Mark Akenside


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!

The Nightingale

To-night 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.

The Poet

Of all the various lots around the ball,
Which fate to man distributes, absolute;
Avert, ye gods! that of the Muse's son,
Curs'd with dire poverty! poor hungry wretch!
What shall he do for life? he cannot work
With manual labour: shall those sacred hands,
That brought the counsels of the gods to light;
Shall that inspired tongue, which every Muse
Has touch'd divine, to charm the sons of men:
These hallow'd organs! these! be prostitute
To the vile service of some fool in power,
All his behests submissive to perform,