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A Pindarick Poem.

1 WHat art thou, SPLEEN, which ev'ry thing dost ape?
2 Thou Proteus to abus'd Mankind,
3 Who never yet thy real Cause cou'd find,
4 Or fix thee to remain in one continued Shape.
5 Still varying thy perplexing Form,
6 Now a Dead Sea thou'lt represent,
7 A Calm of stupid Discontent,
8 Then, dashing on the Rocks wilt rage into a Storm.
9 Trembling sometimes thou dost appear,
10 Dissolv'd into a Panick Fear;
11 On Sleep intruding dost thy Shadows spread,
12 Thy gloomy Terrours round the silent Bed,
13 And croud with boading Dreams the Melancholy Head:
14 Or, when the Midnight Hour is told,
15 And drooping Lids thou still dost waking hold,
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16 Thy fond Delusions cheat the Eyes,
17 Before them antick Spectres dance,
18 Unusual Fires their pointed Heads advance,
19 And airy Phantoms rise.
20 Such was the monstrous Vision seen,
21 When Brutus (now beneath his Cares opprest,
22 And all Rome's Fortunes rolling in his Breast,
23 Before Philippi's latest Field,
24 Before his Fate did to Octavius lead)
25 Was vanquish'd by the Spleen.
26 Falsly, the Mortal Part we blame
27 Of our deprest, and pond'rous Frame,
28 Which, till the First degrading Sin
29 Let Thee, its dull Attendant, in,
30 Still with the Other did comply,
31 Nor clogg'd the Active Soul, dispos'd to fly,
32 And range the Mansions of it's native Sky.
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33 Nor, whilst in his own Heaven he dwelt,
34 Whilst Man his Paradice possest,
35 His fertile Garden in the fragrant East,
36 And all united Odours smelt,
37 No armed Sweets, until thy Reign,
38 Cou'd shock the Sense, or in the Face
39 A flusht, unhandsom Colour place.
40 Now the Jonquille o'ercomes the feeble Brain;
41 We faint beneath the Aromatick Pain,
42 Till some offensive Scent thy Pow'rs appease,
43 And Pleasure we resign for short, and nauseous Ease.
44 In ev'ry One thou dost possess,
45 New are thy Motions, and thy Dress:
46 Now in some Grove a list'ning Friend
47 Thy false Suggestions must attend,
48 Thy whisper'd Griefs, thy fancy'd Sorrows hear,
49 Breath'd in a Sigh, and witness'd by a Tear;
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50 Whilst in the light, and vulgar Croud,
51 Thy Slaves, more clamorous and loud,
52 By Laughters unprovok'd, thy Influence too confess.
53 In the Imperious Wife thou Vapours art,
54 Which from o'erheated Passions rise
55 In Clouds to the attractive Brain,
56 Until descending thence again,
57 Thro' the o'er-cast, and show'ring Eyes,
58 Upon her Husband's soften'd Heart,
59 He the disputed Point must yield,
60 Something resign of the contested Field;
61 Till Lordly Man, born to Imperial Sway,
62 Compounds for Peace, to make that Right away,
63 And Woman, arm'd with Spleen, do's servilely Obey.
64 The Fool, to imitate the Wits,
65 Complains of thy pretended Fits,
66 And Dulness, born with him, wou'd lay
67 Upon thy accidental Sway;
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68 Because, sometimes, thou dost presume
