Poet Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside Poems

  • 1.  
    Behold; the Balance in the sky
    Swift on the wintry scale inclines: To earthy caves the Dryads fly,
  • 2.  
    Whoe'er thou art whose path in summer lies
    Through yonder village, turn thee where the grove Of branching oaks a rural palace old
  • 3.  
    Too much my heart of Beauty's power hath known,
    Too long to Love hath reason left her throne; Too long my genius mourn'd his myrtle chain,
  • 4.  
    While yet the world was young, and men were few,
    Nor lurking fraud, nor tyrant rapine knew, In virtue rude, the gaudy arts they scorn'd,
  • 5.  
    Whither did my fancy stray?
    By what magic drawn away Have I left my studious theme?
  • 6.  
    The men renown'd as chiefs of human race,
    And born to lead in counsels or in arms, Have seldom turn'd their feet from glory's chace
  • 7.  
    When shall the laurel and the vocal string
    Resume their honours? When shall we behold The tuneful tongue, the Promethéan hand
  • 8.  
    Say, Townshend, what can London boast
    To pay thee for the pleasures lost, The health to-day resign'd,
  • 9.  
    Ye powers unseen, to whom, the bards of Greece
    Erected altars; ye who to the mind More lofty views unfold, and prompt the heart
  • 10.  
    Oh fly! 'tis dire Suspicion's mien;
    And, meditating plagues unseen, The sorceress hither bends:
  • 11.  
    Believe me, Edwards, to restrain
    The license of a railer's tongue Is what but seldom men obtain
  • 12.  
    Queen of my songs, harmonious maid,
    Ah why hast thou withdrawn thy aid? Ah why forsaken thus my breast
  • 13.  
    Come then, tell me, sage divine,
    Is it an offense to own That our bosoms e'er incline
  • 14.  
    Attend to Chaulieu's wanton lyre;
    While, fluent as the sky-lark sings When first the morn allures it's wings,
  • 15.  
    ARGUMENT.
    The Nymphs, who preside over springs and rivulets, are addressed at day-break, in honor of their several functions, and of the relations which they bear to the natural and to the moral world. Their origin is deduced from the first allegorical deities, or powers of nature; according to the doctrine of the old mythological poets, concerning the generation of the gods and the rise of things. They are then successively considered, as giving motion to the air and exciting summer-breezes; as nourishing and beautifying the vegetable creation; as contributing to the fullness of navigable rivers, and consequently to the maintenance of commerce; and by that means, to the maritime part of military power. Next is represented their favourable influence upon health, when assisted by rural exercise: which introduces their connection with the art of physic, and the happy effects of mineral medicinal springs. Lastly, they are celebrated for the friendship which the Muses bear them, and for the true inspiration which temperance only can receive: in opposition to the enthusiasm of the more licentious poets.
  • 16.  
    Whither is Europe's ancient spirit fled?
    Where are those valiant tenants of her shore, Who from the warrior bow the strong dart sped,
  • 17.  
    O youths and virgins: o declining eld:
    O pale misfortune's slaves: o ye who dwell Unknown with humble quiet; ye who wait
  • 18.  
    THE GENERAL ARGUMENT.
    The pleasures of the imagination proceed either from natural objects, as from a flourishing grove, a clear and murmuring fountain, a calm sea by moon-light; or from works of art, such as a noble edifice, a musical tune, a statue, a picture, a poem. In treating of these pleasures, we must begin with the former class; they being original to the other; and nothing more being necessary, in order to explain them, than a view of our natural inclination toward greatness and beauty, and of those appearances, in the world around us, to which that inclination is adapted. This is the subject of the first book of the following poem. But the pleasures which we receive from the elegant arts, from music, sculpture, painting, and poetry, are much more various and complicated. In them (besides greatness and beauty, or forms proper to the imagination) we find interwoven frequent representations of truth, of virtue and vice, of circumstances proper to move us with laughter, or to excite in us pity, fear, and the other passions. These moral and intellectual objects are described in the second book; to which the third properly belongs as an episode, though too large to have been included in it.
  • 19.  
    Thus far of beauty and the pleasing forms
    Which man's untutor'd fancy, from the scenes Imperfect of this ever-changing world,
  • 20.  
    To-night retir'd the queen of heaven
    With young Endymion stays: And now to Hesper is it given
  • 21.  
    I
    Once more I join the Thespian choir,
  • 22.  
    If rightly tuneful bards decide,
    If it be fix'd in love's decrees, That beauty ought not to be tried
  • 23.  
    Thy verdant scenes, O Goulder's hill,
    Once more I seek, a languid guest: With throbbing temples and with burden'd breast
  • 24.  
    I
    How oft shall i survey
  • 25.  
    One effort more, one cheerful sally more,
    Our destin'd course will finish. and in peace Then, for an offering sacred to the powers
  • 26.  
    With what attractive charms this goodly frame
