Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

The Appology

'TIS true I write and tell me by what Rule 
I am alone forbid to play the fool, 
To follow through the Groves a wand'ring Muse 
And fain'd Ideas's for my pleasures chuse. 
Why shou'd it in my Pen be held a fault 
Whilst Mira paints her face, to paint a thought? 
Whilst Lamia to the manly Bumper flys 
And borrow'd Spiritts sparkle in her Eyes, 
Why shou'd itt be in me a thing so vain 
To heat with Poetry my colder Brain? 
But I write ill and there-fore shou'd forbear. 
Does Flavia cease now at her fortieth year 
In ev'ry Place to lett that face be seen 
Which all the Town rejected at fifteen? 
Each Woman has her weaknesse; mine indeed 
Is still to write tho' hopelesse to succeed. 
Nor to the Men is this so easy found; 
Ev'n in most Works with which the Witts abound 
(So weak are all since our first breach with Heav'n) 
Ther's less to be Applauded then forgiven. 

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