by: Mark Akenside (1721-1770)
POEMS BY MARK AKENSIDE
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.