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Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661-1720).

As a young woman and a maid of honor during the Restoration period, Anne Finch had been involved in the life of the royal court. She married a colonel, who later became the earl of Winchilsea. But at the time of the Glorious Revolution in 1688, Anne and her husband both lost their positions, so they retired to their country estate. In retirement, she began to write poetry, focusing on descriptions of the natural surroundings. In 1713 Lady Winchilsea published a collection of poems titled Miscellany Poems on Several Occasions, Written by a Lady. Although women did not write (except secretly), much less publish, poetry in the early eighteenth century, the countess asserts in the introduction to her work that women are capable of doing many things from which faulty education and social disapproval hold them back.

A Nocturnal Reverie

This meditative lyric poem in couplets shows many images of a quiet landscape at nightfall. The poet surveys the coming of darkness to the fields, flowers, and distant hills. She hears the sounds made by animals in nearby pastures. In such a setting, the mind grows calm and peaceful. The poet feels a simple joy of being in the presence of nature. This poem anticipates the tone and imagery of later eighteenth-century poetry by Collins and Gray.

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Author:McCoy, Kathleen; Harlan, Judith A.V.
Publication:English Literature to 1785
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Eighteenth-century English literature (1700 to 1785): lyric poetry.
Next Article:James Thomson (1700-1748).

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