The long the long expected Hour is come


On a Short Visit inscrib'd to My Lady Worseley", subscribed "Verses by Lady Winchilsea in her own Hand"

Primary Text:

MS Portland XIX, 304-7.*
Superscription: Verses by Lady Winchilsea in her own hand

The long the long expected Hour is come
Is come to right our Souls at last
The now reviving Joys we tast
And fool the influence of her sacred Power
Thy Sacred Pow'r bright maid we prove
Nor will disolve the Extasy of love
Soo see the fair Enchantress come
To change to Paradice this mournfull Gloom
Where Silence and eternal Winter reign
Where we our heavy days consume
And lazy fogs obscure the dismal Plain
Soo tho' gay gentle spring
The absence of the sun I now no longer mourn
Soo flow'rs late dead her presence greet
And budding Roses spring beneath her feet
With blushing Beautyes deck the ground
Scatter all their virgins sweet round
Ev'n we our native dullness now forget
Charm'd with her beauty & her witt
With what a mighty Pleasure we
Her bright majestick form behold
While rashly gazing on her
Struck with the lightning of her Eyes
We bear no longer the surprize
But softly sighing fall & dye


We dye we dye till her inchanted voice
Inspir'd now Life & sprightly joies.
That voice that hardest Rocke could move
Can soon expel our racking cares
All our sorrows all our tears
Relieve all Pains but those of Love
And make the Stupid Soul unusual vigour grow
Tho' listning Angels round her throng
And catch the tuneful numbers from her tongue
For well celestiall harmony they know
And thus thy pass short blissfull hours above
There they sing & show thy love
And wonder now to find a heaven below.


Ah youth Charmer must not now resign
Now all those mighty Joys to soon be gone
On others now must all those beautys shine
And others hear that voice divine
While we, in vain our wretched Fate bemoan
Thou lady the governess of the circling Sun
Art bless'd by thee but long enjoy'd by none
The Sun each morn dispels the night
And brings his genial wamth & chearing light
But ah no more we view the Fair
In endless Pains & sullen greif
Condemn'd to Darkness & Despair
Sighing we languish out our hated Life


Some poor Florimel in his homely cell
Where endless night and endlesse silence dwell
Once in his Life the Angels Laws flies
Descended from there Makers skies
With wonder he beholds the Heavenly light
By kind degrees increasing to his sight
And drive from out the cave the ancient night
Then heavenly Harmony he hears
And all the musick of the sphears
That please & charm Immortal ears
Then beauteous forms my Celia bright
Before his eyes with dazling splendour shine
Majestick as thy great commanding Air
With all the sweetness of thy sparkling Eyes
Faces lids shine so heavenly fair
Become the lovely strangeness of the kiss
Eager he gazes in the wondrous Light
Wishes with them to take his flight
All mortall boundes now he can despise
And more than ever longs to mount the skies
But while he hopes serene as glas
The smiling Vision called away
Flies to the regions of Eternal day
And leaves him to the melancholy shade

Verses by Lady Winchilsea in her own hand


Remarkable revelation of uncensured despair. The reader discovers that Anne Finch did not always like to be alone in the country in the quiet. In two letters written by Heneage to Weymouth (his sister's husband and Lady Worseley's father) in the later 1690s, one sees that he suffered from poverty and exclusion; this state of mind is reconfirmed in this poem as a probable if one may hope for him not too frequent one. Anne describes her home as in a "mournfull Gloom/Where Silence and eternal Winter reign/Where we our heavy days consume." The earth's landscape here is one of obscure fog, of winter, of desperation. The poem is an unfinished Pindaric, and a poor poem because of a strain of near hysteria (Lady Worseley, once Utresia, is still an "angel," a "goddess"), and the joyous escape (from "this hated life) imagined at the close is as vague as it is unsatifying.


There are four other poems copied out in this volume, from Finch's earlier years. While they are one hundred pages apart from this, which is clearly marked "by Lady Winchilsea" (in her own hand), and is a first uncorrected version, and must therefore have been written after August 5, 1712. The early years of the first four and Anne's acknowledged sense of herself from "the puggs" on (1714) as partly a Londoner, suggests this is not a late poem.

Anne Finch (now Lady Winchilsea) and Lady Worseley's friendship (as earlier Anne and Lady Thanet's or Arminda) throve on the nearness of their homes and family relationships. Now Anne was no longer going to Longleat (Lord Weymouth died on July 29, 1715 and the property went to another branch of the Thynne family). She only occasionally came with Heneage to Hampshire to see to Anne's "nephew Kingsmill's" estates (Heneage's phrase for Anne's uncle's heir, another Sir William Kingsmill, perhaps feeble minded -- it's not clear but a letter implies this). The Kingsmill estate was not close to Lord Worseley's Hampshire seat (in the Isle of Wight) or his other properties. Thus Lady Worseley had separated herself from her aunt.

Into Anne's August 4, 1704 letter to Lady Worseley one may also read Lady Worseley's desire to escape Anne's intense presence (perhaps the missing one another was not inadvertent on Lady Worseley's part). In this poem Anne has clearly waited for this "long long expected" visit; she now grieves so because it has been so short. The poem is filled with extravagant praise for Lady Worseley; Anne seems to be clutching onto a woman who had become a reluctant friend.

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