From Miscellanea Sacra, 1696, one of six poems which have been overlooked by scholars and which are clearly by Anne Finch. See Annotated Chronology, Entry No. 63 (1696) and for full listing of previous poems in 1696 'How far the sweets . . .' Title from Katherine Philips's poem of deep hurt, The Enquiry.
The ENQUIRY. By the same Hand [as SOLITUDE].
I'VE searcht the barren World, but cannot find
A Happiness for an Immortal Mind.
Honours, Delights and Riches have all spent
Their Smiles in vain, to give my Thoughts Content,
The Joys they yield, but for a Moment last,
And shrink to nothing when they're close embrac't,
They never satisfy, but feed desire,
And bring fresh Fuel to a restless Fire
What's one poor drop to him that almost bursts
With fierce desires, and for an Ocean thirsts.
My Mind can hold both the rich Indy's store,
And find it self, as empty as before.
The Treasures Earth throws in their purpose miss,
Swallow'd and lost in that immense Abyss.
I've look'd o'er all the Riches Earth can shew
All that it Promises, but gives to few:
And still some Intellectual Good I want,
Some Happiness this World can never grant.
Hence mighty God my Thoughts ascend to Thee,
The spring of Good, and Man's Felicity.
'Tis only they Immensity can fill
The thirsty Soul's vast and immortal Will.
This single Thought, that all Earth's Joys at Death
Will end, and cease for ever with my Breath,
Quite chills my Love, and lessens my Esteem,
And makes a Kingdom but a trifle seem.
I find my Soul's misplac'd, it longs to see
Some higher Good, some fix'd Felicity,
Which it despairs to met with, but in thee
I'm blest with Faculties to entertain
Thy self, and sure thou mad'st them not in vain.
And as I can, so I desire to be
Made happy only in Enjoying thee;
My Wishes else unsatisfy'd return,
And make me all my lost Endeavours mourn.
Thou dost to All but Man Perfection grant,
That with their Happiness upbraid my want
No Hopes or Fears the quiet Stones molest
That sweetly in the Earth's low bosom rest.
Trees to their height and perfect Stature grow,
No farther Tendencies or Wishes know.
Rich Flowers with daz'ling Glory crown the Year
And in their Smiles a perfect Beauty wear.
Beasts that have all for which their Nature calls,
Pleas'd with themselves are happy Animals.
Above the Earth their Wishes never fly.
Nor thirst for Heav'n and Immortality.
No Prospect of a greater Excellence,
Makes them despise the low Delights of Sense,
No Knowledge of Eternity can shew
To them, how short these Pleasures are below.
They can no Dangers while at distance see,
To interrupt their present Peace and Rest,
From thoughts of Death and future Sorrows free
They are with undisturb'd Enjoyments Blest.
While Souls that can to higher Regions climb,
And look beyond the whirling Pool of Time
Become unhappy by their Eminence,
And serve but to disturb the sweets of Sense.
When the sad Mind its sober thoughts emploies
And finds it self born for Eternal Joys
How Earth's unmanly, short Delights displease?
It rather will hae none, than such as these.
It thinks of all its noble FAculties,
Then looks on Earth, and do's its Joys despise,
Since I have such a Mind as this, would I
Had never been, or may I never dye?
If no Delights are to be found above,
What shall I seek on Earth, what shall I Love?
If this be all the Happness design'd
For anxious Man, wretched Immortal Mind!
Happy the Bruits that can't their State resent,
That know no nobler Joys, and are content.
If Man then can't a perfect State attain,
His Soul and Appetites are made n vain.
Man only is Felicity deny'd
His Soul and Appetites are made in vain.
Vex'd with desires, not to be satisfy'd.
The Lord of All is most unhappy left,
Of that Perfection Beasts enjoy, bereft.
But th'Author sure wil not be most unkind
To his best Workmanship, the Heav'n born Mind,
He's so benign he can't but let us have
Objects for al the Apetities he gave.
'Tis easy hence to know he does intend
Himself shall be the Minds last Rest and End.
On them he will at last himself bestow,
That never sought their Happiness below.
What this denies the other World will give.
Were Saints shall in Immortal Glory live,
Possest with Heav'n they shall for ever rest,
Crown'd with Divine Delights, and with their Wishes blest.
Comment: close echoing of her characteristic rhymes, verbs, repeat of troubled thoughts in Wisdom of Solomon, same attitudes as bitterer poems, same ambivalence towards her gifts. AF indeed.