The Answer

By Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea 1661–1720 Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

To Pope’s Impromptu

Disarmed with so genteel an air,
   The contest I give o’er;
Yet, Alexander, have a care,
   And shock the sex no more.
We rule the world our life’s whole race,
   Men but assume that right;
First slaves to ev’ry tempting face,
   Then martyrs to our spite.
You of one Orpheus sure have read,
   Who would like you have writ
Had he in London town been bred,
   And polished too his wit;
But he poor soul thought all was well,
   And great should be his fame,
When he had left his wife in hell,
   And birds and beasts could tame.
Yet venturing then with scoffing rhymes
   The women to incense,
Resenting heroines of those times
   Soon punished his offense.
And as the Hebrus rolled his skull,
   And harp besmeared with blood,
They clashing as the waves grew full,
   Still harmonized the flood.
But you our follies gently treat,
   And spin so fine the thread,
You need not fear his awkward fate,
   The lock won’t cost the head.
Our admiration you command
   For all that’s gone before;
What next we look for at your hand
   Can only raise it more.
Yet sooth the ladies I advise
   (As me too pride has wrought)
We’re born to wit, but to be wise
   By admonitions taught.

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Poet Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea 1661–1720

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan