Anne Kingsmill Finch

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

A Poem For The Birth-Day Of The Right Honble The Lady Catharine Tufton


'Tis fit SERENA shou'd be sung.
High-born SERENA, Fair and Young,
Shou'd be of ev'ry Muse and Voice
The pleasing, and applauded Choice.
But as the Meanest of the Show
Do First in all Processions go:
So, let my Steps pursue that Swain
The humblest of th' inspired Train;
Whose well-meant Verse did just appear,
To lead on the preceding Year:
So let my Pen, the next in Fame,
Now wait on fair SERENA's Name;
The second Tribute gladly pay,
And hail this blest returning Day.
But let it not attempt to raise
Or rightly speak SERENA's Praise:
Since with more ease we might declare
How Great her Predecessors were;
How Great that more distinguish'd Peer,
To whom she owes her Being here;
In whom our Britain lets us see
What once they were, and still shou'd be;
As, when the earliest Race was drown'd,
Some Patterns, from amongst them found,
Were kept to shew succeeding Times
Their Excellence without their Crimes:
More easily we might express
What Vertues do her Mother dress;
What does her Form and Mind adorn,
Of whom th' engaging Nymph was born;
What Piety, what generous Love,
Does the enlarged Bosom move
Of Her, whose Fav'rite she appears,
Who more than as a Niece endears.
Such full Perfections obvious lie,
And strike, at first, a Poet's Eye.
Deep Lines of Honour all can hit,
Or mark out a superior Wit;
Consummate Goodness all can show,
And where such Graces shine below:
But the more tender Strokes to trace,
T' express the Promise of a Face,
When but the Dawnings of the Mind
We from the Air unripen'd find;
Which alt'ring, as new Moments rise,
The Pen or Pencil's Art defies;
When Flesh and Blood in Youth appears,
Polish'd like what our Marble wears;
Fresh as that Shade of op'ning Green,
Which first upon our Groves is seen;
Enliven'd by a harmless Fire,
And brighten'd by each gay Desire;
These nicer Touches wou'd demand
A Cowley's or a Waller's Hand,
T'explain, with undisputed Art,
What 'tis affects th'enlighten'd Heart,
When ev'ry darker Thought gives way,
Whilst blooming Beauty we survey;
To shew how All, that's soft and sweet,
Does in the fair SERENA meet;
To tell us, with a sure Presage,
The Charms of her maturer Age.
When Hothfeild shall (as heretofore {4}
From its far-sought and virtuous Store
It Families of great Renown
Did with illustrious Hymens crown)
When Hothfeild shall such Treasure know,
As fair SERENA to bestow:
Then shou'd some Muse of loftier Wing
The Triumphs of that Season sing;
Describe the Pains, the Hopes, the Fears
Of noble Youths, th'ambitious Cares
Of Fathers, the long-fram'd Design,
To add such Splendour to their Line,
Whilst all shall strive for such a Bride
So Educated, and Ally'd.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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