;
Protracting Mine, devolves the Land.
Then let Advantage be the Test,
Which of us Two ev'n Writes the best.
Besides, I often Scarlet wear,
And strut to Church, just next the Mayor.
Whilst rusty Black, with Inch of Band,
Is all the Dress you understand;
Who in the Pulpit thresh to Please,
Whilst I below can snore at Ease.
Yet, if you prove me there a Sinner,
I let you go without a Dinner.
This Prate was so beneath the Sence
Of One, who Wisdom cou'd dispense,
Unheard, or unreturn'd it past:
But War now lays the City waste,
And plunder'd Goods profusely fell
By length of Pike, not length of Ell.
Abroad th' Inhabitants are forc'd,
From Shops, and Trade, and Wealth divorc'd.

[Page 207]

The Student leaving but his Book,
The Tumult of the Place forsook.
In Foreign Parts, One tells his Tale,
How Rich he'd been, how quick his Sale,
Which do's for scanty Alms prevail.
The Chance of War whilst he deplores,
And dines at Charitable Doors;
The Man of Letters, known by Fame,
Was welcom'd, wheresoe'er he came.
Still, Potentates entreat his Stay,
Whose Coaches meet him on the Way:
And Universities contest
Which shall exceed, or use him best.
Amaz'd the Burgomaster sees
On Foot, and scorn'd such Turns as these;
And sighing, now deplores too late
His cumb'rous Trash, and shallow Pate:
Since loaded but with double Chest
Of learned Head, and honest Breast,

[Page 208]

The Scholar moves from Place to Place,
And finds in every Climate Grace.

Wit and the Arts, on that Foundation rais'd,
(Howe'er the Vulgar are with Shows amaz'd)
Is all that recommends, or can be justly prais'd.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom