Classics  
English    1721 - 1770   
Mark Akenside was an English poet and physician. Akenside was born at Newcastle upon Tyne, England, the son of a butcher. He was slightly lame all his life from a wound he received as a child from his father's cleaver. All his relations were dissenters, and, after attending the Royal ... Read more
Mark Akenside was an English poet and physician. Akenside was born at Newcastle upon Tyne, England, the son of a butcher. He was slightly lame all his life from a wound he received as a child from his father's cleaver. All his relations were dissenters, and, after attending the Royal ... Read more

If rightly tuneful bards decide,
  If it be fix’d in Love’s decrees,
That Beauty ought not to be tried
  But by its native power to please,
Then tell me, youths and lovers, tell—
What fair can Amoret excel?

Behold that bright unsullied smile,
  And wisdom speaking in her mien:
Yet—she so artless all the while,
  So little studious to be seen—
We naught but instant gladness know,
Nor think to whom the gift we owe.

But neither music, nor the powers
  Of youth and mirth and frolic cheer,
Add half the sunshine to the hours,
  Or make life’s prospect half so clear,
As memory brings it to the eye
From scenes where Amoret was by.

This, sure, is Beauty’s happiest part;
  This gives the most unbounded sway;
This shall enchant the subject heart
  When rose and lily fade away;
And she be still, in spite of Time,
Sweet Amoret in all her prime.

To-night retired, the queen of heaven
  With young Endymion stays;
And now to Hesper it is given
Awhile to rule the vacant sky,
Till she shall to her lamp supply
  A stream of brighter rays.

Propitious send thy golden ray,
  Thou purest light above!
Let no false flame seduce to stray
Where gulf or steep lie hid for harm;
But lead where music’s healing charm
  May soothe afflicted love.

To them, by many a grateful song
  In happier seasons vow’d,
These lawns, Olympia’s haunts, belong:
Oft by yon silver stream we walk’d,
Or fix’d, while Philomela talk’d,
  Beneath yon copses stood.

Nor seldom, where the beechen boughs
  That roofless tower invade,
We came, while her enchanting Muse
The radiant moon above us held:
Till, by a clamorous owl compell’d,
  She fled the solemn shade.

But hark! I hear her liquid tone!
  Now Hesper guide my feet!
Down the red marl with moss o’ergrown,
Through yon wild thicket next the plain,
Whose hawthorns choke the winding lane
  Which leads to her retreat.

See the green space: on either hand
  Enlarged it spreads around:
See, in the midst she takes her stand,
Where one old oak his awful shade
Extends o’er half the level mead,
  Enclosed in woods profound.

Hark! how through many a melting note
  She now prolongs her lays:
How sweetly down the void they float!
The breeze their magic path attends;
The stars shine out; the forest bends;
  The wakeful heifers graze.

Whoe’er thou art whom chance may bring
  To this sequester’d spot,
If then the plaintive Siren sing,
O softly tread beneath her bower
And think of Heaven’s disposing power,
  Of man’s uncertain lot.

O think, o’er all this mortal stage
  What mournful scenes arise:
What ruin waits on kingly rage;
How often virtue dwells with woe;
How many griefs from knowledge flow;
  How swiftly pleasure flies!

O sacred bird! let me at eve,
  Thus wandering all alone,
Thy tender counsel oft receive,
Bear witness to thy pensive airs,
And pity Nature’s common cares,
  Till I forget my own.

Away! away!
  Tempt me no more, insidious Love:
      Thy soothing sway
  Long did my youthful bosom prove:
  At length thy treason is discern’d,
  At length some dear-bought caution earn’d:
Away! nor hope my riper age to move.

      I know, I see
  Her merit. Needs it now be shown,
      Alas! to me?
  How often, to myself unknown,
  The graceful, gentle, virtuous maid
  Have I admired! How often said—
What joy to call a heart like hers one’s own!

      But, flattering god,
  O squanderer of content and ease
      In thy abode
  Will care’s rude lesson learn to please?
  O say, deceiver, hast thou won
  Proud Fortune to attend thy throne,
Or placed thy friends above her stern decrees?

 
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