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To the NIGHTINGALE.

1 EXert thy Voice, sweet Harbinger of Spring!
2 This Moment is thy Time to Sing,
3 This Moment I attend to Praise,
4 And set my Numbers to thy Layes.
5 Free as thine shall be my Song;
6 As thy Musick, short, or long.
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7 Poets, wild as thee, were born,
8 Pleasing best when unconfin'd,
9 When to Please is least design'd,
10 Soothing but their Cares to rest;
11 Cares do still their Thoughts molest,
12 And still th' unhappy Poet's Breast,
13 Like thine, when best he sings, is plac'd against a Thorn.
14 She begins, Let all be still!
15 Muse, thy Promise now fulfill!
16 Sweet, oh! sweet, still sweeter yet
17 Can thy Words such Accents fit,
18 Canst thou Syllables refine,
19 Melt a Sense that shall retain
20 Still some Spirit of the Brain,
21 Till with Sounds like these it join.
22 'Twill not be! then change thy Note;
23 Let Division shake thy Throat.
24 Hark! Division now she tries;
25 Yet as far the Muse outflies.
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26 Cease then, prithee, cease thy Tune;
27 Trifler, wilt thou sing till June?
28 Till thy Bus'ness all lies waste,
29 And the Time of Building's past!
30 Thus we Poets that have Speech,
31 Unlike what thy Forests teach,
32 If a fluent Vein be shown
33 That's transcendent to our own,
34 Criticize, reform, or preach,
35 Or censure what we cannot reach.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To the NIGHTINGALE.
Themes: poetry; literature; writing; music
Genres:

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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. 200-202. [8],390p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T94539; Foxon pp. 274-5; OTA K076314.000)

Editorial principles

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