Anne Kingsmill Finch

(April 1661 - 5 August 1720 / Sydmonton, Hampshire)

A Pastoral Dialogue Between Two Shepherdesses


[Silvia] Pretty Nymph! within this Shade,
Whilst the Flocks to rest are laid,
Whilst the World dissolves in Heat,
Take this cool, and flow'ry Seat:
And with pleasing Talk awhile
Let us two the Time beguile;
Tho' thou here no Shepherd see,
To encline his humble Knee,
Or with melancholy Lays
Sing thy dangerous Beauty's Praise.


[Dorinda] Nymph! with thee I here wou'd stay,
But have heard, that on this Day,
Near those Beeches, scarce in view,
All the Swains some Mirth pursue:
To whose meeting now I haste.
Solitude do's Life but waste.

[Silvia] Prithee, but a Moment stay.


[Dorinda] No! my Chaplet wou'd decay;
Ev'ry drooping Flow'r wou'd mourn,
And wrong the Face, they shou'd adorn.


[Silvia] I can tell thee, tho' so Fair,
And dress'd with all that rural Care,
Most of the admiring Swains
Will be absent from the Plains.
Gay Sylvander in the Dance
Meeting with a shrew'd Mischance,
To his Cabin's now confin'd
By Mopsus, who the Strain did bind:
Damon through the Woods do's stray,
Where his Kids have lost their way:
Young Narcissus iv'ry Brow
Rac'd by a malicious Bough,
Keeps the girlish Boy from sight,
Till Time shall do his Beauty right.

[Dorinda] Where's Alexis?


[Silvia] –He, alas!
Lies extended on the Grass;
Tears his Garland, raves, despairs,
Mirth and Harmony forswears;
Since he was this Morning shown,
That Delia must not be his Own.


[Dorinda] Foolish Swain! such Love to place.


[Silvia] On any but Dorinda's Face.


[Dorinda] Hasty Nymph! I said not so.


[Silvia] No–but I thy Meaning know.
Ev'ry Shepherd thou wou'd'st have
Not thy Lover, but thy Slave;
To encrease thy captive Train,
Never to be lov'd again.
But, since all are now away,
Prithee, but a Moment stay.


[Dorinda] No; the Strangers, from the Vale,
Sure will not this Meeting fail;
Graceful one, the other Fair.
He too, with the pensive Air,
Told me, ere he came this way
He was wont to look more Gay.


[Silvia] See! how Pride thy Heart inclines
To think, for Thee that Shepherd pines;
When those Words, that reach'd thy Ear,
Chloe was design'd to hear;
Chloe, who did near thee stand,
And his more speaking Looks command.


[Dorinda] Now thy Envy makes me smile.
That indeed were worth his while:
Chloe next thyself decay'd,
And no more a courted Maid.

[Silvia] Next myself! Young Nymph, forbear.
Still the Swains allow me Fair,
Tho' not what I was that Day,
When Colon bore the Prize away;
When–

[Dorinda] –Oh, hold! that Tale will last,
Till all the Evening Sports are past;
Till no Streak of Light is seen,
Nor Footstep prints the flow'ry Green.
What thou wert, I need not know,
What I am, must haste to show.
Only this I now discern
From the things, thou'd'st have me learn,
That Woman-kind's peculiar Joys
From past, or present Beauties rise.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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