Mark Akenside


English Poet and Physician

Author Quotes

To The Must - Queen of my songs, harmonious maid,
Ah! why hast thou withdrawn thy aid?
Ah! why forsaken thus my breast
With inauspicious damps oppress'd?
Where is the dread prophetic heat
With which my bosom wont to beat?
Where all the bright mysterious dreams
Of haunted groves and tuneful streams,
That woo'd my genius to divinest themes?

Say, goddess, can the festal board,
Or young Olympia's form adored;
Say, can the pomp of promised fame
Relume thy faint, thy dying flame?
Or have melodious airs the power
To give one free, poetic hour?
Or, from amid the Elysian train,
The soul of Milton shall I gain,
To win thee back with some celestial strain?

O powerful strain! O sacred soul!
His numbers every sense control:
And now again my bosom burns;
The Muse, the Muse herself returns.
Such on the banks of Tyne, confess'd,
I hail'd the fair immortal guest,
When first she seal'd me for her own,
Made all her blissful treasures known,
And bade me swear to follow Her alone.

On The Winter Solstice - The radiant ruler of the year
At length his wintry goal attains;
Soon to reverse the long career,
And northward bend his steady reins.
Now, piercing half Potosi's height,
Prone rush the fiery floods of light
Ripening the mountain's silver stores:
While, in some cavern's horrid shade,
The panting Indian hides his head,
And oft the approach of eve implores.

But lo, on this deserted coast,
How pale the sun! how thick the air!
Mustering his storms, a sordid host,
Lo, Winter desolates the year.
The fields resign their latest bloom;
No more the breezes waft perfume,
No more the streams in music roll:
But snows fall dark, or rains resound;
And, while great Nature mourns around,
Her griefs infect the human soul.

Hence the loud city's busy throngs
Urge the warm bowl and splendid fire:
Harmonious dances, festive songs,
Against the spiteful heaven conspire.
Meantime, perhaps, with tender fears
Some village dame the curfew hears,
While round the hearth her children play:
At morn their father went abroad;
The moon is sunk, and deep the road;
She sighs, and vonders at his stay.

But thou, my lyre, awake, arise,
And hail the sun's returning force:
Even now he climbs the northern skies,
And health and hope attend his course.
Then louder howl the aerial waste,
Be earth with keener cold embraced,
Yet gentle hours advance their wing;
And Fancy, mocking Winter's might,
With flowers and dews and streaming light
Already decks the new-born Spring.

O fountain of the golden day,
Could mortal vows promote thy speed,
How soon before thy vernal ray
Should each unkindly damp recede!
How soon each hovering tempest fly,
Whose stores for mischief arm the sky,
Prompt on our heads to burst amain,
To rend the forest from the steep,
Or, thundering o'er the Baltic deep,
To whelm the merchant's hopes of gain!

But let not man's unequal views
Presume o'er Nature and her laws:
'Tis his with grateful joy to use
The indulgence of the Sovereign Cause;
Secure that health and beauty springs
Through this majestic frame of things,
Beyond what he can reach to know;
And that Heaven's all-subduing will,
With good, the progeny of ill,
Attempereth every state below.

How pleasing wears the wintry night,
Spent with the old illustrious dead!
While, by the taper's trembling light,
I seem those awful scenes to tread
Where chiefs or legislators lie,
Whose triumphs move before my eye,
In arms and antique pomp array'd;
While now I taste the Ionian song,
Now bend to Plato's godlike tongue
Resounding through the olive shade.

But should some cheerful, equal friend
Bid leave the studious page a while.
Let mirth on wisdom then attend,
And social ease on learned toil.
Then while, at love's uncareful shrine,
Each dictates to the god of wine
Her name whom all his hopes obey,
What flattering dreams each bosom warm,
While absence, heightening every charm,
Invokes the slow-returning May!

May, thou delight of heaven and earth,
When will thy genial star arise?
The auspicious morn, which gives thee birth,
Shall bring Eudora to my eyes.
Within her sylvan haunt, behold,
As in the happy garden old,
She moves like that primeval fair:
Thither, ye silver-sounding lyres,
Ye tender smiles, ye chaste desires,
Fond hope and mutual faith, repair.

And if believing love can read
His better omens in her eye,
Then shall my fears, O charming maid,
And every pain of absence die:
Then shall my jocund harp, attuned
To thy true ear, with sweeter sound
Pursue the free Horatian song:
Old Tyne shall listen to my tale,
And Echo, down the bordering vale,
The liquid melody prolong.

The Complaint - 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?

Amoret - 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?

Beholt 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.

Different minds incline to different objects; one pursues the vast alone, the wonderful, the wild; another sighs for harmony and grace, and gentlest beauty.

The immortal mind, superior to his fate, amid the outrage of external things, firm as the solid base of this great world, rests on his own foundation. Blow, ye winds! Ye waves! Ye thunders! Roll your tempests on! Shake, ye old pillars of the marble sky! Till at its orbs and all its worlds of fire be loosen'd from their seats; yet still serene, the unconquer'd mind looks down upon the wreck; and ever stronger as the storms advance, firm through the closing ruin holds is way, when nature calls him to the destin'd goal.

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English Poet and Physician