A Celebration of Women Writers

"Fragment at Tunbridge-Wells" 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. 229-230.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Fragment at Tunbridge-Wells.

FOR He, that made, must new create us,
Ere Seneca, or Epictetus, {1}
With all their serious Admonitions,
Can, for the Spleen, prove good Physicians. {2}
The Heart's unruly Palpitation
Will not be laid by a Quotation;
Nor will the Spirits move the lighter
For the most celebrated Writer.
Sweats, Swoonings, and convulsive Motions
Will not be cur'd by Words, and Notions.

[Page 230]

Then live, old Brown! with thy Chalybeats,{3}
Which keep us from becoming Idiots.
At Tunbridge let us still be Drinking, {4}
Though 'tis the Antipodes to Thinking:
Such Hurry, whilst the Spirit's flying,
Such Stupefaction, when 'tis dying;
Yet these, and not sententious Papers,
Must brighten Life, and cure the Vapours, &c.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Notes:

  1. Seneca and Epictetus were Stoic philosophers of Rome and Greece.
  2. Anne Finch suffered from recurrent bouts of depression, also known as 'spleen', 'melancholy', or the 'vapours'.
  3. Chalybeats were liquids or medicines impregnated with salts of iron or tasting of iron.
  4. Tunbridge-Wells was a popular health resort in Kent, where people went to take the waters.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom