Mark Akenside

Mark
Akenside
1721
1770

English Poet and Physician

Author Quotes

Truth and Good are one; and Beauty dwells in them, and they in her.

We taste the fragrance of the rose.

What, then, is taste, but those internal powers, active and strong, and feelingly alive to each fine impulse? a discerning sense of decent and sublime, with quick disgust from things deformed, or disarranged, or gross in species? This, nor gems, nor stores of gold, nor purple state, nor culture, can bestow, but God alone when first his sacred hand imprints the secret bias of the soul.

This was Shakespeare's form; who walked in every path of human life, felt every passion; and to all mankind doth now, will ever, that experience yield which his own genius only could acquire.

Thus was beauty sent from heaven--the lovely mistress of truth and good in this dark world.

Thus, then, was Beauty sent from heaven, the lovely mistress of Truth and Good in this dark world: for Truth and Good are one; and Beauty dwells in them, and they in her, with like participation.

A double task to paint the finest features of the mind, and to most subtle and mysterious things give color, strength, and motion.

And the veil spun from the cobweb fashion of the times, to hid the feeling heart?

At last the Muses rose? And scattered? as they flew, their blooming wreaths from fair Valclusa's bowers to Arno's myrtle border.

From bounty issues power.

Hark! how the gentle echo from her cell talks through the cliffs, and murmuring o'er the stream, repeats the accent--we shall part no more.

Others of graver mien, behold, adorn 'd with holy ensigns, how sublime they move, and bending oft their sanctimonious eyes, take homage of the simple-minded throng; ambassadors of heaven!

Seeks painted trifles and fantastic toys, and eagerly pursues imaginary joys.

Such and so various are the tastes of men.

The grateful tear that streams for others' woes.

The green retreats of Academus.

The man forget not, though in rags he lies, and know the mortal through a crown's disguise.

The music of the heart.

The Pleasures of Imagination - Thou silent power, whose welcome sway charms every anxious thought away; in whose divine oblivion drown'd, sore pain and weary toil grow mild, love is with kinder looks beguiled, and Grief forgets her fondly cherish'd wound; Oh, whither hast thou flown, indulgent god? God of kind shadows and of healing dews, whom dost thou touch with thy Leth‘an rod? Around whose temples now thy opiate airs diffuse?

To Cheerfulness - How thick the shades of evening close!
How pale the sky with weight of snows!
Haste, light the tapers, urge the fire,
And bid the joyless day retire.
----Alas, in vain I try within
To brighten the dejected scene,
While roused by grief these fiery pains
Tear the frail texture of my veins;
While Winter's voice, that storms around,
And yon deep death-bell's groaning sound
Renew my mind's oppressive gloom,
Till starting Horror shakes the room.

Is there in nature no kind power
To sooth affliction's lonely hour?
To blunt the edge of dire disease,
And teach these wintry shades to please?
Come, Cheerfulness, triumphant fair,
Shine through the hovering cloud of care:
O sweet language, mild of mien,
O Virtue's friend and Pleasure's queen,
Assuage the flames that burn my breast,
Compose my jarring thoughts to rest;
And while thy gracious gifts I feel,
My song shall all thy praise reveal.

As once ('twas in Astræa's reign)
The vernal powers renew'd their train,
It happen'd that immortal Love
Was ranging through the spheres above,
And downward hither cast his eye,
The year's returning pomp to spy.
He saw the radiant god of day
Waft in his car the rosy May;
The fragrant Airs and genial Hours
Were shedding round him dews and flowers;
Before his wheels Aurora pass'd,
And Hesper's golden lamp was last.
But, fairest of the blooming throng,
When Health majestic moved along,
Delighted to survey below
The joys which from her presence flow,
While Earth enliven'd hears her voice,
And swains and flocks and fields rejoice;
Then mighty Love her charms confess'd,
And soon his vows inclined her breast,
And, known from that auspicious morn,
Thee, pleasing Cheerfulness, was born.

Thou, Cheerfulness, by Heaven design'd
To sway the movements of the mind,
Whatever fretful passion springs,
Whatever wayward fortune brings
To disarrange the power within,
And strain the musical machine;
Thou, Goddess, thy attempering hand
Doth each discordant string command,
Refines the soft, and swells the strong;
And, joining Nature's general song,
Through many a varying tone unfolds
The harmony of human souls.

Fair guardian of domestic life,
Kind banisher of homebred strife,
Nor sullen lip, nor taunting eye
Deforms the scene when thou art by:
No sickening husband damns the hour
Which bound his joys to female power;
No pining mother weeps the cares
Which parents waste on thankless heirs:
The' officious daughters pleased attend;
The brother adds the name of friend:
By thee with flowers their board is crown'd,
With songs from thee their walks resound;
And morn with welcome lustre shines,
And evening unperceived declines.

Is there a youth whose anxious heart
Labours with love's unpitied smart?
Though now he stray by rills and bowers,
And weeping waste the lonely hours,
Or if the nymphs her audience deign,
Debase the story of his pain
With slavish looks, discolour'd eyes,
And accents faltering into sighs;
Yet thou, auspicious power, with ease
Canst yield him happier arts to please,
Inform his mien with manlier charms,
Instruct his tongue with nobler arms,
With more commanding passion move,
And teach the dignity of love.

Friend to the Muse and all her train,
For thee I court the Muse again:
The Muse for thee may well exert
Her pomp, her charms, her fondest art,
Who owes to thee that pleasing sway
Which earth and peopled heaven obey.
Let Melancholy's plaintive tongue
Repeat what later bards have sung;
But thine was Homer's ancient might,
And thine victorious Pindar's flight:
Thy hand each Lesbian wreath attired:
Thy lip Sicilian reeds inspired:
Thy spirit lent the glad perfume
Whence yet the flowers of Teos bloom;
Whence yet from Tibur's Sabine vale
Delicious blows the' enlivening gale,
While Horace calls thy sportive choir,
Heroes and nymphs, around his lyre.

But see where yonder pensive sage
(A prey perhaps to Fortune's rage,
Perhaps by tender griefs oppress'd,
Or glooms congenial to his breast)
Retires in desert scenes to dwell,
And bids the joyless world farewell!
Alone he treads the' autumnal shade,
Alone beneath the _mountain_ laid,
He sees the nightly damps ascend,
And gathering storms aloft impend;
He hears the neighbouring surges roll,
And raging thunders shake the pole;
Then, struck by every object round,
And stunn'd by every horrid sound,
He asks a clue for Nature's ways;
But Evil haunts him through the maze:
He sees ten thousand demons rise
To wield the empire of the skies,
And Chance and Fate assume the rod,
And Malice blot the throne of God.--
O thou, whose pleasing power I sing,
Thy lenient influence hither bring;
Compose the storm, dispel the gloom,
Till Nature wear her wonted bloom,
Till fields and shades their sweets exhale,
And music swell each opening gale:
Then o'er his breast thy softness pour,
And let him learn the timely hour
To trace the world's benignant laws,
And judge of that presiding cause
Who founds on discord beauty's reign,
Converts to pleasure every pain,
Subdues each hostile form to rest,
And bids the universe be bless'd.

O thou, whose pleasing power I sing,
If right I touch the votive string,
If equal praise I yield thy name,
Still govern thou thy poet's flame;
Still with the Muse my bosom share,
And sooth to peace intruding Care,
But most exert thy pleasing power
On Friendship's consecrated hour;
And while my Sophron points the road
To godlike Wisdom's calm abode,
Or warm in Freedom's ancient cause
Traceth the source of Albion's laws,
Add thou o'er all the generous toil
The light of thy unclouded smile.
But if, by Fortune's stubborn sway
From him and Friendship torn away,
I court the Muse's healing spell
For griefs that still with absence dwell,
Do thou conduct my fancy's dreams
To such indulgent placid themes
As just the struggling breast may cheer,
And just suspend the starting tear,
Yet leave that sacred sense of woe
Which none but friends and lovers know.

On Love Of Praise - Of all the springs within the mind
Which prompt her steps in Fortune's maze,
From none more pleasing aid we find
Than from the genuine love of praise.

Nor any partial, private end
Such reverence to the public bears;
Nor any passion, Virtue's friend,
So like to Virtue's self appears.

For who in glory can delight
Without delight in glorious deeds?
What man a charming voice can slight,
Who courts the echo that succeeds?

But not the echo on the voice
More, than on virtue praise depends;
To which, of course, its real price
The judgment of the praiser lends.

If praise then with religious awe
From the sole perfect Judge be sought,
A nobler aim, a purer law,
Nor priest, nor bard, nor sage hath taught.

With which, in character the same,
Though in an humbler sphere it lies,
I count that soul of human frame--
The suffrage of the good and wise.

On Love - No, foolish youth--To virtuous fame
If now thy early hopes be vow'd,
If true Ambition's nobler flame
Command thy footsteps from the crowd,
Lean not to Love's enchanting snare;
His songs, his words, his looks beware,
Nor join his votaries, the young and fair.

By thought, by dangers, and by toils,
The wreath of just renown is worn;
Nor will Ambition's awful spoils
The flowery pomp of ease adorn:
But Love unbends the force of thought;
By Love unmanly fears are taught;
And Love's reward with gaudy Sloth is bought.

Yet thou hast read in tuneful lays,
And heard from many a zealous breast,
The pleasing tale of Beauty's praise
In Wisdom's lofty language dress'd;
Of Beauty powerful to impart
Each finer sense, each comelier art,
And sooth and polish man's ungentle heart.

If then, from Love's deceit secure,
Thus far alone thy wishes tend,
Go; see the white-wing'd evening hour
On Delia's vernal walk descend:
Go, while the golden light serene,
The grove, the lawn, the soften'd scene,
Becomes the presence of the rural queen.

Attend, while that harmonious tongue
Each bosom, each desire commands:
Apollo's lute by Hermes strung,
And touch'd by chaste Minerva's hands,
Attend. I feel a force divine,
O Delia, win my thoughts to thine;
That half the colour of thy life is mine.

Yet conscious of the dangerous charm,
Soon would I turn my steps away;
Nor oft provoke the lovely harm,
Nor lull my reason's watchful sway.
But thou, my friend--I hear thy sighs:
Alas! I read thy downcast eyes;
And thy tongue falters; and thy colour flies.

So soon again to meet the fair?
So pensive all this absent hour?
O yet, unlucky youth, beware,
While yet to think is in thy power.
In vain with friendship's flattering name
Thy passion veils its inward shame;
Friendship, the treacherous fuel of thy flame!

Once, I remember, new to Love,
And dreading his tyrannic chain,
I sought a gentle maid, to prove
What peaceful joys in friendship reign.
Whence we forsooth might safely stand,
And pitying view the lovesick band,
And mock the winged boy's malicious hand.

Thus frequent pass'd the cloudless day,
To smiles and sweet discourse resign'd;
While I exulted to survey
One generous woman's real mind:
Till Friendship soon my languid breast
Each night with unknown cares possess'd,
Dash'd my coy slumbers, or my dreams distress'd.

Fool that I was--And now, e'en now
While thus I preach the Stoic strain,
Unless I shun Olympia's view,
An hour unsays it all again.
O friend!--when Love directs her eyes
To pierce where every passion lies,
Where is the firm, the cautious, or the wise?

Affected Indifference - Yes: you contemn the perjured maid
Who all your favourite hopes betray'd:
Nor, though her heart should home return,
Her tuneful tongue its falsehood mourn,
Her winning eyes your faith implore,
Would you her hand receive again,
Or once dissemble your disdain,
Or listen to the syren's theme,
Or stoop to love: since now esteem,
And confidence, and friendship, is no more.

Yet tell me, Phædria, tell me why,
When summoning your pride you try
To meet her looks with cold neglect,
Or cross her walk with slight respect
(For so is falsehood best repaid),
Whence do your cheeks indignant glow?
Why is your struggling tongue so slow?
What means that darkness on your brow?
As if with all her broken vow
You meant the fair apostate to upbraid?

For A Column At Runnymede - Thou, who the verdant plain dost traverse here
While Thames among his willows from thy view
Retires; O stranger, stay thee, and the scene
Around contemplate well. This is the place
Where England's ancient barons, clad in arms
And stern with conquest, from their tyrant king
(Then rendered tame) did challenge and secure
The charter of thy freedom. Pass not on
Till thou hast blest their memory, and paid
Those thanks which God appointed the reward
Of public virtue. And if chance thy home
Salute thee with a father's honour'd name,
Go, call thy sons: instruct them what a debt
They owe their ancestors; and make them swear
To pay it, by transmitting down entire
Those sacred rights to which themselves were born.

On Love, To A Friend - No, foolish youth—to virtuous fame
If now thy early hopes be vow'd,
If true ambition's nobler flame
Command thy footsteps from the crowd,
Lean not to Love's enchanting snare;
His songs, his words, his looks beware,
Nor join his votaries, the young and fair.

By thought, by dangers, and by toils,
The wreath of just renown is worn;
Nor will ambition's awful spoils
The flowery pomp of ease adorn;
But Love unbends the force of thought;
By Love unmanly fears are taught;
And Love's reward with gaudy sloth is bought.

Yet thou hast read in tuneful lays,
And heard from many a zealous breast,
The pleasing tale of beauty's praise
In wisdom's lofty language dress'd;
Of beauty powerful to impart
Each finer sense, each comelier art,
And soothe and polish man's ungentle heart.

If then, from Love's deceit secure,
Thus far alone thy wishes tend,
Go; see the white-wing'd evening hour
On Delia's vernal walk descend:
Go, while the golden light serene,
The grove, the lawn, the soften'd scene
Becomes the presence of the rural queen.

Attend, while that harmonious tongue
Each bosom, each desire commands:
Apollo's lute by Hermes strung,
And touch'd by chaste Minerva's hands,
Attend. I feel a force divine,
O Delia, win my thoughts to thine;
That half the colour of thy life is mine.

Yet conscious of the dangerous charm,
Soon would I turn my steps away;
Nor oft provoke the lovely harm,
Nor lull my reason's watchful sway.
But thou, my friend—I hear thy sighs:
Alas, I read thy downcast eyes;
And thy tongue falters, and thy colour flies.

So soon again to meet the fair?
So pensive all this absent hour?—
O yet, unlucky youth, beware,
While yet to think is in thy power.
In vain with friendship's flattering name
Thy passion veils its inward shame;
Friendship, the treacherous fuel of thy flame!

Once, I remember, new to Love,
And dreading his tyrannic chain,
I sought a gentle maid to prove
What peaceful joys in friendship reign:
Whence we forsooth might safely stand,
And pitying view the love-sick band,
And mock the wingèd boy's malicious hand.

Thus frequent pass'd the cloudless day,
To smiles and sweet discourse resign'd;
While I exulted to survey
One generous woman's real mind:
Till friendship soon my languid breast
Each night with unknown cares possess'd,
Dash'd my coy slumbers, or my dreams distress'd.

Fool that I was—And now, even now
While thus I preach the Stoic strain,
Unless I shun Olympia's view,
An hour unsays it all again.
O friend!—when Love directs her eyes
To pierce where every passion lies,
Where is the firm, the cautious, or the wise?

Author Picture
First Name
Mark
Last Name
Akenside
Birth Date
1721
Death Date
1770
Bio

English Poet and Physician