To Coleshill Seat of Noble Pen


For Mrs Catherine Flemming at ye Lord Digby's at Coleshill in Warwickshire.

Primary Texts:

MS's: Harleian 7316, 44-6* (professional scribe, clear copy); Portland, XX, 10-11 (highly unclear, squeezed in, looks like Heneage's hand in old age); MS Additional 28101, 163v-164r (clear attribution: "By the Countess of Winchelsea").


To Coleshill Seat of Noble Pen
My Verse I will convey
For what should wit & Verse do hear
Now flemming is away
Whilst Scudamore is ye Country Lyes
We've hear no Use of hearts or Eyes
With a fa, la la la la


At Comerce round an Ample board
Our Gallants pas their Time
Content or not Content is the Word
A Language most Sublime
But great expence we save of Parts
By Hearts & Clubs, & Clubs & heart's
With A fa la la


Our Theatre of Usefull Joys
(Thro Ben's and Shakespear's Wit)
Breads now but one Continued noise
of Laugh from Box & Pit
Whilst in the Air Light tumblers fly
O're Man & Boy two Stories high
With A fa la la


Our Masquerades by Shew Diverts
But no more humour knows
No more ingage the head or heart
Or more enliven'd grow
Then if from all the Signs in Town
Nuns Turks & Saracens came down
With A fa la la la la


Leon's wafted o'er the Seas
Alas! why went he hence
Beneath whose roof we met at ease
And softly whisper'd Sence
But there's a plott devulged from Spain
And Cellamare is a Fool in grain
With A fa la la la la


That English Opera's are Sung
Is Owing to your flight
And ye each instrument wrong
Which us'd to give delight
Than come & our low Genious rase
Who Sigh for You in moveing keys
With A fa la la la


Our Officers fo Old refin'd
And Courtly to the fair
In whome both Love & Spirit Joyn'd
To form the Double Share
Now only Shew what they'd be at
By the fierce Cocade [Cockade] & Bully hatt
With a fa, la, la, la.


Our Senators upon the Sacks
As party guides debate
And if they One Another vex
No matter for the State
Whilst peace or war is not in Doubt
But who's in Place & who's kept out?
With a fa la, la la, la


The Commons all their Work have done
And now will soon be gone
To Shillings they have added one
Which lay their Land upon--
And whilst th'unwilling grant they fix [sign]
They growl at three & drink out Six [down Nine]
With A fa, la, la, la


Your Antiquary still proceeds
To Spy thro Ages past
And if it to your fancy feeds
To know what's found at Last
We've eight Square keys to Saxon locks
And Alfred's apoplectick box
With A fa la la la la


In Street of Arlngton I spend
Each Week one pleasing day
And in the Evening with my frend
At Serious Ombre play
But wn I should be mindfull Still]
I think of you & lose Codill
With A fa la, la, la, la,


Thus what So'er we do or Say
This Ballad does rehearse
How Dul we are how odly gay
Ive told you all in verse
Unless I to the Court shou'd come
But of ye Court no more but mum*
With a fal' la la la:

Clevaeland Row
Dec 24th 1718

*The Antiquary is Heneage, and the stanza describes one of his finds.


Obviously Finch's. This poem appears in MS Harleian in a series of 14 poems, which begins with "Upon Lady Selena Shirly's picture drawn by Mr Dagar" (see 1717, late winter into early spring), includes five poems which are elsewhere identified as hers (the companion ballad to this, Finch's Song on the South Seas ("Ombre and basset ... " after January 1720, an epistle by Anne Finch to Catherine Fleming, one by Catherine to Finch (perhaps revised by Finch, the only poem in the whole series to name Finch), and ends on what might be a late poem by Finch to Prior in praise of his Solomon). All are in the same hand; these fourteen are interrupted by four poems, three may be easily linked to Lady Winchilsea: the first by Nicholas Rowe, "Collins Complaint" has a gloss for the "false nymph" which read "Lady W-, two are by Swift, one to him; the fourth by an unknown "Sir Thomas" is pasted over another poem which it hides (it is a anti-mob Tory political piece).

This ballad is the first of three in a row (the second is the only one generally known and in print, "From me who whileom ..."), this ballad lacks deeper emotional pull of second because it is not from the country, but its town poetry is very lively with laughter at contemporary folly, which Heneage's antiquarian finds. The two poems should be in print as companion pieces.


December 24, 1718, from Cleaveland Row (date and place subscribed in both MS's).
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated 8 January 2003