Sunday, February 11, 2007


Six centuries, twice told, are now complete,
Since Merlin liv'd on this terrestrial seat.
Knowledge appear'd but dawning to my sight;
She blazed on Newton with meridian light.
Yet the faint glimm'rings which my genius taught,
Beyond the ken of human thought.
What I by mere mechanic pow'rs achiev'd,
Th'effects of magic, then most believ'd.
To Stonehenge let the sons of art repair,
and view the wonders I erected there;
Try, if their skill improv'd, mine e'er can foil;
Restore the giant's dance t'Hiberian soil.
Nor in geometry excell'd alone;
But other sciences to me were known.
I study'd Nature through her various ways;
And chaunted to this harp prophetic lays.
To Cader Ydris oft I took my ways;
Rose with the sun, toil'd up th'ascent all day;
But scarce could reach the mountain's tow'ring height,
E're radiant Vesper usher'd in the night.
The summit gain'd, I sought with naked eye,
To penetrate the wonders of the sky.
No telescopic glass known in that age,
To assist the optics of the curious sage.
Though lov'd astronomy oft charm'd my mind,
I now erroneous all my notions find.
I thought the bright sol around our globe had run,
Nor knew earth's motion, nor the central sun,
And had I known, cou'd I believe have gain'd,
When Ignorance and Superstition reign'd?
Unseen my me, attraction's might force,
And how fierce comets run their stated course;
Surprising scenes! by Heav'n reserv'd in store,
For its own fav'rite, Newton, to explore.
With faculties enlarg'd, he's gone to prove,
The laws and motions of yon worlds above;
And the vast circuits of th'expanse survey;
View solar systems in the Milky Way
My spirit too through ether wings its flight,
Discovering Truths deny'd by mortal sight;
Transported, hovers o'er my native isle,
Where arts improve, and Peace and Plenty smile.

Ann Finch (1661–1720)

1 comment:

Littlestone said...

The poet Ann (or Anne) Finch, countess of Winchilsea, was a well-known figure in English literary circles at the turn of the 18th century. She was one of the foremost women poets of her era and a friend of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.