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By Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch

Fair tree! for thy delightful shade

‘Tis just that some return be made;

Sure some return is due from me

To thy cool shadows, and to thee.

When thou to birds dost shelter give,

Thou music dost from them receive;

If travellers beneath thee stay

Till storms have worn themselves away,

That time in praising thee they spend

And thy protecting pow’r commend.

The shepherd here, from scorching freed,

Tunes to thy dancing leaves his reed;

Whilst his lov’d nymph, in thanks, bestows

Her flow’ry chaplets on thy boughs.

Shall I then only silent be,

And no return be made by me?

No; let this wish upon thee wait,

And still to flourish be thy fate.

To future ages may’st thou stand

Untouch’d by the rash workman’s hand,

Till that large stock of sap is spent,

Which gives thy summer’s ornament;

Till the fierce winds, that vainly strive

To shock thy greatness whilst alive,

Shall on thy lifeless hour attend,

Prevent the axe, and grace thy end;

Their scatter’d strength together call

And to the clouds proclaim thy fall;

Who then their ev’ning dews may spare

When thou no longer art their care,

But shalt, like ancient heroes, burn,

And some bright hearth be made thy urn.


  • Nature

Poet Bio

Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch
Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea was well-educated for a woman of her time. She had the privilege of living in the court of Charles II by serving as a maid of honor to Mary of Modena. During this time Finch secretly wrote poetry and published anonymously. Miscellany Poems on Several Occasions appeared in 1713, the first publication that publicly acknowledged her authorship. In 1712 her husband unexpectedly inherited the title of Earl, making Finch the Countess of Winchilsea.

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