    Of nature touches the consenting hearts Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores
  • 27.  
    How thick the shades of evening close!
    How pale the sky with weight of snows! Haste, light the tapers, urge the fire,
  • 28.  
    I
    The wise and great of every clime,
  • 29.  
    The radiant ruler of the year
    At length his wintry goal attains; Soon to reverse the long career,
  • 30.  
    Yes; you contemn the perjur'd maid
    Who all your favorite hopes betray'd: Nor, though her heart should home return,
  • 31.  
    ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK.
    Pleasure in observing the tempers and manners of men, even where vicious or absurd. The origin of vice, from false representations of the fancy, producing false opinions concerning good and evil. Inquiry into ridicule. The general sources of ridicule in the minds and characters of men, enumerated. Final cause of the sense of ridicule. The resemblance of certain aspects of inanimate things to the sensations and properties of the mind. The operations of the mind in the production of the works of imagination, described. The secondary pleasure from imitation. The benevolent order of the world illustrated in the arbitrary connexion of these pleasures with the objects which excite them. The nature and conduct of taste. Concluding with an account of the natural and moral advantages resulting from a sensible and well-formed imagination.
  • 32.  
    Me tho' in life's sequester'd vale
    The Almighty sire ordain'd to dwell, Remote from glory's toilsome ways,
  • 33.  
    Of all the springs within the mind
    Which prompt her steps in fortune's maze, From none more pleasing aid we find
  • 34.  
    THE ARGUMENT.
    The subject proposed. Dedication. The ideas of the supreme being, the exemplars of all things. The variety of constitution in the minds of men; with its final cause. The general character of a fine imagination. All the immediate pleasures of the human imagination proceed either from greatness or beauty in external objects. The pleasure from greatness; with its final cause. The natural connection of beauty with truth and good. The different orders of beauty in different objects. The infinite and all-comprehending form of beauty, which belongs to the divine mind. The partial and artificial forms of beauty, which belong to inferior intellectual beings. The origin and general conduct of beauty in man. The subordination of local beauties to the beauty of the universe. Conclusion.
  • 35.  
    Meek honor, female shame,
    O! whither, sweetest offspring of the sky, From Albion dost thou fly;
  • 36.  
    With sordid floods the wintry Urn
    Hath stain'd fair Richmond's level green: Her naked hill the Dryads mourn,
  • 37.  
    With what inchantment nature's goodly scene
    Attracts the sense of mortals; how the mind For its own eye doth objects nobler still
  • 38.  
    To me, whom in their lays the shepherds call
    Actaea, daughter of the neighbouring stream, This cave belongs. The fig-tree and the vine,
  • 39.  
    Indeed, my Phaedra, if to find
    That wealth can female wishes gain Had e'er disturb'd your thoughtful mind,
  • 40.  
    What tongue then may explain the various fate
    Which reigns o'er earth? or who to mortal eyes Illustrate this perplexing labyrinth
  • 41.  
    ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK.
    The separation of the works of imagination from philosophy, the cause of their abuse among the moderns. Prospect of their re-union under the influence of public liberty. Enumeration of accidental pleasures, which increase the effect of objects delightful to the imagination. The pleasures of sense. Particular circumstances of the mind. Discovery of truth. Perception of contrivance and design. Emotion of the passions. All the natural passions partake of a pleasing sensation; with the final cause of this constitution illustrated by an allegorical vision, and exemplified in sorrow, pity, terror, and indignation.
  • 42.  
    Not for themselves did human kind
    Contrive the parts by heaven assign'd On life's wide scene to play:
  • 43.  
    Approach in silence. 'tis no vulgar tale
    Which I, the Dryad of this hoary oak, Pronounce to mortal ears. The second age
  • 44.  
    Whilom by silver Thames's gentle stream,
    In London town there dwelt a subtile wight; A wight of mickle wealth, and mickle fame,
  • 45.  
    Thou silent power, whose welcome sway
    Charms every anxious thought away; In whose divine oblivion drown'd,
  • 46.  
    I

  • 47.  
    I

  • 48.  
    No, foolish youth, To virtuous fame
    If now thy early hopes be vow'd, If true ambition's nobler flame
  • 49.  
    Such was old Chaucer. such the placid mien
    Of him who first with harmony inform'd The language of our fathers. Here he dwelt
  • 50.  
    On yonder verdant hilloc laid,
    Where oaks and elms, a friendly shade, O'erlook the falling stream,
Total 107 poems written by Mark Akenside

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Life contracts and death is expected,
As in a season of autumn.
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He does not become a three-days personage,
Imposing his separation,
Calling for pomp.

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