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A Description of One of the Pieces of Tapistry at Long-Leat, made after the famous Cartons of Raphael; in which, Elymas the Sorcerer is miraculously struck Blind by St. Paul before Sergius Paulus, the Proconsul of Asia.

Inscribed to the Honble HENRY THYNNE, under the Name of THEANOR.
[ed.] Henry Thynne ("Theanor") (1675-1708) married Grace Strode ("Cleone"), the daughter and heiress of Sir George Strode and Grace FitzJames, in 1695. (AH)

1 THUS Tapistry of old, the Walls adorn'd,
2 Ere noblest Dames the artful Shuttle scorn'd:
3 Arachne, then, with Pallas did contest,
4 And scarce th' Immortal Work was judg'd the Best.
5 Nor valorous Actions, then, in Books were sought;
6 But all the Fame, that from the Field was brought,
7 Employ'd the Loom, where the kind Consort wrought:
8 Whilst sharing in the Toil, she shar'd the Fame,
9 And with the Heroes mixt her interwoven Name.
10 No longer, Females to such Praise aspire,
11 And seldom now We rightly do admire.
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12 So much, All Arts are by the Men engross'd,
13 And Our few Talents unimprov'd or cross'd;
14 Even I, who on this Subject wou'd compose,
15 Which the fam'd Urbin for his Pencil chose,
16 (And here, in tinctur'd Wool we now behold
17 Correctly follow'd in each Shade, and Fold)
18 Shou'd prudently from the Attempt withdraw,
19 But Inclination proves the stronger Law:
20 And tho' the Censures of the World pursue
21 These hardy Flights, whilst his Designs I view;
22 My burden'd Thoughts, which labour for a Vent,
23 Urge me t'explain in Verse, what by each Face is meant.
24 Of SERGIUS first, upon his lofty Seat,
25 With due Regard our Observations treat;
26 Who, whilst he thence on ELYMAS looks down,
27 Contracts his pensive Brow into a Frown,
28 With Looks inquisitive he seeks the Cause
29 Why Nature acts not still by Natures Laws.
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30 'Twas but a Moment, since the Sorcerer's Sight
31 Receiv'd the Day, and blaz'd infernal Light:
32 Untouch'd, the Optiques in a Moment fail'd,
33 Their sierce Illumination quench'd, or veil'd;
34 Throughout th' Extention of his ample Sway,
35 No Fact, like this, the Roman cou'd survey,
36 Who, with spread Hands, invites Mankind to gaze,
37 And sympathize in the profound Amaze.
38 To share his Wonder every one combines,
39 By diff'rent Aspects shewn, and diff'rent Signs.
40 A comely Figure, near the Consul plac'd,
41 With serious Mildness and Instruction grac'd,
42 To Others seems imparting what he saw,
43 And shews the Wretch with reverential Awe:
44 Whilst a more eager Person next we find,
45 Viewing the Wizard with a Sceptick's Mind;
46 Who his fixt Eyes so near him do's apply,
47 We think, enliv'ning Beams might from them fly,
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48 To re-inkindle, by so just an Aim,
49 The radial Sparks, but lately check'd and tame,
50 As Tapers new put-out will catch approaching Flame.
51 But dire Surprize th' Enquiry do's succeed,
52 Whilst full Conviction in his Face we read,
53 And He, who question'd, now deplores the Deed.
54 To sacred PAUL a younger Figure guides,
55 With seeming Warmth, which still in Youth presides;
56 And pointing forward, Elder Men directs,
57 In Him, to note the Cause of these Effects,
58 Upon whose Brow do's evidently shine
59 Deputed Pow'r, t' inflict the Wrath Divine
60 Whilst sad and solemn, suited to their Years,
61 Each venerable Countenance appears,
62 Where, yet we see Astonishment reveal'd,
63 Tho' by the Aged often 'tis conceal'd;
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64 Who the Emotions of their Souls disguize,
65 Lest by admiring they shou'd seem less Wise.
66 But to thy Portrait, ELYMAS, we come
67 Whose Blindness almost strikes the Poet dumb;
68 And whilst She vainly to Describe thee seeks,
69 The Pen but traces, where the Pencil speaks.
70 Of Darkness to be felt, our Scriptures write,
71 Thou Darken'd seem'st, as thou woud'st feel the Light;
72 And with projected Limbs, betray'st a Dread,
73 Of unseen Mischiefs, levell'd at thy Head.
74 Thro' all thy Frame such Stupefaction reigns,
75 As Night it self were sunk into thy Veins:
76 Nor by the Eyes alone thy Loss we find,
77 Each Lineament helps to proclaim thee Blind.
78 An artful Dimness far diffus'd we grant,
79 And failing seem all Parts through One important Want.
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80 Oh! mighty RAPHAEL, justly sure renown'd!
81 Since in thy Works such Excellence is found;
82 No Wonder, if with Nature Thou'rt at strife,
83 Who thus can paint the Negatives of Life;
84 And Deprivation more expressive make,
85 Than the most perfect Draughts, which Others take.
86 Whilst to this Chiefest Figure of the Piece,
87 All that surround it, Heightnings do encrease:
88 In some, Amazement by Extreams is shewn,
89 Who viewing his clos'd Lids, extend their Own.
90 Nor can, by that, enough their Thoughts express,
91 Which op'ning Mouths seem ready to confess.
92 Thus stand the LICTORS gazing on a Deed,
93 Which do's all humane Chastisements exceed;
94 Enfeebl'd seem their Instruments of smart,
95 When keener Words can swifter Ills impart.
96 Thou, BARNABAS, though Last, not least our Care,
97 Seem'st equally employ'd in Praise, and Prayer,
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98 Acknowledging th' Omnipotent Decree,
99 Yet soft Compassion in thy Face we see:
100 Whilst lifted Hands implore a kind Relief,
101 Tho' no Impatience animates thy Grief;
102 But mild Suspence and Charity benign,
103 Do all th' excesses of thy Looks confine.
104 Thus far, our slow Imagination goes:
105 Wou'd the more skill'd THE ANOR his disclose;
106 Expand the Scene, and open to our Sight
107 What to his nicer Judgment gives Delight;
108 Whose soaring Mind do's to Perfections climb,
109 Nor owns a Relish, but for Things sublime:
110 Then, wou'd the Piece fresh Beauties still present,
111 Nor Length of Time wou'd leave the Eye content:
112 As Moments, Hours; as Hours the Days wou'd seem,
113 Observing here, taught to observe by HIM.

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Title (in Source Edition): A Description of One of the Pieces of Tapistry at Long-Leat, made after the famous Cartons of Raphael; in which, Elymas the Sorcerer is miraculously struck Blind by St. Paul before Sergius Paulus, the Proconsul of Asia. Inscribed to the Honble HENRY THYNNE, under the Name of THEANOR.
Themes: objects
Genres: heroic couplet

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Source edition

Miscellany poems, on several occasions: Written by the Right Honble Anne, Countess of Winchilsea. London: printed for J. B. and sold by Benj. Tooke, William Taylor, and James Round, 1713, pp. 66-72. [8],390p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T94539; Foxon pp. 274-5; OTA K076314.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Anne Finch (née Kingsmill), countess of Winchilsea