69 Into the ablest Heads to come:
70 That, often, Men of Thoughts refin'd,
71 Impatient of unequal Sence,
72 Such slow Returns, where they so much dispense,
73 Retiring from the Croud, are to thy Shades inclin'd.
74 O'er me alas! thou dost too much prevail:
75 I feel thy Force, whilst I against thee rail;
76 I feel my Verse decay, and my crampt Numbers fail.
77 Thro' thy black Jaundice I all Objects see,
78 As Dark, and Terrible as Thee,
79 My Lines decry'd, and my Employment thought
80 An useless Folly, or presumptuous Fault:
81 Whilst in the Muses Paths I stray,
82 Whilst in their Groves, and by their secret Springs
83 My Hand delights to trace unusual Things,
84 And deviates from the known, and common way;
85 Nor will in fading Silks compose
86 Faintly th' inimitable Rose,
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87 Fill up an ill-drawn Bird, or paint on Glass
88 The Sov'reign's blurr'd and undistinguish'd Face,
89 The threatning Angel, and the speaking Ass.
90 Patron thou art to ev'ry gross Abuse,
91 The sullen Husband's feign'd Excuse,
92 When the ill Humour with his Wife he spends,
93 And bears recruited Wit, and Spirits to his Friends.
94 The Son of Bacchus pleads thy Pow'r,
95 As to the Glass he still repairs,
96 Pretends but to remove thy Cares,
97 Snatch from thy Shades one gay, and smiling Hour,
98 And drown thy Kingdom in a purple Show'r.
99 When the Coquette, whom ev'ry Fool admires,
100 Wou'd in Variety be Fair,
101 And, changing hastily the Scene
102 From Light, Impertinent, and Vain,
103 Assumes a soft, a melancholy Air,
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104 And of her Eyes rebates the wand'ring Fires,
105 The careless Posture, and the Head reclin'd,
106 The thoughtful, and composed Face,
107 Proclaiming the withdrawn, the absent Mind,
108 Allows the Fop more liberty to gaze,
109 Who gently for the tender Cause inquires;
110 The Cause, indeed, is a Defect in Sense,
111 Yet is the Spleen alledg'd, and still the dull Pretence.
112 But these are thy fantastick Harms,
113 The Tricks of thy pernicious Stage,
114 Which do the weaker Sort engage;
115 Worse are the dire Effects of thy more pow'rful Charms.
116 By Thee Religion, all we know,
117 That shou'd enlighten here below,
118 Is veil'd in Darkness, and perplext
119 With anxious Doubts, with endless Scruples vext,
120 And some Restraint imply'd from each perverted Text.
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121 Whilst Touch not, Taste not, what is freely giv'n,
122 Is but thy niggard Voice, disgracing bounteous Heav'n.
123 From Speech restrain'd, by thy Deceits abus'd,
124 To Desarts banish'd, or in Cells reclus'd,
125 Mistaken Vot'ries to the Pow'rs Divine,
126 Whilst they a purer Sacrifice design,
127 Do but the Spleen obey, and worship at thy Shrine.
128 In vain to chase thee ev'ry Art we try,
129 In vain all Remedies apply,
130 In vain the Indian Leaf infuse,
131 Or the parch'd Eastern Berry bruise;
132 Some pass, in vain, those Bounds, and nobler Liquors use.
133 Now Harmony, in vain, we bring,
134 Inspire the Flute, and touch the String.
135 From Harmony no help is had;
136 Musick but soothes thee, if too sweetly sad,
137 And if too light, but turns thee gayly Mad.
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138 Tho' the Physicians greatest Gains,
139 Altho' his growing Wealth he sees
140 Daily encreas'd by Ladies Fees,
141 Yet dost thou baffle all his studious Pains.
142 Not skilful Lower thy Source cou'd find,
143 Or thro' the well-dissected Body trace
144 The secret, the mysterious ways,
145 By which thou dost surprize, and prey upon the Mind.
146 Tho' in the Search, too deep for Humane Thought,
147 With unsuccessful Toil he wrought,
148 'Till thinking Thee to've catch'd, Himself by thee was caught,
149 Retain'd thy Pris'ner, thy acknowledg'd Slave,
150 And sunk beneath thy Chain to a lamented Grave.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The SPLEEN. A Pindarick Poem.
Themes: manners; illness; injury
Genres: ode
References: DMI 3495

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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. 88-96. [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