Mark Akenside poems

Mark Akenside(1721-1770 / England)
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Amoret

- by Mark Akenside 34

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.

Inscriptions: IV: O Youths And Virgins

- by Mark Akenside 31

O youths and virgins: o declining eld:
O pale misfortune's slaves: o ye who dwell
Unknown with humble quiet; ye who wait
In courts, or fill the golden seat of kings:
O sons of sport and pleasure: o thou wretch
That weep'st for jealous love, or the sore wounds
Of conscious guilt, or death's rapacious hand
Which left thee void of hope: o ye who roam
In exile; ye who through the embattled field
Seek bright renown; or who for nobler palms
Contend, the leaders of a public cause;
Approach: behold this marble. Know ye not
The features? Hath not oft his faithful tongue
Told you the fashion of your own estate,
The secrets of your bosom? Here then, round
His monument with reverence while ye stand,
Say to each other: “This was Shakespear's form;
“Who walk'd 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.”

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