This achingly poignant poem of deep sadness occurs only in MS Portland Vol 19, pp 304 - 7. It is in Lady Winchilsea's own hand; it has never before been deciphered, let alone printed.

See Annotated Chronology No. 175 (after August 4, 1712). This poem is a remarkable and moving revelation of uncensored despair. The reader also discovers that Anne did not always like to be alone in the country in the quiet: she 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 is an "angel," a "goddess"), and the joyous escape (from "this hated life) imagined at the close is as vague as it is unsatisfying.

There are other poems of interest in this relatively unknown Manuscript located in the Library of the Marquis of Bath, Longleat. I here cite both the contents of Volume 19 (together with frequent printing history of these poems) and Volume 20:

Table of Contents for 5 poems by AF in MS Portland Papers, Vol 19:

  1. The 146 Psalm Paraphrased. Oh! Praise the Lord, and lett his Fame be told; p 210 & 2 pages following; MS F-H, 283, 27-30, Folger 209-10; Reynolds prints Folger, 227-8.
  2. The 10th Part of the 119th Psalm, Paraphrased in the manner of a prayer. From the 1st to the 6th Verse. Thy Workmanship O Lord I am. p 211.; MS F-H 283, 25-7, Folger 207; Reynolds prints Folger, 226-7.
  3. To Death. Oh King of terrours, to whose boundlesse Sway;unpaginated, but follows "The 10th Part"; MS F-H 283, 5-15, Folger, p 208 (exact copy from MS F-H); Print: 1701 Gilden, 87; 1713 Misc, 122 - 3; 1903 Reynolds reprints 1713, 270,rpt Murray 1928, Fausset 1930, Rogers 1979.
  4. On my Self. Good Heav'n I thank thee, Since it was design'd; Beneath above poem, same page. MS F-H 283, 34-5. 1903 Reynolds prints F- H 283, 14-5; rpt Murray 1928, Fausst 1930, Rogers 1979.
  5. On a Short Visit inscrib'd to My Lady Worsley. The long the long expected Hour is come, p 304 and 3 pages following. Occurs no where else; in AF's own crabbed and very difficult to decipher hand. Never printed or published before this.

Table of Contents of 4 Poems by AF in the MS Portland Papers, Vol 20

  1. A New Ballad to the Tune of all you ladies now at Land &c. So all you sparkling Whiggs at Court (in what appears to be Heneage's hand as it appears in MS Wellesley); this is possibly by Ann Finch; the copy which is reprinted on this website is taken from MS Harleian 7316, as that is a clearer text, p. 5
  2. To Mrs Catherine Fleming at ye Lord Dygby's at Coleshill in Warwickshire. To Coleshill Seat of Noble Peer (in same hand as above, Heneage's, it appears in MS Wellesley), p 10
  3. To the Lord March upon the Death of his Sparrow. Venus, who did Her Bird impart (this also occurs in MS Wellesley),p 34r
  4. To the lady . . . Who having desired me to compose Some thing upon the foregoeing Subject prevail'd with me to speak the four first Lines Extempore, and would have had me proceed in the rest which I sent to her at ore leisure with the following Verses. Of this small Tribute of my Wit (also in MS Wellesley), p34v-35r.

There is a twelve page gap in the Folger MS; numbering of one poem stops at p 261 (a private poem to Nicholas Rowe on solitude, and numbering of next, another sad one thanking Utresia for suggesting Ardelia write, begins at what would be p 273, except first pages not numbered. I have wondered if this one was one of those poems originally copied out in Folger and then ripped out as too revealing. On a Short Visit inscrib'd to My Lady Worseley, pp. 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 govrness 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 caled away
Flies to the regions of Eternal day
And leaves him to the melancholy shade

Verses by Lady Winchilsea in her own hand

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